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Tim Pawlenty

Has a little problem with pardoning a child molester.

The value of independence

Chris Hedges responds to the liberal attacks on Cornel West after last week’s interview. (If anything, the things being said behind the scenes are even worse.)

And if I could take the opportunity to plug my fund drive, this is my real value to readers: I am not affiliated with the status quo. Believe me, just about any discussion with bloggers who work for the Democratic establishment and related institutions ends pretty much as Hedges describes: “We can’t expect that.” Or: “Yeah, like the Republicans would allow that to get done. We have to settle for this.”

They continue to pound home the idea that Democrats are mere helpless victims, incapable of representing the needs of working men and women instead of the military-industrial-media complex. It’s as if the Republicans take their hands and make them vote for those things.

If you’re a regular reader, you know better. So if you can, please support this independent voice by making a donation:

The liberal class, which attempted last week to discredit the words my friend Cornel Westspoke about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation. Its guiding ideological stance is determined by what is most expedient to the careers of its members. It refuses to challenge, in a meaningful way, the decaying structures of democracy or the ascendancy of the corporate state. It glosses over the relentless assault on working men and women and the imperial wars that are bankrupting the nation. It proclaims its adherence to traditional liberal values while defending and promoting systems of power that mock these values.The pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party—all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. Those who expose this moral cowardice and collaboration with corporate power are always ruthlessly thrust aside.

The capitulation of the liberal class to corporate capitalism, as Irving Howe once noted, has “bleached out all political tendencies.” The liberal class has become, Howe wrote, “a loose shelter, a poncho rather than a program; to call oneself a liberal one doesn’t really have to believe in anything.” The decision to subordinate ethics to political expediency has led liberals to steadily surrender their moral autonomy, voice and beliefs to the dictates of the corporate state. As Dwight Macdonald wrote in “The Root Is Man,” those who do not make human beings the center of their concern soon lose the capacity to make any ethical choices, for they willingly sacrifice others in the name of the politically expedient and practical.

Isn’t that special

Could we be clear here? Wisconsin wasn’t running a budget deficit here until Scott Walker decided to cut business taxes. And when the state says they won’t have the money to administer the food stamp program without outsourcing (in defiance of federal regulations), what they’re really saying is that they don’t want to raise taxes to pay for it.

That God Wisconsin has such a Christian governor. Otherwise, poor people would really be worried!

Vacation

I thought this was interesting — they blame us for not having more vacation because they somehow think we like work better than leisure:

Most U.S. companies, of course, do provide vacation as a way to attract and retain workers.

But the fear of layoffs and the ever-faster pace of work mean many Americans are reluctant to be absent from the office — anxious that they might look like they’re not committed to their job. Or they worry they won’t be able to cope with the backlog of work waiting for them after a vacation.

Then, there’s the way we work.

Working more makes Americans happier than Europeans, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Happiness Studies. That may be because Americans believe more than Europeans do that hard work is associated with success, wrote Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, the study’s author and an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.
“Americans maximize their… [happiness] by working, and Europeans maximize their [happiness] through leisure,” he found.

So despite research documenting the health and productivity benefits of taking time off, a long vacation can be undesirable, scary, unrealistic or just plain impossible for many U.S. workers.

Fukushima

Out of control, scientist says….

Here comes my baby

The Tremeloes do Cat Stevens:

Tornado season

We haven’t even hit the worst part of the season yet.

Whenever you’re on my mind

Marshall Crenshaw:

Heroin

Kenn Kweder:

Anonymous

Has hacked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce site:

Online mischief makers Anonymous are set to launch a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the website of the US Chamber of Commerce later today, in retaliation for the organisation’s support for the draft PROTECT IP Act.

The ‘hacktivist’ collective announced it would launch the DDoS attack at 20:00 Eastern Standard Time.

If passed, the ‘Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property’ Act – ‘PROTECT IP’, for short – will allow US Justice Department officials to force ISPs and search engines to block access to web sites it believes to be infringing US copyright laws, and would require other companies such as advertising network providers and payment processors to cease doing business with them.

In order to obtain a preliminary court order that the site is ‘dedicated to infringing activities’, the Justice Department must show that a web site is directed at US consumers and harms holders of US intellectual property.

The draft legislation has the backing of both sides of the US political spectrum, and US government sources say the bill has already gathered a lot of support among legislators – chiefly due to the lobbying activities of groups representing rights holders and big business, including the MPAA, Viacom, Mastercard, Sony and Disney.

The US Chamber of Commerce is being targeted for its outspoken support for the bill, which critics accuse of having disastrous implications for freedom of speech and the open exchange of information online.

Anonymous isn’t the only group actively resisting the draconian legislations; within the corporate world, Google has stated it will go on fighting the bill even if it is passed. Speaking in London on 18th May, Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said:

“If there is a law that requires DNS [domain name systems, the protocol that allows users to connect to Web sites], to do x, and it’s passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president of the United States, and we disagree with it, then we would still fight it… If it’s a request, the answer is we wouldn’t do it; if it’s a discussion, we wouldn’t do it.”

“Times are changing,” says hacking hive-mind Anonymous, which accuses industries such as Hollywood – which the group says will still make billions regardless of what gets distributed on the Internet – of doing everything in its power to maintain the status quo, “moulding legislation to increase profits rather than protect civil liberties.”

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