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Friday, March 20, 2009
We Wonder: Is Darfur Next?
As proof of the ceaseless if often inappropriate creativity of capitalism, a British adventure tour company has brought the first group of Western tourists to Iraq since the U.S. invasion. With daily attacks and bombings still occurring, Hinterland Travel hired armed guards dressed as civilians to protect the 8 tourists.
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Chutzpah Redux
Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse: AIG – giver of bonuses, recipient of bailouts – is suing the government – us – for the return of $306 million in tax payments stemming largely from offshore tax havens. And they are likely using our money to do it. If you can stand it, read more here
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Thursday, March 19, 2009
UN Envoy: Gaza Op Seems to be War Crime of Greatest Magnitude
Haaretz is reporting that Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said Israel's offensive against Hamas in densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a war crime of the "greatest magnitude."
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Peace Grannies Arrested in Times Square Wednesday, March 18th
Relax, everyone! The New York City police are really on the job these days. With rapists, murderers, bank robbers and dope peddlers, not to mention corporate thieves, rampant throughout the City, they made a significant dent in the crime statistics yesterday, March 18, when they arrested seven grandmothers aged 67 to 90 in Times Square.
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The Bailout Gift That Just Keeps On Giving
It turns out that 13 of the companies getting a gazillion dollars in bailout funds – $300 billion, actually – owe back taxes of over $220 million, a pesky detail they overlooked when asking for all that money. Rep. John Lewis, chair of a subcommiittee allegedly overseeing the bailout, called the revelation "shameful." "We are going to get to the bottom of what is going on here," he said. Our guess? Corporate greed and malfeasance, lack of appropriate governmental oversight, unregulated capitalism run amuck and criminal incompetence all around.
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The Numbers
Six years after U.S. forces invaded Iraq, some numbers:
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Uh, No, You Don't. Better Keep Working On It.
Citigroup Inc. plans to spend about $10 million on swank new offices for CEO Vikram Pandit and his colleagues – this, after getting $45 billion in 3 (three!) federal bailouts. Citigroup says the construction is part of a global space-saving effort. Pandit's the guy who reluctantly cancelled an order for a swank new jet in January after lawmakers balked at his spending habits. "I get the new reality," he said at the time.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We're Not Surprised, Except By That Steep Hike in the Price of Flashlights
A former Bush Administration aide has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for stealing almost $600,000 from a Cuban nonprofit group. Felipe Sixto of Miami netted $579,274 by overcharging for flashlights and radios in a scam worthy of some companies in the news these days. Sixto kept at it even after leaving his job at the Center For a Free Cuba to become associate director for intergovernmental affairs at the Bush White House, where he fit right in. For more go here
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You Mean, Except for Those Million Dollar Bonuses?
Testifying before Congress, AIG CEO Edward Liddy acknowledged that "the patience of America's taxpayers is wearing thin" but stressed the need for forbearance and solidarity. "We are all in this together," said Liddy.
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Vital Truths on Guantanamo
A compelling piece by Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, on the incompetence, illegality and pointlessness – no actionable intelligence – that is Guantanamo. A true accounting of the abuses there, he says, is crucial. "On that revelation and those actions rests much of the credibility of our nation's return to sobriety and our truest values."
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