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EditorBlog (1598)


It's something that sounds like a conspiracy theory to learn that there were Ivy League professors who supported Aryan purity, akin to Hitler's eugenics, contemporaneously with his rise to power.

But sure enough it is true according to a revelatory article in the Yale Alumni Magazine from June of this year.


Lost in the news last week was a devastating report on the treachery of the international financial/banking community, in this case HSBC. In a report entitled "HSBC Exposed U.S. Financial System to Money Laundering, Drug, Terrorist Financing Risks," the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found HSBC had knowingly accepted deposits of billions of dollars in cash from drug money laundering, banks that consort with terrorists, and rogue nations.

The Huffington Post expressed it bluntly:

The report by a US Senate committee claimed that HSBC provided banking services to some lenders in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh believed to have helped fund al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. It found billions of dollars of cash from its affiliate in Mexico to the US, despite warnings that such sums could involve drugs proceeds.

It also identified that some of the money was linked to Iran - leading to speculation the bank could have violated sanctions against the counter, saying HSBC was used by "drug kingpins and rogue nations...."

US officials believe drug cartels laundered money through the bank's US division between 2002 and 2009.

David Bagley, who headed "group compliance" for HSBC, was the sacrificial lamb who resigned while testifying at a senate subcommittee hearing on July 17.

But as Truthout pointed out in one of its installments on how the US actually benefits from the war on drugs devastating Latin America, money laundering is suspected of being a major source of cash income for banks based in the United States and Europe.


I wrote last week about the Aurora, Colorado, shooting and America's responsibility for starting to look at our culture of violence - and our glorification of the gun and the "right" of people who feel victimized to use it to avenge themselves.

This is the subtext after all, as BuzzFlash at Truthout pointed out, of the "shoot to kill/stand your ground" law in Florida, which only requires that the shooter perceive a threat - however that might be defined by the shooter - to kill someone.

But there is another perversity at work in the United States when it comes to mass shootings: we wallow in them vicariously.

For the past few days, as BuzzFlash has predicted, we've seen the victims' families in their grief; articles speculating on the character, background and motivation of the shooter; and soon the first funerals.

In the mean time, we have 24 hour a day coverage on every minor possible "development" in the case including various reports of how the shooter obtained his weaponry (as if that is a surprise with easy gun and ammunition availability, particularly in Colorado and the Southwest), possibilities of a second shooter, coincidences surrounding those who died and those who lived, and the omnipresent photo of the man who carried out this deranged massacre. His photo looms everywhere: on the Internet, on television, in what's left of the print media.

Let's face it, for the corporate media, massacres make for titillating, high-viewer and reader volume, which means higher advertising ratings and readership.


America has a fascination with guns and gun violence that is a deadly pathology.

It happened again in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado - the home state of the Columbine massacre (one of the few mass shootings that still is remembered) -- during, in its tragic irony, a shooting scene in the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

We will hear the wails of members of the victims' families on television and watch them as tears roll down their faces. We will hear for a couple of days about who the shooter was and what was his likely motivation. Then we will see the first victims buried, many of them children in this case.

And then we will forget.

Sometimes the shooter is described by neighbors as a "quiet man who didn't talk much." Sometimes he is a person with a grudge against a boss, his ex-wife, the government, or just about anything in the world. As the NRA and some of its supportive politicians have suggested, the resolution of grievance is sometimes best resolved not with ballot boxes but with bullets.


Apparently, according to some pundits, Mitt and Ann Romney went ballistic when an Obama aide pointed out that if Mitt was not the CEO, President and sole stockholder of Bain Capital from 1999-2002, then he lied on the Security and Exchange Commission form, which could be a felony.

Being even associated with the word felony sent the Romneys into high dudgeon, since they consider that they have double impunity: they are Mormons chosen by God and also endowed with the divine anointment of being extravagantly wealthy.

This arrogance and sense of entitlement was on full display when Ann Romney, in an ABC morning show interview, went into full Marie Antoinette mode, according to Mashable:

Ann Romney defended her husband's decision to not release any additional tax records during an interview on Thursday morning, saying that "we've given all you people need to know" about her family's financial records.

The "you people" remark immediately sparked a outpouring of responses on Twitter, eventually leading the #YouPeople hashtag to become a U.S. trending topic.

Twitter users upset with Ann Romney's comments generally fell into one of two categories: those that believe the Romney family should release tax records because of their extraordinary wealth, and those those took offense to the phrase "you people," which has historically been used with an air of racism.

As The Political Carnival asks Ann:

Also, Ann says this: "There will be so many things that will be open again for more attack."

Really, Ann? What kind of things? The things that your husband, someone who wants to be president of the United States, is afraid to share? He's so cowardly that he is running from scrutiny of his squeaky clean tax returns that have nothing in them that should concern us? Those things?

By the way, if he can't deal with "more attack" on his tax returns, how in the world would he cope with "more attack" on this country, or any other crisis for that matter?


It has been said, or at least implied, that Mitt Romney doesn't have any core values.

For example, in a column in The New York Times on June 27, 2012 entitled "Election 2012 Pop Quiz!"  Nicholas Kristof illustrated six major policy issues on which the GOP's Presidential candidate has at different times taken diametrically opposed positions. He has said that he would "preserve and protect a woman's right to choose" and has also said (more recently) that he would fight to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Mr. Kristof did not point out that last year he supported the Mississippi "Personhood Amendment," that would have defined a fertilized [human, presumably] egg as a person.) He has said that he is for "full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens" and has also said (more recently) that marriage has traditionally been between one man and one woman. (The latter is a particularly interesting position to take for a Mormon who had one grandfather who had 5 wives, one of whom, presumably, was one of Romney's grandmothers.)

At different times, Romney has been for and against "government economic stimulus." On the issue of global warming/climate change due to human causation he has taken both sides, the scientifically correct one and the extractive-industries-generated mythological pone, at different times. On the necessity for some form of national health insurance, again at different times he has been for and against it. He has been both for and against financial bailouts for certain kinds of institutions. Finally, to quote directly from Kristof, "Before entering politics, he [Romney] was a registered independent, and on 2002 he declared, ‘People recognize that I am not a partisan Republican, that I'm someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive.' " So does all of this mean that Romney has no core values, that he just goes along with what he thinks are the politically convenient/correct positions to take at any one time in his political career? Well, I don't think so, and here's why.


We've seen it all before.

Passing laws to keep certain groups of people from voting, when they are entitled to do in a democracy under the Constitution.

It used to be a "poll tax" in the South, where blacks were kept from voting because they didn't pay sufficient taxes. It was, of course, racist, but it also set the precedent of tying voting rights to wealth.

In the last few decades -- with a new surge in the past two years, -- we have seen Republican controlled states pass a number of voter identification laws - with additional limitations on advance voting and restrictive residency requirements in many cases. These new legal requirements for voting are meant to keep minorities, students, the disabled and the poorer elderly from voting, because these groups tend to lean Democratic in their affiliation.

A new study by the Brennan Center for Justice indicates that "since January 2011, partisans in 19 states have rushed through new laws that cut back on voting rights. In a comprehensive study released last October, the Brennan Center concluded these laws could make it far harder for millions of eligible citizens to vote."


Am I missing something here, such as common sense?

Here is Mitt Romney who is listed as CEO, president and sole stock owner of Bain Capital with the chief regulatory agency (Security and Exchange Commission (SEC)) responsible for financial firms, but he claims that he had nothing to do with the company (except to continue to accept a $100,000 salary as CEO and millions of dollars in profits) from 1999-2002.

Okay, I have a cousin visiting over the summer, let's say. I lend the cousin my car which is insured to me, since I own it. My cousin runs a red light and hits another vehicle. Who is responsible for the damage?

Me, of course, because I own the car and pay for the insurance coverage.

In some ways, Romney's on again/off again claimed departure of 1999 from Bain is not as important as it may seem in the bigger picture of harm he has done, because Bain clearly supported firms that were developing offshoring strategies and how to fire workers in the US and not pay them compensation - and pocket the difference as profit -- all of this before 1999. Robert Parry, using the Washington Post article that so enraged the Romney campaign for laying out these facts, reminds us:


It's like the big lie. The bigger and more preposterous the political lie told by a president - and the more it is echoed by administration officials and the corporate media - the more it is considered fact.

The George W. Bush administration was a master at this, under the orchestration of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Just think Weapons of Mass Destruction.

So BuzzFlash at Truthout has been hammering away at the teflon coated criminals who not only escape prosecution for ripping off clients and the nation of billions - and even trillions of dollars if you count the Wall Street collapse under Bush - but get lauded as job creators and masters of the universe who are essential to keeping the finances of the world flowing, even while grossly abusing the financial system and committing fraudulent acts that the Bush and Obama administrations won't prosecute (except for some little scapegoat "guppies").

BuzzFlash at Truthout noted this in recent columns on Barclays and GlaxoSmithKline (the latter which was fined $3 billion for various abuses involving prescribed medications), but where are the criminal prosecutions? Sure Tim Geithner promised after the near crash of the economy, at a time of anger over the Wall Street billionaire titans not being brought to justice, that investigations were ongoing and people should stay tuned. Well, we've stay tuned and there have been no high level prosecutions, let alone charges.

Geithner, himself is implicated now in knowing about the Libor interest rate scam, and not doing much about it other than writing a memo in 2008.

A New York Times article today indicated that hedge fund managers cheat the system by seeing Wall Street analyst reports ahead of the public. It's a cancer that riddles our financial system.

Naomi Wolf recently wrote an article describing more criminal behavior on the part of banks including money laundering (think narco cash) by HSBC, overcharging minorities by Wells Fargo, and not to mention MF Global being responsible for the disappearance of some $1 billion in clients' money.


On July 5, BuzzFlash wrote a commentary on the possibility of occasionally finding common ground with groups that are normally oppositional. It was entitled, "Don't Laugh: There Are a Few Little Ledges of Common Ground with the Right Wing and Gun Zealots."

The piece also included the invitation by right wing fundraiser Richard Viguerie for the left to team up with the right to oppose domestic drone use.

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