Archive for July, 2011

Gold Zombies

July 28, 2011

You cannot eat gold when hungry,

Nor drink strung pearls when thirsty.

                     From “The Clay“, a poem by the Lebanese American poet Elia Abu Madi reminding the self-glorifying rich that they actually share more than what they think with the layman.

Little did he know!

Even a poet’s imagination falls short of appreciating how outrageously decadent humans can be.

From $1000 bagels to $25000 Frozen Haute Chocolate Sundaes,  infusing 23-karate and 24-karate edible gold  leaves into food is giving a whole different meaning to rich taste.

What is next? Drinking strung pearls when they’re thirsty?

In a recent article in Huffington Post, Christopher Cocca suggested that “[The] Church could end poverty, scarcity, sickness and famine without a dime from the rest of the world.”

Yeah dream on! I mean how are then Christian nations  going to pay for their $25000 Frozen Haute Chocolate Sundae?

As far as our poet is concerned, may be Abu Madi can take solace in this:  In  Manhattan, a gold serving restaurant got a dose of poetic justice when the health department had to close the store as the mice somehow developed an expensive  taste for the shiny metal leaves


Epitaph for American democarcy

July 28, 2011

It is now official. Big banks own the Democratic party and big oil and coal companies own the Republican party. The rest of us  are just a token.

In the absence of a third party, why even vote?

Hundreds of billions of dollars of tax payers’  money were spent to make the banks whole; the very banks whose greed and trickery have caused this near-depression anyway. And now to balance the budget, our elected officials ( big-money representatives) in Washington are saying working people should suffer more for the sins of their masters. And so in their infinite wisdom, they’re cutting social security, medicare, and Medicaid!

 Don’t forget also they’re cutting taxes for big oil, big banks, and millionaires and billionaires.

We’re getting screwed  on this seesaw back and forth.

For how long are we going to keep going to the polls and vote into office smooth talking politicians, owned by big money, and expect different results? Isn’t that the definition Einstein gave for stupidity?

The mystery of food labels

July 24, 2011

What is on your dinner plate?

Wild-caught salmon or wild salmon?

Free range chicken or cage free chicken?

Are there no nitrites/nitrates in the processed meat you’re eating or is it sodium nitrate/nitrite-free?

Is your bread slice whole wheat or is it made with whole wheat?

If you feel confused, well may be for a good reason. The EWG prepared a list solving  the mysteries and uncovering the chicanery the food corporations are throwing your way.

One has to wonder though: Why is it easier to do algebra than actually decipher food labels? Why do food labels have to be so convoluted that they may as well be written in hieroglyphics or  dictated by Allen Greenspan? Why do they lack transparency more so than the Obama Administration? And why do food corporations get away with it all?

Whatever it is, it is certainly not  because corporations  are known for altruism or they’re inherently a force of good in our lives.


Two-tier justice system

July 18, 2011

” What had destroyed nations before you was that when the powerful stole they let him go and when the weak stole they punished him”

                                             Imam Ali, a seventh Century Arabic leader

It is ominous when justice starts seeing with one eye. 

Millions of people lost their homes, their retirement funds, and their jobs, not to mention their dignity. New generations are going to be saddled with debts for the rest of their lives.

How many bankers, who  every one agrees caused this economic meltdown, got charged of fraud or wrongdoing of any kind, let alone convicted ? Answer: Zero!

In fact, federal officials are encouraging states prosecutors not to press charges against any banker. Rather, they’re pushing for settlements. A grand total of $30 billion  when they had swindled families across the globe out of trillions of dollars, not to mention the tremendous suffering toll.


To operate outside the law, befriend the sheriff

July 16, 2011

This is but another example why overseas dictators and corrupt governments are very useful to us. In fact, they’re the only friends to our liking. Simply put, operate outside the law  and you can’t befriend an honest sheriff.

Based on the standards we have established for ourselves, we can not, I repeat, we can not, support true democratic changes anywhere in the world, unless they’re subservient to our demands, no matter how selfish and arrogant they may be.

What is worse, everyone in the Middle East knows this. By contrast,  thanks to our main stream media that ignores these kind of stories completely when they can help it, we’re left scratching our heads as to why those crazy people over there “hate us” so much.


Hezbollah pulls a Texas

July 12, 2011

The NYT editorial page today:

“An international tribunal has called on Lebanon’s government to arrest four suspects indicted in the 2005 car-bomb killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others. All four of the accused are members of Hezbollah…”. Hezbollah refused to the court’s decision.

“… [We are] not bound by a foreign court’s ruling.”

Guess what! The latter quote though was not from Hezbollah. It was from Texas Governor’s Press Secretary commenting on The International Court of Justice a few years back:

“The International Court of Justice ruled that 51 Mexican-born inmates nationwide, including Leal, were entitled to new hearings in American courts to determine if their consular rights were violated. ”

“No matter what Hezbollah says, the men accused of Rafik Hariri’s murder must be arrested….”, declared the editorial page of the NYT (which didn’t say anything about the Texas decision which was upheld by our supreme court last week.)

But why? Hezbollah has just pulled a Texas. 


Obama:The Manchurian Candidate of Corporate America and the Right?

July 8, 2011

Obama is just about to accomplish what no Republican president has ever  been able to accomplish: Start the dismantling process of Social Security and Medicare programs; the crown jewel of Democrats.

What is going on here?

Other than the fact that by being  African-American he has to be  looking over his shoulders all the time,  he’s doing this for his own narrow self-interest.

You see,  the jobs reports continue to be dismal. And by all accounts they will continue to be that way long after 2012. So he figures he can’t win campaigning on that front. To appease independents,   he opts  to appropriate the “fiscally responsible card” from the right at the peril of sinking the economy even deeper.

One issue after another, from caving in on regulation of the financial industry, to health care public option, to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, to the Patriot Act, to expanding  and starting new wars (at least one) , to entrenching  Bush-era Civil Liberty and executive power doctrines, to war on whistle blowers and transparency, etc… The list goes on and on.

And now he is proposing cuts in Social Security and Medicare! Even Republicans did not put Social Security cuts on the table.

A Manchurian candidate that actually got to  be president.


America: A country to kill for

July 4, 2011

A quick way to an American citizenship is to enlist and  join the many wars we’re fighting overseas. In other words, you earn a legal place in this country, if you don’t mind killing a few innocent people while you’re at it. 

In this Faustian bargain, trade your soul for a passport!

Whom are we inviting to  become our fellow citizens anyway? The dirty dozen crowd?

Does it bother anyone anymore that we’re effectively saying: Murder will get you in?


And justice for all….but here in the US

July 2, 2011

The United Nations Tribunal looking into the case of the assassinated Lebanese prime minister Rafiq  Hariri indicted  a high-ranking official from Hezbollah today

The UN tribunal, incidentally,  has been put in place as a blackmailing chip by the United States through its allies in the form of a former American puppet Lebanese government.

As anyone who is monitoring the situation in this tiny but strategically relevant country knows, this is going to push it into the abyss of a civil strife.

But our esteemed secretary of states, Hillary Clinton, begs to differ:

” …[C]ritics were creating a false distinction between justice and stability…”

You may side with Clinton’s assessment or with the true experts on Lebanese politics. My issue here is justice. And who better than Clinton and her boss, Obama, understand the delicate issue of justice.

Obama and Clinton have been steadfastly shielding  Wall Street criminals, that nearly brought (and could very well still bring) the world economy to its knees, from criminal prosecution.

They have also prevented accountability and prosecution for what was even admitted by one of our generals,  Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who oversaw the official investigation into detainee abuse: 

 “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Well, we  know now that Obama and Clinton put that question to rest forever.

Under the banner of “we should look forward not backward”, they’re shielding criminals from receiving punishment for  devastating criminal activities at a historical scale.

But in a fragile country like Lebanon, we have to look backward not forward. Even if the very stability of the country is at stake.

Justice for all indeed!