January 29, 2009

Stay Away Economic Terrorists


you've probably
already heard
that Wall Street
passed out
$18 billion
in bonuses

pirated from
our money
Chris Dodd
to confiscate


take the
time to read
this report
which will
curdle your
blood and
help you
the deep
in the

Note: All of us here at Dakota are a little spooked to link to said report, which is why it's hidden under a clickie, disguised as a poem

Photo note: Hopefully the Inuit mask will scare away any economic terrorists who happen upon this site - it really doesn't have anything substantive to do with the entry.
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strapped on

Posted by Dakota at 07:47 PM

January 26, 2009

Keep Those White Hands to Yourself


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Here's the question, if a person purchases or otherwise acquires stolen goods, are they responsible for relinquishing those goods when the theft is discovered so that they may be returned to their rightful owner? Has the recipient committed a crime? Edward Martinovich, Esq. of Imhoff Associates has a very handy little article right up top at The Google on this very subject.

When stolen property is purchased and law enforcement personnel conclude their investigation at your doorstop, not only can the police immediately seize the goods that were paid for, but you may also be charged with a criminal offense. The criminal charges of buying or receiving stolen property or possession of stolen property generally involves taking possession of property with knowledge that it has been obtained through theft, embezzlement, fraud, larceny or extortion by someone else. Therefore, generally speaking, conviction depends on two factors: gaining control of the item and knowing it was stolen at the time it was received. The criminal intent may be inferred if these two factors can be proven.

..........What complicates the legal situation even further is the fact that the police cannot always determine whether one buyer is part of the illegal operation or just an innocent buyer. Consequently, the laws in this area tend to be quite strict and usually favor the original owner/victim.

So ....... when John Thain gave early bonuses amounting to a couple of billion to "his people" at Merrill Lynch, knowing that it was going down the tubes, or when Shittipoop's new corporate jet was ordered or
Mr. Fuld sold his house for $10 to his innocent wife didn't they steal the cash from Susie Q Public and Dakota Feinstein. Bernie's friends and relatives, when encousraged by the FBI had to return at least some of their Chanukah geld .

From Bob Herbert

A stark example of this unholy collaboration between the G.O.P. and the very wealthy was on display in the pages of this newspaper on Jan. 18. The Times’s Mike McIntire wrote an article about the first wave of federal bailout money for the financial industry, which was handed over by the Bush administration with hardly any strings attached. (Congress, under the control of the Democrats, should never have allowed this to happen, but the Democrats are as committed to fecklessness as the Republicans are to tax cuts.)

The public was told that the money would be used to loosen the frozen credit markets and thus help revive the economy. But as the article pointed out, there were bankers with other ideas. John C. Hope III, the chairman of the Whitney National Bank in New Orleans, in an address to Wall Street fat cats gathered at the Palm Beach Ritz-Carlton, said:

“Make more loans? We’re not going to change our business model or our credit policies to accommodate the needs of the public sector as they see it to have us make more loans.”

How’s that for arrogance and contempt for the public interest? Mr. Hope’s bank received $300 million in taxpayer bailout money.

The same article quoted Walter M. Pressey, president of Boston Private Wealth Management, which Mr. McIntire described as a healthy bank with a mostly affluent clientele. It received $154 million in taxpayer money.

“With that capital in hand,” said Mr. Pressey, “not only do we feel comfortable that we can ride out the recession, but we also feel that we’ll be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves once this recession is sorted out.”

Take advantage, indeed. That, in a nutshell, is what the plutocracy is all about: taking unfair advantage.

Good thing that Andrew Coumo wasn't wasted in the senate.

Photo note: White hands grasping - a metaphorophoto

Addendum: From Maureen, who also took up the topic:

Senator Levin said that the financiers will not be able to change their warped mentality, but will have to be reined in by Geithner’s new leashes. “I have no confidence that they intend or desire to change,” Levin told me. “These bankers got away with murder, and it’s obscene that close to nothing is being asked of financial institutions. I get incensed at the thought that a bank that’s getting billions of dollars in taxpayer money is out there buying fancy new airplanes.”

Posted by Dakota at 01:39 PM

January 21, 2009

Let's Face It, The Guy Is Bright


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in context

Much has been written about Obama's inauguration speech, and there were some harsh reviews on the plane back to Texas. David Sanger NY Times noted that Obama technically "blamed no one"

And yet what he did say must have come as a bit of a shock to Mr. Bush. No stranger to criticism, over the past eight years he had rarely been forced to sit in silence listening to a speech about how America had gone off the rails on his watch.

We got to thinking about the last time Bush squirmed in public (though he wasn't squirming this time). From Wikipedia:

In 2006, at Coretta Scott King's funeral, Dr. Lowery received a standing ovation when he remarked before four U.S. Presidents in attendance:

"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor!"

Conservative observers claimed his comments were inappropriate in a setting meant to honor the life of Mrs. King, especially considering Mr. Bush was present at the ceremony. None of Mrs. King's family has objected to Lowery's words.


That would be Dr. Joseph Lowery, the poetic civil rights leader, who became even more famous by delivering the rhyming inaugural benediction that made Obama giggle. Inviting Lowery was perhaps an even more subtle counter to Rev. Warren than Bishop Gene Robinson . Wonder if Bush recognized him.

Evidently, in the spirit of bipartisanship, Obama's not gong to nail any Bushies directly,he simply opened the presidential records. From Sheryl Gay Stolberg:

Experts said Mr. Obama’s moves would have the practical effect of allowing reporters and historians to obtain access to records from the Bush administration that might otherwise have been kept under wraps.

“Historians are overjoyed by this,” said Lee White, executive director of the National Coalition for History.

As is the ACLU, and probably the World Court.

Investigations anyone?

Dick Cheney may be one step ahead.

Photo note: From the American flag series. Bright, get it? Lesson: never get caught without your tripod at Christmastime or on the Fourth of July if you don't find squiggles charming

Posted by Dakota at 09:00 PM

January 19, 2009

In Retrospect


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It's Inauguration Eve. Bush retrospectives burgeon. It's easy to see why he leaves office with his head held high, even though most reviews are not positive, and some think him delusional.

Face it. George W. Bush has accomplished exactly what he meant to accomplish, as set forth by the Federalist Society and the Project for a New American Century... possibly more. He has stuffed the Supreme Court with right wing justices, appointed a whippersnapper Chief who will undoubtedly be screwing women and minorities for decades to come, and stacked the lower courts with like minded individuals. He has taken apart most federal regulatory agencies. They are all declawed, in dysfunctional disarray, and lead by crooks with ulterior motives -- the CDC, the FDA, the SEC, the DOJ, and NASA to name but a few. He as established a private army, set up detention camps, made torture legal and tampered with the vote. He has castrated Congress, established a war that will never end to lend ultimate power to the executive branch evermore. He has eradicated the concept of privacy in our nation. We are wiretapped, watched, filed and databased. He has eliminated and/or disbursed the democratic voters in New Orleans. He has succeeded in privatizing almost everything but social security -- charity, education, national intelligence, national defense, the prison system. He has hijacked the US Treasury, not only with war profiteering and massive tax cuts for the wealthy, but with the recent $350 billion dollar blank check to his buddies. He has made vast tracts of public land available to developers, strip miners and other commercial pillagers. He has freed us from the bothersome constraints of the Constitution, the Rule of Law and the Geneva Convention. He's almost solved the energy crisis by winning the war in Iraq, that is if Obama doesn't drop the ball. He has arranged to destroy or bury records, to do much of what was done in secret. We won't know the half of it. He accomplished all this in only eight years, while taking two full years of vacation. A thorough and efficient job, if you look at it from his point of view. Mission Accomplished, as they say in the trade.

If this sounds like a complaint, it's not. In our opinion, the American people needed a self serving,. unconscious leader like Bush in order to awaken to the privilege of living in a democracy, and the urgency of taking an active role in it in order to preserve it, which we seem to have done by electing Obama. If Bush had been a little more subtle, we might have missed the point entirely.

Asleep yet? Don't despair

...In this moment before a changing world overwrites our memories of the era, let us pause to salute our constant companion of those years: The Onion. Other histories of the Bush years will doubtless be more factual, but none will ever be truer.

Theresa Nielsen Hayden has gathered a wonderful Bush retrospective from the Onion for our horror and amusement. Enjoy!

It's a shame that only Jon Stewart and The Onion accurately reflect the true history of this absymal administration.

Photo note: Looking backward - sculptures for sale at a modest price. Inquire at the Dakota office.

Posted by Dakota at 08:27 PM

January 13, 2009

Hand Revealed


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The atrocities taking place this very moment in Gaza serve, once again, to illustrate the horrible impact of trauma on the human psyche. It isn't unusual for a trauma victim to become a perpetrator. The phenomenon is known as "identification with the aggressor". Consider the sex scandal in the Catholic Church where abusing priests had themselves been sexulally molested as children, probably by priests.

Israel is a country full of victims turned perpetrator, and Palestine is rapidly becoming one. The United States stands by passively, like a mother who doesn't stop a partner's abuse of her children. Maintaining neutrality under those circumstances is complicity. Oh Dakota, you do go on.

Press propaganda in the USofA would have us believe that Hamas broke the recent ceasefire, thus bringing this catastrophe down upon themselves. Belatedly, both CNN and Israel admitted that Israel broke the ceasefire, blowing it up on November 4, a day when the good citizens of this country were gripped by their own election. Since then Israel has been busy doing maximum damage to Gaza lest Obama change existing policy (heaven forfend). As Bill Moyers put it:

America has officially chosen sides. We supply Israel with money, F-16s, winks and tacit signals. Our Christian right links arms with the religious extremists there who claim divine sanctions for Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Our political elites show neither independence nor courage by challenging the consensus that Israel can do no wrong. Although one recent poll found Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive by a 24-point margin, Democratic Party leaders in Congress nonetheless march in lockstep to the hardliners in Israel and the White House. Rarely does our mainstream media depart from the monotonous monologue of the party line. Many American Jews know, as Aaron David Miller writes in the current "Newsweek", that the destruction in Gaza won't do much to address Israel's longer-term needs.

But those who raise questions are accused by a prominent reform rabbi of being "morally deficient." One Jewish American activist told me this week that never in 30 years has he seen such blind and binding conformity in his community. "You'd never know," he said, "that it is the Gazans who are doing most of the suffering."

Ready for another shock? After taking her own sweet time, our gal Condi finally mobilized herself last Friday and helped to draft a UN ceasefire resolution. Just as she was about to sign her own resolution, The Decider forbade her. Condi was embarrassed. It's about damn time.

Just how did the Decider decide not to support the resolution? Pay attention, the plot thickens. When Olmert heard about Condi's UN resolution, he picked up the phone, , insisting W. be pulled from the podium mid a delusional elegy of No Child Left Behind in Philly to answer. Olmert then told W. to stop Condi from signing the resolution. When Olmert snapped his fingers, Bush stopped Condi. Unfortunately Olmert bragged about it to the press, causing a bit of a flap.

The Jewish Forward quotes Douglas Bloomfield:

This reinforces the perception that the Israeli prime minister and Israeli leaders have easy access to the leaders of the U.S.,” Bloomfield said. “It is a fact that the Israeli prime minister can get the president on the phone. Not every prime minister in the world can do that. It is no secret that Israel tried to influence the U.S. regarding U.N. votes. It reinforces what the rivals of Israel say about the enormous clout Israel has in Washington, and I see nothing wrong with that.”

But Bloomfield added, “It is a mistake to talk about it.”

Heaven forfend that the the American public suspect undue influence on Israel's part.

This leaves all of us here at Dakota wondering why Olmert has so much power over Bush. After much contemplation, we have begun to suspect that the Mossad has possession of Bush's missing Air National Guard records and/or those compromising photos with Victor Ashe. Bad legacy and all that.

Actually the Mossad probably has something on almost everyone in Congress. Bet the CIA outsourced wiretapping to them, and they listened.

Photo note: Hand under table revealed - a metaphotophoto - you are lefton your own to determine the greater significance of those two green fingertips.

ADDENDUM: Not thoroughly disgusted ? Need a more background, a visual of the shrinking map of Palestine., or a map of Israel as the right wing would like to see it. ( a little Syria, a little Iran, a little Iraq, you know)

ADDENDUM 2: Ready for another shocker? Guess the real reason that Clinton pardoned Marc Rich. Rich was an "asset" of the Mossad, and Israel lobbied for his pardon. Eric Holder ate crow for approving it yesterday in his confirmation hearing.

Posted by Dakota at 07:09 AM

January 02, 2009

Quick Before It Disappears


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JPG Magazine, a radical idea in publishing, is going under.

JPG was an attempt to create a photography magazine that relied on its readers for its content and included them in the editing process. Nearly 200,000 photographers have submitted photographs for consideration to JPG, many of them via Flickr. The site itself was able to attract about 300,000 unique U.S. viewers a month (Quantcast), but its business model relied on selling print ads. And that’s a business you don’t want to be in right now, especially if you are a startup with an artsy photo mag that was never very appealing to advertisers.

You can download whole issues in pdf form from the site before it vanishes on Monday. Highly recommended

If you're proceeding at a more leisurely pace, enjoy the panorama of Budapest in winter - for closer views, scroll through Dakota last year

Photo note: This is a surreptitious photo of a sculpture glued gunned by Tara Donovan from plastic cups currently on display at the IICA Boston - it ain't gonna last that long either. Overheard in the gallery "I didn't know Martha Stewart was exhibiting"

Posted by Dakota at 08:05 PM

January 01, 2009

Happy New Year


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As you can see from the paucity of entries this month, all of us, and we mean absolutely ALL of us here at Dakota have been experiencing a little difficulty stepping up to the plate. But here we are - having dragged ourselves away from the horrors men are inflicting unnecessarily on other men simply to win an election -- away from breaking news from the meth capital of the USwhere Bristol Pee delivered her baby boy, Tripp, (not to be confused with Trig or Track). She had planned to name a baby girl, Crystal.

Stop! No more excuses.

Photo note: A few years ago we began a tradition of publishing red berries for the New Year. We seem to have dropped it. Reinstating the tradition with mountain ash in front of Old South Church

Posted by Dakota at 05:40 PM