Rolling Stones Matt Taibi is in rare form speaking about the incredible settlement HSBC was given after admitting to laundering billions in drug money:
If you’ve ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you’ve ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or “drug paraphernalia” in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.
Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a “record” financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.
I’m SHOCKED. After the near collapse of the world economy in 2008 who would have ever imagined that the banks and their executives would continue to break the law with reckless abandon, and when caught, get another slap on the wrist?
was created for the express purpose of organizing peoples around the nation to call for the increase of NASA’s annual budget to a vast, yet comparably minuscule, penny on the taxpayer dollar. Or in other words 1% of the total.
As someone who grew up with the Space Shuttle and Hubble Telescope programs and voraciously consumed any and all astronomy and science fiction information I could get my hands or eyes on, I can’t applaud Mr. Tyson’s effort enough. Not to mention as a kid I fully expected to be able to take a trip to Mars or at least the Moon by the time I was an adult. I’ll forgive the no flying cars or teleportation devices yet, but dammit, I WANT MY TRIP TO THE MOON. So please, sign the petition and if you are so inclined, send a quick email to your Congressperson.
This is off-topic for our blog but both these laws being considered in Congress right now, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), must be stopped. If these acts were to be signed into law they would dramatically change the Internet as we know it, putting in jeopardy a countless number of (legitimate) websites and businesses which thrive on the openness and innovation of the internet.
The gist of these bills is that they would put the US behind a firewall much like China, allowing the government to order internet service providers (ISP’s) to block websites and charge individuals with a felony plus fine for linking or showing copyrighted materials (regardless of whether the copyright holder wished to pursue either of these actions against someone). This will criminalize a huge swath of the internet which is currently legal under the DMCA and expose these sites to the same kind of ridiculous lawsuits that the MPAA and RIAA have been bringing against websites and individuals.
Both of these bills were considered a slam dunk to be signed into law not even a month ago until a whole host of companies, organizations, individuals, and legal and internet experts created enough publicity to make our lawmakers reconsider these bills. I would urge everyone to contact their elected representatives to express their displeasure with both of these bills.
Another effective way to combat this is to check the list of companies (link here; thanks to Gizmodo for the link) and contact them to let them know you will be boycotting their products.
Every voice is needed. These bills were created and are supported, sponsored, and guided by a ridiculous amount of corporate money and influence.
Gil Scott-Heron died last week. He was a politically aware intellectual, poet, and musician who came up in the 70s and who had a big influence on many contemporary performers and activists. He is probably best known for this:
Here’s another one I found that I like even more because he stretches out and develops the ideas and the wordplay. You could call it a lot of things, but I’d probably put it with “protest music” alongside Rage and Bob Marley and Woody Guthrie.