Excited Delirium

Stories about Excited Delirium, the Shock Economy and a little fiction here and there.

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RCMP Officer Caught Vacating Hit and Run Scene

This story is loaded with all kinds of issues that need to be addressed.  SOON.

First, there is the question concerning the state of the Robert Dziekanski investigation.  Virtually nothing has happened.

Second, the officers who were on duty are still, apparently, on duty.

Third, those that are on duty are clearly having issues with the outcome of the Robert Dziekanski situation.  The story quoted refers to one of the officers leaving the scene of an accident, raising questions about the moral and ethical compass of at least this one officer.

For Whom the Bailout Tolls

This story offers a nice commentary on some of the excesses associated with the bailouts.

AIG, in particular, stands out.  Words like greed and gluttony come to mind.  Excessive greed.  Excessive gluttony.  Why these clowns were bailed out at all is beyond me.

There are "claw back" provisions in the big $700 billion bailout passed by Congress three weeks ago, requiring that financial institutions get money back from their senior executives, if the payments were "based on statements of earnings, gains, or other criteria that are later proven to be materially inaccurate."

But the executive pay limits in the legislation apparently have so many loopholes you could fly a fleet of Gulfstream corporate jets through them. Oregon Congressman Peter de Fazio caught at least seven, "that will protect their outrageous paychecks and golden parachutes," he wrote fellow Democratic House members, adding, "Imagine how many more loopholes the Wall Street lawyers will find."

No doubt the nine banks into which the US is planning to inject billions in capital – again, all taxpayer dollars – have their lawyers searching for those escape hatches. Writing in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati of the Institute for Policy Studies calculated that last year the CEO’s of those nine banks took home "on average, $32.2 million each, nearly triple the average CEO pay at the 500 biggest US companies. This is more than $600,000 a week." Apiece.

Bloomberg News columnist Jonathan Weil figures that since the start of fiscal 2004, the once Mighty Five of Wall Street – Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns – lost around $83 billion in stock market value. But they reported employee compensation of around $239 billion. In other words, the engineers who dug this disastrous hole paid themselves almost three dollars for every dollar they lost.

The cost to the taxpayer of all the bailouts, as calculated by the internet investigative newsroom ProPublica.org, is a whopping $8,750 per household, more than two and a half times what lucky us got to fork over 20 years ago during the savings and loan crisis.

But the masters of the universe are just fine, thank you, in no small part due to the tolerance and largesse of their guru, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, late of Goldman Sachs, where Forbes magazine reports that during a 32-year-career he accumulated more than $700 million. He said limiting compensation too punitively might prevent some institutions from participating in his plan to save the economy.

Testifying before the House Budget Committee this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke agreed that homeowners in jeopardy of foreclosure need help. "I agree that stopping preventable foreclosures is extremely important," he said. "I hope we continue to look for ways to do that."

But so far the government and the businesses bailed out haven’t looked very hard. They’ve done little or nothing and it’s every man for himself, devil take the hindmost. In his history of the 1929 market crash, John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, "The sense of responsibility in the financial community for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil."

In other words, virtually nonexistent, somewhere around zero. In other words, my fellow Americans, look out below. Do not ask for whom the bailout tolls. It tolls for thee.

Khadr Tape: The Torture of a Canadian Citizen

After 6 years without charges, Omar Khadr is still being held in Guantanamo. We now see that he’s also being tortured and that CSIS is well in the know about how he’s being treated.

Oh, Canada: what are we doing when we let people treat other Canadians like this?

What really set me off when these tapes were released was the feedback of one person on CBC Radio: "We should give Khadr a Genie for the world-class performance that he’s pulled off". Bravo, you thoughtless, ignorant and cruel person. Unfortunately for the rest of us, you represent the views of about a third of Canada’s population.

Full video here:
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=GveninSKNEA

Medical Panel Calls for Review of Safety of Tasers

Full Story Here.

Quote:

The opinion piece released on Thursday argues that Taser use is a public health issue, and Canadian officials should not be relying on the manufacturer, Taser International, or its paid research to determine if stun guns are safe.

It also questions the assertion by Taser International that the weapon does not adversely affect the heart, and its explanation that people who die after being shocked by a Taser were killed by excited delirium rather than the effects of the stun gun.

UN Official Calls for Study of Neocons’ Role in 9/11

This is rather shocking when you really think about it. Here’s an internationally recognized figure calling for a proper investigation into 9/11. And suggesting that the Neocons may have had something to do with it.

Full Story Here.

Quote from Richard Falk, the new UN Human Rights Council appointed to monitor Israeli actions against Palestinians:

It is possibly true that especially the neoconservatives thought there was a situation in the country and in the world where something had to happen to wake up the American people. Whether they are innocent about the contention that they made that something happen or not, I don’t think we can answer definitively at this point. All we can say is there is a lot of grounds for suspicion, there should be an official investigation of the sort the 9/11 commission did not engage in and that the failure to do these things is cheating the American people and in some sense the people of the world of a greater confidence in what really happened than they presently possess.

Man Dies After Taser Use

Full Story Here.

“This situation is so alarming, so disturbing and so troubling,” Piper said. “I don’t think the police officer ever anticipated causing any significant injury to this young man. I know Oxford police are deeply troubled.”

Toronto’s Transit Commission to Investigate the Use of Tasers

Full Story Here.

Of course they are. And of course, a 6-figure study is being commissioned before hand. If you pay me $100,000, I’ll give you my answer (hint: it’s the reverse of ‘on’).