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Manchurian Candidates:
Supreme Court allows China and others

unlimited spending in US elections

Greg Palast 

Updated from the original report for AlterNet

In today’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court ruled that corporations should be treated the same as “natural persons”, i.e. humans. Well, in that case, expect the Supreme Court to next rule that Wal-Mart can run for President.

The ruling, which junks federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers, will not, as progressives fear, cause an avalanche of corporate cash into politics. Sadly, that’s already happened: we have been snowed under by tens of millions of dollars given through corporate PACs and “bundling” of individual contributions from corporate pay-rollers.

The Court’s decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.

…more

Chewing the Buddha: Tibet Rising 50 years later

Greg Palast 

Barbie’s not the only thing that’s 50 this year.

This month it will be 50 years Tibetans have been fighting their occupation by China. In May of 1993 I visited the Dalai Lama’s homeland to bring messages from him to his people – he would return.

For Originally for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Lhasa, Tibet – China’s secret police are just terrible at keeping themselves secret.

The detective, dressed in her business suit and pumps appropriate to urban Lhasa, did not expect to be trailing my wife and me up the steep hillside to a monastery 15,000 feet up an ice-crusted ridge. Even at 200 yards behind us, I could see her shivering in the thin, frozen air, trying, absurdly, to look like just another hiker on the barren slope.

But then, she really wasn’t trying to hide. Her presence was meant to send a message of fear and intimidation.

I got the point earlier when a photographer we’d helped sneak into Tibet was arrested, her film of protesting Tibetans seized and her camera smashed as she was hustled onto the first plane leaving the country.

When my police shadow looked away, I snapped a photo of the long boxes below me, roofs of the prison complex. It housed more Buddhist monks than any monastery.

At a hermitage carved into the summit rock I found my host sitting cross-legged under an ancient tapestry depicting a monster ready to devour quiet souls.

The holy man had questions for us:

Does Christianity have a god? (Answer: “Sometimes.”)

What is a ‘President‘?

It was 1993. I told the monk the new President, …more

BARBIE DOLLIE versus DALAI LAMA

Greg Palast 

Barbie’s not the only one celebrating 50 years this month – Tibet’s uprising against their Chinese occupiers began 5o years ago.

I thought I’d share with you one of the weirdest memos I’ve unearthed in my years of investigating corporate maledictions. Passed to me from inside Mattel, the toy company, with an August 12, 1997 time stamp. “TAR” stands for Tibet Autonomous Region.

– Greg Palast

Proprietary Content Confidential – Mktng only

To: Jongyol Rimpoche, JRimp@BarbieMttl.cn.TAR
From: BRab@M.IntlMkt.MttlCrp.com

Barbie Doll v Dalai Lama

Barbie's 50

JR,
Marketing greenlights your conclusion: Barbie can’t play Tibet until she replaces current culture idol. Research Div did tab on competitor; looks like he’s history:

Barbie: Over 2,000 outfits
The Dalai Lama: One outfit (orange bathrobe!)

Barbie: Sixteen hair-dos, including “growing ponytail”
The Dalai Lama: Shaved head (Yuck!)

Barbie: Two dozen pre-programmed and market-tested phrases. Changed annually.
The Dalai Lama: “Om Mane Padme Om” (“Hail the Fire in the Lotus” — whatever that means.) Never changes.

Barbie: Worshiped by 600 million Barbie owners.

The Dalai Lama: Worshipped by only 6 million Tibetans.

Barbie: Creator of cultural revolution.
The Dalai Lama: Victim of cultural revolution.

Barbie: Accessories- Shoes, handbags, battery-operated cars — you name it!
The Dalai Lama: Accessories- ZEE-RO! …more

Chewing the Buddha – Bush at the Olympics

Greg Palast for  Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Lhasa, Tibet – China’s secret police are just terrible at keeping themselves secret.

The detective, dressed in her business suit and pumps appropriate to urban Lhasa, did not expect to be trailing my wife and me up the steep hillside to a monastery 15,000 feet up an ice-crusted ridge. Even at 200 yards behind us, I could see her shivering in the thin, frozen air, trying, absurdly, to look like just another hiker on the barren slope.

But then, she really wasn’t trying to hide. Her presence was meant to send a message of fear and intimidation.

I got the point earlier when a photographer we’d helped sneak into Tibet was arrested, her film of protesting Tibetans seized and her camera smashed as she was hustled onto the first plane leaving the country.

When my police shadow looked away, I snapped a photo of the long boxes below me, roofs of the prison complex. It housed more Buddhist monks than any monastery.

At a hermitage carved into the summit rock I found my host sitting cross-legged under an ancient tapestry depicting a monster ready to devour quiet souls.

The holy man had questions for us:

Does Christianity have a god? (Answer: “Sometimes.”)

What is a ‘President‘?

It was 1993. I told the monk the new President, …more

Admit it: You don’t know where the !@#$% Tajikistan is

Greg Palast 

Or Kyrgyzstan. Or Turkmenistan. But as your kids will be fighting there among the oil pipes, you should kiss Ted Rall’s crazy ass for going there first – and getting it all down in a book of dead-on cartoons and reportage, Silk Road to Ruin.rall.jpg

Rall almost didn’t make it back. The Taliban who was supposed to execute Rall spoke English – the gunman picked it up as an NYU grad student. As happens when two guys from New York get together, they talked about New York women. Rall told his executioner that you could learn a lot about women by looking at their legs. The Talib said he looks at their eyes. “Not like you got much choice,” Ted opined, noting the draped figures nearby.

This was, by definition, gallows humor. Lucky for Ted, the fanatic shooter needed a couple of chuckles. We all do. And Ted gives us plenty to laugh at in his journey through a horrific wonderland run by a gaggle of lunatic, blood-guzzling dictators (in other words, allies in our War on Terror) where locals play hockey with goat heads.

Silk Road even includes the recipe of Uzbekistan’s President, Islam Karimov, for boiling dissidents alive. (I suggest you skip page 160 where Rall includes a photo of a boiled father of four.)

Instead of a bullet through Rall’s head, the Taliban gave him a “safe-conduct” pass. But Rall’s conduct was anything but safe. When, recently, Bill Clinton flew to …more

China Floats, America Sinks
Yuan Kicks Dollar Butt by Rejecting “Free Market”

Greg Palast 

In case you haven’t the least idea what the heck it means for China to “float” its currency, let me put it in the language we economists use: China’s float don’t mean squat.

Yet our President, a guy whose marks in Economics 101 are too embarrassing to publish here, ran out to hail the fact that buying Chinese money will now cost more dollars. …more