Monday, November 30, 2009

Dark Dubai

A modern city-state built with slave labor.

Dubai: Workers wait for a busIndependent.co.uk:
The dark side of Dubai -- Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging. Johann Hari reports.

The wide, smiling face of Sheikh Mohammed – the absolute ruler of Dubai – beams down on his creation. His image is displayed on every other building, sandwiched between the more familiar corporate rictuses of Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders. This man has sold Dubai to the world as the city of One Thousand and One Arabian Lights, a Shangri-La in the Middle East insulated from the dust-storms blasting across the region. He dominates the Manhattan-manqué skyline, beaming out from row after row of glass pyramids and hotels smelted into the shape of piles of golden coins. And there he stands on the tallest building in the world – a skinny spike, jabbing farther into the sky than any other human construction in history.

But something has flickered in Sheikh Mohammed's smile. The ubiquitous cranes have paused on the skyline, as if stuck in time. There are countless buildings half-finished, seemingly abandoned. In the swankiest new constructions – like the vast Atlantis hotel, a giant pink castle built in 1,000 days for $1.5bn on its own artificial island – where rainwater is leaking from the ceilings and the tiles are falling off the roof. This Neverland was built on the Never-Never – and now the cracks are beginning to show. Suddenly it looks less like Manhattan in the sun than Iceland in the desert.

Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out. This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history...

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Pesos Meander North

Amigo can you spare a peso?

Mexicans send money to USSirenia Avendano wept as she spoke of sending money to her sons in the United States.

NY Times:
Money Trickles North as Mexicans Help Relatives -- MIAHUATLÁN, Mexico — During the best of the times, Miguel Salcedo’s son, an illegal immigrant in San Diego, would be sending home hundreds of dollars a month to support his struggling family in Mexico. But at times like these, with the American economy out of whack and his son out of work, Mr. Salcedo finds himself doing what he never imagined he would have to do: wiring pesos north...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Goldman Sachs: "Doing God's Work"

Items of Interest:

Times of London:
I'm doing 'God's work'. Meet Mr Goldman Sachs -- Number 85 Broad Street, a dull, rust-coloured office block in lower Manhattan, doesn’t look like a place to stop and stare, and that’s just the way the people who work there like it. The men and women who arrive in the watery dawn sunshine, dressed in Wall Street black, clutching black briefcases and BlackBerrys, are very, very private. They walk quickly from their black Lincoln town cars to the lobby, past, well, nothing, really. There’s no name plate on the building, no sign on the front desk and the armed policeman stationed outside isn’t saying who works there. There’s a good reason for the secrecy. Number 85 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004, is where the money is. All of it...

discussion:
WSJ:
Goldman Sachs’ Blankfein on Banking: ‘Doing God’s Work’
Reuters:
Is Goldman Sachs “doing God's work”? Its CEO thinks so
Seeking Alpha:
May the Lloyd Be with You: Blankfein Doing 'God's Work'?
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Really, Goldman Sachs? [SNL clip] Seth Meyers & Amy Poehler Go Off On Goldman Sachs:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Make Mine Freedom (1948)



Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: 25 February 1948
Genre: Animation/Short

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