is this not coruption?

Check out this article in the bbc. The guy - Larry Silverstein - who is building 4 of the 5 new towers at the 'ground zero' site signed a 99 year lease 2 months before the buildings were destroyed.
'Larry' received a $4.6 billion insurance settlement after the destruction.
Does this not smell like something fishy?
If it smells fishy...

Free Drugs?

In one of the most beautiful large cities in North America, Vancouver, they are considering a plan to start a drug maintenance program in efforts to 'clean up' the city for the 2010 Olympics. Apparently, the program would provide free drugs to addicts. The mayor, Sam Sullivan, says, "The goal is to protect women addicts forced into prostitution and to deal with Vancouver's crime and social disorders." The program also has an anonymous donor who has offered $500,000 to get it started. The mayor also says that he is not convinced that law enforcement or treatment for addicts are the best ways to deal with the drug problem, and treatment Check out the short article in the Toronto Sun.

the oil kings...

Here's the NYTimes article about the excess earnings of the oil barons of today. These guys make more than most countries, yet people continue to starve and die due to the policies that support these fuckers...

For 13 years as chairman and chief executive, Lee R. Raymond propelled Exxon, the successor to John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust, to the pinnacle of the oil world.

Under Mr. Raymond, the company's market value increased fourfold to $375 billion, overtaking BP as the largest oil company and General Electric as the largest American corporation. Net income soared from $4.8 billion in 1992 to last year's record-setting $36.13 billion.

Shareholders benefited handsomely on Mr. Raymond's watch. The price of Exxon's shares rose an average of 13 percent a year. The company, now known as Exxon Mobil, paid $67 billion in total dividends.

For his efforts, Mr. Raymond, who retired in December, was compensated more than $686 million from 1993 to 2005, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by Brian Foley, an independent compensation consultant. That is $144,573 for each day he spent leading Exxon's "God pod," as the executive suite at the company's headquarters in Irving, Tex., is known.

Despite the company's performance, some Exxon shareholders, academics, corporate governance experts and consumer groups were taken aback this week when they learned the details of Mr. Raymond's total compensation package, including the more than $400 million he received in his final year at the company.

Shareholder advocates point to what they describe as stealth compensation arranged for Mr. Raymond but not disclosed in proxy filings. Consumer groups complain that while last year's rise in global oil prices left many consumers feeling less prosperous, oil executives have become a lot richer from the higher prices. And some corporate governance experts argue that much of Mr. Raymond's pay came from easy profits generated by skyrocketing oil prices.

"It's entrepreneurial returns for managerial conduct," said Charles M. Elson, the director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. "Exxon was there long before Mr. Raymond was there and will be there long after he leaves. Yet he received Rockefeller returns without taking the Rockefeller risk."

Exxon says that Mr. Raymond's compensation and retirement package was tied to the company's stellar performance. According to the company proxy statement, filed Wednesday, the package recognized his "outstanding leadership of the business, continued strengthening of our worldwide competitive position, and continuing progress toward achieving long-range strategic goals."

Through an Exxon spokesman, Mr. Raymond declined to comment.

Mr. Raymond certainly distinguished himself as an oil executive. Exxon is known in the business as a disciplined and tightly focused company with an obsessive attention to the bottom line. In 1999, Mr. Raymond pulled his biggest coup by taking advantage of a slump in oil prices to acquire Mobil in an $81 billion merger, at the time the largest ever.

Thanks to his strategy, the company each day produces 2.5 million barrels of oil — more than Kuwait — and the equivalent of 1.5 million barrels of natural gas. It is the world's top refiner and controls 22 billion barrels of oil reserves, the most among its publicly traded peers.

Other oil executives have also benefited from the doubling of oil prices over the last two years. For example, Ray R. Irani, the chief executive of Occidental Petroleum, received about $63 million in total compensation last year, an increase of more than 50 percent over 2004. Over the last three years, Mr. Irani has reaped more than $135 million, mostly in options and restricted stock.

David J. O'Reilly, the chief executive of Chevron, received nearly $37 million in salary, bonus, stock and stock options last year. The stock and options vest over multiple years. Mr. O'Reilly already owns stock options valued at $34 million.

Still, Mr. Raymond's package for 2005 stands out, even stripping the $98 million lump-sum value of his pension plan. He received $19.9 million in salary, bonus and other incentives for 2005. He made $21.2 million on options he exercised last year. And he was awarded 550,000 restricted shares, bringing the total he owns to 3.26 million, with a value of $199 million, at $61 a share, an average of Exxon's share price since March 1. Some of the restricted shares vest in 5 and 10 years. He owns more options that hold a value of $69.6 million.

While generous, the other major oil companies have been much more restrained with their top executives.

At BP, Lord Browne received $14.8 million in 2005, a mix of salary, bonus and the value of restricted shares that vested in February 2005 and 2006. Jeroen van der Veer, the head of Royal Dutch Shell, received $4.33 million in base pay, bonus and other benefits, a 33 percent increase from the previous year, and received shares worth another $4.5 million.

Still, the record for total compensation in one year goes to Steven P. Jobs, who received $775 million, mostly from stock options, in 2000 from Apple Computer. Michael D. Eisner, the former head of the Walt Disney Company, took home $577 million in 1997, also largely from stock option exercises.

The Coca Leaf...

Curious about what all the talk about the coca leaf in South America is about? Check out this BBC aricle for what they have to say.


Well... it's been a few weeks since anything has been posted here. I've been especially busy lately, and recycled minds was put on the back burner for a while.
But I'm interested in this whole civil war and rebel business. The U.S. is still in Iraq, and the word on the street has been that it's civil war there. The so-called terrorists are really just rebels, struggling for a voice, a new way, their way, independence... who really knows what people want in Iraq? We certainly don't know in the U.S....
But this is getting away from my point. Rebels are also active in India and we all know what's going on in Colombia. That country has been at war with itself for decades. Mexico has the Zapatista movement, which has threatened to get violent, but seems to be on a different, yet effective path. Numerous conflicts in Africa can be characterized as between rebels and the powerful - or those in power.
Really, my point is this: has this spirit died in the U.S.? We may protest (meekly I might add), and make attempts at organizing around a new political party (the Greens, or even the new(ish) face of the Democrats), but the idea of rebellion is unheard of. Meanwhile, one of the most openly corrupt administrations has hijacked most of the branches of the government, basically changing the face of politics and policy of the whole country for years to come.
The citizens sit by and watch.
Could there be a rebel movement in the U.S.? A movement that strives for equality and justice; to spread the wealth of the richest country on the planet; to make life better for everyone, everywhere; to treat people like fellow humans and not like enemies or consumers.
Where is this movement?