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It's time for the annual pick of The Konformist Beast of the Year.
One nominee was chosen each month from May 2011 to April 2012. Here are the choices:
May 2011: Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Despite an attempt to suppress the horrifying effects via a collaboration of political leaders and korporate media, strong evidence is quietly accumulating that Fukushima is even worse than Chernobyl. The coverup by the establishment is not only in Japan and the US, but in the entire industrialized world, where military industrial complexes profit off the false notion that nuclear power is both safe and cheap.
June 2011: Paul Ryan
As reactionary and feckless as the Democratic Party has been in the age of Obama, the GOP has become scary crazy. Exhibit A: Paul Ryan's 2012 federal budget plan, which would abolish korporate income taxes, estate taxes, taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest, and heavily reduce tax rates on the wealthy while ruthlessly cutting social programs, partially privatizing part of Social Security to Wall Street and fully privatizing Medicare. Some would call this "Ayn Rand on Crack" (which may be an unfair smear of Ms. Rand, who was at least a gifted writer) yet all but four Republicans in the the HOR and five in the Senate voting for it.
July 2011: Ken Feinberg
Though not particularly well known, Ken Feinberg is a stunningly loathsome individual: as the government-appointed pay czar for the BP Gulf oil disaster, he has squeezed victims to sign off on lowball compensation claims or face long painful legal battles while dealing with personal economic crisis caused by BP's gross negligence. This is not new: previously Feinberg had done the same screwing victims of Agent Orange, Dalkon Shield and even the 9/11 disaster, bullying them all in lawyer hardball for korporate and insurance giants. Unsurprisingly, the one time Feinberg hasn't ripped off those he administered as a pay czar is in approving obscene salaries to beneficiaries of the Wall Street Bailout via TARP.
August 2011: John Lipsky
If there's one news story over the last year that just stinks of a frame-up, it's the supposed rape charge and continued harrassment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former IMF Managing Director and (until the dubious arrest) leading contender for the French presidency. DSK was becoming an increasingly strong critic of the neoliberal economic agenda and even suggested the taboo (as far as the US banking system is concerned) of replacing the dollar as the solitary international currency. He was arrested in New York in potential violation of both international law and diplomacy protocol before any evidence had been properly analyzed, then dumped onto Rikers Island until he resigned, conveniently timed to allow Lipsky to push the Greek austerity plan through.
September 2011: Jersey Shore
The idea that "Reality" TV is manufacturing a more depraved society in America is a conspiracy theory The Konformist has supported for over a decade. Jersey Shore, the new low in culture trash, is pretty ironclad proof in our book.
October 2011: Peter King
Ten years after 9/11, Congressman King is perhaps the most notorious elected official to engage in anti-Muslim rhetorics that is barely concealed race-baiting against Middle Easterners. His "Muslim radicalization hearings" give him the stench of a modern-day Joseph McCarthy.
November 2011: Brian Moynihan
That none of the leaders of the big banks have been jailed for their crimes is an outrage: that instead they were given billion in bailouts while homebuyers were given the shaft is a complete offense. That Bank of America under their CEO Moynihan then tried to gouge customers with a monthly $5 debit card fee was a complete insult to account holders who bailed out the company's ass in the first place. Fortunately, in the backlash that followed, account cancellations increased by 20% and B of A backed down.
December 2011: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney & Rick Santorum
The six best arguments for Barack Obama in 2012 are these six jokers, who represented the GOP in the campaign against him. Whether it be they are true believers or cynical opportunists, the policies and positions of these politicians perfectly exemplify the toxic combination of cluelessness and frightening demagoguery that dominates the Republican Party. (Ron Paul, despite his many flaws, was once again exempted from Beasthood due to his surprising level of honesty, integrity and principled stands for a politician.)
January 2012: Eric Holder
While most analysis of Obama as a leader focus on the economy, his failures on justice and civil liberties may be his more notorious legacy, a legacy sanctioned by Holder as Attorney General. The legacy includes sanctioning unauthorized wiretapping, torture techniques and punishing whistleblowers. Meanwhile, the ruthlessness Team Obama has hunted whistleblowers, along with the push for indefinite detention of supposed War on Terror suspects and the legalization of assassination of Americans, has made a shockingly strong case that Obama is even worse than George W. Bush was on defendingthe Constitution, the supposed primary purpose of a prez.
February 2012: Chris Dodd
Based on their history of attacking freedom of speech, it would be reasonable to assume the GOP would be behind the greatest threat in years to the Internet. Sadly, that would be false: SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) may have had some backings by Republicans and right wing business leaders (most notably the repulsive Rupert Murdoch) but in the end it's fair to say it was a Democratic Party bill funded by big Democrat money. The biggest player was the Motion Picture Association of America, the lobbying arm of the supposed "liberal" Hollywood film industry in Hollywood, whose Chairman is the former Democratic Senator Dodd.
March 2012: Terry Gou
If one is to make a case for the dark side of Apple, item one would be its Faustian collaboration with Foxconn in making its products, all the more offensive due to lack of necessity. (Unlike most companies, Apple competes in value rather than price, making the extreme exploitation of workers not part of their business model.) Still, the crude exploitation by Gou's Taiwanese goes far beyond their partnership with Apple and indicts the entire electronics industry.
April 2012: Joseph Kony & Kony 2012
What could be worse than an African war criminal whose deranged pseudo-religious cult of mysticism pushes children into sex slavery and cannon fodder for his theocratic Lord's Resistance Army? (As Marlon Brando would put it Apocalypse Now: "The horror.") How about a movement pushed forward by a film that, no matter how well meaning, seems to only the public on a Western invasion of Africa, the real purpose of which seems to be to steal even more natural resources from the continent?
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