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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Dead armadillos

As I said sometime earlier, Solomon and McChesney were indeed very good (again), and reminded me of that Jim Hightower line, "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos." And that's about where Obama and his pals have been leading us with their "centrism", where our "progressive" friends have been leading us with their "pragmatism", and where we are about to end up unless Obama suddenly starts to notice that he's screwing the pooch and decides that it isn't really a good idea to keep doing it. But, as I say, he hangs out with guys from the Chicago School of Economics and is unlikely to have that particular lightbulb go off.

As Ian Welsh points out, it is simply a canard that Obama's hands have been tied. Obama had the power to do many, many good things, and he refused every opportunity to do them. He refused to even attempt the most basic steps of negotiation with the opposition, asking not for a higher goal than what we really needed, but a lower goal as a pre-compromise, thus lowering the bar further still. He alleged (when he was trying to get elected) that he believed single-payer was the best way to go, but then he started babbling about the public option before he'd even started making a case for single-payer, having simply declared that passing single-payer wasn't politically feasible. (Oh, yeah? Start pounding it into the general public that everyone in America can get effectively free health care without raising taxes, and see how far Congress gets trying to resist it past the next election.) He even telegraphed to the press that he wasn't even really trying to get his so-called "compromise" of the public option, but instead was hoping the threat of the public option would frighten the insurance companies into slightly softening their viciously predatory and fraudulent practices - which it didn't. If he'd really wanted single-payer, he could of course have spent a lot of time explaining how real socialized medicine actually works in Britain and used it as the scare image of what "the left" was demanding, forcing the not-so-left to welcome single-payer as a longed-for compromise. And that has been his pattern with everything.

Oh, wait, not everything, because there were some things he never had to try to get past Congress in the first place - he could simply have done them.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Obama can issue a stop loss for any soldiers any time he wants. Bang, that's it, at least for as long as he's President.

HAMP (the program supposedly intended to help homeowners, which hasn't): This program is totally under administrative control. If Obama wanted it to work, there's nothing to stop him.

Habeas Corpus: Obama can give everyone in Gitmo their day in court. Restoring habeas corpus is totally at his discretion, and he has chosen not to.

Social Security: After Congress voted down a debt and deficit commission, Obama went ahead and created one anyway - and stacked it with people with track records of wanting to slash Social Security.

In short, Obama has managed to side-step Congress in order to work against Democratic policy positions (e.g., Social Security), but otherwise has ignored executive privilege when he wanted to continue Bush-era policies (e.g., detention without trial at Gitmo) or to ignore the rights and needs of everyday Americans (e.g., HAMP and DADT). To the Obama administration, Congress is a very selective obstacle.

And, as Ian continues, there are still plenty of things Obama can still do - and he can start by firing Bernenke. But:
The idea that Obama, or any President, is a powerless shrinking violet, helpless in the face of Congress is just an excuse. Presidents have immense amounts of power: the question is whether or not they use that power, and if they do, what they use it for.

Obama has a huge slush fund with hundreds of billions of dollars and all the executive authority he needs to turn things around.

If Obama is not using that money and authority, the bottom line is it's because he doesn't want to.

Where does that leave us? Atrios on The Optimistic View:
So the good scenario - the worst is over - unemployment will drop all the way down to 9% by the end of 2011!!

In January 2009, the administration projected that unemployment would drop below 7% by the end of 2011, without any stimulus.

And that's the optimistic view because they still don't want to do anything. Because doing something about it would mean wages might not continue to be depressed, people might not continue to be out of work and losing their homes, and fear of destitution would not frighten people into giving up their freedoms and their dignity for a crust of bread.

Meanwhile, what's happening to those people who laughed at the dirty hippies and put their faith in magical market theories?: "One example of academics gone terribly wrong, one that I feel badly about, is a relative who swallowed whole the teachings at Harvard's School of Business about creative debt, a.k.a. ‘deficits don't matter'. Now underwater in a huge mortgage, his retirement funds and borrowings against a house, invested in the market, disappeared, as did so many other retirement plans. Now, he's struggling to keep his home from foreclosure while his wife is working in retirement to manage their living expenses. Like all too many of our generation, under assurances that economic theories he'd paid dearly to study, combined with the siren call of living high and paying later, this business school believer went over a cliff of controlled and rational planning sold widely by the purveyors of debt. Those credit card companies and financial houses are living high, even now, on those outdated theories' effects."

Hey, but hope springs eternal, which I suppose is why someone from the administration is saying sensible things in The New York Times. Oh, wait, it's an election year. I'm not holding my breath to find out that Obama's secret plan is to suddenly say, "See, we tried to do things the way the conservatives wanted, and they were wrong. We let some people have a commission on the deficit, and the only thing they could think of was to cut Social Security and keep tax breaks for millionaires - they're not serious. They freak out whenever we even mention helping Americans get back to work. So now we're going to ignore them and listen to the dirty hippies people who were right instead."

Michael Tomasky thinks it's a mystery, but (although, like Digby, I agree with #6), face it, he telegraphed all along that he believed in Reaganism more than he believed in liberalism, and that's why he's governing like a jackass.

And, anyway, they could pay for all that domestic spending without changing a thing, if they wanted to - all they have to do is write the checks.

I've always believed Martin Luther King was shot because he understood the real problem. It's obvious to me why Glenn Beck suddenly started sounding like a preacher when he made his Beckorama speech and was pretending to be MLK. He wanted to sound like a preacher. He may even have read or watched that speech (the real name of which I can't remember or find, but it wasn't "I Have a Dream"). But, of course, he was preaching a very different gospel.

But This Week in Tyranny, we continue the march into decline, and I'm sure Blackwater will be available to sort things out.

ONN report on Time magazine's launch of an "advanced" version of Time aimed at adults.

Another demotivational poster.

Kyoto Impressions, Blurred, and First Lemon.

13:18 BST

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Somebody gimme a cheeseburger

This time I did remember to bring my camera, so I managed to get some shots of the current display at the optician's. (Larger image here; detail here.)

Ian Welsh: "What makes me saddest of all things in the world is this: the vast majority of the time the right thing to do morally is the right thing to do in terms of broad self-interest, and yet we don't believe that and we do the wrong thing, thinking we must, thinking that we're making the 'hard decisions'."

Jane Hamsher says, "President Obama, It's Time to Can the Catfood Commission." I guess it's polite to try to pretend that Obama is acting in good faith, but he didn't appoint this commission because he thought it would be good for Americans, and he certainly didn't do it because he thinks it's important not to treat working people with contempt. The fact that Alan Simpson is a pig isn't likely to change that. Jerry Nadler wants to fire Simpson, but as Atrios says, "Simpson isn't the problem. The whole crew is."

Krugman starts out being polite when he says, "I'm finding it hard to read about politics these days. I still don't think people in the administration understand the magnitude of the catastrophe their excessive caution has created. I keep waiting for Obama to do something, something, to shake things up; but it never seems to happen." And maybe he really does believe that the administration doesn't grasp that they are destroying America's economy and it's chances of recovery, but I think he may be forgetting that all Obama's friends are from the Chicago school, and they think that disaster would be a good thing. But he says, " the important thing is that all signs are that the next few years will be a combination of economic stagnation and political witch-hunt. This is going to be almost inconceivably ugly."

And one thing we can be sure of is that protecting Americans from real threats to our way of life is simply not on the table.

What's important, of course, is crippling a radio station that someone swears on. Funny the things they feel are okay to waste money on, eh?

While Glenn Beck apparently thinks he's MLK, even to the point of thinking he might be assassinated (by who?), Roland S. Martin remembers that King's 'dream' was radical economic message: "First, we need to stop calling it the March on Washington. It was officially called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. If you leave off the "Jobs and Freedom" part, it sounds like black folks just went for a walk that day. Upset with the lack of economic opportunities for blacks at the time, as well as the voting rights injustices, the organizers wanted to put pressure on Congress and the President Kennedy administration to put their muscle behind a comprehensive civil rights bill. No, the 1963 march had nothing to do with some hokey values espoused by a radio/TV windbag. It was a day to assemble a mass of people to represent a show of strength and to get leaders in Washington to listen to the urgent need across the country."

Matt Taibbi figures stoking a race war is just what they do to keep everyone distracted from putting the blame where it really belongs, but wonders why no one has organized a boycott against the sponsors of the hate channel.

I don't want to have to dig for the link, but sometime last week Atrios posted this reminder: "After Katrina, New Orleans Cops Were Told They Could Shoot Looters."

I wonder what could be causing Germany's superior economy....

While it's true that passing a law to "protect" newspapers from having their articles quoted and linked on the web is an insanely stupid and self-defeating idea, I've always been surprised that the newspapers didn't set up some mechanism from the beginning that prevented non-subscribers from seeing whole articles on the first day of publication - say, post the headline and first paragraph in a format that required subscription to see the rest, then unlock it the next day. After all, newspapers have always been relatively ephemeral and of value only on the day of publication - after that, you had to go to your library to read them. (And, just as importantly, you always could go to your library to read them for free. It was just more of a pain in the ass.) For some reason, the papers seemed to think it was a good idea to do it backwards - you may recall that you used to have to subscribe to the NYT or to Nexus-Lexus in order to access archival material, even though you could see it for free on the date of publication.

I have a feeling I should already have known about these folks.

More reasons to hate Facebook: They're censoring marijuana and they want to own the word "book"

Ray Bradbury responds to tribute song.

I met this guy at the pub who mentioned he had a blog. I checked it out, and noticed a familiar theme. He's writing about British policies, but he might just as well be talking about the Republicrats.

01:40 BST

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Accumulated links

Paul Rosenberg made a good pick-up on "What the elites are trying to steal from us, and why" as explained by Dean Baker in "When Wall Street Rules, We Get Wall Street Rules:

The upward redistribution of the last three decades has nothing to do with the market and a belief in "market fundamentalism." This is about a process where the rich and powerful have rewritten the rules to make themselves richer and more powerful.

For example, they wrote trade rules that were designed to put downward pressure on the wages of the bulk of the U.S. workforce by placing manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in China and other developing countries. This had nothing to do with a belief in "free trade." They did not try to subject lawyers, doctors or other highly paid workers to the same sort of international competition. They only wanted international competition to put downward pressure on the wages of workers in the middle and bottom, not those at the top.

This elite has instituted a system of corporate governance that allows top executives to pilfer companies at the expense of their shareholders and its workers. Top executives are overseen only by a board of directors who owe their hugely overpaid sinecures to the executives they supervise. And of course the Wall Street barons themselves are given a license to gamble with the implicit promise that government picks up their tab when they lose.
No progressive movement will make any progress until we understand the battle we are fighting. Our income is a cost to the rich. They will look to cut it wherever they can, whether this is wages for private sector workers, pensions for public employees, or Social Security for retirees. That is their target.

We have to fight back using the same logic. Their income is our cost -- the multimillion dollar bonuses for the Wall Street wizards is a direct drain on the economy. So are the bloated paychecks of top executives and their lackey boards. Progressives must be prepared to use all the same tactics to bring down the income of the rich and powerful that they have used to reduce the income of everyone else.

I've been describing this plan here for quite some time, and Baker has been unpacking the term "free trade" for quite a while - maybe the only person to keep hammering this point, that there is no free trade and that its purpose is not as described. Thomas Friedman (and Brad DeLong) may want to believe (or want us to believe) that this is about raising the standards of the poor in India, but that isn't happening and this was never the way to do it. The way you raise standards elsewhere is to refuse to do business with countries that don't live up to a higher standard - make US standards high, and tell everyone else that if they can't do the same for their people, they can't get our dollars for their slave-labor products. We are doing the reverse, with predictable results: Reward evil and drive out the good.

Or, as Paul Rosenberg puts it:

What they're after right now on the global scale is a massive roll-back of social insurance, wages, and middle-class wealth. In short: They want to wipe out the middle class that has taken several centuries to create, and return us to the pre-modern world that is divided almost entirely between rich and poor, with a small middle class that consists almost entirely of hangers on servicing the rich as glorified servants.
And Scarecrow points us to a scribe, long loathed here at The Sideshow, who I'm sure will be richly rewarded for servicing the rich since he apparently thinks social spending is the only "wasteful" spending: "Matt Bai and the editors of the New York Times have printed an article ostensibly about Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer and his willingness to cut wasteful spending to reduce the deficit - as though eliminating unhelpful or harmful programs were an unheard of position for Democrats even though they just adopted legislation to cut unjustified payments to health care providers and private education lenders by hundreds of billions. But that misdirection isn't even the main problem. With no apparent oversight from the Times' editors, Bai turns the 'news analysis' article into a Republican talking point attacking Social Security and the US Government's credit worthiness. You can see upcoming 'corrections and retractions' written all over this one."

Is it possible that people really believe this stuff that is manifestly untrue and makes no sense at all? Or are they just making it up as they go along? I think it's the old Rovian playbook, myself - throw it all out there to muddy up the waters, say anything to make it sound like you know what you're talking about, but get the job of screwing the middle-class and destroying America done.

You Have Been The Victims Of A Terrible Swindle - but it's not "intergenerational theft" so much as yet another scam played by the rich against the rest, and I really wish people would acknowledge that. It's not a particular generation that did this, and a considerable number of those who did are young compared to the people who are being blamed.

Psst! Digby! I think I have the answer to your question: It's called The Prosperity Gospel. What it unpacks as is simply this: Bad things only happen to bad people, so there's no such thing as an "innocent victim". That's why Scalia thinks it's okay if innocent people are executed and why so many of our "leaders" think it's okay to destroy the lives of millions of people. They deserved it! God doesn't like them! (Alternatively, there's the Chicago School of Economics, where it's just that they are elites who should run things and the rest of us should serve them. I think they're probably all atheists, but in a bad way.)

Froomkin is still on the oil gush disaster, even if no one else is, and says the crisis is far from over.

Jane Mayer on The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. I don't know why, since his policies are just what they wanted.

I guess Kos wants me to waste more time worrying about imaginary filibusters. There are no filibusters. There are people saying they'll filibuster, but it's pretty bloody easy to say that when you know you'll never have to. It's like saying, "I'll climb Everest and be back in time for dinner." If no one's gonna call you on it, we can pretend it's true.

This is rich: Fox Panel Including Judith Miller Discuss Public Losing Faith in Broadcast News. This is the woman who personally murdered the credibility of The New York Times by being on its staff.

Tristero has some bridges to sell you - cheap!

Breitbart calls his site "Big Government". Roger Ailes (the good one) has a different name for it.

Tom Tomorrow on the Very Serious People.

Re-rerun: Julia reminded me of this really fine piece of writing from back when, "Wait. Aren't You Scared?"

BP's Wide Wide River

I can't help thinking this song is addressed to Obama about his having made off with the Democratic Party.

The optician's shop in Lamb's Conduit Street often has unusual displays, and I meant to bring my camera that night but I forgot and had to enlist a friend to take the picture with her phone. So the quality suffers, but it's still a pretty cool image.

15:35 BST

Monday, 23 August 2010

Coming of age in the new new world

It is rather astonishing to see, of all things, a Baby-Boomer whining about how These Kids Today need to start growing up and living like adults. Just leaving aside the fact that, as as Digby notes, every generation has had to listen to this crap from their elders while they were still wet behind the ears, Boomers of all people should remember the constant litany of complaints that have followed their entire lives from their elders and from those who forgot that they were, in fact, Boomers themselves and doing nothing significantly different from others their own age.

But then, there has always been a certain kind of person who can be so ignorant that they believe they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps when in fact their parents and entire society had built a rising platform under them. Thanks to FDR and LBJ, you had a much better chance of finding some kind of independence (even being able to pay for your own apartment in downtown Washington, DC) when you were 17 at the time that the Boomers were emerging into adulthood. That's because there were jobs for just about anyone marginally competent who wanted one, and housing was not terribly expensive. It was possible to get a job that paid $100 a week with no particular skills other than reading and writing, which may not sound like much until you realize that $52 a month was enough for a comfortable place (with a washer and dryer!) in the Lower East Side (the "East Village"), $100 a month could get you a roomy apartment in Georgetown, and $200 a month was all you needed to rent a nice brownstone house in Dupont Circle. A kid with a guitar only needed a couple-few paying gigs in a bar to cover that - and there were plenty of places hiring kids with guitars for the night. (Someday we can talk about the free air fare, too.)

And then all the guys who couldn't get laid in college put on bowties and declared themselves cool, and decades of conservative campaign put a stop to all that.

Now we are sliding back to those pre-FDR days when parents supported their kids until the kids were ready to support their parents. The freedom for families to cut the apron strings was a result of the liberal economics that no longer hold sway in America, and anyone who wants to complain about These Kids Today not moving out fast enough had better start agitating for more government spending on domestic programs - more rebuilding of infrastructure, more student grants (I can remember when "student aid" turned into "student loans", better known as "student debt"), expanded Social Security, and all those other ways of moving money throughout the economy that the dirty hippies keep saying we should have. Unfortunately, along with the hippies, the Baby-Boom generation also had its full complement of squares.

* * * * *

Fox News co-owner funded 'Ground Zero mosque' imam. It's not just that they make a mountain out of a molehill to distract us, it's that they also build the molehill themselves. (But Frank Rich seems to think the whole idiotic mess might be killing what's left of the war on Afghanistan.)

"GOP candidate: Use prisons as 'welfare dorms'. Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in 'personal hygiene.'" Mmmhmmm..

Could the Pentagon be behind the false charges against the Wikileaks founder?

Weldon Berger corresponds with Barack Obama.

Digby and Jay Ackroyd discussed the news on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

And remember, kids, Dick Cheney told us way back in the beginning that way down the line, there would still be 50,000 troops left in Iraq.

14:30 BST

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Signs and portents

I imagine Atrios is really angry over HAMP, and alternatively hanging his head in his hands. I certainly am, but the thing is, everyone should be angry over HAMP, and too many people aren't. And in the White House, it appears that cheating Americans out of more money is part of the plan. "HAMP'd: Someone should resign in disgrace but, you know, that doesn't really happen anymore." "Horror Show: Thanks for finally admitting the HAMP was essentially an 'extend and pretend' plan, a way to gouge a few more pennies out of desperate homeowners before dumping them on the streets. We're from the government, and we're here to fuck you over." "The Horror Show Continued."

Dean Baker: "If this disaster was preventable and we know how to get out of it, why didn't our leaders try to stop it before it happened? Why don't they take the steps necessary now to get the economy moving again? The answer to both these questions is simple; the politicians work for someone else." (via)

Diane says: "Shame On President Obama ... ...And shame on us. What do the UK, Poland, Lithuania, Spain, Australia, Canada have in common? All have official investigations and/or legal cases pending over their countries' role in the CIA's Bush-era programs of kidnapping and torture. One country is noticeably absent from the list: the US."

Froomkin: "Questions Mount About White House's Overly Rosy Report On Oil Spill," and following up with "NOAA Claims Scientists Reviewed Controversial Report; The Scientists Say Otherwise" - because he's still a real newsman.

The Wikileak With The Dragon Tattoo - An unfounded but serious charge against WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange - a journalist who puts the truth out there - does have that feel, doesn't it? Oh, wait, it reminds me of something else, too.

Well, at least the coroner admitted that this taser death was a homicide. Not that we can expect any accountability; it's now standard that cops and prison guards can murder people with impunity. (The UK is no different in that respect, by the way.)

Alan Grayson thinks there are more important things to be talking about than whether a Muslim community center gets built in Manhattan, but if we must talk yet again about 9/11, we should be talking about the administration that let it happen.

"Troops: Refusing to attend Christian concert got us into trouble. The Army said Friday it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band's concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up."

"Economic forecaster: 'Greatest Depression' coming: Collapse of middle class means there's no fuel for recovery, Gerald Celente argues. The US economic recovery in recent quarters is little more than a 'cover-up' and the world is headed for a 'Greatest Depression,' complete with social unrest and class warfare, says a renowned economic forecaster. Gerald Celente, head of the Trends Research Institute, told Yahoo!News' Tech Ticker that there's no risk of a 'double-dip recession' because the first "dip" never ended."

"Pac-Man Hacked Onto a Touch-Screen Voting Machine Without Breaking 'Tamper-Evident' Seals."

Glenn Beck to reclaim the civil rights movement.

I'm always entertained at the way a new communication technology is decried as corrupting art and communication. Take, for example, Gutenberg....

I was sitting around wishing I could see Lou Stathis again, and then I remembered and wanted to make this cool photo more accessible to people who hate Facebook as much as (or more than) I do, and was very annoyed to find that "The new Flickr photo page. Bigger. Faster. More Flickr-er" is dumber, slower, uglier, and much more annoying than the Flickr I've been finding so useful.

I was tempted to save this link for the anniversary of something either really cool or something not so lucky at all, but what the hell, have some lucky moments. (Although I rather liked this advice, too, possibly because I used to finish assignments way in advance of deadlines, and then life got different.)

Beth Nielsen Chapman in Brighton.

13:31 BST

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Something old, something new

What's even better than cheap labor? Slave labor: Pay no attention to the giant elephant in the room. The problem is not 'undocumented workers' or 'illegal immigration' or 'organized labor.' The problem, as always, is greed. Slave labor in the interest of corporate profits is not just fine and dandy. America has become the foreign country you were always grateful you didn't live in.

As the GOP spend more and more on buying judicial elections, you can expect even less justice when you try to enforce contracts against Big Money.

Jacob Davies' "Post Twentieth Century Stress Disorder" provides us with a lightning history (and also made me wonder if we could just convince all the wingers that it is Muslims, rather than Jews, who run the banking system that wrecked the economy...oh, but then they'd just round up Jews Muslims instead of bankers, dammit. Anyway, I'm not sure I buy this analysis. I think people just have really short memories and too much testosterone floating around.

I was interested to learn that The Cook Report downgraded the chances of ten Democrats to retain their seats in the next election ("(CA-47 Loretta Sanchez, FL-02 Allen Boyd, GA-08 Jim Marshall, IA-03 Leonard Boswell, IL-11 Debbie Halvorson, OH-16 John Boccieri, PA-08 Patrick Murphy, PA-10 Chris Carney, SD-AL Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, TN-04 Lincoln Davis" - either from "Likely" to leaning D or from "Lean D" to "Toss Up"), and that all but two of them are Blue Dogs. Of course, if they lose because the base can't bring themselves to work for these creeps, the take-away lesson in the Village will be that they were too liberal.

I was looking at this MoDo column from last week and felt a true sense of wonder at how fast she can have an insight and then run away from it in order to fit it all into the prevailing Villager narrative. She as much as calls Obama a flip-flopping liar in the column, but attacks "the left" for not putting their faith in him and accepting the necessity of "compromise". Not that she has any idea who "the left" is - she apparently believes "the left" were the people who proposed the Public Option. No, that was Barack Obama who proposed it as a compromise between what the majority of the public wanted (universal access to real health care) and what the insurance companies wanted (forcing everyone who didn't already have health insurance to buy their fake insurance plans). Without the public option, what we have is, um, just what the insurance companies wanted, and no compromise. What the actual left wanted was, of course, a National Health Service-style scheme where the entire medical system was owned and operated by We The People and run as a government program.

Weird. Ted Olsen on the side of the angels and Howard Dean on the other side. Strange days have found us.

This is old news but I'd been meaning to mention it, and wow, even the Daily Mail has been willing to entertain questions about David Kelly's death, noting the statement of the detective who found his body: "'I certainly didn't see a lot of blood anywhere. There was some on his left wrist but it wasn't on his clothes. On the ground there wasn't much blood about, if any.' The Hutton Report said there were bloodstains on a water bottle next to the corpse. Mr Coe said: 'I didn't see any bloodstains on the bottle and I didn't check the knife.' His account matches that of two experienced paramedics at the scene, who said the lack of blood was puzzling. And the Guardian on the possibility of reopening the inquest: "The move comes after nine experts, including Michael Powers, a QC and former coroner, and Julian Blon, a professor of intensive care medicine, called for a full inquest into Kelly's death saying the official finding - haemorrhage from the severed artery - was 'extremely unlikely'." (via)

The United States is heading to the Third World on the stupid train: "It's no accident that the social democracies - Sweden, France and Germany, who kept on paying high wages - now have more industry than the United States or the UK. During the '70s, '80s and '90s, the Anglo-Americans, the neoliberals, The Economist crowd, and the press generally, would taunt the social democrats in Europe: "You'd better break the unions." That's the way to save your industry. Indeed, that's what the United States and the UK did: They smashed the unions, in the belief that they had to compete on cost. The result? They quickly ended up wrecking their industrial base. But Germany, Sweden and France ignored the advice of the Anglo-Americans, the Financial Times elite, the banking industry: Contrary to what they were told to do, they did not wreck their unions."

David Sirota thinks what happened in the Colorado election means the corporatist Democrats' days are numbered, but I don't know.

Sammy says: "MoveOn asked me to ask folks on the street what they thought of plans to raise the social security retirement age, cut social security benefits and extend tax breaks for millionaires. Their verdict? Watch and find out."

Bluegal says it's the Tweet of the week: "In fairness, we've been building 'ground zeros' near Iraqi mosques since March 2003"

Bruce Schneier on A Taxonomy of Social Networking Data

Note to self: I heard McChesney and Solomon were good this week.

Fancy lingerie.

03:49 BST

Friday, 20 August 2010

A quick one

Due to some rather tragic technical difficulties, the post I was going to upload is locked up in a computer that decided not to work when I got home and turned it on, so instead you get this:

I don't know why I never thought to look there before, but a number of people have put up video sets of gorgeous stills of the Aurora Borealis like this one. But I also found this time-lapse video of a single night's performance in Norway, and an episode from BBC's The Sky At Night with some rather impressive footage.

The long-awaited match-up between CS Kendrick and Stuart Zechman on Virtually Speaking Sundays had a few interesting sparks.

Digby discusses Social Security and The Generational Warfare Fantasy, and also recommends we help Mr. HopeyChangey read a book.

Not work-safe: Susie Bright with "Porn Education Road Shows: Squaring Up the Racket", and Rachel Bloom with an appreciation of Ray Bradbury. (Personally, I always preferred Sturgeon, Vonnegut, Le Guin, Delany, and a whole bunch of other people.)

0528 BST

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Defeat the right in three minutes

Since I know some of you never click on links, even when you are about to comment that I ought to mention something that is directly referred to in the text and conveniently provided link, I thought I'd give you the vital section of this now-legendary piece by Conceptual Guerilla, even though he seems to have a strange aversion to that honorable piece of punctuation known as the question mark. It didn't have a permalink at the time I first found it, and in order to make sure it never again gets lost, I've made a page for it at The Sideshow Annex as well, but I did finally find it, so, here is the relevant excerpt from:

Defeat the Right in Three Minutes
by Conceptual Guerilla

Is there really a catch phrase - a "magic bullet" - that sums up the Republican Right in such a nice easy-to-grasp package. You better believe it, and it's downright elegant in its simplicity.

You want to know what that "magic bullet" is, don't you. Read on. You've still got two minutes.

Right-Wing Ideology in a Nutshell

When you cut right through it, right-wing ideology is just "dime-store economics" - intended to dress their ideology up and make it look respectable. You don't really need to know much about economics to understand it. They certainly don't. It all gets down to two simple words.

"Cheap labor". That's their whole philosophy in a nutshell - which gives you a short and pithy "catch phrase" that describes them perfectly. You've heard of "big-government liberals". Well they're "cheap-labor conservatives".

"Cheap-labor conservative" is a moniker they will never shake, and never live down. Because it's exactly what they are. You see, cheap-labor conservatives are defenders of corporate America - whose fortunes depend on labor. The larger the labor supply, the cheaper it is. The more desperately you need a job, the cheaper you'll work, and the more power those "corporate lords" have over you. If you are a wealthy elite - or a "wannabe" like most dittoheads - your wealth, power and privilege is enhanced by a labor pool, forced to work cheap.

Don't believe me. Well, let's apply this principle, and see how many right-wing positions become instantly understandable.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives don't like social spending or our "safety net". Why. Because when you're unemployed and desperate, corporations can pay you whatever they feel like - which is inevitably next to nothing. You see, they want you "over a barrel" and in a position to "work cheap or starve".
  • Cheap-labor conservatives don't like the minimum wage, or other improvements in wages and working conditions. Why. These reforms undo all of their efforts to keep you "over a barrel".
  • Cheap-labor conservatives like "free trade", NAFTA, GATT, etc. Why. Because there is a huge supply of desperately poor people in the third world, who are "over a barrel", and will work cheap.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives oppose a woman's right to choose. Why. Unwanted children are an economic burden that put poor women "over a barrel", forcing them to work cheap.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives don't like unions. Why. Because when labor "sticks together", wages go up. That's why workers unionize. Seems workers don't like being "over a barrel".
  • Cheap-labor conservatives constantly bray about "morality", "virtue", "respect for authority", "hard work" and other "values". Why. So they can blame your being "over a barrel" on your own "immorality", lack of "values" and "poor choices".
  • Cheap-labor conservatives encourage racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of bigotry. Why? Bigotry among wage earners distracts them, and keeps them from recognizing their common interests as wage earners.

The Cheap-Labor Conservatives' "Dirty Secret": They Don't Really Like Prosperity.

Now, read the rest.

14:42 BST

Saturday, 14 August 2010

A day without sunshine

Paul Rosenberg, with a little help from Rachel Maddow, on Cowardice:

This Administration is a failure by choice. It has not been defeated by its enemies, but by itself. By its own actions--and more tellingly, by its own inactions, its failure to act, or even to think of acting. It is a victim of its own lack of imagination as well as its lack of courage.

Oh, sure, one can argue that it's not a failure at all. That it's doing exactly what the ruling class wants it to do. But though true in one sense, that's utter bullshit in another. FDR was hated by the ruling class. But he saved their bacon by going against their petty, narrow-minded, self-destructive instincts. Obama is destroying America--including America's ruling class--by not standing up against the self-destructive passions of the moment. Heck, he can't even speak out for the First Amendment against hypocritical clowns like Newt Gingrich.

We are in a fight for the soul of America, as well as the soul of the Democratic Party. And although those who stand against us have a great deal of organizational power, they are losers at bottom. They are liars and cowards. Their vision of America is a sham and a disgrace. And they are condemned by all the minute particulars of what they have done and not done in our names.

Shame on them all. And shame on us, if we let ourselves be cowed by them.

And speaking of Rachel, a glimpse at how so much of the evil going on in America today can thank one of the most powerful groups in America: the prison industry.

Digby covers the right wing and receives important information from Newt Gingrich on the employment situation, instruction on Randian motherhood, and a list of the worst people in history.

Center for Economic Policy Research: "The Washington Post really really hates Social Security. They hate Medicare almost as much. Therefore they are willing to give its critics space to say almost anything against the program (the real cause of September 11th) no matter how much they have to twist reality to make their case. Today, Republican Representative Paul Ryan stepped up to the plate. The Post felt the need to give him an oped column after Paul Krugman cruelly subjected Mr. Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" to a serious analysis last week. This violated the long accepted practice in elite Washington circles of not holding proponents of Social Security and Medicare cuts/privatization accountable for the things they say. It is therefore understandable the Post would quickly give a coveted oped slot to Mr. Ryan to make amends for such a grievous breach of protocol." (via)

Sam Seder calls BS on Google and Verizon for trying to make an end-run around net neutrality (and says you should contact the FCC).

The Difference Between Marriage and Civil Unions.

MadKane sends an Open Limerick to Gibbs and Obama.

The Shiksa in the Kitchen, making me hungry.

So the other night was supposed to be the best night to see the Perseids, and the sky was so gorgeous, and I really thought I'd finally get to see a shooting star. I went out in between doing things on and off but I didn't have time to hang about, and by the time I was able to take a break and just sit around watching for a while, it had clouded over, and there's been no sky ever since. Bummer. But have a picture. (And while I'm there, this x-ray of flowers is kind of neat, too.)

22:42 BST

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Mister, Mister, can we have our ball back?

March on Washington, Oct. 2nd - Susie says she will be there if she has to crawl: "August 5, 2010, WASHINGTON - The AFL-CIO executive committee voted unanimously this morning to join One Nation, Working Together, a new national coalition of labor and civil rights groups that has as its purpose to 'reorder America's priorities by investing in the nation's most valuable resource - its people.'"

One of the things Watertiger and I touched on Sunday night on Virtually Speaking (download the podcast!) all too briefly was the latest move in the anti-immigrant mania being pushed on the right, but unlike me, Digby actually watched the segment on This Week where the Village discussed the subject, and has their view. Of course, if I'd been there, I would have suggested "immigration reform" that eliminates the concept of "illegals" altogether and simply requires that all alien residents hired in the US must join a union, must have a right to strike, and must be paid at least one cent more per hour than any American with the same job. Of course, not many people would support it, but just think how much less attractive hiring foreigners would be to the Bosses if such a law existed. Also, more from Digby on Wall Street's economic terrorists (and the people who cave in to them), and eight popular lies. And Tristero on making stupidity respectable.

Sirota, "Report: Obama Launches New Program to Help Corporations "Take Advantage of Low Labor Costs" Abroad: In recent months, President Obama reversed his campaign promises on trade issues - first by dropping his pledge to renegotiate NAFTA and then by pushing to pass NAFTA-style trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. Now, with the unemployment crisis persisting, the key jobs question is once again front a center in American politics. Specifically: How do we create jobs here at home and build our most valuable 21st century industries? The first and foremost answer is that our government should stop doing stuff like the program described in this stunning new report from Information Week."

If you've seen Gibbs' remarkable put-down of "the professional left", you probably noticed that almost every word of it is wrong, but Aravosis notes that, "This interview with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is really quite remarkable. Not in its substance - President Obama's staff smears the Democratic base, and our issues, on a regular basis. No, what's remarkable is that a senior White House official has finally gone on the record in order to smear the Democratic base. That's unprecedented. It also puts to the rest the White House's prior defense, whenever a senior unnamed official went after the base, of claiming it was a rogue employee who didn't represent the President. Gibbs clearly does." But before that Aravosis said an interesting thing in response to Gibbs' claim that the left didn't help Obama get elected: "Then there's all that work we did for the campaign, all the dirty work they asked us to do - and we did it, gladly, and quietly - none of that counted either, apparently." Dirty work? I wonder what he means. Via Suburban Guerrilla.

We're devolving. Or, as Krugman puts it, "America Goes Dark."

When Google leaps into bed with Verizon, it's definitely time to worry about the future of the internet. I mean, if you weren't worried already. Which you should be.

"The mystery of the missing workers, or why there are still some jobs unfilled.

You can watch The Decline right here.

Meanwhile, David Cameron's very public project to destroy Britain proceeds apace, and I don't see the Lib Dems doing anything to stop it. And they could, the bastards. What's their excuse?

Strangely, someone in my very own comment thread fell for this right-wing campaign to lie about the people trying to set up the Muslim center in New York.

The Learning Channel signing Sarah Palin to a contract is sort of like Gandhi or Dick Gregory getting their own show on the Food Network."

"And they were 17 feet tall and had adamantium bones!"

The way the future wasn't: Surveillance drone airships. Airships!

Lego pipeline explosion

I've never seen this before.

19:27 BST

Monday, 09 August 2010

Same old same old

Tonight, Watertiger and Avedon Carol on Virtually Speaking Sundays beginning at 5:00 PM Pacific, also known as 8:00 PM Eastern, or, as we call it around here, one o'clock in the morning.

The "right-wing Judy Garland will bring the fun back to politics. This has to be a parody site, but I can't find the proof.

Good for Fareed Zakaria for returning his MBE Hubert Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize to the ADL after their disgusting display of bigotry. (And I think the word Atrios is looking for is "mensch".)

Rachel Maddow interviews the lawyers who won the Prop Hate case - one of whom, weirdly, is Ted Olsen. Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, reckons to back off the fight against gay marriage. Next stop, the Supremes. Oh, well.

Maybe using models that don't work explains why our econ geniuses think doing nothing will.

Even Frank Rich has noticed that the Democrats clever plan of doing nothing but trying to run against Bush and Palin while doing nothing to address joblessness is not a good campaign strategy. (And I see even Rich is now able to put the word "moderates" in quotes when referring to right-wing nuts like Grassly and McCain.) And if even Alan Greenspan can recognize that the Bush tax-shift (the one they call the Bush "tax cuts") should expire, why, pray tell, can't the Democrats? It serves Obama to be able to pretend it's all the GOP's fault, but he's only been doing their job for them.

What's more important than feeding, housing, and educating your children? Maintaining a dying empire.

Maybe if the left just came right out and demanded a Job Guarantee, it would help push things leftward.

I think it's safe to say that Ezra Klein has been thoroughly absorbed by the pod people.

Cocaine Nation reviewed: "Although Feiling doesn't soft-pedal the harm of drug dependence - to addicts, mainly, but also to their families and communities - he argues convincingly that the remedy promoted most aggressively by the United States has proved far worse than the disease."

I'm not big on petitions, but you might want to sign one to defend WikiLeaks, and we're still in danger of losing the internet, so do what you can to stop it.

I've just finished reading Stieg Larsson's Millennium series, turned into a trilogy only by his untimely death. Be that as it may, I still feel like I'm waiting for the other seven planned books and can't wait. Even Thom Hartmann recommends it. (Don't start reading the second one until you've got the third one, but get it.)

Just so you know i haven't magically cheered up, have some Blues For Nothing.

00:24 BST

Saturday, 07 August 2010

Blues for breakfast

This is an odd article about the thinking of the Catfood Commission: "A source familiar with the proceedings of the working group on discretionary spending tells TPM that some commissioners, including one military contractor, would prefer to save money by freezing military pay and scaling back benefits, rather than by eliminating waste in defense contracting." Leaving aside the fact that there really isn't much scaling-back left to do with what few benefits the troops still have left, what I found particularly odd was an earlier sentence in the article: "Though most of the commission's work occurs behind closed doors in small working groups, early reports indicate that the GOP's unwillingness to support any significant tax increases are pushing the group toward proposed entitlement slashes and larger budget cuts." It's that word "GOP". Obama could have put anyone he wanted on this commission. In fact, he didn't even need to have a commission. Instead, he appointed a whole bunch of people whose mission in life is to take as much away from 98% of Americans as possible to this commission. It's a bit late to be blaming the GOP for any callousness and stinginess that comes out of it.

Atrios: "If the Dems were smart there would be no debate about the "Bush tax cuts" instead they would let the Bush tax cuts expire as the law currently requires and come up with their own exciting "Obama tax cuts" or "Democratic tax cuts" or whatever. Why they want to essentially give Bush credit for their tax cutting is bizarre." Because Democrats refuse to talk to anyone who is to the left of the Republican leadership, they talk like Republicans. It's the only language they know. (via)

Also via Atrios, I see that Obama's chief economic advisor is leaving because she just doesn't feel like his chief economic advisor. I bet she was pretty pissed off at having to try to defend stuff she doesn't believe in, either. (More here..) (Also, can someone tell me what's in this video, since it's "not available in your country"?)

I don't think politics is going to help you much, so it's time to develop a plan for Personal Finance in a Deflationary Period.

Paul Krugman on The Flimflam Man: "One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he's hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic. Which brings me to the innovative thinker du jour: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin." You'll never guess what bright new idea this Republican has for solving the deficit problem... unless you've noticed that it's what conservatives are always doing or trying to do.

Meanwhile, in China, there may be good news - people willing to confront their serfdom and fight for a union movement. Trying to form unions in the United States - where we had a Constitutional right of free association - was a bloody struggle. The Chinese have no such right written anywhere, but they are fighting all the same.

David Waldman has a clarification about "ethics trials" here, but what he doesn't explain is why, with all the obvious graft and corruption on the conservative end of the spectrum, the only thing we're hearing about ethics trials is regarding two of the more progressive members of Congress. I'm not a huge fan of Rangel, but he really is one of the few people left in Washington who doesn't sound like a right-winger 24/7. And so is Maxine Waters. Hm, I wonder what they have in common.

Sam Seder posted a bunch of quickie interviews with some of our favorite bloggers from Netroots Nation. He also calls BS on who is joining the hate-fest against Muslims in New York.

There are intermittent sightings of the Northern Lights in the far north of Scotland now and then, but the other night they were visible as far down as central Scotland, which is very rare indeed (more). Seattle got a peek, too. (Pretty.)

Ansible reports: "H.G. Wells inspired a £1000 story competition for under-25s (linked with the Wells Festival - see below or www.wellsfestival.com), which had no entries owing to two strict requirements: handwritten submissions and no horrid science fiction. 'Last year there were plenty of entries because the competition was open to writers of all ages and stories could include science fiction, depicting ghastly invasions of our everyday lives by all sorts of nameless horrors,' complained contest setter Reg Turnill (94). He has since dropped the unpopular conditions and extended the 20 July deadline."

More Kooper & Bloomfield in another musical interlude. (I knew I was going to enjoy Sneakers from the first notes of the opening title music.)

12:00 BST

Wednesday, 04 August 2010

I watch the sun go down

Just in case you had failed to notice already how repellent Tim Geithner is, he had an op-ed in the NYT the other day called, of all things, "Welcome to the Recovery," in which he pretends that, well, spring is here and robins are in bloom and the green shoots are chirping away or something. And I'm sure it is, and they are, for him and his over-fed cronies who have worked diligently to destroy the middle-class and are succeeding magnificently. For the rest of us, of course, the nights are drawing in, and for some it's the dead of winter and may never be spring again. Atrios disliked the article so much that he spent a series of posts pointing out the absence of any mention of housing (and foreclosure, and the designed-to-fail HAMP), how this crises means the economy can't recover, and how downright dishonest and nasty it is to claim it's just about training the unemployed to have 21st Century Skillz.

And, honest to gods, I so want to smack people around when they talk about retraining. Some of the most skilled and educated people in America are out of work and will probably never have another job because they are regarded as too old. For the most part, they will have better educations and be more literate and have wider experience than the younger people who come up behind them because they were educated before the Reagan administration set to work destroying our educational system. More of these people than you might imagine are pretty up-to-date with the skills required for modern technology, but even in the wonderful high-tech area, there are only so many jobs to go around. And, in addition to that, an awful lot of modern management is actually uninterested in anything other than mediocrity, because they want to make sure you all know that you are utterly replaceable cogs in their engine. They don't actually like the highly-skilled and would rather have a bunch of people with limited skills around. People who know their place - they think less of themselves, and it's easier to convince them that they are just lucky to have a job, you see. (And, I don't know if you've noticed this, but you seldom get to be Director of the IT department by knowing anything about IT. You usually get there by knowing how to push people around and demoralize them sufficiently that they are afraid to ask for anything - not a particularly modern skill at all.)

Even at the lower levels, it doesn't exactly take all that much training to get up to speed. There was a period back there in the '80s when companies were desperate for programmers and various sorts of hardware people and they were grabbing secretaries and turning them into software designers. Now they won't even grab experienced programmers and let them maintain software. At least, not if they actually want to earn a living at the job. As far as modern corporations are concerned, there is no percentage in providing real products and services; the important industry is figuring out how to cheat you out of a living wage and take away your property. (That last is important. Someone did a study a while back tracking the fortunes of black families in America, and what they found is that the ones that managed to get ahead were those who had managed to buy land. But even our small parcels of land are being clawed back from us by the rich, now. They even managed to get people to remortgage homes they already owned outright in bad deals that are stripping assets they earned the whole of their working lives. And Obama found a clever way to squeeze them even more with HAMP, as Chris Hayes explains.)

The thing is, most of us already have the skills needed for the 21st, an awful lot of which are just minor adjustments on 20th century skills. Thanks to the economic crunch, which has been going on a lot longer than our captured media will admit, innovation in technology has been pretty much down to zero for the last decade. Maybe you need to brush up on the most popular spreadsheet program, but that's the work of about 15 minutes. IOZ is right about this - the whole idea that unemployed workers need to be retrained with higher-order skills is a scam. Go look around at what's on offer in retraining programs - they are offering to train you in skills you already have. Skills that aren't helping you find a new job. In fact, you very often have to try to sound less skilled and educated just to make it as far as an initial interview for the kinds of jobs that are available, most of which are jobs you got an education to avoid having to take.

You've already lost your most intimate personal freedoms, of course. At work they are checking your hair and urine to make sure you don't have any fun off the job, and apparently your "freely entered" contracts allow private companies to give away your private information to other private entities as well as the government, giving you "a far more effective police state than ever existed in East Germany."

I hadn't realized before the Bloomberg story came out that insurance companies were actually holding soldier's death benefits in their own accounts instead of simply paying a lump sum as is normally done.

Poor David Stockman. He knows that the current Republican leadership is screwing us, but he doesn't really understand why.

Instead of worrying about how best to support our glorious president, a good thing to do would be to fight in the war against the War On Drugs. For a start, you could Just Say Now.

Huxley vs. Orwell? (Personally, I see it as a false dichotomy - it's always been both the carrot and the stick.)

The Blues Project, live 1981

14:24 BST

Tuesday, 03 August 2010

Give me wings

I Think Krugman is getting that sinking feeling: "What lies down this path? Here's what I consider all too likely: Two years from now unemployment will still be extremely high, quite possibly higher than it is now. But instead of taking responsibility for fixing the situation, politicians and Fed officials alike will declare that high unemployment is structural, beyond their control. And as I said, over time these excuses may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the long-term unemployed lose their skills and their connections with the work force, and become unemployable. I'd like to imagine that public outrage will prevent this outcome. But while Americans are indeed angry, their anger is unfocused. And so I worry that our governing elite, which just isn't all that into the unemployed, will allow the jobs slump to go on and on and on." Atrios is, of course, right again, and again: "I guess it should have been obvious for some time, but it's clear that many in the Federal Reserve-Industrial complex always see rising wages as bad. Not simply wages rising faster than productivity gains, or even wages rising faster than inflation, but wage increases period. What this means, of course, is that those who set monetary policy think things are 'good' when the predator class increasingly has the power to extract all rents from workers. Can you say "cheap-labor conservatives"?

"Fox News gets front row White House seat over NPR: Fox News is moving up to the front row of the White House press room, and while that might sound like inside baseball to some, the symbolism is significant. In some ways, this is the very stuff of culture wars, in fact. There was a lobbying effort going on to try and keep Fox News from moving into the front row after a seat opened up with the resignation of UPI's Helen Thomas. Fox News didn't get the seat Thomas had held -- front row center. That went to AP. But Fox News did get AP's old front row seat rather than NPR and Bloomberg, which will be in the second row where Fox used to sit."

Chris Hedges: "We have to stop believing that we can effect change through established political or social organizations or electoral politics, and I think that still remains a huge hurdle for us people who in the end, through accommodation of fear and very clever advertising, are herded like sheep into a dysfunctional system, which is how so many people who should have known better voted for Obama. The environmental crisis that we're about to face will be even more catastrophic than the economic, and we have to, on a personal level, reconsider how we relate to the society at large and to the ecosystem. We have both personal and social decisions to make. At this point most people are not willing to make those choices or take those steps."

Mr. Transparency's administration wants to expand the reach of National Security Letters.

On Virtually Speaking Sundays with nyceve and emptywheel, yes, Marcy Wheeler did indeed say she thinks if Obama doesn't appoint Elizabeth Warren, he should be primaried.

"The Aftermath Of The Global Housing Bubble Chokes The World Banking System: [...] Thus now do you see the pattern of Armageddon gathering force and deciding when and where to explode and paint a picture of gore all across the world."

John Prescott's testimony about the shocking conversations he was having with his Democratic friends in the Senate just "a couple of days after 9/11" leads Jacob Davis to say in Obsidian Wings: "I guess this is old news, but I still have it in me to find it a little shocking that Democratic Senators were openly talking about invading Iraq right after 9/11. Washington is very strange." Meanwhile, Hans Blix (who really should have said more at the time) explains why the Iraq war was illegal.

Scott Brown on How Max Headroom Predicted the Demise of TV Journalism

Somebody figured out the right way to promote the 40th Anniversary Special Edition of David Bowie's Space Oddity. (Nevertheless, I am reminded to say no thanks to whatever bright light decided the revamp of the YouTube site should make it harder to find the clean, direct link to an individual video.)

Get your wars on.

14:00 BST

Sunday, 01 August 2010

Assorted things

Freya Halle Underwire Plunge BraBra of the Week


Pop art

The Trifid Nebula, and The Milky Way Over Bryce Canyon

Comic-Con protests Fred Phelps.


The big money-maker on the internet is stealing your data.

You can only look at this page once, so make a note of it: a story from November of 2001 called "U.S. Exploring Ways To Sell War Against Terrorism To Overseas Audiences". You may remember hearing something about this at the time. You may even remember people being outraged about it. But you did know, didn't you? "Presidential advisers huddle with Hollywood executives. Cabinet members and generals meet with Muslim media. White House aides in London and Pakistan "war rooms" arrange pro-American publicity. The United States is cranking up efforts to build and retain foreign support for the war against terrorism. [...] Fearing a waning of overseas support as U.S. bombs drop over Afghanistan, the Bush administration is working closely with advertising agencies and local experts to find more ways to disseminate its message against terrorists.

The corporate media wants to talk about Breitbart a lot and blame the internet for bad news, and they also want to dismiss the Wikileaks story as being more of the same. But The Problem Isn't Fast News, It's Dumb News. Dumb, right-wing news.

Meanwhile, Chris Matthews is trying to cover Breitbart's hiney, but when Joan Walsh and Howard Dean tell him he's wrong, the video seems to disappear from the MSNBC site.

It's hard to be in love with Democrats who want to gut your Miranda rights.

"Eventually you have to consider the possibility that we are living under the policy regime the controlling factions of the Democratic party prefer."

In which Thoreau make a rattling departure from the libertarian reservation and decides building codes are not an entirely bad idea.

Wikileaks posts an Insurance policy.

Tonight on Virtually Speaking, nyceve and emptywheel.

Via Atrios, I see that, according to the NYT Caucus Blog:

Republican leaders on Thursday filibustered the $42 billion package - which several Republicans helped write and had the backing of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business - making passage before the August recess highly unlikely.
Did they? The cited story says:
With 60 votes needed to advance the legislation, the tally was 58 to 42, with Democrats unanimously in favor and Republicans all opposed. The majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, switched his vote to no at the last minute, a parliamentary step that allows him to call for a re-vote.
That's not a filibuster. When Harry makes them filibuster, then maybe he'll have an excuse. And then we will see. Except the he won't, and we won't.

14:22 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, August 2010

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