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Sunday, 30 May 2010

On the internet

Pruning Shears found Some Suggestions For Our Inert President. He can really use 'em, because: "We are in the midst of what is probably the worst environmental catastrophe in our nation's history, and it looks like the damage will continue to worsen for the next few months. Barack Obama may not know this yet, but his credibility and leadership are being destroyed along with the ecosystem of the Gulf Coast. He has come under heavy criticism even from Democratic strategists and analysts in the capitol, usually among his most reliable allies. It has gotten so bad that even wingnut welfare shops have started getting off tough but fair commentary."

CMike came up with an interesting proposal in (Echo's annoyingly unpermalinkable) comments:

The government should replace BP as the company managing the work to cap the well and give Exxon, or some other company, a no-bid cost plus contract to do it. The conditions of the contract should be that whichever company does get the job; it should spare no expense to complete the task asap, the contract can be canceled at anytime if the government deems insufficient progress is being made and the contractor's plans and work must be open for inspection by other potential contractors so they may assess the progress being made and any one of those auditors should be allowed to make their case to the government that they should be allowed to take over as the project's contractor.

A second company should be given a contract to do the clean-up work.

If there's any useful work to be done containing the oil as it disperses beyond the immediate area of the original drilling site, a third company should get that contract.

Bills would be submitted to the government for approval and paid for by BP [without that company's review].

I was so entertained by the prospect of BP being charged the way private companies like to charge the government that I almost forgot that the problem with those sorts of contracts isn't just the cost spiral but the fact that the job never properly gets done.

Also in comments, BDBlue noted that "Obama will be bringing the troops home, but not in a good way."

It's true, Ron Paul has some destructive ideas, but is he really any crazier than the Democrats - like the 26 Democrats who voted against repealing the stupid, destructive Don't Ask-Don't Tell policy? Or the Democratic leadership that supported the invasion of Iraq and still continues the war on Afghanistan? "In 2008, the sicko Ron Paul opposed the legalization of Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program and the granting of retroactive immunity to lawbreaking telecoms, while the Democratic Congress -- led by the current U.S. President, his Chief of Staff, the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the House Majority Leader -- overwhelmingly voted it into law. Paul, who apparently belongs in a mental hospital, vehemently condemned America's use of torture from the start, while many leading Democrats were silent (or even supportive), and mainstream, sane Progressive Newsweek and MSNBC pundit Jonathan Alter was explicitly calling for its use. Compare Paul's February, 2010 emphatic condemnation of America's denial of habeas corpus, lawless detentions and presidential assassinations of U.S. citizens to what the current U.S. Government is doing." And then, of course, there's the drug war. Why point the finger at Ron Paul? To distract us from the fact that he's not the one who is destroying our country - those are the people who actually run it.

Uh oh, Hillary Clinton told the truth about something:

She began by talking about innovation, and how it was central to both American recovery and competitiveness with rising powers like China. But soon she took herself to what she called "one of the biggest international problems we have," and, pausing, added this perhaps important caveat: "This is my opinion, I'm not speaking for the administration."

"The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues" that confront the United States and other nations, "whether it is individual, corporate, whatever the taxation forms are."

Then she offered up an example. "Brazil has the highest tax-to-G.D.P. rate in the Western hemisphere. And guess what? It's growing like crazy. The rich are getting richer, but they are pulling people out of poverty. There is a certain formula there that used to work for us until we abandoned it - to our regret, in my opinion. My view is that you have to get many countries to increase their public revenues."

Chris Hayes: "If we're going to get reform on the scale we need, bank lobbyists and members of Congress alike have to be confronted with the terrifying thought that the system from which they profit might just be run over - that 700 angry protesters might show up on their lawn any given Sunday."

RIP, Dennis Hopper, actor and director.

00:33 BST

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Mostly streaming

Why Warren Mosler is not running as a Democrat anymore - he's running as an Independent because he knows we're being lied to about things like the government not having enough money to take care of the people. Because he knows how money actually works. Apparently, we don't have anyone in Congress or the White House who does - or else, who is willing to admit it. (Also: Has Obama finally lost Donna Brazile because he's letting BP screw us around? Oh, and speaking of that kind of thing: Does this immigration cave-in mean that Obama has finally lost Kos?)

Alan Grayson is "controversial" when he talks about the GOP plan to destroy our government.

A year ago, eight people were arrested at the so-called health care hearings because they tried to raise the issue of single-payer - the only option that would really reduce costs and help most Americans. Liberals everywhere should have treated it as an outrage and a scandal that single-payer advocates were completely frozen out of the hearings and even arrested for trying to participate, but perhaps the greater scandal was the near-silence with which the issue was treated in the "progressive" blogosphere.

Clarke and Dawe explain the European debt crisis, and Sam Seder explains that We're not Greece - and why the tories want you to think we are anyway.

A funny thing happened while Monkeyfister was covering the new eruption in the Gulf earlier in the week....

Attaturk and Randy Newman solve the problem.

Anton Karas plays "Der dritte Mann", live.

16:23 BST

Monday, 24 May 2010

Things fall apart

Tony Wikrent discusses The Obama administration as "managed democracy":

Basically, while it has become the dominant type of culture in the United States, business culture, as foreseen and explained by Thorstein Veblen, has degenerated to lower forms of barbarism, dragging the rest of society down with it. Veblen's understanding of the politico-sociological, as well as economic, differences between industrial producers, as distinct from financial predators, gives us a far more powerful means of socio-economic analysis than Marxism does, which fails to distinguish between productive and predatory economic and social behaviors. Marxism's obsession with ownership of the means of production blinds Marxists to the crucial differences and deadly conflict between real industry and predatory financial and monetary systems.


Moreover, unlike industrialists, business managers and financiers dislike the uncertainty and unpredictability created by technological innovation. American folklore is rife with stories and myths of breakthrough technologies that were suppressed by corporate behemoths. Rather than creating wealth through increased and less imperfect production (here, think of the Japanese concept of kaizen), business managers and financiers instead seek to acquire wealth "by a shrewd restriction of output," causing privation and unemployment. This actually establishes and perpetuates a process of financial sabotage of industry.

Peter Boone and Simon Johnson on The Road To Economic Serfdom: "According to Friedrich von Hayek, the development of welfare socialism after World War II undermined freedom and would lead western democracies inexorably to some form of state-run serfdom. Hayek had the sign and the destination right but was entirely wrong about the mechanism. Unregulated finance, the ideology of unfettered free markets, and state capture by corporate interests are what ended up undermining democracy both in North America and in Europe. All industrialized countries are at risk, but it's the eurozone - with its vulnerable structures - that points most clearly to our potentially unpleasant collective futures."

Lots more links on the murder of democracy by the financiers This Week In Tyranny.

Alan Grayson comes up with a great plan to reduce the deficit significantly by introducing The War is Making You Poor Act on the floor. He had charts!

Bet Against The American Dream

14:24 BST

Saturday, 22 May 2010

I'm comin' down with the blues

Naturana Linear floral embroidery underwired full cup braBra of the Week

Krugman hints again that we're screwed, "progressives" are happily selling everyone down the river by pretending the crazy right-wingers are the real threat, acts of serious vandalism are richly rewarded, some say a hard rain's gonna fall, my roses reacted badly to the weather, and I really don't know what to tell you.

On the other hand, my niece is here on an unprecedented visit, the thing I enjoyed most online yesterday was the Google logo*) (play it while it's still up - give it a moment to load), and Mappa Lundi is neat, and I really hate the news right now, so I accidentally took a week off.

However, I'm going to have to start paying attention since Jay Ackroyd and I will be doing Virtually Speaking Sundays this week and presumably expelling bitter laughter over whatever the Sunday bobbleheads on your TV said. Maybe we will also talk about the real reason the Gulf Geyser hasn't been capped yet.

Also: I loved having a car and driving like a maniac, and you should all be grateful that I am now able to live without a car and you are safe from having to share roads with me. Strangely, I love that, too.

And anyway, once the financial industry pretty much admits it and simply hires gamblers who have no experience at all in High Finance, well....

Here's Marcia Ball 'way back when singing "It Hurts To Be In Love", and here she is a bit more recently - and here she is again, talking about Growing Up in Louisiana.

23:56 BST

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

On the Infobahn

Via Suburban Guerrilla, I saw Kevin Drum saying he didn't think much of Obama's record on civil liberties, and noticed a comment at his blog by Mitch titled "Continuity you can believe in?" pointing out that since Obama's record has always lacked any substance or even eloquence in any liberal direction, it doesn't make much sense that Kevin is surprised that Obama is continuing Bush's attack on America. Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald's point that Obama is in essence depriving all Americans of their rights by creating yet another excuse to deprive some Americans of their rights - and their citizenship - is one that can't be made often enough: "The most disgraceful episodes in American history have been about exempting classes of Americans from core rights, and that is exactly what these recent, Terrorism-justified proposals do as well. Anyone who believes that these sorts of abusive powers will be exercised only in narrow and magnanimous ways should just read a little bit of history, or just look at what has happened with the always-expanding police powers vested in the name of the never-ending War on Drugs, the precursor to the never-ending War on Terrorism in so many ways."

And speaking of Glennzilla, it looks like the ObamaRahma War On Glenn carries on, with no less a name than Larry Lessig appearing on the Maddow show to slur him, and The Daily Howler not too pleased about it. (Elsewhere, the Howler looks in awe at the psychosexual problems of Chris Matthews, his amnesia about it, and the amazing "liberals" who pretend that Matthews isn't a performing loon.)

Oh, and indefinite detention is no longer just for terrorists: "The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates considered "sexually dangerous" after their prison terms are complete."

"NRA bans guns from annual convention [...] I guess it's one thing to fight to make sure someone else can carry a loaded gun into a bar and have a few drinks and a whole other thing to think Sarah Palin and the NRA leadership would actually believe in what they advocate and allow the organization's membership to get anywhere near them with a gun. After all, someone could end up getting shot."

Atrios pointed out a few days back that Sestak was trailing Arlen Specter in the polls for tomorrow's Democratic primary in Pennsylvania until he started to run this ad.

Guests on Virtually Speaking Sundays were Marcy Wheeler and Joan McCarter (McJoan and Emptywheel). You can listen to the stream at that link, or download the podcast.

Promo Trailer for Lost finale.

03:54 BST

Sunday, 16 May 2010

You get a shiver in the dark, it's raining in the park

Galbraith: "Ask yourselves: is it possible for mortgage originators, ratings agencies, underwriters, insurers and supervising agencies NOT to have known that the system of housing finance had become infested with fraud? Every statistical indicator of fraudulent practice - growth and profitability - suggests otherwise. Every examination of the record so far suggests otherwise. The very language in use: 'liars' loans,' 'ninja loans,' 'neutron loans,' and 'toxic waste,' tells you that people knew. I have also heard the expression, 'IBG,YBG;' the meaning of that bit of code was: 'I'll be gone, you'll be gone.'"

"US drug war has met none of its goals: After 40 years, the United States' war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread. Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn't worked. 'In the grand scheme, it has not been successful,' Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. 'Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.'" I guess that depends on what you think the goals of the drug war actually are. It's put lots of people in jail and thus helped our prison industry grow. It has turned many parts of cities into war zones. It has deprived many urban residents of their right to vote. It has given the police a free pass to harass and even kill people they simply don't like the look of or think need to learn their place. Hardly a failure if your goal is to oppress the populace.

"U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits: The Minerals Management Service, or M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists. Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed."

Gosh, maybe Dobson is right - if you want your kid to be successful, make them psychopaths.

Government takeover of the internet! The simple answer to this nonsense is that the government built the internet - with tax-payer funding from the ground up, plus taxpayers' personal efforts to contribute as users. We paid for the university research that created the interfaces, or we created them ourselves, or small businesses, start-ups, etc. made their contributions, but for the most part it is a lie to suggest that big corporations contributed much at all to the development and popularity of the internet, and they should just shut up and thank us for letting them use it sometimes. The idea that these vultures have any right to control the net as a whole or our access to it can most charitably be termed malicious interference with public communication. Via Jay Ackroyd. at Eschaton.

Defrauding the public for the profit-based doctors : "In that long tradition of using governmental positions to work against the taxpayers who fund them, another officeholder in Texas has been exposed as using his position to defraud. As head of an office that should keep worker compensation costs reasonable while treating the injured worker for their injury, this official shields doctors from exclusion from the program when they acquire a record of inappropriate and excessive treatment that benefits no one but themselves."

And all these years later, Ettlin finally meets the man who, in Dave's early days as a reporter, was once Maryland's most powerful politician, Marvin Mandel. And one year later, Dave offers a follow-up on the story of The Baltimore Sun Massacre, and says there's a whole website devoted to stories from fired Sun staffers.

Cute little graphic here for Google Classic.

Baroque Star Wars

Knopfler & Clapton. I think I was a bit transported there at the end....

23:07 BST

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Can't find my way home

At Eschaton:

  • Atrios said something yesterday that we may need to think about: "I think the Wall St. vs. Main St. metaphor isn't very good because nobody ever really explains what it means, and in suburban America "Main St." doesn't generally exist, but the fact is here and abroad it's the fate of rich investors which is what matters." I mean the first part of that sentence - what is "Main Street" to people who don't work or shop in their own neighborhood?
  • I think Atrios is wrong that things like Cantor's list are "pointless". The point is to convince people that the options for improving the economy are limited to what's on the list, as if the far more wasteful and extravagant programs and policies that are hurting us aren't in the mix. Sometimes you spend money to protect what you have, sometimes you spend money to improve your yield, and then there are times when you throw money down the toilet to support conservative "cost-cutting" and "efficiency" policies like privatizing prisons, promoting crazy sex-education schemes run by people who hate sex, propping up the wealthy, subsidizing the commercial insurance industry, and letting corporations run your military. People need to understand the difference between frugality and miserliness as well as the difference between investment, on the one hand, and fraud and profiteering on the other. Of course, if you really wanted to fatten up the treasury, one top-of-the-list option would be to make sure you tax the hell out of the rich; not only does it bring in lots of money and make them pay for the much higher level of public services they use up, but it stops them from becoming so powerful that they can control the government. The GOP has been successfully embarked on a program to narrow our field of possibilities so that most people don't even know those differences exist.
  • Atrios also recommends Ezra Klein's interview with James Galbraith, in which Galbraith says, "Government does not need money to spend just as a bowling alley does not run out of points."

It seems that American "investors" don't want to invest in reviving America's industrial base because you'd have to pay Americans a decent wage. As a result, China gets to be the industrial powerhouse, and Americans lose every way around.

Funnily enough, it turns out that all those swarthy immigrants in Arizona haven't been pushing the crime rate up after all. Imagine that.

Via another highly linky "This Week in Tyranny" post at Pruning Shears, I learn that, "Charles Murray at the American Enterprise Institute finally concedes that charter schools aren't really better in any measurable way..."

At Angry Bear, Robert Waldmann dislikes the way the word "friction" is being used in economic policy debates. Not too crazy about "liquidity", either. (Atrios has been making the point for a while that defining the financial crisis as a "liquidity" problem because mortgagees can't sell garbage for as much as they would like to be able to sell it for is wrong. If your assets show you as being insolvent given the actual available sales for your holdings, then you have an insolvency problem, not a liquidity problem.)

Well, congratulations to Iceland, who actually deal with banksters who screwed up the economy by putting them in jail. As should we all.

NTodd is running for office, and needs our help. I actually have a certain faith that this long-time Atriot will not turn all Chris van Hollen on us, so it might actually be worth it to put him on your donations list, if you have one.

In an unusual departure for Virtually Speaking, Jay Ackroyd will host a discussion between a liberal and a conservative: "Jon is an innovative member of the Republican party, who is looking to the future of the party and the nation. He is a founder of The Next Right where he also blogs. Cliff Schecter is an outspoken liberal, a campaign consultant from Ohio, who has made many television appearances, some of them on Fox. Cliff and Jon make a unique pairing of sharp intellects ready to engage in an honest and civil discussion from the viewpoints of the left and the right."

Blind Faith, the electric version.

16:20 BST

The perecentage you're paying is too high priced

My keyboard was sick, among other things, but I just wanted to say: Happy birthday, Steve Winwood!

(And anyway, I just don't know what to say about the Conservative/LibDem deal, or the disappeared story of military ops on US soil, or the right-wing war on Roger Ebert, or the death of the Great Society.)

04:32 BST

Monday, 10 May 2010

Once more with feeling

The news was getting to me so I finally realized I needed to take a weekend off from blogging. Not that I have a refreshed eagerness to read more about how messed up things are, but at least I didn't have to try to write coherent sentences about it for a couple of days.

Anyway, you might be interested in Roz Kaveney's first response to the UK election result.

Suburban Guerrilla: "You learn the darndest things on the internets. For example, I just found out that the Gulf of Mexico is the primary disposal site for unexploded military munitions - over 30 million pounds of bombs, projectiles and chemical ordnance. And because records are spotty and incomplete, we don't know exactly where these dumps are. (Are you following me?) Many of these bombs are unstable. Just about anything could detonate them - say, an oil rig that's digging deeper than what owners noted on their permit application. So we're leasing offshore drilling rights to oil companies IN A FRICKIN' MINE FIELD."

It's interesting: The Republicans claim to oppose negotiating with "the enemy", and yet they are happy to do it when it involves conspiring with them to win elections against Democrats - even if it means endangering more Americans in the bargain. Because they can.

Some people are enjoying the probably head-exploding moment of the news that white peoples is Neanderthals, but I expect it will only take a moment for the wingers to collect themselves and decide this is all proof of the superiority of white people.

Someone really needs to get it across to local business owners that if they allow multinationals to park in their town, it's not just the unions that suffer. (Also: Good reporters not welcome to return to Guantanamo.)

Just out of curiosity: "126 riggers were on the Deepwater Horizon when it blew; 11 died. 7 BP executives were also on the rig; all lived. WaPo interviewed riggers on Friday; AP interviewed riggers today. Neither AP nor WaPo explains how the executives escaped the rig; nor does NOLA's Times-Picayune."

My experience is that sex workers as a group are often smart, decent human beings who provide valuable insights into the world around us when we talk to them. Even the ones who aren't particularly bright can be nice people with good instincts. Generally speaking, their trade does a lot less harm to the world than many that are treated as "respectable" - which is why some o them do it in preference to a number of more destructive options. I don't want to see those people treated like pariahs at any time, but especially not when they give us some truth. (via)

We can all get behind the campaign to restore Joss Whedon.

"Walk Through the Fire"

16:01 BST

Friday, 07 May 2010

Her hands are never cold

Jay's guest last night on Virtually Speaking was Jeffrey Feldman of Frameshop, about how the right-wing has twisted the entire public debate. Listen to the stream at the link, or download the podcast when it's been loaded.

I love the internet. I'm going to miss it when it's gone. I say that a lot. People think I'm joking. I'm not. Our owners are working hard to do everything possible to shut down communication, innovation, and creativity in general.

Following the money, Digby learns that the Eat Cat Food Commission seems to be a ruse to shovel about half of our Social Security money into Pete Peterson's pockets, and Brad DeLong has gone back over to the dark side.

The Ironman/Thor offering for Free Comic Book Day didn't get very good reviews, but it was pretty much the answer to a question I asked a while back about where all the Owners were going to live after they'd finished wrecking everything. In this story, they are terraforming the moon. I think I mentioned somewhere along the way that one of my paranoid fancies is that they actually know what a mess they've made of things and have been working on Big Science projects all along to get them out of the mess they are leaving us in. Obviously, I'm not the only person who had imagined this scenario. Of course, in the comic book, they talk like supervillians, but from the '60s - they call themselves "the rich" and say they have used Earth up and now they're done with it so they don't care if their current project finally destroys it. That is, they say the same stuff the Wall Street types and insurance company and Prosperity Gospel types say in real life, only without trying to make it sound nice.

Oh well: "The UK has a hung Parliament. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says the Tories, as the party with most votes and seats, should get a chance to form a government. Counting continues for the general election and English local council elections. The Electoral Commission says it will be undertaking a "thorough review" of what happened in constituencies where people were unable to vote. Hundreds of people were turned away. The Greens have gained their first MP at Westminster - party leader Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion." I see my constituency, already solidly Labour, actually got even more so by several points, apparently taking that support from the Conservatives rather than the LibDems. Via Amygdala, which had the best Silly Party coverage.

When I met Dave Ettlin he was still a relatively new reporter, but a recent anniversary made him think back to his first front-page by-line: "Forty years ago, Baltimore was a tense city just beginning to find its way in race relations and America was caught up in dissension over the Vietnam war. Much of the response on both fronts, as reflected in the front-page stories of May 5, 1970, seem in hindsight to have stemmed from fear."

All the boys think she's a spy. (Jackie DeShannon - who knew?)

15:37 BST

Thursday, 06 May 2010

One more charade

I'm sorry to report that I can't find today's election issue of Class War online. Mr. Sideshow brought it home from where someone had left it on the Underground and you have to give them credit - four pages devoted entirely to the Labour, Conservative, LibDem, and BNP candidates. Or, rather, to posters of the four candidates with the word "Wanker" blazed across.

Ah, I get it, now, we elect Democrats to "recuse" themselves and put it all in the hands of Republicans.

"Out of the Shadows: The Obama Admin Fights Fed Audit." Because the American people should have no idea what they are doing with our money. (Also: The DLC is not dead, it's killing Social Security.)

James Fallows, "If the TSA Were Running New York" (and follow up here). And Bruce Schneier on the same subject with "Where Are All the Terrorist Attacks?" in The Atlantic and also a contribution at the NYT.

Just say NOW - It's time to end the drug war. No more SWAT teams breaking into a family home, shooting the family dogs in front of the kid, and then arresting the parents for child endangerment when a tiny amount of weed is found on the premises, please

Georgia terrorists busted for plans to attack Tennessee courthouse.

Did you know that in Arlington, VA, tasers have a 50% kill rate? Seriously, they've tased four people, and two of them died. (via)

Susie Bright Checks out the movie about The Runaways and remembers the scene like it all really was: "Everyone called themselves 'bi,' although that was really code for: don't tell me what to do." As always, Susie's site may not be work-safe.

"One More Parade"

23:49 BST

Wednesday, 05 May 2010

I'm not gonna play your games anymore

I thought listening to Digby and Stuart Zechman talk about who the "center" and the media and the Democratic leadership really are on Virtually Speaking Sunday night was really fascinating. Listen at the link or download the podcast. (I still disagree with Stuart's belief that "Third Way" and right-wing conservatism are two different things. Believing that there is an elite who should run things without reference to the will and needs of the populace is still the essence of all right-wing ideology.)

And yeah, I do know I'm just documenting the atrocities, but ...

Operating on the principle that tasers are meant to be used in place of deadly force, it is apparently being deemed appropriate to shoot to kill a baseball fan who runs onto the field. Why, it's downright funny.

Bet you're proud to live in America, where we have the best medical system in the world and "'A woman in the Unites States is more than five times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes in her lifetime and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland,' the report said. It also scored poorly on under-five mortality, its rate of eight per 1,000 births putting it on a par with Slovakia and Montenegro."

"Lawyer Tells Federal Judge Political Bribes Common Place [...] For an attorney who represents local governments across Maryland to say requests for fund raising assistance in exchanges for political favors or votes is not unlawful is mind boggling."

Apparently, knowing that we invaded Iraq because of testosterone poisoning doesn't change the fact that it is a great victory.

This Week in Tyranny there are, as always, lots of good links, but I was particularly interested to learn, per Andrew Sullivan, that the Conservative party is now campaigning as liberals: "Notice the phrase "vulnerable British citizens being packed off to America." Yes: America is now the place known internationally where people can get "disappeared," or sent off to the former torture camp, Gitmo. When it sinks in that this is how the British Tories now partly think of the US, you realize how much damage to the US Dick Cheney and George Bush really did."

Let's see what else President Hopey-Changey has been up to - oh, yes, turning NIH into another arm of the military! "The priorities of the National Institutes of Health(NIH) in the area of bacteriology have been 'catastrophically re-ordered' by emphasizing bioweapons research over non-bioweapons research, a prominent authority states."

"Did Goldman Sachs Manipulate Journalists and Stock Price On Same Day As Senate Testimony?" Would it be surprising if they did?

Just what we always wanted, a new Social Security card that you have to carry on your person at all times.

Jeez, did Robert Rubin actually think he could impress a date by giving a homeless guy a dollar?

I'm pleased to see that some people didn't think the Predator Drone joke was any funnier than the WMD joke.

Jurassicpork came up with a rejoinder to "We Are Wall Street" - "We Are Main Street."

I can never get enough of this song.

03:41 BST

Sunday, 02 May 2010

Hallways and staircases everyday to climb

He calls it "America's delusional politics," and of course he fails to acknowledge that Obama, whatever promises he ran on, is working for the other team, but Paul Rosenberg does hit some truths with this one:

In what universe does it make sense for a party to seek political power on the open and avowed basis of preventing others from fixing dire problems? Not just refusing to help solve problems, mind you. That would be irresponsible enough. But actively working to block any solutions whatsoever? In what universe does that make sense?

That is not a rhetorical question. Because the answer, obviously, is "ours." But why is our universe the way it is? Understanding the "logic" to our universe is the key to changing it--or at least, in the short term, surviving long enough to have a chance to change it.

My explanation rests on three key points:

1) Conservatives believe that they should rule the world. Liberals, not so much. Liberals tend to believe much more in process-that whoever wins elections should rule, and that ideally whoever's ideas are best should prevail. As long as there are processes in place protecting basic rights, liberals tend to trust the political process-or at, to trust its legitimacy. Conservatives, OTOH, tend to regard any loss of power as somehow illegitimate.

This is a pattern that holds true around the world.

(2) What makes America different is that conservatives have never ruled America in the same sort of virtually uncontested way that they have ruled other countries, and for that reason, they have never trusted the state, never assumed control of it the way that conservatives in other countries do--and know they can do, even when they are out of power. Although far from perfect, from the very beginning America's democratic republic left far too much power lying around where conservative elites couldn't control it in their sleep, which is the way that divinely sanctioned monarchies and the like have always been run. (Oh, sure, you have other scheming elites to watch out for. You can't control them in your sleep. But that's not the topic at hand.)

And thus Bismark-style or Vatican-style conservatism was never a viable option once the slave power was defeated, although there was a brief period of hope in the 1920s, before the conservative dream collapsed in the greatest economic catastrophe ever known. And thus, American conservatism has always been fundamentally seditious in a way that no other brand of conservatism in the world has been. Which is not to say its politics are unique, only that elsewhere they go under a less confusing, less contradictory name: they are reactionaries, nativists, proto-[and not-so-proto-]fascists and the like. They are of the right, but they are not conservatives. Only in America they are. America: where liberals are the true conservatives, the forgers of the constitution, and the governing philosophy it is based on, and the preservers of social stability by adopting policies of gradual change and political accommodation to create a single polity out of a roaring flux of change and transformation that would otherwise long ago have split the nation asunder.

So, 9/11 really did change everything.

But, of course, we can thank Robert Rubin for giving the conservatives all that help. (via)

Turns out it might have solved a lot of problems if US law required the same safeguards on oil rigs that other countries do, but the troubling details show that the oil industry was more successful in fighting such requirements in America than it has been elsewhere. Nevertheless, when BP stocks fall in the wake of the catastrophe they caused, they can't help wondering what they did to deserve it. (One of my commenters avers that, "British Petroleum's assault this week on the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida coasts is no less an act of War than were it sitting off the coast in a boat launching rockets into downtown New Orleans." Well, when you put it that way....)

You're a bleeding-heart liberal if you aren't willing to entertain right-wing policies. Our Democratic Senators will tell us so. I don't think they plan to leave us with enough to buy cat food.

But, you know, you can't tell people anything.

Apparently, John Galt wants your job. Be careful what you wish for.... (via)

Dave Ettlin looks at an indie film about Banksy - or not - called Exit Through the Gift Shop.

"She Don't Care About Time"

14:14 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, May 2010

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