Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

They Hate You- but You Knew That

Quit whining and get over it.

Of course, if the Tea Party wins the Congress in '10 and the Preznitcy in '12, it will be Blackwater/ Xe/ whatever they're calling themselves "policing" the streets.

You think hippie punching is bad when Joe Biden mocks you? Just wait 'till the 'Merikan Taliban starts knocking your teeth out. Literally.

Any idiot who refrains from voting DINOcrat deserves what they get. Not that Big Picture policy-wise they'll be much better than the Rethuglicans. But people are much less likely to get tazed to death. Literally.

And I do realize we are getting the juice under they DINOcrats; it's going to be that much worse with batshit crazy neo-nazis in charge.

I am far more cynical than Ian. I think the people that own this country aren't going to let it go. I think they think they have enough guns, and bravos, and non-lethal weapons, and disinformation mills, and control over every aspect of life to force what they want down your throat.

Just let them get in power again. They'll make Bu$hie look like Carter.


The Editors at The New York Pravda just don't seem to get it.

...A midnight filing by the Obama administration on Friday, asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit because of the so-called state secrets doctrine, again raises a troubling question. Why do the White House and Justice Department continue to invoke this severe legal tool essentially as prior administrations have used it, in the face of a considerable body of opinion that it has been abused and should be significantly reformed?

Could it have something to do with the fact that once the detainee policy is opened for public, it will in turn lead to a host of other issues regarding the Excellent Adventures of our national $ecurity state being examined by the main$tream, likely leading to the prosecution of most of the Department of Defense, the Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton administration, and the Nobel Laureate's administration for war crimes?

Now that would be another historical first: the first Peace Prize winner on trial at the Hague. Call him kid dy-no-mite.

Joe Biden is not getting it, big time. No whining, now, Joe. Neither are his Congressional Company DINOcratic cohorts.

...Many major donors, in fact, seem to be drawing a distinction between continuing to support left-leaning policy organizations and other institutions, and giving money to political groups focused on this election...

This is what happens when you give excellent, inspiring progressive political speeches and end up voting for policies as Poppy Bu$h tells you anyway.

And speaking of Poppy, his sockpuppet Robert Gates seems to have forgotten the lessons of Viet Nam at all levels- or maybe he just thinks his $ecurity state and propaganda machine is big enough to blow away the turbulence?

The United States is at risk of developing a cadre of military leaders who are cut off politically, culturally and geographically from the population they are sworn to protect, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told an audience at Duke University on Wednesday night...

Even after Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Gates said, “in the absence of a draft, for a growing number of Americans, service in the military, no matter how laudable, has become something for other people to do.”

I like that, at risk.

Yes, Mr. Gates, agitate for that draft. Hubris does complete its own circle, doesn't it? Or is it that simple?

Ever since Cheney did his first sleepover in the bunker under the White House, those who would rule us have been prepping for major civil unrest in the United States, knowing that would allow them to invoke the martial law they have such wet dreams about.

It's all just a matter of timing and implementation.

I stand by my first principles here: Chaos is the Plan.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the Pentagon puts your tax dollars to work

...lining the pockets of its favorite contractors...

Yes, the flying HumVee, and no, I am not kidding.

I wish I was.

The Pentacle Pentagon spares no expense to provide meaningful projects for Congressional lobbyists National $ecurity.

Monday, September 27, 2010

black helicopters and ninja policy

Apparently stateless gunship helicopters are now killing enemies of the $tate in Somalia.


...not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate their legality...

This one sentence from the Post article nicely summarizes the state of Obama's civil liberties record:

The Obama administration has cited the state-secrets argument in at least three cases since taking office - in defense of Bush-era warrantless wiretapping, surveillance of an Islamic charity, and the torture and rendition of CIA prisoners.

And now, in this case, Obama uses this secrecy and immunity weapon not to shield Bush lawlessness from judicial review, but his own.

Obama is no more or less in charge of all this than the last figurehead of state.

Yesterday Avedon linked to some cheerful reading here. I don't know if this explains much of anything, but it's consistent with the pattern.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

lowdown dirty tricks

...actually telling voters what your opponents will do.

coming soon to your social circle

It's not just Minnesota:

The FBI's surveillance of a protest group in Iowa City prior to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., two years ago was far more extensive than initially reported, newly obtained FBI documents show...

...The heavily redacted records indicate the FBI believed the Iowa City activists were part of a national network of radicals intent on disrupting the Republican convention in St. Paul, as well as the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The agency apparently learned of the Iowa City group, known as the Wild Rose Rebellion, by monitoring its Internet site. Names of most of the activists were deleted from the documents before they were released.

Goodner, 29, of Des Moines, who participated in the St. Paul protests and who is named in the documents, said the records show the federal investigation was a waste of time and taxpayer money.

"There's no evidence presented in hundreds of pages that anybody with either the University of Iowa Antiwar Committee or the Wild Rose collective had any plans for anything other than a nonviolent, if confrontational, direct action street protest at the 2008 Republican National Convention," Goodner said. Most of the Iowa City activists did not attend the Democratic convention in Denver...

The FBI agents conducting the surveillance were assisted by officers from the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa City Police Department and the Coralville Police Department, FBI records show. As many as six agents and officers were involved in some surveillance operations...

...the FBI infiltrated the Iowa City protest movement in 2008 by planting a paid informant who attended meetings and hung out with activists. In addition, confidential FBI documents obtained by the newspaper showed an undercover deputy from the Ramsey County, Minn., sheriff's department traveled to Iowa City to attend an anti-war conference in April 2008...

Always beware of people advocating illegal activity in protests. They're usually the Man, or strongly influenced by the Man. Those they organize are usually they're targets when it comes time for trophy arrests. It's an M.O. they've used since Chicago in 1968.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

it's not a bug, it's a feature

Atrios and his beloved god Krgthulu both miss a point that Bruce A. Dixon groks in fullness:

... When questioned about restoring the draft back in 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, in a moment of rare frankness, replied that the old-style draft was no longer needed. “We have,” he told reporters, “an economic draft.” In even plainer language, the United States armed forces rely on a poverty draft.

Millions of youth emerging from high school every year face bleak prospects for careers and higher education. Good jobs are hard to find, vocational training slots aren't free and don't guarantee a job on completion or even completion itself. Their already strapped families can't even borrow the sixty, eighty or hundred thousand it will take for one child to get a bachelor's degree. But the military recruiter they see in high school every day drives a flashy new car, has a nice apartment, dresses well on and off duty, picks up the tab at restaurants every day, and has an answer for everything. Really, just one answer, that the straight road to acceptance, independence and adulthood lies through the military...

The ridiculously high unemployment rates are on purpose. During Viet Nam they discovered they could not keep an Empire with a slave army. Much better to have highly indoctrinated and desperate volunteers. The high unemployment situation does that, among other things good for the Empire.

Bad for its citizens, the Depressed proles, the vaporizing middle class on the treadmill to economic oblivion as the fossil fuels run out, though.

Unless you're one of the wealthy folks that matter to the $ystem, in which case, hey, the Recession is so over.

Just ask Larry "Mission Accomplished" Summers going back to his cushy Harvard tenure and million-dollar-a-year speaking engagements.

news you won't see on the front page of Pravda

Seek a permit for a legal antiwar protest in Minnesota and get raided by an FBI anti-terra-ism SWAT team.

...The home of Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly and Jess Sundin were among those searched, they told the AP. "The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America," Kelly said before agents confiscated his cell phone. Sundin called the suggestion they were connected with terrorism "pretty hilarious and ridiculous..."

While on the front page of The New Uork Pravda we're breathlessly informed:

Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries"

It's Obviously a threat to National Security.

why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?

Fortunately, sweetheart, you've taken yourself out of the gene pool.

Friday, September 24, 2010

that'll show 'em, Barry

[with a tip'teh tinfoil to WGG]

...Barack Obama made an angry personal attack on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday, saying claims by Iran's president that the United States carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks to prop up Israel were "hateful, offensive and inexcusable".

Absolutely right. Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton let it happen on purpose in order to produce a "catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor" so they could take the war bucks and run. Israel had nothing to do with it.

Directly, that is. Where you could see it, anyway.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Look at it this way..."

"... Ahmadinejad was one of the student leaders who made a deal with GHW to hand the election to Reagan by holding on to the hostages until inauguration day. In the plot of the last 30 years, he's in a position structurally equivalent to that of Bob Woodward. With this in mind, reanalyze his behaviour since becoming president."

-Dr. Violin

I agree. Equating a possible role of players in the United States government to Holocaust denial is one of the most amazing leaps of disinformation I've ever seen. This man is owned.

And the resulting fury he generates? Only among the manipulated...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


credits for this image belong to Justdrew. I have no earthly idea where he got it from.

Homeland In$ecurity

A vast right-wing coalition of billionaires and oil companies working together to destroy enviromental legistlation?

A conspiracy theory? Well, sure, and absolutely right.

A governmental police agency working with energy companies to make sure they can continue their destructive and toxic practices unopposed.

Another conspiracy theory? Well, sure and also absolutely real.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Something went wrong with Benazir Bhutto?

Avedon, I am not sure it did from the Company perspective.

Take Bill Kristol, for instance

You know, I'll bet there are people in the Company who miss them- for just that very reason.

The whole PNAC gallery of war criminals, for instance.

Monday, September 20, 2010

how you know your guy threw the fight

the palookas' party

aimai, via Atrios:

...because no one is excited to vote for someone who says “I did the best I could and if you don’t like it blame yourselves, or the other guy, or something.” If the Dems want to win they have to start screaming “We did the best we could and those fuckers want you to have to start killing and eating your old people! They don’t care if you die in a ditch! They hate you so much that the more we tried to do for you the less we were able!” The Dems have, so far, insisted that half a loaf is pretty darned good. Well, if it is then they need to be satisfied with half an electorate because if the electorate is satisfied with the dems so far then they probably aren’t motivated to turn out because they figure the dems are handling the republicans ok. If the voters aren’t happy with what has happened so far the Dems can’t keep insisting that they are wrong—they have to point to the enemy. So far they haven’t done that successfully. You know how I know they haven’t done it sucessfully? Because if they had every single former Democratic or independent voter would be rioting in the streets right now against the Republican agenda.

The electorate is disaffected, uninformed, fearful, busy, dealing with all kinds of personal crap like unemployment, health care issues, fear for the future, grandma and grandpa’s inability to sell their home and move into assisted living, declining assets etc…etc…etc… and Obama and the dems are wasting time explaining that, really, the last two years have been very succesful?

This is what's known as planned obsolescence.

one of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong

Barak Obama as a socialist, 9-11 was an inside job, and George W. Bush was a war criminal.

One of the greatest things (if you're a Company disinformation spinner) about the main$tream is how easy it is to use the strong desire to keep the money flow steady by not rocking the boat and to get people to forget what happened in the United States of Amnesia.

I like this analysis:

The names change, but the formula remains the same.

1) Libertarians and Constitutionalists are beginning to pose a significant threat to the Neoconservative base. Meanwhile, 9/11 Truthers have convinced over a third of all registered Democrats that Bush at least had foreknowledge of the attacks.

2) Co-opt the libertarian Tea Party movement into a pro-war, Christian fundamentalist movement that obsesses over a historically illiterate narrative of Obama as a socialist. Throw in some patently xenophobic memes about him being a secret Kenyan Muslim to completely discredit the original movement. Meanwhile, poison the well of 9/11 Truth with ridiculous and racist memes, along with using every other disinfo trick in the book.

3) Have John Stewart and Stephen Colbert denounce the crazies on both sides and announce a rally to restrict restore the dialogue to a sane narrative that average, mainstream Americans will be made to believe in. 9/11 was an outside job, and Obama is doing the best he can in hard times.

Actually 9-11 was a moebius strip job.

The inside and the outside merge seamlessly.

Ten more years of this kind of equivalency and it'll be right there in the history books with all the other lone gunmen, and George W. Bush will be remembered as the Hero.

Let's go back to Mr. Greenwald:

I think Jon Stewart is one of the most incisive and effective commentators in the country, and he reaches an audience that would otherwise be politically disengaged. I don't have any objection if he really wants to hold a rally in favor of rhetorical moderation, and it's also fine if, as seems to be the case, he's eager to target rhetorical excesses on both the left and right in order to demonstrate his non-ideological centrism. But the example he chose to prove that the left is guilty, too -- the proposition that Bush is a "war criminal" -- is an extremely poor one given that the General in charge of formally investigating detainee abuse (not exactly someone with a history of Leftist advocacy) has declared this to be the case, and core Nuremberg principles compel the same conclusion.

Leave aside the fact that, as Steve Benen correctly notes, Stewart's examples of right-wing rhetorical excesses (Obama is a socialist who wasn't born in the U.S. and hates America) are pervasive in the GOP, while his examples of left-wing excesses (Code Pink and 9/11 Truthers) have no currency (for better or worse) in the Democratic Party. The claim that Bush is "a war criminal" has ample basis, and it's deeply irresponsible to try to declare this discussion off-limits, or lump it in with a whole slew of baseless right-wing accusatory rhetoric, in order to establish one's centrist bona fides...

Broderism is always irresponsible but usually profitable for those looking for the short-term privateer kind of money.

Welcome to the Machine, Mr. Stewart.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

economic proofiness

Charles F. Oxtrot noted that even in his polemic Mr. Herbert's stats about poverty seem to be a little on the low side.

You might say that (with a tip o'teh tinfoil to Lambert & cd again).

Nignag's take on this?

...“It could have been worse” is the only argument the Obama administration can make heading into the fall election campaign, but it is doubtful that the millions of workers who have lost their jobs, health insurance and homes over the past two years draw any comfort from it. Obama’s statement combined this minimizing of the crisis with a concluding declaration:

For all of our challenges, I continue to be inspired by the dedication and optimism of US workers, and I am confident that we will emerge from this storm with a stronger economy.

This rhetorical flourish might be translated as follows: As the chief political representative of US capitalism, I am amazed that there has not yet been a mass upheaval among US workers against both my government and the financial aristocracy it serves. I hope to be able to delude working people with rhetoric about “hope” and “change” for at least a few more years. While arrogantly dismissing the plight of tens of millions of poverty-stricken USAians in a brief written statement, Obama devoted most of his working day to meeting with two groups of corporate CEOs: the President’s Export Council, which seeks to promote the competitiveness of US industries by cutting their costs, including labor costs; and leaders of 100 of the biggest corporations, who gathered to insure that the administration’s education policy is aligned with the needs of the corporate US.

You know, the Titans Lienholders of Industry Finance the Casino who keep the One's (and the DNC's) campaign coffers cashflow full liquid.

Speaking of the bank$ters, Glen Ford asks the One what are these bootstraps of which he speaks?

...The two devastating recessions of the last decade have had catastrophic effects on Black economic prospects. Yet, despite the monstrous setbacks of recent years and the general failure to bridge the racial wage and wealth gap over the last three decades, there still exists a strong current of Black political thought that insists African Americans can pull themselves and the rest of the race up by their financial bootstraps, through hard work and pooling of collective resources. Some of these arguments are unashamedly Black capitalist; others preach a brand of communal partnerships among Black entrepreneurs and consumers that attempts to make the entire Black community a kind of capitalist engine of self-help. What binds the variations on the "bootstrap" theme together, is an essential refusal to challenge the capitalist system. The belief is that Black "buying power" or race-based investment schemes will allow Black folks to rise from the bottom of the American economic barrel.

Implicit in this line of thinking is the notion that Blacks are at the bottom because they have not been trying hard enough to move up - which is also the assumption of white racists, whether they call themselves conservatives or liberals. The most fatal flaw in the Black capitalist world view is the assumption that Black people actually have the wealth and discretionary income to build an internal economy that could insulate them from the general capitalist crisis. We know different, because all the data tell us that Black household income is stuck at the same level relative to whites as back in 1979, and Black comparative wealth was steadily eroding even before the last decade's recessions. And we know that Black wealth has been further diminished relative to whites in the ongoing housing meltdown, in which Blacks are twice as likely to face foreclosure. And we know that Blacks, a majority of whom are renters, bear the brunt of the dislocations caused by rampant gentrification, which in some urban areas forces families to spend more than half their income on rent.

Simply put, there ain't no damn money for these bootstrap capitalism dreams, and there never was. There was never the possibility of building a Black General Motors - and now General Motors requires billions of dollars in federal infusions to survive...

Mr. Ford, it's not just poor blacks. It's the majority of the population, of all colors, that's fed this tripe.

Glen Ford also has some choice things to say about Obama's new infrastructure stimulus plans:

Very late in the game, President Obama unveils his version of an industrial policy for America. But it turns out that under his "infrastructure bank" scheme "the same Wall Street players that have relentlessly and methodically de-industrialized the United States for the past 30 years, would direct the economic makeover of the country, all the while earning interest on the borrowed funds."

...The president's proposed bank is yet another ploy to create a new windfall for the private bankers on Wall Street. When hundreds of thousands gather on the Washington Mall for the NAACP's and organized labor's rally for jobs on October 2, the Obama administration's mouthpieces will try to fire up the crowd by invoking the president's plans for a National Infrastructure Bank. The public-private scheme was announced so late in the political season, it appears more like a last-minute sop to panicky congressional Democrats desperate to show that their president and his party are good for something besides funneling $12 to $14 trillion to Wall Street - the biggest transfer of wealth of all time, for which Obama will go down in history.

The so-called infrastructure bank masquerades as the beginning of an industrial policy to reverse the export of jobs from the United States. Obama is spinning the scheme as his variation on Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, when the federal government directly created millions of jobs and invested public monies in a vast, new infrastructure, much of which we are still using, today. But in reality, the president's proposed bank bears no resemblance to the New Deal of the 1930s.

Rather, it is yet another ploy to create a new windfall for the private bankers on Wall Street - a public-private scam. The scheme would transfer billions in public funds to a new banking entity, to attract the mega-bankers, whose investments would be guaranteed by the U.S. government. The Obama bank would then lend these monies to selected projects, overseen by a board heavily weighted with representatives of those same Wall Street firms and their corporate allies.

Essentially, the same Wall Street players that have relentlessly and methodically de-industrialized the United States for the past 30 years, would direct the economic makeover of the country, all the while earning interest on the borrowed funds. That's not a New Deal, that's a license for yet more no-risk self-dealing by Wall Street, guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is a travesty and a swindle.

The moneyed classes refuse to invest in any economic and social development unless they are positioned in the middle of the money stream. But, that's what you get when finance capital has a lock on the political and economic process; nothing emerges except that which expands the power of capital.

At this stage in the decline of capitalism, the moneyed classes refuse to invest in any economic and social development unless they are positioned in the middle of the money stream, to siphon off the greater part for themselves, at no risk to themselves, and with ultimate control over the shape of the project. They will not support education unless they own a profitable piece of it, through hedge fund-backed charter school companies and other privatization schemes. They will not allow a revamping of health care unless their profits and commanding position in the system are preserved. They will not lift a finger to slow the process of global warming, unless creating a green economy dumps a forest of green on their balance sheets. And they will certainly not permit any combination of politicians funded by them - as is the Obama wing of the Democratic Party - to even attempt a modest re-industrialization of the United States unless they are allowed to empty the U.S. Treasury of every available public dollar.

Nearing the end of the second half of his term, President Obama finally - finally! - comes up with a plan flavored with just a whiff of the New Deal. But it's just another Wall Street concoction.

And it's not even empty calories. It's pure fat for the bank$ters, and Kool-Aide for the Democratic voters.

$ecuring the homeland shale & the en$uring the guv's honesty

...given the Simon Cameron's old caveat about an honest politician...

I've been waiting to see if anything more surfaces on the intertubes about this story (via Cryptogon):

HARRISBURG -- The former Special Forces colonel who has headed the state Office of Homeland Security for four years and who now finds himself at the center of a firestorm over an anti-terrorism contract is missing in action.

James F. Powers Jr. has basically gone underground since Tuesday, when Gov. Ed Rendell denounced a $103,000 no-bid contract that Mr. Powers had given to the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, which has offices in Philadelphia and Israel.

Mr. Powers, who makes $106,602 a year, hasn't been returning phone calls from the news media this week and was said to be out of his office when a reporter stopped in on Wednesday. He did not return a call to his home and his office turned down a request to interview him.

Mr. Powers, who lives in Carlisle, served in the Army from 1971 to 2001 in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Korea and Washington.

The Rendell administration chose him in June 2006 to direct the state Office of Homeland Security, part of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Before joining the state Mr. Powers had several jobs, including a "special operations" consultant for KWG Consulting in Virginia, an adjunct instructor for the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle and a senior fellow with the U.S. Special Operations Command in Hurlburt, Fla...

This is the same character that spied on the Governors own supporters and tried to put them on a terrorist watch list, too.

Information about an anti-BP candlelight vigil, a gay and lesbian festival and other peaceful gatherings became the subject of anti-terrorism bulletins being distributed by Pennsylvania's homeland security office, an apologetic Gov. Ed Rendell admitted.

Rendell, who claimed he'd just learned about the practice, said Tuesday that the information was useless to law enforcement agencies and that distributing it was tantamount to trampling on constitutional rights...

...A Philadelphia rally organized by a nonprofit group to support Rendell's push for higher spending on public schools even made a bulletin...

"I am deeply embarrassed and I apologize to any of the groups who had this information disseminated on their right to peacefully protest," Rendell said at an evening Capitol news conference.

...Rendell called the practice "ludicrous" and said the fact that the state was paying for such rudimentary information was "stunning."

Still, Rendell said he was not firing his homeland security director, James Powers, but he ordered an end to the $125,000 contract with the Philadelphia-based organization, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, that supplied the information.

The 12-page bulletin that was issued Aug. 30 included a list of municipal zoning hearings on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, a forestry industry conference and a screening of the documentary "Gasland" as events likely to be attended by anti-drilling activists.

Aside from the drilling-related events, the bulletin mentioned other potential security concerns that it said could involve "anarchists and Black Power radicals."

It listed demonstrations by anti-war groups, deportation protesters in Philadelphia, mountaintop removal mining protesters in West Virginia and an animal rights protest at a Montgomery County rodeo.

It also included "Burn the Confederate Flag Day," the Jewish high holidays and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as potential sources of risk.

Rendell said he learned of the matter from a story in The Patriot-News of Harrisburg on Tuesday and was appalled that aides did not notify him before inking the contract a year ago.

"I think I would have said `no' to this contract before we ever spent a dime and before we sent out any information that was wrong and violative of, in my judgment, the constitution," Rendell said.

...Powers did not respond to interview requests Tuesday.

The bulletins, which went out three times a week, were not intended for public distribution.

But someone who received the Aug. 30 bulletin gave a copy to Virginia Cody, a retired Air Force officer who lives in Factoryville and is concerned about the rapid expansion of Marcellus Shale drilling in northeastern Pennsylvania.

"The idea that my government thinks that what I'm doing is worthy of anti-terrorism interest goes against everything I stand for and everything I ever stood for," said Cody, 54.

Cody gave the document to a friend, who posted it on an online forum largely read by drilling opponents in the area, she said. She would not say who gave her the bulletin, just that the person works for a private company and was an intended recipient of it.

After it was posted online, Powers sent Cody an e-mail saying that the bulletin was intended for owners, operators and security personnel associated with the state's "critical infrastructure and key resources."

He closed by saying, "We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies."

Well, of course. How can a homeland security director retire on a six figure income without the kind of $ecurity consulting fees BP would give to someone patriotically ensuring they can frack every mountaintop in the NYC and Philly watershed?

When Worlds Collide

Bob Herbert on the disconnect:

...The movers and shakers of our society seem ...oblivious to the terrible destruction wrought by the economic storm that has roared through America. They’ve heard some thunder, perhaps, and seen some lightning, and maybe felt a bit of the wind. But there is nothing that society’s leaders are doing — no sense of urgency in their policies or attitudes — that suggests they understand the extent of the economic devastation that has come crashing down like a plague on the poor and much of the middle class.

The American economy is on its knees and the suffering has reached historic levels. Nearly 44 million people were living in poverty last year, which is more than 14 percent of the population. That is an increase of 4 million over the previous year, the highest percentage in 15 years, and the highest number in more than a half-century of record-keeping. Millions more are teetering on the edge, poised to fall into poverty.

More than a quarter of all blacks and a similar percentage of Hispanics are poor. More than 15 million children are poor.

The movers and shakers, including most of the mainstream media, have paid precious little attention to this wide-scale economic disaster.

Meanwhile, the middle class, hobbled for years with the stagnant incomes that accompany extreme employment insecurity, is now in retreat. Joblessness, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy — pick your poison. Median family incomes were 5 percent lower in 2009 than they were a decade earlier. The Harvard economist Lawrence Katz told The Times, “This is the first time in memory that an entire decade has produced essentially no economic growth for the typical American household.”

If you notice the worsening weather- and refuse to become a Republican- you get left out in the rain

...there is no acceptance whatsoever of responsibility (I've failed in some critical areas; we could have/should have done better). There's not even any base-motivating vow to fight to fix these particular failures (we'll keep fighting for a public option/to curb executive power abuses/to reduce lobbyist and corporate control of our political process). Instead, he wants you to know that if you criticize him -- or even question what he's done ("well, I don't know about this particular derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that") -- it's your fault: for being some sort of naive, fringe-leftist idiot...

Our betters stay warm, dry, and sheltered from the storm, and if you aren't in their house playing their games of dominion, they feel it's a character fault of your own, and it's easier for them if the wind just sweeps you away.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong

Disney, Monsanto, Chevron, Blackwater, and the CIA.

Oh, wait. Never mind.

Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays...

One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the "intel arm" of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.

Governmental recipients of intelligence services and counterterrorism training from Prince's companies include the Kingdom of Jordan, the Canadian military and the Netherlands police, as well as several US military bases, including Fort Bragg, home of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and Fort Huachuca, where military interrogators are trained, according to the documents. In addition, Blackwater worked through the companies for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the US European Command.

On September 3 the New York Times reported that Blackwater had "created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq."

Promoted Sideways

Where she has no power to really do anything, either.

US President Barack Obama plans to name Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren to set up a powerful new consumer protection bureau, but tailor her job designation to avoid a Senate confirmation battle.

A Democratic official said Warren, a well-known consumer advocate who has drawn Republican fire on Capitol Hill, will be an assistant to the president and special adviser to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

By avoiding naming Warren to actually head the new bureau, Obama retains her experience and skills as an advocate for consumers while sidestepping what was shaping up as a tough effort to get her confirmed by senators...

"Special Advisor" to her adversary little Timmeh Geithner. Now that's special. Especially when you look at the details through official rosy glasses.

There's nothing like having all the public responsibility and none of the actual Authority.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mistaking the Alligator for the Swamp

While absolutely getting 99.9% of what's going on, journalists like Bob Herbert and Robert Scheer miss- or perhaps, omit- the ultimate conclusions from the points they present.

Mr. Herbert:

...Americans are not being honest with themselves about the structural changes in the economy that have bestowed fabulous wealth on a tiny sliver at the top, while undermining the living standards of the middle class and absolutely crushing the poor. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a viable strategy for reversing this dreadful state of affairs. (There is no evidence the G.O.P. even wants to.)

...The middle class is finally on its knees. Jobs are scarce and good jobs even scarcer. Government and corporate policies have been whacking working Americans every which way for the past three or four decades. While globalization and technological wizardry were wreaking employment havoc, the movers and shakers in government and in the board rooms of the great corporations were embracing privatization and deregulation with the fervor of fanatics. The safety net was shredded, unions were brutally attacked and demonized, employment training and jobs programs were eliminated, higher education costs skyrocketed, and the nation’s infrastructure, a key to long-term industrial and economic health, deteriorated.

...There was plenty of growth, but the economic benefits went overwhelmingly — and unfairly — to those already at the top. Mr. Reich cites the work of analysts who have tracked the increasing share of national income that has gone to the top 1 percent of earners since the 1970s, when their share was 8 percent to 9 percent. In the 1980s, it rose to 10 percent to 14 percent. In the late-’90s, it was 15 percent to 19 percent. In 2005, it passed 21 percent. By 2007, the last year for which complete data are available, the richest 1 percent were taking more than 23 percent of all income.

The richest one-tenth of 1 percent, representing just 13,000 households, took in more than 11 percent of total income in 2007.

That does not leave enough spending power with the rest of the population to sustain a flourishing economy...

Mr. Scheer:

When will the president give Lawrence Summers his pink slip? He can thank him for his years of service and use the excuse that his top economic adviser wants to spend more time with his family. I don’t care how he sugarcoats it. But Summers deserves the same fate as the millions of workers laid off because of the banking debacle he helped cause, the dire consequences of which he has done precious little to mitigate.

It was Summers who, as treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, pushed through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which opened the floodgates to the toxic mortgage-backed derivatives that still haunt the economy. The Federal Reserve now holds $2 trillion in junk securities it took off the books of banks. But the financiers who packed those devilish derivatives still hold a huge amount, and the houses they unload every time the housing market shows faint signs of stabilizing keep the economy in the doldrums.

...the victims of the AIG crash, including us taxpayers, ...funneled $180 billion in the government bailout of that sophisticated financial institution [AIG] to equally sharp counterparties like Goldman Sachs, which got a cool $12 billion from the deal. Ask Summer’s protégé and now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner why he bailed out those market manipulators when he was head of the New York Fed working with the Bush administration.

...Summers got his cut from those grateful bankers, receiving $8 million in consulting and speaking fees from major Wall Street firms while he was a top adviser to the Obama election campaign. For just one speaking appearance, Goldman Sachs paid him $135,000.

During his tenure as President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser, Summers has continued the Bush policy of throwing money at Wall Street without getting anything in return by way of a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures. Or increased power through the bankruptcy courts to force the banks to readjust the mortgages of folks swindled by the collateralized-debt-obligation and credit-default-swap con artists.

Now, Summers opposes Obama’s selection of Elizabeth Warren, who in the mold of Brooksley Born has earned a strong reputation as a consumer advocate, to head a new consumer agency. The man has no shame and has uttered not a word of contrition over his sorry record...

The evidence seems clear. Policymaker for 3 presidents of two different parties, men like Summers are the ones really running the show. Summers- or his owners- might fire Obama, not the other way around. And the amassing of the greater portion of American wealth in the hands a a very few is the desired outcome, Mr. Herbert, of the contemporary American economic, foreign, and technological policy.

That's why we as a culture are turning our backs on green energy. It's why the space program never gets off the ground. It's why the technologies designed to distract and observe you advance, while others of greater social promise recede. It's too soon for the few Families to reap any reward from them. They might change the Game, which is playing out pretty much to the satisfaction of those 13,000 households, Mr. Herbert.

We are being shaped into a post-industrial neo-feudalism as the fossil fuels run out.

The grandchildren of today's children will mostly live in a very different world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Revolution was not Televised

...and so it never happened.

Ronald Reagan was, and did.

Chris Hedges starts out right on:

There are no longer any major institutions in American society, including the press, the educational system, the financial sector, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent, design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power of the corporate state. These institutions, often mouthing liberal values, abet and perpetuate mounting inequality. They operate increasingly in secrecy. They ignore suffering or sacrifice human lives for profit. They control and manipulate all levers of power and mass communication. They have muzzled the voices and concerns of citizens. They use entertainment, celebrity gossip and emotionally laden public-relations lies to seduce us into believing in a Disneyworld fantasy of democracy.

The menace we face does not come from the insane wing of the Republican Party, which may make huge inroads in the coming elections, but the institutions tasked with protecting democratic participation. Do not fear Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. Do not fear the tea party movement, the birthers, the legions of conspiracy theorists or the militias. Fear the underlying corporate power structure, which no one, from Barack Obama to the right-wing nut cases who pollute the airwaves, can alter. If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism.

Investing emotional and intellectual energy in electoral politics is a waste of time. Resistance means a radical break with the formal structures of American society. We must cut as many ties with consumer society and corporations as possible. We must build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical environmental reform. The democratic system, and the liberal institutions that once made piecemeal reform possible, is dead. It exists only in name. It is no longer a viable mechanism for change. And the longer we play our scripted and absurd role in this charade the worse it will get. Do not pity Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. They will get what they deserve. They sold the citizens out for cash and power. They lied. They manipulated and deceived the public, from the bailouts to the abandonment of universal health care, to serve corporate interests. They refused to halt the wanton corporate destruction of the ecosystem on which all life depends. They betrayed the most basic ideals of democracy. And they, as much as the Republicans, are the problem...

Well, hell yes.

But as for solutions? He gets a serious whiff of Nader. As usual, Nader also starts out in the right place:

“The corporate state is the ultimate maturation of American-type fascism,” Nader said. “They leave wide areas of personal freedom so that people can confuse personal freedom with civic freedom—the freedom to go where you want, eat where you want, associate with who you want, buy what you want, work where you want, sleep when you want, play when you want. If people have given up on any civic or political role for themselves there is a sufficient amount of elbow room to get through the day. They do not have the freedom to participate in the decisions about war, foreign policy, domestic health and safety issues, taxes or transportation. That is its genius. But one of its Achilles’ heels is that the price of the corporate state is a deteriorating political economy. They can’t stop their greed from getting the next morsel. The question is, at what point are enough people going to have a breaking point in terms of their own economic plight? At what point will they say enough is enough?

Chris, Ralphie, the breaking point isn't a bug of the $ystem. It's a feature. The better to control you with, my dear.

The best broken are those who don't know it with their heads, but accept it, who expect it, the divine corporate Faith in their hearts. They're the ones most stridently calling to keep things they way they are and end up making it all worse for themselves and everyone else. The physician who works over 80 hours a week for a corporate medical entity, who might be wealthy if he didn't owe so much. The Wall Street trader who does the same for a financial institution. The money flows into their hands and back out of it again, always eluding the grasp of most of them, slaves to values they use to ensnare and enslave everyone else as well as themselves.

Highway to Hell

That's no gravel road you're looking at.

But of course, BP has nothing to do with it.

Millions of dead fish and cetaceans are a perfectly normal occurrence in every mass extinction event.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No Brownie

Sorry, but Mike Brown was simply a complacent fool. Mike Brown allowed some terrible things to happen, alright, but his were sins of omission.

Larry Summers is actively evil. There's a difference. And he's still propagating some very evil policies.

managed coincidental crisis connections

There is some seriously funny business about the Ground Zero Mosque hoopla:

So far, the debate over the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero has unfolded along predictable lines, with the man at the center of the project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, drawing attacks from the right painting him as a terrorist sympathizer with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

But meanwhile, links between the group behind the controversial mosque, the CIA and U.S. military establishment have gone unacknowledged.

For instance, one of the earliest backers of the nonprofit group, the Cordoba Initiative, that is spearheading the Ground Zero mosque, is a 52-year-old Scarsdale, New York, native named R. Leslie Deak. In addition to serving on the group's board of advisors since its founding in 2004 by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Deak was its principal funder, donating $98,000 to the nonprofit between 2006 and 2008. This figure appears to represent organization's total operating budget—though, oddly, the group reported receipts of just a third of that total during the same time period.

Deak describes himself as a "Practicing Muslim with background in Christianity and Judaism, [with] in-depth personal and business experiences in the Middle East, living and working six months per year in Egypt." Born into a Christian home, Deak became an Orthodox Jew and married a Jewish woman before converting to Islam when he married his current wife, Moshira Soliman, with whom he now lives in Rye.

Leslie Deak's resume also notes his role as "business consultant" for Patriot Defense Group, LLC, a private defense contractor with offices in Winter Park, Florida, and in Tucson. The only names listed on the firm's website are those of its three "strategic advisers." These include retired four-star General Bryan "Doug" Brown, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command until 2007, where he headed "all special operations forces, both active duty and reserve, leading the Global War On Terrorism," and James Pavitt, former deputy director for operations at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he "managed the CIA's globally deployed personnel and nearly half of its multi-billion dollar budget" and "served as head of America's Clandestine Service, the CIA's operational response to the attacks of September 11, 2001."

Besides Pavitt, Brown and a third advisor, banker Alexander Cappello, the Patriot Defense Group is so secretive it doesn't even name its management team, instead describing its anonymous CEO as a former Special Forces and State Department veteran, the group's managing director as a former CIA officer experienced in counter-terrorism in hostile environments and the group's corporate intelligence head as a "23-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service who worked on the personal security details of former Presidents Bush and Clinton."

I always find it interesting when spooks promote a major political football game.

It just gets more interesting, and is reproduced here because of the tendency for this kind of information to just... disappear.

...Patriot Defense Group's primary business involves leveraging its government connections and know-how. The firm is divided into two divisions: one that "focuses exclusively on the needs of the U.S. military and law enforcement communities as well as the requirements of friendly foreign governments," and a corporate division, which "provides business intelligence and specialized security services to corporate clients and high net-worth family enterprises."

So, to recap: From 2006 to 2008, R. Leslie Deak worked as a "business consultant" to this super-secretive security contractor with ties to the CIA and counterterrorism forces, and in those same three years he also donated nearly $100,000 in seed money to the foundation now advocating the construction of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque.

Interestingly, during the same three-year period during which the Deak Family Foundation was financing the Cordoba Initiative, Deak also donated a total of $101,247 to something called the National Defense University Foundation. The National Defense University is a network of war and strategy colleges and research centers (including the National War College) funded by the Pentagon, designed to train specialists in military strategy. The organization recently announced a November 5 dinner gala in honor of Defense Secretary and former CIA chief Robert Gates. Sponsors include Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and...the Patriot Defense Group.

Deak also sits on the NDUF's board of directors, the chairman of which is Mark Treanor, the former general counsel for Wachovia bank from 1998 through its collapse in 2008 and a major bundler of campaign donations for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008. Wachovia, now owned by Wells Fargo, was recently fined $160 million for laundering "at least $110 million" in Mexican drug money between 2003 and 2008, while Treanor was Wachovia's general counsel, though the figure is likely higher since Wachovia admitted it didn't put any controls on at least $420 billion—that's billion—in cash moved through its network of Mexico currency exchanges.

Which leads to another odd coincidence: Laundering money for drug lords is what brought down Deak & Co., the company run by Leslie Deak's father, Nicholas Deak, years ago. The elder Deak, a former top intelligence commander during World War II for the OSS (the forerunner of the CIA), was the founder of Deak-Perera, which became for a time one of the world's biggest foreign currency and gold dealers. But in 1984, a Presidential Commission on Organized Crime accused the firm of acting as a money laundering operation for Columbia drug cartels, who reportedly brought sacks of cash containing tens of millions of dollars into Deak's Manhattan offices. By the end of 1984, Deak & Co. had declared bankruptcy, and a year later, Nicholas Deak was murdered in the company's headquarters at 29 Broadway by a deranged homeless woman.

After the firm went bankrupt and Leslie Deak was left on his own, the corporation was broken up and sold off in pieces. One company that traces its beginnings to the defunct Deak empire is Goldline International, a business concern well known to fans of Glenn Beck as well as California investigators. Goldline is to Glenn Beck what General Electric was to Ronald Reagan: The company sponsors Beck's TV and radio shows as well as his touring act, and Beck is its public face. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, along with the Santa Monica City Attorney's office, are currently investigating Goldline for defrauding customers by railroading gullible customers into buying their most debased products.

Speaking of Glenn Beck, it has been reported that Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the second-largest shareholder in News Corp., the parent company Fox News, which airs Beck's program, is also a major funder of Imam Rauf's projects, as Jon Stewart viewers heard all about last week.

Coincidences happen, of course. (For instance, Pamela Geller, the blogger who's become the leading voice denouncing the mosque project was once, bizarrely enough, associate publisher of The New York Observer.)

But add to this array of unexpected connections the work of Imam Rauf on behalf of the U.S. government—which includes serving as an FBI "consultant" and being recruited as a spokesperson by longtime George W. Bush confidante Karen Hughes, who headed up the administration's propaganda efforts in the Muslim world—and a compelling picture begins to emerge. Bush's favorite Imam, with backing from a funder with connections to the CIA, the Pentagon and the currency trading company that now sponsors rightwing firebrand Glenn Beck, proposes to build a mosque around the corner from the site of the most devastating terrorist attack ever visited on America. In the name of "[cultivating] understanding among all religions and cultures," he puts forth a project that offends a majority of Americans and deals a significant setback to the broader acceptance of Muslim-Americans. It's a little like Billy "White Shoes" Johnson claiming the only reason he moonwalks after scoring a touchdown is to lower tensions on the football field and raise the other team's spirits.

Whether the Cordoba Initiative ever gets its way with the Ground Zero Mosque, it may well have a lasting legacy at odds with its stated intention: By damaging the very moderates and progressives who actually view New York, and the nation as a whole, as a tolerant melting pot, and strengthening the position demagogues on both sides, it will almost certainly deal a setback to interfaith relations. It will also help to hobble the Democratic party. Which just might have been the point all along.

Either that, or it's merely a coincidence that this controversy has erupted now, during crucial mid-term elections. In which case we can all go back to what we were doing before—either denouncing the Park51 Mosque as an affront to Americans, or championing it as a symbol of our fundamental rights-playing our accustomed roles in a drama that seems too perfect, somehow, to believe.

Coincidences do happen don't they?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9-11 changed everything: dress rehearsal for the upcoming party

Ever heard of Camp Greyhound?

It looks to me like a template for things to come.

Just like the real estate bubble, the current economic situation is unsustainable. You can't just rescue the banks; it's the workers who produce goods to create the income that resides in the banks, which the banks used to re-invest in the idustries that employed the workers. The current policy in the halls of investment capital and the government instead treat the product of labor as cash for the crapgame.

And the game is rigged.

So what will happen when the marks come due? It won't be the gamblers that pay the price. It will be their chattel. This is precisely why places like Camp Greyhound are being developed, why we have a rapidly evolving police state, and why massive debt is so ubiquitous.

You can't be Master of the Universe without your slaves, and your slaves won't stay your slaves without the whip and the chain.

All because, you know, 9-11 changed everything especially for the victims of the mind trick.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Michael Moore hearts teh Rahmmer on Labor Day

Sith Lord Cheneyburton would classify this as more 9-10 thinking, doubtless:

Before there were unions, there was no middle class. Working people didn't get to send their kids to college, few were able to own their own fucking home, nobody could take a fucking day off for a funeral or a sick day or they might lose their fucking job.

Then working people organized themselves into unions. The bosses and the companies fucking hated that. In fact, they were often overheard to say, "Fuck the UAW!!!" That's because the UAW had beaten one of the world's biggest industrial corporations when they won their battle on February 11, 1937, 44 days after they'd taken over the GM factories in Flint. Inspired by their victory, workers struck almost every other fucking industry, and union after union was born. Had World War II not begun and had FDR not died, there would have been an economic revolution that would have given everyone — everyone — a fucking decent life.

Nonetheless labor unions did create a middle class for the majority (even companies that didn't have unions were forced to pay at or near union wages in order to attract a workforce) and that middle class built a great country and a good life. You see, Rahm, when people earn a fucking good wage, they spend it on stuff, which then creates more good paying jobs, and then the middle class grows fucking big. Did you know that back when I was a kid if you had a parent making a union wage, only one parent had to work?! And they were home by 3 or 4pm, 5:30 at the latest! We had dinner together! Dad had four weeks paid vacation. We all had free health and dental care. And anyone with decent grades went to college and it didn't fucking bankrupt them. (And if you ever used the F-word, the nuns would straighten you out in ways that even you couldn't bear to hear about).

Then a Republican fired all the air traffic controllers, a Democrat gave us NAFTA and millions of jobs were moved overseas (hey, didn't you work in that White House, too? "Fuck the UAW, baby!"). Unions got scared and beaten down, a frat boy became president and, like a drunk out of control, spent all our fucking money and our children's money, too. Fuck.

And now your assistant's grandma has to work at fucking McDonald's. Ask her for pictures of what the middle class life used to look like. It was effing cool! I'll bet grandma doesn't say "Fuck the UAW!"

Actually, chances are she's a Tea Party member and doesn't remember what the Unions did for her, being indoctrinated with the equivalency in the Reagan era that Unions = Organized Crime.

As if Wall Street didn't. As if the organized crime syndicate represented by the bank$ters and the government and the Empire they now own wasn't far greater and more corrupt than anything the Unions ever did.

But people forget- especially when the main$tream hammers at them, 24/7, with a programmed message.

Hell, I just saw Petreus Caesar on the Colbert Show- he seemed pretty cool... Stephen said "Sir" and kidded with him like a regular guy. Now all those stories about dead burned bodies couldn't be true, could they? And they must've deserved it.

And so the Democratic Administration says Fuck the UAW. Teh Rahmmer must've had a good reason to say that, right? Other than keeping his lienholders at Goldman-Sachs and BP happy?

And besides, 9-11 changed everything...

September 10th Thinking

...as if they really wanted to solve the problems.

Krugman looks down the rabbithole of economic progress that the Republicans want to lead us into, without addressing the fact the Democrats don't want to really resolve the problem either.

Or more precisely, the people who own the Democrats and the Republicans don't want to resolve the problem, either.

...With 11 million homeowners underwater on their mortgages and 3 million more already foreclosed, we have to assume, given the average household size, that some 40 million Americans are feeling mighty strapped. The numbers grow to an overwhelming majority when you take into account the distress of all homeowners, who have watched the value of the family nest egg dwindle even if they substantially paid down or paid off their mortgage debt. And this very widespread feeling of being suddenly much poorer is a nationwide scourge that has dramatically cut the appetite for consumption that drives the economy.

That fact is recognized even by the very business people who are supposed to be inspired to new investment and hiring by Barack Obama’s proposal on Wednesday of an accelerated tax break on business investments. As William Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, told The Wall Street Journal, “If you give a small business guy $20,000 he’ll say, ‘I could buy a delivery truck but I have nobody to deliver to.’ ” Although Dunkelberg’s members would be happy with a tax cut, he said the most important help would be to “finally address the most important person in the economy—the consumer.”

The anger of wannabe consumers who no longer feel they have the wherewithal to feed that most important of American passions is what is fueling the widespread rage against elected officials. The Democrats, being the party in power, are the most popular target, but they are in deep denial when they blame their pending electoral plight on the demagoguery of their Republican opponents.

Of course the Republicans and their deep-pocket sponsors are being outrageous hypocrites when they blame others for the horrid consequences of their decades of lobbying for radical financial deregulation. Ever since the “Reagan Revolution,” their mantra has been “get government off the back of big business,” and once that was accomplished and Wall Street crumbled under the weight of its own greed, they supported George W. Bush in bailing out the knaves.

But the fault is clearly bipartisan. It was Bill Clinton who signed off on the radical deregulation legislation, and it is Obama who continued Bush’s practice of bailing out the bankers while ignoring the anguish their toxic mortgage packages caused the rest of us. That is why the Fed has gifted the banks with interest-free money to finance their new acquisitions while making them whole again by purchasing more than $2 trillion in toxic mortgage-backed securities and other dubious assets. Not surprisingly, the bankers pocketed that enormous gift from the taxpayers but did precious little in return by way of lending and investment that would bring down unemployment...

It certainly seems like a few of us are profiting mightily these days. Yes, it's only a few, but what's the point of being Masters of the Universe if most people aren't slaving for you?

...when someone says that late, post-industrial capitalism fails to "bring together willing buyers with willing sellers in order to produce value," then I wonder in what idealized world of pure form and meaning has this man been living, because obviously, if you consider the current American economy and the global system in which it is embedded, the production of "value" is incidental to the continued concentration of material wealth and political influence. That is the point. It isn't a failure of the system. It is the system. You can look at America and say:

We have very low capacity utilization (75%) and very high unemployment (10%).

That is, we have factories sitting idle for lack of workers – low capacity utilization. At the same time we have workers sitting idle for lack of factories – high unemployment.

There are machines waiting to be worked and people waiting to work them but they are not getting together. The labor market is failing to clear.

And you can be very worried and confused by this. It might strike you as unsustainable. Politically destabilizing. Socially disloacting. Deeply inequitable. Harmful to the long-term project of republican governance.

Which, I'd say, is precisely the point. Cui bono, motherfuckers? Last time I checked, there were still some fuckers getting rich. Meanwhile, the American citizen is increasingly a cash-poor, at-will worker whose docility is enforced by his total dependence on the whims and good will of his employer. Capitalism! Ain't it grand?

It's the 'Merikan way.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Any Resemble is Purely Co-incidental

"Boondocks" season finale. Watch it while you can:

Real Progress

Teh Rahmmer brings you Hope especially if you're a Republican:

Most of the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has focused on his management of policy issues. As all political advisors do, he has prioritized initiatives based on his assessment of the risks and benefits to his president of championing them. Less often discussed, however, is a more objective test of Emanuel’s competence: has he succeeded in getting the president’s nominees through their confirmation process? Few tasks are more important than this one, as was well understood by Andrew Card and Karl Rove, who put considerable energy into providing the essential White House “push through.”

By this test, Emanuel has been an abject failure. Consider the appointment of federal judges. Few things count more towards a president’s “legacy” than this, since judges have lifetime tenure. But, as the Associated Press shows in a study published this weekend, under the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the G.O.P.’s already strong grip on the federal judiciary has actually tightened...

And get Hopeful, citizens of Chicago! Mission Accomplished in Washington, One of your own may be returning to lead you soon!

who ya gonna trust?

BP who brings oil to your shores or your lyin' eyes that see the oil on the beaches?

DESTIN - It was a smelly sludge that looked like oil and made the holiday weekend a disappointment on one Destin beach.
BP says it was a seaweed called black algae.
But as Channel Three's Laura Hussey found out, some people aren't convinced.

Robert Herrin
"You could see nothing but pitch black water. The waves were almost just sludge like, just rolling in sludge it was so thick. And it was matting on the shoreline. I would say at least this thick in some places."

It washed in Friday behind the Sterling Sands Condominiums in Destin, a smelly black mat, hundreds of yards long and full of debris.

"Sunglasses, aluminum cans, also marine life was caught inside there and had died cause they couldn't escape."

The property manager called BP but says he got no response.

Friday, I contacted the local BP office and they sent someone out Saturday morning to have a look and do some testing. They say what washed up on the beach was something called black algae, no oil involved...

Who ya gonna trust, who ya gonna trust?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day

brought to you by Robert Reich.

Economic Disinformation

Short version from the Austerians: let them eat foreclosure.

The underlying fallacy of this argument is that the Obama policy is even slightly concerned about keeping people in their homes. It is greatly concerned with propping up the lenders, not the homeowners.

Yet another example of the main$tream's assertion that Obama's "liberal" policies failed when there was nothing liberal about them in the first place.

Back Up Plans

Carefully designed to be ready only after every drop has first been squeezed from the earth:

...Dr. Venter, now 63, made his name as a gene hunter. He was co-founder of a company, Celera Genomics, that nearly left the federally funded Human Genome Project in the dust in the race to determine the complete sequence of DNA in human chromosomes. He garnered admiration for some path-breaking ideas but also the enmity of some scientific rivals who viewed him as a publicity seeker who was polluting a scientific endeavor with commercialism.

Now Dr. Venter is turning from reading the genetic code to an even more audacious goal: writing it. At Synthetic Genomics, he wants to create living creatures — bacteria, algae or even plants — that are designed from the DNA up to carry out industrial tasks and displace the fuels and chemicals that are now made from fossil fuels.

“Designing and building synthetic cells will be the basis of a new industrial revolution,” Dr. Venter says. “The goal is to replace the entire petrochemical industry.”

His star power has attracted $110 million in investment so far, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in research financing, making Synthetic Genomics among the wealthiest companies in the new field known as synthetic biology...

...Exxon Mobil is giving Synthetic Genomics $300 million in research financing to design algae that could be used to produce gasoline and diesel fuel. (The new greenhouse will be used for that research.)

BP has invested in the company itself, turning to Synthetic Genomics to study microbes that might help turn coal deposits into cleaner-burning natural gas. Another investor, the Malaysian conglomerate Genting, wants to improve oil output from its palm tree plantations, working toward what its chief executive calls a “gasoline tree.”

And in a deal expected to be announced this week, the pharmaceutical giant Novartis will work with Dr. Venter to synthesize influenza virus strains as a potentially faster way to make flu vaccines.

Synthetic Genomics is also exploring the use of algae to produce food oils and, possibly, other edible products.

Dr. Venter muses, “What if we can make algae taste like beef?”

Or maybe he wants soylent green to taste a little less like long pork?

Seriously, Dr. Venter's excellent adventure is a bit like reaching around your ass to scratch your nose. Recombinant DNA technology could easily make bugs that make hydrocarbons from carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. Simply put, this would be much too easy, doing for a million dollars or so what Venter wants to do for billions.

Not so much money, and likely to produce an organism every third world country could easily share. This would be a hard thing to control, once done. This would leave big oil holding so much dry sand and seawater. It would cause peace to break out all over, as the main motivation for the Great Game was lost.

What's the point of being Master of the Universe when you can have no slaves?

True Crime

When Tony Blair called his much-awaited memoirs A Journey, he probably expected its journey into bookshops would be relatively straightforward.

But a Facebook page was today inundated with pictures of the former prime minister's book in odd places after thousands joined a group entitled "Subversively move Tony Blair's memoirs to the crime section in bookshops".

The Facebook page – which had more than 5,000 members by mid-afternoon – urges them to "make bookshops think twice about where they categorise our generations [sic] greatest war criminal"...

Alas most corporate-run American bookstores no longer carry "crime" sections, or everything about or by Bu$h and Cheney would be there too. It's just another way the Company warps our thinking. Mr. Orwell would not have dreamed Oceania would use his novels as "how to" textbooks...

Mr. Blair is a loyal poodle, however, with nothing but good things to say about his master, whose vision he accurately calls "not stupid".

Insane would be a better word for it, wouldn't it?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

while you were sleeping

Obviously, the only opposition to the current administration comes from Right-wing patriots. We are told this, repeatedly.

When this kind of thing occurs in New Orleans or Detroit it doesn't even get a blip on the main$tream radar screen. Or, perhaps it does as "disarray among the Democrats".

Glenn Ford:

When it comes to making President Obama accountable for his own wars, his own corporate pandering, his own trillion-dollar bank bailouts, the Black misleadership class becomes mute. But poor people's activists in New Orleans had no problem denouncing the president's housing policies, which ensure that "fat cats like Warren Buffett and huge private banking institutions will inherit the nation's public housing properties..."

Read it all, to get an idea what went on this summer, that most people never even heard.

And as my neoliberal acquaintances in the university always ask with a puzzled look: "but Warren Buffet's one of the good guys, right?"

...as if the wild west was full of black hats and white hats...

what is this "no cost" of which they speak?

One tired line I keep hearing from the main$tream neoliberals at my university is how the war "hasn't cost us anything" and how only if there was a draft it would surely cause enough pain to end the war.

Aside from the sheer sado-masochism of such talk from apparently highly educated full professors in the arts and sciences, it's factually way off base.

You have paid, are paying, and will pay for Bu$hie's and Barry's excellent adventures for some time to come.

Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes:

Writing in these pages in early 2008, we put the total cost to the United States of the Iraq war at $3 trillion. This price tag dwarfed previous estimates, including the Bush administration's 2003 projections of a $50 billion to $60 billion war.

But today, as the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war's broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.

Moreover, two years on, it has become clear to us that our estimate did not capture what may have been the conflict's most sobering expenses: those in the category of "might have beens," or what economists call opportunity costs. For instance, many have wondered aloud whether, absent the Iraq invasion, we would still be stuck in Afghanistan. And this is not the only "what if" worth contemplating. We might also ask: If not for the war in Iraq, would oil prices have risen so rapidly? Would the federal debt be so high? Would the economic crisis have been so severe?

The answer to all four of these questions is probably no. The central lesson of economics is that resources -- including both money and attention -- are scarce. What was devoted to one theater, Iraq, was not available elsewhere.

...When the United States went to war in Iraq, the price of oil was less than $25 a barrel, and futures markets expected it to remain around that level. With the war, prices started to soar, reaching $140 a barrel by 2008. We believe that the war and its impact on the Middle East, the largest supplier of oil in the world, were major factors. Not only was Iraqi production interrupted, but the instability the war brought to the Middle East dampened investment in the region.

In calculating our $3 trillion estimate two years ago, we blamed the war for a $5-per-barrel oil price increase. We now believe that a more realistic (if still conservative) estimate of the war's impact on prices works out to at least $10 per barrel. That would add at least $250 billion in direct costs to our original assessment of the war's price tag. But the cost of this increase doesn't stop there: Higher oil prices had a devastating effect on the economy.

There is no question that the Iraq war added substantially to the federal debt. This was the first time in American history that the government cut taxes as it went to war. The result: a war completely funded by borrowing. U.S. debt soared from $6.4 trillion in March 2003 to $10 trillion in 2008 (before the financial crisis); at least a quarter of that increase is directly attributable to the war. And that doesn't include future health care and disability payments for veterans, which will add another half-trillion dollars to the debt.

As a result of two costly wars funded by debt, our fiscal house was in dismal shape even before the financial crisis -- and those fiscal woes compounded the downturn.

The global financial crisis was due, at least in part, to the war. Higher oil prices meant that money spent buying oil abroad was money not being spent at home. Meanwhile, war spending provided less of an economic boost than other forms of spending would have. Paying foreign contractors working in Iraq was neither an effective short-term stimulus (not compared with spending on education, infrastructure or technology) nor a basis for long-term growth.

Instead, loose monetary policy and lax regulations kept the economy going -- right up until the housing bubble burst, bringing on the economic freefall.

Saying what might have been is always difficult, especially with something as complex as the global financial crisis, which had many contributing factors. Perhaps the crisis would have happened in any case. But almost surely, with more spending at home, and without the need for such low interest rates and such soft regulation to keep the economy going in its absence, the bubble would have been smaller, and the consequences of its breaking therefore less severe. To put it more bluntly: The war contributed indirectly to disastrous monetary policy and regulations.

The Iraq war didn't just contribute to the severity of the financial crisis, though; it also kept us from responding to it effectively. Increased indebtedness meant that the government had far less room to maneuver than it otherwise would have had. More specifically, worries about the (war-inflated) debt and deficit constrained the size of the stimulus, and they continue to hamper our ability to respond to the recession. With the unemployment rate remaining stubbornly high, the country needs a second stimulus. But mounting government debt means support for this is low. The result is that the recession will be longer, output lower, unemployment higher and deficits larger than they would have been absent the war...

Do not speak to me of a draft which the children of the economic elite, who have profited from the endless war, would find a way to avoid.

Americans have paid for these adventures, only the anesthetic of the main$tream keeps the victim from seeing where the blood is coming from.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Buck Stops Over There Somewhere

When the One asserts

"Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility."

it's nice to see I'm not the only one who has a problem with that. Chris Floyd:

"We have met our responsibility!" No, Mister President, we have not. Not until many Americans of high degree stand in the dock for war crimes. Not until the United States pays hundreds of billions of dollars in unrestricted reparations to the people of Iraq for the rape of their country and the mass murder of their people. Not until the United States opens its borders to accept all those who have been and will be driven from Iraq by the savage ruin we have inflicted upon them, or in flight from the vicious thugs and sectarians we have loosed -- and empowered -- in the land. Not until you, Mister President, go down on your knees, in sackcloth and ashes, and proclaim a National of Day of Shame to be marked each year by lamentations, reparations and confessions of blood guilt for our crime against humanity in Iraq.

Then and only then, Mister President, can you say that America has begun -- in even the most limited, pathetic way -- to "meet its responsibility" for what it has done to Iraq. And unless you do this, Mister President -- and you never will -- you are just a lying, bloodsoaked apologist, accomplice and perpetrator of monstrous evil, like your predecessor and his minions -- many of whom, of course, are now your minions...

Actually, Chris, Petraeus Caesar is more like the Head of his Praetorian Guard. Or would that be SecDef Gates?

Seriously, this is what the Obi-Wan quote over the Twin Towers image below is all about. Forget all the 9-11 conspiracy theory disinformation and hoopla. We went to war in Irag because of 9-11! There is no other reason the Company could have talked the country into it. It's what they did, and it shouldn't be forgotten.



An idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private--as opposed to public--affairs. Idiocy was the natural state of ignorance into which all persons were born and its opposite, citizenship, was effected through formalized education. In Athenian democracy, idiots were born and citizens were made through education (although citizenship was also largely hereditary)...

The idiots are going to let the bank$ters win again:

...President Obama, after a week consumed by foreign policy issues, will begin focusing publicly on the economy next week and on Wednesday plans to propose modest additional tax breaks, temporary and aimed at small business to promote hiring. But it is not clear that he has the votes or the time in Congress to pass them, with Republicans eager to deny Democrats any victories and endangered Democrats eager to get home within three to four weeks to campaign.

Democrats’ sense of vulnerability has increased since Congress broke for August, after a month of reports tracking weakness in both the economy and their polls. One result is that they now split more deeply than ever on the issue that in recent elections had been a rallying cry: ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of taxpayers. Democratic leaders are imploring Mr. Obama to come off the sidelines and lead the fight.

On the campaign trail, many Democrats are going their own ways as they face the prospect that persistently high unemployment could cost them control of the House and perhaps the Senate. Many are embracing the stimulus package enacted soon after Mr. Obama took office; others run away from it. Some distance themselves from Mr. Obama and his economic team; most blame Republicans.

Democrats’ campaign message mostly is a Babel of individual voices. With the national winds blowing ever stronger against the party in power, threatened Democrats are tailoring their message to their particular district or state — with party leaders’ encouragement...

If unemployment is what is killing the Democrats at the polls, then you idiots, put people to work.

I recommend some reading for these self-centered spineless politicians whose cowardice is going to lose them their cushy jobs and send this nation right back down the tubes.

Friday, September 03, 2010

no memory of things past

Reich, the Clintonista they kicked out before Bubba'd come close to finishing, the Company didn't want anywhere near the One's economic policy. Reich is correct about what it takes to turn back the Great Recession:

...The national economy isn’t escaping the gravitational pull of the Great Recession. None of the standard booster rockets are working: near-zero short-term interest rates from the Fed, almost record-low borrowing costs in the bond market, a giant stimulus package and tax credits for small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed have all failed to do enough.

That’s because the real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers; for some time now, their means haven’t kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them.

This crisis began decades ago when a new wave of technology — things like satellite communications, container ships, computers and eventually the Internet — made it cheaper for American employers to use low-wage labor abroad or labor-replacing software here at home than to continue paying the typical worker a middle-class wage. Even though the American economy kept growing, hourly wages flattened. The median male worker earns less today, adjusted for inflation, than he did 30 years ago.

But for years American families kept spending as if their incomes were keeping pace with overall economic growth. And their spending fueled continued growth. How did families manage this trick? First, women streamed into the paid work force. By the late 1990s, more than 60 percent of mothers with young children worked outside the home (in 1966, only 24 percent did).

Second, everyone put in more hours. What families didn’t receive in wage increases they made up for in work increases. By the mid-2000s, the typical male worker was putting in roughly 100 hours more each year than two decades before, and the typical female worker about 200 hours more.

When American families couldn’t squeeze any more income out of these two coping mechanisms, they embarked on a third: going ever deeper into debt. This seemed painless — as long as home prices were soaring. From 2002 to 2007, American households extracted $2.3 trillion from their homes.

Eventually, of course, the debt bubble burst — and with it, the last coping mechanism. Now we’re left to deal with the underlying problem that we’ve avoided for decades. Even if nearly everyone was employed, the vast middle class still wouldn’t have enough money to buy what the economy is capable of producing.

Where have all the economic gains gone? Mostly to the top. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty examined [.pdf} tax returns from 1913 to 2008. They discovered an interesting pattern. In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of American families took in about 9 percent of the nation’s total income; by 2007, the top 1 percent took in 23.5 percent of total income.

It’s no coincidence that the last time income was this concentrated was in 1928. I do not mean to suggest that such astonishing consolidations of income at the top directly cause sharp economic declines. The connection is more subtle.

The rich spend a much smaller proportion of their incomes than the rest of us. So when they get a disproportionate share of total income, the economy is robbed of the demand it needs to keep growing and creating jobs.

What’s more, the rich don’t necessarily invest their earnings and savings in the American economy; they send them anywhere around the globe where they’ll summon the highest returns — sometimes that’s here, but often it’s the Cayman Islands, China or elsewhere. The rich also put their money into assets most likely to attract other big investors (commodities, stocks, dot-coms or real estate), which can become wildly inflated as a result.

Meanwhile, as the economy grows, the vast majority in the middle naturally want to live better. Their consequent spending fuels continued growth and creates enough jobs for almost everyone, at least for a time. But because this situation can’t be sustained, at some point — 1929 and 2008 offer ready examples — the bill comes due...

...The national economy isn’t escaping the gravitational pull of the Great Recession. None of the standard booster rockets are working: near-zero short-term interest rates from the Fed, almost record-low borrowing costs in the bond market, a giant stimulus package and tax credits for small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed have all failed to do enough.

That’s because the real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers; for some time now, their means haven’t kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them.

This crisis began decades ago when a new wave of technology — things like satellite communications, container ships, computers and eventually the Internet — made it cheaper for American employers to use low-wage labor abroad or labor-replacing software here at home than to continue paying the typical worker a middle-class wage. Even though the American economy kept growing, hourly wages flattened. The median male worker earns less today, adjusted for inflation, than he did 30 years ago.

But for years American families kept spending as if their incomes were keeping pace with overall economic growth. And their spending fueled continued growth. How did families manage this trick? First, women streamed into the paid work force. By the late 1990s, more than 60 percent of mothers with young children worked outside the home (in 1966, only 24 percent did).

Second, everyone put in more hours. What families didn’t receive in wage increases they made up for in work increases. By the mid-2000s, the typical male worker was putting in roughly 100 hours more each year than two decades before, and the typical female worker about 200 hours more.

When American families couldn’t squeeze any more income out of these two coping mechanisms, they embarked on a third: going ever deeper into debt. This seemed painless — as long as home prices were soaring. From 2002 to 2007, American households extracted $2.3 trillion from their homes.

Eventually, of course, the debt bubble burst — and with it, the last coping mechanism. Now we’re left to deal with the underlying problem that we’ve avoided for decades. Even if nearly everyone was employed, the vast middle class still wouldn’t have enough money to buy what the economy is capable of producing.

Where have all the economic gains gone? Mostly to the top. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty examined tax returns from 1913 to 2008. They discovered an interesting pattern. In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of American families took in about 9 percent of the nation’s total income; by 2007, the top 1 percent took in 23.5 percent of total income.

It’s no coincidence that the last time income was this concentrated was in 1928. I do not mean to suggest that such astonishing consolidations of income at the top directly cause sharp economic declines. The connection is more subtle.

The rich spend a much smaller proportion of their incomes than the rest of us. So when they get a disproportionate share of total income, the economy is robbed of the demand it needs to keep growing and creating jobs.

What’s more, the rich don’t necessarily invest their earnings and savings in the American economy; they send them anywhere around the globe where they’ll summon the highest returns — sometimes that’s here, but often it’s the Cayman Islands, China or elsewhere. The rich also put their money into assets most likely to attract other big investors (commodities, stocks, dot-coms or real estate), which can become wildly inflated as a result.

Meanwhile, as the economy grows, the vast majority in the middle naturally want to live better. Their consequent spending fuels continued growth and creates enough jobs for almost everyone, at least for a time. But because this situation can’t be sustained, at some point — 1929 and 2008 offer ready examples — the bill comes due...

...Policies that generate more widely shared prosperity lead to stronger and more sustainable economic growth — and that’s good for everyone. The rich are better off with a smaller percentage of a fast-growing economy than a larger share of an economy that’s barely moving. That’s the Labor Day lesson we learned decades ago; until we remember it again, we’ll be stuck in the Great Recession.

Part of the problem is that this is the United States of Amnesia we live in. But the loss of memory's not just simple dementia. It's induced by those that drive our culture.

Assuredly the very, very rich are not so forgetful. If indeed they would profit more by sharing the wealth, what's stopping them from doing so? Why so much resistance from the billionaire Right to keep a $ystem that endangers them, too?

Unless they're not so concerned. Once you have a certain amount of money, having more is not going to noticibly improve your own life. Or wealth.

On the other hand, making sure the greater fraction of humanity has no chance to compete with you, no chance to create things you cannot control, no hope of ever rising above their condition to be more than your servants, that has a very strong appeal to those who would rule us.