Links 10/9/10

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51 comments

  1. Francois T

    Re: The Journal trails…

    Yves,

    Nice to see CJR noting the obvious: You’ve pawned quite a few big publications (not only the WSJ) with your coverage of the foreclosure crisis.

    Awesome! Credit where it is due…for a change!

  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hopefully, the high powered lobbyist hired by the American people can get Congress to hold elections every day – it seems politicians only listen (or pretend to listen) to the American people when there is an election.

    By that logic, democracy is most efficient when there is an election every day, if not every hour.

  3. propertius

    “If you think the indefinite detention, torture and murder of Muslims is not a problem because they must surely be evil terrorist barbarians… you might be a racist.”

    Or you might be the President of the United States.

    1. craazyman

      Or more likely, you might even be a Muslim yourself, grinding your tribal jackboots into the face of your neighbor, looking for some scapegoat on which to deposit your thanatic dreams of absolution.

      Look at what they do, not what they say. ;)

      Ecce Homo Freddie Hug the Horse like his mama.

        1. craazyman

          wee take da biggerst Mizlim and da biggerst Christ mon white mon and we make ’em fight and whozevah wins, then we’ze ‘el beez each othaz slaves. And in 10 yeez moah, weez fite again and then we beez each othaz slaves for 10 moah yeez. berk and foth, berk and foth, jes like da waze they roaz in da galleez on da sea. – I. D. Yot, Da Book of Da Holy Moly Rolly Poly

          :)

          1. i on the ball patriot

            Holy Moly,
            Rolly Poly
            Fuck The Fights Man,
            Let’s Get Holy,

            Rise Above,
            The Plated Scam,
            Love Each Other,
            Share Life’s Jam …

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  4. Richard Kline

    Absolutely gorgeous antidote; a jewel that’s a scent you inhale with your eyes. A parasensory stimulant in other words . . . .

    1. attempter

      At the herbal medicine garden where I volunteer, most of the blossoms withered a while ago, and with them went the butterflies and other pollinators.

      But the New England asters, which we expected sometime in August, and then September, never bloomed. We were beginning to worry that they wouldn’t blossom at all, perhaps on account of the harsh summer.

      Then just in the last two weeks, they’ve blossomed, and suddenly butterflies and bees are back.

      So that’s a nice coda to the season.

    1. F. Beard

      So folks who don’t have the reflexes to drive cars prefer that no one can? :)

      Actually, peak energy is what is important and the Earth need never run out of that. The Germans synthesized about 40% of their liquid fuel needs in WWII. We could synthesize hydrocarbons if needed given an abundant energy source which thorium reactors could provide.

      1. attempter

        Well, it’s always nice to hear from someone who wants to trash what’s left of the earth once and for all to keep the SUVs chugging along. And once you convert all these billions of Asian cars to CTL, where’s the fuel for electricity going to come from?

        But what’s that? Most of the high quality anthracite has already been burned, and they’re burning through the bituminous and sub-bituminous at a torrid clip, and soon we’ll be reduced to the low-quality lignite? Peak Coal itself is generally projected for the 2020s, and perhaps sooner?

        Boy, that net energy’s a pickle, ain’t it?

        Ah yes, but the thorium pipe dream will save us. And when that doesn’t work cold fusion will save us. And when that doesn’t work zero point energy will save us. Zero point energy is of course physically impossible, but no matter; it’ll save us.

        And when that doesn’t work I guess aliens will hand us a new planet with a new oil principal to draw down.

        Because the fact is that’s the only replacement for plentiful oil we have even a theoretical chance of finding.

        1. eric anderson

          Thorium is a proven technology. This is not to say it can’t be refined further. However, thorium reactors have been successfully operating for a half century. Unlike fusion. To mention these two in the same sentence is like talking about bullet trains and Star Trek transporters in the same sentence.

        2. F. Beard

          Well, it’s always nice to hear from someone who wants to trash what’s left of the earth once and for all to keep the SUVs chugging along attempter

          I suspect much of the anti-growth propaganda is financed by the uber-rich who wish a pristine earth after they raped it and its people to get rich. But in any event, the destruction of the earth is financed ultimately with stolen purchasing power from the poor via fractional reserve banking. And ironically, by creating desperately poor people, the bankers are fouling their own nest.

          1. attempter

            I suspect much of the anti-growth propaganda is financed by the uber-rich who wish a pristine earth after they raped it and its people to get rich.

            Man, you must be desperate to say something so moronic on its face.

            The super-rich, of course, have bought their pristine patches, which they think can remain pristine forever while they destroy the rest of the planet.

            It’s a little issue called environmental justice.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_justice

            But I guess any “growth”-mongering neoliberal must know all about it, from the wrong side. Like Larry Summers said, the third world is “underpolluted”, right?

      2. eric anderson

        Thorium. Amen and hallelujah. I wish people were more informed about this excellent potential domestic clean energy source.

        In the United States we sit in the midst of boundless God-given energy resources, but our dear leaders in Washington ignore them in order to pursue expensive alternatives like ethanol (totally stupid IMO — maybe criminal, considering the need of other nations — to use up food-producing farmland for fuel production), wind, and solar.

        “After [thorium] has been used as fuel for power plants, the element leaves behind minuscule amounts of waste. And that waste needs to be stored for only a few hundred years, not a few hundred thousand like other nuclear byproducts. Because it’s so plentiful in nature, it’s virtually inexhaustible. It’s also one of only a few substances that acts as a thermal breeder, in theory creating enough new fuel as it breaks down to sustain a high-temperature chain reaction indefinitely. And it would be virtually impossible for the byproducts of a thorium reactor to be used by terrorists or anyone else to make nuclear weapons.”

        Annual fuel cost for 1 GW thorium reactor: $10,000

        Annual fuel cost for Uranium reactor: $50-60 million
        (Does that include waste disposal? I think not.)

        Wired magazine December 2009 http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/all/1

          1. Charles 2

            You quote an article claiming that it supports your view that thorium based reactors will never happen. This is not what it says: it merely asserts that it certainly is not a free lunch (there is no such thing in engineering) and that one should be aware of the opportunity costs of investing too much of scarce resources on the hypothetical success of a technology. This is a very reasonable point, but I wish the mainstream environmentalists be aware that this opportunity cost issue applies to renewables as well. As Bill Gates rightfully points out, we would be better off spending more on research (and that would include an industrial prototype of thorium reactor, among many other things) rather than subsidising massive scale deployment of technologies (such as photovoltaic and, to a lesser extent, wind in Germany) that have not yet reached economical maturity. With today’s technology, powering an electric car with renewables is as wasteful of energy than driving a SUV.

          2. attempter

            Surely you’re not mistaking me for a mainstream environmentalist, whose type I’ve consistently criticized?

            I’ve often said the same thing about the notion that renewables can be scaled up to a great extent:

            1. That too is dependent upon the fossil fuel platform.

            2. That too wouldn’t be done to the people’s benefit but only as a corporatist boondoggle.

            The piece I linked describes why thorium, like all the other panaceas, is just a propaganda mirage. It debunks the usually implicit but often explicit lie that commercial thorium reactors are already deployed, and it explains how the same reasons why they aren’t already deployed will likely rule out their deployment in the future.

            As for the criminal Bill Gates, we’ve seen from his pro-GMO campaign what kind of corporatist totalitarianism he supports.

            What you have him saying is the exact opposite of the truth. The truth is that we don’t need further research, which will only go to the kind of boondoggles meant to further enrich the likes of Bill Gates. The best we can do is deploy existing renewables technology in decentralized ways. This is the only rational response to energy descent, as well as a necessary and reinforcing element of economic and political relocalization.

            It’s the personal car as such which is unsustainably wasteful. Neither SUVs nor electric cars are different in kind where it comes to that, only degree.

            But I agree that the electric car is the poster child for a green corporatist boondoggle: public subsidies for what will never be anything but a luxury for rich liberals.

  5. Kevin de Bruxelles

    What’s bizarre about the American Left as demonstrated in that FDL post is their schizophrenic views on the one hand the Tea Party and on the other Muslims. To put it simply, when the Left looks at the Tea Party, they use their prosecutorial eyes, the faults of the few quickly become the fault of the movement as a whole. For example one or two racists signs at a rally will allow the Left to brand the whole movement as racist. But when the Left looks at Islam, they bust out all their best Johnnie Cochran defence attorney skills. For example when presented with the fact that homosexuality is punishable by death in many Islamic societies, the average Leftist will quickly respond that in Turkey it is legal to be gay so that shows you cannot blame all Muslims. Or they might just state that other political ideologies are not perfect either. For example, when some nutcase Wahhabi Jihadis massacre innocent people, the Left will be quick to point out (correctly actually) that these people do not represent the majority of Muslims.

    And the fact that there are still Islamic societies with legal black slaves in Africa will not stop the Left from marching in support of fairness towards Muslims. I wonder if the Tea Party were building a “cultural center” near Ground Zero whether the Left would march in support of their First Amendment rights?

    In other words the criteria used to condemn the Tea Party is one bad apple, while the criteria to defend Islam is one good apple.

    What happens here of course is that most political thinking within both American ideological boxes is based upon a victim / oppressor false dichotomy. Each side designates their favored victims or oppressors and then attacks or defends depending on these classifications. To me there will never be any progress in America until its people who have been shepherded into these two neat little elite-designed idealogical boxes begin to transcend their divisions.

    So my question is when will the Left finally see the Tea Party as victims of the wealth elite and at least stop the exaggerated attacks about their supposed racism?

    What I am suggesting is that the Left’s tolerant attitude towards Muslims is commendable and that in the interests of unity perhaps they could apply the same attitude of tolerance towards the Tea Party. This isn’t to say that the Left should necessarily adopt the policies of the Tea Party, or stop calling out their corporate sponsership or their stupidity in remaining within the Republican party – just as although the Left has agreed to support Islam, that has not meant they had to agree to the stoning of adulterous wives, nor are they going out and buying hijabs and praying mats in large quantities. And most progressive to this day have no idea in which direction lies Mecca.

    So at the end of the day, it was a great sign of tolerance that the Communist Party USA was able to put down its historic animosity and oppression of organized religions in general and Islam in particular (the few mosques that were allowed to exist in the USSR had to have 3-4 party apparatchiks attached to them to ensure that Islam really was a religion of peace), and were able to march in support of the Ground Zero mosque. Following this example, I think “progressives” could at least listen to discussions about the impact illegal immigration has on working classes in America without resorting to weak shaming language by screaming racism. They could perhaps instead read a little history about César Chávez’ attitude toward the illegals and how they occasionally shot the illegals whom the wealthy agri-bosses used to try to send over the border to break up strikes. Were the United Farm Workers racist?

    1. skippy

      Race refers to the classification of humans into populations or groups based on various factors such as culture, language, social practice or heritable characteristics.[1]

      Conceptions and groupings of races vary over time and reflect societal customs [2][3][4] in defining essential types of individuals based on perceived sets of traits.

      As a biological term, race describes genetically divergent populations of humans that can be marked by common phenotypic and genotypic traits.[5] This sense of race is often used in forensic anthropology analyzing skeletal remains, biomedical research, and race-based medicine.[6]

      Race, however, has no official biological taxonomic significance — all humans belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.[7][8] Nor is there scientific basis for any racial or ethnic hierarchy.[9][10]

      The study of shared traits among peoples is also conducted along ethnic lines, involving the endogamic history of groups

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(classification_of_humans)

      My favorite is see:

      “Race, however, has no official biological taxonomic significance — all humans belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.[7][8] Nor is there scientific basis for any racial or ethnic hierarchy.”

      Why do we even discuss it ummm….it seems to be a elixer by which to posion minds, then send them out with clubs branded with *not like us* upon them….me thinks.

    2. liberal

      So my question is when will the Left finally see the Tea Party as victims of the wealth elite and at least stop the exaggerated attacks about their supposed racism?

      I consider myself “of the left,” and I indict the Tea Party not mainly because of its ostensible racism, but because of its rank stupidity, and the fact that they’re clearly pawns of Fox News and the Republican Party.

      Tea Partiers piss and moan about big government and budget deficits. Where were these scum when the US invaded Iraq? War is the ultimate example of “big government”. Not to mention the direct costs of almost $1T in our little adventure there, and indirect costs of trillions more. Or the medical payments we’re going to be footing for the troops who would be dead now but for modern medical technology.

      While the Democrats (at least much of the party, and the leadership) clearly are controlled by the banksters and other malefactors of wealth and power, let’s not forget what got us into this mess: Reaganism. You can chart the beginning of the latter 20th century jump in the collection of parasitic economic rents by the FIRE sector from 1980.

      If anyone thinks that the Tea Party or their owners, the Republicans, are the answer to the problems we face, they have a giant hole in their head.

      1. Kevin de Bruxelles

        You are correct and instead of engaging them on race, we should instead be asking if they support “security” budget cuts to reduce the size of government. This is an easy way to separate the genuine angry working class from the corporate co-opters. If they really want to reduce the size of government they should be well aware of the game played where Republicans boost the “security” portion of the government when they are in power while the Democrats boost the “non-security” portion.

        There is a whole portion of the Tea Party, such as those around Ron Paul, who are very against the recent wars and the oversized military budget. Instead of looking for common ground liberals are all to quick to dismiss them as racists.

        The website Antiwar is a good example of the left and right actually finding some common ground.

        1. purple

          I too find the race stuff tiring. I spend half my time in a rural hyper conservative area of Texas and there is little racism, in fact, in the under 30 set there is a lot of mixing between different ethnicities.

          Maybe it’s because in rural small town areas Class is such an overt presence because everyone knows what everyone else’s job is.

        2. wunsacon

          >> There is a whole portion of the Tea Party, such as those around Ron Paul, who are very against the recent wars and the oversized military budget.

          I wish you libertarians would stop making such strange bedfellows. Why would you continue supporting the Tea Party ever since they took in Palin and Beck? Oh wait, well, there’s precedent for it.

          On paper, I never would imagine libertarians would vote to for Dubya. But, they did. In fact, 59% of libertarians voted to RE-ELECT George W. Bush. Apparently, because they hate Democrats so much, libertarians opted to vote to RE-ELECT a man who promoted religious interests, unnecessary war, violation of civil rights, inflation-tax-and-spend, and lawlessness on Wall Street.

          Libertarians should distance themselves entirely from Republicans. And, if you do, maybe we’ll see some Schumpeterian creative destruction in the political marketplace.

        3. eric anderson

          Kevin, this is absolutely correct. I think Ron Paul goes too far with his isolationism and defense (lack of defense) strategies. But clearly our attempts at empire have outstripped our resources to maintain it.

          As a Tea Party sympathizer, I support cuts in everything. Large. Cuts. In. Every. Thing.

          Government revenues currently pay only for the transfer payment and welfare part of the budget. All other expenditures require borrowing for continued spending. This is the definition of deep doo-doo.

        4. liberal

          There is a whole portion of the Tea Party, such as those around Ron Paul, who are very against the recent wars and the oversized military budget. Instead of looking for common ground liberals are all to quick to dismiss them as racists.

          That’s all fine and good, but I’ll wager money that that’s a relatively small part of the Tea Party movement.

          The website Antiwar is a good example of the left and right actually finding some common ground.

          Yes. I read it every day, and give $75 quarterly. But IMHO most tea partiers are not going to like the views presented on antiwar.com, be they liberal/left, paleocon, or libertarian.

        5. liberal

          This is an easy way to separate the genuine angry working class from the corporate co-opters.

          Polling data show that the average Tea Partier is NOT working class, but rather has a higher income than the average American, IIRC.

    3. liberal

      Following this example, I think “progressives” could at least listen to discussions about the impact illegal immigration has on working classes in America without resorting to weak shaming language by screaming racism.

      This is a reasonable position; I myself don’t understand why so many are so opposed to immigration controls.

      OTOH, 98% of the voices I hear opposing immigration are either of puny intellect or are insincere, because they only focus on the impossible task of “closing the border” or punitive sanctions against the immigrants, when in fact the easiest solution—if we stipulate that illegal immigration should be staunched, and that the government has the right to enforce immigration policy—is draconian sanctions on employers, specifically long jail terms and some confiscation of assets. That would shut down illegal immigration overnight, and we wouldn’t have to worry about the problem so many cite about how to deport millions of people.

    4. Anonymous Jones

      “So my question is when will the Left finally see the Tea Party as victims of the wealth elite and at least stop the exaggerated attacks about their supposed racism?”

      I do not know the ‘truth’ about the supposed racism, but in my experience, the people I know often act in a very tribal fashion when threatened (or apparently threatened). Especially ignorant people. Whatever. It is, as I said, beyond my knowledge. We just can’t dismiss the ‘tribal’ hypothesis or the idea that people separate the world into ‘criminals’ and ‘victims’ when we are all potentially in both sets.

      Anyway, it is not a waste of time to at least try to examine the motivations of the those who compose a group such as the Tea Party. One’s motivations will provide clues as to how one will act in any given situation in the future. Also, it is probably at least a little illuminating to see what they focus on. I think that is relatively safe to say that the immigration debate never somehow seems to highlight white immigrants (from Canada or Europe, let’s say).

      So, I’m not on the left, but I can certainly imagine the ‘truth’ being that many self-proclaimed members of the Tea Party movement are *both* victims of the elites *and* racists. That is certainly possible. You certainly cannot prove it untrue.

      In the end, what seems most relevant about the Tea Party is that even though they may be ‘victims,’ I see them as mostly victims of their own ignorance and stupidity. If their movement was really about ‘victimhood’ and ‘elite power,’ principle #1 for them would be confiscation the elite’s wealth. Not only is that not principle #1, their candidates in fact (by their actions, such as in holding up any extension of the tax cuts to ensure the wealthy get a disproportionate benefit…look at what people do!) seem to hold principle #1 as the exact opposite of what it should be.

      So yes, many might be racist. Yes, that probably is relevant. No, it is not even close to being the most important mistake about the entire movement.

    5. eric anderson

      You might be a hypocritical leftist if… you cannot distinguish between the minority of racist kooks on the fringes of the Tea Party and the large Muslim majorities in many countries who endorse Sharia law.

    6. Valissa

      Well said and completely agreed… though I expect you’ll find litle support from avowed liberals, who are quite happy to keep their own tribal value blinders on while dissing other tribal believers. Liberals are more hypocritical on this particular issue than conservatives, because liberals preach (and I do mean PREACH) tolerance and diversity… but only on their own terms… not in the real world where liberals are typically disdainful and superior to other forms of political expression.

    7. Richard Kline

      So Kevin, buddy . . . you know _nothing_ about the American ‘Left.’ And to be frank you’d be better off not demonstrating the collection of distorted fragments that fills that place in your discourse commenting about a highly diverse set of folks with few common parameters. I’ve thought this before and not raised the issue, but this is getting tiresome. I get the sense that your broader point is good, but you seem to have bought bits and pieces of ‘the Left’ and ‘progressives’ which have little to do with the positions of many, and indeed most, individuals out there. You may be getting your perspective from a few websites written in the tenor and position of some, but I see nothing like the diversity, nuarnce, and general respect for others that _I_ find in those of such views, either in person or as represented online. Ergo, I take your presentation as one of bias: you select what you want to disparage from a more diverse spread of perspectives.

      There is no such thing as ‘the American Left.’ I’m not of a mood to go over this in detail, but there is no core philosophy or organization. Animal rights advocates do not speak for the great bulk of pro-envioronmentalists, for example, even is some belong to both camps. Do you see the AFSC, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood as ‘Left,’ or what? (Some radicals participate, some don’t.) Do some folks of radical views at times have nutball opinions? Sure, I’ve seen that a bunch. Do some have biases? Naturally. You seem to think them all ignorant of other groups such as ‘Muslims.’ [Which ones are you referring to? Muslims are diverse, with their ethnicity and particular creed of considerable experience in understanding their experience. I’d bet a dollar to a dime that many Americans of actual progressive and and radical views understand such distinctions which are _not_ evident in your own description btw.] To the point, I recognize _very little_ of what I know of Americans of progressive and radical perspective in your remarks. (Johnnie Cochran? Oh, PLEASE . . . .)

      I find your representation of Tea Party folks as . . . strange. There have been numerous, first person reports of those attending Tea Party rallies querying attendees and drawing pointedly racist remarks. I don’t think, personally, that race is at the top of the agenda of those who might characterized themselves as sympathetic to ‘Tea Party’ views [which are again diverse and depend more upon who one is listening to than a defined set of beliefs or objectives. To deny that racism is often associated with those of this persuasion is flying in the face of reported fact. Are they put upon downwardly mobile lower middle class or rural folks with real concerns about abuse of power? Well, I suspect that _some_ are. Quite a few are affluent whites getting up in years with few connections with those in the preceding sentences. A huge vomiting of know-nothing statements is presented most anytime we get those declaring sympathy with the ‘Tea Party movement’ in front of a microphone. You’re suggesting then that we ignore factual evidence before our eyes of nutjobism to focus on isolated flecks of social criticism in the morass? That’s bunk as far as methodology, friend. Just as you would present ‘the Left’ as a package deal when few there can agree on anything, you seem to want to focus on what you like in the Tea Potters to the exclusion of all the rest that pops up whenever they pop off.

      And so on, and so one, but I’ll repreat, Kevin, your presentatation of ‘the American Left’ isn’t even a straw man, it’s a projection of a charicature inside _your_ head as far as I can tell which quite inaccurately summarizes the views of those of radical perspective here, evidently to give you a platform for promoting a faction you prefer. I don’t see your remarks here and in the past as doing you any credit.

      1. Kevin de Bruxelles

        Richard,

        I think I’ve made my own personal preferences well known: I would considered myself an old school Social Democrat. But I think things will have to get much worse in America before ideas such as Social Democracy will have any chance in the US. So if you think my post was an appeal to a certain political position, namely the Tea Party‘s, then I did a real bad job in expressing myself.

        Obviously what I labeled “the Left” is a diverse group and an even stronger objection would be that there is next to no “Left” in the US at all. But as a little thought experiment would you make the same objections to the terms “right”, and “wingnut” that I used in a similar type of principles over tribalism comment I posted to a right wing blog a couple of years ago:

        http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2007/08/nine-billionth-name-of-god.html#4589220951993440701

        The mindset of the radical right and radical Islam is so similar that the animosity between them reminds one of the hatred between Communism and Nazism in the first half of the twentieth century. Never mind the obvious kindred Islamic / Right wing dogmas regarding homosexuality, women, rationality, and the valorous nature of any acts of violence their side executes, the most stunning parallel is the lack of any ability on the part of both the jihadi and the wingnut to rationally analyze any data. Whether this anti-intellectualism is the cause or effect, together the wingnut and the jihadi advocate the same despotic societal organizational pattern of an unrestrained God and King reeking havoc on their powerless Subjects. And they both reject the rational principles that led to the rise of the West, the idea of a Deity restrained by natural laws and a Polis (state) controlled by constitutional laws creating a society where Citizens can flourish.

        When confronted with data, both the wingnut and the jihadi will not analyse it to better understand the truth. Instead they are both convinced that they already have the truth, therefore they sift data for any morsels that reinforce their worldview and throw the rest away as heretic lies. Regarding US actions in the Middle East the Jihadi already knows the US is evil so that any data to the contrary is worthless and di. Regarding Europe, the wingnut is convinced that the forces of Allah are just about to take over power there. So when confronted with an article that seems to confirm his worldview (a priest calling for his flock to pray to “Allah”) the wingnut mines the article for confiming data and throws away as chaff any information that seems to contradict his constructed cosmos. So the fact that the priest’s actions were in response to a call for a banning of the Koran by a Dutch MP is ignored. Wouldn’t this fact tend to reverse the notion that Europe is about to surrender to the forces of Islam? And the fact that more than 90% of the respondents to a poll rejected the idea of praying to Allah is equally ignored. The right wing refusal to rationally analysis the whole picture and their child-like dependence on only grasping at the straws that confirm their preconceived “truths” explains both their ignorance of Europe and even more importantly of military strategy. It also firmly places them into an anti-rationalist camp that they share with Jihadis everywhere.

        This is not to say that the Dutch priest is correct. For if Dutch Catholics were to pray to Allah nothing would change. Although the fact is that in the Aramaic of Jesus, the word for God was pronounced the same as Allah. I guess that makes Jesus a dhimmi is some wiingnut eyes. But no, the clash is not between Islam and the West, the clash is between the children of the Greeks and the Enlightenment who expect their deity to respect natural laws, in other words that science and human rationality have a veto over religion; and the followers of oriental (in the Near Eastern sense) despotism who promote an omniscient God who trumps any scientific knowledge. For when a society expects its deities to conform to natural law, it also expects its government to respect constitutional law. But a society with an all-powerful God, more often than not, is ruled by a despotic autocrat outside of any constraints.

        But in order to determine the natural laws rationality must be employed. The followers of preconceived truths cannot live in a society ruled by rationality because “truths” often end up being proved wrong. This explains both the Jihadi and wingnut hostility to science, in particular the theory of evolution and the origins of life. Of course after the debacle of the years of right wing denial of the dangers of cigarette smoke it is astounding that anyone would take anything they say about science seriously again. The current right wing dogmas of the science of climate change being “anti economic growth” begs the question of what a right wing blogosphere would have thought of the originators of the ideas crop rotation and of leaving fields fallow. Surely these incredible developments of human living sustainable with their environment would have also been denounced as anti growth heresy if wingnuts were around in those days..

        This closing of the mind to rationality and science is what caused the end of the “Golden Age of Islam”, specifically a ban on the use of ijtihad or creative reasoning, but not before they passed on the ideas of the Greeks and algebra which directly led to the Enlightenment and the rise of the west. Now in their hysteria to race to the bottom in a vain attempt to mirror our society to that which is desired by the Jihadis, one wonders how long before the wingnuts declare the teaching of algebra as a sign of Dhimmitude.

        The enemy is not necessarily Islam. The enemy is anyone who places their God above human rationality, constitutional government, and science.

  6. liberal

    Bought house in 2008; refinanced for the second time in August.

    Just got a letter from Freddie Mac saying they purchased the loan, and that no public record of that has been made.

    Are the GSEs exempt from local recording laws (as MERS wasn’t)?

  7. Kevin de Bruxelles

    draconian sanctions on employers

    I agree this is the best way in theory but when the government is captured by the very same corporate interests who benefit from illegal neo-slave labour then other means are required as well. The United Farm Workers used to attempt to physically patrol the border to stop scabs from coming across. There are no easy answers though as the illegals themselves are most often very hard working people just looking for a better life.

    Many working class people have difficulties expressing themselves in purely economic terms, and so emotions, including hate, often boil to the top when they discuss the issue. Others, especially corporate sponsored politicians on the Right, purposefully cloud the issue with overt racism in order to provoke a Pavlovian reaction in support of illegals by the Left.

    1. liberal

      I agree this is the best way in theory but when the government is captured by the very same corporate interests who benefit from illegal neo-slave labour then other means are required as well.

      Other means will not work. While there’s a lot I don’t like about right-wing libertarianism and free market worshippers, one thing they have right is that government attempts to curtail supply when there’s demand (in this kind of situation) are bound to fail.

      Oh, sure, if we had something clearly unconstitutional, like anyone caught without proper papers would suffer the death penalty, immigration would slow. But because of our long border with Mexico, the ONLY serious solution is stiff employer sanctions.

    2. liberal

      I agree this is the best way in theory but when the government is captured by the very same corporate interests who benefit from illegal neo-slave labour then other means are required as well.

      I don’t think that’s quite right. Certainly a lot of corporations benefit from illegal immigration, but so do lots and lots of small businesses.

      There are no easy answers though as the illegals themselves are most often very hard working people just looking for a better life.

      Yes, in fact there are very easy answers: draconian sanctions against employers. That’s a necessary and sufficient thing to do to solve the problem.

  8. wunsacon

    >> Can the oceans be cleared of floating plastic rubbish?

    I’m worried about what monster bug scientists might concoct here to “solve” this problem.

    Who’s overseeing the risks of possible unintended consequences from introducing a plastic-eating organism that survives in seawater?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Today’s solution is tomorrow’s problem.

      I’m sure the plastic bag was introduced to solve some problem people had before.

  9. Brian Hayes

    Ocean Vortex Garbage Patch?
    We struggle to comprehend the scale. We can barely wonder about the biophysical impact.

    It’s hundreds of millions of tons in ‘total’ and according to Scripps it’s extremely diffuse over a vast area, and typically such small pieces that it’s hard to design any sort of system to clean it up.

    The highest concentration of plastic particles recovered works out to one tiny piece per 18.5 square feet.

  10. leroguetradeur

    You might be a well meaning idiot if….

    You think the great difference between the Nazis and Soviet Communism was the great idealism of the latter.

    You are not really sure Stalin had so many alternatives, after all the khulaks really were withholding food from the cities.

    You think the Rosenbergs were probably not guilty of anything, and the guilt of Alger Hiss has never really been proven.

    On the other hand, if you think there was a wave of ugly and crazy hysteria about communism in America in the fifties, you are quite right, there was, and if you deny this you are an idiot who is not even well meaning.

    And the Depression was all down to that idiot Hoover, and Roosevelt was the one who changed all the policies of Hoover 180 degrees as soon as he got into office, and got us out of it, or we would probably still be in it today.

    You think the Vietcong were a peoples liberation movement.

    You think Mao was in any way preferable to the relatively humane (by comparison) Chiang Kai Shek.

    You think democratic socialism is possible and that someone understands in specific detail what it would look like and what exactly would happen if it lost an election.

    You really believe that doubling CO2 will raise global temperatures by 4 degrees, and that it is just 100 year old physics.

    You think that the New Math and the New Reading have improved literacy and numeracy in the UK, and that teachers unions are good for educational standards.

    You think there is no necessary association between socialism and mass murder despite not being able to point to any country which has reached the first without going via the second.

    You really cannot see why we should need to be protected from the state and state agencies by any other body as long as we have a Democratic Party in power.

    You believed Tony Blair and you still do believe Bill Clinton. He probably did not inhale, or have sex with that woman either.

    You think trade unions benefit the whole of the working class and the poor.

    You think that Mayor Daley was a great man and an inspired leader and that is why he was always being reelected.

    You wish Al Gore had won the election, as he certainly would have done if not for fraud in Florida.

    You are not too sure about 9/11 and think maybe there is something to all those stories that the Iranian President is saying, after all, why would he lie to us?

    You always buy Macs, you like them better, you just feel more productive when you are using them. Besides, the Mac is really sort of open source.

    You are sure there are a bunch of people around who are what is usually called neo-liberals, who stand for oppressing the workers everywhere under the guise of favoring free markets. They are also known as Bushies because that is where they hide their lights.

    And finally, you see the war a bit differently now that Obama is prosecuting it. You felt uncomfortable about it under Bush, but with Obama, you are not sure why, somehow it seems all better managed.

    And you are OK with all those bases too. In fact, come to think of it, you haven’t really thought about them in a long time. Maybe never.

  11. Mixtapes

    This is really a hot topic. Both sides have good points. However, many passive people don’t want to open their eyes to the fact that the Muslim faith is the ONLY religion that actually speaks of murdering other faiths and races. Many want to act like it is just another religion, which it is not.

    1. skippy

      WOW you really need to bone up on your theocracies. I’m not even going to do the home work for you, hell even bushie II had daily sitreps with biblical labels upon them….shezz.

      Skippy…just goggle it for frick sake, its in every one save buddhist maybe, hell…some even point to them *all* being the social lubricant to justify War…of which you are enabling.

  12. Kevin de Bruxelles

    Skippy’s right. Man, oh man, oh man, you really do not understand the function of religion at all. I can assure you if Islam were the only religion that advocated killing the others, then every man, woman and child on this earth today would be actively worshiping Allah.

    Religion, in all its various forms, is a force multiplier, it gives a society the cohesion needed to endure long struggles such as war. Too much religion and the society becomes ossified and is unable to advance (I’m sure you can think of a few current examples in today’s world). Too little religion and the society falls apart when stressed just like a concrete beam without any reinforcing bars collapses when loaded with even the slightest extra forces.

    I even took the time to find a good passage for you:

    Deuteronomy 13:13-19 (King James Version)

    Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

    Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

    Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

    And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

    And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

    When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.

  13. Glen

    Rupert and the clan don’t like it when you talk badly about their friends, that’s why you’ll never see too much about the mortgage fraud in News Corp publications.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/when-rupert-comes-to-town-20101008-16c1j.html

    Instead, they’ll flog “news” like this to Australians to get them to buy houses that they probably don’t even own.

    http://www.news.com.au/money/investing/us-uk-housing-markets-more-valuable-than-australian-market-says-fund-manager/story-e6frfmdr-1225935374684

  14. Marquis De Oligarchy

    No one mentioned David Axelrod, who must be the strong right hand man. Dispatched to the tv screens yesterday, to warm the hearts and expectations of the Financial Behemoths whose faith was tested once again by a “hold on there it’s almost November” two-step by the current Republican administration.
    Axlerod, to those who are able to withhold their vomit, was once a celebrated mover and shaker in a tragically underwhelming corporate staged election of an African American Jesus. The mask is off as the years slowly pass, and he’s just more rot on any pretense of Democracy.

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