Links 5/22/10

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Fishermen Report Illness From BP Chemicals WDSU (hat tip reader John D)

Appeals Panel Bars Detainees From Access to U.S. Courts New York Times

How local TV could go the way of newspapers Alan Mutter

A Progressive Agenda to Remake Washington David Leonhardt, New York Times. OMG, unadulterated propaganda. I lack the energy to shred this, and hope some motivated readers will take it apart.

Another Reason Rand Paul Is Hiding from Meet the Press This Weekend Brad DeLong

Of reform, US bank ratings, and repo FT Alphaville

The Shorebank rescue Felix Salmon

Yes, Merkley-Levin Is Still a Joke Economics of Contempt

No Deal Near for SEC, Goldman Wall Street Journal
Goldman Sachs Settlement May Hinge on How SEC Justifies Penalty Bloomberg

Antidote du jour:

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  1. meir leshem

    The methods and insite are all very much the same allover
    how can the volters held accountable?

  2. attempter

    You’re right, the Leonhardt piece is Big Lying to the point of criminality.

    Right from the photographs at the top smearing FDR and MLK, it’s nauseating. (Ideologically, Reagan is more like it.)

    The basic point of the piece is to fraudulently proclaim that a sham bill is not only significant reform but a milestone achievement (“the biggest since the Great Society!”). The only purpose of this bill is to maintain the status quo while trying to pretend they “reformed” things. That was Obama’s goal above all. Thus the administration made only sham proposals while systematically opposing every worthwhile amendment.

    The piece also continues to propagate the even more vicious lie, that the far worse health racketeering bill, an aggressive reactionary assault which will render almost everyone far worse off than under the status quo ante, was also such a great “progressive” achievement.

    And then there’s the repulsive gaggle of hacks trotted out to effuse idiotically about how great the bill is, how “I never would’ve thought the Democrats could accomplish something so wonderful”, and so on.

    It seems Leonhardt’s the NYT’s go-to guy for this kind of crap. I’ve had the misfortune of reading other such pieces from him.

    1. Richard Kline

      In the last ten years, the NYT has descended to become the propaganda organ of first resort for the oligarchy. I read them at this point to know what the 1% wants the rest of us to think. The Gray Lady’s gone Tokyo Rose on the country. A telling indication regardig what ‘main stream journalism’ has become shackled to in the US.

      1. attempter

        Yes, that’s the most useful way to read it.

        I used to think one could extract the basic facts between the lines if one knew how to read it, but since they’ve been caught out lying about Afghanistan several times, and now about the oil hemorrhage (still parroting the corporate line even where it comes to basic facts and their obfuscation), I don’t even think that anymore.

        Now I read it as primarily propaganda while remaining aware that even the statements of fact could be false.

      2. alex black

        I don’t know if the Gray Lady has gone Tokyo Rose as much as she’s gone Crack ‘Ho.

        Imagine you run the NY Times. Your business is failing because Craigslist is stealing all your ad revenue, and everyone who wants to read your crappy articles can do so for free on the Internet (thanks for the link, Yves!) The ship is going down, but hmmmm, Mr. Obama is bailing out all of his friends. Maybe if we fall all over ourselves declaring Mr. Obama to the “Greatest Human Being…. EVER”, over and over again, when we finally go belly up – Superman to the rescue! I can already hear Obama’s speech when he announces that the NY Times will be bailed out:

        “Tradition of excellence…. blah blah…. Free speech…. honk honk…. A strong and vibrant press…. bzzt bzzt….”

        God, I just hope he doesn’t pull a Valerie Jarrett and start tossing Saul Alinsky catch phrases at us – “It is critical to have newspapers like the NY Times who will stand up and speak Truth to Power!”

  3. Richard Kline

    I am sooo glad that Rand Paul is running. Folks will finally be able so see, without the distorting media-spectacle on the Tea Potters, who and what they really are. The tincture of mania and sociopathy which saturates the perspective one hears from him and his ilk seep into plain sight from the margins of his remarks; something past the delustional and into the realm of the evil. I’m not saying that he is an evil man; likely he is not. But Rand Paul is anti-people, and the dissociation from any social contract implicit in his remarks _is_ evil. Keep talking, guy, the mike’s right over here . . . .

    1. eric anderson

      Pretzel logic. So, a flawed Tea Partier discredits all Tea Partiers, right? Obama then, judged by rhetoric versus action, has exposed all progressives as unworthy of office.

      In reality, most Tea Partiers are not hard libertarians. They just want to move in the direction of smaller government and more local control, not tiny and useless government. You see, they think high taxes, generational theft (deficit spending that mis-allocates wealth on bridges to nowhere and bureaucracies that produce nothing but red tape), nanny-ism that dictates what light bulbs we are allowed to use — that these policies are anti-people.

      I haven’t paid much attention to Rand Paul, as he’s not in my state/district. He may be unfit for office. But judging by the Senate we have now, unfit is a relative term.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Well, it’s certainly not Pretzel Logic (amusing coming from you!), but unfit should most definitely be considered on a relative basis here.

        You do realize that “high” taxes and “generational theft” are going to be difficult to kill at once, given that lowering taxes is mostly likely going to increase deficits (without draconian spending cuts that are likely to disproportionately fall on the bottom 95% in this country and be met with overwhelming ballot box pushback)?

        And objections to “nanny” regulations are also not going far with those who have the ability to think through problems just a tad under the surface. Many of these so-called nanny regulations are not, I would posit, born of paternalism but of the desire to internalize externalities on those who cause them…the desire to stop the swinging of your arms right before they hit my face.

        Sorry, as noted in a comment in another thread, many (I have no idea about “most,” and neither do you) of the Tea Party followers appear to be easily misled quasi-anarchists.

      2. Francois

        So, a flawed Tea Partier discredits all Tea Partiers, right?

        Their behavior, sources of funding, extreme rhetoric and hypocrisy is more than enough to discredit them entirely many times over.

        They just want to move in the direction of smaller government and more local control

        Yeah right! Exactly like the climate change deniers “just want some answers to their questions”. By the way, where were those people when Bush 43 presided to the massive expansion of the Nazional Sekurity apparatus? Anyone can see any element of “local control” in that?

        As for this horrible deficit spending, why don’t you pay attention to the numbers put forth in this presentation? Very instructive, to say the very least!

      3. Richard Kline

        So eric, ‘small government’ in contending with the likes of BP is indescribably naive. They and the rest of their industry have bought even the regulatory apparatus of a large nation state. They have bought the legislators to limit the environmental laws which did and should constrain them, and forgiven them all their taxes. They’ve packed the courts with pro-corporate, anti-regulatory ideologues to hand down trivial judgments against them in the rare cases where their captive regulators and army of lawyers with unlimited financial resources can’t pund a ‘win’ out of a suit. Etc., etc., but look eric, only the concerted power of BIG government with the public behind them have ever been able to constrain the likes of PB, Massey, and innumerable other monstrosities of capital. ‘Local control’ can be bought off much more cheaply and easily than large institutions, in case you hadn’t noticed. Or such outfits just cross the county line, and let their outflow, emissions, and tailings spill over into your jurisdiction.

        ‘Local control’ is a canard anyway. What that has meant time and again is exemption from liberal social legislation that certain folks don’t happen to like. Like the ADA, the voters act, decriminalization of homosexuality, decriminalization of petty drug possession, a semblance of legal process for non-citizens, and the like. It’s not that I love big states: ‘Big State’ police powers are corrosive of liberty and society, and frankly we already have too much of that there, I wouldn’t disagree. That is the least and last fraction of ‘local control’ meant by those who use it as a code word for ‘continued rule by folks like me.’

        Tea Potters: If they’re honest, they’re loony tunes naive; if they’re smart, they’re wholly dishonest.

    1. alex black

      An interesting and humorous thought. Unfortunately, once begun, that sort of thing tends to spread out across the country.

      Wish I could link to a nice rendition of the Dead Kennedy’s classic “Holiday in Cambodia” for your listening pleasure.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It would not surprise me if the solution is worse than the problem, as it often happens with Homo Non-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens.

  4. Guest

    President Obama has just created a Presidential Commission to investigate the Gulf Oil Spill.
    Obama names chairmen of Gulf oil spill commission

    By DARLENE SUPERVILLE (AP) – 1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced Saturday that former Florida Sen. Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly will lead a presidential commission investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    Search for info about the President’s appointment, William K. Reilly, here:

    1. LeeAnne

      just wondering out loud –how much time and money they’ll need to take a walk along the beach at Grand Isle, Louisiana where the AP reports the public beach is closed “… as thick gobs of oil resembling melted chocolate washed up . .., and how long to check with communities and the people who can smell it and feel nauseated by it?

  5. Chris

    Comic Relief:

    Report: Majority Of Government Doesn’t Trust Citizens Either

    “They can’t even fill out their census forms, for crying out loud,” Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho said. “It’s only 10 questions long. We’re not talking about taking the SATs here. Jesus Christ, don’t get me started on the SATs.”

    One typical respondent, President Barack Obama, said he found it hard to trust the judgment of U.S. citizens after recent events, including their decision to elect a president who promised health care reform and then come out against health care reform.

    “How can I have hope for a nation that regularly protests tax cuts that directly benefit them?” Obama said. “Look, I’m not always perfect at my job, either, but I think I could make a halfway coherent comment on a YouTube video if I had to. Isn’t that basically all they do?

    Added Obama, “At this point, the only positive thing I can say about the American people is that I’m pretty sure they’ve never rigged an election in their favor.”,17459/

    1. Francois

      You made my day!

      When all else is going to hell, The Onion stand tall, ready to administer a much needed injection of antidepressive humor.


    2. Richard Kline

      I’ll say that for all my disagreements with those of my own culture and country, what I do and will always appreciate is their sense of humor. Americans are never afraid to laught at anything, most certainly including themselves.

  6. sam hamster

    Conservative politicians only love the super rich. If you’re not super rich and still voting republican, you don’t know what is good for you. When conservatives get their way, their will be no tax money to pay for your pension. That day is coming soon.

  7. Hugh

    I am not a fan of David Leonhardt for much the same reason that I do not suffer fools gladly. He is a paler, dumber imitation of Krugman. Both sell the Establishment line. Krugman is somewhat more sophisticated in playing the critic before he ultimately lapses back into the Establishment group think. Leonhardt by contrast just sounds like he spent too long in the echo chamber. No doubt if Leonhardt were on the Titanic he would be praising the captain for doing so much to equalize the ship with the water. What is useful and a little frightening reading Leonhardt is that this is a fairly good representation of how the Establishment views itself. Yet even in the rose colored hoohaw that is David Leonhardt’s world there are a few blemishes. Inequality being one but it is quickly pushed to the side rather like indistinct sounds heard at a garden party of what might be distant thunder or the Paris mob coming.

  8. sam hamster

    I like your first article: “Fishermen Need Their Mommies to Make Them Wear Respirators.”

  9. charcad

    r.e. How local TV could go the way of newspapers Alan Mutter

    Is this one a nominee for Isolated Arrogant Insider of the Year?

    since the advent of the medium that some stations in the best of times were able to pocket pre-tax profits as high as 50 cents for every dollar of advertising they sold. While profits nowadays are running at a more modest 20% to 30%, they are well ahead of the pre-tax earnings of such corporate behemoths as Wal-Mart and Exxon.

    Not bad for influence-peddling government FCC licensees and a mediocre collection of Art Ferns and Matinee Ladies.

    audiences will fragment to the point that local broadcasters will not be able to attract large quantities of viewers for a particular program at a finite point in time.

    This is going to have real effect.

    Take a look at modern Congressional elections. Few Congresscritters have any local organization to speak of below the county level. The typical Congressional election is a vast exercise firstly in fund raising and then in fund spending on – yes – TV advertising. (see FCC licensee 50% pre-tax profits above) The bulk of Congressional candidates obtain most of their money from outside their districts. Then they turn around and spend it on external media consultants and advertising placed on externally owned media such as Newsosaur’s 50% pre-tax profit margin TV stations. This is the way “consent” for items like TARP has been manufactured in recent decades.

    A bit later the Newsosaurs will bloviate in wonder about a peasantry has more interest in porno than in these biannual imperialistic road shows.

    Well the times they are a-changin’. These days Wal-Mart and Home Depot sell everything you need to set-up first class studios and production facilities in your own garage and office. Let 10,000 production companies bloom!

    Personally I’m really excited to be part of this imminent future. I can’t wait for 15,000 to 20,000 local TV employees (85% “progressive Democrats”) to join the 15,000 former newspaper journalists (also around 90% “progressive Democrats”) in exciting new careers in the hospitality, food service and home health care industries.

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