New wetsuit protects bald penguin from sunburn Independent
Bars Warn of Rowdy Patrons via Text New York Times
Are Faulty Polls Driving Policy on Climate Change? New Deal 2.0
Cory Doctorow: My computer says no New Scientist (hat tip reader Bill A)
Pentagon hunts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in bid to gag website Guardian
‘Tea party’ candidates hurt by lack of organization in movement Washington Post
Romer’s Charter Cities: A Really Witless Approach to Development Peter Dorman. Be sure to read this. Aieee.
Commission outlines $1 trillion in defense budget cuts Raw Story (hat tip reader John D)
David Brooks and the Power of Magical Thinking at the NYT Dean Baker
Keeping Politics Safe for the Rich New York Times (hat tip reader Skippy). In case you missed this horror.
Van Rompuy caves in: he now accepts Berlin’s position of no institutional change Eurointelligence
CFTC’s Energy-Industry Gadfly Gets His Way Wall Street Journal
Bankers should be thankful for even meager M&A Rolfe Winkler
“Frugality Fatigue”? Mark Thoma
Second Dip? Andy Harless
BP’s Mess, and Wall Street’s William Cohan, New York Times (hat tip reader Don B)
Are home prices headed for another drop? Christian Science Monitor
Perfect Imperfection Cassandra
Are you what you eat? VoxEU
The increasing ‘humanisation’ of our pets Financial Times
Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Barbara W):
I doubt that most Americans are ready for the period of radical conservative judicial reactionism we are about to endure from the Supreme Court of the United States. It is the effective goal of the present majority to repudiate the twentieth century. Those are exceptionally strong words, with an alarmist tenor which would have set my own teeth on edge even a half dozen years ago, but not now. The Supreme Court has nothing to say about TARP, but is determined to revoke any protections the citizenry have secured relative to the state, and to place corporations above the possibility of control by the legislative systems of the country. These are the effects of the many agendas one sees now pursued.
It astounds me, and not in any good way, to see the slow collapse of the institutions of civil democratic society in my own country. I’ve seen these in many historical instances, but the US has been resilient in crises in the past. The state was weaker than, and local political processes, if by no means necessarily fairer, effective institutions that built citizen confidence and a sense of local solidarity and committment. We look to the center now, whose institutions are entirely captive by the top of the income chain whose members have secceeded from a common society. When the Congress, the Executive, _and_ the Supreme Court fail to defend the public, we’ve in the 19th century in a much weaker position.
This all gets much worse before it gets better, to me . . . .
Yeah, I share your concern.
I agree as well. The fantasy world of those in power will have be fully and totally repudiated by reality before things will change.
If we are at the point where “spend more = get elected” in Arizona or anywhere else, then democracy is pretty much finished anyway. And that is the unstated premise of those who think that public financing of campaigns will somehow make politics less corrupt, to say nothing of the fundamental injustice of forcing someone to support the political speech and ambitions of candidates whose views they may find abhorrent.
Former senator and governor from New Jersey and Goldman Sachs head honcho Jon Corzine is surely an example of how buying elected office has been around a few decades now at the very least. If you think it’s just happening now then you haven’t been paying any attention at all.
Forcing someone…really? Tell me, how will you like it when you are forced to realize that candidates whose views you find abhorrent have all this corporate money they wish to drown any other points of view, including yours?
The important thing public financing would do is to give a fighting chance to every candidate to be heard. Things are already so bad with the mainstream media without having to endure corporate money running the show.
BTW, please spare me the canard that “unions too will do that”. Of course they will! The question is: Will they be able to really compete, given the extreme inequality in resources between corporate America and the Unions?
The answer is: not a chance!
We need to break free of the brainwashing about there being any justification at all for top-down secrecy. This is nothing but a fetish of tyranny with no reality basis. On the contrary, the truth is that the people are served best by complete clarity on the part of institutions.
There’s no longer a Cold War, nor is there the prospect of WW2 type wars (not for a non-imperialistic America); terrorism is a nuisance, not an existential threat. On the contrary, the existential threat to American and human freedom is from corporations and government.
As for diplomacy, there’s no reason it shouldn’t bask completely in the sun. Secrecy has no coherent argument on its behalf, it just makes demands for its own sake and for the sake of power.
So much for government secrecy.
There’s zero justification for corporate secrecy. All sectors are mature. By now all corporate activities are monopoly-seeking and rent-seeking. By definition these activities are illegitimate in themselves, let alone any demands for secrecy arising from them.
So much for corporate secrecy.
Secrecy is simply another unproductive parasitic rent, this one extracted at the expense of transparency, accountability, and democracy itself.
We must all keep a freedom activist like Assange in the public consciousness as much as possible, to make it harder for the thugs to strongarm him.
@attempter: “Secrecy is simply another unproductive parasitic rent, this one extracted at the expense of transparency, accountability, and democracy itself.”
Really? I suspect you would feel differently if the medical institution that keeps your medical records suddenly decided upon a policy of “transparency”, or if your psychologist suddenly came to the conclusion that “secrecy” was “unproductive”, or if the tax agency came to the conclusion that total disclosure of individuals’ tax records was necessary for “accountability” in a democracy.
Read it again, and pay attention this time. I used the terms “top-down secrecy”, “government secrecy”, and “corporate secrecy” for a reason.
If you want my extended treatment of the difference between top-down secrecy and why it has no right to exist, vs. our real property right in our individual information, I wrote it up here.
“When .. the Supreme Court fail to defend the public..”: that’s not its job. Its job is to interpret the Constitution. If the public wants to be defended, let it vote for it. If it doesn’t like what’s in the Constitution, let it change it.
Do you really believe that your Constitutional Republic has failed, and that political power should be handed to nine lawyers in Washington?
The Constitution exists to serve the public, dear; it is not an abstract document handed down by a super-rational and nonhuman power, but rather a charter of common expectations. It and its adjudicators serve us, not we them; if they do not so serve, their decisions have no force, only their force has force.
I’m sorry to have to explain this principle, but then you don’t live under one so it may be hard to conceive. In the UK, the law is what the government says it is. Not so here, in principle. Devil’s got the details at present, though.
And the people cannot vote for new laws at the Constitutional level in any simple or direct way.
And further, I don’t believe in so many words that political power should be handed to the Nine Sacred Chalices of the Blessed Effluvium, in that choice phrase. But historically, they have wielded great politcal power, that is the genius of the Court. And those in power now mean to use that power for a very serious political agenda; that is exactly what I’m complaining of.
The Constitution does not exist to “serve the public”. That statement exhibits a profound ignorance with respect to the Constitution.
A major justification for the Constitution and Amendments thereto, is to protect the certain individuals FROM the public.
And the original point stands: “The Supreme Court’s ‘job’ is to interpret the Constitution.”
What’s next: Are you going to tell us that the “genius” of the Executive Office is how it, historically, has wielded great legislative power?
Points taken. Now how is not allowing matching public funds for those opposing wealthy self funded candidates serving to “protect the certain individuals FROM the public”. Do you contend that wealthy individuals have a Constitutional right to be protected from opposing speech?
Your legal theories are fine for libertarians who have walled themselves off within their paradise of innocence. But for those of us who must live in the real world, we recognize that there is a difference between the letter of the law and the practice of the law. Whatever the theory, the facts of the matter suggest that in crucial issues the Supreme Court has no more power than an international court: both are unable to enforce decisions that would hurt decisively the interests of sovereign states and both know that their authority depends on prudence, that is, on not raising issues or making decisions that cannot be enforced.
The best example of this may have come when Madison explained to Jefferson why he was not initially inclined to worry that the recently completed Constitution did not include a bill of rights:
Repeated violations of these parchment barriers have been committed by overbearing majorities in every state. In Virginia I have seen the bill of rights violated in every instance where it has been opposed to a popular current… Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger of oppression.
–James Madison, letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788
The constitutional scholar John T. Noonan, Jr., writing of Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw, spoke of the same principle:
Writing two generations later, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in “The Common Law,” paid tribute to Shaw—-he is one of the very few judges Holmes mentions at all and the only one he calls “great,” quoting with approval Benjamin Curtis’s view that he was “the greatest magistrate which this country has produced.” Holmes spoke generally, not of this case, but he added: “the strength of that great judge lay in an accurate appreciation of the requirements of the community whose officer he was…. [F]ew have lived who were his equals in their understanding of the grounds of public policy to which all laws must ultimately be referred.”
–John T. Noonan, Jr., “Quota of Imps,” The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History
Where you and the sitting Supreme Court justices get it wrong is in your assessment of where “the real power in a government lies.” Madison believed that “the real power in government lies” in the majority, as explained here by another constitutional lawyer:
Much of the American elite shared Madison’s alarm with the “abuses of republican liberty practiced in the states.” Many, maybe most, defined the problem as a classic crisis of relationships between the many and the few, creditors and debtors, rich and poor: a crisis generated by what Elbridge Gerry called “an excess of democracy.”
–Lance Banning, “Madison, the Statute, and Republican Convictions,” The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History
But today the “real power in government” no longer lies in the majority. There has been a coup de société in the United States, not the violent seizure of the state by military forces, but the destruction of society by the state once the state had been taken over by private international corporations.
So you and the sitting Supreme Court justices are still fighting the last war.
Meanwhile, “the great gorilla in the political jungle,” the “beast” that a more prudent Supreme Court would know “must be kept calm,” slumbers away. When she awakens, it will take little more than a flick of her tail to completely wipe out this hidebound Supreme Court whose officers are completely bereft of any “understanding of the grounds of public policy to which all laws must ultimately be referred.”
Dan talking about profound ignorance! That’s rich!
The Constitution and its amendments are about far more than protecting individuals from the public. It is probably fair to say that protecting citizens from the public is only a small part of the document. The document’s main concern is governance. The first ten amendments were hotly debated and are really the things you are trying to point to in your claim.
Also, the Supreme Court’s job is about far more than interpreting the Constitution. In fact, constitutional judicial review, as I’m sure you’re aware, was instituted *by* the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest federal appellate court in the land, and I can assure you that its job is judging appeals, most of which have more issues than just “interpreting the Constitution.”
So regardless of your theoretical and insoluble debate with Richard, your profound ignorance and mangling of the *simplest* legal principles hoist yourself with your own petard yet again. Well done, sir!!!
“A major justification for the Constitution and Amendments thereto, is to protect the certain individuals FROM the public.”
I think you’re narrowing it too much. *One* point is to protect the interests of the few from the electoral power of the majority (not “the public”).
But, the entire representative system is meant to constitute a majority interest, not to serve as the private corporation of federalist bankers from New York and republican plantation masters from Virginia.
“What’s next: Are you going to tell us that the “genius” of the Executive Office is how it, historically, has wielded great legislative power?”
The genius of the Executive Office is that it gave federalists bankers from New York the President’s ear, in the form of the Treasury function.
“that’s not its job. Its job is to interpret the Constitution.”
“Defending the public” includes interpreting the Constitution in a reasonable and realistic manner. I’m no fan of “judicial activism” or “legislating from the bench” (the latter originally a left wing complaint), but it’s foolish, naive or disingenuous to pretend that Supreme Court decisions are, or can be, made in some sort of legal fantasy land devoid of all political and real world influences.
The decisions opposing matching funds for those running against wealthy self financed candidates are bizarre in their reasoning. They claim that by providing matching funds it somehow “chills” the speech of those who are wealthy and self funded. WTF? Opposing speech “chills” speech? Do the wealthy or well funded have a right to not have opposing opinions aired? Loud, opposing opinions and vigorous debate are the very essence of freedom of speech and of the press.
dearieme: “If the public wants to be defended, let it vote for it.”
The public _has_ voted for it. It’s the Supreme Court that’s blocking the representative desire of the people of Arizona to fund their elections in a way that minimizes the corrupting influence of big money. The Supreme Court has only managed to do this using bizarre and torturous “reasoning” that also contradicts long standing precedent. It’s a blatantly political decision by a court that’s supposed to avoid that.
“If it doesn’t like what’s in the Constitution, let it change it.”
By design that’s extremely difficult. It requires the approval of 2/3 of both houses of congress and ratification by 3/4 of the states. The problem however is not that the Constitution needs to be changed, but that we have a blatantly political and agenda driven Supreme Court.
By design that’s extremely difficult. It requires the approval of 2/3 of both houses of congress and ratification by 3/4 of the states.
Your point being?
Look, if there is no constitutional issue with taking taxpayers’ money and using it to subsidize political campaigns, then fine, the Supreme Court’s decision was wrong and there should be no need for a constitutional amendment to allow such measures.
The Constitution either permits public financing of campaigns or forbids it. If the latter, your note about how difficult it is to change the Constitution is totally irrelevant. Its proscriptions on government power cannot simply be ignored because we find the process of repealing them onerous and inconvenient.
At any rate, I don’t understand why people who think the government has been conquered by corporations apparently believe that allowing that government to subsidize the political campaigns of certain candidates for office (surely the Socialist Worker’s World Party candidate did not get any assistance) will help the situation.
“The Constitution either permits public financing of campaigns or forbids it.”
Yeah, it’s that clear cut. There’s never any serious controversy about Constitutional interpretation.
“Its proscriptions on government power cannot simply be ignored because we find the process of repealing them onerous and inconvenient.”
And where did I suggest we ignore them?
“allowing that government to subsidize the political campaigns of certain candidates for office (surely the Socialist Worker’s World Party candidate did not get any assistance) will help the situation”
In Arizona and other states with public campaign financing a candidate qualifies for public financing once they collect a certain number of signatures on a petition (the cost of doing so is low and depends mostly on volunteer work). Third parties are better represented under Arizona’s and other state public financing systems.
Fell mere carnivore: “Who you callin’ a weasel, you BANKSTER?”
Re: Pentagon hunts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in bid to gag website
Go Julian go! And God bless Bradley Manning (the army intelligence specialist who leaked the helicopter video and the diplomatic cables) for being a patriotic American in the spirit of Daniel Ellsberg.
Manning is now in army custody in Kuwait, so let’s hope the media keep enough attention on him to keep him from “extraordinary rendition”.
FWIW I didn’t even find the Iraq helicopter video terribly shocking and didn’t understand what the great fuss was about. How did anyone think people got killed in a war? But that’s not the point. Freedom of speech and of the press are the most important liberties we have (radical thought, huh?). Most government secrecy is ass covering. I’ve yet to hear of a leak to the press that genuinely threatened national security, as opposed to simply holding the government accountable.
Given gov actions to prop up banks, I don’t see how strategic defaults punish banks – it’s just insult heaped onto injury to the good people who weren’t so stupid or greedy as to have bought ridiculously priced property and then added to their debt per cashouts along the path to default. All the talk about bank terrorism justifying borrower actions is self-serving blather, just “intellectual” diarrhea.
Re: “Commission outlines $1 trillion in defense budget cuts”
So what do we want, deficit hawkery or fiscal stimulus? While I’d never suggest pursuing a war for fiscal stimulus, the fact is that domestic military spending (domestically based personnel and bases, acquisition, R&D) does help prop up the economy without shooting or bombing anyone. While I don’t suggest increasing domestic military spending for stimulus (there are more effective routes) I also wouldn’t recommend cutting domestic military spending at a time when we need stimulus.
I agree there are more effective routes for stimulus. So would you support cuts in US “defense” expenditure if the money were to be re-routed to them?
World War III anyone?
Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7148555.ece
Did Bush win the GWOT? The fact that Saudia Arabia is defacto aligned with Israel in opposition to Iranian nuclear ambitions indicates that radical Sunni terrorism has been defeated.
A unilateral Israeli preemptive attack on Iran is nearly guaranteed to fail to accomplish the ostensible mission of eliminating Iran’s nuclear facilities. Such an operation will be completely lacking in the weight and accuracy of ordnance required to the job properly.
However, I can easily imagine circumstances in which they’d kick off to suck Obama and DoD in behind them to finish the job. Prior agreement with Saudi Arabia is probably the only real requirement.
There is a couple of good reasons for that:
1) Saudis are Sunnis, Iranians are Shias. Never underestimate the depth of religious rivalry prevalent in that part of the world. Bush did that mistake and we all paid the consequences.
2) The very last thing Israel want to see is Iran being in a position to credibly threaten a destabilization of Saudi Arabia.
3) A war between Iran and Israel will bleed both contenders, not Saudi Arabia. Win-win for them on all counts.
re Tea Party candidates hurt by lack of organization…
I agree, and saw the result recently in Iowa primaries. But is this not evidence against the “astroturf” charge — that the conservative powers that be have hijacked the Tea Party? Surely such powerful sinister interests would have backed movement candidates with better organization and money.
Once again, the left’s narrative about the Tea Party fails to be confirmed by the facts on the ground.
I’m actually not in favor of more stimulus (I’d rather end the wars and use that money in (what I believe to be) a more productive manner), but wow, that was an elegant slapdown by Dean Baker. Nailed it…
From Romer’s Charter Cities – “Economic development depends on having the right rules in place for the economy. The right rules are privatization, free markets, and the protection of property rights. Investors have to believe these rules will be permanent before they are willing to invest.”
This canard has been proven wrong again and again as oil companies return like lemmings to drill in South America.
Is the first dip over? How can we speak of a second dip when it is not clear that a recovery has begun. If there is a recovery underway then how is it that SS tax receipts are down from last year?
This suggests to me that a lot of that a fair portion of the great regression is being borne by undocumented workers who are not counted in the labor force and not counted as unemployed.
But is this not evidence against the “astroturf” charge — that the conservative powers that be have hijacked the Tea Party?
The Tea Party was set up by the GOP to be a “spontaneous” citizens’ movement to push back against health care reform. It was never “hijacked” in the first place.
And other than your “all-seeing eye” I wonder exactly how I would objectively verify this. It’s a fine theory, as conspiracy theories go. The Tea Party conspiracy was probably hatched by the same people who hatched 9/11, right?
Back in the real world, even if the movement was not started spontaneously, a lot of people are spontaneously getting behind it, because they are spontaneously experiencing revulsion with corrupt and ineffective government, including the atrocious health care reform bill.
We are fortunate to have the oil spill creating a teachable moment. It is demonstrating more dramatically than anything the impotence of government in general, and Obama specifically. Limited, honest, and effective government is what we’re after. So far, we’ve gotten “change” incorporating none of the above.
Further to US “defense” spending, one of the items of expenditure is tracking down whistleblowers, as The Guardian reports:
“American officials are searching for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks in an attempt to pressure him not to publish thousands of confidential and potentially hugely embarrassing diplomatic cables that offer unfiltered assessments of Middle East governments and leaders.
“The Daily Beast, a US news reporting and opinion website, reported that Pentagon investigators are trying to track down Julian Assange – an Australian citizen who moves frequently between countries – after the arrest of a US soldier last week who is alleged to have given the whistleblower website a classified video of American troops killing civilians in Baghdad.
“The soldier, Bradley Manning, also claimed to have given WikiLeaks 260,000 pages of confidential diplomatic cables and intelligence assessments…”.
There are lots of embedded links which haven’t survived my cut-and-paste. Recommended reading.
“The worst declines have already happened, most housing analysts say.”
Really! Sounds like a bad omen, it’s never going to get worse blah blah blah….
“Are you what you eat?” VoxEU
I suggest that authors/researchers that write scolding articles about what ‘we’ eat should take a look in the mirror prior to publication. Author Mirisa Miraldo is obviously overweight…Perhaps she should follow her own advice before offering said advice to others.
Mirisa…try the fish without the chips!