Links 5/14/11

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Have to be up VERY early…

Donald Trump’s Ego Trip Andy Wrightman (hat tip reader Don B)

Paul says he would have opposed 1964 Civil Rights Act The Hill. That means he’s fine with businesses discriminating against anyone, BTW.

No Confidence Protest Vote 2012 FireDogLake

The great government fire sale is on Associated Press. Jeez, our remark on CBS Radio got picked up by AP.

Deutsche Bank Sues Foreclosure Fraud Expert’s Son With No Financial Interest In Her Case Huffington Post. This stinks, and I will say more about it…

Capitalists Who Make vs. Capitalists Who Take Dylan Ratigan

The People vv. Goldman Sachs Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. Key quote:
In 1995, according to an independent study, banking regulators filed 1,837 referrals. During the height of the financial crisis, between 2007 and 2010, they averaged just 72 a year.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Andrew not the Saint

    Re: Paul’s opposition to the Civil’s Rights Act.

    However repulsive the situation was before it and even after taking into account the racist government policies of more than a century, I still think that state coercion is fundamentally wrong and two wrongs don’t make a right. Moreover, I’m not sure if the Act managed to actually change the racist mentality at all, or if it just managed to tuck it under the carpet. From my personal experience, coercion can only have very short term effects and can often backfire.

    1. Captain Teeb


      Allow me to expand on that. Suppose I’m a small business considering job candidates A, who is black, and B, who is white. If I hire A and he doesn’t work out, then I can’t fire him without risking a potentially ruinous lawsuit. Hiring A is just too risky. This is Paul’s argument.

      I can’t imagine that Yves doesn’t see this point, but sadly has to subscribe to the big-government doctrine that police, lawyers, judges, and prisons are the answer to social problems. A half-century after the Civil Rights Act,
      how’s that working out? Some racial minorities do better than whites, some worse.

      1. Chaos

        Sadly I’ve seen this exact scenario play out first hand. Both candidates interviewed well but the black candidate was stronger. My employer at the time, a small business owner, went with the white candidate because firing the black candidate could lead to an expensive lawsuit and also expose his personal assets (he actually said that). But from his standpoint, it was purely economic. He’s is probably one of the most liberal persons I’ve ever meet and very involved in the Democratic party but wasn’t willing to put his assets on the line to do the right thing in this situation. The differential between the two candidates wasn’t enough to justify the financial risk.

        1. Generalstreik das ganze Land

          black candidate was stronger. My employer at the time, a small business owner, went with the white

          Do you find it interesting that each person is an array of innumerable variables, but the variables that average person selects for discrimination are variables that one can easily see at a great distance. What can you see at a distance? What can you see about a person further down the road?

          Height, weight, colour? That’s it then! That’s what it will be. Every person will be simply height, weight, and colour. Nothing else. Nothing else is necessary. Merely height, weight, colour. That’s all. Well of course politicians try to acclimate us to their other variable, the donkey-elephant variable, but we all know that is nothing more than bihsllut.

          Should we learn to fight and kill for an employment position, fight and kill for the employment position that is our very own personal possession? Then sit back, relax, and let the money roll in? Or should people who own a position actually perform useful work, useful work that will morph into profit, into profit that can be used to hire more workers who will actually work for profit, for full employment? Will those who have been unemployed for years actually work harder than those who have been featherbedding for years? Featherbedding with the full complicity of their union-boss who would have no job within a World of Full Employment? In a World of full capacity utilization? Should we tell less, talk less, write less, dictate less, but ask more of questions?

          U B Judge!

          U B Thurgood

    2. Brian

      Nice. The first comment is from an egregious racist. Here come the rest.

      To get a law on the books that allows the government to prevent racist discrimination is “coercion.” To not have the law on the books and have businesses able to wantonly discriminate against people of color is “freedom.”

      Good logic there. *SARCASM*

      Look, just because the law did not single-handedly end racism doesn’t mean that it didn’t have extremely important effects. It’s a crucial step in the right direction and must be championed and enforced, and in my opinion taken much further. Egalitarianism for the win.

      1. Captain Teeb

        No, the logic of my argument is that the current law entrenches discrimination by making it riskier to hire a minority person. This type situation is often referred to as ‘unintended consequences’. It actually hurts those whom it is intended to help.

        1. Dirk77

          Here are some data about “affirmative action” from my own experience: 1) in college it was enforced. I was a student and worked hard to get into and stay in the that (public) college. Since affirmative action was enforced I had no way of knowing which minorities got into that school because of it. It was natural to me to then not regard them as highly—unless of course I got to know them well. Correspondingly, if I hear a person graduated from my college but is such a minority I wonder if they actually got there because of their ability or because of a law. To be fair I often don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Fast forward to my workplace and the same thing goes on. I know it is incredibly unjust to those who got where they are by their own effort, but if I don’t know the people well, I won’t know. So, given my appraisal of my own behavior and the rationale, my conclusion is that that element of the Civil Rights Act has perpetuated that which it intended to stamp out. It’s possible that the goal was not for the present generation, but the one after this one. But that is about groups not individuals like me.

          1. howard

            as having benefited from affirmative action admission in the early 80s (a graduate program that had historically 2% minority and 20% female membership, prodded to increase to 18% and 55% within three years of baake decision)i have lived my academic and professional career on the other side of folks like you.

            let me assure you. having to endure such ‘not being regarded as highly’ and ‘not being given the benfit of the doubt’ from you and others is a ‘burden’ i and others are glad to bear, as a cost of a.a. and such a piddling burden is well worth the benefit, to me personally and to society at large, of an opportunity long denied my older brothers and sisters, as well as my parents and grandparents generations.

            having to be better than white male peers, in order to gain the ‘high regard’ and ‘benefit of the doubt’ existed long before a.a., as well as during and after. having to perform better than white male peers for equal reward and recognition is actually easier with the degree than w/o.

            the smarter peer and superior recognizes the fact, that the minority and female candidate for a job has had to work harder and overcome more obstacles, such as the (‘lack of regard and inherent doubt’ of folks like you) to get to that position of consideration next to a white male candidate, regardless of possible a.a. opportunity along the career path. the assumption that a.a instantly and magically created an easy, bias-free path for us is not only false but, well, dumb. and racist. as is the blaming such dumb assumptions on a.a., rather than on those who make such dumb assumptions.

            as someone above said, the weak arguments that boil down to ‘well, a.a. didn’t cure racism, and fix everything perfectly w/o negative effects’ are neither persuasive nor effective.

          2. howard

            almost forgot. i am not sure that affirmative action has fuck all to do with the civil rights act of 1964 anyway. (maybe something about employment practices within the federal govt. but i’m not a lawyer.)

            yet, anything and everything regarding civil rights, minorities, threats to the structural preservation of white male position at the top of the food chain always are lumped together as failed, flawed, unfair, and all must be discarded.

          3. Dirk77

            Howard, I don’t see why the struggles of anyone to get where they are in life has any relevance to being qualified to do a job. Life is not fair and so while I can admire and want to befriend people who have been through a lot, it should not make me want to hire them more unless it has bearing on the job. To me, only ability matters, so please give me an argument—that isn’t fundamentally sexist, racist, etc.—that shows that some other quality also is important.

          4. East Coast Cynic

            Dirk77, did you know which students, many of whom were white, were admitted to your college due to legacy admission? Many students of dubious academic qualifications are able to gain entry as a result. Were you worried about those students as well?

          5. Susan

            without affirmative action, YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN ANY MINORITIES AT ALL, and you would have “not regarded them as highly” no matter what, because you are a racist.

          6. Dirk77

            @Susan: Please look up the definition of racism, look at what I’ve written and then think again about labeling me as such. Apart from Troll below and a few others, all I’ve seen in this thread to counter any “libertarian” argument about the lack of wisdom of giving the government the right to force its citizens to behave in their private lives what the government thinks is proper is righteous indignation. It gives me pause for thought, but then I get that anywhere, so I’m no further along than when I started. I had hoped for better from the readers of this blog. I know libertarianism has cracks in it, like all philosophies do, and maybe those cracks are breaks, so give me something to work with please.

        2. Dirk77

          @Howard: to my understanding, the Civil Rights Act was the legal justification for later racial quotas in university admissions, though I think racial quotas in government hiring started under LBJ.

          @EastCoastCynic: I went to a public university and mine definitely had no legacy policy.

          1. Dirk77

            @EastCoastCynic: To finish the answer, yes, until I get to know them better, I tend to downgrade people who come from colleges with legacy policies—such as the Ivy League.

      2. Andrew not the Saint

        Firstly, if I want or don’t want to offer my services to any set of people, whether is based on right or wrong reasons, I perceive that as my sole decision. A private individual withholding services is not an act of aggression or coercion in any manner, whereas someone forcing me to serve someone IS.

        Secondly, whether Paul is racist or not is irrelevant to the Civil Rights Act being wrong or right.

        Thirdly, if the US government had really wanted to correct the historical wrongs, it would have given compensation to all the victims and descendents of government-sponsored slavery, theft and violence, including the blacks and the native Americans. That way, the blacks would have had enough money to start their own businesses and not depend on services from the racist business owners. Naturally, that would have been deemed as too costly – after all the real intentions are always to give as little as possible to the minorities and to keep the ethnic groups busy bickering with each other.

        Fourthly, when (and that’s when, not if) the US empire collapses in year 20xx in its current monstrous form, there will be lots of local power vacuums and a lot of pent up resentment amongst various social groups. Combined with the gun culture, it’s a recipe for balkanization and a potential for lots of violence. The wounds from the American racism have hardly healed at all – they’ve just been papered on by the largely superficial Civil Rights Act and such.

        1. chris murphy

          But you would also have to rely on the coercive powers of the state to enforce what you consider your “sole decision”. For example if you own a restaraunt and refuse to serve black customers, if black customers come in and demand service you might need to have the police remove them or have the courts prosecute them for trespass. Why do you feel the coercive power of the state can be justly used to enforce your racsism but to ensure equal treatment in public accomodations for all citizens?

          The state uses coercion all the time; it says you must pay taxes, you can’t drive 100 miles per hour, etc., etc. Why does this particular use of state power trouble you so much?

          By the way, you might want to avoid references to “the blacks” if you don’t want me people to assume your objections are racially not philisophically motivated.

      3. Externality

        [quote=Andrew not the Saint]
        [A]fter all the real intentions are always to give as little as possible to the minorities and to keep the ethnic groups busy bickering with each other.[/quote]

        Pitting the poorest ethnic and racial groups against each other for the sake of corporate profits and to help the elites maintain control is nothing new. From Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, The Jungle:

        The first family [to be conned into “buying” the home] had been Germans. The [victimized] families had all been of different nationalities—there had been a representative of several races that had displaced each other in the stockyards. . . . the workers had all been Germans then—skilled cattle butchers that the packers had brought from abroad to start the business. Afterward, as cheaper labor had come, these Germans had moved away. The next were the Irish—there had been six or eight years when Packingtown had been a regular Irish city. There were a few colonies of them still here, enough to run all the unions and the police force and get all the graft; but most of those who were working in the packing houses had gone away at the next drop in wages—after the big strike. The Bohemians had come then, and after them the Poles. People said that [wealthy industrialist] old man Durham himself was responsible for these immigrations; he had sworn that he would fix the people of Packingtown so that they would never again call a strike on him, and so he had sent his agents into every city and village in Europe to spread the tale of the chances of work and high wages at the stockyards. The people had come in hordes; and old Durham had squeezed them tighter and tighter, speeding them up and grinding them to pieces and sending for new ones. The Poles, who had come by tens of thousands, had been driven to the wall by the Lithuanians, and now the Lithuanians were giving way to the Slovaks. Who there was poorer and more miserable than the Slovaks, Grandmother Majauszkiene had no idea, but the packers would find them, never fear. It was easy to bring them, for wages were really much higher, and it was only when it was too late that the poor people found out that everything else was higher too. They were like rats in a trap, that was the truth; and more of them were piling in every day. By and by they would have their revenge, though, for the thing was getting beyond human endurance, and the people would rise and murder the packers. Grandmother Majauszkiene was a socialist, or some such strange thing; another son of hers was working in the mines of Siberia, and the old lady herself had made speeches in her time—which made her seem all the more terrible to her present auditors

        The Jungle, Chapter 6

        Sinclair also described how African Americans were used as strike-breakers, paid to engage in drunken prize fights, used to stir up racial tensions, or used to scare the workers into not voting for the “Socialists.” The Black workers were victims of the oligarchs as well — “agents of the packers were gathering gangs of Negroes in the country districts of the far South, promising them five dollars a day and board, and being careful not to mention there was a strike; already carloads of them were on the way” — when they arrived, they learned the awful reality of their situation and were kept intoxicated and docile until needed. (Chapter 26))

        Note the similarities with today’s economy: elite support of mass immigration to drive down wages, the elites interposing other ethnic groups (e.g., the Irish) between themselves and the proletariat, elites secretly encouraging racial tensions that they officially loathe, and elite paranoia about socialism.

    3. DownSouth

      Andrew not the Saint said: “…I still think that state coercion is fundamentally wrong and two wrongs don’t make a right… From my personal experience, coercion can only have very short term effects and can often backfire.”

      This view, which expresses the libertarian doctrine in a nutshell, is little more than warmed-over Marxism. It holds out the utopian promise of a stateless, non-hierarchical and coercion-free society, but in practice delivers the chains of slavery.

      As Hannah Arendt so aptly observed in Karl Marx and the tradition of Western political thought, “Marx’s idea of right government, outlined first as the dictatorship of the proletariat, which was to be followed by a classless and stateless society, had become the official aim…of political movements throughout the world.” And this dream of a dictatorship followed by stateless society certainly applies to libertarianism.

      This became apparent when the Grand Wizards of libertarianism, Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, traipsed down to Chile in 1975 and threw their unbridled support behind the military coup and dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. As Greg Grandin explains in The Road from Serfdom:

      Like Friedman, Hayek glimpsed in Pinochet the avatar of true freedom, who would rule as a dictator only for a “transitional period,” only as long as needed to reverse decades of state regulation. “My personal preference,” he told a Chilean interviewer, “leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism.”

      This is the true face of libertarianism, which is nothing but a slightly modified Marxism. As Arendt goes on to explain:

      Marx’s self-contradiction is most striking in the few paragraphs that outline the ideal future society and that are frequently dismissed as utopian… In Marx’s future society the state has withered away; there is no longer any distinction between rulers and ruled and rulership no longer exists… Along with the state, violence in all its forms is gone…

      1. Toby

        We have two very knotty and thorny issues here. One is how to define “freedom,” a discussion which of course has ramifications for libertarianism, the other is a candid analysis of democracy, since with it we empower the majority over the minority, an empowerment that is only ‘just’ when the majority happens to be ‘right.’ There are many cases where majorities have been very wrong — once the earth was most certainly flat, once it was the center of the universe, etc. Evidence that these are a very tricky issues is the endless and insoluble discussion both topics arouse.

        In a very chicken-and-egg way we are confronted with the seeming impossibility of establishing democratically the societal ‘freedom’ necessary to organize ourselves in such a way that the majority cannot become (“cannot” is perhaps too strong) a tyranny over ‘weird’ minorities. Sometimes the ‘nut-jobs’ are right. But how are we to set such a system up? I am no fan of a nanny state, but am also no believer in the ‘free’ market as efficient distributor of society’s production. What’s left to contemplate? My money’s on resource-based economics, which one might describe as a hybrid of anarchy/egalitarianism and globally coherent distribution and resource-management systems.

        While the ideologies of liberalism or Marxism or democracy are not born of evil intent, they can each be cynically/pragmatically co-opted, do seem always to end up in the hands of the status quo’s ‘elites,’ who of course can only work to perpetuate the exploitation all hierarchical social systems by definition are. Many systems have been experimented with, none appears to be ultimately superior because none appears to be sustainable.

        The State is hierarchical. Hierarchies exploit the lower in the interest of the higher echelons, select for growth evolutionarily speaking, so have become forced-growth machines, and are thus unsustainable. If we want sustainability we have to get away from fixed hierarchy.

        An open democracy consisting of small regional entities could be anarchical, with fluid, non-ossifying, project-oriented hierarchies arising where useful, but would only be as sustainable/effective as the aggregated ability of the system’s people. Education is therefore key. But, how do we ensure the relevance of the education systems we set up to ensure democracy functions wisely? Personally, I don’t think such can be forced. If you force The Right Way on the people you immediately initiate a hierarchical process which then filters through everywhere else. The means are the ends.

        Logically, if we aren’t to be forced, we have to choose to do it ourselves, beneath or outside current hierarchical structures. This smacks of libertarianism, but I don’t have a problem with that (assuming other changes). Success and failure of those processes we set up in terms of things like soil fertility, efficiency of distribution networks and infrastructure, money-system, etc., can be assessed via feedback from the soil, direct democracy, and other immediate feedbacks from the environment, i.e. scientifically. I see the Internet, at least in potential, as the beginning of this process of interdependent, loosely federated, self-reliant ‘communities’ networked together such that globally coherent behaviours are possible.

        A way longer reply than I imagined, and this is but the barest sketch. Nevertheless, this Freedom/Democracy axis is a very important ‘legacy’ issue we must address as deeply as we are able. There certainly aren’t any easy answers.

        1. DownSouth

          Toby said: “The State is hierarchical. Hierarchies exploit the lower in the interest of the higher echelons…”

          Well that certainly is the Marxist viewpoint, which is little more than the liberal viewpoint on steroids. As Hannah Arendt put it, it “makes sense only if one follows Marx’s estimate of the state as an instrument of oppression in the hands of the ruling class,” that “the body politic and its laws and institutions are merely coercive superstructures, secondary manifestations of some underlying forces.”

          Here’s how Reinhold Niebuhr put it:

          In Marxist thought political power is always subordinate to, and the tool of, economic power. Government is always bogus. It is never more than the executive committee of the propertied classes.

          But the societies in which man has lived his entire multi-million-year existence, with the exception of the last seven or eight thousand years, certainly didn’t conform to the liberal-Marxist-libertarian conception. Here’s how David Sloan Wilson describes them in The New Fable of the Bees:

          Modern hunter-gatherer societies and indeed most small human groups exhibit an organization that anthropologist and primatologist Chris Boehm (1993, 1999) has called reverse dominance. Instead of dominant individuals benefiting at the expense of subordinants within their groups, the subordinants are capable of collectively ganging up on would-be dominants.

          The liberal-Marxist-libertarian conception of society is based on a very different model than this, that of despotic chimpanzee society or wolf society, whose social organization relies almost exclusively on dominance (chimp society more so than wolf society).

          In my mind it boils down to a question of morality. The evolutionary psychologist Jonathan Haidt conducted an extensive global, cross-cultural survey and came up with this definition of universal morality that is shared by pretty much all peoples of the world:

          Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, practices, institutions, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate selfishness and make social life possible.

          But do our values, practices and institutions operate to regulate selfishness? It seems fairly clear that they do not. As Wilson goes on to explain:

          Multilevel selection theory explains adaptive groupings as a product of grouplevel selection. Mandeville and the tradition that he represents [Adam Smith, classical economic theory, neoclassical economic theory, rational choice theory, objectivism] explain adaptive groupings as a product of individual self-interest. On the surface, it would be difficult to imagine two positions more opposed to each other.


          Within the framework of multilevel selection theory, it is easiest to associate self-interest and group-interest with within- and among-group selection respectively. Thus, purely self-interested individuals are a product of pure within-group selection and are driven exclusively to maximize their relative fitness within groups. Purely group-interested individuals are a product of pure among-group selection and are driven exclusively to maximize the fitness of their group, relative to other groups in the total population. It is obvious that by these definitions, the claim that adaptive groups can be forged out of self-interest is as wrong as it can possibly be.

          1. DownSouth


            I’d also add that your statement “The State is hierarchical. Hierarchies exploit the lower in the interest of the higher echelons…” is a partial truth. It doesn’t always work that way.

            Where it has not worked that way is in the United States and Western Europe where a democratic political community has had (at least in the past) enough virtue and honesty to disprove the liberal-Marxist-libertarian indictment that government is merely the instrument of privileged classes. In other words, the weak have organized to curtail the strong and the overly selfish.

            Where it has worked the way you describe is where other ideologies have prevailed and democracy has been routed: liberalism in the case of Jacobin France, Marxism in the case of Bolshevik Russian, and libertarianism in the case of Pinochet’s Chile.

          2. Toby

            I didn’t say State = Society. The State is a hierarchical societal form, I think that’s uncontroversial. Where there have been advances within the state format in terms of a more equitable distribution of the state’s product, I would say these results are despite the hierarchy, not because of it. Also, growth, oil, hygiene and multiple technologies were essential components all contributing to an ongoing surplus that could be divvied up more fairly than previously, but only while the necessary conditions lasted. Also, the social movements that fought the status quo to establish new sociopolitical and socioeconomic realities had quite a battle, and now that that surplus is harder to come by–as oil’s EROEI falls, as population rises and growth slows etc.–so the gains won crumble, and we see reemerging the state’s hard face. It will protect itself at all costs, and die trying.

            Also, the changes fought for by those various movements have not ended, are in our cultural lexicon so to speak. Now the demands for a more sustainable and sensible sharing of society’s fruits must contend with the challenge of bringing about a socioeconomic system designed to cope with steady state growth. Because hierarchical structures select for growth (size helps them win battles against other hierarchies), my belief is that transitioning to steady-state growth means leaving the hierarchical form behind to a large extent. Not leaving society behind, just the ossified, inflexible hierarchical structures that prevent rapid adaption to new realities and skew the game to the benefit of the ‘elites’ at the expense of the rest.

      2. Andrew not the Saint

        No DownSouth, you are assuming wrongly. My views are not typical libertarian (say ‘Ron Paul libertarian’). He fails to see a crucial difference between the Georgist concept of Land (i.e. natural resources) and other kind of property including your own body.

        Unlike most libertarians, I don’t consider the property rights of Land to be sacred, not in the view that “My land is my castle”. However, I do hold that “My body is my castle”, i.e. nobody should be able to force me to perform actions which are against my will unless I’m aggressing on someone else, no matter how stupid or offensive my inactions are.

        To repeat again, I don’t see why the problem of racial discrimination wouldn’t have been solved through redistribution of Land, rather than a superficial law which involves body coercion and doesn’t address the real issues.

    4. Dr. Pitchfork

      This is directed generally…

      It amazes me how little these arguments about the 1964 Civil Rights Act have anything to do with the facts on the ground c. 1964.

      To cite just one example, white liberals just LOVE to talk about segregated lunch counters and how awful Rand Paul is for not seeing that without the 1964 Civil Rights Act they might have stayed segregated for a long time to come. Except that isn’t at all what actually happened.

      The sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro was undertaken by BLACK people. A few months after it started, the entire Woolworth’s chain desegregated its lunch counters. This happened..wait for it… in 1960. And black Americans made it happen, not bleeding-heart white liberals who are so consumed by their own feelings about Rand Paul’s ostensive racism that they can’t even get basic facts straight.

      OK, I’m stepping down from the soapbox now.

  2. Misanthrope

    “Paul appealed to the free market, and argued that if a business owner were to post signs declaring segregation in his or her business, people wouldn’t patronize it.”

    Da freee market!!!!!

    Libertarians truly are the dumbest group of people on the face of the earth. This shit is so completely laughable and pathetic. As is the racist Ron Paul and all his racist supporters.

      1. attempter

        He explained that he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act “because of the property rights element….”

        A true believer in liberty would wonder, if everyone’s taxes go to support these “property rights” and the courts that enforce them, why should such a property owner be allowed to discriminate against any taxpayer?

        Once again we see the fundamental fraud of “libertarianism”, how it’s about property aggression and not about liberty at all.

        Propertarianism is always the most incoherent and aggressive manifestation of the “total license and prerogative for me, total altruism and obedience for you” mentality.

        Paul appealed to the free market, and argued that if a business owner were to post signs declaring segregation in his or her business, people wouldn’t patronize it.

        “For you to imply that a property rights person is endorsing that stuff, you don’t understand that there would be zero signs up today saying something like that,” he said. “And if they did they would be an idiot and out of business.”

        He inadvertently admits the scam there. Why would anyone put up such a sign? But the absence of signs doesn’t mean the absence of discrimination against the taxpayers who pay for the place to exist. There’s plenty of ways to indicate “blacks [or whomever] not welcome” without putting up a sign.

        Surely he doesn’t advocate mandating such a sign? (Although again, a true believer in fair play would advocate it, so that a member of the hated group doesn’t waste his time and energy.) Does he advocate mandatory labeling of food containing GMO ingredients? Surely that’s part of the customer’s right to know what he’s buying? Free market transaction, total transparency, right? Or is it again, “free market for me, caveat emptor for you”?

        1. attempter

          I forgot to mention – they also, contrary to their lies, support and exalt big government. “Property” in finite land and resources is an artificial creation of big, aggressive government and can’t exist without it.

          The same with corporatism. For example, GMOs could never exist other than as wards of big government – corporatized research, the unconstitutional “intellectual property” regime, bizarre legal doctrines, using the police to protect aggressive, trespassing thugs, etc.

        2. DownSouth

          Attempter said: “Once again we see the fundamental fraud of ‘libertarianism’, how it’s about property aggression and not about liberty at all.”

          The poster child for this was when, during the interview, Ron Paul said:

          I believe that property rights should be protected. Your right to be on TV is protected by property rights, because somebody owns that station. I can’t walk into your station. So freedom of speech is protected by property. The right of your church is protected by property. So people should honor it and protect it.

          One has to wonder what Paul would do about people who don’t have property. According to the libertarian doctrine he expresses, freedom of speech and religious freedom are predicated on property ownership. So if you don’t own any property, I suppose you don’t have freedom of speech and religious freedom? Is he arguing that we should turn the clock back to 1787, when the U.S. Constitution was written and only property owners were allowed to vote?

          It’s a tortuous “logic” when someone who claims to be a freedom fighter assers that only the basis of freedom is property ownership.

        3. DownSouth

          During the interview, Ron Paul said:

          I believe that property rights should be protected. Your right to be on TV is protected by property rights, because somebody owns that station. I can’t walk into your station. So freedom of speech is protected by property. The right of your church is protected by property. So people should honor it and protect it.

          One has to wonder what Paul would do about people who don’t have property. According to the libertarian doctrine he expresses, freedom of speech and religious freedom are protected by property. So if you don’t have any property, I suppose you don’t have freedom of speech and religious freedom? Is he arguing that we should turn the clock back to 1787, when the U.S. Constitution was written and only property owners were allowed to vote?

          It’s a tortuous “logic” when someone who claims to be a freedom fighter asserts that property ownership is the basis of freedom.

          1. Paul Tioxon

            Paul really is an idiot. Nothing is protecting your rights, other than the guns strapped on the police when push comes to shove. All rights, at least in this country, are propositions about the social order that we made. They are dependent upon the civil order that we pursue in the absence of violent counter force. Paul assumes this nice, violent free middle class existence. Here the worst thing in the world that can happen to him is an effrontery to his opinions. Or taxes taken from his free pursuit to make a living in excess of how he would choose to personally spend it. His tax contribution for the upkeep of the society which allows him so much freedom, by virtue of the state willing to take on the dirty work of institutionalizing violence, thus limiting its overall presence in society, is discounted by his statements that rights guarantee someone from walking into a TV station and stopping his broadcast in some manner. If rights protect such as he claims, then why is not calling for the complete elimination of the police and military.

          2. DownSouth

            Paul Tioxin asks: “If rights protect such as he claims, then why is not calling for the complete elimination of the police and military.”

            Because he’s a hypocrite.

            For Paul, it’s anarchy for me, any tyranny for everybody else.

          3. LeeAnne

            I think Paul said it all when he agreed that his pat down at the airport was wrong. His solution (paraphrased but accurate): ‘there should be system where some [like him] can be bypassed for the intrusive procedure.’

        4. wunsacon

          On this subject, Ron Paul is retarded. To think racist businesses would go broke and disappear, you’d have to think that racist patrons and racist communities don’t exist. And you’d have to forget that many businesses before 1964 were racist and yet successful, contrary to what Ron Paul imagines how things would work if his legislative preferences were honored.

          I wonder how many black people would be willing to go along with Ron Paul’s little experiment. Probably not many.

  3. Foppe

    Taibbi here discusses some of the details of the “there is no such thing as the big short” section in his article.

    To recap: in October of 2007, Birnbaum was pounding the table for a raise for his great work making a big short bet that year, going so far as to send a written presentation to management pointing out that what he did wasn’t simply a financial precautionary measure, not a hedge, but a balls-out bet. Imagine how sure you’d have to feel about a subject in order to send a memo like that to your company’s top executives.

    Now, a few years later, he says he doesn’t know. Which was apparently where it ended – until Birnbaum and his lawyer, Peter White of Schulte Roth and Zabel, apparently figured out that the committee had the “this is not a hedge document.” Once this light bulb went off, Birnbaum/White sent the following indignant letter to the committee.
    The choice passage is right in the middle there. In it, White/Birnbaum express dismay that the committee did not inform Birnbaum that it actually had the evidence in hand when it asked him those questions previously. How could Birnbaum have known how to answer correctly, minus that important context? The emphasis in the text here is mine:
    “Unfortunately, Mr. Birnbaum did not have a copy of that document at the time he responded to the May 24 questions and, therefore, could not use it to refresh his recollection of events that occurred several years ago. Curiously, nothing in the questions indicated that your staff had incorporated quotations from a document, unlike the many other questions posed where they [sic] your staff clearly indicated that it was quoting from documents that had been provided to Mr. Birnbaum. We cannot understand what legitimate reason the staff would have for neither providing the document nor even disclosing that it was quoting a particular document in posing these questions. Without the benefit of that document, Mr. Birnbaum was notable to answer all of the questions in his written responses. In fact, his response to the questions at issue specifically noted that he did not have the documents necessary to refresh his recollection.
    “Having now reviewed the document quoted in the questions posed, Mr. Birnbaum’s recollection is refreshed regarding certain events that occurred during 2006 and 2007 ….”

  4. F. Beard

    I’d like to point out that a good deal of racism is institutionalized by the banking system. If one is deemed “credit worthy” then he may borrow from the counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, and loot purchasing power from those who are not deemed “credit worthy” – those who are often poor and non-white.

    It all ultimately goes back to the government enforced money monopoly for private debts. Abolish that and we can have an honest society which is the basis for a “great society”.

    1. inflationista

      Where are the Christian fundamentalists when you need them? Surely with a literal interpretation of the Bible, they would be in favor of abolishing usury once and for all.

      Oh, I forgot, they are against Darwinism but all for Social Darwinism.

      1. F. Beard

        Oh, I forgot, they are against Darwinism but all for Social Darwinism. inflationista

        Good one. Too true.

  5. Dwayna

    Highlights excerpted from Alexander Cockburn’s latest takedown of Obama botox liberals:

    “Pinko terror-symps and the “rule of law” gang may cavil and whine at the lack of legal propriety in the execution of Osama , but it’s not cutting much ice with liberal America……”

    “So the SEALs grabbed Osama, took the live pics, then shoved his kid to one side and gave him the business, twice in the head, once in the chest…..”

    “Maureen Dowd holds up the liberal end of the New York Times’ panel of columnists….Many’s the tetchy column she’s written across the past couple of years railing at Obama for selling out to the bankers….[but]…. It’s wondrous what two expanding bullets to the head of an unarmed man will do….”

    “Dowd has written no less than three columns back to back, imparting her raptures. Call them spiritually hairy chested. Here’s some of her afterglow:

    “…If we could have seen everything unfolding in real time, it would have had the same dramatic effect as the intercutting in the president’s favorite movie, The Godfather….”

    “The chorus of approval for the SEALs covers the liberal spectrum. The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill exulted, as did Gary Wills on the New York Review of Books site, with an ecstatic paean, “The President’s Crack Team”, concluding, “we should keep in mind what superb things can be done by our Navy Seals. And we should keep somewhere in the back of our minds a remembrance that the one ultimately pulling the trigger in both Seal actions was the President of the United States.”

    “Typical of the liberal think-tank crowd is Thomas Ricks, formerly of the Washington Post and now writing for and lodged at something called the Center for a New American Security. Ricks pretty much calls for the US to declare war on Pakistan, seize or destroy nuclear silos and send in SEAL teams to assassinate suspect ISI officers.”

    “Line up Obama with his fellow assassins, from Eisenhower through Bush, and I believe he’s the most repellent of the bunch, down there with Woodrow Wilson. None of his rivals quite match the instinctive egotism that allows Obama effortlessly to affect the earnestness of a man taking the moral high road while executing a cynical program of electioneering-by-assassination….”

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Maureen Dowd holds up the liberal end of the New York Times’ panel of columnists …’

      Cockburn’s error is using the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘New York Times’ in the same sentence. As it proved with Judith Miller’s notorious (and wholly fictional) ‘Saddam’s WMDs’ campaign to support Bush’s Iraq invasion, the NYT is a neocon mouthpiece which supports mideast intervention, not least because it’s in Israel’s interest.

      Time for the hawkish Democrats Maureen Dowd and Hillary Clinton to kiss and make up. War whoring has its rewards!

      1. Susan Truxes

        “Liberal” as in Economic Liberal a la: “We don’t need no stinkin’ regulaltions.”

    2. inflationista

      I didn’t know the president’s favorite movie is the Godfather. That explains a lot.

  6. chris

    Capitalists don’t make wealth. Their capital does. The same capital in anyone else’s hands would do the same.

      1. ambrit

        I agree with you. Sort of like a Zen aphorism. Makes it hard to hypertext though.

    1. bob

      That is Dan’s way of saying he loves you.

      His tolerance and sense of humor are always the highlight of my day. Every single time I see him share some of his insight with the rest of us I marvel at the generosity and true selfless nature of it all.

      More, please Dan?

  7. Jim Haygood

    Re government fire sales — don’t be so modest; let’s cite the quote:

    “This is tantamount to selling the family china only to have to rent it back in order to eat dinner,” says economist Yves Smith, author of the top-rated business blog Naked Capitalism.

    Errr … maybe government should have been eating on paper plates to start with, eh?

    The AP article goes on to note, ‘The budget collapses are so dire that some local pols are joking — or seriously wondering — whether they should legalize marijuana, rubdown parlors or brothels.’ On that front, the Obama administration’s federal prosecutors are writing to states with medical marijuana laws, threatening prosecution of state officials under federal law for implementing their states’ own conflicting laws.

    If it weren’t for the federal government sucking away the lion’s share of tax revenues straight from their citizens’ paychecks, states and municipalities would have plenty of fiscal latitude now. Repealing Amendment XVI (never properly ratified in the first place) would fix this travesty in a hurry.

    1. inflationista

      Well, what you said about income tax would be true if we conveniently forgot what happened 3 years ago.

      The government in conjunction with some investment firms, banks, realtors, builders, developers and mortgage companies constructed the mother of all bubbles, popped it and took off with the loot. Real estate prices fell, and everyone was cleaned out. That’s how the state and municipal tax base was destroyed.

    2. reslez

      You prefer a paper plate society — flimsy, disposable, lowest bidder infrastructure for everything used by citizens, and profits privatized to the rich.

      You’re happy to see disposable temps at food shelf wages teaching our kids in public schools, decrepit bridges and infrastructure waved through “inspections” by the cheapest crony contractor. And the “family china” — roads, utilities and infrastructure built by us to be handed down to our kids — sold at haste to profit-mongering corps who turn around and bleed citizens dry because that’s what gives them the biggest quarterly bonus. That makes you and yours happy. It makes the rest of us horrified.

      But it’s possible I’ve judged you too harshly. Maybe your comment was just Orwellian duckspeak, a reflexive grab for the austerity hammer as a conditioned response to the idea of government. “Family china?!? *jerk* Tax cuts!” Better thoughtless snark than the alternative.

  8. pezhead9000

    I believe Ron Paul would have voted against the Jim Crow laws that required the Civil Rights Act to be passed in the first place.
    He is in support of the part of the law that ended Jim Crow. He does not support legislation telling people what they can or can’t do on their own private property.

    “Here’s a claymore, go protect your property” — Ron Swanson Parks and Rec

    1. ambrit

      Dear Pez;
      Well, one reductum ad absurdo to this doctrine would be the case of the “Aryan Bank Robbers” group. A bunch of very dangerous racialist thieves, (their name really does say it all,) who at one time holed up on a farm in Missouri owned by one of the members family. They were so gunned up, even the local law wouldn’t try to enter the place. Timmy McViegh hung out with them quite a bit just before the Oklahoma Bombing. Thus were ‘property rights’ put to use. I’ve read that the ABR has since moved up to Idaho, or thereabouts. Libertarianism must be even bigger there than in the Ozarks.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry folks, there should be a [sic] up in there. (Where’s that dictionary when I need it?)

    2. reslez

      So according to you, blatant racial discrimination is fine as long as it’s not imposed by government. And if all businesses in a town/state/region decide together to have their own little Jim Crow voluntary committee that’s perfectly fine with you. And their “right” to discriminate has to be protected and enforced by the law and the military force of the state, because hey an owner’s private property rights are sacred. So if someone who is naturally offended by discrimination breaks a shop window, the military force of the state tosses them in prison because property is sacred but human dignity has no protections whatsoever.

      And since the people being discriminated against can’t afford to buy their own businesses because they’re discriminated against, well tough luck for them.

      Those who discriminate invite, incite and perpetuate violence. Their actions are not worthy of government protection.

  9. Philip Pilkington

    Can’t plug this article enough. Weisbrot raises some VERY interesting points in comparing a Greek default — or a default by any Eurozone economy — to the Argentine default some years back.

    And he’s right. This option needs to be on the table for any of the periphery to bargain with the EU:

      1. inflationista

        That would be the figure for inflation. Inflation itself is doing very well, thank you very much.

  10. Greg Miller

    “Paul says he would have opposed 1964 Civil Rights Act The Hill. That means he’s fine with businesses discriminating against anyone, BTW.” To fill in the premise that would make this a valid argument. If anything is immoral, only the government should suppress it, and lack of direct government suppression of an immoral act is tantamount to acceptance of it. The missing premise nicely captures a totalitarian world view.

    1. Andrew Bissell

      Not sure if I would call it “totalitarian,” but the missing premise you’ve identified is spot on.

      It also lends itself to:

      – If you oppose the war on drugs, you’re fine with people being addicted to heroin and cocaine.

      – If you support religious freedom, you’re fine with Satan worship.

      – If you oppose the wars in the Middle East, you’re fine with a takeover of governments of ME countries by the Taliban other theocratic elements.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      You apparently did not read what Paul said. His logic supports any and every sort of business discrimination. I am not overstating what Paul’s position is.

      1. Greg Miller

        What Paul says is a version of the exact argument I made. He clearly feels that exercising ones property rights in a racist manner would be not only unethical but “idiotic”. Do racists usually refer to racism as idiotic? Why are you putting up a straw man — does arguing against Paul’s actual beliefs seem too daunting?

      2. sisyphean

        There is a difference between support and tolerance, a distinction I understood Greg Miller to make.

        An opposite is rarely identical to a complement. Lack of opposition is not support!

        You are using loaded language when you say that Ron Paul is “fine with” (ie “supports”) business discrimination. Paul is “tolerant of” discrimination, nothing more.

  11. lambert strether

    Is this timeline right in Taibbi’s article? He writes:

    [I]n December 2006, a series of top Goldman executives — including Viniar, mortgage chief Daniel Sparks and senior executive Thomas Montag — came to the conclusion that Goldman was overexposed to mortgages and should get out from under its huge bet as quickly as possible. Internal memos indicate that the executives soon became aware of the host of scams that would crater the global economy: home loans awarded with no documentation, loans with little or no equity in them. On December 14th, Viniar met with Sparks and other executives, and stressed the need to get “closer to home” — i.e., to reduce the bank’s giant bet on mortgages.

    I think Bill Black would say the executives were “aware” of the scams from the start, indeed were instrumental in setting up the systems and incentive schemes at their foundation.

    Yes? No?

    1. Laidoff Worker

      Dude, they created the scams. They hired the quants, they set them to work on them, they leaned on Greenspan to lobby for the deregulation of derivatives, and you know the rest. The plan was ultimately to stick the taxpayer with the bill, but even that didn’t matter since “they got theirs” and knew they’d be long gone by the time the shit hit the fan. The sophisticated players who Taibbi paints as suckers also knew. When the full story is revealed you will see lots of individuals who were willing to sacrifice their shareholders and possibly bondholders for their own personal gain.

      1. lambert strether

        Sure, that’s my take; I’m just trying to sound judicious, as befits the NC comments section. I’m almost 100% certain Bill Black shows the banksters were aware from the beginning, perhaps even at NC, but I can’t run down the link right now…

    2. Lloyd C. Bankster

      Um, banksters under attack!!

      Hint, hint……Do I have to spell it out?

      That would be your cue, boys, to step up to the plate. Who coulda known their intent, etc.

      Anonymous Jones, alex, Transor Z?

      Anybody out there?

    3. Susan Truxes

      I wish someone like Taibbi would take up my favorite tangent. The 10T we have “lost” has gone to war. It was sucked out of pensioners’ pockets. It was a back door operation all the way: No declaration of war from congress; no draft; no clear reason of national interest for war except some weird happenings still shrouded in mystery; and no taxation. Ergo, the country was ransacked via the banks who were complicit. Of course we always to to war to loot (but to claim booty as our national interest would really be crass). So the 10T was just up front capital to get us over there and entrenched. Just a VC investment on the loot to be made. A la the recent article on JPM and the Afghan gold mines. Those mountains are very rich, as were the Shan mountains in southern China, and oh yes, Macedonia more recently.

  12. Rabid Cranky Troll

    Re: Paul & Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Why people keep insisting on revisiting old battles, I’ll never understand.

    What is the point of obsessing about Paul’s views on the Civil War, or the Civil Rights Act? The war happened, and the Act passed. It’s ancient history.

    You can try to surmise whether the guy is a racist or not based on his opinions on those two historical episodes, but that is simply not as relevant as our current issues and his opinions on those.

    So let me point out what should be obvious. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, FAILED. It has failed to uplift the African-American community to equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal status with the Caucasian American Community. The reason for this? The American Ruling Class found another scheme, set of tools, to re-establish oppression over, and crush under foot, the African-American community. This new scheme? The War on Drugs.

    And what is Paul’s stance on the War on Drugs? END IT.

    So, what I see Ron Paul critics doing could be summed up like this: They are doing their darnest to get people to not listen to a guy who is urging doing away with racist oppressive measures today, because he would have opposed an effort to do away with racist oppression 45 years ago. An effort that ultimately was foiled by exactly what this guy is trying to do away with today.

    Stick and stones may break my bones… So I say Ron Paul should be considered *less* racist than ANYONE who is ok maintaining the American Empire overseas, does not support repealing NAFTA, and all such explotative “Free Trade” agreements, and does not support ending the War on Drugs. No matter what else comes out of his, or Ron Paul’s, mouths.

    1. wunsacon

      >> What is the point of obsessing about Paul’s views on the Civil War, or the Civil Rights Act?

      Why doesn’t Ron Paul say that himself? The controversy is his own fault.

      >> You can try to surmise whether the guy is a racist or not

      I doubt he’s personally racist. But, he’s saying he thinks racism by private businesses should be legal.

      >> The Civil Rights Act of 1964, FAILED.

      On what basis do you say that?

      >> It has failed to uplift the African-American community to equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal status with the Caucasian American Community.

      Oh…look where you set the bar in order to say “FAILED”!

      – Equal rights — The Act succeeded here.
      – Equal opportunities — The Act helped. But, it cannot guarantee equal opportunities on its own.
      – Equal status — Nothing can guarantee equal outcomes, if that’s what you mean by “status”.

      So far, not a very good argument.

      >> I say Ron Paul should be considered *less* racist than ANYONE who is ok maintaining the American Empire overseas, does not support repealing NAFTA, and all such explotative “Free Trade” agreements, and does not support ending the War on Drugs. No matter what else comes out of his, or Ron Paul’s, mouths.

      Amen. I agree there.

      1. Rabid Cranky Troll

        >>>> The Civil Rights Act of 1964, FAILED.

        >>On what basis do you say that?

        >>>> It has failed to uplift the African-American community >>to equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal status >>with the Caucasian American Community.

        >>Oh…look where you set the bar in order to say “FAILED”!

        >>- Equal rights — The Act succeeded here.
        >>- Equal opportunities — The Act helped. But, it cannot >>guarantee equal opportunities on its own.
        >>- Equal status — Nothing can guarantee equal outcomes, if >>that’s what you mean by “status”.

        >>So far, not a very good argument.

        Ok, you’re right. I think I should have said “FOILED!” instead. The Civil Rights Act undoubtedly was a very big positive for the African-American Community. The problem was that there was a response to it, the War on Drugs, that as I understand it has largely reversed much of the gains that the African American community had made up until the start of the War on Drugs.

        -The wealth disparity between blacks and whites had been steadily shrinking until then. After the start of the War on Drugs, it started widening again.

        -The War on Drugs has so thoroughly shattered the African American community that apparently an African American child was more likely to grow up with both parents *back during Slavery*(!!!) than now.

        The actual economic data are horrific. Median wealth for working age single black women is something like $20(!!!)???

        So the way that I would put it is that despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the current situation is that the vast majority of the African American community is still relegated to the status of an economic/legal underclass where in material terms they’re not much better off (and possibly worse off) than before the Civil Rights era. This has been largely disguised by tokenism, where a few (5%? 10%?) blacks have been permitted to join the professional classes where liberals are so overrepresented – and of course by a few high visibility inductees into the Ruling Class: Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Barack Obama.

        Which has the hilarious effect of making Liberal Democrats think they’re “winning” and racist white supremacist Republicans think they’re “losing.” Which allows the Ruling Class to continue to milk this race-politics stuff to great effect.

        But yes, none of this stuff happened because the Civil Rights Act “failed.” The real problem is that there was a counter-attack after the Civil Rights Act, one that largely has achieved its purpose.

        P.S. Oh and I forgot to provide any links. Sorry, these are factoids that I read somewhere some time back and retained in memory because they were so surprising and shocking. It’s very late here now so I’m going to be lame and lazy and leave the verification of my assertions to the reader. :D

        1. Dirk77

          That’s very interesting Troll. While a knee jerk libertarian still in many ways, and thus have been against the “War on Drugs” for decades now, I have not been all that aware of its effect in the ways you claim. Another thing to research.

  13. KFritz

    Just skimmed through the ‘Capitalists Who Make…” link, and it seemed good.

    IF anyone here has read Haque’s “New Capitalist Manifesto” AND thought it to have real value, please leave an appropriate review @ Amazon where it’s currently (mostly) being hammered.

  14. Yearning to Learn

    Anybody voting for Ron Paul needs to understand that although he is for private property rights etc, there is a certain hypocrisy there especially when it regards any person who is not a straight white male.

    Using the word racist is always difficult, but there is no question that Ron Paul hangs with a gang that is not tolerant of non-whites.

    for years his newsletter spewed racial hatred. Although some debate whether or not he wrote the articles himself, it was HIS newsletter and therefore he has responsibility for what is in that newsletter.

    For Ron Paul apologists, imagine if there was a George Bush Newsletter or an Obama newsletter that said:
    if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be
    (perhaps replace white for black if Obama said it)

    “Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal. These aren’t my figures,” Paul said this week. “That is the assumption you can gather from” the report.

    Did Ron actually say those words himself? who cares. it’s HIS newsletter. And it’s not just those two quotes. His newsletter from the 1980s-90’s is full of anti-black messaging comparing black people to “animals” and comparing 13 year old black boys to adult men and so on.

    his newsletter = his responsibility.
    Is there ANY question about what he would have done if his newsletter wrote “We should expand the powers of the Federal Reserve System.” ? of course not. he would axe it out…

    Thus: I think his “libertarian” views would likely swing towards a very conservative christian straight white male type of libertarianism.

    I’d like to see what he would do if his next door neighbor in Texas decided to open a black and latino gay bar that served alcohol, THC, Extacy, GHB, and crystal meth and had a second floor allowing prostitution and a third floor for gender reassignment surgery.

    Would he defend his neighbors property rights in that case? Just wondering…

    1. Rabid Cranky Troll

      Relax. He’s not going to be president. The political system does not work the way you imagine it works.

      He’s just a guy using the presidential election as a great opportunity to preach some sense into people.

      Primarily, to Republicans that they ought to stop supporting all these wars and end the Empire. And that the Fed is a terrible institution and should be shut down.

      Since he’s not running to get his @ss into office, we don’t have to worry about whether he’s a racist or not, and what he would do once he’s in office.

      All that matters is what effect his message will have. Somehow, I don’t see him turning anti-war people into racists. He might be able to persuade some fiscal conservatives into joining the anti-Empire, anti-war ranks though.

      And as far as voting goes, what is the point of voting for a guy who positions himself as the slightly more progressive candidate, like Obama? The moment he got in he transformed himself into Bush III.

      Nah, this thing is completely rigged. No one who is serious about getting himself into office ought to be trusted. Only folks who are not greatly disturbed by the overall direction this country is going would do that. And such people are by definition, Conservative. Perfectly happy keeping the folks in power, in power.

      1. reslez

        Paul’s idea of “sense” is austerity during a depression. He supports Christian theocracy imposed by government meddling in people’s private lives. He thinks property is more important than justice. He imagines a gold standard will somehow make thieves honest.

        Sure he’s right about ending the wars. The rest of his message is terrible. You probably disagree, which is cool. A vote for Paul is marginally better than one for Obama or his bought-and-paid-for opponent.

        1. F. Beard

          He imagines a gold standard will somehow make thieves honest. reslez

          Government recognition of gold as money is fascist, not libertarian. RP should wake up to the fact that we need total liberty in private money creation not privilege for PM owners and miners.

  15. gruntled

    When all is said and done, racism is wrong; it’s not a right or has anything to do with “freedom.” And it should be outlawed, like theft and murder, all the pseudo-intellectual racist bs notwithstanding.

  16. Sid Liftoff

    Found a couple of interesting comments at eXiled in response to the Jane Hamsher article yesterday; Hamsher crossing the electronic picket of exploited Huffpo workers, then attacking the boycott organizers. (Thanks to Corvadrin3 for the link.)

    Dude says: “…..Arianna Huffington was, to anyone who knows the internet marketing industry, a total figurehead who hired a bunch of SEO and PR people to help flip her bullshit site into a small fortune using spammy ad techniques and sweatshop/outsourced labor and then cackled to a victory lap in her Cruella mobile as a self-proclaimed media mogul. And Hamsher lives down to the worst stereotypes of petty and vindictive women spurned……

    The whole episode reeks of self-absorbed blogosphere internet digerati types who should probably all be bundled together and tossed into a pond to see if they can float.”

    Aaron says: ….”Dude: Nah, I know what we do: fill up the pond we’ve got, and then use the leftovers for Fukushima shielding. May not be all that good at it, of course, the elite never having been particularly well acquainted with doing actual work, but still, every gray they absorb is one less that’ll harm a cleanup worker or some other actually worthwhile human being, you know?”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The article is inaccurate. Hamsher didn’t cross any picket line. Her latest post at HuffPo was months before the boycott. You can search yourself if you have any doubts.

  17. Hugh

    Libertarians remind me a lot of schizophrenics. First, schizophrenics don’t think they have a problem. In their view, they are doing OK. Second, an unmedicated schizophrenic can sound perfectly normal for the first minute or so of conversation and then with no or almost no transition you realize they are in deep, deep outer space.

    As a society, we have a long history of racial discrimination and inequality. Yes, we no longer have Jim Crow and we do have the Civil Rights Act, but this does not mean we have done away with these problems. The U-3 unemployment rate for whites is 8%; for African Americans it is 16.1%. The U-3 understates the difference because the labor force participation rate for whites is 64.7% while that for African Americans is 61.5%.

    Libertarians in my view argue that they as individuals are not responsible for historic discrimination and therefore should not have to sacrifice to amend or eliminate it. But that misses the point. They are members of society and as such they can be called on to act for its benefit, not their own. You see the libertarian fallacy is that while they accept the benefits of membership in our society they hide behind the individualist stance to avoid its costs. Indeed this is more than a fallacy. It’s more a delusion or a deceit, because they deny the existence of the benefits, or minimize them, even as they build up this mythos of themselves as individuals standing bravely on their own separate from and independent of society.

    1. lambert strether

      Shorter Hugh: Libertarian == “free rider.”

      * * *

      We see the same dynamic as the “small government” and anti-redistributionist “Red State” political establishments are actually subsidized by the populations of the Blue States.

    2. Andrew Bissell

      Whenever there’s a relevant item in the links, I always wonder how long it will take for some amateur psychiatrist to diagnose libertarians with a mental disorder. It’s usually “sociopathy” but there have been appeals to plenty of other entries in the DSM IV.

      This actually wasn’t all that bad of a performance, all things considered.

      1. Hugh

        Hey, if the pathology fits… I note you didn’t answer the core of my critique. Instead you just clutched your pearls and sniffed at the injustice of the world, which is pretty rich considering that as a libertarian you are supposed to be beyond all that.

  18. Max424

    Regarding the AP piece on auctioning off the country to the lowest bidder…

    YS: “This is tantamount to selling the family china only to have to rent it back in order to eat dinner.”

    Now, for some deeply insightful Sun Tzu: “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

    The United States has become the noisiest nation in all of recorded human history. We are so loud, in fact, we can no longer hear ourselves, trying not to think.

  19. dojero

    This is easily the most revolting thread that has ever been produced on Naked Capitalism. I’m amazed that Yves Smith hasn’t put an end to it.

    I suppose the good news is that the libertarians have been forced to shed their sheep’s clothing.

    For those of us who were involved in the civil rights movement, reading these messages is a horrible reminder that history has apparently managed to expunge the abysmal US record. The people who write here blithely about the undesirable “side effects” of the legislation that was passed in 1964 can’t possibly understand the enormity of the decades that led up to the passage and the incredible triumph that passage betokened.

    The US remains today a racist nation. But it is a far different kind of racism than we had before the civil rights legislation was passed. And yet, in some ways, it remains the same. People continue to use euphemisms and side issues to endorse racism.

    Some of the people here remind me of those who used to say, “Some of my best friends are Negroes”. It was the way of offsetting racist feelings and support for the status quo.

    What a disappointment, finding this crap here.

    1. wunsacon

      >> The people who write here blithely about the undesirable “side effects” of the legislation that was passed in 1964 can’t possibly understand the enormity of the decades that led up to the passage and the incredible triumph that passage betokened.


    2. ambrit

      Dear dojero;
      Take it in context friend. Free speech means just that. When the ACLU filed suit on behalf of the head of the American Nazi Party way back they made the point that even offensive speech has value. To get contentious, the dialectic defines the conversation. Also, how do people learn about themselves and others unless they ‘talk it out?’ I would suggest that the value here also lies in the transformative effect of exposure, internal and external. Think of the experience here as a psychic mirror. Some of us will gaze into it in self absorption. Others will jump back in terror. The latter group has a chance to advance because they have glimpsed self knowledge.
      As to your first point. I was little when my parents moved here from Nassau in 1960. We lived in an old run down “residential hotel” in downtown Miami to begin with. You went everywhere by bus. One fine day, Mom and I went somewhere using the Flagler Blvd. bus. We sat down in the back of the bus. Mom recounts how the bus stopped in the middle of the road, and the driver came back and stood there looking at us. Mom says that we were then scolded for trying to make trouble by sitting in the coloured part of the bus. When my Mom, more bewildered than anything else, didn’t show proper contrition, (knowing her, she probably said something like “What a silly rule,”) we were put off the bus with a warning. By a bus driver! That’s how pervasive it was. So, yes, I agree, if white people could be treated that way then, I shudder to think how black people were.
      A final observation on the subject. After Katrina, there were few radio stations on the air for quite some time. One of the biggest ‘talk radio’ stations had on it, and probably still does, a wonderful local personality named Garland Robinette. The race card was being played for all it was worth, by the Right wingers! “Don’t let those lazy thieving N_____s back from Houston,” was a common rant. Finally Garland had had enough. He started a mantra that I keep with me to this very day. “It’s not race, it’s class.” He kept saying this whenever some call-in boyo went off on the racialist tack.
      So friend, don’t get too disheartned. The Truth shall make you free.

      1. dojero


        I appreciate your thoughts and I only wish I could see things your way. It’s interesting to raise the point about the ACLU and the Nazis marching in Skokie. But it’s hardly the same. I’m not trying to stop these racists from speaking; I’m only lamenting the fact that they’re making their speeches on this blog site. Yves Smith is someone I respect, even when I might disagree with her. My readings of her blog have led me to believe that she would not approve of these disturbing comments on this thread. (She’s now actually placed a comment agreeing that they’re horrible).

        I hope you’re right about the dialogue having a positive effect, but I’m skeptical. Consider, for example, Pez’s response. Your patience with this kind of insufferable speech is remarkable and I commend you for it. But while I wish you luck, I’m not expecting that you’ll be successful.

    3. Dr. Pitchfork

      Irony…at first I thought you were revolted by the blithe accusations of racism from self-righteous white people.

      In other news, while everyone from Rachel Maddow to Rand Paul himself have nattered on and on about the 1964 Civil Rights Act and segregated lunch counters, it has largely escaped notice that in 1960 black Americans desegregated lunch counters ON THEIR OWN. It doesn’t make anyone a bad person for not at least acknowledging that part of history, but I think it does suggest that these arguments we are having now really aren’t about what black Americans went through, or did on their own behalf, in the actual 1960’s.

      Check it:

      1. dojero

        Dr, Pitchfork,

        I assure you that I wasn’t confused about who desegregated lunch counters. Of course the civil rights movement began with the activism of courageous black people. For that matter, it didn’t start in 1960 with the lunch counters and it didn’t start in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Maybe it started in 1951, when the class action suit to desegregate the schools in Topeka was filed (Brown v. Board of Education). Maybe 1948, when Truman ordered the integration of the army.

        The heroes of the movement are many…names we all know, like Parks and King and Marshall…Cheney, Schwerner, and Goodman…Liuzzo, Evers, Meredith…and the many more anonymous fighters who sat at the lunch counters and in the streets and who marched.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      I was flying back from Victoria, so I’ve seen this only now, and yes, this is pretty horrible.

      1. Dirk77

        On the contrary, I’ve found it very useful (I haven’t finished reading all the comments though). Not much name calling (though I myself invited some with my remarks). This thread made me recall a comment of a friend of mine awhile ago, which I ignored at the time, but will follow up now (he was arguing your side). I wish I had more time.

  20. pezhead9000

    We all abhor racism – but what is the role of the government in correcting our social problems?

    “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.”

    1. ambrit

      One of the major functions of any government is to act as the arbitrator between conflicting rights and powers. How far should government be allowed to go in that? There precisely is the point of conflict between competing world views. But let’s step back a bit and try to apply pragmatism to the problem. The quote you put up is, from most points of view, at one extreme of the philosophical spectrum. At this end of the spectrum, Ayn Rand slides easily into the camp of the Marquis DeSade. License and self interest predominate. I would suggest that recent history has demonstrated the bankruptcy, both moral and financial, of this view. The other extreme is totalitarianism, equally bankrupt. So, a good government will try its’ best to balance out competing claims while maintaining a viable society. No mean feat.
      To misquote Barry Goldwater: “Extremism in the defense of Liberty is a semantic oxymoron.”

    2. rps

      “The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please…… The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.”

      That was the argument of the native american tribes

  21. Schofield

    pezhead9000. We all love a jolly old rant now and again and clearly you do. But your argument fails to address the wider issue of who shall judge whether the exercise of a right ( of which private property is but one ) is harmful to others. Freedom to choose can never be “carte blanche” it can only be exercised within constraints. The governmental constraints we have seen exercised over the last hundred and fifty years have tended towards totalitarianism to a greater a lesser extent in the form of Neo-Liberalism and Marxism. The trick we are now working to define is how we can provide economic and social restraints for ourselves that whilst retaining the role of the central state tries as far as possible to decentralise its restraining capacity and provision of public goods and services to associative and democratic vehicles many of which will operate in markets to achieve efficiency. Many of the arguments for taking this approach are set out in Paul Hirst’s 1994 book “Associative Democracy – New Forms of Economic and Social Governance.” Whilst the book does not entirely provide a convincing manifesto it goes a long way to suggesting how the tension between the opposites of capitalism and democracy can be resolved.

  22. rps

    Civil Rights?, the world societal structures are patriarchal. The majority of humanity – women- are denied autonomy, the inalienable right to self-govern their bodies as granted to men, and economic equality. Might makes slaves of the vast majority of humanity in the perpetuation and glorification of violence. In the 21st century women are violently brutalized and raped (see IMF Chief Strauss-Khan), and have two choices; silence or victimization in the pursuit of justice. Civil rights, heck we haven’t even rounded the corner of women as full-fledged sentient human beings. Skin color, ethnicity, religion, and age are secondary until the primary prejudice is recognized and rectified.

    Ron and Rand Paul are life-long winners based on nothing more than the “winning” XY lottery ticket enhanced by secondary traits; skin color, class, and religion. They are the chosen guardians of the gate to maintain the status quo of the Patriarchal structure.

    1. Bra Burner

      Women have a fundamental lack of voting intelligence. Despite the fact that if they came together they could elect anyone they wanted with their 51% majority, they are unable to get someone like Cynthia McKinney elected (or even more than 1% of the vote! 10% would have been nice!), or even get a token woman like Hillary Clinton elected.

      Obviously they feel no urgency about being treated like human beings.

  23. Schofield

    It is true that governance structures are overwhelmingly male dominated and as such inclined to be patriarchical although this does not in my view alter our need to find a better mix of centralised and de-centralised democratic governance to meet our economic and social needs. It does, however, sharpen up the emphasis for human society to also ensure the needs of women as well as those of children, the elderly and other under-represented individuals within society are met.

  24. Schofield

    In the fourteenth century a priest leader of the Peasant’s Revolt, John Ball, said the following with regard to private property:-

    “When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.”

    He was following Christian teaching which had as a main aim to suppress or regulate selfishness to make human social life possible. For his pains after the Peasant’s revolt was defeated John Ball was hung, drawn and quartered in front of the king Richard II who had defeated the peasants.

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