Links New Year’s Day

Lambert Strether is an old-school blogger at Corrente.

Holiday treats from the planet Saturn NASA.

NASA Visualization Explorer. Free app, if an iPad was one of your stocking stuffers.

Complete destruction of all life on earth: Opinions differ.

Why tornadoes take the weekend off National Geographic.

Should auld due process be forgot Pravda. Obama signs NDAA on New Year’s Eve, promises to use “broad discretion” (says Pravda) when military detains US citizens indefinitely. “Broad discretion.” Just what we want. Bloomberg on Obama’s signing statement. If (and I say if) the rule of law still exists, NDAA might not be as bad as some think. Then again, depending on how the signing statements are parsed, and depending on whatever secret interpretations of the law are controlling, NDAA might be a good deal worse.

Mercenaries play big role in Afghan drone strikes McClatchy. 168 people are needed to keep a single Predator aloft for 24 hours, vs. 100 for an F-16 mission.

Iraq casualty figures seriously understated Dan Froomkin. Honestly, are there any numbers our elites won’t jigger?

Ron Paul holds a mirror to the face of Ds and “progressives,” and they don’t want to see the ugly, war-mongering image Glenn Greenwald. Too right. And speaking of racism, if Ron Paul blew any [brown-skinned] wedding parties to red mist recently, I didn’t get the memo. Just saying.

“I don’t think I should have to justify myself to anyone” Guardian. But we knew that.

“If you’re broke enough that you’re not paying any income tax, you’ve got nothing but skin in the game. You’ve got it all riding on how well America works” Matt Taibbi.

2011’s unwritten story: Where did the permanently DISemployed go and how are they living? NPR has a few anecdotes.

Portugal’s PM to DISemployed: “Just emigrate!” Al Jazeera.

System D: The $10 trillion global black market is the world’s fastest growing economy Foreign Policy.

ECB’s Noyer: “In 10 years, maybe the euro will be the world’s number one currency.” Meanwhile, baguettes are up 30% since the Euro was launched.

You say “churn” like that’s a bad thing. Stocks end the year where they started.

Occupy Portland establishes important tactical principle. Occupy Ouroboros.

Occupy technology for federated General Assemblies. They’re betting on RDF. Good luck with that.

Hunger strikes for a free press in Budapest Reuters.

Mass social protest has become a permanent feature of the Chinese political system.

Indiana limits right to peaceably assemble in Statehouse to under 1500 Indianapolis Star (danps).

Neat archive of 30s radical art from the 30s (via you’ll never guess who).

Well, at least they documented their code: super-secret bypass of crypto-key enabled Boing Boing. Sounds like the MERS guys went on to write printer drivers for HP.

How to make coffee when your second world-style power grid goes down. Hint: Plug the coffee grinder into the UPS!

Also, bovine excrement and lots of it, too.

“Supervenience” and the ontological status of social entities. Maggie Thatcher was wrong about that, too.

Chart pr0n 1: United Bases of America National Post (Big Picture).

Chart pr0n 2: Crony Capitalism. I knew you Venn…

Todmorden, UK to growing its own vegetables — and giving them away! “[W]e are gentle revolutionaries. Everything we do is underpinned by kindness.’”

Antidote du jour: Maru thinks inside the box.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. jest

    Re: “Occupy Portland establishes important tactical principle.”

    I like this tactic.

    I’ve always felt that in order for contemporary protests to be noticed, they have to shut down traffic. This is a great way to do it…

  2. rd

    Regarding the NDAA:

    It sould be quite clear in the Bill of Rights that the plain language requires due process among several other protections. Presidents have waived that in the past, but generally history has not looked favorably on their decisions to do so.

    It will be interesting to see how the “Original Intenters” on the Supreme Court warp their thinking to demonstrate that the plain language of the Bill of Rights only applies to corporations while the evil “Activist Judges” make the radical interpretation that the plain language of the Bill of Rights actually applies to the individual people mentioned specifically in the Constitution.

  3. JTFaraday

    Well, Glenn Greenwald liked the Stoller article on Ron Paul and the liberals anyways:

    “As Matt Stoller argued in a genuinely brilliant essay on the history of progressivism and the Democratic Party which I cannot recommend highly enough: “the anger [Paul] inspires comes not from his positions, but from the tensions that modern American liberals bear within their own worldview.””

    1. jimmyj

      Libertarians seriously creep me out. I mean who would have a problem with ending the drug war, involvement in foreign wars and encroachments on our civil liberties. Thats not the problem. The problem is that all of these admirable positions stem out of their Grover Norquist-style belief that government should be weak and ineffectual – especially in the face of corporate power. And that its every man for themselves – again in the face of corporate power. These weasels don’t even think our government, the government which allowed them such great success, should be used to provide the average person with education, employment, or even amoeba-free water. It’s all “I got mine so fuck you!” Even more so than your average republican. The end result of their philosophy is slavery to capital, unmitigated by an impartial referee with the benefit of all citizens in mind that the government is theoretically supposed to be. And when I say slavery, I mean literally that. Governments make slavery illegal while a corporation will always seek to maximize profits by any means necessary. So to see normally astute lefties to leap to the defense of its most prominent spokesperson Ron Paul, an obviously brittle racist (come on – those racist articles ran for years, some say decades!), is more than a bit disheartening. Now I’m not enough of a puritan to say that temporary alliances must never be made and that disparate parties should never come together for a common goal. I’m just saying that even as a broken clock is right twice a day, the libertarians, unlike the republicans, are dead right on a few fundamental subjects. But lefties should not get into the business of selling broken clocks, especially ones that stopped in the early 1800s. And lets not forget that the godfathers and paymasters of this libertarian movement, the Koch brothers, are dedicated to the obfuscation of their true means and motives in their own personal struggle for dominance as their earlier attempts at electoral success on the basis of actual ideas failed miserably. Libertarians, in my opinion,
      should at best be considered erstwhile allies and otherwise kept at arms length. Anyhoo…….

      1. Eureka Springs

        “The end result of their philosophy is slavery to capital”

        And this differs from neoliberal Democrats how? Aside from philosophy, the end result ,even from so called progressives is much the same.

        If House progressives (largest caucus in the House for many years running, but no avg. citizen would know it) ever stood their ground or were willing to stir it up in any way your type of argument could sway me. As for now i think feckless House progressive might just get more of what they claim they want with a Paul in a front (conversation) running position… and yes, even with a seat in the Oval.

        Unfortunately Paul seems to be the only one willing to rip off a few bandaids. I’ll take what I can get.

        1. jimmyj

          Hmmmmmmm. The Oval Office? Nah. Like this recent dust-up with the newsletter proves, Ron Paul doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny. And try getting a non weasely answer from him (and Paul looks at his most uncomfortable in these moments) when questioned about the rights of citizens against discrimination. Something tells me the more of a spotlight this guy gets the more cold sores are going to become glaringly obvious and more than a few lefties are going to be a little embarrassed about having made out with him in public. If they aren’t already.

          1. Cris Kennedy

            You libs are all me me me. What about the people around the world who are actually dying under Bush-bama-omney’s drones? Have you no care for any of them? Or is it always and only about your privacy, your sexual preference, your abortions, your money, your guilt? Sorry, I mis-typed, you don’t get it about your guilt. It’s all about you.

            Here’s a serious question: When it’s all over and done and you’re at the end of your anxious emotional rope (or life) who is going to save you from yourself?

      2. F. Beard

        What capital?! The enslavement is to counterfeit debt leveraged 20+ to 1 against real capital.

        What truly amazes me is how the bankers have enslaved us using almost nothing.

        But no problem. Since we were enslaved with almost nothing, freeing us can be done with almost nothing too.

  4. Pwelder

    That piece by Taibbi is the most cogent expression I’ve seen of the citizenry’s problem with financial looters. And – remarkably – he’s able to do it without resorting to the potty-mouthed diction that makes much of his critique so off-putting to the Main Street elements who ought to be supporting a return to Glass-Steagall.

    It deserves wide circulation outside of the Rolling Stone readership.

  5. Tjmc

    Apples to oranges on the F-16 vs. predator support numbers. Predator given 168 / 24 hrs. F-16 100 MISSION – much shorter than 24 hrs.

    1. jest

      And to think all of this for wars that are completely unnecessary.

      What a complete waste of humanity.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Maybe Portugal should merge with Brazil?

    I think there more Lebanese (partial or full descent) in Brazil alone, 7 to 10 million, than in Lebanon – per Wiki.

    Maybe the solution is for everyone in Portugal to move to Brazil. Absurd problems require absurd solutions, like extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      1. Tony

        Hi Lambert. I’m drunk but I read the whol article agian at your comamnd. Here’s what it said:

        After marching for 3-4 hours, we eventually found ourselves a block away from the park that we’d been forced out of, so we took it again.

        If that’s not fucking randome I don’t know what is,. BTW, random is good.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Here’s the first sentence:

          “The Portland Occupation stumbled upon a tactical innovation regarding occupying public spaces.”

          So, I’ll trade you “stumbled upon” as “random” for the larger tactical innovation. which is not “Protestors marching in random directions” (although now that I think about it, perhaps the superiority of retreat over advance works if the marching direction is random, too. Hmmm).

  7. scraping_by

    The progressive heartburn over Dr. Paul isn’t his identification of problems, though it’s embarassing to watch someone from the wrong side of the aisle say what you should be saying. It’s that his stated cause of all these problems is always the Massive Federal Government In People’s Bedrooms. His proscription to most of these problems is to kick welfare cheats into the streets and privatize every available current public function. What happened the last time someone said, “Government can’t solve problems: government is the problem!”?

    And who are these progressives who take proud ownership of the neoliberal imperialist policies and anti-middle class ethos of our current Lackey-in-Chief? Is it the lifestyle liberals whose worldview is limited to people’s recreation chemicals and personal habits? Is it the hipsters of the Creative Class who want to show off nonworking class attitude? Is it the hippies Barry punches every chance he gets?

    “Progressives support Obama” is a premise that seems to fall apart the more it’s examined. One begins to wonder if Mr. Stoller is merely throwing an apple of discord into the blogosphere. Whether shaking the trees or getting us at each other’s throats, dunno.

  8. fcc

    As a small custom manufacturer in MA (millwork) I have always been committed to declaring all income and paying my fair share. Now I find System D accounts for nearly 25% of my business and the percentage is growing. I used to refuse cash, but these days an increasing number of jobs are on offer as cash or nothing. The consensus view of my customers, conservative and progressive alike, is that the formal economy is hopelessly corrupt and no longer worth working within. This is not a good thing.

Comments are closed.