Links 9/26/12

Truth decay: The half-life of facts New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Deep-fried Mars bars disowned by chocolate firm BBC (Richard Smith). From earlier in the month, but noteworthy if you are into extreme food.

Sweet times for cows as gummy worms replace costly corn feed Reuters (furzy mouse)

Vampire squid from hell eats faeces to survive depths New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

“I’m Lovin’ It”: Fast-Food Logos ‘Imprinted’ in Children’s Brains, Study Says Medical Daily

Rise in Knee Replacements Boosts Federal Health Costs Wall Street Journal

Go-Eco Phuket dives for biggest reef cleanup in world ThaiVisa (furzy mouse)

Total warns against oil drilling in Arctic Financial Times. Mirable dictu.

Warning to drivers: Your typeface may be endangering your life IT World

Eurozone as it happened: Riot police clash with anti-austerity protesters in Madrid Guardian

Riot police clash with anti-austerity demonstrators in Madrid after thousands take to the streets to protest against cuts Daily Mail (Warren C)

Mas throws down the gauntlet in pursuit of “national transition” El Pais (Lambert)

Rajoy Defied as Catalan Head Seeking Autonomy Calls Vote Bloomberg. Hhm, here everyone thought Draghi had things under control as of two weeks ago. But we have the Portuguese defying further austerity and now this wee complication. So how is this going to play into Rajoy’s efforts to negotiate conditionality?

British banks body bows out of Libor Financial Times. Also known as resigning before being fired.

The war between the civilised man and the savage Aljazeera

In Brief: Romney in 2007: Some Fun Quotes from an Interview on ABC’s This Week Rude Pundit

Romnesia George Monbiot (Reader of tea leaves)

Rising home prices offer hope for Obama on the economy The Hill. Lambert wonders whether this is Obama’s October surprise.

Home Prices Rise Again, This Time on the Low End New York Times

U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High Gallup (furzy mouse)

European Stocks Drop as Plosser Says Bond Buying to Fail Bloomberg. Wow, what a gambit! Stop further expansion of QE (which Mr. Market already says it wants) by undermining the “expectations channel” aka The Confidence Fairy. And from a Fed governor! I mean, we peon living in the real economy know this well, but the Fed wants to keep the bubblistas happy at least through the election, since the Rs want to take a hot poker to the Fed and That Must Be Avoided.

Insight: U.S. probe of HSBC tangled up in bureaucracy, infighting Reuters (Richard Smith). As the piece notes, this disproves the “authorities play nicely together” BS touted when the Feds tried reining in New York’s Benjamin Lawsky on Standard Chartered.

The How and the Why of Cheating New York Times

* * *

lambert here:

Mission elapsed time: T + 19 and counting*

“I believe in Satan.” —Gov. Rick Perry 

AK. Militia: “When the idea of the militia came forth, and there was a bunch of wonderful Christian men, and in the event of economic collapse, what could we do as Christian men to protect our families.” Fascinating sentencing hearing.

AL. Lost cause: “The Selma City Council voted Tuesday night to stop all work on the monument to [KKK leader] Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest until the courts decide whether the city or a Confederate heritage group owns the cemetery property where the monument would be rebuilt. The vote came after a group of protesters marched to City Hall.”

AZ. Police state: “[Police] found a 16-year-old boy wearing a sheet around his body and what appeared to be a rag around his head while carrying a rocket launcher. [The man videotaping him] was arrested for knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment, contributing delinquency of a minor and misconduct involving a simulated explosive.” Good thing the definition of “terrorist” is so narrow. Oh, wait…. Zeitgeist watch: “Bronies of Phoenix [is] a group with 420 members and growing. What’s a brony? Combine the words brother, and pony [as in “My Little”], and you have your answer. They meet about once a month and the group is mostly made up of college-aged guys.”

CA. Emergent parties: “As part of her trip through California this week, Green Party nominee Jill Stein is campaigning at Sonoma State University, Napa Valley College and a church in Palo Alto Tuesday. Gary Johnson, the former R governor of NM turned Libertarian, is hosting an event Tuesday at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza. Voters here, knowing Obama has a virtual lock on the state, may be more willing to throw them support than voters in swing states.” Why through away your vote on a legacy party when you can improve your choices for 2016?

CT. Wage theft: “A letter ‘on behalf of several employees’ alleges that [Postmaster Bryan] Lalonde was caught deleting and altering hours within the employees’ time card system.”

FL. Corruption: “Lobbyists handed envelopes to nine state House campaigns, the amounts and interests behind them a mystery until campaign finance reports are filed.” Leaving the envelope on the dresser is way more classy. … Charters: “After publication of the story [on K12’s use and coverup of improperly certified teachers] — which ran in the Miami Herald, The Ledger in Lakeland, and the Star-Banner in Ocala, among other state newspapers — K12′s stock price dropped 13 percent in trading and public school districts in Brevard and Volusia launched internal reviews of the for-profit online educator’s records.” Hit ’em where it hurts. …. The economy: “While we still have more work to do, we see that our economy continues to improve.” Not Obama. Scott!

LA. Landfills: “[T]he [River Birch Landfill’s] owners — developers Fred Heebe and his stepfather, Jim Ward — are the targets of a sprawling federal grand jury probe into their effort to monopolize the local dumping business. The process of getting a landfill approved is so laden with obstacles that few make it to the finish line. The resulting scarcity of dumps means customers have few choices, making a landfill permit akin to a license to print money.”

MA. Elizabeth Warren: “[Lawrence] Tribe adds [on the ‘practicing law without a license’ flap] that Warren fully met all of the Supreme Court’s requirements for filing briefs and petitions with that court. ‘This was not and could not be a violation of any MA rule,” Tribe says. “In fact, any state rule that interfered with a federal filing would be null and void under the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the United States Constitution. Elizabeth complied with all applicable federal rules.'” My advice to Brown: Stick with your core competence in thinly veiled racist smears (“ancestry”).

ME. Ballot access: “A ME judge has ruled that a 2009 lawsuit filed by former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his 2004 Maine electors against the Democratic Party and several of its allies will proceed toward trial. [Nader] claims that D leaders used illegal tactics to try to keep him off the 2004 presidential ballot in ME and more than a dozen other states.” Trial, therefore discovery.

MO. Accountability: “[A] city initiative in Springfield, MO, to reform the penalty for marijuana possession gathered enough valid signatures to be on the ballot. Then the city council itself passed the same measure, which removed it from the ballot. Then, after it was too late for the popular vote this year, the same city council repealed the measure.” City council: (417) 864-1651. … Akin: “Akin is moving forward with his campaign Tuesday, the deadline to drop out of Missouri’s Senate race. Akin is beginning a four-day bus tour and enlisting prominent conservatives [Gingrich; Huckabee] to boost his challenge to Sen. Claire McCaskill.”

MT. Legalization: “[T]he communication from MT’s U.S. AG provides some clarity on how many marijuana plants the feds will tolerate. The memo says cases involving less than 500 plants or 100 kilograms will be ‘disfavored for prosecution in federal court.’ Cotter wrote that he alone will ‘approve prosecutions of so-called medical marijuana’ providers.”

NC. Wage theft: “”For all participants, wage theft created economic uncertainty, and even small wage violations had significant financial consequences. Moreover, serious barriers to redress, including the threat of retaliation, existed” (study).

TN. Jesusland: “Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes placed the Ten Commandments on display in the county’s courthouse Monday after becoming the 25th she riff in Tennessee to request copies of the commandments.”

VA. College rankings: “Playboy magazine has named the UVa the nation’s top party school. Playboy’s editors rated UVa second for sex, third for nightlife and 16th for sports.” Unbundle that, B-school weasels!

VT. Privatization: “Fletcher Allen Health Care and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have teamed up to propose a for-profit entity for administering Vermont Medicare benefits called OneCare Vermont, LLC.”

WI. Tommy Thompson: “Declaring that he wants to ‘change Medicare and Medicaid like I did welfare,’ Thompson asked a May gathering of the Lake Country Area Defenders of Liberty in Oconomowoc: ‘Who better to and who better than me, who’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?'” (oppo)

Outside baseball. Fracking: “It doesn’t seem to matter that in the past decade fracking has left behind a widening trail of health and environmental disasters. Or that research indicates the influx of money and jobs promised by these companies falls far short of their claims. New York landowners still whisper stories of overnight millionaires just over the border. That’s because people are desperate to flee the pressure of another disaster, the one created by the housing crash” (explainer; AH). Shock doctrine. … Gini co-efficient: “[Y]ou are climbing a ladder where the rungs above are continuously widening faster than those below. You will always feel a long way down; no matter how high you climb. Down below, no matter where you are placed, the situation looks worse than a year ago.” … Extended families: “The number of 26-year-olds living with parents has jumped almost 46 percent since 2007.” … Marcellus shale: “Covering approximately 48,000 square miles, the geological formation called the Marcellus Shale occurs beneath the states of NY, PA, OH, MD, VA, WV and TN. Nearly 36 percent of the Delaware River Watershed is underlain by Marcellus Shale. [M]ore than 30,000 and as many as 60,000 natural gas wells are anticipated in the Delaware River Basin alone.” … USPS: “[The Postal Service] is providing postage rebates to Valassis of more than 30 percent if Valassis can divert more ad inserts into direct mail from newspapers.” A better answer for a new revenue stream would be post office banks.

The trail. Polls: “Leading D and R pollsters and strategists privately say that the Obama lead is around 4 or 5 points and is neither widening nor narrowing. The convention bounces have dissipated, but Romney’s negatives remain quite high and are not diminishing” (Charlie Cook). Silver: 5%. … White working class: “[T]he problem isn’t that the white working class is trending R or that it votes against its economic interests or that it’s being hoodwinked by social issues. The problem is that no matter what the white working class thinks, no one is listening.” … Rick Perry: ”Dude, no matter how bad you’ve heard it was, it was ten times worse,’ [the senior aide] said. He told me that at the end there had been two distinct campaigns: the ‘zombie campaign,’ composed of TX loyalists walking around in a funk, waiting for it all to end; and the ‘shadow campaign,’ the one with all the power, composed of D.C. consultants running the show from the Stephen F. Austin Hotel across the street from Perry campaign HQ in Austin.” I wonder if this is the real structure of all campaigns?

Robama vs. Obomney. Choices: If the election were held today, would you vote for Obama or Romney?” Yes 44%; No, 56%. …. Choices: “We will all swallow our cup of corporate poison. We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us, but one way or another the corporate hemlock will be shoved down our throats. The choice before us is how it will be administered.” … Choices: The Obama’s puffery; The Romney’s. … Choices: “[RYAN: Do you want Barack Obama to be re-elected? Then don’t vote for Ron Paul.” (“They have no place to go.”) If you don’t live in a swing county in a swing state, why throw your vote away on a legacy party, when you can vote for an emergent party and have better choices in 2016?

Democrats. Unions: “[The 2012 D platform] omits another labor law reform that appeared in the 2008 equivalent: banning companies from ‘permanently replacing’ (de facto firing) workers who strike” (Stoller). So, I guess Obama’s OK with the Lingerie League referees, then? … Education: ” Even though the Chicago teachers’ strike is now settled, the issues it raised will not go away anytime soon. Many of the reforms the teachers oppose–expanding charter schools, using test scores to evaluate teachers, closing “failing” schools–were introduced by then–Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan, now President Obama’s education secretary. In fact, these measures have largely been incorporated into federal policy under Obama’s Race to the Top (RTT) initiative.”

The Romney. Mad politicking skills: “The one interesting thing about Mitt Romney is his nearly pathological absence of political savvy.” But read to the end for how “the conversation” is changing. … Stench: “Reportedly [link?], [Ryan] has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’ and ‘Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.’” Ouch! … But tour: “Kicking off an OH bus tour, R Romney said Obama is offering a ‘foreign’ vision of government.” Well, he is Kenyan. … Airplane windows: “You guys, the Mitt Romney airplane windows thing from yesterday was a joke. It was obviously a joke. It had all the earmarks of a Mitt Romney joke: It was about inappropriate subject matter (his wife’s recent brush with death), it wasn’t funny, and the language was tortured. That’s Romney’s humor for you.” … Snark watch: “Advisor 2 opens a Diet Cherry Pepsi, and hands it to Romney, who pours it directly into his ear canal” (oppo).

The Obama. Son of Hope and Change: “Claims by Obama and his allies that his re-election would ‘break the fever’ or pop ‘the blister’ of steadfast R opposition in Congress have received relatively little attention. What’s so striking about the lack of critical coverage of Obama’s new theory of political change is that he’s raised unrealistic hopes before. His campaign for the 2008 D nomination was premised on the unrealistic notion that he could ‘change politics.’ We shouldn’t be surprised that he failed to do so–it was entirely predictable [and predicted]. But why are the media falling for the same trick again?” … Material girl: “We have a black Muslim in the White House! Now that is some s–t. That is amazing s–h. It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, go–ammit” (video). … Charters: “[OBAMA: ] I’m a big proponent of charter schools, for example. I think that pay-for-performance makes sense in some situations.” … Teachers strike: “Obama refused to take sides in the Chicago Teachers’ Union strike–balancing his friendship with Emanuel, his former chief of staff, and a political need not to alienate organized labor” (Well, er). … Referees strike: “[OBAMA: We’ve got to get our refs back.” So, he weighs in for NFL refs, but not for Chicago teachers. Priorities!

* slogan of the day: The Romney’s writings sparkle like gold!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They say in India, eveyrone is an actor, only the bad ones appeart in movies.

        That implies they have very good actors for politicians.

        1. Bert_S

          They claim they speak English too, but I still can’t understand what they are saying.

          But The Tube seems to manefest itself differently in Space-Time now. It goes from US voting booths – to China. Then I’ve also heard there is one that sucks up Filipino nurses and spits them out in US hospitals.

          There was the one that sucked up Indians and spit them out in 7-11s or just about anywhere else. Not sure if that one is still in service.

        2. scraping_by

          I’ve heard Washington called ‘Hollywood for average looking people.’

          Jon Stewart sometimes seems like a celebrity reporter. Perhaps that’s his job – Joan Rivers for the Beltway set. Would explain a lot…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mind made up.

      As a voter, is it better to be a decided voter or an undecided voter? Who is treated better?

  1. Jim Haygood

    Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader rounds on our Dear Peace Laureate:

    “He’s gone beyond George W. Bush in drones, for example. He thinks the world is his plate, that national sovereignties mean nothing, drones can go anywhere. They can kill anybody that he suspects and every Tuesday he makes the call on who lives and who dies, supposed suspects in places like Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is a war crime and he ought to be held to account.”

    Nader called Obama “below average because he raised expectation levels. What expectation level did George W. Bush raise? … He’s [Obama’s] below average because he’s above average in his intellect and his knowledge of legality, which [he’s] violating with abandon.”

    “I don’t know whether George W. Bush ever read the Constitution,” said Nader. “This man taught the Constitution, and this is what we got.”

    Nader goes on: “I’ve run several times and we’ve documented the two-party tyranny, which means they’re very adept at excluding, with a whole variety of ways, third parties.”

    Funny how that happened after the so-called ‘progressive’ ‘reform’ of gov’t-sponsored primaries. It’s almost as if they planned it that way …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At the midway point, the Roman Empire divided itself and went to a co-emperorship.

      Will we see a Co-President of the Left and a Co-President of the Right one day?

      1. Bert_S

        Most likely, but the Romans had two geographically separate seats of government by that time.

        So I imagine the White House will remain where it is and the Shadow House will be in NYC.

        The OWC will cross the Hudson and Potomic to threaten the White House with communism. But the Chinese may get there first.

          1. Bert_S

            May be more like Bloomberg Tower, and there is this weird glowing red eye on top searching out regulatory problems.

          2. Bert_S

            They may also be Mongolian Horsewomen defending their camp in the hills of W. Kentucky, and the Dalai Lama operates a solar powered short band radio talk show, but I’m not sure about that.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I thought the Mongolian Horsewomen with their ponies would have taken over mail delivery from the US Postal Service?

          4. Bert_S

            Nope. Native indians do that with smoke signals – but it’s still mostly advertising – fire sales, tally stick offers, and such.

  2. D. Mathews

    Yesterday’s Democracy Now! was particularly memorable; appropriately aired on the day of the long forgotten coup against a duly elected President of the Dominican Republic:

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In 1963, you have the election of Juan Bosch. He was a liberal, a social democrat, who attempted to institute new social reforms. But the Bosch government didn’t last for very long. Only a few months into his term in office, there was a military coup. That military coup in turn spurred a popular insurrection that led to the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965.

    A precursor to US intervention in that country is highlighted in Luis F. Mejía’s De Lilis a Trujillo:

    Page 68 – Wos y Gil (close associate of General Ulysses Heureaux) offered the U.S. government, in return for their support, control of the Bays of Manzanillo and Samana. Foreign Minister Galvan preferred to negotiate a similar arrangement with Germany. This was communicated to the US Foreign Ministry by Mr. Powell. These shameful negotiations were unknown until (Sumner) Welles consigned them (to history) in his book titled “Naboth’s Vineyard.”

    A trivia: Sumner Welles “Naboth’s Vineyard” was reportedly influential in FDR’s formulation of his Good Neighbor Policy.

    1. ZygmuntFraud

      I think it’s good to give a fair hearing to both positive-sounding anniversaries and negative-sounding anniversaries, so that the “truth can come out”, better …

      Because of those coups and all that, over here in Canada I think of US Officials’s pronouncements equating USA and “Leader of the Free World” as a word-salad, cliche, gratuitous assumption, quasi-propaganda and I could go on.

      BTW, Chris Hedges said in a long interview for one of his books that he reported from “the periphery of [USAian] Empire” as a correspondent in Central America. The last mysterious story from Latin Amrerica (unresolved) was the coup against Honduran President Zelaya, for which the Organization of American States (OAS) resolved as follows 4 July 2009:
      “Suspender al Estado de Honduras del ejercicio de su derecho de participación en la Organización de los Estados Americanos de conformidad con el artículo 21 de la Carta Democrática Interamericana. La suspensión tendrá efecto inmediatamente.”

      Since then, Honduras was reinstated in 2011, but I’m not sure why.

  3. JTFaraday

    re: Deep-fried Mars bars disowned by chocolate firm, BBC

    I am likewise pleased to be able to pawn the deep-fried junk food phenomenon off on the Brits.

  4. citalopram

    ”Why through away your vote on a legacy party when you can improve your choices for 2016?”

    Why vote in the Presidential race at all? Jill Stein will never come close to winning in the current power structure. There needs to be a fundamental revolution in our political system in order for that to happen.

    1. F. Beard

      You should increase or decrease your dosage.

      Jill Stein probably won’t win in 2012 but a significant showing would greatly improve her chances for 2016.

      Vote your dang conscience! The country has proven it can survive any President but if we continue to vote for evil (lessor or no) that becomes more doubtful.

        1. F. Beard

          Thanks for forgiving (I guess?) that time I hastily criticized what you said. I still wince a bit at the shame of attacking a good man unjustly. And an ability to forgive is a sign of a good man.

          1. F. Beard

            Nah, you were in the right or at least I was in the wrong first and started it.

            And for the record, yesterday was a bad day too. After a very pleasant (I mean it! Dental hygienists are great!) session getting my teeth cleaned, I suffered a somewhat painful disappointment.

      1. Neo-Realist

        What would help the Jill Stein’s and the Ralph Nader’s of this country is that in between their presidential runs they persue some sort of 50 state strategy to aggressively raise consciousness about their ideas and run candidates at the local and state levels, so that when they do run for the presidency, they’ve laid a foundation, one that has mainstreamed the greens and their ideas in the american body politic, so that they don’t come off as nothing more than a fringe candidacy that disgruntled progressives protest vote for and end up with the usual 3 percent or so of the vote-rinse and repeat. A candidacy that has a serious chance of taking power and forging ahead with institutional change.

        1. corner cubicle

          I don’t feel this is realistic; even if many persons got elected to local or statewide offices, the current duopoly would still hold on to the top spots.And, “infiltrating” the parties doesn’t seem like it has much chance for success, as Ron Paul’s boosters have shown; witness also how Kucinich and Gravel more or less got shoved to the side by Democratic Party.I would suggest Greens or anyone else interested in fundamental change form a group like AARP or NRA, that focuses on a narrow range of issues. Then they can just issue “report cards” and mobilize the persons who actually care.

          1. Aquifer

            Mobilize them to do what, exactly? Phone, e-mail, petition, march in the streets? Just like all those other “interest groups”, who, at the end of the day wind up lining up behind the Dems? – hmm, been there, done that, threw away the t-shirt.

            Nope, time to carry out the threat progs have been making for years “If you don’t (fill in the blank) we will leave!” But we never do, and they remain smug. One cannot expect to keep on making empty threats and have any sort of credibility, without which there isn’t any sort of leverage – even Rahm, unintentionally, acknowledged that with his “F…ing retards!” Time, way past time, to leave … If they follow, so much the better, if they don’t, who cares, we DO have somewhere else to go ….

        2. Aquifer

          Uh, guess what – that is already happening. In NY we have had Greens running for office, and occasionally winning, for years. This year there are several Greens on the ticket for US Rep (Ursula Rozum, for one) and Colia Clark for Sen. The problem for them is exactly the same as it is for the national ticket – failure of media to cover as news and refusal of Greens to suck up to corporate interests to get the money to buy the media …

          Why don’t you do a search on GP sites for candidates? At some point in time, don’t you think we the people have some sort of responsibility to do due diligence?

      1. ZygmuntFraud

        Whatever one thinks of Chairman Mao, the “Long March” of the Red Army escaping the Kuo Min Tang (Chang Kai Shek) really really was a very long march. I read many marchers didn’t reach the finish from exhaustion, disease, whatever. After regrouping and gaining more sympathisers, the maoists forced the KMT to bail-out and ship-out to Taiwan.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wonder if Mao thought about one day making doctors go barefoot and serve the people during the Long March.

    2. Larry Barber

      One reason would be to gain automatic ballot access in 2016. Many states determine which parties get automatically placed on the ballot by the percentage of votes they got in the last major election. One the many things that hold emergent parties back is the time and resources they have to spend just getting on the ballot. The more states where they automatically qualify for being on the ballot, the more time they can spend discussing the issues and gaining visibility.

  5. David Lentini

    “But why are the media falling for the same trick again?”

    Who says they’re falling for the trick? They are part of the trick itself. The whole statement and lack of critical assessment are just part of the coming excuse for Obama and the Clintonistas to further corporatize the country, using teh need for “bipartisanship” to hold our politcs hostage to the Tea Party.

    In volleyball, this is known as the “set and slam”.

    1. Lambert Strether

      On “falling for it,” this passage is relevant:

      And Julia’s voice was lost, except in sighs,
          Until too late for useful conversation;
      The tears were gushing from her gentle eyes,
          I wish, indeed, they had not had occasion;
      But who, alas! can love, and then be wise?
          Not that remorse did not oppose temptation;
      A little still she strove, and much repented,
      And whispering ‘I will ne’er consent’–consented.

      1. Ms G

        Who else could invoke Byron (and what a verse) for the perfect analogy? Ole, Lambert.

        “Awakeness is the best antidote against Don Dilaudid’s plan to secure our Forcible Consent of The People” (Anon. 2012)

        1. ambrit

          Dear Beard;
          Well, he did die for the Greek Cause way back when.
          As for seducers, any ’08 Campaign speech by the Fraudster in Chief will do. The Duopoly has thrown out so many examples of “Seduce and Abandon” that Political Risibility is now a cottage industry.

  6. jsmith

    Regarding racist Israel and its supporters:

    At least the genocidal apartheid state of Israel has enough wack-job supporters in the U.S. to further help spread the rightful recognition of that country as rogue pariah nation.

    Hmmm, I don’t seem to recall seeing pro-apartheid slogans on buses etc. about k@ffirs and n!ggers during the South African “experience”, huh?


    Way to go Israel and its U.S. supporters, you really have taken the the practice of apartheid to new heights!!!

    Why hide it when you can openly relish in it?

    What’s next, carictures of Arabs as hook-nosed vermin that need be eradicated?

    A Saturday morning cartoon perhaps?

    Maybe Israel could put some sort of identification marker on all of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, y’know, just so no one gets confused as to who’s who?

    Oh – chortle – that’s right, malnourishment and starvation are pretty easy to spot as it is.

    There’s that Israeli ingenuity!

    So many great ideas yet to be tapped, it’s like I’ve read about them all somewhere or something…

    1. Susan the other

      Hamid Dabashi’s point was aimed at the heart of the meaning of “civilized.” He warns us not to use our own indignation against this gross display of racism to simply purge ourselves of its ugliness and then feel better. Because when it comes to US foreign policy we are the most savage of all and Israel is our captive henchman. He warns us not to be willing to be comfortable about our own atrocities which we simply do not want to look at. Jihad is certainly not unique to Islam and Zionism. But it is hard not to have a gut reaction to this blatant propaganda no matter how insidious it is.

      1. F. Beard

        We ARE savage mostly because we (erroneously) feel justified. I was shocked at the shocked outrage of Americans over 9/11. “Blowback” could scarcely be whispered till much latter.

      2. jsmith

        Sorry, Susan, I call over-intellectualized BULLSH!T as concerns yours and Dabashi’s reasoning.

        Shhhh, don’t – gasp – get angry about the blatant racism good liberals et al. just theorize about it and tut-tut and tsk-tsk the racists into submission, right?

        Here are Dabashi’s own words:

        “So if you are angered, disgusted and outraged by this ad, watch it, you are being taken for a ride, and not just on San Francisco buses or the New York subway cars.”


        Of all the mealy-mouthed horsesh!t I’ve ever read that sentence may take the cake.

        Mabye you’re not familiar with my other posts in which I’ve continuously lambasted the murderous and fascist U.S. government time and time again but damned if I’m gonna be scolded/reminded every time there’s an outrageous injustice or blatant display of hatred that I have to provide the moral relativistic arguments and supposed context that shills – pro-Israel and otherwise – just love to use to ameliorate the crimes being discussed.

        (Note: I’m not calling you a shill.)

        Don’t forget the American war crimes, doncha know!!

        Well, you know what?

        I wasn’t posting about U.S. war crimes in my original post.

        I was posting about Israeli apartheid which – although RELATED to American imperialism – is actually a pretty distinct and separate phenomenon, wouldn’t you say?

        To conflate the two is a purposeful crap and only seeks to diminish the litany of injustices perpetrated around the globe only tangentially related to the U.S. and its empire.

        Gee, if we only could stop American imperialism then everything’d be ok?

        Can’t do or say anything until we stop American imperialism so I guess I’ll just shut up and wait, right?


        The reason I’m so vehement in my response to you is that this is one of the most pernicious and effective forms of propaganda existent today – the upping of the moral relativism “ante” until no one can do or say anything as a problem that is so large that it is seemingly unsolvable is presented and people are cowered into ineffective dormancy – intellectual and otherwise.

        This propaganda’s effectiveness is evidenced in the fact that it has so entrenched itself in our dialogue that even well-intended people – such as I think you are Susan – can begin to use/adopt it without even thinking/knowing what they are doing as it seems just oh so “rational” and “even-handed”.

        So, “NPR” if you will.

        Yes, America is full of murderous war criminals but they doesn’t mitigate the fact that Israel is a genocidal full-blown apartheid regime with racist supporters in the U.S. and the two should be able to be discussed separately.

        1. Susan the other

          Jsmith, my guess is that Hamid Dabashi would agree with everything you just said. And I certainly do. I thought he was clearly calling for outrage.

  7. Peter Pinguid Society

    Gladys, my Research Assistant, showed me a poem called “Lament” by some guy named Gillian Clarke, about the first Gulf War.

    Part of it goes: “the cormorant in his funeral silk / the veil of iridescence on the sand / the shadow on the sea”

    Well ain’t that sweet. Remember that poor little bird, soaked in black oil, that tormented image spread on TV screens around the world, shown over and over again. Proof of how ruthless Saddam was.

    Well, that was all fake.

    As it turns out, those images were shot in another country at another time, to document another case of pollution.

    Ornithologists noted that there are no cormorants in the Gulf during that season.

    A reporter admitted shooting other scenes of “black cormorants” with animals taken from a zoo, and soaked in black oil.

    Plus, CNN couldn’t have filmed those scenes in Kuwait, cuz at that time the Emirate was under Iraqi occupation and no western media were allowed in.

    But no one noticed. People trust the media and believe whatever they see on the news.

    Do you think that poor black cormorant is the ONLY news we ever faked. Think again.

    We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent.

    1. Susan the other

      Shelter your population while you gradually make them accustomed to atrocity. Anybody remember W’s slip-up. After the WTC was demolished and he had piously claimed revenge as our cause for war, he was taping a presidential comment just before deploying troops into Iraq and he said he was not willing to let a strategic resource like oil be controlled by a loony like Saddam Hussein. He said it straight into the camera. No BS about wmd. It was astonishing honesty and it was also never ever commented on anywhere in the media. W himself was immediately tackled by his handlers and got a big sock stuffed in his mouth however.

        1. Susan the other

          No Lambert. Sorry. l was watching it myself so it was either CNN or MSNBC. And I remember commenting to a friend how amazed I had been by his candor. It had to be after we had gone in to Afghanistan because the point was to explain why we needed to do Iraq.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They had the Potemkin Village in Russia.

      In Ming China, emperor Wanli, who failed to show up for work for decades, made Matteo Ricci bow to an empty dragon throne.

      It’s all make believe.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Surprised to hear you say that. He a prisoner or working the veal pen and he’s asking his readers to be prisoners too. Everything he claims to want, Jill Stein is saying. And, best I can tell she’s not taking money from any of the people who have captured both legacy parties.

        Taibbi doesn’t mention this at all. He keeps expecting criminals to not be criminals or something.

        I figured someone like you who refuses/rebukes so many other traps like this in terms of our money/system would see right through Matt’s article.

        1. F. Beard

          Well, I thought it was a great slam of Romney. And it slams the Democrats good too. I especially liked this:

          The mere fact that Mitt Romney is even within striking distance of winning this election is an incredible testament to two things: a) the rank incompetence of the Democratic Party, which would have this and every other election for the next half century sewn up if they were a little less money-hungry and tried just a little harder to represent their ostensible constituents, and b) the power of our propaganda machine, which has conditioned all of us to accept the idea that the American population, ideologically speaking, is naturally split down the middle, whereas the real fault lines are a lot closer to the 99-1 ratio the Occupy movement has been talking about since last year. from [emphasis added]

          I won’t vote for Obama either, btw. A pox on BOTH their houses!

          1. Lambert Strether

            Oh, please, NOT the “incompetence meme.”

            The Democrats have been incredibly competent at rationalizing and consolidating Bush’s seizure of executive power, maintaining and even increasing the power of the banksters, normalizing permanently high DISemployment, and teeing up the final destruction of the New Deal.

            It’s hard to see that if you have retain the delusions that (1) the legacy parties are responsive to the electorate, and (2) the actions of our or rather “the” government have anything to do with public purpose, and apparently Taibbi still retains those delusions.

          2. F. Beard

            I think it is incompetence, strictly from the point of view of staying in power.

            And if Romney wins, I won’t be surprised if he turns around and does what the Demos should be doing now (Remember it was G.W. Bush who instituted “stimulus checks”). And if Romney does so then it will be the Republicans who sew it up for the next 50 years or so.

          3. Aquifer

            Beard, i have to say I agree with ES – though i might word it differently. Consider Taibbi’s:

            “If this race had even one guy running in it who didn’t take money from all the usual quarters and actually represented the economic interests of ordinary people, it wouldn’t be close. It shouldn’t be close.

            To me the biggest reason the split isn’t bigger is the news media, which wants a close race mainly for selfish commercial reasons

            ……. not only has the effect of legitimizing both candidates but leaves people with the mistaken impression that the candidates are fierce ideological opposites, when in fact they aren’t, or at least aren’t always.”

            Now this is great, as far as it goes – the problem is, he repeats the same error he accuses “the press” of making which is failing to cover what is really our there. Take that first paragraph “If this race had even one guy ….” Now unless he really does only want “guys” this race DOES have at least one person out there who represents the interests of the 99%, but you wouldn’t know it by reading Taibbi …

            This is, IME, a fatal error – you can critique all you want, and we have seen variations on Taibbi’s theme for decades, but if, at the end of the day you do not present an alternative, what is the result – another round of “sigh, sigh, TINA, lesser evil. etc” This is where Taibbi, intentionally or not, takes you. This is where almost ALL the so called “prog” blogs” (with the exception of Corrente, h/t Lambert) take you – what does it say about “prog America” when a financial blog like NC is one of the few places (again h/t Lambert) you can find coverage of a politician who would actually support many, if not most, of the reforms progs readily admit are needed …

            I have found a lot more spare time since I decided to pay little attention to empty critiques – i.e ones with “no place to go” … As Lambert might say “If you have no place to go, come here …”

          4. F. Beard

            Well, like I said I appreciated the good take-down of Romney. I sort of ignored the implicit endorsement of Obama since I have NO intention of wasting my vote on him either.

        2. F. Beard

          [hmm. WP says I already submitted this]

          Well, I thought it was a great slam of Romney. And it slams the Democrats good too. I especially liked this:

          The mere fact that Mitt Romney is even within striking distance of winning this election is an incredible testament to two things: a) the rank incompetence of the Democratic Party, which would have this and every other election for the next half century sewn up if they were a little less money-hungry and tried just a little harder to represent their ostensible constituents, and b) the power of our propaganda machine, which has conditioned all of us to accept the idea that the American population, ideologically speaking, is naturally split down the middle, whereas the real fault lines are a lot closer to the 99-1 ratio the Occupy movement has been talking about since last year. from [emphasis added]

          I won’t vote for Obama either, btw. A pox on BOTH their houses!

        3. Doug Terpstra

          Jill Who? Rocky Who?

          As Aquifer notes, Taibbi takes down the slow-moving target at pointblank range, but takes a conspicuous detour around Dr. Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, or Jerry White (Socialist), all of which better match real American values. This is clearly part of a concerted media boycott that studiously avoids any hint of choice, and it can only be deliberate, not a mere shortcoming or sin of omission. I suspect it’s more often motivated by fear than rank corruption, but in shutting out readily accessible alternatives they violate ethical standards and destroy their own credibility.

          1. Aquifer

            Thanx, Doug – I have been on this bandwagon, literally for years – and, from most of the feedback i get, apparently not too effectively. Critiques without alternatives are nothing more than blowing off steam – that is something that should be so obvious that one has to consider that those who critique without offering alternatives, at least those who are in a position to know of them, don’t really want any, which is why i perpetually complain about those, no matter who they are, who critique without offering those alternatives …

            Until we, on the left, start actually supporting those alternatives, our complaints ring rather hollow, IMO ….

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe Tango?

            You have to hold onto your partner really tight.

            I think there is a song called, Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home.

        4. ZygmuntFraud

          I think Matt is pretty savvy because he spent a lot of time in Russia post-Gorbachev, in the times of privatization.

          Maybe he thinks that a Republican president would be worse than a Democrat President for the middle class (on average).
          He shows disapproval for the usual Wall Street ways, and the way he’s been at the “Vampire Squid” meme is testimony to that. I also was intrigued by the “incompetence of the Democrats” phrase. So, a hypothesis is that Taibbi is concerned that a slicker Romney (with fewer gaffes) could have been elected (will be) in 2012, and that would be “the end of the world” [just for emphasis] …
          Also, for a general circulation publication like Rolling Stone, Taibbi might well know how far one can go in criticizing the establishment, and he self-censors accordingly and in full knowledge. He might reason: “Would it be better if I had 1000 readers and were more brash?” and opine: “Maybe, but I’ll leave that to Bloggers like YS at NC.” Another thing is: why did’nt a D candidate more like FDR than O go out to challenge O for the Democratic Nomination?

          1. Ms G

            I’m still trying to wrap my head around how the guy who coined Vampire Squid and writes so clearly about previously “obscure” goings on in finance and finance regulation is failing to draw the 2 centimeter line from that dot to the White House. I mean, even in his telling, part of the Giant Vampire Squid is the tentacles that connect GS and US Gov. Inc.

            It just doesn’t square with his Obama-Is-No-Stooge-Of-Wall-Street nonsense.

    1. Ms G

      Kevin Baker, like Taibbi, is part of the 11th Hour Obot Brigade. See Harper’s October 2012 Issue “Why Vote? When Your Vote Counts for Nothing?” After a dozen columns accurately framing our reality via Kleptocracy + Legacy Party Sham, WHAM — second to last paragraph implores, begs you to Vote for O*****.

      1. Aquifer

        Yup, I’ve seen that over and over – these folks write great articles on why the Dems are schmucks, then the other shoe falls and we get “nevertheless …”

        Amazes me the amount of cognitive dissonance their heads can tolerate without exploding …

        1. Ms G

          “Amazes me the amount of cognitive dissonance their heads can tolerate without exploding”

          Well put. Though meal-tickets no doubt go a long way in smoothing out the clashes between opposing brain sections — even if it’s just placebo.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They are very good at looking incompetent when they are intentional and looking intentional when they are incompetent.

      2. MontanaMaven

        So glad you brought up the Kevin Baker piece. Even though I no longer read much of Harper’s since they dumped Roger Hodge and Silverstein left, I remembered Baker’s “Barack Hoover Obama” article in 2009, so I looked forward to reading this one. I got a nice glass of wine and curled up to read it. Then I got to that last paragraph and literally threw the rag away. These writers lure you in to the slaughterhouse. Resist.

        “Rolling Jubilee seeks to buy defaulted, charged off debt at steeply discounted prices and then abolish the debt, keeping it out of the hands of debt collectors.

        What You Can Do: Form a mutual aid network in your city and find a creative way to pool resources (bake sales, garage sales, talent shows, bbq’s, concerts, etc).

        Rolling Jubilee can help walk you through what we have learned about the complicated process of locating, buying and abolishing debt.


        1. Ms G

          Sorry to hear about Baker ruining your glass of wine. I too got my early education on Obama The Candidate from Harper’s — and it was so obvious he was just a center-right Senator representing his business constituency (i.e. ethanol producers). I got really confused when all of a sudden — as the Bot Campaign moved into full swing — a lot of “progressive liberals” that I know were swooning and hyperventilating about Ob. as the Second Coming of Communist Christ.

          1. Montanamaven

            Yes ken silverstein’s piece ” Obama inc.” in 2006 exposing the DLC blue dog Obama was the great old Harpers. And why I was on to Obama from the git go. And blackagendareport .

          2. Synopticist

            I hugelly rate Matt Taibi, and I dont live in the States, but I know damn well that the “permenant progressive majority if only the democrats would show some balls” meme is bullsh*t.

            It’s arguably true here in the UK, it is true in a few western European countries, but there are just too many moonbats and proletarians who think they’re temporarily embaressed millionaires in the US for that analysis to be correct. America is the most conservative country in the western world.

  8. Observed

    Was that really Jill Stein sitting in front of the Pacific Grove (next to Monterey) Post Office handing out
    literature for her campaign?
    Meanwhile, her car sat in the handicapped parking space
    for hours forcing oldsters with walkers to find parking

  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    “Romnesia.” Also known as being born on third base thinking you’d hit a triple, as the late and lamented Ann Richards remarked about George W. Bush.

  10. Lambert Strether

    Taibbi: “Barack Obama is hardly a complete Wall Street stooge.”

    Oh, really? Getting between these “savvy businessmen” and the “pitchforks” makes Obama only a partial stooge? A reluctant stooge? A stooge whose heart is really in the right place if only progressives would support him as he deserves?

    What does it take to be a complete stooge, if Obama’s not one?


    1. Ms G

      Interesting to note that even in Bending Over mode Taibbi can’t quite give O**** a totally clean pass — “hardly,” “complete,” giveaways. Still, I agree — WTF, WTF, WTF.

    2. Aquifer

      A “complete” one would never call them “fat cats” out loud, now would he? He’s only a 99.999% stooge (but shucks, even Herman Cain only had three 9s ….)

    3. SR6719

      Et tu Taibbi?

      You can take your lesser evil argument and show it up your ass. To say you’re not catching on too quick at this point would be an extreme understatement. So you’re either a retard or a sell-out, and I don’t think you’re a retard.


      I don’t have time for this sh*t anymore, I have other things to do, such as listening to Serge Gainsbourg sing “Les Femmes c’est du Chinois”.

      Coz despite being dead and all, despite being an animated puppet in a you tube video, a dead Serge Gainsbourg is still worth 10 thousand living Matt Taibbis

      bye bye Matt

      1. Ms G

        Hey SR 6719, compared to me you are positively Moderne listening to the great Serge G. — I tune in to Hoagy Carmichael and a lot of namless songwriters from the 1930s!

    4. Ms G

      Aquifer, good one on the 999. I’m so glad there are great options beyond the legacy candidates. First time I’m excited about voting in a Prez’l election. In great part, thanks to you and Lambert.

      1. ZygmuntFraud

        I suspect there’s a “taboo” in the media of mentioning Dr Jill Stein and whatever she’s doing in the 2012 Elections … Any disproof of “tabooism” would be interesting to me.

    5. Ms G

      The odd thing is that Taibbi has a whole paragraph detailing why Obama IS a Wall Street Stooge (I was wrong to think Matt hadn’t connected the dots of FraudNation to Obama) — and still tells us he’s NOT a Wall Street Stooge. Here’s the paragraph, for convenient reference:

      “With 300 million possible entrants in the race, how did we end up with two guys [can’t mention Obama’s name here?] who would both refuse to bring a single case against a Wall Street bank during a period of epic corruption? How did we end up with two guys [again, one of these guys is Obama] who refuse to repeal the carried-interest tax break? How did we end with two guys [and again . . . no naming of names] who supported a vast program of bailouts with virtually no conditions attached to them? Citigroup has had so many people running policy in the Obama White House [Note, defusing the rot by stripping agency: not Obama, rather the “Obama White House], they should open a branch in the Roosevelt Room. It’s not as bad as it would be in a Romney presidency, but it comes close.”

      JSmith is right that the core sleight of hand in Taibbi’s piece is his silent detour around the slate of ALTERNATIVE CANDIDATES.

  11. Valissa

    R.I.P. Andy Williams

    Even though I’m not fan, Andy Williams had an interesting life (does anyone remember the Claudine Longet scandal?)

    One interesting tidbit mentioned in that article is also discussed further at Wikipedia (Williams was a Republican)
    Williams was close friends with Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, campaigning for Kennedy ’68 for President. Williams was among the celebrities who were present at the Ambassador Hotel on the night Sirhan Sirhan shot and mortally wounded RFK in June 1968. Williams solemnly sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at RFK’s funeral, by request of widow Ethel.

    Since I can’t stand the song Moon River, that he’s most famous for, here is one of the few songs of his I like…
    Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

    And this short duet with Antonio Carlos Jobim is great… Girl from Ipanema

    1. F. Beard

      He does seem like a nice guy and I do like “Moon River”!

      BTW, the “Girl from Ipanema” reminds me of this breezily irreverent tune Walk Right In .

      Ah, for those innocent days when only immanent nuclear destruction was a threat instead of starvation and homelessness!

        1. SR6719


          You seem to have an off-beat sense of humour, so you might appreciate this one.

          First I have to set the stage for you. The guy in the first scene is a younger Matt Taibbi, and he’s just turned down Lola Stone’s offer to go dancing with her to the Prom.

          Big mistake.

          Lola Stone’s father kidnaps him, brings him to Lola, and they have their own little Prom, right there at home:

          1. Valissa

            “Modern man likes to pretend that his thinking is wide-awake. But this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason.” – Octavio Paz

          2. SR6719

            Good one, Valissa!

            And so true.

            Paz was a great figure, not only Mexico’s greatest poet, but he also wrote the best book ever written on the subject of Marcel Duchamp, called “Appearance Stripped Bare”.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Low end house prices rising again.

    Gotta to do something about wealth inequality before the election.

    1. ambrit

      Dear MLTPB;
      I wonder how they pulled that trick off. The housing markets my wife and I have been looking into here in the Deep South are still trending lower. This all sounds like an application of the “Big Lie” principle.

    1. Aquifer

      Here’s a suggestion – 1) get on enough ballots to be able to win, as Stein has, or, 2) failing that, support the candidate who has achieved that who would actually support the changes in the election laws that would enable more folks to achieve 1)

      So why not support Stein this time around?

      1. leftover

        Why not?
        I’m a Socialist.
        Stein isn’t. More bourgeois politics, more bourgeois democracy, more protracted decay of social conditions and democratic rights by monopoly capitalists and their toadies in government is just not on The Program.

        The SEP fights to connect the struggle of working people for their basic social, economic and political rights to the program of revolutionary socialism. The corporate and financial aristocracy’s death grip on the resources of society is the main obstacle to social progress. The SEP insists that the rights of the working class cannot be secured except through the independent mobilization of the working class in the struggle to take political power, radically redistribute the wealth, establish genuine social equality, and reorganize all economic life under the democratic control of the working class so as to serve social needs, not private profit.
        Resolution 2: On the2012 Election and the SEP Campaign

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Hey. I’m voting Socialist Equality Party or not voting at all. I too am dubious of the Greens even though I voted for them last time. Too capitalist and too much of a controlled opposition vibe . . . like a Chris Hedges production or something.

      Was looking into the history of the now defunct Socialist Party and 1934 was sure an interesting period. The party split with after the 1934 Declaration of Principles was passed.

      I think the “militant faction” had the better argument:

      I have to say I was relatively unaware of this socialist history of the U.S. Also interesting to see how U.S. socialists related to communists and the Soviet Union as well as the National Socialists in Germany, etc.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          They are more like the “reformers” of bourgeoisie capitalism described in the linked article . . . rather than the revolutionary approach of the militant wing.

          I think the militant wing had the right approach . . . nothing short of a full defense of socialism and working classes will work in ‘changing’ the current fascist capitalist/imperial/warmongering system. Trying to “reform” capitalism using the tired old model of American politics is doomed to failure. Just as the socialists recognized in 1934.

          We need to attack the legitimacy of the entire system. I don’t have any answers and the Greens are better than the others I can just tell they are just not going to get the job done and I don’t see much benefit coming from them.

          They need to go on the attack against Obama, for instance. Declare him a war criminal that should be locked up. They need to be hostile to the Democrats. The Democrats are war criminal fascists and need to be treated as the enemy rather than potential voters to woo, or whatever the Greens are doing. They need to draw political blood instead of playing footsie with Democrats. They are the enemy and the Greens need to stop being so nice to their enemies!

          The Greens are too little, too late.

          1. MontanaMaven

            And from what I can tell by reading Graeber and also the history of 19th and 20th century anarchist literature, the socialists also worked within the system. Anarchists do not believe in belonging to any organization unless it is voluntary and temporary. The I.W.W. is more of the anarchist tradition. They worked for more control of their leisure time rather than for higher wages. Wages still leaves control with the bosses. Mutual Aid Societies in England were the model for the national heath care system there. But the mutual aid societies actually worked better. Now the local money gets siphoned off to government bureaucracy and not as much stays home. I recommend reading Colin Ward’s “A Very Short Introduction to Anarchism” and David Graeber’s “Revolutions in Reverse”. Also his “White Review” interview.
            Left Libertarians “despise the state because it defends property”. Right Libertarians despise the state because it “hinders the freedom of property”.
            There is an alternative.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been meaning to read Graeber’s book on Debt.

            I too share the distrust of government and any use of power, really, but I don’t see how the use of the state can be avoided in the short term, at least.

            I wonder if Cuba’s model for health care isn’t the best? They seem to have retained a lot of local control, right? Of course we don’t hear much about Cuba’s system. Both health care and education are great uses of government power, imho. There is a good synergy between local power and big state power, or a potential for there to be. One area where this local/federal synergy IS NOT present is the use of police power. The feds have only made things worse by getting involved in local policing. This is something where local communities should have a final say.

      1. leftover

        The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party

        David North/Leon Trotsky and the Defense of Historical Truth

        Personally, I would like to see the old schisms set aside for the sake of forming a Socialist Party. or a Labor Party, that all the factions could support in solidarity against predatory capitalism. Our differences are petty, really, considering the social crises and wholesale assault on democratic rights the working class confronts on a daily basis. A Labor Party, I think, is the best vehicle to raise consciousness and promote the socialist principles we share, while, at least, attempting to come to some resolution on those issues that continue to divide us.

        Or, in other words, I wish we could steal a few celebrities from the ISO and DSA.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Sounds like a good idea.

          Any viable political movement is going to have to form an alliance with various schisms.

          As a practical matter though I do not trust the election system in most places in the world. The U.S. system and most systems are hackable so one most assume the results are rigged (and public polling too, probably). I doubt their very reliability and therefore what is the point of democracy if it’s all fake anyway? It just causes more damage than good.

          Plus, I don’t even trust the very first principles of democracy. Hell, 100 years ago people were fed up with electoral politics because the financial elite ran the show so the financial elite simply came up with a way to trick people into believing they were reforming the joint. The capitalists own the media so they are able to continually pull the wool over the eyes of the people so any ‘democracy’ is inherently suspect. I don’t see an answer to this problem other than eternal vigilance against these sociopath capitalists. They are always scheming!

          As a practical matter . . .

          One area I think different factions can come together is on monetary policy. Specifically, a Greenback Party could unite a number of different factions. Here are the proposed party principles:

          1. No more Federal Reserve or Federal Reserve Notes. No more U.S. debt. U.S. prints its own Greenbacks for spending and retires all outstanding debt, just as President Lincoln did.

          2. Foreign Wars Ended. All troops home, standing army abolished, foreign bases closed, war material destroyed so only basic armaments kept. We will defend ourselves from attack but end aggressive capitalist war.

          3. Civil Liberties restored and police state ended. Drugs are legal.

          4. Current Social Compact Deal upheld. Social Security/Medicare/Etc. status quo upheld. If Greenbacks are needed to shore up these systems, they will be printed. Current tax/spending policies frozen (except military spending ended by virtue of ending the empire).

          This is a workable deal.

          There are a majority of Americans that would probably go along with those 4 main principles. This would unite left and right. Austrians that read Zero Hedge or Mish would join with socialists that read Naked Capitalism on most of these issues. Plus, there are a good number of conventional Republicans and Democrats that also agree with these principles but are stuck in a fake political wrestling match. This is a political deal that makes sense.

          Now as as socialists I would argue for leftward movement, for instance:

          1. A National Share-the-Wealth Income Payment to every American. Let’s say $25,000/year.

          2. Tax Changes. Change Income tax so bottom 80% pay no income tax, sales tax, or payroll taxes. Progressive Income tax implemented for top 20% or so. Top rate is something like 75%. Wealth tax created instead of VAT type taxes. Maybe taxes on “bad things” like cigarettes/sugar/drugs as a way to control behavior rather than banning items.

          3. Socialized Health Care/Single Payer System.

          4. Paternity/Maternity leave of 1 year, with full pay paid by the gov., and a payment for those w/o a job (maybe another $25,000).

          5. Socialized day care/preschool/school/post secondary school. This is pretty much what was promised to Californians and many Americans 50 years ago. We should be able to send our kids to state schools or community colleges for free.

          6. 30 hour work week. Minimum wage is equivalent of $25,000 year at 30 hours week.

          7. Guaranteed Job program where anyone can earn minimum wage that wants to work.

          8. Free public transportation. Gov. economists/planners beef up public transport all across the economy.

          I’m sure there are lots of other changes that can be made as well but it’s pretty amazing that socialists of 100 years ago would have totally thought these things were all possible and now they seem even farther away than ever. These are all totally feasible goals. We are just made to believe it’s pie in the sky.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            WWM, thank you for at least bringing up the tax change issue.

            Depending on how you structure it, you don’t need that free $25,000/yr/capita. Taxing the 0.01% more and the 99.99% less ought to go a long way toward stimulating demand and creating more jobs. Save that $25K/yr/person – take the sum you get by multiplying that by the entire US population, and use it for those truly in need – the same sum, this time, divided by a smaller number, maybe 15% of the working population (not just the 15% of the entire population).

            With that, you get most of the government revenue from the 0.01%. And when there is a depression, you don’t cut taxes (for the rich). Forget MMT. If you cut taxes in a depression, that just encourages the 0.01% to scheme for more depressions. Taxes are not to be a inflation/deflation countering, economic tool to be decided by economists. Taxation is for social and political justice. It is to be decided politically. This country fought a revolution war over taxation.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            As much as I would love to agree with you . . . . there is a big difference between cutting taxes and providing $25,000 to each person. The middle and lower classes would benefit much more from a national income payment instead of tax cuts.

            As the Republicans are fond of pointing out, half don’t pay any income tax at all.

            A national income is a much more democratic solution. And hey, didn’t MLK, Jr. propose this? So aren’t you racist if you’re against it?

            It’s the people’s money. Think how powerful this money is. Let’s take it back from the bankers and spend it on ourselves. We deserve to share the wealth that dollar represents.

            But my solution benefits everyone whereas tax cuts benefit mostly the top . . . . those that make over $100,000 would still be better off under my proposal. They get their $25,000 guaranteed income and would save the $25,000 in taxes on the $100,000 they make. Whereas the person making $25,000 working a retail job would get $50,000 under my system but on simply cutting his taxes he’s only getting a few thousand more.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            WWM, if it’s based on reason, I think it’s ok to disagree.

            In your example, I think it’s OK to say, all right, let those with $100,000/yr have the $25,000. But you can say, those over $250,000/yr or $300,000/yr or $1,000,000/yr, well, we rather keep that money and give more to those making only $25,000/yr. So, maybe, now, they get $35,000/yr, instead of $25,000.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Also, if you are going to give those making over, say, $500,000 a free handout worth $25,000/yr, couldn’t you just adjust their tax rates a little?

            Finally, I would say the goal is to get more people employed so, they too will contribute by paying taxes. One way to do that is reversing the shrinking middle class and their diminshing purchase power. So, cutting their taxes help. Another way is to do away with those offshoring free-trade pacts. Hopefully those not benefittig from lower taxes for the 99.99%, because they are out of work, will then benefit as well.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Thanks for the link on the discussion of the German socialist and communist parties of the 30s.

          I don’t know if you saw the discussion yesterday, but I now doubt the official history of the world wars and I am unsure to what extent I have been lied to about the Soviet Union and the Russian Revolution. Same with Trotsky. I basically mistrust everything I thought I knew about this time and now I doubt the official story about National Socialism in Germany. I now believe the Soviet Union engaged in propaganda, for instance, about alleged death camps in Germany. I also have learned interesting information about Wall Street support and financial payments to Trotsky and other revolutionaries so frankly I don’t know if he was a mole! This could be wild speculation or disinformation meant to tar Trotsky but frankly I need to learn more before I can form a better judgment (and I was even assigned and read most of Trotsky’s autobiography).

          Thanks for the links. I think seeing what other socialists say about this history will help fill in some puzzle pieces for me.

          But I found it interesting that the U.S. socialists were not hostile to National Socialism in Germany (at least looking into the 1934 discussion) and it made me wonder if I’ve been lied to about NAZIs. Maybe Jonah Goldberg was right and NAZIs were much more left wing than we were led to believe. Who knows what games have been played and what Trotsky’s role was.

  13. Aquifer

    I thought the article on 3rd party appearances in SF was interesting for what it revealed:

    “A Gallup poll released earlier this month found 46 percent of Americans say a third party is needed. But despite the hypothetical support for a third party and the disillusionment with the two main parties, no alternative is gaining much traction.
    ‘In theory it should, and in most countries it would, but in the United States because of the Electoral College system, it discourages people from supporting third parties,’ said Stephen Zunes, a politics professor at University of San Francisco.
    Part of that stems from the ghost of the 2000 election, when some Democrats charged that Green Party-nominee Ralph Nader swiped enough support away from Democrat Al Gore that Republican George W. Bush won.

    The Gallup poll found that Johnson and Stein each have 1 percent support. And a Pew Research Center poll also released this month found that 74 percent and 81 percent of voters have not heard of Johnson and Stein, respectively.”

    Says it all in a nut shell – nobody knows the alternatives exist, the press makes sure of that – TINA, and even if folks do know about them, the press makes sure they are marginalized -“can’t win” or denigrated – “spoiler”

    Which is why places like this are all the more valuable …

    Hmmm. let’s see – wonder if that “1%” who support Stein comes from the 19% who know about her, or the 81% who don’t, or both; if the first, my 2nd question would be, if 1 out of 5 who know about her support her (1% of the total would = about 20& of that 19%, right?) then what are the reasons the ones who know about her don’t support her – because they don’t agree, or they have swallowed the “can’t win” “spoiler” BS?

    Does anyone have a breakdown of that survey?

    1. MontanaMaven

      Well I’m spreading the word to my conservative friends to vote for Johnson. I may have to vote for him here because Stein/Honkala are not on the ballot. Anybody but the two corrupt legacy parties. Oh, and it’s not incompetence. It’s hubris.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      “but in the United States because of the Electoral College system, it discourages people from supporting third parties,’ said Stephen Zunes, a politics professor at University of San Francisco.”

      Really? American voters are really thinking/concerned about the Electoral College? Doesn’t pass the sniff test.

      1. corner cubicle

        I don’t buy it’s the Electoral College specifically, but I do believe that most voters realize that third parties have a slim shot at best and part of the reason for this is the institutional hurdles that exist, to which the Electoral College belongs. If the US had a parliamentary system of government, things might be different.That being said, at one point, in 1992, Ross Perot actually had a plurality in the polls. I doubt that will ever happen again, unless some already nationally known person decides to run.

  14. Foppe

    Vindication? ;) Freddie Audit:Today, a federal Inspector General released a report that evaluated those investments and concluded they were just “a small portion” of the portfolio held by Freddie, formally called the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Moreover, the inspector found “no evidence” that Freddie “obstructed homeowners’ abilities to refinance their mortgages in an effort to influence” the profitability of the investments, known as inverse floaters.

  15. Paul Tioxon

    The REAL (inre Lambert) October surprise for Obama and the dems won’t come from anything said or done on their part. I predict that the October surprise will, again, come from Romney saying something so viciously stupid that the American Friends Service Committee will immediately abandoned non violence and redirect all Quaker fiances towards acquiring centrifuges and yellow cake uranium in attempt to assure mutually assured destruction of the republican party and the banking industry. If you doubt this as a distinct possibility, just review Yves pausing to comment on the Romney campaign. Talk about a more powerful external force changing the direction of a moving object!

  16. SR6719

    “Disneyland exists in order to hide that it is the “real” country, all of “real” America that is Disneyland (a bit like prisons are there to hide that it is the social in its entirety, in its banal omnipresence, that is carceral). Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas all of Los Angeles and the America that surrounds it are no longer real, but belong to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation.

    It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle.”

    – Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Don’t forget comic books, rock and roll and rap music, all adding up to parental permissiveness of civilization crushing proportions!! And all Philip K Dick novels and rip offs (homages?).

  17. JGordon

    Linking to all these sites that require registration is really annoying. I wish you would stop driving traffic to them by putting them in links.

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