Links 2/24/13

Dolphins May Call Each Other by Name Wired

Asteroid early warning system taking shape at UN Telegraph

Yankees: Yes, We’re ‘Evil’ WSJ. Film at 11!

Lengthy Impasse Looms On Cuts WSJ. Thomas Nast: “‘Twas him!”

Big banks are as risky as ever, economist warns CBS Moneywatch (SW)

Historical Echoes: Cash or Credit? Payments and Finance in Ancient Rome New York Fed (SW). Fiddles, anyone?

Economists Discover that Fed Bond Purchases Affect the Budget CEPR

Aunt Pythia’s Advice mathbabe. “My grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch.” –Woody Allen

Spanish king’s son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin makes court appearance over fraudulent use of public money Independent 

‘Citizen tide’ of protests swamps Spain AFP

Huge Grillo rally rounds off Italy election campaign Reuters

I Have Seen The Scariest Chart In Europe — And It Very Much Resembles This One Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider

A brief history of the Chinese growth model Michael Pettis

The United States Heads to the South China Sea Foreign Affairs

Flawed F-35 Fighter Too Big to Kill as Lockheed Hooks 45 States Businessweek

Boeing’s ‘Angry Nerds’ Reject Contract as Dreamliner Crisis Continues Labor Notes

FAA won’t 787 to service until risks addressed Chicago Tribune. “Risks addressed” ≠ “causes found.” (See also; and also.)

BP Heads Into Spill Trial With Initial Court Victory Bloomberg

Businesses surprised to see their names on fracking petition Coloradon (DCBlogger)

The Futures of Farming Le Monde Diplomatique

India’s rice revolution: Chinese scientist questions massive harvests Guardian

Sriracha Hot Sauce Catches Fire, Yet ‘There’s Only One Rooster’ Businessweek

Death of the Yuppie Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Content economics, part 1: advertising Felix Salmon, Reuters

The Wage Theft Epidemic In These Times (CB)

Liberal racial hypocrisy Salon. Because it’s OK to slaughter brown people when they’re far away.

A daughter’s tribute to the NHS: ‘By now I am convinced it is the nearest we get to a benevolent deity. It’s free care for American immigrants, for absent parents, for the only father I will ever have’ Independent

Why your boss is dumping your wife Marketwatch

Miami Heist: The Brink’s Money Plane Job’s Messy Aftermath Bloomberg. These bad guys lost.

I used Google Glass: the future, with monthly updates The Verge. Creepy?

Antidote du jour (MB):

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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. dearieme

    The NHS story: why are British taxpayers – including the middling and poor – paying so that an American gets expensive “health care” at no expense to him or his family?

    “He had three hip operations and was treated for throat cancer …
    As a professional gambler, he paid very little tax. He smoked, he drank. He had no will, no funeral plan.”

    It’s a story of the mad, perverse incentives of a badly designed welfare state. Benevolent deity, my arse – Satan, more like.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Yes, it is indeed foolish to care for your populace.

      As we all know, wealthy people never drink too much, get fat, do unhealthy drugs… also, British citizens ditto.

      What are you on about really? Taking care of the people is supposed to be the first priority of a government, according to MY ethical grounding. What’s your priority? Providing trillions to backstop criminal banks? Yes, we need less healthy citizens who are desperate and starving so that mega-corporations can continue their rape of the world. Must divert money from NHS to help “the effort” now!

      This man didn’t just arrive demanding healthcare (and so what if he did?) anyway. He was an immigrant who lived in the UK for 20-30 years.

      Its not welfare state “madness”, its ethical human compassion and care, and there are only bad reasons to ignore or ridicule compassion and care of people and the earth itself. Wake up.

        1. neo-realist

          Conservative says “I’m sorry, no raise, but raise your production numbers a little more and we’ll consider it”

          Here’s your $5 starbucks coupon

          Suffering continues

    2. Chris Rogers

      Who let this deranged neoliberal arse-wipe onto the boards of NC?

      Not wishing to be a hypocrite given my aversion to censorship, one will not ask Yves and Lambert to redact this retarded comment – all I can say, it illustrates clearly the demented nature of many an American and their neoliberal wannabes in the UK – suffice to say, given you live by the sword, I trust you will die by the sword, on this occasion hopefully a painful death of an incurable form of cancer that drains the resources of your family totally – this being quite easy given most coverage is only for US$1 million – its only money for God sake and your billionaire masters really require the extra funds to spread their malicious lies – MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOU YOU EVIL TWAT!!!!!!!!!!

      Sorry for the rant, but as a Brit, Socialist and 100% supporter of the NHS and assistance to those in need, this guy has really annoyed me.

      1. JTFaraday

        “given you live by the sword, I trust you will die by the sword”

        I think that pretty much sums up what’s happening. Holier than thou useful idiots en masse are going to get smacked left and right when their number comes up.

        And, I think the only real hope of a cultural sea change lies in younger people whose number came up early and who might possibly cultivate a different way of thinking as a result.

        There’s no guarantee of this, of course.

        1. taunger

          I’m one of the younger, and I’ve had a different way of thinking since before my number came up early. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do any good, because thoughts don’t pay the bills and put food on the table – action does. And I’ve yet to find a truly different way of acting without substantial capital assistance.

          1. JTFaraday

            You seem to be suggesting that someone has to pay you to be a citizen. This seems to fall under the professional managerial model that the Ehrenreichs’ suggest started falling apart in the 1970s in today’s link on the Yuppie demise.

            I would hazard your contention leaves us 1-2 generations behind the times.


            I did say it might not happen.

    3. AbyNormal

      So if you meet me
      Have some courtesy
      Have some sympathy, and some taste
      Use all your well-learned politesse
      Or I’ll lay your soul to waste,
      Pleased to meet you
      Hope you guessed my name,
      But what’s puzzling you
      Is the nature of my game…
      where the dearie’s deal for a pittance

    4. J Sterling

      PS this is a good example of the way using universal benefits funded by progressive taxes is always falsely described as “costing the poor in taxes”. Where the benefits are universal but the funding is progressive, the net beneficiaries are overwhelmingly the “middling and poor”. The irritated group it’s costing are the 1%.

      1. Chris Rogers

        Evidently, your knowledge of UK Income tax and other forms of taxation is highly limited, or non existent with that statement – first and foremost, direct income tax, that is money removed from actual salary on a weekly or monthly basis is less than the treasury receives from consumption taxes and VAT – our sales tax that presently stands at 20%.

        Further, the NHS is funded by National Insurance, and the last time I paid NI as a employee, it was 9% of income over £52,00 with a cut off just over £22,000 – that was in the 90’s – obviously, employers also contribute to an employees NI contribution – so, unemployment benefit, health, and old age pension are funded by NI and not as you presume, direct income tax.

        On all cost analysis, and given presently the UK spends approx. 10% GDP on health care – much less than most EU nations, the USA and Canada, – the health outcome for the overall population is higher than most other nations, and significantly higher than the USA.

        Indeed, are not you and your fellow citizens ashamed that having spent nearly 20% of GDP on healthcare, the outcome for the majority, and not the 1% is on par with a third world nation in Africa – not something to be proud about, particularly given the amount of GDP attributed to health care.

        1. Yonatan

          The NHS is not funded by National Insurance in the same way the roads are not funded by the so-called ‘Road Tax’ (which is actually the ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’ – a tax on the vehicle). All taxation is pooled and allocated as needed.

    5. Tom Bradford

      By living in the UK he will have been paying VAT on his drinks and smokes, plus the additional taxes levied on tobacco products, so he will have made a contribution to the Exchequor towards the costs of his healthcare.

  2. Ned Ludd

    What is the function of liberals in our political system? Tarzie has a new post up: “A Vampire’s Tears”. It is the result of an argument he had with Glenn Greenwald on Twitter.

    Glenn Greenwald:@ohtarzie I think having a writer whom progressives adore call Obama a chronic criminal & slam them for justifying it is helpful

    The Rancid Honeytrap:@ggreenwald helpful as a role model of completely irrational political behavior: Obama is a criminal/Vote for Obama.

    Someone who is upset about war crimes, imperialism, and the government murdering children might, without the guidance of liberals, come to view Obama and the Democratic Party as deceitful, treacherous, and morally corrupt. Liberals provide an intellectual framework that beguiles people “to square allegiance with Dem politics with revulsion over war crimes. That is the function of anguished liberals. It is a brand. That’s all.”

    1. ohmyheck

      OUCH! Quite the take-down of Charles Pierce and Glenn Greenwald, both of whom I admire. It is informative to see criticism of them from a, what?, Far-Left perspective.

      I was deeply disappointed to see such “progressives” like Michael Moore, Robert Redford and Cornel West, for example, come out in eleventh hour and tell people to get out and vote for Obama.

      If one believes that the fix was, and always is, in, as Emma Goldman explained, then those “progressives” needn’t have tossed their principles out the window with their endorsements.

      I guess that means I really was enjoying my rose-colored glasses world I live in, where principled people remain principled no matter what the situation.

      I guess I enjoy being fooled. Lalalala………….

      1. Tarzie

        It is informative to see criticism of them from a, what?, Far-Left perspective.

        I shy away from these labels, particularly that ‘Far’ part, which is marginalizing. I think anyone looking analytically at people like Pierce, West, Moore etc is likely to reach similar conclusions about the role they play in the manufacture of consent.

        If you want to know more about my perspective, I have spelled it out in The Rancid Honeytrap FAQ

        My piece on Chris Hayes goes into more detail on what I call Vampire Liberals in a different context.

        1. ohmyheck

          Thanks! It’s funny how humans need to label things. I’ll just say I’m interested in “a wide range of points of view” and leave it at that.

          I will check out your website in detail. At least it is something different!

  3. craazyman

    Front page story in NY Times:

    “Major Banks Aid Payday Loans Banned by States”.

    It’s behind the pay wall, but I skimmed a few paragraphs at the deli while drinking coffee and waiting for my western omelette to cook.

    It really looks bad. Everybody must know what payday loans are — they’re like the child prostitution of the financial services business. The banks aren’t lending directly but seem to be facilitating internet banks that do.

  4. from Mexico

    @ “Liberal racial hypocrisy,” by Falguni A. Sheth

    Liberal hypocrisy may have reached an all-time high in America, and a bright spotlight needs to be shone on it.

    “Civil rights” has degenrated into special interest pleading. Civil rights, in its current pathological and disfigured form, is false advertising. It’s self-interest being billed as other-interest or universal-interest, and the result is layer upon layer of irony and hypocrisy. It has gotten so thick one can cut it with a knife, as Sheth notes

    The racial double standard is exemplified in the general American indifference over the deaths of foreign nationals or brown American citizens, in contrast to the rightful outrage over the needless killings of many other young African American men and women — from Trayvon Martin to the multiple state-led attempts to execute Warren Hill, a mentally disabled prisoner on death row in Georgia, and Hadiya Pendleton, a recent victim of gun violence.

    The fatal flaw in Sheth’s argument, however, is to make it all about race. It’s not just that race is a completely artifical and arbitrary construct, and to use the term creates a great deal of ambiguity and confusion, the word “race” having so many different and varied meanings. But it’s that race just scratches the surface of the problem.

    This becomes very clear if we look at the recent trends in gay “civil rights” activism. CounterPunch did an outstanding article calling out the moral degeneracy of our most recent crop of gay activists with their abandoning of Bradley Manning. As the article’s author, Andy Thayer, points out: “If a homophobe had so much as broken Chaz Bono’s finger nail, rest assured that assured GLAAD, NGLTF and HRC would have been on the case. But why the silence about Manning?”

    So these gay “civil rights” organizations pursue a very narrow special-interest agenda. It’s all about getting and preserving power, money, and celebrity, and promoting the interest of a narrow interest group. What we find is just one more Washington lobbying group. And if that’s not bad enough, then one has to deal with an additional sin, that of hypocrisy. The Human Rights Campaign, after all, really should be called “The Gay and Lesbian Rights Campaign.”

    I wonder how the current crop of gay activists and their decision to abandon Bradley Manning would respond to Martin Luther King, who in the spring of 1967 stood before the pulpit at Ebenerzer Baptist Church and preached his sermon “Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam,” and with that act forever banished himself from the halls of power and money in the United States, and may indeed have pronounced his own death sentence. As King so rightly pointed out:

    As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action; for they ask and write me, “So what about Vietnam?” They ask if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence I cannot be silent….

    A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind…

    I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism. The home that all too many Americans left was solidly structured idealistically; its pillars were solidly grounded in the insights of our Judeo-Christian heritage. All men are made in the image of God. All men are bothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from the State–they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home! What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit. But America’s strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only confusion and bewilderment. It has left hearts aching with guilt and minds distorted with irrationality.

    1. from Mexico

      In order to fully understand King’s sermon, it is necessary to place it in its historical context.

      “The Soul of a Nation” segment (Part V) of the PBS special God in America provides the historical framework.

      King’s sermon was an answer to the cold war mongering — the marriage of patriotism/militarism with morality/religion — that was being evangelized by right-wing Christian preachers like Billy Graham. As PBS points out, Graham’s overnight rise to rock star status was largely due to the machinations of William Randolf Hearst — identified by George Orwell as a fascist — and the mandate he issued to his media empire to “puff Graham.”

      1. Jessica

        Groups that take an attitude of “we want ours, screw everyone else” fit fine into the current system. The boundary that is strictly enforced is between group selfishness (even when well deserved) and universal inclusiveness.
        When a new group arrives on the scene, they often make their claims in universalistic terms (workers of the world unite) and with varying combinations of carrot, stick, and puppet theater, those who stand by universalistic claims are marginalized or annihilated and those willing to conform to “Do it to Julia” group-selfishness are incorporated into the system.
        One of the ways that this is accomplished is through the careerism of those who make a living running the organizations the new group sets up.
        The really big quandary is this: If there is no group that really is immune to this process, unless one counts on the system to degenerate to the point where it screws over such a high percentage of the population that they really do have to stick together, then how does one make universally inclusive humaneness that everyone does have at least a little bit of into a force coherent enough to withstand/overcome greed and selfishness.

        1. Ned Ludd

          As from Mexico points out, it was when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came out against war and militarism that he “forever banished himself from the halls of power and money in the United States”. In the U.S., anti-imperialism is largely (although not completely) immune to being co-opted. It is a basic moral argument – no to war, no to the military, no to state violence. When judging an activist group or movement, ask:

          • Are they anti-imperialist, or are they on easy terms with empire?
          • Do they engage in actions that disrupt the current system of social, political, and economic control; or are they looking for acceptance and status within the existing system?

          It is important to ask these questions about our own activism, as well.

        2. from Mexico

          Jessica asks:

          …how does one make universally inclusive humaneness that everyone does have at least a little bit of into a force coherent enough to withstand/overcome greed and selfishness.

          Can’t it be argued that King and other like-minded souls were fairly successful in doing that, at least for a time?

          Did we not see the rise of American militarism in the 1940 to 1960 period, reaching its cresendo with the Vietnam War, and then its amelioration?

          As Andrew J. Bacevich writes in The New American Militarism:

          For politically engaged intellectuals who had supported the doomed effort to save Vietnam, the war years had been an unmitigated disaster. During the long decade stretching from the assasination of John F. Kennedy to the resignation of Richard M. Nixon, they watched helplessly as would-be revolutionaries launched a sustained assault against allegedly repressive institutions, beginning with the university but ultimately including the federal government and the armed services, and by extension the premises underlying a liberal internationalist foreign policy.

          Bacevich then goes on to recount the history of how the militarists “mounted a counterrevolution,” beginning with Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, and following it right on down to 2005, the date his book was published.

          Since 2000, the United States has once again entered an exceedingly black period, and it now appears that the children of darkness have won a complete and total victory. But I don’t think King would have accepted that defeat. As he said in his sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church:

          Before the crown we wear, there is the cross that we must bear. Let us bear it–bear it for truth, bear it for justice, and bear it for peace. Let us go out this morning with that determination. And I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I can still sing “We Shall Overcome” because Carlyle was right: “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant was right: “Truth pressed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell was right: “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.” Yet, that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the bible is right: “You shall reap what you sow.” With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope… And I don’t know about you, I ain’t gonna study war no more.

          In the PBS film, there is a video of King the night before he was killed where he says:

          Well I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountain top… I just want to do God’s will. And he has allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.

          Now compare that to the moral and spiritual wasteland that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi inhabits as she defends the Obama Administration policy of targeted killings:

          …The values on the other side are not there. This is their life’s work to go to heaven — not to put down their beliefs, but the fact is, we don’t have a shared respect for life.

          (from the Sheth article)

          “The Soul of a Nation” concludes with the following remarks by Andrew Yound, one of the eary civil rights leaders:

          His death was not the end. And his words and his spirit have moved all across the earth. It points to the fact that this is a religious universe. Most people, particularly most educated Americans, get uncomfortable when their emotions and their spirituality get the best of their intellect. But there are times when intellect can’t handle it. The truly religous moments in our civil rights movement didn’t make any intellectual sense. Nobody in their right mind would do some of the things we did. But we did it because we were caught up in a spirit.

          1. Jessica

            Jessica asks:

            …how does one make universally inclusive humaneness that everyone does have at least a little bit of into a force coherent enough to withstand/overcome greed and selfishness.

            From Mexico:
            Can’t it be argued that King and other like-minded souls were fairly successful in doing that, at least for a time?

            Yes. And it is crucial to recognize our past triumphs. Particularly in dark times such as these.

            But I think it would also be best to at least reckon with the possibility that the kinds of factors that worked for us then may not come again. Much of the force behind the successes of the 60s came from groups who had been so egregiously and obviously held down that it had forged a strong sense of We. Black is beautiful. Sisterhood.
            Even among white males, university students during their college years had not been incorporated into the corporate system to the same degree and were not beaten down by debt.
            This does not mean that we can not achieve such successes again, but only that the challenge we face may be slightly different.
            One factor that can work in our favor is that the people lined up against us running the nation are far less coherent than they were and have little to offer us except austerity, drones, and pepper spray. It is our own divisions and despair that we need to overcome. That and our own inability to imagine what things will be like when we are running them.

    2. jsmith

      Martin Luther King Jr. talking to Harry Belafonte: “I said, ‘What’s the matter, Martin? You seem very agitated.’ He said, ‘Well, I am, because I’ve come upon a thought that I don’t know how to deal with at this moment.’ I said, ‘Well, what is it?’ He said, ‘We’ve fought long for integration. It looks like we’re gonna get it. I think we’ll get the laws,” he says. “But I’m afraid that I’ve come upon something that I don’t know quite what to do with. I’m afraid that we’re integrating into a burning house.’”

        1. from Mexico

          I believe he did. As he wrote in Letter from Birmingham Jail, “I started thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacenty made up of Negroes who…because of a degree of academic and economic security…have unconsciously become insensitive to the problems of the masses.”

          James Melvin Washington notes in A Testament of Hope that the Negro community has a long tradition of conservative leadership that has “little trouble getting either an audience or support” from either the black community or the white community. “Jerry Falwell,” Washington says, had “a black counterpart in the Reverend Dr. Joseph Harrison Jackson, president of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.” Bourgeois blacks like Dr. Jackson were “exceedingly cautious and timid, stepping lightly so as not to disturb the status quo of a segregated society.” King was also of middle-class stock, but “refused to alienate himself from the struggles of the black masses.” In 1961, he broke with the National Baptist Convention.

          King had almost no support from the white community, Washington says. There were, however, notable exceptions. One was the Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who early on “encouraged blacks to embrace noviolent resistance.” The altruism and martyrdom of white liberals like Jonathan Daniels, James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo argue against the blanket condemnation of white liberalism.

          James Baldwin said that Martin Luther King, Jr., “has succeeded, in a way no Negro before him as managed to do, to carry the battle into the individual heart and make its resolution the province of the individual will. He has made it a matter on both sides of the racial fence, of self-examination.”

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Thanks, FM. That reminds me of an exceptional NC post last spring about Obama’s connections to Chicago’s “Real Estate Reverends”, about privateering/racketeering at public expense. Community organizing just has a better ring to it than racketeering; even better — “The Affordable Care Act”. What tragic irony from the man who claims and betrays MLK’s conscience.

            “Exclusive: How Obama’s Early Career Success Was Built on Fronting for Chicago Real Estate and Finance.” (Yves Smith, May 4, 2012 — 233 comments)


    3. Ned Ludd

      Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam ends with the fait accompli: “we will…” His earlier speech, Beyond Vietnam, challenges the audience to act using a series of questions:

      Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

      As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

      “Once to every man and nation comes a moment do decide,
      “In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
      “Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
      “And the choice goes by forever ’twixt that darkness and that light.
      “Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ’tis truth alone is strong
      “Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
      “Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
      “Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.”

      King yearns for a better future, “if we will only make the right choice”.

      And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

      The ending is as much a harbinger of disappointment and tragedy – if we choose wrong – as a rallying cry for a “bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world”. Since nothing is fait accompli, it is urgent that we make the right choice at this crucial moment of human history.

      1. Re Got em, cc LBJ

        You left some of it out:
        “…when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream, and CIA secret agent Dago will pop out of the bushes and blow King’s brains out with the complicity of city and state officials and the federal assassins who also assassinated JFK and RFK, and dumbshit Americans will continue to think it’s a free country.”

        1. Ned Ludd

          For anyone not familiar with the case, The New York Times printed a brief summary:

          A jury in a civil suit brought by the family of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decided today that a retired Memphis cafe owner was part of a conspiracy in the 1968 killing of Dr. King. […]

          One juror, David Morphy, said after the trial, ”We all thought it was a cut and dried case with the evidence that Mr. Pepper [King family’s lawyer] brought to us, that there were a lot of people involved, everyone from the C.I.A., military involvement, and Jowers was involved.”

          In a press conference held after the trial, Coretta Scott King said:

          It is important to know that this was a SWIFT verdict, delivered after about an hour of jury deliberation. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband. The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.

  5. Brindle

    “If You See Something, Say Something” an indocrination video by DHS.

    So, if you see people out and about doing normal things, look a little closer; you could be witnessing a terrorist attempt.
    You could be the “star” in your very own movie.

    Why is “that guy” using a Gordon Gecko model cell phone? He must be a terrorist.

  6. Cletus

    Today’s links seem more depressing than usual. Death of the Yuppie, The Wage Theft Epidemic, A daughter’s tribute to the NHS, and Why your boss is dumping your wife — in contrast with some to the other links — are particularly disturbing.

    Our once vital and vibrant culture is being driven down to unimaginable levels by corporatism and wealth hoarding disguised as necessity.

    Despite the widespread negative effects of this trend, the population (middle class and lower), does not seem to be able to muster the energy to protect itself.

    The role of government in this process is being ignored. Example: Obama is a corporatist Republican, and the left has come to support what are actually far-right policies, simply because Obama has promoted them.

    We are a culture in decline, and we are powerless to stop it.

    OTOH, it’s fairly warm and sunny in the Mid-Atlantic region, today.

    1. Massinissa

      Well, its going to be alot warmer in a few decades, so I hope you dont get too used to it. Unless you want to move to Canada to experience the same pleasant temperature.

    2. diptherio

      I, for one, didn’t find the “Death to the Yuppie Dream” article at all distressing. To the Professional-Managerial Class I say, “good riddance.” Yes, the house-slaves have occasionally worked for the betterment of all slaves, but they have never joined in the abolitionist cause, since it is the institution of slavery itself which provides them with their feelings of superiority over us field-hands. The sooner they realize that they are not special, that they will not be spared the abattoir of Capital, that they are nothing but well-dressed slaves, the better.

      Historically, members of the PMC have designed and managed capital’s systems of social control, oftentimes treating working-class people with a mixture of paternalism and hostility. As advocates for rational management of the workplace and society, however, the PMC has sometimes also acted as a buffer against the profit motive as the sole meaningful force in society.~Barbara and John Ehrenreich

      Members of the PMC are slaves who think they’re masters. In reality, they only work for the masters, keeping the other slaves (as well as themselves) in line and well-behaved. That they “sometimes” act as a buffer against the depredations of the masters does not excuse them from culpability.

      Today, members of the PMC face a choice. Will they cling to an elitist conception of their own superiority and attempt to defend their own increasingly tenuous privileges, or will they act in solidarity with other working people and help craft a politics capable of creating a better world for all?

      Many, I fear, will cling to their conceptions of their own superiority. Because of this, they will never be able to admit to themselves that the system they have been serving lo’ these many years, is totally f-ed up and morally bankrupt. If they admit that they have been part of the problem for all this time, they must admit that they are not superior to the average working stiff. That will be just too much to bear, psychologically, for many.

      Hopefully though, many will also eventually realize that the Declaration of Independence is correct and that all men and women are, in fact, “created equal,” themselves included.

      1. JTFaraday

        “the system they have been serving lo’ these many years, is totally f-ed up and morally bankrupt.”

        Not only that, but it is disintegrating under their feet, and many of them (not all of them) have served as the solvent in the system that promotes its disintegration.

        Perhaps living by the sword until you die by it is the theme of the day.

      2. Sufferin'Succotash

        In this case, “organic intelligentsia” means natural fiber pants-suits. Don’t think Gramsci would approve.

  7. diptherio

    Re: Historical echoes

    Fiddling is exactly the right description. There is definitely something they are trying to avoid thinking about. Consider these two quotes from the end of two different articles:

    “Like the shadow-banking system in the United States, it was fragile. Going back to our earlier example, we note that if whomever you want to buy property from starts wondering about the creditworthiness of Sempronius, she will not accept his nomina in payment and will want cash. That’ll force you to call in the loan to Sempronius, who in order to pay you will call in his loan to Titus, and so on. But financial crises in ancient Rome are the subject of a future post” ~Historical Echoes: Cash of Credit?

    “The mechanism seized up as soon as a liquidity crisis or a debt crisis developed” (Andreau, p. 18). But this—liquidity crises in the Roman world—is a topic for a future post.” ~Histoical Echoes: How Do You Say Wall Street in Latin

    I’m guessing that “another post” looking at Roman debt crises won’t actually appear. That one might hit too close to home (or provide us with some ideas for handling ours, goddess forfend).

  8. briansays

    mmm memories of lunch friday–poki hand rolls with big eye tuna, little rice, nori, small strip of cucumber, maybe avocado and a few drops of sesame oil to seal the deal

  9. Wilson!

    Wage theft–best take-away line is that the conservative “getting government off your back” meme is code for “remove legal incentive for businesses to not break the law.”

  10. diptherio

    Content Economics: ” internet advertising in no way substitutes for TV or print advertising, no matter how often digital ad-sales people bring out their metrics of comparative CPMs.”

    CPM = Cash Per Mark (?)

  11. diptherio

    Re: Huy Fong Sriracha

    It’s about $4 per 28-ounce bottle. As he likes to say, “I make sauce good enough for the rich man that the poor man can still afford.”

    Now there’s a sentiment we could do with more of. It’s a heck of a lot better than the “make it good enough for hog-feed that the poor man can barely afford” attitude of most large-scale businesses. Mr. Tran, I salute you (and love your sauce).

  12. jsmith

    From the for-what-it’s-worth-department vis a vis the asteroids hitting earth meme:

    Wernher von Braun – (ex?)Nazi scientist and NASA employee – supposedly told his long time confidante on this death bed that the gamemplan of the TPTB is to keep creating “crises” by which to further enrich themselves and keep the rest of humanity in obedient check.

    At that point – 1977 – von Braun had said that they were still in the first “crisis” of the cycle – the War Against Communism.

    That would be followed by the War on Terrorism.

    After that would be the War on Asteroids hitting Earth.

    And finally, the War of the Worlds – ie, against aliens.

    Each “crisis” would involve the further enrichment of the MIC and further consolidation of power.

    Each of these canards is a ginned up lie.

    So, as we start to see more and more hysteria about asteroids destroying life on Earth just remember:

    1) Communism
    2) Terrorism
    3) Asteroids
    4) Aliens

    I’m sure the drones filling our skies in the next decade will be to protect us from jihadist meteorites, right?

    1. wunsacon

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      Asteroids are a real threat. And, unlike your other enumerated items, it’s a problem we didn’t create ourselves.

      1. jsmith

        Given the unanimous acceptance and pushing of the 9/11 story and other assorted fairy tales by our elite that has directly lead to the expenditure of TRILLIONS of dollars and the loss of MILLIONS of peoples lives, why would you think that they wouldn’t also cook up a story about an asteroid or at least use the excuse of an asteroid on a scary, scary collision course with Earth to enact all kinds of societal changes and further empower themselves?

        Sorry, folks, we “know” the asteroid is going to hit somewhere in northern CA, therefore, we’re going to start mandatory evacuations of that entire area as it will now be under goverment control.

        We’re also going to have to start mandatory rationing of food and resources in anticipation of the asteroid’s collision.

        We’ll also need to start massively funding the War on Asteroids – oops, there goes the rest of EVERY SINGLE REMAINING SOCIAL PROGRAM.

        Humanity comes before healthcare doncha know?

        Skip a few decades into the future…

        Whew! It’s lucky that that the asteroid missed us, huh?

        Weird, how during our exploration of how to fend off said asteroid we made contact with a belligerent alien species that is scheduled to be here on Earth in 3 decades.

        Better start preparing now, huh?

        Yeah, and sometimes a cigar is just a ragtag group of 19 hijackers….

        Just to revisit THAT cigar a concise video.

        9/11: A Conspiracy Theory

        1. wunsacon

          I entertain conspiracy theories and conspiracy facts all the time. Believing in one conspiracy theory does not make the others true. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. If you can’t see that (or *when* it’s just a cigar), well…we’ll have to agree to disagree.

          Can/will asteroid theories be used to eventually justify wasteful spending? I sure hope so. It’ll sure beat the far-more-deadly-and-less-innovative wasteful spending we’re engaged in now.

          1. jsmith

            As concerns how one would fake an asteroid, it’d be easy.

            TPTB – a la 9/11 – gin up a story – even one that’s completely at odds with common sense and physics – and everyone in any position of power sticks to their stories.

            How many really high powered telescopes are there?

            And how many people witnessed the controlled demolition of the WTC?

            To this day, has the leader of ANY Western country remotely challenged the 9/11 fairy tale?

            So you see, it’s not that hard.

            Just buy off/threaten/kill enough people and the elite can do what they want.

            Once the effects of one “event” start to wear off, then another one is ginned up.

            As concerns good/bad conspiracies:

            Yup, the whole benign/malignant conspiracy debate is a fun exercise.

            A benign conspiracy example?

            Let’s say, the moon-landing for discussion sake.

            Sure, it was a waste of money but did it have the malignant effects that 9/11 – a malignant conspiracy – have?

            Who really gives a shite if men haven’t been to the moon?

            Does it really hurt anything except American pride?

            Even the Russians – who know but who also benefit from said story – keep their mouths shut and everyone’s inspired and happy.

            The elite around the world are masters of propaganda and keeping their subjects in check.

            When someone comes up with a great idea for pacifying their populace you can be sure they’ll all jump on board.

            Gee, worldwide coordinated imposition of austerity sure starts to look like a “bad” conspiracy, don’t it?


        1. ohmyheck

          Hi, in answer to that question—- among the Conspiracy Theorists debates is the issue of whether “Aliens”, should they be revealed to the general global population, be extra-terrestrial life forms, like the ones Carl Sagan claims must logically exist somewhere in our universe, or are an earthly creation of the nefarious Powers-That-Be, to be used in some manner that benefits themselves. In other words, a fake.

          I have no opinion either way, I just find it all very interesting.

          The “Asteroids” Crisis…(scratches head)…how one fakes asteroids is my question. But Einstein was no dummy, so…Fascinating, none-the-less.

          1. Valissa

            Here’s another fun thought provoking post along this tangent…

            This post is a review of “The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science” by Will Storr

            The Heretics
            It is a “crystallising moment” for Storr, with the sudden recognition that even ‘skeptics’ can be similar to Creationists, by treating belief as a moral choice: “If you do not choose as they do, you are condemned”. In the end, this is the key to the author finding himself in the strange position of celebrating the eccentric beliefs of humanity.

            … For we all need a scaffolding to support ourselves, and living in constant doubt of our actions and motivations may be an honest way to live, but it can make the actual living of life a difficult and sometimes drab affair. In many cases, science offers many evidence-based struts that we can use to good purpose in protecting ourselves (though perhaps not as many as some over-zealous scientists and skeptics might claim). But we also – all of us – need a belief system within that scaffolding to varying degrees. So perhaps the two central messages we should take from Will Storr’s The Heretics is that we should always try to be skeptical – firstly of others’ claims, but even more so of our own beliefs and justifications, because they will affect the outcome of the former (or maybe I’m just saying that because it suits my own philosophy…). But also to realise that we also all have our own beliefs, and fool ourselves to varying degrees – so we should be a whole lot more humble, and less evangelical, when it comes to presenting what we believe to be true to those around us. For as Robert Anton Wilson once say, “If you think you know what the hell is going on, you’re probably full of shit”. So let’s all get over the idea that our way is the way.

    2. Emperor Wang of Market Mongo

      War on Aliens? You make me laugh. What Earthling would think Earth could win? One ready for the looney bin, methinks. The kind that yells “Charge” and tells everyone he is the “Joint Chiefs of Staff”. All of them.

      Faking an asteroid might work. Have one of your astronauts on your space station go for a spacewalk and throw a rock at the Hubble Telescope. Bet the Russian guy will do it. Give the feed to your Tea Party. They believe anything. Remember also that you only need to convince 26% of your voting age population to win the actual vote.

  13. JTFaraday

    re: Why your boss is dumping your wife, Marketwatch

    It is sort of interesting that, of the populace, the class that tends to most insist on having all social benefits accrue to people by virtue of their labor and their labor alone is now falling prey to the dissolution of its own niggardly (anti)social contract.

    The upper middle/middle class corporate spouse as the new welfare queen dependency.

    At least the Republicans will get to blame Obama instead of blaming themselves.

  14. Valissa

    Bob Dylan Lays Off 2,000 Workers From Songwriting Factory,31407/

    World Sword Swallower’s Day 2013 Spotlights Science Of Ancient Performance Art

    Pastafarian denied religious freedom in New Jersey driver’s license scandal

  15. Klassy!

    Finally some great news: Poverty to be eliminated in my city!
    The housing authority has created a new non profit to teach housing voucher recipients to be self sufficient. And, so the director can more fully experience what her clients are going through she will only be paid 85K.
    It’s about giving people a “fair shot”.

  16. cwaltz

    Hmmmmmmm I wonder why the people who were owed wages didn’t go through the Federal Labor Department? My oldest had a boss who was not paying overtime as required. We helped him file and after about 8 months he got the money he was owed. Mind you we did end up threatening a lawsuit since the DOL said they did not enforce minimum wage law on businesses making less than half a million and instead instructed people to file civilly.

    1. Really?

      Then I’d say the whole world owes them a hearty thanks for a job well done. And the more of DoD’s dirty laundry they air and/or sabotage the better. Obviously the American people ain’t up to the task. Do I trust militarist Chinese? No more or less than I trust militarist Americans. Wait, on second thought…

  17. John Brennan

    It has come to my attention that certain Senators would prefer me to speak even more fulsomely about my extensive CIA credentials. Well, Why didn’t you say so? You know can ask me anything! Go head, don’t be shy! What are they going to do, crash your A-100 turboprop in Rod Allen’s yard?

    Tell you what: Why don’t I get the ball rolling with an opening statement?

    The conspiracy to wage aggressive war was the ticklish part, (people are still touchy about Nuremberg Count One) so I assigned that to CIA brat Richard Blee. I put Blee in charge of the Alec station when it tried too hard to stop ObL. Through separate channels I prevailed on Barbara McNamara to withhold and censor NSA intercepts of ObL’s phone calls so he could do his job without interference.

    Blee exceeded my very high expectations. He warned of attack in hair-raising terms while withholding actionable information. Discreetly, through an intricate bureaucratic duck blind of three intervening echelons (through Tom Wilshire to Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, then to Michael Anne Casey) Blee quashed a cable to keep FBI in the dark when high-profile hijacker Khalid Alhmihdhar came to the US. Once Khalid was safely in America, Blee seconded good old Tom to the FBI to play Inspector Clouseau and muff the search for our elusive terror celebrity.

    Went like clockwork. What with all the 9/11 tragedy and sadness, no one made a peep when we went to war against the Afghans illegally, with no UN authorization. Waging aggressive war, Nuremberg Count Two, check! And nobody even noticed. We sent ObL home from Torah Borah for a well-deserved vacation. But touchy-feely interrogation in Afghanistan was producing useless crap that didn’t implicate Iraq at all, so we put Blee in there to set up a proper fingernail factory and fabricate the Iraq war casus belli that we needed. War crimes, Nuremberg Count Three, check! We locked up a couple of hillbillies when it came out.

    I was reassigned to domestic repression before we could fully implement Nuremberg Count Four, Crimes Against Humanity. You’ll have to ask the two-headed babies of Fallujah.

    Yes, I did it all and got away with it, the full Nuremberg! I chugged the poison chalice and didn’t even burp. My breezy impunity makes Gustav Krupp look like a fall guy.

    Now hop to it and confirm me, you twats.

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