Monday, June 24, 2013

Scratching an itch

"Why is the TPP draft treaty such a big secret?: President Obama in his last State of the Union address said that he hopes to see the United States ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, an proposed treaty among at least 12 nations on both sides of the Pacific that would set rules of what members governments could and couldn't do in regard to financial regulation, intellectual property rights and much else. But the Obama administration refuses to disclose precisely what is in the draft treaty or what the United States is asking for. That's classified information. That is to say, the classification system, whose original stated purpose was to make it a crime to disclose military secrets to foreign enemies, is being used to make it a crime to reveal the government's proposed trade treaty to the American public."

Pelosi booed at NN over Snowden. Just start about halfway through the video to see that. Personally, I wanted to smack her every time she said "bipartisanship". A chill went up my spine when she said, "...and now it's urgent to give him a legacy." WTF? Why should any of us care about that? That may be Obama's concern, but there is absolutely no reason in the world it should be mine or anyone else's. And when she said the right-wing complained that she'd rammed Obamacare down their throats and she responded that if she'd done any ramming we'd have single-payer, I would have said, "So why didn't you do that ramming?" (I also think she's forgotten that "poison pill" means you can't vote for it. Don't give me, "...but they're not lethal because there are other good things in the bill." Yes, they are lethal. Don't vote for them. Don't vote for any bill that has even one "poison pill" in it, let alone plurals. Jeez.)

RJ Eskow's Father's Day message: "9 Ways the Right's Cradle to Grave 'Randian State' Is An Assault on Millennials: Conservatives keep claiming liberals want a 'cradle-to-grave nanny state.' That rhetoric has distracted us from the real social re-engineering taking place all around us. The right, along with its 'centrist' collaborators, is transforming our nation into a bloodless and soulless Randian State. Their decades-long assault on our core social values is on the verge of consuming its first complete generation of Americans. Born at the dawn of the Reagan era, Millennials were the first to be fully subjected to this all-out attack on the idea that we take care of each other in this country, and they'll pay for it from the cradle to the grave."

Matt Taibbi, "The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis: It's long been suspected that ratings agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it.

"NYT Pays Tribute to Hastings by Attacking Him After Death: When a journalist dies, how can you tell if they've had a career that's upheld the proudest journalistic traditions of challenging the powerful and fearlessly exposing the truth? The New York Times will attempt to piss on that career in the journalist's obituary."

"The Pathologies of Politico" - Actually, I'd say these were the pathologies of pretty much the whole Washington press corps, with some variations for partisanship but not much in terms of real ideology. (I left a comment here, but I was late to the party.)

"Ted Rall: Keeping calm and carrying on was an appropriate response to the Blitz. Short of moving away from the targeted area, there's nothing you can do about bombs. Living or dying is a matter of happenstance. Keeping calm might help you make smart decisions. Panic is usually more dangerous than self-control. The same is true of terrorism. Terrorists will kill you, or not - probably not. You can't fix your fate. But that is decidedly not true about the economy. Not when what is wrong with the economy is not something no one can control - a giant meteor, bad weather, panic in the markets - but something that most assuredly can and indeed should be, like the systemic transfer of wealth from the poor and middle-class to the rich that has characterized the class divide in Western nations since the 1970s. The appropriate, intelligent and self-preserving response to mass theft is rage, demands for action, and decisive punishment of political and economic leaders who refuse to change things."

Joss Whedon in conversation

"Iain Banks: Raw Spirit" - long interview by Kirsty Wark.

Bloopers for Amazon Women on the Moon

Ruth's supermoon


  1. Pelosi can forget the legacy (and, yes, why on earth should we care?). The Zeitgeist grows more Nixonian with each passing day of the Snowden affair.

  2. But in any event, these secret negotiations reveal how Obama is systematically stripping away our few remaining democratic protections so he can hand the country, lock, stock, and barrel, over to major corporate interests. The sooner ordinary citizens wake up to what a menace his policies are to their well-being, the better. --Yves Smith, naked capitalism.

    Yes, I am beginning to think like a "nutbar conspiracy theorist."

    1. Obama is a bit late - the whole country has already been handed lock stock and barrel over to the Corporatists. The Fascists. His sole function has been to blame it on the black guy.

      Pretty good trick, that.

  3. T.P.P. is such classic Obama. Screwing his voter base over to make the richest richer, and being as devious as he can while doing so.

    But hey, "The Lesser Evil!" "The Best We Can Do!" So stop criticizing the poor man.


  4. A chill went up my spine when she said, "...and now it's urgent to give him a legacy." WTF? Why should any of us care about that? That may be Obama's concern, but there is absolutely no reason in the world it should be mine or anyone else's.

    Bra-fucking-vo! It’s bad enough that they want us to clap louder while they continue to push shit policy. Without the cudgel of reelection, I guess this is the new rationale for maintaining submission to elected officials. “It’s urgent to give him a legacy [even if his administration has targeted the best things the party accomplished during the previous century, even if his record has nakedly been about serving elites over the rest of us].

    As Teddy Roosevelt said once upon a time:

    [The President] should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.

    Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

    To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

    1. When I see stuff like that TR quotation, my first thought is: Did he say that when he was President? Or only when he was out of office and attacking another guy? Just curious.

    2. It's from a 1918 essay titled "Lincoln and Free Speech" and was in part an attack on Wilson's conduct of WWI and some say his attempt to position himself for another presidential run in 1920. I have this excerpt pasted on the wall near my desk but I don't have the complete text. Regardless of context, it's a breathtaking passage.

  5. The Pathologies of Politico Part II

    [WARNING: Spoiler Alert!]

    Brad DeLong wanders around then checks back at The Monkey Cage:

    [INDENT]>>>>>Apropos of a question about the contretemps between Nate Silver and some Politico reporters (mainly Dylan Byers) in the fall of 2012, John Harris avers that he didn’t read 538 during the election. Silver quickly noted that Harris had listed 538 as one of his favorite blogs as of November 2010…. Former Politico reporter Ben Smith suggested that he may actually have written that list for Harris…<<<<<[END INDENT]

    Daniel Johnson for the win.

    1. Maybe I'm being pedantic, but can you "be" sententious?

  6. Paul Krugman says [LINK]:

    [INDENT]>>>>>Just an aside: I’m sitting in a coffee shop near the hospital, waiting for word, and they have news TV on in the corner, so I’m watching coverage of the Supremes on marriage out of the corner of my eye... Not my department, of course; but also of course, I’m very much for equality, and gratified by the tone of the coverage, which clearly is that this is normal, natural, and inevitable....

    This is really amazing when you bear in mind that this very issue was used to mobilize the right-wing base in 2004. The change in attitudes in such a short period is awesome.

    I haven’t seen a good analysis of this transformation. But whatever caused it, it’s a testament to American tolerance and open-mindedness. We have our fanatical minorities — but they are minorities, and they’re getting smaller all the time.<<<<<[END INDENT]

    Here's what I think is a big hint to explain how this happened [LINK]:

    [INDENT]>>>>>1:35:57 Sam Seder: Avedon [via IM:] It seems so obvious that the case brought against the Voting Rights Act existed precisely because the state was passing laws for the precise purpose Roberts claims no longer exists.

    Seder: Indeed.

    Seder: [Avedon via IM:] There was no reason to talk about the history, the law was passed to disenfranchise legitimate voters and the state can not show any public interest in doing so.

    Seder: I think the law in Shelby County was barely addressed in this ruling. They certainly didn't make an argument that it wasn't discriminatory.

    Seder: [Avedon via IM:] But I disagree with Ari about a bargain to give up more voting rights. No, that's precisely the kind of mistake that's gotten us into the state we are where reproductive rights are concerned. We need to demand everything we want. We should probably be pushing for a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing every American citizen's right to vote, and requiring the states in the United States to act affirmatively to secure that right.

    Seder: I think I may tend to agree with you on this Avedon because any half measures are going to be simply that, half measures. Everything you need to overcome those measures are still going to be needed to need to overcome these measures and better to set the precedent this is wrong, and indisputably wrong, than to muddy the waters. I tend to agree with you.<<<<<[END INDENT]

    (For some added context, you can pick up the end of Seder on video sitting at his mic listening to an audio tape of his Majority Report conversation with Ari Berman from 55:40 to 1:01:50.)


    1. ...continued

      The reason a policy of marriage equality for lesbians and gays is on the verge of triumphing in this country is not because some "fanatical minority" shriveled up since 2004 and went away or because some slow at times but ever sure quality of "American tolerance and open-mindedness" finally manifested itself. It is triumphing because the pro- marriage equality minority took a "fanatical" political stance over their single issue.

      Sure their position was helped along by Hollywood over the course the past generation, but scratch that surface and it's pretty clear that that help came largely as a result of both insider and outsider pressure on that industry applied by gays, lesbians, and a few of their friends and family members. Of course, as insurmountable as their path to success seemed, it hasn't had to overcome one obstacle facing some other interest groups in that members of the monied class have been divided on their issue, or indifferent about it. (And, I know I'll catch hell for this, but I have to credit DOMA in a not necessarily small part. That legislation took the wind out of the sails of the anti- marriage equality Constitutional amendment flotilla back in the '90s when it might still have been powerful enough to do some hard to reverse damage.)

    2. For the record, I wrote: "... right to vote, and requiring the states and the United States to act affirmatively to secure that right."