Friday, April 4, 2014

Clip joint

I was just noticing my friend Jack's sig file:
A Mission Statement for America:
  • form a more perfect Union
  • establish Justice
  • insure domestic Tranquility
  • provide for the common defence
  • promote the general Welfare
  • secure the Blessings of Liberty

Marcy Wheeler discussed NCAA unions,,Obama dragnet reforms and Ron Wyden. Tweet Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd.

Who could have guessed? "CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says: A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years - concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques." (via)
"The CIA and the Moral Sunk Costs of the Torture Program: Once they sold their souls, they had to justify the sale, even if it meant misleading everyone about what torture was achieving."

Stuart and Jay were talking about this the other night,* and now here's Krugman on Growth Versus Distribution: Hunger Games. I guess this means he's getting over the idea that growth is necessarily good. Welcome to our world, Paul.

"Someone Else's Debt Could Ruin Your Credit Rating: Debt collectors are pursuing one in seven Americans - and often screwing up [...] That's not far from the truth. According to statistics from the Federal Reserve, one in seven Americans is being pursued by a debt collector, up from one in 12 just ten years ago. And substantial numbers of these Americans report being hounded for debts they do not owe. A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau logged tens of thousands of complaints claiming just this - that the debt in question is simply not theirs."

"Wealth Inequality Is Now As Bad As It Was During The 1920s" - complete with hand graphs.

"Interview with Ex-CIA Collaborator: 'The CIA's Plans in Venezuela Are Far Advanced': U.S. intelligence agencies have long been engaged in their own brand of social engineering, conjuring up 'color' revolutions energized by students in targeted countries - with Venezuela currently topping the list. 'If you succeed in getting these youngsters to believe that savage capitalism is the solution to all their problems, then there will be no revolution for Latin America. It's that simple.'"
"Armstrong Williams Wants 'Diversity' Favor from FCC"

I actually think Atrios had the most astute reaction to McCutcheon. Campaign finance reform isn't even meaningful when you have an aristocracy that is so wealthy it already controls who can be nominated and who the media will inform voters about (and how), and rich enough that they can buy government with promises of great rewards to officials after they "retire" (or are retired by the voters)

"'Deeply held principles' - Hobby Lobby does lots of business with China, land of forced abortions, and invests in companies that provide "morning after" pills, but after being solicited by moneyed right-wing interests suddenly decided to bring their "principled" stand against abortion to the Supreme Court.

"Judge: Probation for du Pont heir in daughter rape because 'he would not fare well' in prison: A Superior Court judge who sentenced an heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter wrote in her order that he 'will not fare well' in prison and suggested that he needed treatment instead of time behind bars, according to Delaware Online." Just how well does this judge think anyone else does in prison? Do they "fare well"? Does it improve their lives in any way? Are they completely unaffected? Perhaps we should ask her who she has sent to prison thinking they would "fare well" there.

This experiment reminds me of the Democratic Party, except without the first generation of monkeys that got the cold water.
"How to Get People to Accept Unfairness"
"Republican Monopoly"

Ryan Cooper in The Week: "Hey, liberal hawks: Stop hating the anti-war left" - What really pisses me off about this is that I disliked Putin even way back when it was fashionable to like him, and I don't like being lectured by some crackpot Iraq war-supporting "liberal" about being too in love with Putin. PS. We were not only right about Iraq, we were right about not trusting Bush to run an invasion of Afghanistan. (via)

Confused about economics? Visit BoonyvilleUSA, where it's all explained.

Fun with Corporate Conscience Clauses

Despite what you may have heard, Cannabis in the Netherlands is doing just fine."
Pot legalization music

Lance Mannion is reading a book and writing about it. "Why I just threw Peter Baker's Days of Fire across the room" - The most important phrase to remember is "uncounted votes".

A little warning about how study results can be misinterpreted.

Political Cartoons from The Week's collection

The Indy's April Fool's round-up
And the Grauniad

Your steampunk shopping site

I had been entirely unaware of the Alpine spaghetti harvest.

Simels wants you to see this Sandy Denny clip.


  1. Well, Ryan Cooper is half right, the WaPo ed. board, Chait etc. are indeed Hawks, but liberal!? It’s like its evil doppelganger, “neo-liberalism” doesn’t exist.

    Hating Putin without acknowledging the horrible crimes against done to Russia in our name (IMF imposed destruction during the Yeltsin years) is much like lambasting the Ayatollahs without reference to the Shah or Castro with no memory of Batista.

    Putin may not have Ukrainians' best interests at heart, but pretending the west-imposed IMF "bailout" is anything better is fucking nonsense. It's the usual austerity-privatization cocktail. Cuts to pensions/social spending, check, government jobs eliminated, check, vast swaths of state wealth privatized (i.e. purchased outright by western multinationals), check, huge cuts to gas subsidies, check, western-style deregulated casino capitalism imposed, check.

    I'm never quite clear if these "liberals" are honestly that ignorant—as if anyone left of Chait doesn’t exist. But one thing is certain, if you're down with the Clinton-Bush-Obama neoliberal consensus abroad, you can hardly be surprised that you're ill positioned to restructure your own society at home.

    1. And speaking of neo-lib, here's one of my fav intertube commenters, Bruce Wilder, at Ian's:

      “No one really believes in neoliberalism as an ideology, not even, or maybe especially, its main practitioners. Neoliberalism’s main usefulness is that it is a great engine for generating rhetoric, one that almost any educated person can operate to spin out branded b.s. So, we get this rhetorical pea soup fog smothering popular understanding or political participation. Where the ideologies of the mid-20th century aimed to raise consciousness and motivate political participation, neoliberalism aims at suppressing political participation, and where participation breaks out anyway, in mass desperation, channels it “harmlessly” into more neoliberal policy.”

    2. [QUOTE]>>>>>BILL MOYERS: Are we close to equating democracy with capitalism?

      HENRY GIROUX: Oh, I mean, I think that's the biggest lie of all actually. The biggest lie of all is that capitalism is democracy. We have no way of understanding democracy outside of the market, just as we have no understanding of how to understand freedom outside of market values.

      BILL MOYERS: Explain that. What do you mean "outside of market values?"

      HENRY GIROUX: I mean you know, when Margaret Thatcher married Ronald Reagan--

      BILL MOYERS: Metaphorically?

      HENRY GIROUX: Metaphorically. Two things happened. 1) There was this assumption that the government was evil except when it regulated its power to benefit the rich. So it wasn't a matter of smashing the government as Reagan seemed to suggest, it was a matter of rearranging it and reconfiguring it so it served the wealthy, the elites and the corporate, of course, you know, those who run mega corporations. But Thatcher said something else that's particularly interesting in this discussion.

      She said there's no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families. And so what we begin to see is the emergence of a kind of ethic, a survival of the fittest ethic that legitimates the most incredible forms of cruelty, that seems to suggest that freedom in this discourse of getting rid of society, getting rid of the social-- that discourse is really only about self-interest, that possessive individualism is now the only virtue that matters. So freedom, which is essential to any notion of democracy, now becomes nothing more than a matter of pursuing your own self interests. No society can survive under those conditions....

      HENRY GIROUX: I mean, the real question is why aren't we more outraged Why aren't we in the streets?

      I mean, that's the central question for the American public. I mean, and I think that question has to address something fundamental and that is what we have, while we have an economic system that in fact has caused a crisis in democracy. What we haven't addressed is the underlying consensus that informs that crisis. What you have is basically a transgression against the very basic ideals of democracy. We have lost what it means to be connected to democracy.

      And I think that's coupled with a cultural apparatus, a culture, an educative culture, a mode of politics in which people now have gone through this for so long that it's become normalized. I mean, it's hard to imagine life beyond capitalism. You know, it's easier to imagine the death of the planet than it is to imagine the death of capitalism.<<<<<[END QUOTE]

    3. Thomas Edsall on Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

      "Piketty joins a number of scholars raising significant questions about how the global economic system will deal with such phenomena as robotics, the hollowing out of the job market, outsourcing and global competition.

      His prognosis is extremely bleak. Without what he acknowledges is a politically unrealistic global wealth tax, he sees the United States and the developed world on a path toward a degree of inequality that will reach levels likely to cause severe social disruption."

      As you're well aware, CMike, people are taking to the streets all over the world of late--it's inevitable that the American public will rejoin them sooner or later. One can only hope they have some coherent narratives about what the fuck just happened to their country (Giroux is spot on about this being a decades in the making project). Since greater inequality and suffering is baked into the cake, the consensus will fracture eventually.

  2. I'm not real big on the idea of society providing jobs to single mothers with two infants as opposed to stipends but, as I've been critical of the Majority Report gang in these threads at The Sideshow, I will point to Matt Binder putting two and two together here. [LINK]

    (Reference [LINK])

  3. Good one:

    So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.

  4. the pro-war "left" are nothing more than Villagers trying to please those who will get them more cushy gigs somewhere on down the line. like pro-war chickenhawks on the right, they never served, they don't have to worry about much in terms of comfort and income, and the most important things in the world to them are the opinions of their fellow Villagers. i have a lot of hatred for everyone who supported the war, but i find the pro-war "leftists" the most despicable.

  5. "Establish Justice" is going to be a tough nut to crack...