26 October 2014

When lights close their tired eyes

Happy Dawali!

Last week, Gaius Publius and David Waldman (KagroX) were panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays, discussing moving the conversation and how "Centrist" Democrats have been Tea Partying the Democratic Party.
Joan McCarter and David Dayen were the panelists this week on Virtually Speaking Sundays, discussing banksters and Senate races.

Longtime readers will know this is of special interest to me: Ryan Grim: Kill The Messenger: How The Media Destroyed Gary Webb - Grim spoke to Sam Seder on The Majority Report.
On The Majority Report, Sam talked to James Risen about Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, his book about the corruption in the War on Terror, and about the fact that the government went after him for reporting the truth.

Citizenfour, Laura Poitras film about Edward Snowden.
Glenn Greenwald's TED talk on Why Privacy Matters.

The Raven has written a short series of short posts on what Adam Baldwin has dubbed "Gamergate", which, depending on how you look at it, is either about corruption and cronyism in game reviewing or, um, not. For the Raven, it's something very scary, as his post titles may suggest: "In Which Open Political Terrorism Against Women in the USA Becomes A Thing", "GMRG8 and Censorship ", and "GMRG8 and Law". Matt's been covering this on The Majority Report, and had a good interview with Brianna Wu explaining the whole thing.

I know Kevin Drum has always been too credulous about centrism and all that, but he's one of our longest serving members of the left blogosphere and has always been a nice guy, so best wishes to him.

Has Krugman gone full-on Obot? Because he seems to be hippie-punching, lately. Bill Black isn't impressed when he bashes liberals for criticizing Obama, even though he has made the same criticisms himself.

"Gretchen Morgenson on the Damage of Private Equity Secrecy: The short version is that if the private equity industry had nothing to hide, they wouldn't be hiding it."

"Economists Say We Should Tax The Rich At 90 Percent" - Gee, y'think?

Recommended reading: Julian Assange, "Google Is Not What It Seems [...] Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming 'civil society' into a buyer's market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm's length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiag1e, is to execute political agendas by proxy. [..] By all appearances, Google's bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations, and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgment of the 'benevolent superpower.' They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them. This is the impenetrable banality of 'don't be evil.' They believe that they are doing good. And that is a problem."

I wonder if this is true. It would be fun just to sneer at the media.

No one counts the number of people who have been killed by cops.
But someone is looking at police lawsuit settlements, and it's no wonder Philly has budget problems. (Well, that and other graft and corruption, but still, maybe the teachers union should start including that in their arguments - "If you're running out of money, tell the cops to stop abusing their power!")
"Documents Show NYPD Has Paid $428 Million in Settlements Since 2009"

Over 100 years ago, Teddy Roosevelt said: "So long as governmental power existed exclusively for the king and not at all for the people, then the history of liberty was a history of the limitation of governmental power. But now the governmental power rests in the people, and the kings who enjoy privilege are the kings of the financial and industrial world; and what they clamor for is the limitation of governmental power, and what the people sorely need is the extension of governmental power."

How many lattes do you have to give up to get rich?

Milt Shook, "Toward a better understanding of religion: Muslim edition" - This is pretty reasonable, although I would argue that you can make sense of the Bible only if you read it as economic history, where it doesn't' actually fare badly. Societies get too unequal and mean and money-centered, God smites 'em. Which is another way of explaining the fact that those societies destroy themselves, and God didn't do it at all. (Also: Good on Ben Affleck.)

Via Lee Camp, the only people who ever drove Jesus to violence - and it wasn't just because they were there, but because of what they did: He called them thieves.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comics.

The BBC has launched BBC Music, and if you can't see/haven't seen it yet at the BBC site, it's worth taking a look at the version of "God Only Knows" they put together to celebrate it. You'll recognize a few faces.

Cream, live. I always thought Jack Bruce deserved better than to be overshadowed by his bandmates to such a degree. RIP, Jack. Ah, what the hell, listen to the whole album.

I can't believe I'm having so much trouble finding more of my favorite type of hair-clip. They used to be everywhere, they were simple with only one piece, and now I can't even find a photo of them on the web. This is close, although it looks like it may have a decorative layer, and I'm just happy to have the plain ones. If you find any, let me know.


  1. Has Krugman gone full-on Obot?

    He's been there for a while.

    There are many other areas where industry groups are seeking special treatment along these lines. No, I can't give a list with links because the draft text is a secret. Public Citizen's website probably is the best source available. It includes the chapter on intellectual property that was obtained through Wikileaks.

    Anyhow, Krugman is on the money in his assessment of the impact of the TPP on trade. But the point is that the TPP is not really about trade, it's about changing the regulatory process in ways that would almost certainly be opposed by the people in most of the countries included in the deal.

    This is an overly mild rebuke of P.K. Unless you're a dunce, you know exactly why the details of these agreements are kept secret from the citizens they will be inflicted upon. (And of course, they are not secret to the 1%: Their flunkies are the ones who write them.)

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    2. Richard Wolff doesn't much like him. From 2012:

      Today’s New York Times column by Paul Krugman achieves a new low. "Good news" for workers? Wow. Maybe ignoring criticisms of Keynesian economics from the left all these years has made Krugman see no need to deal with them; after all his job now seems to be to attack the Republicans for Mr Obama's benefit.

  2. To quote Greg Proops, Jack Bruce is swirling in the heavens and playing amazing bass with a host of others that've gone before.

    I don't think he was all that overshadowed in Cream, though the "Clapton is God" claptrap and Ginger Baker's popularity for his drum solos did keep him out of the spotlight in that regard. But Jack (with lyricist Pete Brown) wrote the vast majority of the band's songs, and when Giles was trying to get into Joyce Summers' pants, that was Jack singing "Tales Of Brave Ulysses". (Yeah, I know, Clapton wrote the music, but the songwriting was credited to Bruce/Brown/Clapton.)

  3. Hey, thanks for the call-out!

    Krugman later changed his mind about the TPP commenting that "What’s good for Big Pharma is by no means always good for America." I don't think he went far enough; he just doesn't feel the politics, but it's unfair to say he was always and only thinking about trade.

    Not feeling the politics, I think, is the general problem here. He hasn't seen his home lost and his life savings go up in smoke, and don't feel the resentment this has led to or understand the politics it has bred. I think it's unfair to call Krugman an O-bot; the real O-bots defend Obama no matter how awful his behavior, and Krugman isn't doing that. But Krugman does not, I think, understand the fear and resentment that the right has stoked for decades now, and does not understand how to respond to it.

  4. Which is to say, I suppose, that Krugman is an economist, rather than a historian, sociologist, political scientist, or activist. Hunh.

    1. Dean Baker (I linked him above) is an economist.

      So is Joseph Stiglitz.

      When they disagree with Paul K., it's generally* because Paul K. is making apologies for neoliberals like Our President.

      * always

  5. The problem with very high tax rates is that it is worth spending a lot of money to lawfully avoid the tax, and that spending is of questionable general benefit. We've seen what a 90% rate does. We got tax exiles. It didn't stop the ultra-rich getting richer.

    I suggest that there has to be a better balance of greed between tax collectors and the ultra-rich. I don't think there is ever going to be a single "right" answer but we have as much silliness today as we ever had.

  6. During the years of very high tax rates, the proportion of national income going to the top was the lowest during the time records have been kept. In other words, there was less inequality. Whether this reflects the rich paying the taxes or the tax exiles not being around to buy the government or whatever, the result was very good for the country. Lowering taxes has been bad for the country, whatever statements of pure logic one might make about the effect it ought to have.

  7. Neoliberal Democrats strike again.


    Silicon Valley’s top political consultants have turned a relatively unknown Democratic candidate into a viable challenger for congressperson. Two of the brains behind President Barack Obama’s 2008 triumph, Steve Spinner and Jeremy Bird, have chosen to help Ro Khanna topple long-time congressman Mike Honda.

    Honda is a member of the Progressive Caucus.

    1. What a bunch of losers! You don't attack a member of your own party with substantial seniority, you just don't.

      Except these do. The internal coalition of the Dems has split, and I do not think it will be reassembled.

  8. Thanks, I needed a good laugh!