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Showing posts from February, 2011

Japan

What if all those horrible problems Japan has been dealing with over the last 20 years turn out not to be such big problems for the average Japanese citizen.  What if the "problems" have been all about the US FInancial Press needing to propagate certain articles of faith concerning American Capitalistic Exceptionalism.
Certainly anyone who visits Japan these days is struck by the obvious affluence even among average citizens. The cars on the roads, for instance, are generally much larger and better equipped than in the 1980s (indeed state of the art navigation devices, for instance, are more or less standard on many models). Overseas vacation travel has more than doubled since the 1980s. The Japanese boast the world's most advanced cell phones, and the biggest and best high-definition television screens. Japan's already long life expectancy has increased by nearly two years. Its Internet connections are some of the world's fastest -- something like ten times faste…

A Librul Press?

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Horseshit.  Study after study, they keep finding exactly the opposite.  There was a big study in 2001 or 2002 looking at press coverage of the 2000 election that showed the majority of stories about Gore were negative and that the majority of stories about Bush were positive.  Fact.

Now, we get a picture of what's happening as the attempt to dismantle healthcare reform moves through the courts.

Part of the difference can be explained - the rulings upholding the law are in favor of the status quo, so that's pretty boring,  But the rulings against it make for big splashy headlines.

Or maybe it's just that the Press Poodles need to sell advertising (by pushing a point of view that pleases their owners) and they really don't give a shit about explaining what anything actually means.

Some Early-Morning Paranoia

I really want the "rough men standing ready" to have whatever they need to keep the bad guys away - I count myself among those to be criticized for abjuring violence while people are committed to doing violence in my name.  I have some strongly conflicting thoughts about that, but for now, I'll just have to accept the situation as a paradox of life on this planet in the 21st century, and continue trying to do the small things I can do each day that should accrue over time towards real change.

Anyway, I think it's a really dismal prospect that some people in our military forces always seem ready (even eager) to pull some horrendously shitty things on us.

from Rolling Stone
The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabu…

Gained In Translation

Every successful politician has a good handle on the concept of Coded Language.

Sometimes, the links get pretty broad - Family Values can mean just about everything from Abstinence Only and Creationism to bombing the shit outa brown people to make the world safe for Americans at home.  You get to fill in the blanks on that one any way you want.

Other terms and phrases can be a little more specific:
Real Americans = dumbass rednecks
Service to America = Cops, Firefighters and Military ONLY - no bureaucrats allowed

You get the idea.  Anyway, continuing on my premise that no issue is ever really about what the politician says it's about, here's the basic idea behind the phrase "it's about jobs" when sleazoids like Scott Walker and John Kasich use it.  Plainly put, it means they intend to take one fairly decent job (teacher, building inspector, project manager, etc) and turn it into 2 or more really crappy jobs.  This is a huge push to reorganize and redefine public…

Springtime In Detroit?

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) today announced its calendar year 2010 results marked by $4.7 billion of net income attributable to common stockholders for its first full year of operations.Revenue for the calendar year was $135.6 billion. Automotive cash flow from operating activities was $6.6 billion and automotive free cash flow was $2.4 billion, both reflecting the impact of a $4.0 billion voluntary cash contribution to the company's U.S. pension plans."Last year was one of foundation building," said Dan Akerson, chairman and chief executive officer. "Particularly pleasing was that we demonstrated GM's ability to achieve sustainable profitability near the bottom of the U.S. industry cycle, with four consecutive profitable quarters."
Wait just a dang minute.  This is Gummint Motors; this is where all them commie unionist bastards are suckin' the federal teat dry; this is totally against what DumFux News says is even possible.

Barron's

BTW: all t…

Say What?`

This is what passed for "thinking" in the Jr Bush administration.
"We were not there in Afghanistan to eradicate corruption, or to end poppy cultivation. We were not there to take ownership of Afghanistan’s problems, tempting though it was for Americans of goodwill. If, as some have contended, we never had a plan for full-fledged nation building, or that we under-resourced such a plan, they were certainly correct. We did not go there to bring prosperity to every corner of Afghanistan. Our more modest goal was to rid Afghanistan of al Qaeda, and replace their Taliban hosts with a government that would not harbor terrorists... " - Donald Rumsfeld; pg 682 of his memoir.Look, Don - you really can't accomplish the 2 things you say we went there to do, without doing the things you say we didn't go there to do.

I think you should continue your service to this great country of ours by scheduling a nice long trip to Spain as soon as you can manage it.  They'll ta…

About Wisconsin - update

I still haven't heard anybody on the union side say they're expecting more, or asking more, or demanding anything more.  Walker and DumFux News and East Blogistan keep trying to paint the unions as greedy bastards out to fleece the innocent taxpayer.  Bullshit.

Here it is, straight up:
What the protesters and the unions and the Wisconsin Dems are fighting for is pretty simply their rights (and ours, btw) under the First Amendment.
The right of association
The right to peaceable assembly

A Saving Grace?

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We know that outfits like US Chamber of Commerce and the Koch Boys are working hard to get a certain control over politics here in the US.  It's just too obvious not to be the case.  We also know that they're willing to spend gi-normous amounts of cash buying people like Clarence Thomas to help them keep it "legal".  We know all that, and we've (I've) been assuming they intend to concentrate on owning the process here in the US - but what about the rest of the world?  There's way too much going on in way too many places where big American Companies have big deal interests at stake.

How much will these Corporations have to spend, in how many different countries, to ensure their interests are looked after?

Maybe I'm just hoping for rescue here, but isn't there something happening right now that will eventually make it impossible for a global oligarchy to consolidate power?  And isn't there some probability that it could all change without the k…

Random Question

If evolution is "just a theory" and nobody can actually prove it's for real, how do we explain selective breeding?

About Wisconsin - update

Oh look.  Here's something else it's not supposed to be about.

From Democratic Underground - with an embedded link to the HuffPo article.
While there has been significant attention devoted to the fact that Walker's 144-page budget repair bill would strip away collective bargaining rights for public employees, the site "Rortybomb" points out a less noticed provision that would allow the state to sell or contract out any state-owned energy asset in no-bid deals with private corporations.

About That Wisconsin Thing

To be clear, I don't much like unions.  I also don't dislike them.  My thing is always about the balance of power.  I don't like anything that gets too big or too powerful.  So it's about trying to make sure there's always something to act as a counterweight to whoever holds the majority position in the power struggle du jour.

For whatever reason, Gov Walker has picked this fight.  There is, to be sure, a problem with all or most governments' budgets in that they're not taking in enough revenue to cover all the outlays - again, for whatever reason(s).

My point is that the real fight in Wisconsin has practically nothing to do with the current condition of the state's budget.  It's important to remember that almost nothing is ever really about what a politician says it's about.

Walker has proposed a budget that asks public employees either to take a hit on salaries and bennies, and/or to do without any increases - and it appears there's not mu…

We Are All Madisonians Now

It should prob'ly say "We are all Wisconsinites", but then I couldn't draw an allusion to James Madison.

So anyway,  Gov Walker is really under the gun here.  It's fun to watch him try to sell his pseudo-populist bullshit while being so obviously on the payroll of the Privatizing Looters.

I'll try to explain myself in a minute, but first, I want to point to something.  Look at this, by way of Democratic Underground, and then ask yourself, "isn't this what Free Market Capitalism should actually look like"?  Seems to me we've been buying a phoney-baloney substitute for a good long time.

As a hardcore Randian Zealot, I'm not in favor of "the collective", but that's not what's going on here - our understanding of 'evil collective' vs 'righteous competitor' has undergone a polar reversal.  Ayn Rand's big thing was always that power would be balanced naturally thru straight up competition; and that collect…

Keep Workin'

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Continuing bad news for Boomers.

Be sure to check out the comments - seems to be split among the big 3.
1) Blame the victim
2) Soc Sec is a ponzi scheme anyway
3) We're being robbed

From The Rupert Street Journal:














This analysis uses estimates of 401(k) balances from the end of 2010 and of salaries from 2009. It assumes people need 85% of their working income after they retire in order to maintain their standard of living, a common yardstick.Facing shortfalls, many people are postponing retirement, moving to cheaper housing, buying less-expensive food, cutting back on travel, taking bigger risks with their investments and making other sacrifices they never imagined."Inevitably, we find that, for the average person, there is not enough there," says financial adviser Paul Merritt of NTrust Wealth Management in Virginia Beach, Va., who has found himself advising many retirement-age people with too little savings. "The discussion turns out to be: What kind of part-time wor…

Thanks, Professor

...that was loads of fun.

Bloomberg won't allow the embedding, so here's the link on YouTube.

How Interesting

The revolt is spreading faster and farther than could have been dreamed.  We've seen the glorious uprising of ordinary people against one bullying despot after another - Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and now even The GOP.  Wait; uh, what?

A day or so ago, Mitch Daniels told a rather skittish crowd at CPAC that Repubs need to reach voters who don't care what Rush Limbaugh says (not quite what Daniels said, but words to that effect).  We've heard grumblings along those lines for years from some pretty big-deal Republicans like Christy Todd-Whitman and David Eisenhower and Mike Steele, et al; and practically all of them were thoroughly dismissed, spanked or otherwise quickly dispatched very loudly and very publicly - most of whom either knelt before His High Rushness to beg forgiveness or just limped away and disappeared.  Now, we have Little Mikey Medved feelin' his oats; and in The Rupert Street Journal, no less.
In short, the White House record of more than 200…

SCOTUS Update

I just got off the phone with somebody in the public info office - the message on the main number listed on the website says to call 202-579-3000 and ask them to page a representative.  The lady was nice enough, but she said they have no intention of issuing a statement on Thomas's problems, and that there's no press availability scheduled either; and that if I want to ask questions, I have to call during business hours and ask for a regular PIO (Public Information Officer).

I have no idea what kind of protocol might be in place for this.  I do think it would be cool in the extreme if huge numbers of regular US citizens started making personal calls to SCOTUS to ask them to explain themselves to us.

SCOTUS

Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have both been implicated in some "minor" scandals the last few years.  Now we may have a major problem because ol' Clarence did quite a bit more than drop by a little get-together with the Koch Brothers in California.  ("a quick drop-by" is how the SCOTUS spokesmodel put it when asked by Common Cause).

Read it and weep.

Herald-Gazette (Knox County, ME)

Here's the full text of an article that seems to have mysteriously disappeared from NewsVine: (I got to it thru Google's cache archive - yay Google!)

What more does the Justice Department need to launch an investigation into the possible conflict of interests surrounding Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and their votes in the Citizens United case?Maybe they need to hear from you.We've asked Attorney General Eric Holder to meet with us to discuss all that's been uncovered in recent weeks, but we haven't gotten an answer yet.Please call Holder's o…

Curveball Lied

It's not exactly news, but at least somebody is trying to dig out some of the truth for us.  Unfortunately, it didn't matter to enough of us then, and it prob'ly won't matter much now either.
Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.My biggest fear right now is that we're allowing the system to lose its capacity for self-correction.  There are glimmers and flickers once in a while - Dick Cheney got heckled with shouts of "war criminal" at his speech to a CPAC session, and there's the tiny fraction of Tea Partiers who actually aren't stupid bigoted assholes - but for the most part, the big power players know they can pull some pretty horrendous shit and still count on getting cover.  T…

Hoping For Egypt

The final outcome (if there is such a thing) in Egypt is something we won't know for a while, but here's a thought: Egyptians booted out a quasi-dictator with 18 days of protests that were mostly pretty relaxed and groovey.  There was no armed resistance; no guerilla tactics; no bombings; no terrorism - just growing numbers of everyday people gathering in different places to tell their government they weren't going to get pushed around any more.  The only real violence came when somebody (probably on Mubarak's side, if not at Mubarak's behest) decided to start a fight in the hopes of scoring some propaganda points.  People got hurt, and some hundreds killed, but it didn't work.  The people were unarmed; they defended themselves just enough to keep the crowd together, but they didn't counterattack and so far, I haven't heard anything about retaliation.  And most importantly, the military leadership was smart enough to know they couldn't win anything …

Stupid Arguments

I don't know how to tell you how dumb it is to be arguing about Obama's "faith".  Here's the main reason:
US Constitution, article VI, 3rd paragraph:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.


So we have the Constitution telling us that according to the law, it can't be an issue, but that just leads us to the real stupidity of Obama defenders who feel the need to dispute the assertion.  The really stupid part is that by arguing the point of Obama's religion, you legitimize the assertion itself.  You're saying first that it was OK for some short-necked bigot to a raise the question of Obama's faith, and then by refu…

A Trend?

Check this out at Daily Beast.
There are a lot of program directors whose radio ‘spider-sense’ is tingling,” says Randall Bloomquist, a long-time radio executive and president of Talk Frontier Media. “They're thinking ‘this conservative thing is kind of running its course. We're saying the same things from morning 'til night and yes, we've got a very loyal core audience—but if we ever want to grow, if we want to expand, we've got to be doing more than 18 hours a day of ‘Obama is a socialist.’”This could be pretty interesting.  Though I think if their ratings continue to drop, they'll just get even more rabid.  When the marketing dweebs are consulted, they're likely to tell these guys to stick with the formula.  Radical Clown Radio doesn't differ much from the GOP.  In fact, the business of wingnut radio and politics are practically the same thing.  So when you start to lose market share, the instinctive reaction is to "rediscover your core competenc…

More Bio Mimicry

One of the problems we continue to have is that we've allowed some not very honest people to convince us that there's friction between our economic interests and our need for a clean and healthy environment to live in.

We end up talking past each other. Here's a guy who can talk about "saving the environment" by linking the need to take good care of the biosphere directly to huge business opportunities.

Bio Mimicry And Closed-Loop Sustainability

This kinda shit just amazes me.

Hoping (update)

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A few days late, but it's still a good thing.

Hoping (update)

Mubarak has resigned, but he hasn't split the country.  No idea what that means, but I'm thinking he's not quite done yet.  Governments and financial houses are busily freezing his assets, so that should make it harder for him to fuck with things, at least 'til they get all that sorted out.  So anybody who tries to tell me it's all gonna be swell needs to get called a moron.

The Press Poodles are still gushing about Freedom Fever while DumFux News is flacking the threat of The Muslim Brotherhood.  Meanwhile, nobody (either in The Kennel or at Fox) has said thing one about any efforts by anybody's diplomatic services - zero, zip, zilch.  The only thing I've heard so far is the standard meme about how Obama got caught flat-footed.  Are you fucking kidding?  Am I really supposed to believe we've spent something like 1/3 of a TRILLION dollars on intel and counter-intel, and anti-terrorism shit - aimed specifically at the middle east and that we got nothing …

Hoping

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I just get a bad feeling about Egypt.  Mubarak is in a tough spot, and unfortunately, when guys like him start to feel cornered, they tend to listen to the kind of advice from some of the assholes they surround themselves with, who almost always advocate a get-tough-show-'em-who's-boss approach.  We saw some of that earlier when the Camel Goons attacked.

Anyway, here's hoping it doesn't come to this.

Cartman Speaks

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The Press Poodles in the US are finally starting to look at who the protesters actually are.  It's been a nice little narrative so far, about a genuine grassroots uprising; that there are no real leaders; that the whole thing is spontaneous - as if to say, "The noble Egyptian people are just trying to express their Inner American".  It's a big steaming pile of Newsie bullshit.
Hat Tip: Sully

Just Make Shit Up

It's not like we didn't know this already, but I think it's important to make an effort to keep score, and to remind ourselves that an outfit like DumFux News is not a news organization at all.  So while this article is from the "terminally librul" MediaMatters, and the source is anonymous, we can at least see that it's consistent with practically all the other reports of how DumFux News operates.  Have we ever heard anything from any former DumFux'er that didn't sound a lot like this?
...a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch’s cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking. “It is their M.O. to …

Mr Reagan, 1948

Charlie Brooker

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...is a fucking genius.

Part 1


Part 2

Socialism On The March

I'm hoping certain people will be reminded of what happened yesterday in Super Bowl 45  whenever they start waxing rhapsodic about the wonders and the majesty and the supremacy of free-market capitalism.  I don't know exactly what our 'system' should be called, but whatever name you come up with, it sure as hell ain't free-market capitalism - not when the biggest annual Celebration-Of-All-Things-Totally-Awesome-About-America ends with a team owned collectively by the good folks of Green Bay being crowned champions of a business consortium which has thrived since adopting some very 'socialistic' principles.

Climate Change

The Reagan Myth(s)

The big 5 as per Will Bunch at The Washington Post:

1) Reagan is our most popular president
2) Reagan cut taxes
3) Reagan was a hawk
4) Reagan decreased the size of the federal government
5) Reagan was a conservative culture warrior

Tell Me Somethin' Good

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First time I've heard a high quality full-length cut since the old days of KFML.

Feels Like Spring Today

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Warning: This song could cost you your virginity