Friday, July 31, 2009


(Illustration by Barry Deutsch; used without permission)

There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor ever shall be, any such thing as a "Free Market."

Which is why, over on, David Johnson is 100% correct in asserting "Free-Market Conservatives Are Just Wrong!" Vide:
There are things you can see in front of your face, and then there are things that conservative “free market” ideologues tell you.

One example is when they talk about the minimum wage. (An increase in the national minimum wage goes into effect today.) Conservative “free market” ideologues tell you that raising the minimum wage “costs jobs.” They say that if employers have to pay a few cents more per hour they won’t employ as many people.

But then there is something you can see in front of your face: whenever the minimum wage is raised, things get better. Things obviously get a little better for the people who work at the minimum wage, and for their families. As this works its way up the food chain things get a little better for the people and stores these workers rent and buy from. But also, studies looking into the effect of what actually happens after the minimum wage is raised show that the net effect is no loss of jobs.

Here is why. Employers hire the number of people they need to get done what needs to get done, according to demand. Ideally they employ the correct number of people to fill orders, run checkouts, stock shelves, etc. They don’t just have extra people sitting around for the heck of it. Of course there are some tasks where a calculation of a few cents in wages can make someone “not worth it,” but in the aggregate any jobs lost from this are offset by the new people hired to meet the increased demand created by people spending the higher wages. More people with more money to spend increases demand, which is good for business. Profits for some employers may be reduced a bit by the increase in labor cost, but these are also offset by increased profits for others due to increased demand.

Even so, conservative free-market conservative ideologues continue to make the claim that increasing the minimum wage “costs jobs” anyway. It’s what they do. They make a bad thing out of paying American workers good wages and benefits. They complain about workers getting pensions and health care. They just don’t seem to like it when regular people are better off. But here is a warning: never, ever dare suggest to a free-market conservative that a CEO or a trust fund child should pay some taxes – you’ll get an earful about how this would just ruin the economy.

The free-market conservatives are just wrong.
In SOOOOOO many ways! There's more on the site.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Max Blumenthal posted this vid on Huff-Post. His commentary follows the vid. As Chomsky says, with his customary gentle irony, the best thing about a "peace process" is that the parties never really need make peace, as long as the "process" continues. Max's language is consciously provocative.

Yitzhak Rabin's Killers Target Obama
In October 1995, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu appeared before thousands of right-wing demonstrators in Jerusalem's Zion Square to deliver a stinging denunciation of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Oslo Accords he had signed two years earlier. "Death to Rabin! Nazis! Judenrat!" the demonstrators chanted. Many waved signs depicting Rabin dressed in Nazi regalia.

Concerned that Netanyahu would inflame an already dangerous climate, Israeli Housing Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned the hyper-ambitious politician, "You'd better restrain your people. Otherwise it will end in murder. They tried to kill me just now... Your people are mad. If someone is murdered, the blood will be on your hands... The settlers have gone crazy, and someone will be murdered here, if not today, then in another week or another month!"

Netanyahu ignored Ben-Eliezer, striding to the podium to chants of "Bibi! Bibi! Bibi!" and an eerily prescient introduction as Israel's "next prime minister."

One month later, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing radical and student at Bar-Ilan University, the ideological training ground of Israel's religious-nationalist front. Rabin's wife, Leah, refused to forgive Netanyahu, insisting he was at least as responsible for her husband's murder as the extremist who pulled the trigger.

With Netanyahu back in the prime minister's office, Avigdor Lieberman's proto-fascist party in control of several top government posts, and the Israeli peace camp Rabin once inspired in a state of near-permanent marginalization, an emboldened settler movement has turned its wrath on Barack Obama. Obama has aroused the setters' ire by calling for a construction freeze in the West Bank and a halt to Israeli housing projects intended to Judaize Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

On July 23, thousands of Jewish settlers and their right-wing allies in the Knesset gathered in front of the American consulate in Jerusalem for a torchlight rally against Obama's proposals. My friends Joseph Dana and Mairav Zonszein were there with a video camera to document the demonstrators' histrionics. According to Dana, no other journalists shot video of the event.

"Saddam Hussein Obama! Saddam Hussein Obama!" the settlers chanted. "Piss off, you little shit!" a young radical growled when asked if he had a message for the American president.

"I believe if Barack Obama manages to hurt Israel they will be punished," said another twenty-something rightist. "At some point Israel will survive and America will fall."

The most remarkable comment came from a demonstrator who claimed that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a former civilian volunteer for the Israeli army and the son of a former member of the Zionist terrorist group Irgun, is a self-hating Jew.

Emanuel "is an auto-anti-Semite," the protester said. "He is a Jew that has something against his Jewishness."

In another era, it might have been possible to dismiss such a remark as paranoia from the far-right fringe. Unfortunately, Netanyahu is reported to have said the very same thing in private discussions with his top advisers. According to Ha'aretz correspondent Barak Ravid, the Israeli Prime Minister has routinely referred to Emanuel and David Axelrod as "self-hating Jews." Like the settlers whose rhetoric he apparently emulates, Netanyahu has become unhinged by Obama's interference with Israel's ongoing colonization of the West Bank.

Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, will hold several meetings this week with top members of Netanyahu's government. Seeking to tamp down on the growing rancor between Tel Aviv and Washington, Mitchell called the meetings "discussions between friends."

But who are the Israeli Prime Minister's real friends? The settlers who cheered Rabin's murder and now inveigh violently against Obama, or the American administration that has pledged to ship his country advanced weaponry and billions in loan guarantees? The White House must force Netanyahu to decide.
Sadly, of course, there is no way that "the WhiteHouse" is gonna show that much spine with Bibi. Obama, et al, must recognize, tacitly, at least, that Israel has (comprehensible, and in the manner of "real-politik," natural) "territorial ambitions" between the Jordan and the Sea. These require the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the land. This unspoken, but obvious, imperative underwrites all Israeli domestic policy with respect to the folks whom Israel MUST dispossess, erase, and exclude to ensure its local hegemony.

Israel is no different in this regard than their sponsors, the manifest-destiny-driven USofA of the 19th Century, which more or less totally expunged the Native Americans from the landscape, and settled the remainder who the State was unable to kill, in camps or reservations, where they pose no significant danger, even with the grant of (nominal) autonomy. Israel, qua State, cannot permit the establishment of a rival, equal Palestinian State within the borders of Palestine. The Israeli State will never negotiate in good faith with Palestinian Arabs for the water of the Jordan River, for example.


Ask Ytzak Rabin...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Rest of USers

Do NOT for an instant believe the "Top Five" percenters do NOT know they are fucking the rest of us. They know full well, and have given at least their tacit consent to it, as David Sirota reminds us:
The wealthiest 1-percent have deployed an army to destroy an initiative that would tax the super rich to help pay for health care

Here's a truism: The wealthiest 1 percent have never had it so good.

According to government figures, 1-percenters' share of America's total income is the highest it's been since 1929, and their tax rates are the lowest they've faced in two decades. Through bonuses, many 1-percenters will profit from the $23 trillion in bailout largesse the Treasury Department now says could be headed to financial firms. And, most of them benefit from IRS decisions to reduce millionaire audits and collect zero taxes from the majority of major corporations.

But what really makes the ultra-wealthy so fortunate, what truly separates this moment from a run-of-the-mill Gilded Age, is the unprecedented protection the 1-percenters have bought for themselves on the most pressing issues.

To review: With 22,000 Americans dying each year because they lack health insurance, Congress is considering universal health care legislation financed by a surcharge on income above $280,000 -- that is, a levy almost exclusively on 1-percenters. This surtax would graze just 5 percent of small businesses and would recoup only part of the $700 billion the 1-percenters received from the Bush tax cuts. In fact, it is so miniscule, those making $1 million annually would pay just $9,000 more in taxes every year -- or nine-tenths of 1 percent of their 12-month haul.

Nonetheless, the 1-percenters have deployed an army to destroy the initiative before it makes progress.

The foot soldiers are the Land Rover Liberals. These Democratic lawmakers secure their lefty labels by wearing pink-ribbon lapel pins and supporting good causes like abortion rights. However, being affluent and/or from affluent districts, they routinely drive their luxury cars over middle-class economic interests. Hence, this week's letter from Boulder, Colorado's dot-com tycoon Rep. Jared Polis, D, and other Land Rover Liberals calling for the surtax's death.

Echoing that demand are the Corrupt Cowboys -- those like Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mt., who come from the heartland's culturally conservative and economically impoverished locales. These cavalrymen in both parties quietly build insurmountable campaign war chests as the biggest corporate fundraisers in Congress. At the same time, they publicly preen as jes' folks, make twangy references to "voters back home," and now promise to kill the health care surtax because they say that's what their communities want. Cash payoffs made, re-elections purchased, the absurd story somehow goes that because blue-collar constituents in Flyover America like guns and love Jesus, they must also reflexively adore politicians who defend 1-percenters' bounty.

That fantastical fairly tale, of course, couldn't exist without the Millionaire Media -- the elite journalists and opinionmongers who represent corporate media conglomerates and/or are themselves extremely wealthy. Ignoring all the data about inequality, they legitimize the assertions of the 1-percenters' first two battalions, while actually claiming America's fat cats are unfairly persecuted.

For example, Washington Post editors deride surtax proponents for allegedly believing "the rich alone can fund government." Likewise, Wall Street Journal correspondent Jonathan Weisman wonders why the surtax "soak(s) the rich" by unduly "lumping all of the problems of the finances of the United States on 1 percent of (its) households?" And most brazenly, NBC's Meredith Vieira asks President Obama why the surtax is intent on "punishing the rich?"

For his part, Obama has responded with characteristic coolness -- and a powerful counter-strike. "No, it's not punishing the rich," he said. "If I can afford to do a little bit more so that a whole bunch of families out there have a little more security, when I already have security, that's part of being a community."

If any volley can thwart this latest attack of the 1-percenters, it is that simple idea.
What seems to me to be needed is an "imaginative" way, or a set of them, to remind the wealthiest Murkins that they are, indeed, vulnerable to the same exigencies as their selfishness so thoughtfully visits upon the rest of us. (Torches and pitchforks, and tar-and-feathers come to mind. But likely that's just me...)

Take one bite now, spit out the rest...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


This piece, contributed yesterday on a blog where I comment (Crook & Liars) in reply to a comment of mine, in which I predicted that there would be a bad health-reform bill passed this year which would nonetheless preserve and protect the profits, privileges and perqs of the Health Insurance parasites, seems to me to pretty much right on the money as far as the kind of 'protection' folks will get for their mandatory health insurance dollars, and what they can expect for their money:
Mandatory coverage paid for by you, including drug coverage. That would be with no caps on cost for the premiums, no caps on co-pays, widening the donut hole in the drug coverage (like now, only after the "reform," they pay 80% of the first $1500.00, you pay the next $7000.00 out of your pocket, and they might pay 20% of your remaining drug costs for the year, but only if they feel like it).

But in spite of the mandatory purchase of the insurance, there will be a life-time cap on the benefits you can receive. Once you meet this threshold, you must continue to pay for coverage, even though you will not get any. This is the cost of living in a civilized society. Suck it up.

Pat Buchanan "Reverse Discrimination"

Reverse Racism
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Rational Racialists"

The following was posted as a comment on The Root, in response to a story about the recent arrest of Prof. "Skip" Gates for being a suspected black interloper/perp in what was obviously a white-person's house, in on Harvard campus in Cambridge, MA (this appeared originally as a single block of text, but that presentation obscures much of what is really important about the text:
Racism, Classism, and Political "Black"-lash

Racism and biasis (sic) are woven in each and every race on this planet. No race is excluded even the black race. Unfortunately, from birth our children are taught these disgusting views and this cycle of biasis (sic) continues.

The comments on this page have a tremendous amount of assumptions as to what actually occurred during this incident. The witness assumed the two black males were forcing their way into a home. Now that is not the "normal way" someone enters their home, so she called the police. The police obtained vague information from the witness and had the officers respond to the residence. While enroute to the residence the officers "assumed" the information was valid as they entered the home. There is no evidence as of yet that it was not correct. They find Mr. Gates in the home. Now the distortion of the incident happens.
Are you getting this? Jesus! It makes my head hurt! See: the victim's account is a "distortion."
The officers asks for identification and Gates feels insulted because he is in his own home. Regardless of colour, age, cane or no cane criminals come in all shapes and sizes. The race card is played and the officer would have been insulted for just dong his job. To Serve and Protect the citizens of Cambridge. The race carad (sic) is not a trump card that allows anyone to verbally abuse another citizen or person in authority, and when the abuse becomes a factor in disturbing the peace and tranquility of the neighbourhood, someone is going to be arrested.

One would think that Mr. Gates would have appreciated the fact that a citizen trying to do the right thing in calling the police to protect his home, the officers responding to the call who risk their lives every minuite (sic) of the day. Did the officer have the right to ask for Mr. Gates identificatin (sic) to prove he was the owner of the property? Absolutely. America screams about "racial profiling" but the reality is racial profiling is a symptom of Biasis (sic) Based Policing. Is it not the same as a German officer only stopping and ticketing Jewish citizens, or a Black officer only ticketing white citizens.
Oh, yeah, that happens all the fucking time. Chuy!
Profiling does exist in policing, but the race of a suspect should only be one of the many factors that lead to an individuals arrest. Are there bias (sic) officers in policing, absolutely. Are there hard working officers who administer the laws of the country without biasis,(sic) absolutely. Is there a perception that "all blacks hold biasis (sic) attitudes towards any law enforcement person? Absolutely. As I mentioned at the begining, (sic) racism will only be dealt with when our young are not exposed to bias (sic) outlooks.

This was an incident that went bad right from the start, and blown out of porpotion (sic). The alternative to calling the police when you need help is to call a gangster. No wonder the police get the attitude of "FIDO" F&@K IT and DRIVE OFF after being taunted and abused and painted with the racism brush continually. It is the black community that continues to flame the fires of racism, and play the race card all too often.
This is a classic example of what I have called 'rational racism.'

It's all the fault of uppity negroes, you see.

If you just suck it up and accept systematic injustice, you won't get hurt...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


These are the folks who persist in insisting that Obama cannot be the legitimate President because he allegedly is not an authentic Murkin citizen. For evidence of this, they say Obama has never released his birth-certificate, the so-called "long-form."

Birthers, I suspect, mostly are White people who are expressing their racial disgust with Obama's black "half," but doing so in such a way that doesn't carry the obvious obloquy that would attach to them if they were simply shouting "But he's a fucking NI**GER!!!"

In the following vid, Chris Matthews takes one particularly stupidly odiously obtuse "birther" COngresscritter to school, something he does not do, and has not lately done nearly often enough...

For the record, it doesn't matter a single jot or tittle where Obama was born as long as either his mother or his father was an American citizen at the time of his birth. If so, then he's a citizen of the USofA.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Labor's "Friends" In Congress

Democrats Drop Key Part of Bill That Would Help Unions to Organize

Harry Kelber
A half dozen U.S. Senators, normally friends of labor, eliminated a "card-check" provision in proposed legislation that would require an employer to recognize a union as soon as a majority of workers signed cards saying they wanted a union. Unions insisted they needed the law, Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), with its card-check clause, in order to "level the playing field," where powerful employers were intimidating workers from joining unions.

For at least the past two years, unions have poured millions of dollars and legions of staff workers in an all-out public relations campaign to achieve passage of EFCA, especially the card-check clause, without which the unions say they can´t organize and grow. In fact, for the past two years. AFL-CIO major organizing campaigns have been at a virtual standstill, waiting for the outcome of congressional action.

One of the "compromises" suggested by leading Democrats called for a Labor Board election about ten days after the actual filing. Supporters of this idea said it would give employers less time to indoctrinate their workers against unions. But the reality is that employers make their anti-union prejudices known to their workers the minute they hire them. Actually, it puts pressure on union organizers by reducing the time they can conduct their campaigns.

Despite the bad news, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney remains highly optimistic. Without referring directly to the removal of card check from the bill, he commented: "Despite speculative news reports today [July 18], momentum for real labor law reform is still going strong, and we can still be optimistic that a bill will be signed this year."
Sweeney, and SIEU chief Andy Stern both claim there will be a vote on "majority sign-up" (what the corpoRats call "card check"), either on an amendment or on the finished bill.

Good luck widdat, fellas. You're just as fucked as the rest of but you gotta keep up appearances.

Oh, yeah. These shitwhistle "patriots" are fucking with veterans, too:
Without the “card-check” or “majority sign-up” provision, it’s unlikely the bill will achieve its goal of reversing the decline of unions, though there are other important reforms in the legislation.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Health Insurance Parasites (HIPpies)

No Nation which expands the wealth of its elites at the expense of the health of its people can be said to be worth much of a shit, all its "democratic" pretensions, glib mythologies, and exceptionalist/bullshit propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Goldman-Sachs (Formerly: "The Recovery")

There's Nothing Left to Recover

What Economy?


There is no economy left to recover. The US manufacturing economy was lost to offshoring and free trade ideology. It was replaced by a mythical “New Economy.”

The “New Economy” was based on services. Its artificial life was fed by the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates, which produced a real estate bubble, and by “free market” financial deregulation, which unleashed financial gangsters to new heights of debt leverage and fraudulent financial products.

The real economy was traded away for a make-believe economy. When the make-believe economy collapsed, Americans’ wealth in their real estate, pensions, and savings collapsed dramatically while their jobs disappeared.

The debt economy caused Americans to leverage their assets. They refinanced their homes and spent the equity. They maxed out numerous credit cards. They worked as many jobs as they could find. Debt expansion and multiple family incomes kept the economy going.

And now suddenly Americans can’t borrow in order to spend. They are over their heads in debt. Jobs are disappearing. America’s consumer economy, approximately 70% of GDP, is dead. Those Americans who still have jobs are saving against the prospect of job loss. Millions are homeless. Some have moved in with family and friends; others are living in tent cities.

Meanwhile the US government’s budget deficit has jumped from $455 billion in 2008 to $2,000 billion this year, with another $2,000 billion on the books for 2010. And President Obama has intensified America’s expensive war of aggression in Afghanistan and initiated a new war in Pakistan.

There is no way for these deficits to be financed except by printing money or by further collapse in stock markets that would drive people out of equity into bonds.

The US government’s budget is 50% in the red. That means half of every dollar the federal government spends must be borrowed or printed. Because of the worldwide debacle caused by Wall Street’s financial gangsterism, the world needs its own money and hasn’t $2 trillion annually to lend to Washington.

As dollars are printed, the growing supply adds to the pressure on the dollar’s role as reserve currency. Already America’s largest creditor, China, is admonishing Washington to protect China’s investment in US debt and lobbying for a new reserve currency to replace the dollar before it collapses. According to various reports, China is spending down its holdings of US dollars by acquiring gold and stocks of raw materials and energy.

The price of one ounce gold coins is $1,000 despite efforts of the US government to hold down the gold price. How high will this price jump when the rest of the world decides that the bankruptcy of “the world’s only superpower” is at hand?

And what will happen to America’s ability to import not only oil, but also the manufactured goods on which it is import-dependent?

When the over-supplied US dollar loses the reserve currency role, the US will no longer be able to pay for its massive imports of real goods and services with pieces of paper. Overnight, shortages will appear and Americans will be poorer.

Nothing in Presidents Bush and Obama’s economic policy addresses the real issues. Instead, Goldman Sachs was bailed out, more than once. As Eliot Spitzer said, the banks made a “bloody fortune” with US aid.

It was not the millions of now homeless homeowners who were bailed out. It was not the scant remains of American manufacturing--General Motors and Chrysler--that were bailed out. It was the Wall Street Banks.

According to, Goldman Sachs’ current record earnings from their free or low cost capital supplied by broke American taxpayers has led the firm to decide to boost compensation and benefits by 33 percent. On an annual basis, this comes to compensation of $773,000 per employee.

This should tell even the most dimwitted patriot who “their” government represents.

The worst of the economic crisis has not yet hit. I don’t mean the rest of the real estate crisis that is waiting in the wings. Home prices will fall further when the foreclosed properties currently held off the market are dumped. Store and office closings are adversely impacting the ability of owners of shopping malls and office buildings to make their mortgage payments. Commercial real estate loans were also securitized and turned into derivatives.

The real crisis awaits us. It is the crisis of high unemployment, of stagnant and declining real wages confronted with rising prices from the printing of money to pay the government’s bills and from the dollar’s loss of exchange value. Suddenly, Wal-Mart prices will look like Nieman Marcus prices.

Retirees dependent on state pension systems, which cannot print money, might not be paid, or might be paid with IOUs. They will not even have depreciating money with which to try to pay their bills. Desperate tax authorities will squeeze the remaining life out of the middle class.

Nothing in Obama’s economic policy is directed at saving the US dollar as reserve currency or the livelihoods of the American people. Obama’s policy, like Bush’s before him, is keyed to the enrichment of Goldman Sachs and the armament industries.

Matt Taibbi describes Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentless jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Look at the Goldman Sachs representatives in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. This bankster firm controls the economic policy of the United States.

Little wonder that Goldman Sachs has record earnings while the rest of us grow poorer by the day.

(Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Thursday, July 16, 2009


On Pharyngula, today, PZ Myers (rogue atheist biologist) launches a gentle, but nevertheless full-frontal attack on "religion" as a social institution. Religion, he asserts, is a failed explanation for the world. It just doesn't line up with the evidence, at all. And the myth of God has been conclusively demonstrated not to be necessary to create or maintain a just and humane society (if anything, the opposite is true).

So, if religion has no useful explanatory power, and if we don't need it to make our lives better and richer, why not just toss the whole ball of fluff out?

Isaiah Poole

Poole, normally a clear-eyed realist, recently wrote at the Campaign for America's Future blog, an essay "hoping for the best" from the latter-day, soi-disant "Pecora Commission" being created to address the egregious, criminal, probably (in a just world) treasonous activities in the financial sector, the collapse of which nearly (and we're not out of the woods yet, by a long chalk) precipitated the worst economic calamity of the last 75 years. Four Pukes and six Dims--led by former LA County treasurer Phil Angeleides--will compose the committee whose job it will be (allegedly, ostensibly) to reveal the mis-steps which led to, enabled, and precipitated the recent, disastrous "real-estate" bubble, and to name the mis-steppers who were accomplices in its development and responsible for its collapse. The original "Pecora Commission" was created by Roosevelt to assign "blame" for the Great Depression.

Named to lead the obstructionist claque is
Peter J. Wallison, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. One of his latest acts of intellectual dishonesty was an op-ed for The Washington Post attacking the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency as "elitist." Wallison doesn't appear to see anything wrong with the widespread practice, for example, of mortgage companies selling subprime loans steeped in obfuscatory language, and doesn't see why companies should be held responsible when consumers are taken in by the subterfuge. Wallison also authored an article for Bloomberg last year that brazenly argued that financial deregulation had nothing to do with causing the financial crisis—an extremist view that even former Federal Reserve Chairman and deregulation apostle Alan Greenspan abandoned.

Another Republican appointee, Keith Hennessey—who was the last White House chief economic adviser under President George W. Bush—was a chief architect of the very troubled Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and presumably has a vested interest in defending the Bush administration policies. Bill Thomas, the former Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was a longtime, reliable protector of corporate interests in Congress who helped architect the Republican tax cuts that are now key drivers of the nation's deficit. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a top operative in Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, has advocated some populist positions on breaking up "too-big-to-fail" banks.
Poole's hopes for anything other than another "Lee Hamilton-led committee report" rest on Angeleides' a hard-nosed LA County pol, and the ever-evanescent progressive activists alliance. Thinnish gruel.

Poole seems to me possibly fatally anosognosiastic in his summary:
It is clear, though, that if progressive activists are not shining a bright light on this commission and its work, it could —despite the best intentions of people like Angelides— become nothing more than another stage for Washington blather, resulting in yet another pile of paper to collect dust on the policy shelves. With the damage that has been done by the policy missteps of people in both parties, we cannot afford, and cannot tolerate, having this commission be anything less than the springboard for bold changes in the financial sector.
Trust me, Isaiah, ain't nobody gonna be doing 'gainers' off the results of this kabuki-esque travesty, no matter the diligence of the panel or the comprehensiveness of the inquiry. The 6-4 composition of the group might be seen to be a guarantee of a certain partisan bearing, but that majority will function only to ensure publically 'bi-partisan' nature of the eventual whitewash. Nobody who matters is going to feel even a slap on the wrist, much less the sting of any lash other than ineffectual public opprobrium.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Do Not Feel Appreciably "Better" This 4th Than I Did Last Year At This Time

Not "better" about the direction in which the country seems to be heading in relation to our over-seas militaristic adventurism. I heard this week that Marines had swept into another valley somewhere in Asia. They were setting up "combat outposts" as they went, near "peaceful" villages. I was transported back 40 years, when "combat outposts" were called "fire bases." And the friendly villages were "pacified hamlets." The countries began with different letters--"A" vs "V"--but other than that the song hadn't changed. By even the current regime's rationality, if it worked, even torture would be alright.

I don't feel "better" about the Constitution. It still seems to lie, in tatters, under the shit-encrusted loafers of the new administration as it was under the shit-encrusted boots of the previous one. "We" are still torturing 'detainees,' despite the lies. Preventative detention is official policy. More and more electronic surveillance is being authorized in the name of combating "terrorism," but even with new powers, the authorities have been powerless to prevent the recent outbreaks of right-wing/eliminationist domestic terrorism.

Obviously, I do not feel "better" about the economy. I am retired, on a fixed income, and i saw my tiny retirement nest-egg, acquired only after the last 15 or so years of my many and varied careers, eaten away to less than HALF it's value even a year ago.

I don't feel any better about the steps being undertaken to meet the challenge of global climate change. I am beginning to think nobody will have to political will to do anything to reduce the hazards that our gobal 'life-style' generates in such profusion. It's been well-established for almost half-a-century that these conditions were going to ensue, that there had by then already been enough carbon released to raise the global temperature significantly. I am, if anything, more content than ever that I never reproduced, so that none of my get will be facing these impending disasters of food, water, energy, migration, drought and inevitable warfare.

I do not feel "better" about the prospect that something meaningful will ever b done to resolve the nests of corruption, villainy, greed, mal- and misfeasance that is the zso-called US Health System. The vested interests have far too much power/money/influence. They have the whip-hand, and the smiling, compromising, community organizer doesn't have either the personal stones or the electoral mandate to actually stand up to 'em. Obama beat a remarkably weak GOP ticket, by far too small a margin.

I have more or less by now formalized the notion that has been kicking around in my head for this last year, since it became likely that Obama would be #44:
Obama's main job as President is to make people forget the disasters the last 40 years of proto- and crypto-Fascism have inflicted upon the country, and prepare the way for the next Bush.
Obama beat an incredibly weak GOP ticket by WAY TOO SMALL a margin.

McCain: 70-year-old, demented, tainted, ptsd denier/survivor (a lot like the dry drunk recently departed), morally smudged, ethically challenged, congenital liar,

Paired with the most incredibly inept, indisputably ill-prepared, vapidly vainglorious, unknown parvenu from the boondocks of Alaska, whose own sordid connections discredited even her prior position;

on the heels of EIGHT years of the most obvious, most blatantly partisan manipulation and exploitation, war, terror, and economic collapse...


What is WRONG with this picture?


Woody's Bloggy Enterprises are going on a short hiatus after tonight.Well, actually, the blogs will stay here whilst Woody and friends embark on a manic, musical, odyssey which might see us dangling a digit or two in the Great Gi-chi-goomi, who knows. I'm leaving Budreau, my sweet but territorial 80-lb pit-bull home, with instructions to keep an eye on things while I'm gone. A week? 10 Days? Two Weeks? Gonna sleep out under some stars. Eat camp food. Drive A LOT of miles. Can you say "ROAD TRIP!!!!!"

Holiday Spirit

I for one, don’t feel “better” this year than last, even with “the Prez” in power. The country traded a bumbling, inarticulate, smirking, spoiled fleck of patrician privilege for a smooth, literate, toothy corporate hack; took off the shit-encrusted cowboy boots and slipped into the blood-soaked alligator loafers.

Change? My ass…

The most likely “health care reform” bill to come out of Congress will be such a piece of shit that “liberals” and “progressives” will prefer to eat rat poison and expire than vote for it. But “thePrez” will sign it. At this point, he’d sign onto involuntary organ harvesting if it came to his desk, and claim it was a “bold step” for financing insurance for all.

And don’t anybody give me any shit about the “perfect” being the “enemy” of the “good.”

If the best the “good” an give us is a reeking pile of corporate privilege, and more private profit from public suffering, thwn it needs all the fucking enemies it can get…Count me IN!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sarah Palin

Barack Obama

Doe you think he has figured out yet that his job is to make the next "Bush" look good? That the best he can hope for is to keep the hegemons happy, even while they throw him under the proverbial bus?

I think it likely that Obama will be used to bring down Social Security, when the enormity of the still unrevealled, and unrecognized, hazards of the financial crisis, along with the climatic crisis, crash...

That's something that, even if I suspected it, I doubt I'd be able to admit.


I served (USAF, '64-'68). I managed to avoid all but the tiniest little slice of that war. I was uninjured. But in the spirit of the holiday, I thought a reminder might be useful.

Nota bene: Do not think these chickenshit motherfucking ass-wipes have changed a lick. They proclaim their respect "for the troops," but--chickenshit chickenhawks, all--parody the decoration awarded for the honorable shedding of one's own blood for one's country.

If you'd like the features of your face rearranged--say, you don't like the shape of your nose, or the number of your teeth?--show up in front of me wearing a "Purple Heart" bandaid. I'll fix it for ya. That's why I keep my old, wood Louisville Slugger.

And had I seen any of these smiling, smirking shit-swilling ass-wipes wearing a "purple heart band-aid," I would have inflicted on 'em wounds which the fuckers would have needed whole boxes of those precious bandaids to staunch the flow of blood therefrom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Richard Cohen

In today's WaPo, they have permitted Richard Cohen to renew his claim to being the most ineffably clueless mo-fo ever to be granted free use of the pages of a putatively major newspaper. Seems like Cohen went to high school with Bernie Madoff's future bride, Ruth; Bernie himself was a couple of years ahead of them. Cohen again makes complete and total ass of himself, as he does with ridiculous, predictable regularity.

Jon Schwarz's take on this intelligence, as always, repays attention:
Richard Cohen on going to high school with Bernie Madoff:
Others in my class did not say goodbye to Bernie until it was too late. Through Ruth, they invested with him -- modest amounts, a share of profits from a humble summer resort, the savings of a schoolteacher...

Now their money, their life's savings, is all gone. Oddly enough, they are still better off than some of Bernie's richest investors. My friend Ted has his New York City teacher's pension, while the very rich, who put all their retirement funds with Bernie, have been utterly wiped out. I feel sorry for them. I identify with them. They were not, as is sometimes written, greedy. The stock market was a mystery. It seemed to defy logic. They let Bernie deal with it. I would have done the same.
It's crucial that Washington Post columnists be credulous idiots who know that understanding financial basics is beyond their mental capability, and hence they should trust whoever has lots of money. Thank god Katherine Graham found someone who fits the profile so perfectly. Otherwise readers of the Post might learn something about how the world works, and that must be prevented at all costs.

Previously in Richard Cohen's flickering consciousness:
You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it. You will never need to know -- never mind want to know -- how many boys it will take to mow a lawn if one of them quits halfway and two more show up later -- or something like that. Most of math can now be done by a computer or a calculator.
It is quite certain that if Cohen "never used algebra" in his life, he never made a substantial contribution to the world. That is because algebra is the grammar of calculus, and calculus is the language of the modern complexity.


CNN: 'Making Blacks Look Bad' So 'Whites Feel Good'
06/30/2009 by Gabriel Voiles

Ishmael Reed's contextualization (CounterPunch, 6/29/09) of the epic demonization of Michael Jackson within historical U.S. media racism also takes a swipe at CNN's Black in America program, "an exercise meant to boost ratings by making whites feel good by making blacks look bad, the marketing strategy of the mass media since the 1830s":
In preparing for a sequel to the first Black in America, which boosted the networks ratings (the O. J. trial saved CNN!), CNN rolled out the usual stereotypes about black Americans. Unmarried black mothers were exhibited, without mentioning that births to unmarried black women have plunged since 1976 more than that of any other ethnic group. Then we got some footage that implied that blacks as a group were homophobes even though Charles Blow, a statistician for the New York Times, recently published a chart showing that gays have the least to fear from blacks. Recently, the media perpetrated a hoax that blacks were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8, the California proposition that banned gay marriage. An academic study refuted this claim, but that didn't deter the New York Times from hiring Benjamin Schwarz to explain black homophobia. Schwarz is the writer who wrote in the Los Angeles Times that blacks who were victims of lynchings in the south were probably guilty.

In the last Black in America, Soledad O'Brien, CNN's designated tough love agent against the brothers and sisters, scolded a black man for not attending his daughter's birthday party. The aim of this scene was meant to humiliate black men as neglectful fathers. Ms. O'Brien won’t be permitted by her employees to mention that 75 percent of white children will live at one time or another in a single-parent household and that the governor of South Carolina's not showing up for Father's Day isn't just a lone aberration in "White America."
On that note, Reed wonders, "How would CNN promote a White in America?" Would they feature "the thousands of meth addicts who have abandoned their children? The California rural and suburban white women who do more dope than Latino and black youth?" And if not, "Why not? Can’t get State Farm, Ford and McDonald's to sponsor such a program? All of these companies are sponsoring Black in America"--"the aim of which," Reed reminds us, "is to cast collective blame on blacks for the country's social problems. For ratings."
Res Ipsa Loquitur.