Kasztanka, Polish Marshal Józef Piłsudski's favorite combat mare, was stuffed upon her death in 1927 and after World War II was destroyed, allegedly on the orders of Piłsudski's enemy, Marshal Michał Rola-Żymierski.
You might note the very odd 'it is understood' language in a lot of the stories on this matter, indicating that the source for the details is lying. Of course, the headlines and the opening paragraphs reveal none of this doubt.
If the Friday before the 2006 mid-term election in which he knew his party was going to suffer significant losses George Bush had announced a UPS plane from Yemen had been intercepted and found full of explosives the boy typing this would have hollared MOTHERFUCKING BULLSHIT! and so would you if you were wearing Democratic colors in 2006. Just saying.
From Al Jazeera:
Yemeni security forces have arrested a 20-year-old female student in Sanaa, the country's capital, on suspicion of sending explosives stuffed in printer cartridges on cargo planes bound for the US. The packages, which were addressed to synagogues in Chicago, were discovered early on Friday in London and Dubai. The discoveries have put global air security on high alert. Bernard Smith reports.
Russia and the US are celebrating their first joint victory in the war on Afghanistan's opium trade. On Thursday their operatives destroyed four drug-producing labs in the country, and seized a ton of heroin. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has denounced the operation, saying it violates his country's sovereignty. But Russian officials say they're puzzled by this statement, as everything had been agreed with the Afghan Interior Ministry in advance. The drug raid marked a return for Russian special forces to Afghanistan, over 20 years after Soviet troops left. And for some, the fact that Moscow had to step in and give the U.S. a push in the right direction came as a complete shock. RT's Ekaterina Gracheva reports.
The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party. The legitimate rage being expressed by disenfranchised workers toward the college-educated liberal elite, who abetted or did nothing to halt the corporate assault on the poor and the working class of the last 30 years, is not misplaced. The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state. The virulent right-wing backlash we now experience is an expression of the liberal class’ flagrant betrayal of the citizenry.
I wrote in the comments:
Although I think Chris Hedges is generally on the right side, his habit of making sweeping pronouncements at the expense of discussing "prim and proper" policy specifics has always rankled me. [...] I'd have more sympathy with his thesis if he was willing to more specifically criticize Obama and distinguish between the democratic party leadership and the concept of liberalism. My guess is that Hedges would respond that a critique of Obama and the dem leadership is implicit in his comments, but it isn't, and Hedges' conflation lets obedient dem voters off the hook for their sheepish loyalty to the party.
Mike Meyer used to write in ATR comments about the need for a viable 3rd party. Well the creation of a viable 3rd party will never happen if its regarded as something that needs to be put off, perpetually, until one more election in which you back the dems. It's like that one more cigarette before you quit. There is nothing that Obama would willingly do with 230 or 240 house members sworn in on 1/2011 that he wouldn't be able to do with just 210 or 205, because he is a phony-baloney democrat and merely a bag man for the finance industry.
Their decision, for example, to avoid voting on repealing tax cuts just means they're hoping to be "forced" to save the rich man's tax cuts next year, like a drunk who threatens the other guy while he's being held back by his more sober friends.
I reworded the comment above slightly, see below.* Of course I should have added that most democrats that are higher up the dem food chain are phony-baloney democrats now.
Hedges’s main point, that the tea partiers exist because supposedly liberal constituencies have sold out liberalism is at least partly correct. I think it’s more accurate to say that the democrats have been selling out the New Deal as a rear guard action to hold on to power without having to do the presumably riskier task of directly confronting Reaganism. (Ian Welsh suggests this process is nearly complete, and it’s difficult to argue with his darker assessment.)
Hedges also seems to accept the GOP rhetorical trap of falling for the distinction between the working class and "snooty liberal elites" when in fact most tea partiers are middle class types who have health insurance and jobs or pensions and are afraid that they'll have to pay for subsidizing the growing ranks of poor people, all the while that they stupidly hector for tax cuts and against deficit spending. What’s particularly maddening about the ascent of Obama is the crisis of the fall of 2008 was the best opportunity for an ideological counter-strike against Reaganism that our society has had in 15 or 20 years, and instead we got a phony health care reform that is set up from the start to be gutted later except for it’s most noxious aspect, the individual mandates that will force people to go to the private sector and will eventually destroy medicare as well. At least we have our distractions.
(In fact the tea partiers are quite correct to object to the individual mandates; it may even be their only salient aspect. Just as, ironically, it will most likely be the one plank of Obama-ism they will never be able to dislodge.)
The video embed above is of the 1st episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle, from 1959.
When first shown on NBC, the cartoons were introduced by a Bullwinkle puppet, voiced by Bill Scott, who would often lampoon celebrities, current events, and especially Walt Disney, whose program Wonderful World of Color was the next show on the schedule. On one occasion, "Bullwinkle" encouraged children to pull the tuning knobs off the TV set. "In that way," explained Bullwinkle, "we'll be sure to be with you next week!" The network received complaints from parents of an estimated 20,000 child viewers who apparently followed Bullwinkle's suggestion. Bullwinkle told the children the following week to put the knobs back on with glue "and make it stick!". The puppet sequence was dropped altogether.
I'm sorry, but that's inspired. Alex Anderson died over the weekend, aged 90. Apparently he created the characters of Rocky and Bullwinkle, along with the basic format of the show. All these years I hadn't heard of Anderson, assuming, as I suspect most Rocky n' Bullwinkle fans did, that Jay Ward was the creator. Richard Corliss discusses the relationship between Ward and Anderson in a nice appreciation of Anderson in Time.
CNN: "Businessman Leo Hindery reveals the real unemployment rate and why it's double the official government figure." (Have you ever embeded a CNN video? Why is their embedding interface so *@in' difficult to use? (I've tried embedding with non-standard sizes too, and their interface doesn't tolerate that either.)
I imagine this will be fixed shortly, but it's still fun to call attention to it.[also here]
Or, Three long-shot African-American Republican House candidates are fuming at national part leaders for not doing enough to help get them elected. Anyway, depending on your browser settings you can probably get a slightly large image if hover over th picture and clic.
Notice something here: the protesters are doing economically damaging things. They aren’t just showing up in the mall, waving some flags, making some speeches and wandering off. Notice also, that Sarkozy is still going to pass his bill.
The key point will be whether the opposition keeps up the pressure. AFTER the bill passes, they must continue rolling strikes and occupations until the elite gives in.
RULE #1 Of Post-Modern Elite Thinking: Elites think in terms of costs. If the cost of something is less than the benefit of doing it, assuming the return is also high enough they will almost certainly do it.
The strikes and shutdowns are a COST. The benefit of raising the pension age is that it pays for bailouts, bonuses and high salaries for the elites (since it helps pay to continue the financial casino.) Unless the cost is clearly going to be higher than the gain, they will do it. The strikes and other actions must continue until the elites who run Sarkozy realize the cost is higher than the benefit to them. Or, of course, they can be made to fear something more existential. It may be time for a new French Republic, for example, which takes power out of their hands entirely and bankrupts them by forcing them to pay back all their ill-gotten gains.
At this point in time, France is the only nation in the first world where there is meaningful resistance to the rush of Austerity (aka. Hooverism) and the attempt by elites to permanently break the power and wealth of the middle and working class.
Pray for France. Because if they fall, no one is even trying, and if they fall the elites will know they can take anything away from any first world’s nation’s population.
One of his commenters:
the way the fund the retirement system is dynamic – money paid to beneficiaries depends on the amount of money collected. Pay-as-you-go. It is not an unfunded mandate. Here is a pretty good synopsis.
Have you been following the situation in France? Over a million people out in the streets protesting, out of a total population of 65 million. Consider. Could you imagine 4 and a half million Americans, all taking to the streets, over Social Security cuts? Seems unlikely. (Incidentally the news reports aren't really accurate, when they say they're protesting their retirement age going from 60 to 62, because the French generally get their full benefits at 65 years, as opposed to the proposed 67 years. They are presently eligible for retirement benefits at 60.)
At this point the AFP says it looks like the parliament will pass the so-called reform, and not heed the demonstrators, even though their cause is apparently pretty popular.
The toads in the video above are Henry Blodget and Aaron Task, and one imagines they really look at things the way they seem to, and are not simply forced to say those crazy things by their boss. When I see things like this I feel angry and discouraged, although I recognize that just because somebody is on TV or the internet and has a platform from which to announce What Americans Think doesn't mean he necessarily knows what he's mouthing off about. If anything, a case could be made that if Big Media feels compelled to go to the trouble of spinning the strikes thus, they feel there's cause to be worried that the American folk may wake from their cable television based slumber. OK, that's probably a stretch-- but who really knows how people feel about the doings in France, or if they're even registering? I dived into the comments at Yahoo, and my decidedly unscientific survey found a strong contingent that also felt that messrs. Blodget and Task were out to lunch.
anonymous: Maybe you are looking at this backwards. Maybe it is the French who look at America and shake their heads in wonder: Why aren’t Americans rioting in the streets continually? As you state, Americans work longer hours, have shorter vacations, a much higher retirement age and no high-quality national health care, and yet they are a docile as sheep and rarely protest vigorously for anything. What is wrong with Americans? Why are they so accepting of their second-tier lifestyle? Is it ignorance of how people in other developed countries live? Sure, both countries are broke at the moment, but look at the difference in quality of life between France and America. Unless you are super rich, might it not be better to be born French than American?
LK: No, the retirement age needn't go up. Taxes do. At 35% the top tax rate for wealthy Americans is about as low as it has been in 100 years. Historically, it has been upwards of 70%. We need to stop borrowing from the rich and start taxing them instead. Don't believe Tech Ticker's propaganda.
anonymous: We would not have such deficits and debts if the government spent our money on what they are supposed to spend it on instead of spending it on stupid $hit. How many billions have we spent looking for WMDs that aren't there? How many billions have we spent trying to stop people from smoking pot? How many billions have we spent bailing out the rich wall streeters? It is because the Axis of Weasels (wall street and washington) has squandered our money...that's why our nation is broke and everyone's retirement is gone. Perhaps we should have a French style revolution....chop, chop!
Sean: Wow! I didn't think this crowd would be so soft on the French, but I agree completely. Americans just bend over and take it, but the French fight. Back in the '80's when agriculture was in crisis and family farms were going belly up all over, what did American farmers do?--they went off into the south 40 and killed themselves--suicide rates spiked in places like Kansas. What did the French do? They fought. Today the French have family farms and world class food and Americans have agribusiness and a 60% obesity rate. Basically, Americans see the economy as something like the weather: what can you do when it changes? Continental Europeans see it as a big machine: you've got to get your hand on the buttons.
And then there was also crap like this:
Eternal Truth: Why is it that in just 3 short generations, we have forgotten what it means to be a human being? For all of man’s existence we have known that we would work and struggle, in one form or another, to make the best life for ourselves and our families. We didn’t rely on someone else to give us something for nothing. We reaped what we sowed (and we still do). The concept of a pension/retirement from someone else’s pocket providing us a comfortable and easy life from some arbitrary age to the day we die is a demonic construct; spawned from the hell of WWII and the Machiavellian manipulations that led up to it, compounded by the enslaving affects of the War on Poverty. We are here to live our life to the best of our ability, and leave the rest up to God – not the Gov’t.
yahoo user: My grandfather worked until he was 83 yrs old and not because he had to. Social Security was there for him and he elected not to take it at 65. So now maybe I'll need to work until I'm 83 as well if I'm blessed with good health and a good employer. As the French say, "C'est la vie!" It is refreshing to see that the French are even lazier and feel more entitled than Americans. And I thought we were the biggest spoiled brats...
Speaking of cultural-specific norms, is the strong correlation between wearing your religion on your sleeve and being a political reactionary strictly an American phenomenon?
Anyway, I think "Valentin" was my favorite commenter. He wrote:
Let's face it, folks! People are spoiled brats!!! They think they are entitled to breathe, eat, drink sleep, copulate/propagate, stay dry when it rains and warm when it snows, lay on the beach doing nothing and write some stupid poetry. But their most ridiculous claim is that they are entitled to live!!! They must be closet commies these people. I propose we reestablish the glorious Committee on Un-American Activities and screen all the wrong-minded folks who believe they are ENTITLED to live!!! I propose we elect to this committee our best citizens who are OUR FINANCIAL and INDUSTRIAL LEADERS!!! No one, and I mean it, NO ONE should be entitled to exist in the LAND OF THE FREE!!!! AMEN. After all we are civilized people and live in the 21st century.
(I wonder how many people may have given Valentin's comment a thumbs up thinking he was serious, or a thumbs down because they thought he was right but took it a little too far.)
I'd like to believe that the sizable contingent of people who wondered what Blodget and Task were smoking is reflective of society as a whole. Still, the French example seems to suggest that the oligarchs intend to ram this through much as the TARP bailout was rammed through the US Congress a month before the 2008 election, and Monday's popular rage became Friday's unfocused discontent.
Matthew Price, BBC News, Paris:
Will the French people finally get back what the workers want - a government that sees its main purpose as being to look after the citizens? My sense is the answer is twice, "Non". And indeed, most French know the world has changed since the days of the all-embracing welfare state.
They know the age of austerity inevitably implies an age of personal responsibility. And personal responsibility is something the Americans I have lived among for the last three years have adopted as a way of life.
I am reminded of a trip I took with a truck driver - named DuWayne - from Wisconsin. One thousand kilometres (600 miles) into an epic ride across the states, he mentioned the French lorry drivers' proclivity to strike.
"We'd never do that here," DuWayne proudly told me. "We work hard."
And it is true - they do.
One year he spent 352 days on the road, in order to pay the bills. I told him that the French strike to protect their working conditions, which were far better than anything he had ever known.
He looked at me, shocked, as if to say, "You mean the French have it better than us?"
That's part of the simulacrum of American life; most people really do believe that we have the highest standard of living, as if starkly dividing society into winners and losers makes for an aggregate "high standard", and if you're not one of the winners it's probably your fault. They know there's some unfairness built into the system, but like the commenter who said Americans look at the economy as being like the weather, they don't question it terribly much.
I still wonder, though, what people think. I trust polls less and less. More and more it seems that US society is balkanized, and it's progressively harder to make a simple categorical statement that "Americans feel that thing X is true" about anything, including the French strikes. Bloget and Task probably are right, at least about some people. But they are undoubtedly wrong about millions more.
I don't really have a tidy conclusion. I wonder if the French parliament, acting as stooges for an international overclass, will ride out the protests and France 2010 will serve as a cautionary example for ordinary people hoping to hold on to their welfare states, telling the people of the EU and the US, Japan, etc, "abandon all hope." Naturally, I hope not.
Carbondale, IL— Rich Whitney, Green party candidate for governor, will appear on MSNBC this Wednesday, October 20th. Mr. Whitney will be interviewed by host Tamron Hall on the show NewsNation live at 1:15 PM central. The candidate will discuss his campaign and the “Whiteygate” ballot scandal.
John Caruso at Distant Ocean has been on a break for a while, something I'm getting ready to do. He wrote on Friday:
If you're hankering for something of substance, read John Halle's response to Robert Parry's hauntingly familiar argument about why you should vote for Democrats, and how if you don't, every bad thing that's ever happened is your personal responsibility. Thrill at the fanciful flights of logic as Parry opines that you may have literally "doomed the future" through your desire to "feel morally pure." And when you've finished reading, repent your heresy and hand your vote back to the party that rightfully owns it. Robert Parry commands you!
Yes, congratulations to the Chilean Miners. May their sea bass always be fluffy and tender. All kidding aside, it really is a heartwarming story. And now, back to the usual mielda:
Atascosa county, in Texas, sent out absentee ballots with the flag of Chile instead of the Texas banner. Nobody even noticed until Troy Knudson, an absentee voter in Japan doing graduate work, caught it. After seeing the mistake, he told the Austin American-Statesman, "I guess it's funny in some way, but my initial reaction was more disbelief that no one had noticed."[also here]
Incidentally I've decided that I'm definitely voting for Bill White, or voting for Deb Shafto, or not voting.
Xymphora discusses his reasons for believing aid worker Linda Norgrove was murdered. They strike me as pretty plausible. Besides, why do you even take grenades along on a rescue mission?
"it's always interesting to find out how the Democratic foreign policy establishment are not just scumbags, but scumbags in exactly the same way the Republican foreign policy establishment are."
Paul Rosenberg says, "David Axelrod is clinically insane," after his astonishing speculation that, "I'm hoping that with more seats, the Republicans will feel a greater sense of responsibility to work with us to solve some of these problems." This is the kind of moronic crap that routinely comes out of the White House - the hope, or at least claim, that bipartisanship is a worthy goal that will somehow be met by greater and greater victories for the right-wing. Me, I'm thinking the behavior of the White House makes perfect sense if they are playing for the other team.
Well that's it, isn't it? People talk about how weak and unfocused the democrats are, how they lack message discipline, etc. Of course they do. How can you have "message discipline" when your real message is "we're just like the republicans, just somewhat less so." I mean you can't come out and say that, right? (Kind of wish they would, although you'd think people wouldn't be so dense, and it shouldn't be necessary...)
Maybe this isn't universally true, and maybe there are individual races, especially in the lower ranks, in non D.C. races, where voting Dem may make sense. I don't know. For example on a personal level I'm still wrestling with whether or not it makes sense to vote for democratic challenger Bill White for governor. The Texas Green candidate, Deb Shafto, mainly talks about federal issues like protecting social security, which are irrelevant in a governor's race, and which make it hard for me to take her seriously. On the other hand maybe building a real third party, at least in its nascent stages, involves not caring about whether or not the early sacrifical candidates are viable.(maybe that's the argument behind Christine O'Donnell.) Or is it building a second party?
Micah talks about The Simpsons, but can't come up with a title
The notable artist Bansky provided the vision for the memorable couch gag on last night’s edition of The Simpsons. In Bansky’s vision, Our Favorite Family’s rush to couch is produced by anguished Korean, presumably South Korean, animators working in dry and literally toxic conditions. And that is the good life as we also see the sweatshop, complete with animal chipper, necessary to produce the Simpsons products that I love, and frankly can’t find in stores much anymore. A panda is whipped and the horn of a shackled unicorn is used to poke holes in the center of DVDs. All of this done in a giant 20th Century Fox building that is guarded by a barbed wire fence like it is a prison. (You can see the intro by going here.)
Now obviously Banksy does not understand how modern capitalism works. A unicorn would be paraded around from city to city and also forced to breed with other stallions to give horse racing a much-needed boost. Hollywood would of course do what is presently unthinkable and make movies about horses that didn’t die over 20 years ago.
I also wonder how accurate the bleak portrayal of the production of The Simpsons is. There is a significant range of conditions in the factories of less developed (or whatever other term you want to use) countries, and I have never been able to find out much about the conditions in the Chinese factories that Homer Simpson clocks and such. As for the animation of the show, it is done in South Korea, which I believe has relatively good working conditions as these things go.
There are probably some out there who would respond to my unqualified response of Fox by saying that exaggeration was used in this opening to make a comedic point. To them, I say exaggeration for comedic purposes is tired and old fashioned. Unless Bret Michaels is to be a star again, I need sincerity and this opening makes me uncomfortable because it makes me question not only my love all things related to The Simpsons, but how I consciously realize that I love this show in an unquestioning way. I don’t worry all that much about the conditions used to produce my action figures and Burger King toys, nor do fear the social outcome of my actions. It is a release from the examinations of everyday life that plague me in all but a dozen or so areas of my existence. Moreover, I hate what makes me uncomfortable almost as much as I hate what I don’t understand.
The political elements of opening are also worth looking at. Fox Broadcasting will go about its business after this aired without a touch of change. This suggests that books such as the John Alberti edited Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture and Mark I. Pinsky’s The Gospel According to The Simpsons are right about the impotence of The Simpsons as an agent of dissent. (Alberti’s work is more nuanced on this point, FWIW.) Then again, one only needs to look at a copy of Juxtapoz to see that major titans of capitalism such as Nike are more than willing to pay for artwork that the average person often can neither understand nor appreciate. Does that mean that art itself is ineffective at commentary? Perhaps, and perhaps there is no effective way to critique the world as it currently exists.
Cobban suggests that the difference between "war" and "air strikes" in polling re military action against Iran makes an enormous difference, which reminds me of my suspicion of establishment polling in general and also makes me wonder if large numbers of Americans are stupider than a can of paint.
The repeated refusal of Iranian offers of dialogue by successive United States administrations suggests that US foreign policy in the Middle East has been driven not by national interest but by the military-industrial complex's need for a constant, external threat to justify its huge share of the treasury. Whether it is the perceived pursuit of nuclear weapons or support for terrorism, there has always been a convenient reason to target a nation.
Freshman Tyler Clementi jumped off a bridge a few days after his sexual encounter with another man was broadcast online. Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, and Ravi's friend Molly Wei were arrested on invasion of privacy charges. They haven't said why they allegedly broadcast the video, but by all accounts, they were good students who had no history of cruel behavior.
"I think it's a case where good kids can do terrible things," says John Palfrey of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives.
But what if they were from a trailer park, instead of the kind of kids whose parents fit nicely into public radio's demographics? I hardly ever visit NPR's website, but here in one of the first things I come across, is just the sort of thing for which their detractors take them to task. But I guess it also dovetails nicely with the case of a good government that can do terrible things, so it's all good.
As you may have noticed Rob Payne has left DH. He was upset at me over something I shouldn't have posted, which I have since corrected, but since then Rob has decided that he is tired of blogging. (His last post at Halcyon Days is here.) I understand this, even though I am disappointed by his decision and hope he might someday decide to return.
I mean to continue, and I hope that Bob and Mimi and Micah might make additional contributions here; I look forward to their posts and always feel exited when I see one of theirs up, just as I did with Rob's posts. I always wanted the members of DH to feel like it is our blog, even though it needs to be noted that Rob essentially carried it on his shoulders, posting 60-70 per cent of the material while he was here.
For now however, I admit to feeling a bit disconnected, partly because of Rob leaving, and partly because I also have other projects I need to attend to, so my posting will be light in October and November.
All the same, I mean to add these folks to the blogroll shortly:
I've debated whether or not to add IOZ, "Stop Me Before I Vote Again" and Lady Poverty just because I suspect most of the few persons likely to visit already know who they are and they don't really need additional promotion, per se.
I still post ephemera that strikes my fancy at Hugo Zoom occasionally. I try to treat DH as the "serious" blog, although hopefully not too much so.
Phillip Weiss suggests that Rick Sanchez was fired partly for his sympathetic coverage of Palistinians, citing this clip above. But that was January of 2009. If it's just based on his recent comments on Jews CNN's dumping him is clearly unfair, especially if you use Lou Dobb's years of immigrant baiting as a yardstick.
His comments on Jon Stewart are more problematic. I admit I haven't watched Stewart in a while and I don't know to what extent Stewart went after him, but I'm inclined to think Sanchez was being unfair in calling him a bigot. In the audio clip below it sounded at first as if he was edging towards a broader critique of US oligarchic groupthink which might include unwavering support for wars of empire, but then he threw that "northeast intellectual elite" bit in and seemed to settle into a groove. Of course he would have to take CNN and the news media establishment to task as well if he attacked Stewart for that.Then again, maybe he wanted to be fired. I often wonder that when I hear of a high-profile individual's missteps in an interview.(Gawker,audio clip)
CNN is saying that Ecuador's government is "teetering on the edge of collapse" but I wonder if that's premature if Correa is as popular as he seems and the military is on his side, against the rebellious police units.
In his inaugural address on 15 January, Correa stated his belief that part of Ecuador's external debt is illegitimate, because it was contracted by military regimes. He also denounced the "so-called Washington Consensus." Correa threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and to suspend review of the country's economy by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund