Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Other News from the White House, I've Been Hired as a Designer for the Easter Egg Roll

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Monday, March 28, 2011

28 March 2011

Xymphora, "End Game in Libya"

and, also via Xymphora:
NYT, "Marines Face Questions About Officers in Libya"

I also found this incident referred to at Wikinews,
"U.S. military denies reports helicopter opened fire on Libyan civilians during rescue mission A spokesperson for the United States military has categorically denied reports of an American helicopter opening fire on Libyan civilians during a rescue mission of two fighter pilots who crashed near the eastern city of Benghazi."
but no mention on CBS News, CNN or MSNBC.

"We're Number One!"

"...while it may be morally correct for a hypothetical power with capacities far in excess of and motives far less questionable than those possessed by the actual West to intervene in a hypothetical conflict in which there are no dubious, hazy conditions of relative morality and relative good, in the practical, actual world, none of this obtains, and what you have, as per usual, is the US and its allies lobbing cruise missiles into a country without reason or planning; just another brutal exercise of DOING SOMETHING because the roots of our narcissism drink from a deep well of insecurity that requires we constantly blow shit up lest we admit to human limitations."

Duncan, "Please Master"

Vikash Yadav , "We're sorry"

AP: Analysis: GOP wins cuts without government closure
Montag the commenter has a blog. Not new, just new to me, here.

"'Brain waste' thwarts immigrants' career dreams "(also here)

Two from Jay Taber:

"Christian Jihad",

Bruce Wilson reports on the Department of Defense merger with Christian jihad. With army bases in the United States now co-sponsoring evangelical Christian rock concerts, American invasions in Central Asia and the Middle East unavoidably take on the ambience of a religious crusade.

"Never What They Seem"

Americans, as we see time and time again, are incredibly naive about world politics. By and large, they accept government propaganda, no matter how absurd. They bought the Cold War script, the drug war script, and the War on Terror script, mostly without a second thought. They even bought the Hope and Change script, electing a Wall Street toady to fight as their champion against the powers that be.

Two from the Christian Science Monitor:
"Wisconsin union-gutting law took effect Saturday – or did it?"

and, " If America were a corporation, would you invest in it?"

(I don't even know where to start explaining how much this creeps me out. I'm going to go through Meeker's entire presentation(I've started it; it's pretty long) and see if I may discuss it some more.)

Dennis Perrin, "Kill Buzz" and "This time for sure"

ATR: "Expanded Memory Hole Now Accepting Cabinet Secretaries"

Who is Beryl Howell? "RIAA lobbyist becomes federal judge, rules on file-sharing cases"

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

remembering Joe Bageant

I was very saddened to hear the news that Joe Bageant passed away yesterday, after a four month battle with cancer. In the fall of 2005 I was lucky enough to hear him speak at a small gathering when I lived in Denton, and converse with him briefly. While I realize it's a commonly expressed standard sentiment, I have to believe everybody who met him and got to know him was pretty lucky. I think you get a sense of that just reading him.

December 2010, "AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM?"

October 2010, "Algorithms and red wine"

July 2008, "Life in a post-political age"

February 2008, "Nine billion little feet"

January 2006, "Revenge of the mutt people"

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Irony deficiency: Yahoo vs. class consciousness

yahoo screenshot indoor pool

yahoo screenshot never retire

Two screenshots from Yahoo from earlier today.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Arthur Silber update

If you read this nanoblog it is likely you have a more than passing familiarity with the great Arthur Silber. He could use some help right now. [24 March 2011]

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

20 March 2011


Reuters, "Some states consider cutting 2012 primaries to save money"

Bob Somerby:

You live inside a plutocrat war—a war being waged by the top one percent. (Well—by the top one-tenth of the top one percent.) This war has been underway for thirty-five years; the plutocrats clearly are winning. In the process, all average people are getting looted—those who voted for Bachmann, those who voted for her opponent. But guess what? The plutocrats will continue to win as long as we slow-witted liberals keep taking the bait from cynics like [Lawrence] O’Donnell—as long as we keep getting conned into heightening our tribal wars.

Two from Slate,

Christopher Beam, "Why so little looting in Japan? The explanation is legal as much as cultural"

Bethany McLean, "Infrastructure privatization: Can banks be trusted?"

commenter Peter D writes:
Privatization of state roads just highlights the inefficiencies and waste of state government. Here in Pennsylvania they debated privatizing the Pennsylvania Turnpike (which they gave up on). If the new owner was going to be able to operate and maintain the roadway AND turn a profit for less than the state is currently paying just to operate and maintain the road (since they don't necessarily have to turn a profit), that just shows how much waste there is in the state system.

Instead of selling off public assets for a one time injection of money, run the state-owned property more efficiently and let the public reap the rewards in lower fees/tolls and/or lower taxes. What is inevitably going to happen when that one time shot of money runs out is that you will end up with no more public assets AND high fees and taxes from the lack of income producing assets. Then what are you going to do?

Naked Capitalism, "Everything you need to know about torture"

"Welfare State: Handouts Make Up One-Third of U.S. Wages"
(Apparently CNBC counts social security payments as a 'handout', ignoring the years of payments you have to put into the system to be eligible.)

Thomas Daulton, American Crackpot,"Risking other people's money":

The supposedly 'for-profit' nuclear industry is completely a creature of government subsidies.

Rob Payne, "The Libyan question"

And yes, it seems we are at war with Libya, Kosovo-intervention style. I want to preface my remarks by noting that I don't for a moment doubt that Khaddafy is indeed brutalizing his people, and that large numbers of them want him gone. All the same I can't help but be reminded of that old photo from the Vietnam conflict of a soldier's helmet that read "Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity."

Inevitably, the idea of a 'humanitarian intervention' is attractive to people, the good guys coming to the aid of the virtuous freedom fighters trying to overthrow a brutal oppressor. I imagine the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan also regard themselves as virtuous freedom fighters trying to get rid of an oppressor. I also imagine the protesters in Yemen and Bahrain feel they are being brutally oppressed, what with the massacres and such. So how are all these things different, and why do we not come to the aid of the people of Yemen and Bahrain?

Of course if we did come to the aid of Yemen and Bahrain, we would do it knowing that we weren't going to destabilize the region, and any deaths were modest, acceptable losses. We can know what are 'acceptable' losses in Libya, I guess, because Khaddafy has a long history of dressing up in fanciful garb, so any announcement regarding casualties in Libya is probably a lie that can be dismissed. Khaddafy also nationalized Libya's oil in the 70s, so a mean-spirited person might wonder if a strong man will emerge among the rebels who means to cut a deal to privatize them after the revolution.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Bomb Libya or Lose the World!

It makes me a bit uneasy when I hear denizens of the United States making fun of a foreign leader for saying something stupid. Sure, they might deserve it, but it often seems hypocritical and at least bordering on bullying.

I think back to 2003 and Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf a.k.a. Baghdad Bob. High on the thrill of a war for freedom and democracy, pundits filled pages and screen ridiculing him for making obviously false statements such as U.S. troops were committing suicide en masse even as the U.S. was successfully taking over Iraq.

At the same time, these same people had no problem with George W. Bush making hilarious statements about how the U.S. was not an empire because some troops were returning to the U.S.

So with that caveat aside, I was amused Muammar Gaddafi’s recent comments blaming al-Qaeda, along with drugs, for the evil revolt in Libya.

Isn’t he supposed to blaming America, the Great Satan and blood sucking vulture of the world? When did Osama bin Laden become the face of evil in that part of the world?

Could it be that Americans wasting so much time on social media is finally starting to pay off for the world? Maybe we aren’t very good at running other countries anymore.

Well, no. As much as I would like to be optimistic, I suspect that the Gaddafi was trying to do was rekindle western support, however great the odds against this are. Or maybe he is delusional. (Calling the leaders of other countries “crazy” or “delusional” for acting in a way that the U.S. does not approve of, but which is rational, is another pet peeve of mine. But perhaps he is irrational.)

All that said, if we Americans are to make sure we that we remain on top of the world, we had better hurry up and pull off a successful intervention in Libya that we get credit for. Sending weapons via Saudi Arabia has a certain Iran-Contra quality to it, but it might not be enough. Reagan never could take credit for that and, even today, the ungrateful likes of Oliver North do not give Iran proper credit for helping us to win the Cold War. I favor relentless bombings and then, just as we did in Iraq, teaching the new Libyan government how to repress its people without creating a controversy.

The stakes are high. We are in the fourth quarter of sudden death overtime, and all of the money is on the table. If we act, we can show everyone that the earth stills revolves around the red, white and blue. If we fail, people in other countries might see themselves as legitimate human beings.

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