Thursday, August 11, 2011

11 August 2011

Joshua Holland (Alternet) on the "Super Congress"

Two from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

1.Attorney for Graves, Rogers: Bank is at fault(via Unqualified Offerings)

Jeremy Redmon and Aaron Gould Sheinin:

CALHOUN -- While U.S. Rep. Tom Graves was calling for fiscal responsibility in Washington his attorney was arguing in a lawsuit that a North Georgia bank is at fault for issuing Graves a $2.2 million loan the bank knew he could not repay. Graves was fighting a lawsuit along with business partner Chip Rogers, the state Senate majority leader. The two Republicans, through a limited-liability company, used the loan to purchase and renovate a Calhoun motel that quickly went under.

The bank sued, alleging the two defaulted on the loan. The politicians filed counterclaims against the bank, accusing it of improperly declaring the loan in default after reneging on a promise to refinance it at more favorable terms.

2.Pa. judge gets 28 years in 'kids for cash' case |

SCRANTON, Pa. — A longtime northeastern Pennsylvania judge has been ordered to spend nearly three decades in prison for his role in a massive juvenile justice bribery scandal that prompted the state's high court to toss thousands of convictions.

Dahlia Lithwick,Slate, "The GOP's war on the NLRB isn't just about airplanes and unions"

John Robb writes(July 29th), " I admire the way the US gov't used the budget fight to manufacture a black swan financial event out of thin air. Very GG of them. Of course, there will be lasting damage done that hasn't been considered even if it doesn't result in a default. "

The capital of hard times: With 28% of unemployment, a U.S. high, Arizona city twists in the wind. Erik German, Monday, August 1, 2011

Thoreau at Unqualified Offerings, "Hire one man to drop a bomb, hire another man to fill the crater with old tea leaves"

Poll: Christians Are Much More Likely to Condone Violence Than Muslims or Atheists

from the Christian Science Monitor, "Knights Templar: In Mexico, like Norway, criminals look to past for legitimacy"
The attacker in Norway and a Mexican drug ring both invoke the ancient Knights Templar to describe themselves. Why do violent ideologues and criminals search the past for inspiration?

Buckeye surgeon, "Irrational death"

Belarus Drafts Law Against Peaceful Gatherings
(via NYT)

The class politics of the US debt ceiling crisis
(I think this was from Jodi Dean)

Jay Taber, "Greed Kills"

In his 1994 book Civil Wars: From L.A. to Bosnia, Hans Magnus Enzensburger examined the consequences of societies built on systems that treated people as if they didn't matter. Introduce weapons and scapegoating, and pandemonium will ensue.

Thursday, August 11, 2011, Reality Zone:
"5 Reasons Why American Riots Will Be The Worst In The World"

via KFO, who writes,

20% is that portion of the landscape where government is recognized as an oppressor, not a force for good; where consumerism is seen as destructive, not liberating; where capitalism is seen as plutocratic, not empowering; where fashion-style-fine wines-fine dining-trendy literature are seen as corrosive diversions, not as fulfilling ways to spend one's time. The 20% is where we find that America is fatally collapsing because of hubris, greed, materialism, self-satisfaction, consumerism, and a pretense of being beyond and above failure.

Dennis Perrin,"Chaotic Masters"

...Instead, they rave on about Obama the Socialist Muslim. They cite the Founders as timeless seers whose 18th century social notions fit a 21st century global economy. They blast runaway spending but say little about corporate/military influence. That they didn't erupt when Bush expanded the state exposes their hypocrisy. Tea Partiers are no threat to the status quo. They espouse some vile opinions, but then so do many Americans.

Liberals pout and are equally locked down. Far from organizing grassroots resistance, liberals leap into Dem arms, afraid of the scary GOP. As I've said, it's a beautiful system for those who own it.

I tend to think that Dennis Perrin is closer to the mark. Things may get worse, maybe even a lot worse, but Americans, at least those who vote, seem to have an endless appetite for hitching their aspirations to co-opted faux outsiders, both on the left and the right.

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At August 12, 2011 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for the quote. Mind if I offer the lazy (who won't jump to my place) the explanation of the 20%?

It refers to admired "experts" who tell only 80% of the truth about what's happening in America, and intentionally omit the uglier 20% of that truth.

While I chose Glenn Greenwald as the "admired expert," anyone in Greenwald's position would suffice. Any admired pundit, blogger, politician, professor, scholar who is commenting on the American landscape today, whether from "right" or "left," is telling only the prettiest part of the story, the tolerable 80%.

Disclosing the ugly 20% would shock readers, and cause a loss of admiration for the "expert," because people want to believe things really are not that bad... just a temporary glitch... a minor "recession," a wee slump.

At August 12, 2011 10:09 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hello KFO,

Not at all.

Actually the sitemeter thingamajig suggests that today more people than usual have been looking at the links, although I'm not sure whether that includes yours.

I don't know if people would be that shocked, and I don't know if Greenwald is the best example.

However whenever I sense that an establishment pundit or expert goes to the 'water's edge' of where his argument takes him then seems to suddenly pull back, I sometimes wonder if it's more the disapprobation of his peers in fancy writer's world that he fears(and that of Employers of Fancy Writers), than fear of regular people taking offense.

I think that if I were to give an example I might use Krugman, who means well and talks a good talk but then gets all puzzled by why the people in charge, who surely must see the same things he does, nevertheless refuse to act the way he says they should.

At August 12, 2011 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Krugman is baffled.

I don't think Greenwald is naive.

I think they like their creature comforts and public adulation, and therefore intentionally ignore what might cause friction with their employer/publisher, or surprise among their readers/fanbase.

In Greenwald's case, the guy doesn't ever offer anything valuable as a legal or political system insight. What he does is state the obvious in a legalese-ish manner. His massive fanbase continues to baffle me -- if we're exploring bafflement! To this day I've never encountered anything by Greenwald that was wise, insightful, or otherwise exposed what isn't already obvious.

I think the need he satisfies for his fans is the appearance of being thorough. Many Americans like the facticity approach, as if they cannot trust their own instincts. It's part of the American culture, the deference to "experts" and the seeing of the self as an ignorant fool who must consult another to verify that the sky is blue and the sun is yellow.

Krugman, like any other public economist, is employed to spin up tales that allow the continued operation of capitalist systems in America. His feigning surprise that Obama and the Democrats are apparently doing what nobody imagined they could do... how in any way can this be a real surprise to him? He'd have to be immensely naive -- while at the same time being a wise, learned genius of economics?


I don't buy it.


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