Sunday, January 31, 2010

Okay. Call Me An "Elitist."

Because it is ALWAYS useful to hold your opponents in utter contempt, and any reason suffices...

Perhaps you've noticed: the "tee-bagers, berthurs, tinthers, climbate denilists," all seem --when they are moved to speak beyond the grunts of their tribal dialects at all-- to have serious issues with their native language...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

From "The People's History of the USA," narrated by the late Howard Zinn

Attention Robert Siegel of NPR "All Things ConceitedConsidered": Neither you nor your hand-picked slanderer, that feculentbag of discredited conservotard bile and spite, David (W)Horowitz, is worthy of licking the crusted, cakey shit off Howard Zinn's dead, rictic anus, you gutless, chickenshit, cowering, smirking, simpering motherfuckers...

Friday, January 29, 2010

"How The News Gets Reported" (AW, Listen Through 'Phones')

Via TruthDig:
This clip is, as they say across the pond, brilliant. A humorous fellow by the name of Charlie Brooker has cracked the not-so-secret code to how one properly reports the news, and it involves meaningful hand gestures, well-timed freezes, man-on-the-street reportage and headless shots of overweight people milling through metropolitan foot traffic. Watch and learn! But do note that there’s a bit of salty language in this one. —KA
DOTOF™ to FBer Michael Dōmo-kun Owens.

"Repeal The First Amendment"

Reliably, several times per year, somewhere in the USofA, somebody--usually a civics teacher/professor-- takes up the challenge of proving many, many Murkins are too stupid--too ill-informed, too ill-educated, too ill-born--to vote by asking them to vote on whether to enact either the whole Bill of Rights or just one of them. This vid is of the latter class:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A "Top Ten" Reasons Corporations Aren't Really People

Via The Nation/VanDenHeuvel:
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, free to flood campaigns with cash contributions so that the voices of, well--real people--are drowned out, the stakes and emotions around this issue are high. Rightly so. Here are 10 creative replies to this monstrous decision (in no particular order). I welcome your own suggestions below.
1) "If corporations are 'people' then HEY it's time to re-institute the draft..." --ddeclue, Democratic Underground
2) "Corporations are legally people. And it makes sense, folks. They do everything people do except breath, die, and go to jail for dumping 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the Hudson River." --Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
3) "A corporation has no soul to be damned, no body to be kicked, and that is why corporations essentially get away with murder in matters like compensation." --Nell Minow, Editor and Founder, The Corporate Library
4) "Will SCOTUS give gay corporations the right to marry?" --@mattyglesias
5) "If corporations get the same privileges as people, then people should have the same privileges as corporations. BAIL US OUT!!" --munklanis,
6) "Corporations are an oppressed minority forced to move headquarters from state to state in search of friendlier tax codes--sometimes being forced to live just off our shores in tiny mailboxes." --John Oliver, The Daily Show
7) "Restrict Personhood 2 those who bleed...Goldman doesn't bleed. Do Glenn Beck, Cheney, Blankfein?" --@hughsansom
8) "If corporations have the same rights as people, we need to shut down Wall St., as we shouldn't be buying & selling them." --@Geofutures
9) "So the next time you're walking down the street and you see ExxonMobile, or ChevronTexaco take them by the hand and say, 'Hello.' Take Diebold out for dinner but please don't let Diebold figure out the tip. Isn't Blackwater entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of billions in Iraq War contracts? You know what? Citigroup has two i's too." --A Message About Corporate Personhood from Nero Fiddled
10) "Corporations have free speech. But they can't speak like you and me. They don't have mouths or hands. (Just A Giant Middle Finger.) Instead, they must speak the only way they can--through billions and billions of dollars." --Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
"Now is the time for us to put in motion a great popular movement to amend the constitution to defend democracy against the champions of corporate plutocracy. Go to" --Jamie Raskin, Maryland State Senator and Nation contributor
I don't want always to be the wet blanket on the proceedings but, as to the liklelihood of the efficacy of a Constitutional Amendment, I am not at all sanguine about the prospects.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

From The Dept. Of Dr. Woody Explains It All For You: Constitutional Amendments

Remember the ERA?

This is a message intended for all the good-hearted, optimistic, angry, disappointed people who were caught by surprise by the SCROTUS ruling in C.U. v. FEC who hope that Donna Edwards' amendment, introduced today, to roll back "CU v. FEC" will be effective and or adequate or if it is even plausible, and not some rhetorical 'life-saver' tossed over the side by a distracted passenger.

Regard the ERA. The simplest, most straight-forward of propositions: Equality, simple justice. Got through Congress in '72. Never passed in 38 States. Thirty Eight years ago.

Passage of a constitutional amendment requires completion of some combination of Congressional, State legislative, and State referenda. There are a couple of sine qua nons: It requires the affirmative vote of 67 Senator...and of 291 Congresscritters PLUS the popular vote of three/quarters (38) States, either in legislative or popular vote. It is not a walk in the park, and it will be made all the more difficult in this case by the determined and unregulated opposition to it from the very people the decision has liberated to purchase the results of any vote in which they take an interest.

And the fact, simple and true, is that the level of the bar (so to speak) for passage of a Constitutional amendment was set exponentially higher with the decision the proposed amendment would be designed to circumvent, in an environment wherein the opponents of such a measure would be unconstrained either by cost or truth to defeat it and retain their privilege and power.

With all the existing capacities to impede, or completely reject in the Congress legislative measures which anger the Owners, the additional power of the opponents inexhaustible purses will be virtually unlimited, in that they can reward and /or punish elected legislators and regulators, without fear of any legal censure: they'll hold the balls/pubes of EVERY elected official gripped tightly in their moneyed fists.

Nobody alive today will live to see that Amendment enacted...nor any of their children, either...

Jon Stewart Macking On Elizabeth Warren

When I heard she'd been invited to the WhiteHouse, I was briefly optimistic that the Shamwow regime had decided to recruit her to replace Geithner and/or Bernanke. She's THAT smart.

But of course, Shamwow's eager, terrified solicitude for "the market" (and his vulnerability to another "crash") makes that 'unpossible...'

Elizabeth Warren
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why Won't The Dims FIGHT?

After citing, describing, and explaining the utterly incredible, unintelligible, inexpressably cowardly sell-out by the Dims' "leadership" (Prez. Shamwow not only included byut leading the way) to the blue-dawg wing of the "party" over the coverage of abortion in the proposed Health-Care-Reform" bill currently stewing in Congress, American Progress columnist Michelle Goldberg, noting that
We've reached a point where health-care reform hinges on abortion, but the pro-choice movement loses either way. It can't rally behind the existing legislation (by which abortion coverage is excluded AND disincentivized even in exi8sting coverages--W). At the same time, because the future of abortion rights in America is deeply entwined with the future of the Democratic Party, the failure of health-care reform, and the consequent weakening of the Democrats, would ultimately be disastrous for choice. It's a total mess. But was it inevitable?
Aye, that's the question, and Ms Greenberg proceeds to identify mistakes, missteps, and misunderestimations which plagued the bill through the whole process, concluding":
Meanwhile, instead of acquiescing to the idea that federal funding of abortion is beyond the pale, the pro-choice movement would have forced a debate and possibly pushed the center a bit in the direction of justice.

The lesson here goes far beyond abortion. It's not that progressives should be uncompromising or refuse to make concessions to political reality. It's that concessions will never mollify the right or ward off political attacks. It's a mystery why the Democratic Party never seems to grasp this. There's no choice but to fight.
I am afraid that Ms Greenberg, and a lot of other pundits overlook a single, simple truth here, in evaluating the power of the "lib/prog/Dim" wing of the Party of Property to actually enact any measures that significantly improve the lot of its constituents, benefits accruing to the other wing notwithstanding.

The "Dims" don't fight because the leadership doesn't have the stomach for it. And it doesn't have the stomach for a fight because it hasn't enough POWER to win, even if it wanted to (which prospect is debatable, given the avidity with which DimPoPs pursue the corpoRat sheckel) without then compromising away any and every advantage it might have won.

And that is because of the DimPoPs constituents: they are never as "deserving" as those of the other "wing," the GOPoPs. Nothing bespeaks the worthiness of the elect like their earthly accoutrements, as their founding theologer John Calvin decreed 500 years ago. By their poverty, the poor manifest God's displeasure with them; for if they were not evil, they would not be poor. It's perfectly clear. (And it also clarifies the role of Pat Robertson as the spiritual beacon of the movement.) The DimPoPs must therefore be the party of the Devil.

So, because the DimPoPs are the representatives of the "inferior" social orders (colored, poor, disadvantaged, sick, homeless, injured, etc), it therefore requires MORE votes--more POWER--to accomplish their ends than it takes to enact the wishes of the GOPoPs, which are the default conditions in any case.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's A FUUKING Miracle!

It is a truly remarkable feat, in just one year's time, to turn the fear and anger voters felt in 2006 and 2008 at a Republican Party that had destroyed the economy, redistributed massive amounts of wealth from the middle class to the richest of the rich and the biggest of big businesses, and waged a trillion-dollar war in the wrong country, into populist rage at whatever Democrat voters can cast their ballot against.
So writes Drew Westen on CommonDreams/HuffPost this week. He goes on to recount Obama's lapses, while I digress.

Because it is difficult to me to look at that record and not to think that THAT--absorbing all that rage and animus--was EXACTLY what he was selected to do.

Because, while it is truly miraculous for any regime to have accomplished so much so soon to deflect blame, responsibility and accountability AWAY from the departed Busheviki and absorb it, shamwow-like, unto and onto the Dims & "thePrez," it was not unanticipated. In my opinion, it was fore-ordained. It was a condition of the job. I'll bet there is a contract somewhere setting out Pres. Obama's "duties" to absolve the Busheviki, in exchange for becoming the first ("______") Prez.

In fact, as I have stated often, elsewhere, I believe that to have been the reason Obama (or Hillary) were DESIGNATED to be the eventual Dim nominees. Either would have served the Owners to illustrate the futility of entrusting the State to any but the usual suspects: rich WHITE men. Either would have made a perfectly adequate scapegoat.
What happens if you refuse to lay the blame for the destruction of our economy on anyone--particularly the party, leaders, and ideology that were in power for the last 8 years and were responsible for it? What happens if you fail to "brand" what has happened as the Bush Depression or the Republican Depression or the natural result of the ideology of unregulated greed, the way FDR branded the Great Depression as Hoover's Depression and created a Democratic majority for 50 years and a new vision of what effective government can do? What happens when you fail to offer and continually reinforce a narrative about what has happened, who caused it, and how you're going to fix it that Americans understand, that makes them angry, that makes them hopeful, and that makes them committed to you and your policies during the tough times that will inevitably lie ahead?
When you know your job is NOT to blame the white establishment, but absorb the blame your own black self, what happens is: Mission Accomplished!

In 2113/2013, the fascisti --the Busheviki, oozing unctuous smirk-- be WELCOMED back, with kisses and roses...

And that_will_be_that for the political aspirations of women and/or any other marginalized "minority." SCROTUS decision in CU v. FEC assured that outcome for all time. Freedom of speech, in politics, at least, is nothing more than a flaky, rhetorical device.

"Oh, no!" you say, "we can pass laws, a constitutional amendment, to save popular sovereignty!"

No, I am sorry, no, we can't. Weren't you paying attention?

As a result of the CU v. FEC decision, no Congresscritter who does not possess an unlimited personal fortune can or should be expected to buck the will of CorpoRat constituents who can either donate millions to ensure her or his election, or donate the same amount to her/his defeat by an opponent selected for compliance and moral pliability.

Not Congresscritters alone, of course, are now subject to the unabated lash of corpoRat/fat cat/special interest cash. It also affects ANY OTHER elected official, at any level--which is what makes this decision so desperately and egregiously and perniciously wrong. And the lowser down the ranks you move, the more venal and desperate become the cfandidates to whom advantages can and will be offered.

So, though you don't know it yet, apparently, you have just seen the curtain wrung silently down on your ability to contribute meaningfully to the political debate, unless you command millions of dollars with to buy your representatives' seat at the table in your name.

Hope you enjoyed the ride...Y'all come back, y'hear?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Tweetie" Matthews, Like (Foul) Water, Finds His Own Level

Robert Parry, of the ConsortiumNews blog, is one of the most ruthless, relentless critics of the USer/Villager/DC media circus. Here he gleefully and painfully eviscerates Chris Matthews' so-called 'reporting'/punditry on the crisis in Haiti and other matters. (Via):

Chris Matthews and His 'Hardball' Follies: Taking Us to New Depths of Dumbed-Down Politics
By Robert Parry, Consortium News. Posted January 20, 2010.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews personifies the puffed-up self-importance and total lack of self-awareness that has come to define America's media punditocracy.

This past week, grappling with the twin top stories of Haiti's earthquake tragedy and the Massachusetts Senate race, MSNBC's Chris Matthews personified the strange mix of puffed-up self-importance and total lack of self-awareness that has come to define America's media punditocracy.

During "Hardball" programs of recent days, Matthews has veered from pontificating about how the killer earthquake in Haiti might finally cause its people to get "serious" about their politics to explaining how Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley deserves to lose, in part, because she called ex-Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling "a Yankees fan."

Not only did Matthews's remarks about Haitian politics reflect a profound ignorance about that country and its history, but he seemed blissfully clueless about his own role as a purveyor of political trivia over substance in his dozen years as a TV talk-show host in the United States, as demonstrated in his poll-and-gaffe-obsessed coverage of the important Massachusetts Senate race.

Indeed, Matthews may be the archetype of what's wrong with the U.S. news media, a devotee of conventional wisdom who splashes in the shallowest baby pool of American politics while pretending to be the big boy who's diving into the deep end.

When the United States most needed courageous journalism in 2003, Matthews hailed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, declaring "we're all neocons now" and praising the manliness of President George W. Bush's flight-suited arrival on the USS Abraham Lincoln to celebrate "mission accomplished."
("Tweetie's" man-crush on Commander Cod-piece was too enthusiastic to have stopped at 'manly'--W)

And today, if Matthews's interest in political "hardball" were genuine - not just an excuse to position himself as a relentless front-runner - he might have used some of the hours devoted to the Haitian crisis to explain how real "hardball" politics works. He also might have discussed the true merits and demerits of Coakley and her Republican rival, state Sen. Scott Brown, not just the atmospherics of their campaigns.

Instead, regarding Haiti, Matthews detected a silver lining in the catastrophe that may have killed more than 100,000 people. He said the horrific event might finally cause the people there to cast off their supposedly frivolous attitude toward politics.

In a stunning display of racial and historical tone-deafness, Matthews compared Haiti's alleged political fun-and-games with those of Louisiana in its supposed tolerance of corrupt machine politicians who left New Orleans vulnerable to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Whether he intended it or not, there was the creepy implication that descendants of African slaves were at fault for their own suffering in both cases.
(Oh, he meant it, right enough. He's "bourgeoisie" through and through--W)

While not quite as weird as the remarks by right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson - blaming the earthquake and other natural disasters that have hit Haiti on the Haitians supposedly striking a two-century-old deal with the devil to drive out their French slaveowners - Matthews's commentary may have been even more troubling since it reflected a more mainstream U.S. media viewpoint.
There is NOTHING in the world more "troubling" than the USer "conventional wisdom" in the age of the 24-Hour news-cycloe and the perfection of the Big Lie. There's more wisdom in a bag of hammers.

There is much, much more in Parry's piece to which you would be well-served by attending...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dept. of N-CHEAT**: Oil Off and Under Haiti?

"Why is the US Embassy in Haiti the fifth-largest US Embassy in the World?"

In an interesting bit of serendipitous prescience, The Centre for Research on Globalization, back in October of '09, published the following, outlining the resource-linkages between Haiti and the USer "bidness" oiligarchy:

Oil in Haiti - Economic Reasons for the UN/US Occupation

by Marguerite Laurent

Oil in Haiti and Oil Refinery - an old notion for Fort Liberte as a transshipment terminal for US supertankers - Another economic reason for the ouster of President Aristide and current UN occupation (Haiti's Riches:Interview with Ezili Dantò on Mining in Haiti)

There is evidence that the United States found oil in Haiti decades ago and due to the geopolitical circumstances and big business interests of that era made the decision to keep Haitian oil in reserve for when Middle Eastern oil had dried up. This is detailed by Dr. Georges Michel in an article dated March 27, 2004 outlining the history of oil explorations and oil reserves in Haiti and in the research of Dr. Ginette and Daniel Mathurin.

There is also good evidence that these very same big US oil companies and their inter-related monopolies of engineering and defense contractors made plans, decades ago, to use Haiti's deep water ports either for oil refineries or to develop oil tank farm sites or depots where crude oil could be stored and later transferred to small tankers to serve U.S. and Caribbean ports. This is detailed in a paper about
the Dunn Plantation at Fort Liberte in Haiti.

Ezili's HLLN underlines these two papers on Haiti's oil resources and the works of
Dr. Ginette and Daniel Mathurin in order to provide a view one will not find in the mainstream media nor anywhere else as to the economic and strategic reasons the US has constructed its fifth largest embassy in the world - fifth only besides the US embassy in China, Iraq, Iran and Germany - in tiny Haiti, post the 2004 Haiti Bush regime change.

The facts outlined in the Dunn Plantation and Georges Michel papers, considered together, reasonably unveil part of the hidden reasons UN Special Envoy to Haiti,
Bill Clinton, is giving the UN occupation a facelift so that its troops stay in Haiti for the duration.

Ezili's HLLN has consistently maintained, since the beginning of the 2004 Bush regime change in Haiti, that the 2004 US invasion of Haiti used UN troops as its military proxy to avoid the charge of imperialism and racism. We have also consistently maintained that the UN/US invasion and occupation of Haiti is not about protecting Haitian rights, security, stability or long-term domestic development but about returning the Washington Chimeres/[gangsters] -
the traditional Haitian Oligarchs - to power, establishing free trade not fair trade, the Chicago-boys' death plan, neoliberal policies, keeping the minimum wage at slave wage levels, plundering Haiti's natural resources and riches, not to mention using the location benefit that Haiti lies between Cuba and Venezuela. Two countries the US has unsuccessfuly orchestrated regime changes in and continues to pursue. In the Dunn Plantation and Georges Michel papers, we find and deploy further details as to why the US is in Haiti with this attempted Bill Clinton facelift to the UN's continued occupations.

For, no matter the disguise or media spins it's also about Haiti's oil reserves, and about securing Haiti's deep-water ports as transshipment location for oil or for tank sites to store crude oil without interference from a democratic government beholden to its informed population's welfare. (See Reynold's deep water port in Miragoane/NIPDEVCO property- scroll to photos in middle of the page.)

In Haiti, between 1994 to 2004 when the people had a voice in government, there was an intense grassroots movement to figure out how to exploit Haiti's resources. There was a plan, where in the book "Investing In People:
Lavalas White Book under the direction of Jean-Betrand Aristide (Investir Dans L'Humain), the Haitian majority "were not only told where the resources were, but that -- they did not have the skills and technology to actually extract the gold, to extract the oil." (Emphases supplied--W.)
There is much more to the whole article, but that's a pretty good summary. When in doubt, follow the money6. It's the OIL, stupid...

**N-CHEAT = "Nobody Could Have Ever Anticipated That!"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm In--Even if it is futile

NAGAHAPUN, sorry 'bouddat...
You need two thirds of BOTH Houses, AND three-quarters of the states...

And the CorpoRats now have completely unrestricted license to spend as much to effect the outcome as they want.

Folks, it's too late, unless it's bloody revolt--and the average Murkin would only tolerate that if colored people took over everything, and they felt they had nuthin to lose.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The "Pragmatics" of Prosecuting Torture & Murder Of Detainees

Prez Shamwow CANNOT prosecute the malefactors in this case for a variety of reasons, which I have rehearsed before:
1) Pragmatism (P.1). If Shamwow undertakes to get to the bottom of these murders, he will be in effect writing the warrant that the Pukes will use to come after him when his term expires.
2) Pragmatism (p.2): Remember JFK. He probably was killed on orders of Allen Dulles, for his effrontery in trying to rein in the CIA. If Prez. Shamwow actively prosecutes any CIA operatives, his life wouldn't be worth a plug nickel.
3) Precedent: There is none for investigating, and prosecuting FORMER members of a departed regime for mal- or mis-feasance.
4) Even if it got to trial, all the defendants would have to do would be to plead that they were acting "in the national interest." They'd either get off by straight acquittal or by jury nullification.
5) I doubt you could even empanel an objective jury. It only takes one juror who refuses to agree unanimously do derail a conviction. Still pretty close to 50% of the population would have returned Bushevik McCain for term 3.
I noted during the campaign in '08 and earlier that the one song we'd hear the loudest from whomsoEVER the victor was would be "Justa Walk & Don't Look Back."

Murder @ Gitmo!

Mayhap you recall, back in '06, there were three reported "suicides" at Gitmo among detainees. According to Scott Horton, writing in this month's Harper's Magazine, and on line at the magazine's page,
Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.
The situation was anamalous, though, because early medical reports of the means of their deaths--strangulation by hanging themselves from bed-sheets and underwear tied to the top of an 8-foot fence--that at least one of the dead bodies had both it's hands and feet bound, and two others had rags stuffed deeply into their mouths and throats. These factors were, however, overlooked, and the military hurriedly issued the judgment of suicide.

Horton reports than now new information has come to light which is leading investigators closer to the conclusion that the deaths were indeed homicides.
The official story of the prisoners’ deaths was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centerpiece of the report—a reconstruction of the events—was simply unbelievable.

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously...
Now four members of the Military Intelligence unit assigned to guard Camp Delta, including a decorated non-commissioned Army officer who was on duty as sergeant of the guard the night of June 9–10, have furnished an account dramatically at odds with the NCIS report—a report for which they were neither interviewed nor approached.

All four soldiers say they were ordered by their commanding officer not to speak out, and all four soldiers provide evidence that authorities initiated a cover-up within hours of the prisoners’ deaths. Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman and men under his supervision have disclosed evidence in interviews with Harper’s Magazine that strongly suggests that the three prisoners who died on June 9 had been transported to another location prior to their deaths. The guards’ accounts also reveal the existence of a previously unreported black site at Guantánamo where the deaths, or at least the events that led directly to the deaths, most likely occurred.
The entire Harper's article is quite long, and exhaustive. But I think the link won't open unless you're a Harper's subscriber (I am; the Feb # with this story on the cover, arrived yesterday.). As always, I recommend subscribing to the Most Intelligent Magazine in the USofA. News-stand prices, whilst worth the price, are high-ish, so save money and subscribe; you should be reading Harper's...

Monday, January 18, 2010

10 OTHER Things MLK Said

Then, via TPMCafe:
The Santa Clausification of Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Andrew Golis - April 4, 2008, 6:22PM

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a democratic socialist.

He never called himself that in public. Cold War red-baiting was still powerful and haunted him even before his rhetoric turned to class. But his organizing was increasingly in that vein and privately he spoke of his support for democratic socialism. He was organizing a Poor People's Campaign and talking about the necessity to build an interracial movement for economic justice.

In this and in many other ways, King was a radical. But, from watching most of the news coverage of the 40th anniversary of King's assassination today, you wouldn't know it. The absence in our collective memory of of King's leftism is just one of the aspects of what Cornell West calls the Santa Clausification of MLK:
He just becomes a nice little old man with a smile with toys in his bag, not a threat to anybody, as if his fundamental commitment to unconditional love and unarmed truth does not bring to bear certain kinds of pressure to a status quo. So the status quo feels so comfortable as though it's a convenient thing to do rather than acknowledge him as to what he was, what the FBI said, "The most dangerous man in America." Why? Because of his fundamental commitment to love and to justice and trying to keep track of the humanity of each and every one of us. [...]

... [I]n the market-driven world in which celebrity status operates in such a way that it tries to diffuse all of the threat and to sugarcoat and deodorize what actually is rather funky.
Kai Wright has a great piece in The American Prospect today that goes through a lot of the rest of King's lost radicalism. On the way in which the white aristocracy used race as a means of maintaining its economic power (read: GOP for the last 40 years):

"The Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow," King lectured from the Alabama Capitol steps, following the 1965 march on Selma. "And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man."

On the racism of the segregated Northern Cities:
The central defense Southern segregationists offered when thrust on the national stage was that their Jim Crow was no more of a brute than the North's. King agreed, and in announcing his organization's move into Chicago, he called the North's urban ghettos "a system of internal colonialism not unlike the exploitation of the Congo by Belgium." And he named names, pointing to racist unions as one of a dozen institutions conspiring to strip-mine black communities.
On the radical challenge presented by growing materialism and the Vietnam War:
"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
Much has been made, and I have spent a lot of time trying to understand, the absence of a real American Left since the late Sixties. You can talk about the rise of identity politics, the fracturing of the New Deal coalition as a result of Vietnam, the decline of America's manufacturing base, the flight of elites to academia, the rise of the New Right, and as King prophetically notes the ongoing racial divisions that split poor whites from poor blacks in the South (and, it turns out, still in the North). It's not a simple story.

But on today of all days, it's worth considering the fact that one of America's greatest intellectuals and activists, possibly the most powerful leader in the history of the American Left, is remembered condescendingly as a cartoon version of the challenging man he was. As Rich Yeselson put it to me in an email (reprinted here with his permission), "America recuperates everything and everybody within its endless pageant of progress."

There is, of course, something healthy about a nation that creates for itself a narrative of progress. It allows us to have a sense of momentum and make things that were once controversial foundational to future generations. It is, in that sense, a part of perpetuating and solidifying progress made.

In King's case, though, it cut us off from a message that needs to be heard now more than any time since his death.
This was the message which was probably more responsible for his assassination than any other. If he had contented himself with merely preaching to/stirring up the Negroes, he would have been tolerated longer. But when he turned against the War, and the White hegemonic cabal, it was over, his fate was sealed. He seemed to know it, too...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Banksters Same As The Old Banksters: "People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders."

Don't let anybody EVER tell you the Owners do not conspire against the people. From a page entitled The Federal Observer, here'sw a fascinating document which supports such allegations. According to the site, the document was "Revealed by US Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, SR from Minnesota before the US Congress sometime during his term of office between the years of 1907 and 1917 to warn the citizens. (Emphases supplied--W)
The Bankers Manifesto of 1892
"We (the bankers) must proceed with caution and guard every move made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless commotion. Prudence will therefore show a policy of apparently yielding to the popular will until our plans are so far consummated that we can declare our designs without fear of any organized resistance.

The Farmers Alliance and Knights of Labor organizations in the United States should be carefully watched by our trusted men, and we must take immediate steps to control these organizations in our interest or disrupt them.

At the coming Omaha Convention to be held July 4th (1892), our men must attend and direct its movement, or else there will be set on foot such antagonism to our designs as may require force to overcome. This at the present time would be premature. We are not yet ready for such a crisis. Capital must protect itself in every possible manner through combination (conspiracy) and legislation.

The courts must be called to our aid, debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible.

When through the process of the law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of the government applied to a central power of imperial wealth under the control of the leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders.

History repeats itself in regular cycles. This truth is well known among our principal men who are engaged in forming an imperialism of the world. While they are doing this, the people must be kept in a state of political antagonism.

The question of tariff reform must be urged through the organization known as the Democratic Party, and the question of protection with the reciprocity must be forced to view through the Republican Party.

By thus dividing voters, we can get them to expand (sic) their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us, except as teachers to the common herd. Thus, by discrete action, we can secure all that has been so generously planned and successfully accomplished."
This--1892--was just at the dawn of the age of massification. Inside 20 years, Freud's favorite nephew, Edouard Bernays, would have worked out the dynamics of media manipulation in the manufacture of consent (his phrase), precisely through he expedient of fomenting antagonisms. History--"Divide and Conquer"--does repeat itself, tactically...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hey, If You're Gonna Make A Futile Gesture...

MaryScott O'Connor, blog-mom and agitator, posted a list of the sponsors and others associated with keeping the Rush Limbaugh Radio Abomination on the air. It won't do any good, for reasons too numerous to name (a similar boycott did NOT drive Glenn Beck from Fox, it only restructured the ads), but if you feel like 'striking a blow,' here's who to call...

Maryscott O'Connor January 16 at 10:30am (Facebook)
If you feel like doing something about this schmuck...

Lending Tree: 704-541-5351
Web Form Email:

Life Quotes: 800-670-5433

e-Harmony: 626-795-4814; Fax: 626-585-4040

Inverness Medical: 800-899-7353
51 Sawyer Road, Waltham, MA 02021

OnStar: 800-947-AUTO

Hotwire Corporate Headquarters: 877-468-9473
333 Market Street, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA 94105

CARBONITE, Inc.: 617-587-1100
177 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
Direct Dial Office: 617-587-1100 EXT:1115

Select Comfort: 763-551-7460
d/b/a Sleep Number Bed: 800-438-2233

The Neptune Society of Northern California
Stewart Enterprises
12070 Telegraph Road, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

Oreck Corporation: 800-289-5888
100 Plantation Road, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123

Smart & Final, Customer Relations
PO Box 512377, Los Angeles, CA 91001-0377
(Heard on KFI 640 in Los Angeles)

Mid-West Life Insurance Co. Tennessee: 800-733-1110
9151 Grapevine Hwy, North Richland Hills, TX 76180
(Web banner ads on

AutoZone Inc.: 901-495-7185; Fax: 901-495-8374
P.O. Box 2198, Memphis, TN 38101

Mission Pharmacal (Citrical): 800-531-3333
P.O. Box 786099, San Antonio, TX 78278-6099

800-773-0888; Fax: 323-962-8300
Site has a Web Form

Blue-Emu: 800-432-9334

Lumber Liquidators: 877-645-5347
Web Form Email

Citrix Online (GoToMyPC)
6500 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, CA 93117
Phone: 805-690-6400; Fax: 805-690-6471

American Forces Network
Contact Us:

Miss America Pageant:
Scheduled for January 30, 2010. He is to be one of the judges.
Contact person is Sharon Pearce:

Show Your Support to Rush's Sponsors (his site)... See More

List of Radio Staions that Air Him

FCC Consumer Complaint:
Includes "Obscene or indecent programs" and "unfair/biased" broadcasts.

Syndicated By: 1) Premier Radio Networks: 818-377-5300
Corporate office: 15260 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Syndicated By: 2) Clear Channel: 210-822-2828
Corporate Office: 200 East Basse Road, San Antonio, TX 78209
Limbaugh's been on the air nearly 30 years. If his sponsors have not yet sussed what they're supporting by now, you GOTTA reckon they never will. I don'[t know of ANY advertizing boycott that worked, because the advertizers figger there's a partion of tha udience they're not gonna get, anyway. The actions against Beck on Fox only moved the ads around, did nothing to weaken or reduce Beck's following or his commercial support. It's the same for Limbaugh.

And do not ever imiagine there will EVER be a return to the "Fairness Doctrine." Mass media-consolidation and the mass corpoRatization of the press have put paid to that lovely idea...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti -- Blame Murka First!

In view of the loads of utter crap and racist/classist codswallop being served up on and by the *SCUM* and being spewed upon the poor citizens of Haiti in the wake of their tragic catastrophe this week--"A pact with the Devil?" WTF izzat about?--I am firmly of the opinion that it behooves Murkins (notoriously the most an-historical people on the planet) to observe that Haiti's fate, while apparently fore-doomed by geology, wouldn't have been so dire had the rest of the Hemisphere--and especially The USofA--not treated Haiti as the pariah of the region, but had instead granted them the same sorts of privileges accorded to other, post-colonial nations of the hemisphere. EG:

Susie Madrak, on C&L yesterday, marshalled the relevant facts:
The thing is, there never was any "deal with the devil" - at least, not the way Pat would lead you to believe. This is from Jean R. Gelin, Ph.D, a Haitian Christian:
For quite some time now, several articles on the Internet have mentioned the existence of an iron pig statue in Port-au-Prince as a monument to commemorate Haiti’s so-called pact with the devil through Vodou. The statue would be in remembrance of a pig that was killed during the gathering by the African slaves. In an effort to know more about that rumor, I contacted several authors about the exact location of the pig statue that’s incidentally nowhere to be found in the country. Their answer was complete silence, a simple apology, or just the removal of the reference from their texts.

One writer was grateful to me for pointing out the inaccuracy of her article, and she made the necessary adjustment. But I am sure that the same allusion can be found somewhere in other published pieces of writing and documents. The worst part of the whole picture is that the story is believed by many sincere Christians in America and around the world; and not only do they believe it, they also spread it as fact. The tragedy of our age is that repeated lies are often mistaken for the truth, especially when repeated long enough.
But Maggie Koerth-Baker on Boing Boing finds out Haiti's real deal with the devil:
Pat Robertson thinks that Haiti is poverty stricken (and earthquake-stricken) because the country made a deal with Satan to help them overthrow the French.

Back in May, the Times Online provided some slightly better insight into Haiti's past. Beyond a vague assumption that Imperialism had probably screwed Haiti somehow, I didn't know much about the country's history. Reading this story has been nothing short of nauseating.

Summary: Haiti was forced to pay France for its freedom. When they couldn't afford the ransom, France (and other countries, including the United States) helpfully offered high-interest loans. By 1900, 80% of Haiti's annual budget went to paying off its "reparation" debt. They didn't make the last payment until 1947. Just 10 years later, dictator François Duvalier took over the country and promptly bankrupted it, taking out more high-interest loans to pay for his corrupt lifestyle. The Duvalier family, with the blind-eye financial assistance of Western countries, killed 10s of thousands of Haitians, until the Haitian people overthrew them in 1986. Today, Haiti is still paying off the debt of an oppressive dictator no one would help them get rid of for 30 years.

The rest of the world refuses to forgive this debt.

So, in a way, maybe Robertson is right. Haiti is caught in a deal with the devil, and the devil is us.
Update: mgfarrelly points out another thing I didn't know—the U.S. Congress is currently considering a bill called The Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation. Part of what this bill would do is help countries like Haiti get their debt canceled, without making that cancellation conditional on things like closing down free schools or raising the cost of fresh water. May be a good time to contact your representatives about about this bi-partisan measure.
Sounds like a useful thing to do to help Haiti. Call your Congress critter and tell them you support the Jubilee Act. This would be the kind of reform that would decimate the "shock-docttrine" plans the Owners and Aristos have for Haiti.

Just for the record, I am convinced that USer policy was and is designed to make Cuba another Haiti, in revenge for Castro's effrontery in tossing UFC out of the country along with the Mafia...

(*SCUM* = SoCalled Unbiased Media)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Banksters Are Rubbing Our Noses In Their Shit

Common Dreams put up a brief summary of the Banksters' testimony to the Angeleides Commission, which was assembled to whiote-wash the Banksters' criminality:
Banks 'Too Big To Fail' - and They Know It

Re: Financial Crisis Commission Testimony

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission held its first hearing in Washington today; with another session scheduled for tomorrow. (Watch the hearing live here.) Today's witnesses included Goldman Sachs CEO; Lloyd Blankfein; Bank Of America CEO Brian Moynihan; Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack; and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. The afternoon portion of the hearing features several prominent banking experts.

If there was any doubt that Wall Street thinks the government will step in to save "too big to fail" firms, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein dispelled it on Wednesday morning.

In response to a question about whether the federal government would prevent one of his three counterparts at today's hearing -- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley -- from failing, Blankfein essentially said that the government would in fact step in.

"I think tomorrow in the context of this environment, at some level the government would intervene." "Because of the fragility of the system," Blankfein said, the government would be forced to step in.

In other words, 'too big to fail' is real. And Wall Street knows it.

Blankfein qualified his answer by stating that perhaps the government wouldn't have stepped in a year and a half ago, nor would they perhaps step in a year from now.
You might want to listen to the slimy fuck, Blankfein, as he rationalizes his smug certainty that he's above the law, here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Top 25 "Economists" Who Need Just To Shut The Fuck Up!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Unofficial List of Pundits/Experts Who Were Wrong on the Housing Bubble

Posted by Economics of Contempt at 1:15 PM

The housing bubble has precipitated a severe, and possibly catastprophic, economic crisis, so I thought it would be useful to put together a list of pundits and experts who were dead-wrong on the housing bubble. They were the enablers, and deserve to be held accountable. People also need to know (or be reminded of) which pundits/experts should never be listened to again. But most importantly, I have time to do this kind of thing now.

The list includes only pundits and (supposed) experts. That means the list doesn't include policymakers such as Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, because however wrong they may have been, policymakers—and especially Fed chairmen—are undeniably constrained in what they can say publicly. I strongly suspect that both Greenspan and Bernanke honestly believed that there was no housing bubble, but alas, we'll never know for sure. The list also doesn't include pundits/experts who were wrong only about the fallout of the collapse of the housing bubble—that is, the extent to which the collapse of the housing bubble would harm the economy.

Many of the names on the list won't shock anyone, I'm sure. And FWIW, a few of the pundits seemed to deny the existence of the housing bubble simply because Paul Krugman argued that there was a housing bubble, and they absolutely hate Krugman. Unfortunately (for our economy), Krugman was right—again.

The list is a work in progress (though I've been reasonably thorough in my research), so feel free to suggest other people who should go on the list. So without further ado, here's the list:

1. Alan Reynolds, Cato Institute:
"No Housing Bubble Trouble,"Washington Times (January 8, 2005): "In short, we are asked to worry about something that has never happened for reasons still to be coherently explained. 'Housing bubble' worrywarts have long been hopelessly confused. It would have been financially foolhardy to listen to them in 2002. It still is."

"Recession Fairy Tales," Townhall (October 5, 2006): "When it comes to homes . . . many people have spent the last four years fretting that the 'housing bubble' might end. That is, they worried that overpriced homes might become more affordable. This is not quite as nonsensical as worrying the price of oil might fall too much, but it's close."

2. Kevin Hassett, American Enterprise Institute:
New York Times (July 25, 2004): "Another bubble-skeptic is Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of the fabled 'Dow 36,000,' which was published in 1999 when the Dow Jones index was around 11,000. Mr. Hassett says there is an ideological component to the belief in bubbles. Liberals, who tend to believe that government must step in to protect people from market imperfections, will likely see more of them. Conservatives, who like their markets unfettered, will see less. [EoC: What a classic line. Liberals win again, conservatives lose again—same old, same old.]
"Mr. Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute thinks housing prices will be pretty much O.K. He acknowledges there might be some bubble dynamics at play in some regions. But he argues that for the most part people are paying more for homes because their incomes are higher and interest rates are lower, reducing the cost to own a home.

"Mr. Hassett expects that rising interest rates would raise this cost and home prices would then decline proportionately. But he sees no reason to expect a catastrophic decline. 'I don't think a catastrophe is very likely,' he says.

3. James K. Glassman, American Enterprise Institute:
"Housing Bubble?," Capitalism Magzine (May 24, 2005): "[W]hile such signs of speculation are troubling, there is little solid evidence that a real estate bubble is puffing up.
"Even in places where prices are soaring, worries of a bubble could be overblown because higher prices appear grounded in good old fundamentals."

4. Jude Wanniski, journalist/supply-sider:
"There is No Housing Bubble!!," The Conservative Voice (August 13, 2005).

5. Jerry Bowyer, author of The Bush Boom:
"Hate to Burst Your (Housing) Bubble: But there isn't one," National Review (July 5, 2006).

6. Nicolas P. Restinas, director, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies:
"More Than a Bubble Keeps Housing Prices Sky-High," LA Times (May 20, 2004)
7. Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money":
"House Beautiful," New York Magazine (December 8, 2003): "Housing bubble? What housing bubble? The signs are in place for a further run-up in real estate. Breathe easy, mortgage holders. There’s still no place like home."

8. Christopher Flanagan, head of ABS research, J.P. Morgan:
"Housing Outlook," J.P. Morgan Research, June 17, 2005 (no link): "[B]ased on what we know and see in terms of employment and interest rates, it is extremely difficult to see how five years from now we could be looking back and observing a historical 5-year growth rate of, say, less than 5%. That should be more than adequate to support the continued good credit performance of sub-prime mortgage pools.

"It is important to understand — we can contemplate home price growth rates declining, albeit modestly, but we do NOT envision home prices declining!"

9. Neil Barsky, Alson Capital Partners, LLC:
"What Housing Bubble?," Wall Street Journal (July 28, 2005): "There is no housing bubble in this country. Our strong housing market is a function of myriad factors with real economic underpinnings: low interest rates, local job growth, the emotional attachment one has for one's home, one's view of one's future earning- power, and parental contributions, all have done their part to contribute to rising home prices.
"What we do have is a serious housing shortage and housing affordability crisis."

10. Chris Mayer, professor of real estate, Columbia Business School, and Todd Sinai, professor of real estate, Wharton School:
"Bubble Trouble? Not Likely," Wall Street Journal (September 19, 2005): "For the past several years, Chicken Littles have squawked that the sky -- or the ceiling -- is about to fall on the housing market. And it's tempting to believe them.
"Yet basic economic logic suggests that this apparent evidence of a bubble is anything but. Even in the highest-price cities, housing is, at most, slightly more expensive than average."

11. Jonathan McCarthy, senior economist, New York Fed, and Richard W. Peach, vice president, New York Fed:
"Are Home Prices the Next Bubble?," FRBNY Economic Policy Review (December 2004): "Home prices have been rising strongly since the mid-1990s, prompting concerns that a bubble exists in this asset class and that home prices are vulnerable to a collapse that could harm the U.S. economy.
"A close analysis of the U.S. housing market in recent years, however, finds little basis for such concerns. The marked upturn in home prices is largely attributable to strong market fundamentals: Home prices have essentially moved in line with increases in family income and declines in nominal mortgage interest rates."

12. David Malpass, chief economist, Bear Stearns:
"So This is a Weak Economy?," Wall Street Journal (June 28, 2005): "[T]he litany against the U.S. economy is so ingrained and familiar that few disputed this spring's 'slowdown.' When strong data on income, employment, consumption and profits showed 3.5% first-quarter GDP growth and a continuation into the second quarter, the headlines shifted to other attacks -- adjustable-rate mortgages, a housing 'bubble,' the distribution of income -- rather than revising the slowdown story."

13. Steve Forbes, CEO, Forbes, Inc.:
Global Leaders Speakers Series (November 10, 2005): "[Forbes] maintained that there was no 'housing bubble' in the U.S. but there was an 'oil bubble' driven by speculators."

14. Brian S. Wesbury, chief investment strategist, Claymore Advisors:
"Mr. Greenspan's Cappuccino," Wall Street Journal (May 31, 2005): "These nattering nabobs expect a housing collapse to take down the U.S. economy. But excessive pessimism is unwarranted: Fears of a housing bubble are overblown."

15. Noel Sheppard, economist, Business & Media Institute:
"Media Myths: The Housing Bubble is Bursting,"Business & Media Institute (Nov. 30, 2005): "The increase in real estate values the past five years has not resembled the rapid rise typically seen in a bubble."

16. Carl Steidtmann, chief economist, Deloitte Research:
"The Housing Bubble Myth," Economist's Corner (July 2005): "When you strip away all of the white noise around a housing bubble, what you find is a robust market for housing that is undergoing several profound changes all of which manifest themselves in higher home price indexes, none of which adds up to a housing price bubble."

17. John K. McIlwain, senior resident fellow for housing, Urban Land Institute:
"No Housing Bubble to Pop," Washington Post (March 2, 2005): "[T]he housing markets will cool as interest rates rise and as affordability declines, but they won't crash. Most markets will flatten for a while or increase at lower, more historical, rates. A few may decline for a year or two. But we won't have a crash."

18. Margaret Hwang Smith, professor of economics, Pomona College, and Gary Smith, professor of economics, Pomona College:
"Bubble, Bubble, Where's the Housing Bubble?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (2006): "Our evidence indicates that, even though prices have risen rapidly and some buyers have unrealistic expectations of continuing price increases, the bubble is not, in fact, a bubble in most of these areas in that, under a variety of plausible assumptions, buying a house at current market prices still appears to be an attractive long-term investment."

19. Charles Himmelberg, economist, New York Fed (with Columbia professor Chris Mayer and Wharton professor Todd Sinai—see #10, above):
"Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals, and Misperceptions," Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports (September 2005): "As of the end of 2004, our analysis reveals little evidence of a housing bubble. In high appreciation markets like San Francisco, Boston, and New York, current housing prices are not cheap, but our calculations do not reveal large price increases in excess of fundamentals."

20. Jim Jubak, investing columnist, MSN Money:
"Why There is No Housing Bubble," MSN Money (June 10, 2005): "Housing bubble? What housing bubble? With the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yielding below 4% and 30-year mortgages available at 5.1%, there isn't a housing bubble."

21. James F. Smith, director, Center for Business Forecasting:
"There is No Housing Bubble in the USA: Housing Activity Will Remain At High Levels in 2005 and Beyond," Business Economics (April 2005): "There is no evidence of a housing 'bubble' in the United States and housing demand should stay strong for years to come."

22. Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor, National Review Online:
"Don't be Myth-Understood," National Review (December 21, 2005): "[T]he so-called housing bubble has yet to pop, and likely won't as long as home ownership remains a tax-advantaged event. Even the New York Times — no parrot of White House talking points — has had to admit that the economy is 'booming.'"

23. Samuel Lieber, president, Alpine Woods Capital Investors:
"Housing Bubble? The Market Won't Pop, Experts Predict," Wall Street Journal (April 12, 2006): "We don't see a bubble. Historically, home prices just don't go down nationwide unless we are in a significant recession. The last time home prices fell nationwide was in 1990. It's employment that really counts. The underlying fundamentals of real estate are still very positive. Job creation and household formation drive housing."

24. Mark Vitner, senior economist, Wachovia:
"There is No Housing Bubble, Says Senior Economist," The Virginia-Pilot (January 19, 2006): "'Everybody is looking for evidence of a housing bubble,' [Vitner] said. 'There is not a housing bubble. The supply had not kept up with demand.'"

25. George Karvel, professor of real estate, St. Thomas University:
"Housing bubble?," Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 4, 2005 (via LEXIS): "'There's no housing bubble,' said George Karvel, a professor of real estate at the University of St. Thomas. 'This is a media-induced frenzy. If I wanted to say there is a housing bubble, I'd have Time and Money magazine camped on my door. They've called, and I've told them there's no bubble. Panic sells."
"There is absolutely nothing in any market in the country to indicate there'd be any kind of collapse in housing prices,' he said."

* * * * *
One close call was Barry Ritholtz, who wrote a column in 2005 with the headline, "Don't Buy the Housing Bubble Propaganda." While the headline would suggest that Ritholtz denied the existence of the housing bubble, it appears to have been more hyperbole than anything. The substance of his argument was that housing values wouldn't fall in value as much as tech stocks did when the dot-com bubble popped (80%). In fact, he outright predicted a significant correction in house prices: "As the rate cycle plays out, prices will slide. I'm looking at a slow asset depreciation of 10%-30% over the next several years as a realistic possibility." Since that's more or less what has happened, it would be difficult to say that Ritholtz was "wrong about the housing bubble." Therefore, Barry does not go on the list.

As I said earlier, this is a work in progress. Let me know if you know of someone else who deserves to be on the list.
Interestingly, for some reason the name of Alan Greenspan is absent from the list, and he was denying the bubble earlier than almost anybody, back in 2003, according to Forbes' Magazine. Bernanke ignored it, as did Larry Summers. And Bobby Rubin actively promoted it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Colbert Does The Obama/Harry Reid Imbroglio In Living "Color"

Harry Reid's Racist Comment
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

A light-skinned 'black" adept at code-switching and unalterably committed to the CorpoRat agenda was the ONLY 'minority' candidate who COULD get elected in the USofA. If he had shown the slightest sympathy for what is traditionally regarded as the "black" agenda--social justice, wealth redistribution, equity, etc--Prez Shamwow wouldn't have gotten INTO the primaries, much less won them...

Eugene Robinson has a column on the matter today on Truthdig which also bears on the matter..."A Truth, Crudely Put."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dept. Of Is The Pope A Nazi? SCROTUS Will Uphold "One Dollar, One Vote"

On the America's Future blog, Dave Johnson muses on the forthcoming decision from the SCROTUS this week on the matter of whether limits on spending on political advertizement is prohibited by the Constitution, and concludes that, just as, in fact Pope Ratzi WAS indeed an enthusiastic Nazi, so to the SCROTUS will ratify the power of corpoRat money to decide, forever and always, the course of Murkin electoral politics...

The Supreme Court could say as soon as Monday that corporate executives are free to use huge amounts of corporate resources to directly influence elections. The vote will probably be 5-4 and we know which 5 and which 4 and why.

If this happens it will fundamentally change the way our elections are decided, our leaders are chosen, and our laws are made. The ruling will complete the transition, already underway, from a one-person-one-vote ideal to a corrupt one-dollar-one-vote system run for the benefit of those with the most dollars to throw into elections. And of course those with access to the most corporate dollars will use their new influence to increase their own dollars - and influence - at the expense of those with fewer dollars. Monopoly capitalism will be the New World Order.
It is simple to imagine how unlimited direct use of corporate resources will change our lives. Just for example, suppose executives at a chemical company want to save money by dumping toxins into a nearby river. Suppose a county or state government is trying to block this. Imagine the effect unlimited direct corporate money can have in a county or even a state election. Of course those executives will be able put in place a local or state government that lets them dump into the river. They probably will be able to get laws passed preventing their company from being sued for the resulting cancers. I know that this sounds pretty darn close to the political system that we have today but with direct use of corporate resources to influence elections the corrupting influence will be much more direct and corrosive.

This is not what some call corporatism and is not about companies making decisions, because companies don't think or make decisions. This is about executives -- people -- at the helm of huge, powerful companies using the company's vast resources to benefit themselves. This is at the expense of people in other, smaller companies. It is so important to understand that it is done by people - executives using corporate resources because companies are not sentient entities, no matter what anyone says. They don't think and they certainly don't speak. And it isn't everyone in these companies. The people in Sales or Accounts Receivable don't make the decisions, a few people at the very top do. In order to address this problem we need to understand that the actions of corporations are really the actions of a few people. Corporations don't act or "do" anything, people do.

This is about monopoly capitalism. Of course executives in control of the biggest companies will use their financial power to consolidate their control over our system, for their personal benefit. Smaller companies in the same industries and startups that threaten to compete won't stand a chance because the rules will be bent against them. If you think the oil and coal companies are hampering efforts control CO2 emissions and foster new alternative energy sources now, then just wait until the resources of giant companies are allowed to directly control our elections and therefore our government. If you think giant pharmaceutical companies are getting favors like unlimited patent life now, just wait until the Supreme Court opens up direct use of corporate resources.
There's much more at the linked pager, including a summary of the conditions that led to this situation, ending with thw question: "What can the rest of us do?" I mean, he almost has to ask and even to pretend there is actually something the average citizen CAN do. It's a rule: You HAVE to be hopeful...

The answer to such questions, to such hope, unfortunately, is "You can't do jack-shit, legally...Nothing."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Amanda Simpson: Amazingly Brave, Funny/Punny chutzpah or...

...the world's best new case of a publicly Freudian slip?

Simpson, appointed to the Obam Admin job over the holidays, formerly was
rocket scientist with 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry. (She) is now serving as a senior technical advisor in the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. Her job entails managing exports of dual use technology—that which has both civilian and military capability—to other nations.

Born Mitchell Simpson in Chicago, she spent seven years in transition to being a woman. In 2004, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.
The blog-synopsis of her appointment on AllGov is instructive, both to Simpson's career and to the challenges she probably still faces. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along...Really.

Except: What possessed her to choose "Amanda" as her new name?

That seems to me to be either the most hilariously brave, in-your-face pun of a lifetime, or the most "forest-for-trees" kind of Freudian denialism imaginable.

"Amanda?" A MAN DA!

If the choice was knowing and intentional, it is an admirably brave and funny and "ballsy" thing to do.

If not, well, this may just be one of those "other" cigars...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

ObamaCorp "Phasers" Still Set On "Kill" -- The Shamwow Doctrine

Allan Nairn, on Democracy Now, today:
“I think Obama should be remembered as a great man because of the blow he struck against white racism,” Nairn says. “But once he became president…Obama became a murderer and a terrorist, because the US has a machine that spans the globe, that has the capacity to kill, and Obama has kept it set on kill. He could have flipped the switch and turned it off…but he chose not to do so.” He continues, “In fact, as far as one can tell, Obama seems to have killed more civilians during his first year than Bush did in his first year, and maybe even than Bush killed in his final year.”
Murkins are in a fatally delusionary state if they want to believe that, with OUR drones spreading fear and terror among the indigenes, globally, and with OUR troops implicated directly in the execution of innocent youths--hauling them out of their beds, handcuffing and then shooting them in the head, for only one egregious example--that the relatives, families, and friends of the victims of these atrocities will not seek to exact vengeance on US. Remember what Ward Churchill said about chickens and their propensity to come home to roost?

With the news and supposition over the weekend that there may have been a rogue faction of Bush-Cherney loyalists within the CIA which let the "Hot-Nutz Bomber" through to embarrass the Regime for its seeming willingness at one time to prosecute the 'torture' excesses of the Busheviki, and the recent revelations that Allen Dulles--fired as CIA director by JFK--probably had some hand in the later assassination, it seems to me that the CIA is an institution which has used up its allotted time.

Meanwhile, your "librul" media was conspicuously silent on the following story, which appeared in the USofA only on the innertubez, afaik, about the execution, by USer-led Afghan troops, of as many as EIGHT teenage boys:
The Taliban suicide attack that killed a group of CIA agents in Afghanistan was big news in the U.S. over the past week. The attack took place on a base that was directing U.S. drone aircraft used to attack Taliban leaders. The airwaves and front pages were filled with sympathetic stories referring to the fact that the female station chief, who was among those killed, was the "mother of three children."

But the apparent mass murder of Afghan school children, including one as young as 11 years old, by U.S.-led troops, was pretty much blacked out in the American media. Especially blacked out was the claim by UN investigators that the students had not just been killed but executed, many of them after having first been rousted from their bedrooms and handcuffed.
Izzis a gret cunchry, oar wutt?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Why Prez. Shamwow cannot affect endemic USer racism

We gotta admit it, now, finally: The "first black president" will not --probably because he "cannot"-- do anything to address the egregious inequities and iniquities of race in the USer political/economic equation.

Of course, from the start, his 'supporters' should have known he never could do, "politically."

To make it plain: The white establishment --the rightards/fucktards/birthers/tenthers et al.-- would IMMEDIATELY raise the hue and cry to accuse Pres. Shamwow of "reverse racism." White people do not mind social spending that benefits them, but they are poisonously averse to "their taxes" being spent to improve the lot those whom they regard as their 'inferiors"--the ni__ers, sp_cs, g__ks, f_gs, r_dsk_ns, who lay about all day doing drugs, fucking and having bastard kids.

Now, while it is risible to suggest that there is such a thing as "reverse racism," it is a fantastically viral meme. There is no such thing, as anyone with the least scintilla of understanding of the true dynamics of racism in the USofA would know.

So For Shamwow to do something significant --to dramatically take up the cause of disenferanchised, the powerless, the despised margins of the society, with a national "Marshall Plan' for the unemployed in the communities of color, for example-- would immediately be hyped to the high heavens as "favoritism" to his "color."

This would confirm the birther/tenther/tea-bagger assertions, even though those are mostly tacit at the moment. Anything that seemed to "disproportionately" benefit the despised minorities would be immediately taken as evidence that Shamwow was, in fact, a "white-hater."

So Shamwow was NEVER gonna be able to directly effect changes in social justice, fairness, or equity, because to have done so would have played into the immanent critique of his "loyalties." Even if he "wanted" to, he was ALWAYS hand-cuffed.

But truthfully, he's just not that courageous...

Monday, January 04, 2010

"The Purpose Of A System Is What It Does"

That's why I always maintain that the people in the USofA who claim the USer school system is a "failure" do not understand what the system is designed to do--and does, flawlessly (which is to sort the children of the proles into the hierarchical categories of usefulness to the Owners). This is the gist of complaint by the justifiably dyspeptic Chris Floyd in his first column of the New Year which focuses on the "war on terror," in this structuralist/systems frame:
The Terror War is not an event, or a campaign, or even a crusade; it is a system. Its purpose is not to eliminate "terrorism" (however this infinitely elastic term is defined) but to perpetuate itself, to do what it does: make war. This system can be immensely rewarding, in many different ways, for those who operate or assist it, whether in government, media, academia, or business. This too is a self-sustaining dynamic, a feedback loop that gives money, power and attention to those who serve the system; this elevated position then allows them to accrue even more money, power and attention, until in the end -- as we can plainly see today -- any alternative voices and viewpoints are relegated to the margins. They are "unserious." They are unimportant. They are not allowed to penetrate or alter the operations of the system.
Foucault got this point and expanded it greatly under the rubric of 'discursive practices.'

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Mexico Reveals Its Homegrown Shitwhistles

From a 'tea-party' rally in Alamogordo, the primary source for income in which is either directly associated with or spun off from business generated by Holloman Air Force Base which, the last time I looked was run by "the Gubamin."

It is always salutary to be reminded that there are pest-holes filled with irrational, delusional, paranoids living everywhere.

One feature of the NM T'Baggers' gathering was the ubiquity of armaments. Via NMFBIHOP:

Alamogordo protestors carry guns, protest Obama
by: Matt
Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 15:44:41 PM MST

Yesterday was the day where Tea Partiers in southern New Mexico decided to gather in a park and bring their guns to protest President Barack Obama.
The New Mexico Independent, for which I also write, was there with a video report (embedded ABOVE) and there were some... I'll just say colorful characters.

The Alamogordo Daily News also was there, obviously, and caught up with some of the others who populate such protests.

"I don't like what the Democrats are doing to our country," said Jim Kizer, of Alamogordo, who carried a .444 Marlin and a holstered .41 Smith and Wesson Magnum. "I'm a Korean vet and I grew up in Alaska during World War II. I've fought Communists all my life, and now our government is being taken over by them. That's why I'm here."
Kizer said his weapons were not loaded.

"I'm not trying to start a war," he said. "I just want to make a point."
If he has "fought Communists all [his] life" than you would think that he actually knows what Communism is. Who knows what he has been fighting all this time?...

Democracy for New Mexico asks a question which I suspect would either 1) stump the protesters or 2) show the protesters to be highly hypocritical:

If I had been there I would have asked the protestors if they would support a move to close down White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air Force Base and other employers in Otero County that provide government jobs -- along with substantial spin-off money that goes directly into their communities. If they're so against what the government is and does, how do they justify so many in their communities living off the government dole, so to speak?

I wonder if they recognize that a very high percentage of the good-paying jobs in New Mexico are funded by the government with tax dollars paid by those who live outside the local tax base -- oftentimes on the East or West Coasts. According to the Otero County Chamber of Commerce, almost 30% of the jobs in the county are provided by the government. Well, there's socialism, and then there's socialism, right?