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Can Europe regulate without the US? LQD

by geezer in Paris Sun Apr 5th, 2009 at 04:51:42 AM EST

As is so often the case, The Nation has produced a thought-provoking piece. This time it's  about financial regulation and the clear unwillingness of the US to really change the business model that got us all in the shit.
Does Europe have the means to regulate without the US?
Does Europe have the will?

Promoted by whataboutbob

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The Best and the Brightest

by geezer in Paris Wed Dec 17th, 2008 at 04:17:42 AM EST

The foundation of democracy- or of any even temporarily viable form of government- is education. In the case of Democracy, high quality mass education. In the case of authoritarian, patriarchal systems, the education of an elite, and the propagandizing of the rest.
Both require, for long-term survival a rather special sort of  education, that enables, and in fact requires the questioning of assumptions and authority, the hunger for different, even alien analyses and policy ideas to chew on, --and an unwillingness to abide the superficial and the convenient that masquerade as the truth. Authoritarian systems are uneasy with the creation of a small but necessary subset who question effectively.
Democracy- or any form of populist government- is therefore based on the assumption (so far unproven) that the general population of a social group of national size is capable of applying this education in iconoclasm to the understanding of social needs. And that this understanding, once achieved, will be allowed to guide the political process.

Education that produces a well-trained disciplined, productive, competitive elite is the death of democracy, not it's support. Democracies fail miserably under this circumstance, and become shabby theaters of the absurd.

promoted by afew

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Time for Obama to take a risk

by geezer in Paris Mon Oct 13th, 2008 at 05:40:02 AM EST

If history is any indication, Obama will now get cautious, and play it safe.
A double digit lead causes candidates' advisers to counsel caution- "park your mouth before you run over your own foot" -sort of thing.
Bad Idea.

Polls tend to have a range of uncertainty of around three percent, even in the absence of fraud.
My wild guess is that the GOP will push the results by another 3%, using the tried and true traditional fraud techniques, and another 2% or so using the latest Rovian creations.
And anyone who discounts the Bradley effect is making a bad mistake. The best estimates suggest at least another 3-4% difference between poll words and voter deeds.
Since all these elements (except the normal polling error) work against Obama, the current 8-9% lead adds up to ---Zero, with a 3% error one way or the other.

He could sure as hell lose this. If he wins thin, he will still lose it.

Here's an idea about what I'd like to see in that 30-minute block of time he just bought.

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Did the Lion Roar in the Night?

by geezer in Paris Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:44:59 AM EST

Another game of "Starve The Beast"?

An IED for Obama, post-election?

A massive rip-off by the financial rats, --just before they leave the ship, carpetbags in hand?

Or just another illustration of Democratic spinelessness?

--- or--Did someone in the Chinese/Japanese/ ministry of finance pick up the phone and put in a call to Pennsylvania avenue to chat about the growing bad smell coming, as of late,  from US Treasury paper, and how much they like the graphic design of the Euro?

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Democracy Incorporated

by geezer in Paris Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 07:31:34 AM EST

"Our thesis ... is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively `strong democracy' instead of a `failed' one." His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented in the Constitution of the United States. "Democracy," he writes, "is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs." It depends on the existence of a demos--"a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office." Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the elitism that was written into the Constitution.

As a long-term fan of Chalmers Johnson, I read with interest his latest book review, in Truthdig, of a new piece by his old college professor, Sheldon Wolin.
"Democracy incorporated, and the specter of inverted totalitarianism" .
Chalmers Johnson on "managed Democracy"

Johnson makes this suggestion: "Wolin's work is fully accessible. Understanding his argument does not depend on possessing any specialized knowledge, but it would still be wise to read him in short bursts and think about what he is saying before moving on."
This may be a disqualifier for some who worship specialized knowledge, the more impenetrable the better, as a positional marker, but-- it's probably a good book for us ordinaries.

Let's debate democracy and elitism some more - Promoted by Migeru

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Two narratives that lead to different worlds

by geezer in Paris Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 07:48:07 AM EST

As the hard corners of reality finally begin to dig into the well-padded bottoms of the pronouncing class as well as the leaner tushes of the working class, the need to trot out and spruce up the story emerges. Here's a couple little short stories from two different universes.
The marvel here, for me, is the tenacity with which one story edits.

No great insights here-just a remarkable juxtaposition I read today that struck me.  

Promoted by Migeru

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THIS is a bit of what Obama would face. LQD

by geezer in Paris Sun May 11th, 2008 at 03:30:14 AM EST


THERMAL, Calif. - At Las Palmitas Elementary School, nestled between rundown homes and fields of grapes, peppers and dates in Southern California, 99 percent of students live in poverty and fewer than 20 percent speak English fluently.

Las Palmitas and other schools in the Coachella Valley Unified School District are just the type policy makers had in mind when Congress passed the federal No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 to shed light on the disparities facing poor and minority children.

Sorry, --not true. The law was intended to punish those who failed--to yammer  after the loosers. The mostly non-white loosers.

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Science and Happiness : Policy implications

by geezer in Paris Mon Mar 31st, 2008 at 01:09:36 PM EST

Richard Layard is a director at the Center for Economic Performance, London School of Economics.
However, please don't hold that against him-- he's really a unique treasure for us lowly creatures, species Economicus Ignoramus--- a superb economic thinker who is also intelligible. He gave a series of lectures that was useful to me, and I'd like to talk with those whose opinions I respect about these lectures.

But first, I gotta get you folks to read them.

Here's a teaser.

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Whatthehell is going on here?

by geezer in Paris Sun Mar 2nd, 2008 at 09:40:17 AM EST

Even the most cynical congress-haters seem amazed at the incredible ineptness of the no-longer-new Democratic congress.
Even with interesting and honorable men like Pat Lehey, John Conyers, Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd, their list of accomplishments and battles won is incredibly short, and the excuses are--  thin. The administration laughs, and their new AG brushes congress off like a fly.
I suspect that everyone reading this has a theory, and lots of them would circle like buzzards around the same road kill -blackmail- and the admin's positively hysterical insistence on Telcom immunity lends credence to that theory. As well, that strangely powerful pejorative image of "Tin Foil Hat" material is ---uncomfortable. And it all seems so obvious--why damage one's cred by taking the rhetorical plunge-beating the dead horse?

But what does this have to do with Europe? Let them spy on each other, --eat their own children, for God's sake, but leave Europe alone. Right?

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by geezer in Paris Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 01:08:45 PM EST

This is not a put-on, a spoof, or a joke.

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does--and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is "a child of the FBI," says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

From Progressive magazine:

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Hidden Legacy- LQD -too good to improve

by geezer in Paris Sat Jan 19th, 2008 at 04:31:59 AM EST

Late one night in the summer of 2005, Matthew Sepi, 20, an Iraq combat veteran, headed out to a convenience store in the seedy Las Vegas neighborhood where he had settled after leaving the U.S. Army.

By day, the area, littered with malt liquor cans, looks depressed but not menacing. By night, it becomes, in the words of a local homicide detective, "like Falluja."

Sepi did not like to venture outside too late. But, plagued by nightmares about an Iraqi civilian killed by his unit, he said he often needed alcohol to fall asleep. And so it was that night, when, seized by a gut feeling of lurking danger, he slid a trench coat over his slight frame - and tucked an assault rifle inside it.

Too grim for you? Then move on. That would be the fond wish of the current U. S. administration, who has gone to incredible lengths to bury these kinds of stories,-- before life buries their participants.

Diary rescue by Migeru

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Charity now

by geezer in Paris Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 02:16:31 AM EST

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Oil allocation Authority-- ours, of course.

by geezer in Paris Sat Dec 1st, 2007 at 10:19:34 AM EST

For months- years, in fact- I and others have been pointing out that the Iraq war was about oil theft as a strategy of the empire. My great fear was that the strategy would succeed, ushering in an era of global resource "management" at the point of a gun. Considering the number of resources that appear nearing the supply-demand crisis point, this scenario suggests an unparalleled resurgence of global warfare. I have also written on the plans to attack Iran, and suggested that it is hard to find a group, political or otherwise, that had the cojones and the power to oppose such an attack.

The most telling point in opposition to this scenario was this:

Why do it?

The risks always seemed to outweigh the gains, since, as Jerome has repeatedly pointed out, development of oil fields is a pricey endeavor, and none of the majors who can field the money and know-how to do it would likely be willing to do it in a war zone. Also, if the Straits are blocked, economies tumble as oil prices skyrocket. What's the good of that?
I pointed out that Iran is the great remaining geopolitical obstacle to US dominance of Arab oil, and it's clear that's long been the US intent. Control of Iran- or neutralization- was reason enough.

Here's a new perspective on that objection, and a new scenario.

Brought across by afew

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Who's afraid of Hugo?---well, ah,---- hand me the pliers, willya?

by geezer in Paris Sat Dec 1st, 2007 at 10:09:47 AM EST

Sunday's the day.

 Hugo gets a freer hand, or he gets slapped down, and will have to live with less authority and less time.
Observers from 36 countries will be there to watch the voting and the counting of the votes, as well as reps from the Carter Center and the EU, and many others. Like the last several plebiscites, it will be fair. At least on the part of the Chavez government.

I apologize for the lazy man's diary here, but I thought this too important- and too rare- to just supply a link. Those who think Hugo is just another authoritarian dingbat can depart now.
Those, like me, who believe that results count more than labels-- that labels are usually a substitute for thought- may find the rest of this ---well, revealing.
Hugo is getting real results.

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by geezer in Paris Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 08:31:30 AM EST

Here's a diary for International Buy Nothing Day.

Since shortly after WWII, it has been a central element of US national strategy to dominate the world.  Many sources have shown this, not the least the recent release of policy and defense documents from the early 50s under a freedom of information act request by the National Security Archives. It was clear by then that we had in place most of the necessary domestic elements to achieve that goal.  But the Soviet Union, whether or not it was the great bear that it was made out to be, was a nuclear obstacle. The threat of a coherent international socialism and the labor movement also acted as a drag on the imperial juggernaut. Clearly, our "people control" was incomplete. So it took time. But these speed bumps have been removed from the Imperial highway, and the exploding productivity of industrial America produced an avalanche of consumer goods. Voila! The necessary Soma- the magic potion to render the masses- us- unable or uninterested in meddling in the affairs of our betters---stuff.

Great diary - read this instead of buying stuff today - In Wales

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Welcome to the empire, part two

by geezer in Paris Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 12:26:06 PM EST

By Jeff Diehl
October 22nd, 2007
The Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security are quietly pushing for a set of crazy new rules. All travelers in the U.S. will be required to get government-issued credentials and official clearance before every flight, both within the United States as well as internationally.

http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2007/10/22/prior-permission-from-government-to-be-required-for-each-flig ht/

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The Empire's last big stick

by geezer in Paris Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:40:55 AM EST

              Or the Nuclear Overton window

Beginning well before WWII the American Empire based it's power on the three traditional pillars of empire: Military might, industrial power, and people control. As time went on, circumstances changed, and the twin events of the relocation offshore of most production and the complete triumph of a consumer culture altered the sources of imperial of power to reduce the industrial component and introduce another element- the ability to consume as a pillar of empire. As the buyer of not only last resort but best resort, the US had found a formula for control that was unique in history in it's scope. No other nation has ever gobbled up so much of the world's resources, or such a high percentage of it's manufactured goods, with so few of it's people. In 1966 the numbers that were commonly used were:

 6% of the world's people, 60% of the world's resources. Unsustainable.

Rather than wallow in the usual foodfight over the accuracy of these numbers, let's just say the balance is ---well, seemingly badly out of balance. But is it really?

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Cerebral cocktail

by geezer in Paris Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 at 02:09:44 PM EST

Mike Aivaz and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday October 2, 2007

Raw Story

Stephen Colbert commented Monday on Congressional passage of the Lieberman-Kyl Amendment which "calls on President Bush to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization."

"But not everyone supports our troops enough to give them the job security a war with Iran would provide," Colbert continued. "People like Senator Jim Webb, who voted against the amendment, calling it 'Dick Cheney's fondest pipe dream.' Well that is completely unfair. Everyone knows Dick Cheney's fondest pipe dream is driving a bulldozer into the New York Times while drinking crude oil out of Keith Olbermann's skull."

Comments >> (5 comments)

Love Story

by geezer in Paris Sat Sep 29th, 2007 at 01:13:41 AM EST

Chomsky speaks about what he calls "Unworthy victims" a lot when he tries to explain US actions around the world.
A real bummer to attempt that task- and to speak of such things. Perhaps that's why we so seldom do here. After 40 years of travel and life in ten countries, I can find no "unworthy victims". Just people.

So, once again I will open a dark and frightening corner,- one I too would rather not look into, and ask the question--

Who are these "Unworthy victims", and how did they get to be of such little importance?

Can you explain why we tolerate this?

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Poised Prague Pig

by geezer in Paris Sat Sep 8th, 2007 at 09:32:31 AM EST

OK, --I give up. Learning to insert images, and-- Can someone who's smarter with images and HTML give me an example of image code--extending the code-- with the width limiter working?
I can't get width=300 (for example) to work nohow.

Comments >> (4 comments)
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