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Showing posts from March 4, 2018

New York Times/Fox News - you pays your money, you takes your chances

The NYT on “free trade” is about as reliable as Fox News onthe second amendment. Its story about the signing of the TPP by eleven nations was, typically, full of contradictions and fibs. Of course, any article whose premise is that a trade alliance is the equivalent of “free trade” is in trouble from the get-go. You can’t label your trade alliance “free trade” and then present it as a counter-weight to an exporting superpower – which is what the article does in its first graf by claiming that the TPP was conceived by the United States as a counterweight to China. Of course, this ignores the advantages to corporations that made the deal so sweet and rotten. Of course, drug companies in the United States would like monopolies – those patents which have been stretched into unrecognizability by corporate bought legislatures – to extend to other countries. This is probably a bigger motivator than the anti-China canard. In fact, at this moment when overdoses have overtaken car accide

FBI as trollers: fake news in 1969!

  It is interesting to compare the fake Russian accounts on Twitter and Facebook that we have all read about with the fake material generated by the FBI in the 60s and 70s. This was the golden age of Operation CHAOS and COINTELPRO, and every Fbi office in a metropolitan area was falling over itself to think outside the box and please the chief. My favorite, as revealed by an FOIA generated yield ofdocuments, was the Washington D.C. office’s idea, in 1969, to create an “anonymousstudent-written” that was to be released to college campuses. Of course, the office assured the chief, “distribution of the paper will be handled by a source using a “cut-out” to avoid any affiliation with the FBI.” The FBI, like today’s Russian troll, was not exactly a stylist. The “Rational Observer”, which must have been great fun to brainstorm there in the FBI office, reads like the product of a rather dim reader of Atlas Shrugged. It contains many, many bits of rhetoric that float around even today. F

as poor as a machine

As poor as a machine “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”. “ “While the division of labor increases the productive power of labor, and the wealth and refinement of society, it leads to the impoverishment of the laborer until he sinks to the level of the machine. While labor incites the accumulation of capitals and thus the increasing well being of society, it makes the laborer ever more dependent on the capitalist, thrusts him into a greater competition, drives him into a rush of overproduction, from which follows an equivalent slump.”  - Marx Leszek Kolakowski has written that Marx, unlike the socialists of the 40s, had a firmer grasp of the fact that capitalism was rooted in de-humanization. His economic analysis does not marginalize this insight, but builds upon it – which is why Marx never puts the market at the center of economic analysis, even as he is able to represent the reasons

"idealism" vs. "realism" in politics

I have a simple rule, which is that ideas come before parties, and policies come before parties. When I read that Democratic politicians in "red states" have to conform to a "compromise position" to be viable, I think - how about those who elect them? Of course, the "compromise centrism" case keeps getting tripped up both by political reality - centrist Dems seem very good at losing, as last decade demonstrates - and by common sense. To ban assault rifles you can't say, okay, lets compromise by not banning assault rifles. You can't have universal health care by saying, let's first elect democrats who are opposed to universal health care. It isn't a matter of being an absolutist about principles. It is a matter of voting to make your life better. Parties are merely vehicles for justice. When they become the determinants of justice, when every compromise leads you further from your goal, best throw them away – or take them over. Of

a poem

THE GREAT HORNED OWL STRIX VIRGINIANA  PLATE LXI MALE AND FEMALE “IT is during the placid serenity of a beautiful summer night when the current of the waters moves silently along reflecting from its smooth surface the silver radiance of the moon and when all else of animated nature seems sunk in repose that the Great Horned Owl, one of the Nimrods of the feathered tribes of our forests, may be seen sailing along silently yet rapidly intent on the destruction of the objects destined to form his food”. – John James Audubon Flying by inward nightmap Through the gross tangles of the American bewilderment Plucking from the frenzied scramble Among brittle oak leaves A succulent rodent Such are the owl’s feats. He’s no Greek hero, our continental dispatcher Of mice and shrews And does not sulk in his tent When the distribution of slave girls goes against him. Our nimrod lacks all epic vanity. On moon scouted nights, swooping over rivers where