Blog Flux Directory Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Bloglines Blog directory
And, yes, I DO take it personally: 08/07/2011 - 08/14/2011
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to:

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lewis Black: I could not live in this world if I believed [Sarah Palin] was a real person

i'm not a big fan of stand-up comedy but i make an exception for lewis black... i was first introduced to his brand of humor a few short years ago and immediately became a huge admirer...

i don't think i've ever run across a comedian who is as smart and as articulate as he is while at the same time as uninhibited in his use of expletives to drive home his points... i think it's quite remarkable that i can come away from taking in a lewis black rant having laughed my ass off and i'm actually MORE enlightened than when i started...

here's his take on mama grizzly...

Veteran comic (and the latest person to hop on the Twitter bandwagon) Lewis Black doesn't usually shy away form any political targets. But fans of his know that he hardly ever touches on one of comedy's favorite vixens: Sarah Palin.

On the latest episode of "The Green Room With Paul Provenza," Black elaborated on the subject and explained his reasoning behind leaving Palin alone. He of all people understands that she is "a mother lode" when it comes to political humor post-2008, but he isn't interested in mocking her. Why?

"I could not live in this world if I believed she was a real person," Black said.

that pretty much says it all, dontcha think...?

Labels: , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Man Who Wasn't There and Congressional Simians

pat oliphant does a double slam-dunk...

barely-visible barack...


and the bought-and-paid for puppets who don't have to worry about the troubles that afflict the rest of us...


Labels: ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Yves Smith sitting in for Glenn Greenwald at Salon - highly recommended

by all means, go read it...

Income inequality is bad for rich people too

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 3 comments

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it

yeah, the rich ARE different from you and me... they don't give a shit for anybody but themselves...
In an academic version of a Depression-era Frank Capra movie, Keltner and co-authors of an article called “Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm,” published this week in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, argue that “upper-class rank perceptions trigger a focus away from the context toward the self….”

In other words, rich people are more likely to think about themselves. “They think that economic success and political outcomes, and personal outcomes, have to do with individual behavior, a good work ethic,” said Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Because the rich gloss over the ways family connections, money and education helped, they come to denigrate the role of government and vigorously oppose taxes to fund it.

“I will quote from the Tea Party hero Ayn Rand: “‘It is the morality of altruism that men have to reject,’” he said.


According to Gallup, Americans earning more than $90,000 per year continued to increase their consumer spending in July while middle- and lower-income Americans remained stalled, even as the upper classes argue that they can’t pay any more taxes. Meanwhile, the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us continues to grow wider, with over 80 percent of the nation’s financial wealth controlled by about 20 percent of the people.

Unlike the rich, lower class people have to depend on others for survival, Keltner argued. So they learn “prosocial behaviors.” They read people better, empathize more with others, and they give more to those in need.

following the implications of keltner's article, people here in afghanistan, the vast majority of whom live in the world's most dire circumstances, should be among the most empathetic... and, despite the stereotype that pervades the shame that is u.s. media coverage of afghanistan, i find that to be true...

it only takes the simple act of a genuine smile and a sincere heart to make most afghans open up like a flower reaching for the morning sun... they are helpful, understanding, courteous and, yes, empathetic to a fault... and, yes, it will also take at least 18 months of building trust before they will tell you the real truth about ANYTHING, but, hey... can you blame 'em...? if we'd endured 40 years of struggling just to survive another day, i'm not so sure we'd be all that eager to spill our guts to anybody either...

so, to our rich elites who don't care for anybody but themselves, i say, how sad for you...

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 1 comments

You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?

this "man-on-the-street" quote from the london riots is one of the most trenchant comments i've ever read...
Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it.


In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

"Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

"Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."


There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

Social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets. The looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

it's not going to stop in the uk... buckle up...! it's going to be a rough ride...!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

B.S. alert: "The most powerful man in the world seems strangely paralyzed"

here's yet another piece of bullshit about how "weak" obama is... ain't buyin' it...


A new financial crisis has gripped the US, Asia and Europe, but Barack Obama can only respond with catchphrases. The United States will remain a "triple-A country," the US president insisted Monday, as stock markets crashed. The most powerful man in the world seems strangely paralyzed.

America's president, as the political scientist Richard Neustadt once noted, may be the most powerful man in the world, but he has only one real power: the power of persuasion.

That's why US presidents are so keen to get in front of the TV cameras and address the nation from what Americans refer to as the "presidential pulpit." Barack Obama was back at the pulpit on Monday afternoon, as the world's stock exchanges plummeted. "No matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a triple-A country," asserted the president. It had taken Obama three days to make a statement on Standard & Poor's decision to strip the United States of its top credit rating.

But Obama convinced no one. Even while the president was speaking, the Dow fell below 11,000 for the first time in nine months. This is certainly a problem for Obama, but more than that, it is a problem for America.


Weak leadership could cost Obama the next election. But it is not just a problem for the US president. Neither is it just a problem for America. Obama's weakness is a problem for the entire global economy.

obama is doing exactly and precisely what he has intended all along... the "weak" argument is solid-gold crap...

it's the same garbage that was foisted on us about the "incompetency" of the bush administration... was george w. a buffoon...? absolutely... was his administration incompetent...? shit, no... the bush handlers were doing exactly what they had planned to do and they used their front man, george, to stand out in front, look stupid and take the heat... is obama weak...? is obama stupid...? is obama a buffoon...? hell no to all three...

now, that doesn't rule out the possibility that obama's strings are being pulled by others and that he truly IS weak, but there isn't anything i'm seeing that says that... obama has a bully pulpit just like every other u.s. president and what's coming out of his mouth, even though it's dramatically more articulate and polished than his predecessor, is just as much b.s. as anything that ever came out of george's mouth... only in george's case, i don't think he had the slightest idea of what he was saying... in obama's case, i think he knows EXACTLY what he's saying and, even more importantly, DOING...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 1 comments

A Tahrir Square for the USA or you can't beat somebody with nobody

if this is the sobering reality...

noam chomsky...

The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country and bewilders the world, may have no analogue in the annals of parliamentary democracy.

The spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office may in fact bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.

Corporate power’s ascendancy over politics and society—by now mostly financial—has reached the point that both political organizations, which at this stage barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.

the london riots...

the scene on the ground...

A police station disemboweled, a double-decker bus reduced to a smoking carcass, shops pillaged, buildings razed by flames -- London's Tottenham quarter resembled a war zone Sunday following overnight riots.

and a bit of background...
Those condemning the events of the past couple of nights in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture: a country in which the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal debt has been pushed for years as the solution to a faltering economy, and where, according to the OECD, social m is worse than any other developed country.

given all that and a whole lot more, do we leave the holder of the most powerful office in the world unchallenged...?

tavis smiley...

I don’t think the President would be hurt, necessarily—the country certainly would not be hurt—by a primary challenge that would refocus him on what really matters. It would refocus him on what’s happening to too many people in this country. It would refocus him on a more progressive agenda. But having said that, I think if the race were held today, the President still wins. You can’t beat somebody with nobody, and I don’t see who the somebody is that can beat the President.

hey... i don't have any better answer... four more years of the obama that has emerged from the 2008 election is a pretty grim prospect to me right now... if we assume political business as usual (meaning no populist revolution intervening), i think SOMEBODY with the real milk of human kindness running in his or her veins needs to stand up and give our bogus hopey-changey president a run for his money... however, given the hammer lock the super-rich elites have on our failed two-party system, i'm afraid i just don't see it happening... what we really need, i'm afraid, IS that populist uprising, a tahrir square for the u.s.a...

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 1 comments

The criminalization of poverty

barbara ehrenreich...
In what has become a familiar pattern, the government defunds services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Generate no public-sector jobs, then penalize people for falling into debt. The experience of the poor, and especially poor people of color, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks. And if you should try to escape this nightmare reality into a brief, drug-induced high, it’s “gotcha” all over again, because that of course is illegal too.

One result is our staggering level of incarceration, the highest in the world. Today, exactly the same number of Americans -- 2.3 million -- reside in prison as in public housing. And what public housing remains has become ever more prison-like, with random police sweeps and, in a growing number of cities, proposed drug tests for residents. The safety net, or what remains of it, has been transformed into a dragnet.

It is not clear whether economic hard times will finally force us to break the mad cycle of poverty and punishment. With even the official level of poverty increasing -- to over 14% in 2010 -- some states are beginning to ease up on the criminalization of poverty, using alternative sentencing methods, shortening probation, and reducing the number of people locked up for technical violations like missing court appointments. But others, diabolically enough, are tightening the screws: not only increasing the number of “crimes,” but charging prisoners for their room and board, guaranteeing they’ll be released with potentially criminalizing levels of debt.

it's all in keeping with the social darwinian mindset fostered by our super-rich elites... if you're poor, it's undoubtedly due to the fact that you're lazy, stupid, untrustworthy, and just plain no damn good, while the rich, on the other hand, are smart, diligent, hard-working and clearly deserve everything they have...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Monday, August 08, 2011

The US has fallen firmly into the hands of the elite and the country's social disintegration is breathtaking

it's always very instructive to see your own country through the eyes of others... while i share much of the view of the u.s. that's presented in this spiegel opinion piece, i am nonetheless gap-jawed at the picture that's painted...
This week, the United States nearly allowed itself to succumb to economic disaster. Increasingly, the divided country has more in common with a failed state than a democracy. In the face of America's apparent political insanity, Europe must learn to take care of itself.

The word "West" used to have a meaning. It described common goals and values, the dignity of democracy and justice over tyranny and despotism. Now it seems to be a thing of the past. There is no longer a West, and those who would like to use the word -- along with Europe and the United States in the same sentence -- should just hold their breath. By any definition, America is no longer a Western nation.

The US is a country where the system of government has fallen firmly into the hands of the elite. An unruly and aggressive militarism set in motion two costly wars in the past 10 years. Society is not only divided socially and politically -- in its ideological blindness the nation is moving even farther away from the core of democracy. It is losing its ability to compromise.

America has changed. It has drifted away from the West.

The country's social disintegration is breathtaking. Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz recently described the phenomenon. The richest 1 percent of Americans claim one-quarter of the country's total income for themselves -- 25 years ago that figure was 12 percent. It also possesses 40 percent of total wealth, up from 33 percent 25 years ago. Stiglitz claims that in many countries in the so-called Third World, the income gap between the poor and rich has been reduced. In the United States, it has grown.

Economist Paul Krugman, also a Nobel laureate, has written that America's path is leading it down the road to "banana-republic status." The social cynicism and societal indifference once associated primarily with the Third World has now become an American hallmark. This accelerates social decay because the greater the disparity grows, the less likely the rich will be willing to contribute to the common good. When a company like Apple, which with €76 billion in the bank has greater reserves at its disposal than the government in Washington, a European can only shake his head over the Republican resistance to tax increases. We see it as self-destructive.

The same applies to America's broken political culture. The name "United States" seems increasingly less appropriate. Something has become routine in American political culture that has been absent in Germany since Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik policies of rapprochement with East Germany and the Soviet Bloc (in the 1960s and '70s): hate. At the same time, reason has been replaced by delusion. The notion of tax cuts has taken on a cult-like status, and the limited role of the state a leading ideology. In this new American civil war, respect for the country's highest office was sacrificed long ago.

wow...! can you imagine reading an opinion piece like this in ANY traditional u.s. media outlet...? me neither...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 2 comments

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The United States is not seriously contemplating its own bankruptcy

chalmers johnson passed away last november... here's an excerpt from his post to tom dispatch that appeared in july 2009...

(note: there's a lot more and it's well worth reading...)

The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of our military bases around the world, our empire consists of 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. We deploy over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and territories. In just one such country, Japan, at the end of March 2008, we still had 99,295 people connected to U.S. military forces living and working there -- 49,364 members of our armed services, 45,753 dependent family members, and 4,178 civilian employees. Some 13,975 of these were crowded into the small island of Okinawa, the largest concentration of foreign troops anywhere in Japan.

These massive concentrations of American military power outside the United States are not needed for our defense. They are, if anything, a prime contributor to our numerous conflicts with other countries. They are also unimaginably expensive. According to Anita Dancs, an analyst for the website Foreign Policy in Focus, the United States spends approximately $250 billion each year maintaining its global military presence. The sole purpose of this is to give us hegemony -- that is, control or dominance -- over as many nations on the planet as possible.


There is something absurd, even Kafkaesque, about our military empire. Jay Barr, a bankruptcy attorney, makes this point using an insightful analogy:

"Whether liquidating or reorganizing, a debtor who desires bankruptcy protection must provide a list of expenses, which, if considered reasonable, are offset against income to show that only limited funds are available to repay the bankrupted creditors. Now imagine a person filing for bankruptcy claiming that he could not repay his debts because he had the astronomical expense of maintaining at least 737 facilities overseas that provide exactly zero return on the significant investment required to sustain them... He could not qualify for liquidation without turning over many of his assets for the benefit of creditors, including the valuable foreign real estate on which he placed his bases."

In other words, the United States is not seriously contemplating its own bankruptcy. It is instead ignoring the meaning of its precipitate economic decline and flirting with insolvency.

reasonably prophetic, eh...?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments