Blog Flux Directory Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Bloglines Blog directory
And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/07/2014 - 12/14/2014
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, December 13, 2014

"The best political system that money can buy" needs to have its ass kicked out the door

i was reading a post on the naked capitalism blog this morning... in her introduction, yves smith recalled her post from a little over a year ago which i had forgotten about... it's one of the better summations i've read of our current situation accompanied by a call to action complete with all too rare specifics... since so much of what i read and see, particularly in the alternative news media, is primarily composed of metaphorical hand-wringing ("ain't it awful how 'they're' screwing us?"), it's good to see not only a detailed summary of how we're actually getting screwed but also some concrete suggestions on how we might go about getting unscrewed... 

i'm reprinting the initial portion of the post here with the strong recommendation that you visit the site and read the rest (yes, it's long but well worthwhile)... serious and heartfelt thanks to yves smith for her hard work in putting it all together...

The Skunk Party Manifesto

Posted on November 21, 2013 by 
The best political system that money can buy is doing a great job for its customers and a lousy job for the rest of us.
Most Americans do not realize that they are on the losing end of a 40-year war against them. On August 23, 1971, former Nixon Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell circulated what came to be known as the Powell memo. It set forth a detailed program for reshaping American institutions and values to favor the interests of corporations over those of ordinary citizens. The success of this initiative has been so complete that it has not only rolled back many of the bulwarks created by the New Deal and the Great Society, but it is also in the process of pauperizing ordinary workers in order to increase record business profits even further. The fact that the campaign has also produced rampant political dysfunction, curtailed civil liberties and helped cement an out-of-control surveillance state is of perilous little concern to powerful elites as long as their plutocratic land-grab continues.
One of the perverse accomplishments of this campaign has been to place all major branches of government in thrall to the capitalist classes rather than the popular will. Both major parties are in broad agreement on policies that are hostile to the public, such as deficit reduction when unemployment is still high, preserving a higher education system that turns increasing numbers of young people into compliant debt slaves, “reforming” as in cutting Social Security and Medicare while preserving a bloated military, and damaging local water supplies via fracking. A “law and economics” movement and aggressive targeting of elected court positions has produced an increasingly pro-business judiciary that has issued rulings that our forefathers would consider absurd, such as treating corporations as having Constitutional rights. Regulators are at best ideologically captured and at worst responsive to what amount to bribes via the “revolving door” of trading on their contacts and knowledge once they leave government service. And a lapdog media for the most part plays the role of Dr. Pangloss, celebrating this march towards neofeudalism as inevitable, even virtuous, and relegating critics to the fringes.
Promoters of this new order reassured the public that regulations were just unnecessary speed bumps that held back commerce, “innovation,” and progress. We’ve seen what self-serving bunk that has turned out to be. Efficient markets produce meager returns. Businesses understood that less regulation would produce higher profits, via lower transparency and more concentration, which means more pricing power. And they’ve increasingly used those profits to extract not just more waivers but also more direct subsidies from government at all levels.
The time has come for ordinary people to demand to be heard. We are hardly alone in calling for radical change; the recent weeks alone have seen robust debate about the need for revolution. Not surprisingly, pundits and spokesmen of the Vichy Left have worked hard to stuff that impulse back into a box. But the irony is that these “revolutionary” views aren’t even radical. They enjoy considerable, often majority, popular support. They just happen to be inconvenient for our incompetent elites and looting plutocrats.
Thus we are not trying to found a political movement as much as galvanize and focus popular views that the policy elites have marginalized and describe concrete solutions. Look at the anger expressed over long-standing, long-ignored grievances when ordinary folks get a platform for expressing their views. The runaway success of “#askJPM” shows how citizens are mad as hell about predatory banking; the humor and vitriol of the questions stands in stark contrast with the media finger wagging at JP Morgan. Yet in the face of  overwhelming evidence of well-warranted outrage at corporate and government misconduct, the experts prefer to talk about the PR bungling.
Since humor seems to be the only way to get forbidden topics, like the continued criminality of major banks, into official discourse, we encourage you to become a card-carrying member of the Skunk Party!

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Friday, December 12, 2014

I keep coming up empty-handed

maybe it wasn't such a hot idea to resume blogging... as i've looked back over seven years of posts on this site, i find i've just about said it all... i still diligently follow the news but what i see and read merely affirms, extends, and amplifies everything i've put out there since 2005... i'd like to think that the house of cards is about ready to collapse under its own evil, corrupted weight, but i've been poised on the brink of that hope for more than half of my life...

on a different subject, just for the heck of it, let me list off some of the alternative news sites that are on my current "read daily" list (in no particular order)...

Naked Capitalism - yves smith and her erstwhile colleague, lambert strether, do an outstanding job of keeping numbers-challenged and world-of-finance idiots like yours truly informed about the machinations the .01%...

Washington's Blog - whoever is responsible for this excellent site manages to pull together stories and collaborators - such as eric zuesse - that provide perspectives unavailable anywhere else...

The Vineyard of the Saker - this gentleman and his compadres have been doing yeoman's work reporting on the ukraine/eu/nato/russia/u.s. situation with reports from the ground in both the ukraine and russia...

The Intercept - yes, i am fully aware of all the chatter about pierre omidyar's news venture and the corrupting influence of his money and shuttered silicon valley mindset, but i will not abandon glenn greenwald and even less so now that dan froomkin and murtaza hussain are regulars...

Postcards from the End of America - linh dinh isn't a frequent poster but his chronicles and photos of what we often choose not to see or hear in present day america are as rich with gritty reality as anything you're going to find anywhere...

emptywheel - marcy wheeler has expanded her reach and her impact considerably in the years she's been at it... she now regularly appears in salon and other high profile outlets and does a superb job analyzing and parsing the arcane and voluminous crap that flows out of our national security state... - i've followed kevin flaherty for a number of years... he and i share a similar worldview and, when i was deep into digging out ever more scary stuff, he was often a source... he's backed off somewhat recently, which is understandable with two small kids and an off-the-grid homestead in new zealand to keep afloat...

i follow a lot of other outlets too, mainstream included, but i find the above to be regularly stimulating, thoughtful, and, very often, eerily accurate...

let me close by offering this, posted by jimq at washington's blog...
I’m sure my blood pressure would be lower and my mood better if I just accepted everything I was told by my wise, sagacious, Ivy League educated, obscenely wealthy rulers as the unequivocal truth. Why should I doubt these noble, well intentioned, champions of the common folk? They’ve never misled us before. They would never attempt to use two highly publicized deaths as a lever to keep black people and white people fighting each other and not realizing all races are now living in a militarized police surveillance state supported by the one Party. They would never use their complete control over the financial, political, judicial, and media organisms to convince the masses that voting for one of their hand selected red or blue options will ever actually change anything. They would never engineer the overthrow of a democratically elected government, cover up the shooting down of an airliner, and attempt to blame their crimes on the leader of a nuclear power in their efforts to retain a teetering global empire. They would never overthrow or wage economic warfare on countries that don’t toe the line regarding the continued dominance of the petrodollar in global commerce.

Sadly, I’m cursed with a mind that questions everything and trusts no one in authority or associated with the status quo. It’s the reason I don’t read newspapers or watch mainstream media television entertainment propaganda, disguised as news. 

that about covers it...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments