A child’s movie from 1964, yet rather topical don’t you think:
A child’s movie from 1964, yet rather topical don’t you think:
The sense of humor (humour) up here is often priceless. In any case it’s sui generis.
(h/t David Suzuki)
The Atlantic Monthly wades into journalism’s chief conundrum again, showing how “complicated” it all is.
Not their job to sort truth from falsehood. Too much else to do.
There’s a certain legitimacy to this, but like a lot of things it’s a matter of degree and balance. Sometimes there is room for disagreement about what may or may not be true. Other times there isn’t. When there isn’t, and truth and falsehood are presented as simply two competing and equivalent alternatives, the neutrality itself becomes a lie. You cannot remain neutral between truth and falsehood.
Easier said than done? Sure, sometimes. But you don’t get to abdicate on fundamental questions pertaining to your own legitimacy.
This is just a semi-anonymous comment on a popular blog quoting an unnamed source. That said, it rings true.
As an aside, not one Greek public employee has been laid off over this mess. They are sucking the blood out of the country and because they are so numerous they represent the biggest voting block in the country. The situation there is hopeless. Talking with a friend last night she talked about the number of big companies that have been holding on with the hope of it turning around. Since the first of the year they are calling it quits. In her Athens neighborhood whenever a store front business goes broke a “Jewelry for cash” shop springs up. According to her, and she’s been extremely credible, most Greeks are at the end. There’s nothing left to sell, credit cards are tapped, and every maneuver imaginable to stave off personal economic disaster has been used. People are beginning to go hungry. They may not have technically defaulted but they are beginning to technically starve.
The situation in the US with public employees and the electoral dynamic involved is exactly the same. The only reason the US is not in the same position as Greece is that the US has the world’s reserve currency and Greece, by joining the Euro, doesn’t have its own currency at all. It has nothing to do with working hard or being lazy as some kind of national character.
Greek austerity, essentially imposed by a dictator acting on behalf of international financial interests – to a large degree US financial interests – is killing people. It has to stop. The Greeks themselves have to stop it. I hope they do.
It will then be the rest of the world that is indebted to Greece, as western civilization always has been.
Good for the insurgent AG’s. (h/t Naked Capitalism)
Update: Oops. Spoke too soon. The Obama administration, ever the toady for the powers that be, is strong arming the dissident Attorneys General into caving. Naked Capitalism is trying to offer some countervailing pressure. Good luck to them, and get on it yourself if you can.
Meanwhile, this appears to confirm that regular, decent people should not learn about how either sausages or laws are made.
I like to think that I have a good sense for things political. Maybe I do, but I can also certainly find myself in plain error.
So after Iowa I figured RP was toast, and that the MSM could comfortably go back to ignoring him. This is obviously not the case. When Washington Post neo-conservative staple Charles Krauthammer feels the need to acknowledge the Paul presidential candidacy in a column carried far and wide, something has definitely changed in a direction I had utterly failed to anticipate.
The immediate cause of this appears to be Paul’s strong showing in the New Hampshire primary, where coming in a clear second place, he emerged as the real alternative to the Republican establishment’s latest hand-picked stooge (let’s be honest) Mitt Romney.
The establishment media has now been shamed into developing a Ron Paul narrative, a task it has assiduously avoided for years. It’s very odd to me, this herd-like inability to acknowledge a fist that is punching you in the face until some safe bellwether like Krauthammer tells you your nose is bleeding, but that’s how the MSM operates. Without an approved narrative, they not only won’t cover a story – it seems they can’t. It’s like they have no language with which to discuss it.
What is the developing narrative like? It’s not even as bad as it could be. Still overtly patronizing but only mildly disdainful:
Paul commands a strong, energetic, highly committed following. And he is unlike any of the other candidates. They’re out to win. He admits he doesn’t see himself in the Oval Office. They’re one-time self-contained enterprises aiming for the White House. Paul is out there to build a movement that will long outlive this campaign…Libertarianism will have gone from the fringes — those hopeless, pathetic third-party runs — to a position of prominence in a major party….I see libertarianism as an important critique of the Leviathan state, not a governing philosophy. As for Paul himself, I find him a principled, somewhat wacky, highly engaging eccentric. But regardless of my feelings or yours, the plain fact is that Paul is nurturing his movement toward visibility and legitimacy.
Note that until now – and even now – the RP phenomenon and libertarianism generally has lacked “legitimacy”. But it’s moving in that direction. This much, apparently, has to be conceded. Beyond that, there is a somewhat respectful acknowledgment that this is a thing of the future, and by paving the way with his quirky candidacy, RP has laid the foundation. And it’s a “remarkable achievement”.
That’s the narrative of the moment, folks. That is the lens through which any electoral success by RP going forward will be viewed. It’s very different from the oblivion to which I thought RP had been already consigned after Iowa. So I screwed up on that call.
One other note, largely anecdotal. Krauthammer brings up a comparison to the the Pat Buchanan candidacies of the 1990′s. I’ll agree there are some similarities, but as Buchanan headed from New Hampshire to South Carolina and what was then called “super-Tuesday” in 1996 he was felled by a well orchestrated smear campaign that somewhat brazenly tapped into an anti-Catholic bigotry that is alive and well in those parts of the country. RP, not being Catholic, is not susceptible to that particular tactic.
This may yet be an interesting presidential election, something that hasn’t happened in a long time.
Update: Apropos that last point, it’s interesting to note that RP has surged in South Carolina and Rick Santorum’s support has collapsed. This likely has a lot to do with the fact that Santorum is Catholic. Anti-catholic bigotry sells really well in SC. Not really sure why that is. It just is.
So says Michael Olenick at Naked Capitalism.
It’s a “shadow” inventory because the lenders and servicers are engaged in a kind of intentional, self-imposed paralysis. And it’s not leniency, but rather self-interest at work. A loan isn’t in “default” until the creditor declares it, but the parties to the loan – the borrower and the lender – both know the score.
Of course, the paralysis affects both parties. That’s a lot of people in limbo, unable to resolve the issue of whether they have a home or not, which is a big problem in and of itself.
H/T Steve Keen
A regular commenter here – Zarapheth – and I do not agree, but in disagreeing he makes valuable contributions to the discussion here:
The problem with the monetary system is just a small piece of a larger problem.
Yes and no. The monetary system has indirectly resulted in huge distortions and maldistributions in the economy, and fixing the monetary system by itself will not directly address that, of course. But I have never suggested that fixing the monetary system is a panacea. In fact, I have suggested fixing the monetary system only in conjunction with a debt jubilee; but even both of these done at the same time won’t make heaven on earth.
The debt jubilee addresses the maldistribution issue directly and without force, by simply declining to have government force used to enforce existing debts. This amounts to a collective wealth transfer from debtors to creditors on a vast scale, unlike anything else in modern times, but due to the limitations of what the law can do, it paints this picture with an extremely broad brush. The virtue of it is that it just leaves everything where it is and subjects no one to compulsion. But this is a very important virtue politically, socially, economically and intellectually. Don’t give it short shrift.
Is that a fair characterization of downtown “occupy” sites? Washington D.C.’s Department of Health Director, himself an immigrant from Pakistan, seems to think so:
Akhter, who is originally from Pakistan and has worked for the District government for over 20 years, said that the situation in the two parks is reminiscent of refugee camps he has toured overseas in the Middle East and Africa during his public health career. He said he fears disaster could strike during a severe winter storm.
“Going down to these camps, it’s no different than refugee camps,” Akhter said. “People are living in very primitive conditions and they’re doing it by choice. They are very brave and thoughtful people, but my concern is that they should also take care of themselves. When the weather goes bad suddenly we’re watching a tragedy unfold in the middle of Washington, D.C. ”
I question how much “choice” there really is for many of them. Millions of people have been made functionally homeless because of foreclosures. It must be difficult for a Pakistani immigrant to imagine that he escaped those kinds of conditions in the middle east only to find them springing up in the land of milk and honey.
But that’s where we are.
…to simply and frankly face what a disaster this is.
It’s good that CNN is highlighting a few anecdotes like this. They put their spin on it, of course, the only one they know: seeing the whole thing in political terms with a slightly Marxist tilt.
Yet this is a social failure on many levels. “Income inequality” may indeed be the bottom line, but where does that income inequality come from?
It is fundamentally a function of the monetary system, in which economic power belongs primarily to lenders, and secondarily to borrowers, which may sound paradoxical but really isn’t.
The relatively powerless? Earners. The people who put in more than they take out. The monetary system has so distorted the economy, not to mention the minds and hearts of people, that we no longer recognize true earners even when they are right in front of us, and we routinely impoverish them while we further enrich and empower lenders and borrowers, who are in fact economically destructive leeches by comparison.
And then we wonder why our communities, and indeed the nation itself, are falling apart.
The prospects of the United States will improve when the Bryants’ financial situation improves, and the financial fortunes of Victor Tobin are reversed – and not before.