Friday, January 27, 2012

Serious Badass

Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 16711

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:43 pm Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gnosticism Is A Hoot wrote:
General question for everyone in the thread (even Tzor) -

What is the deal with George Soros? Conservatives seem to hate him, but my US-Liberal acquaintances don't seem to care about him, and his Wiki page is vaguely positive. What's all the hubbub?

EDIT: To put it another way, his Wiki page lists some pretty impressive achievements, but nothing that I thought would scream OMG LIBERAL ANTICHRIST to the wingnut crowd. So why the screaming?

The reality that conservative "thought" in the modern world is financed by like half a dozen creepy rich dudes is something that periodically causes right wing foot soldiers to have little bits of cognitive dissonance. However, since these guys are masters of projection, they assume that since they pretty much get their marching orders from people paid to write them by Rupert Murdoch or the Koch Brothers that liberals, progressives, and communists must be doing the same with different shadowy billionaires.

So they are constantly looking for evidence that George Soros (or maybe George Clooney) is the creepy mastermind behind Liberal thought in the same way that David Koch basically is the Cato Institute and Americans for Prosperity and the fucking Tea Party. The idea that other political viewpoints are different from them and actually don't slavishly follow talking points generated by shadowy billionaires seems totally foreign to them.

The reason that the right can't shut up about George Soros is not that he has amazing pull in leftist intellectual circles or that leftist commentators get piles of money to reword his latest diatribes or to denounce plans that might cost him money. It's that they are deep down certain that every other field of political thought is just as morally bankrupt as their own. Since their political movement could be destroyed root and branch by assassinating like six dudes, they assume every other political movement works that way too. The idea that OWS is actually leaderless simply does not register with them at all.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Bruce Wilder 01.25.12 at 5:06 pm

Is the Prince, a prince, because the pauper is a pauper?

What bothers me most about about increasing inequality as a concept is its bloodless abstractness. What bothers me about increasing inequality as a phenomenon, is its causal relation to increasing economic predation.

There was a time, when commercial banking and thrift institutions were oriented toward enabling people to own their homes; now, its all a game, oriented to enable a few to make millions or billions, and millions to enjoy the nightmare of foreclosure. There was a time, when state and local governments subsidized their colleges and universities, and wealthy people endowed private institutions, with the aim of enabling young people to get advanced education; now, advanced education is an opportunity to sink millions into debt peonage.

There was a time, when free trade promised higher quality and greater variety of goods, available to the mass of consumers. Now, it is an opportunity to exploit and defraud workers, globally.

The overton window may have shifted a bit to the left, but I’d say Tyler Cowen is still defending well within his own territory, when he doesn’t have to answer for his own parasitic existence as the well-paid apologist of the Koch empire, a complex of enterprises dedicated to depleting the earth’s resources and destoying its climate.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

From Bruce Sterling's state of the world address:

: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #54 of 234: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Fri 6 Jan 12 12:48
      *Alex Steffen weighing in here (#28):
"Paradoxically, perhaps, this feels to me like an optimistic development.
Things need to change profoundly, at systemic levels, and systemic breakdowns
are for the first time in decades putting the design of those systems (from
banking to urbanization to energy to democratic governance) on the table in a
very unavoidable way. Not a guarantee of a positive outcome, by any means, but
at least a situation to which we can imagine a positive outcome of the right scope,
scale and speed." *Well, there's something to this assertion, because it's what
Camillo Cavour wanted when he reunified Italy -- a "vast convulsion" that would
break up the stultified peace of Europe. Cavour got excellent results by cajoling
the French into attacking the Austrians on Italian soil. It was mayhem, but he
wangled his way through it by some deft leverage. But this wasn't just a
"systemic breakdown," because Cavour's government had an alternative system
entirely ready to roll. They had money, guns, the best-trained and best-equipped
Italian army, a constitution and an industrial revolution, plus more railroads
than everybody else in Italy. So it wasn't THEIR OWN system that was breaking
down but EVERYBODY ELSE's system that was breaking down, and that was why they
got away with it. Cavour successfully presented his government as the only
ALTERNATIVE to red revolutionary anarchy -- even though he'd provoked that chaos
himself. So it's possible to be paradoxically optimistic about systemic
breakdowns, because there are existence proofs of everything working out for
the best, or at least for the rather better. However, I've got objections.
First and foremost, as a futurist I'm always suspicious of "optimism" and
"pessimism." I think they're both objectionable attitudes that cloud one's
understandings of events. They also cloud the understanding that getting
what you want, or being deprived of what you want, are temporary conditions
and preludes to further complications somewhere down the line. No victory
lasts forever. And things that are great in one period, like internal
combustion, can be fatal when they're considered always "good." Also, in our
own period we've seen and experienced quite a lot of "systemic breakdowns.
" Sometimes they're "velvet revolutions" and they work out okay -- states can
rather implausibly "fail upward," especially if they get a lot of sympathetic
foreign help. However, we also see quite a lot of failed states, global
guerrilla areas, hollow states, "managed democracies," mogul captures of the
economy, organized crime zones, failed American military occupations, and other
unfortunate contemporary conditions. It's real, real easy to fail downward.
That's a major historical trend, obviously, but if you follow that kind of
transition-to-nowhere because you think, "well, this is a wave of change,
so I should surf it," that means abandoning civil rights and the rule of law.
And for what? You get a new order maybe, but quite likely you get a precarious
life as former citizens reduced to wretchedness. The logical extension of
domination by the global ultra-wealthy, and/or the local warlords, is for everyday
people to become their gangster molls and hired henchmen. This prospect may
seem like a stretch for Americans who've never witnessed or experienced that life,
but globally, quite a lot of people do live like this. Americans solve these
problems with cash and lawsuits. Other people can't buy their way out of that
life, and they can't sue their way out of that life. So, basically, they live
like the Corleone family in the Godfather movies; that's what a failed-state life
looks like when Americans do it. Of course the body count's particularly
high in that movie, because it's a drama. But life looks like that when the state
can't provide any equity or justice. That role gets filled by some canny
tough-guy with his sons and his consigliere. The don may have a lot of
street-smarts, but his economy isn't gonna work very well, because there's way too
much personal begging, threatening and knee-bending involved. It's a sclerotic
and parasitic means of production and distribution. I don't think the Tea Party
or the OWS are any major shivery threats to civilization; they're not like the
Fascist Black Shirts or the Chinese Red Guard. However, they both seem to me
like parodic and even goofier versions of their parent organizations, the
and the Democrats. They're not confronting or resolving the genuine problems
that the Republicans and Democrats so obviously have in running a competent
government. On the contrary, the Tea Party is a kind of slow-motion insurrection
by people who politically identify with churches and televangelists. While the
OWS is a very loose cluster of people who politically identify with flash mobs
and social networks; there's not an OWS guru around who could get elected
dog-catcher. So, you know, "paradoxical optimism." "The worse, the better,"
as Lenin used to cheerily remark. Yep, the bright side of forest fires is that
they free up a lot of minerals. What other attitude makes sense nowadays
I'm inclined to think that paradoxical optimism is a major temperament of
our times. But I'd cut a little closer to the bone and just call it
"dark euphoria." Because we're not working out solutions rationally;
we're just spitting for luck, and we're rolling the bones.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Watching some dipstick the other day on Fox News carry on with great certainty about Hillary Clinton and her evil motives -- and I don't think this guy actually spends a lot of time tete a tete with Mrs. Clinton while she reveals her deepest thoughts to him -- I wondered, "Lord, when are these people going to get over it?"

I think the answer is never, because most people have a very hard time forgiving those whom they have deeply wronged. I know that's sort of counterintuitive, but think about some of the bad divorces you have known. When we have done something terrible to someone, we often need to twist it around so it's their fault, not ours.

Great post here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Outstanding post about the importance of defending your rights.

The entire GOP debate last night—the ugliness of the crowd and the code-talkers on the stage—is all firmly rooted in putrid soil of Atwater’s legacy. When Gingrich says Food Stamps he means “nigger”. When Perry says states’ rights he means “nigger”. And when Romney says President Obama doesn’t “shares our values” or that the race is about “saving the soul of America” he means “nigger”.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm watching Senator Bernie Sanders on UP. (Joy of insomnia) He is talking out campaign finance reform (about 12min into the second hour on Jan 15) and he is making a lot of sense.

I start wondering if he is looking at the problem the wrong way. One way to see things is that the problem is people believe things they see on tv when really they should know better.

I suppose ultimately it is kind of a right wing thought, but still people should know by now that the people on tv are paid to lie to them.

Great rant from driftglass here:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Really outstanding article. I've been talking about this for a while now. In the 70's a new volkswagon beetle cost $2,000 which you could earn in a summer at minimum wage. Try to earn enough for a new car at minimum now.

Friday, January 13, 2012

That is the latest Glen Greenwald post. I think he makes good basic points about the media here. He uses the recent Arthur Brisbane article to launch into a discussion about media stenography in general. Brisbane asked his readers if the New York Times should start calling out lies. (He doesn't use that word though.)

One thing I don't understand about the discussion is why no one seems to be bringing up Al Gore. I'm sure someone must be but none of my regular reads are doing so. The Times and the press in general didn't have any problem calling Al Gore's statements out as lies. Even when they had to alter the statements in question to make them untrue. So really its just Republican lies that receive such deference. Paul Kruman recently wondered if Mitt Romney says anything true in his stump speech
Of course that is confined to his blog and not appearing in the Times proper.


Monday, January 02, 2012

Why I'm voting for ron paul.

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