On August 21, Chris Hedges wrote a great post called “Bradley Manning and the Gangster State.” It is consonant with my own thinking, and, more importantly, it makes one focus on the most important issue facing democracy today: “Is there a democracy in the United States anymore, or have we already evolved into a form of totalitarianism?” And if we have, then is there any return from this, a counter-evolution or revolution, that will restore our political liberties and our ability to change our political regime?
”The most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history”
Here's Chris's opening statement:
”The swift and brutal verdict read out by Army Col. Judge Denise Lind in sentencing Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison means we have become a nation run by gangsters. It signals the inversion of our moral and legal order, the death of an independent media, and the open and flagrant misuse of the law to prevent any oversight or investigation of official abuses of power, including war crimes. The passivity of most of the nation’s citizens—the most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history—to the judicial lynching of Manning means they will be next. There are no institutional mechanisms left to halt the shredding of our most fundamental civil liberties, including habeas corpus and due process, or to prevent pre-emptive war, the assassination of U.S. citizens by the government and the complete obliteration of privacy.”
Some may object to the passionate and evaluative tone of this opening, and may want to quibble about whether Americans are “the most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history,” seeing this as glossing over the extreme conditions existing at the height of the Nazi, Stalin, and Mao regimes in Germany, the USSR, and China. But nevertheless it is hard to deny that in the areas of concern to the National Security Surveillance State, including not just foreign policy, “homeland security,” and the big media, but also in maintaining the dominance of the FIRE, Energy, military/industrial, and health insurance sectors of the economy, this statement is, sadly, true. Read below the fold...
The Law is the true embodiment
Of everything that's excellent.
It has no kind of fault or flaw,
And I, my Lords, embody the Law.
--The Lord Chancellor, Iolanthe, Gilbert and Sullivan
We can look at the foreclosure crisis as the pre-emininent law enforcement crisis of our time: Elite impunity for crimes committed and still being committed by lenders and servicers (“banksters”) on a massive scale. We can also look the foreclosure crsis as an issue of jurisprudence, where a revolutionary oligarchy seeks to change the nature of law itself.
The claim of Austrian school economists that "there is no macroeconomics" because the political-economic system at the macro level is explainable in terms of the aggregated attributes and activities of political-economic agents at the micro-level of that system is false, silly, and ignores the findings of many other sciences! That's because macro-level behavior includes structural and holistic properties of these systems that are not explainable by individual level phenomena or aggregations of them. Read below the fold...
John Carney commented on a post by David Brooks and a follow-up by Randy Wray. Brooks says that a tax credit is essentially the same as Government spending and used an example from David Bradford, a Princeton economist, of the Pentagon wanting to acquire a new plane and paying for it with a tax credit.
Randy comments on the idea this way: Read below the fold...
Fool us once blame you. Fool us twice and then again and again and again?
Obama is being credited due to the usual bureaucratic numbers twisting that though he hasn’t been able to increase jobs, he has at least arrested job losses. This is profound bullshit.
Hugh has done the real math which deserves a serious read. He has dug into The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September jobs report with its “undercount” and unearthed the real and horrifying dimensions of disemployment in America. He has also explained just how pathetically and grotesquely inadequate Obama’s and the Dem’s faux-emergency solution to the jobs crisis actually is.
Hugh: Read below the fold...
Check out this transcript from a show run on November 16th of this year:
JIM LEHRER: In the worst-case scenario, the panel says courts could block foreclosures. Banks would be left holding bad mortgage loans that cost them billions of dollars. That in turn would deepen disruption in the housing market.
But, in the best case, the Oversight Panel acknowledges, concerns about mortgage documents may prove to be overblown, a view embraced by the financial industry. This afternoon, executives from two major lenders, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America, appeared before the Senate Banking Committee.Read below the fold...
The recent weeks brought a flood of quarterly reports as companies on calendar years rushed to file their 10-Qs with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In that welter of documents, one thing stood out: Even executives are worried who’s going to pay for health care.
Last Tuesday, 2 November 2010, was the day the Free and the Brave had pledged to "Re-Elect Nobody" and "throw the bums out" of Washington. Instead, with their woolly heads filled with billions of dollars worth of political propaganda, half-truths and outright lies paid for in no small part by foreign and anonymous corporate donations legalized by the Supreme Court's "Citizens United v. FEC" decision, the American Sheeple voted as programmed and--despite the largely-manufactured dissent and highly-publicized victories of a few billionaire-funded AstroTurf Tea Party candidates--dutifully re-elected the incumbents in 83% of the Senate contests and 86% of all House races. Read below the fold...
I think it is good for a liberal Democrat, like Joe Costello, to make this kind of critique.
“Make no mistake folks, there’s a criminal element atop our financial industry, who operate with both the complicity and culpability of much of our political class.”
I would just point out that it is incomplete. It is not “an element” that is criminally minded and acting. It is the whole shebang. Our financial industry is a criminal enterprise. But it is itself only part of the larger criminal enterprise that is kleptocracy and encompasses all of our elites: financial, political, industrial, governmental, legislative, judicial, academic, lobbyist, military, and media. It is a collaborative effort. All of the checks and balances have been removed or turned to kabuki. Read below the fold...