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Gnawing Rat Beef

April 26, 2009

As I listen to the 15th rat caught in the live trap nibble and struggle against his oppressive new abode, digesting his last meal of walnut in peanut butter, I think of pestilence and plagues of the past. The news of late has been filled with talk of torture, war, poverty, corruption, greed and most recently with possible world wide pandemic. Airlines are taking precautions. The Asians are screening passengers offloading from America with temperature monitors and whisking those with fevers off to quarantine.

What fresh hell is this? Will there soon be locusts and frogs? Will cats mate with dogs? For now, it appears there are rats, lots of rats, and not just out on my porch.

There has been rattus escalation in Great Britain, home of the former Pied Piper, whose services may again be required. The population explosion is attributed to the sinking economy and the burst real estate bubble:  Rats Feed Off U.K. Recession as Trash Mounts, Buildings Empty

“Sometimes I drive into the car park and there are at least 20 of them in the bins,” said Paul Hood, 46, a north London resident. “You see them running away in the headlights. During the day, they just sit in the bushes sunbathing.”

As the biggest economic bust in 60 years fostered a boom for rodents, municipalities were called an estimated 700,000 times to deal with infestations in the last 12 months, compared with 650,000 the previous year, said Peter Crowden, chairman of National Pest Technicians Association Ltd.

The rat population has swollen by 13 percent this year to more than 50 million, one for every person living in England, according to an industry consensus cited by Crowden. Rats and mice are capable of spreading more than 35 diseases, including a fever inducing nausea and muscle aches passed to humans either via a bite or the rodent’s urine.

“The government needs to look at this,” Crowden said. “Budgets are being cut. If they don’t do something, it’s going to be a serious public-health risk.”

Then there is the horrible case noted in South Africa. This time is wasn’t the Dingo of Down Under. This time: Rats ate my baby’s face, says mom

A two-year-old baby girl has been killed, possibly by rats that gnawed off 95 percent of her face.

The girl was found dead yesterday morning in a bed that she shared with her parents after her mother woke up and realised she was not moving.

When she turned the baby over she discovered that her eyes, nose and lips were gone, said Johannesburg emergency services spokesman, Percy Morokane. Blood traces were found.

This scene described there is unbearable. It is like something you could only imagine in a horror film, or a story by Edgar Allen Poe, like the Pit and the Pendulum:

At first the ravenous animals were startled and terrified at the change — at the cessation of movement . They shrank alarmedly back; many sought the well. But this was only for a moment. I had not counted in vain upon their voracity. Observing that I remained without motion, one or two of the boldest leaped upon the frame-work and smelt at the surcingle. This seemed the signal for a general rush. Forth from the well they hurried in fresh troops. They clung to the wood, they overran it, and leaped in hundreds upon my person. The measured movement of the pendulum disturbed them not at all. Avoiding its strokes, they busied themselves with the annointed bandage. They pressed, they swarmed upon me in ever accumulating heaps. They writhed upon my throat; their cold lips sought my own; I was half stifled by their thronging pressure; disgust, for which the world has no name, swelled my bosom, and chilled with heavy clamminess my heart. Yet one minute and I felt that the struggle would be over. Plainly I perceived the loosening of the bandage. I knew that in more than one place it must be already severed. With a more than human resolution I lay STILL.

Finally, there is the story of Boston, where Summers no doubt vicariously precipitated the explosion of rats emanating from Harvard University upon the nearby neighbors.

Rats “big enough to put saddles on” are running amok in Allston and Brighton, leaping from trash bins, chewing their way into homes and terrifying residents who blame Harvard’s own “Big Dig” for unleashing the vermin.

“They pop out of the trash. A couple of weeks ago one ran right across my hand. It’s nasty,”


“We are very confident that the science complex is not the source of these problems,” said Harvard community liaison Kevin McCluskey. He said the university took extensive steps before construction began to wipe out any existing rats at the site by baiting, gassing or trapping them, and installed 90 rodent-monitoring stations around the perimeter.

The city’s Inspectional Services Department “wiped out some major colonies” at the Harvard site, said chief health inspector John Meaney, adding that it was hard to say if some rats fled the area and took up residence elsewhere. “We can’t tell you where every rat came from,” said Meaney, adding that Harvard “did an excellent job” going after the vermin. source

In the writing of this sordid tale the rat just outside the window has stopped struggling as it sleeps for the night. Tomorrow I will become his executioner, a role I do not relish whatsoever. I grew up with pet rats, and to my eyes they all look like this fellow below in spite of the diseases these wild brethren carry.

Man against nature all over again. It appears man is losing, having forgotten again he is part of it. Out of balance.

Life out of balance




Consider this Monday’s Rat Blogging open thread. For what day could be better for rat blogging than Monday?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    April 27, 2009 6:49 am

    Speaking of rats, the NYT has a major expose on Timothy Geithner and his activities as President of the New York Fed. Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club

    an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street’s giant financial institutions.

    His actions, as a regulator and later a bailout king, often aligned with the industry’s interests and desires, according to interviews with financiers, regulators and analysts and a review of Federal Reserve records.

    The article includes an amazing reference tool, an interactive daily calendar of Geithner’s activities as NY Fed from January 2007 to January 2009, containing over 600 pages of material. The calendar is also grouped by phases of the economic crash. Day one is illustrative:

    Schedule for Timothy F. Geithner

    Tuesday, January 2, 2007

    7:30 AM Car –Larchmont to FRBNY
    9:00 AM Meeting with Ms. Cumming and Mr. Silva
    10:00 AM Meeting with Mr. Kos
    11:00 AM Meeting with Mr. Baxter
    2:00 PM Meeting with Mr. Dudley
    3:00 PM Meeting with Mr. McCurdy

    Note the highlight. Need we say more? ;) The article does. It’s as bad as we thought. Geithner is a corporatist and a corporate whore.

    He ate lunch with senior executives from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley at the Four Seasons restaurant or in their corporate dining rooms. He attended casual dinners at the homes of executives like Jamie Dimon, a member of the New York Fed board and the chief of JPMorgan Chase.

    Mr. Geithner was particularly close to executives of Citigroup, the largest bank under his supervision. Robert E. Rubin, a senior Citi executive and a former Treasury secretary, was Mr. Geithner’s mentor from his years in the Clinton administration, and the two kept in close touch in New York.

    Mr. Geithner met frequently with Sanford I. Weill, one of Citi’s largest individual shareholders and its former chairman, serving on the board of a charity Mr. Weill led. As the bank was entering a financial tailspin, Mr. Weill approached Mr. Geithner about taking over as Citi’s chief executive.

    He must be evicted and replaced. Have the audacity to do it, McChangerton.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 27, 2009 7:42 am

      I just finished reading that article and was about to post it but you beat me to it. So I’ll post this one instead: UAW agrees to concessions with Chrysler.

      While the rats on Wall Street fight tooth and nail to make sure they won’t be regulated or have their pay and bonuses limited even as they get handed trillions, the autoworkers who actually make something rather than just shuffling papers have to take cuts to keep their jobs.

      The smallest U.S.-based automaker cleared two major hurdles on Sunday in its quest for survival, reaching a concession agreement with the United Auto Workers and winning ratification of its cost-cutting deal with the Canadian Auto Workers.

      That leaves only two obstacles standing between Chrysler and up to $6 billion in additional loans from the U.S. government: A partnership deal with Italy’s Fiat Group SpA and an agreement to swap equity for debt with banks and hedge funds that hold $6.9 billion in secured Chrysler loans.

      Details of the UAW deal weren’t disclosed, but the union said it was crafted together with Chrysler, Fiat Group SpA and the U.S. government. That means the cost cuts have been blessed by the Treasury Department, which has been overseeing efforts to restructure Chrysler and its Detroit counterpart, General Motors Corp.

      It’s been blessed! And by Pope Timmy the Rat no less! What could possibly go wrong especially now that Fix It Again Tony is involved?!?!


      Chrysler has been living on $4 billion in government loans and may get another $500 million to keep it alive through Thursday’s deadline to restructure to the government’s satisfaction. If it can’t close the final deals, however, no more government money will be made available and the company almost certainly would be auctioned off in pieces under bankruptcy court supervision.

      So if a few billion to the automakers doesn’t work out, they are cut off and the company is allowed to fail with the good assets auctioned off, throwing thousands more out of work on top of the 21,000 GM just announced will be getting the boot. But we keep shoveling trillions to the banks with no strings attached.

      • Stemella permalink*
        April 27, 2009 8:26 am

        I saw that GM is going to do another mass layoff. Have we heard of any areas where people are being hired? It’s like a gushing jugular. Every single night I get another Google email with articles listing mass layoffs. Every.single. night — for months now. When I stop getting those emails I’ll know something has shifted. Until then the flow of capital is going in the wrong direction.

        Naked Capitalism has an assessment of that Geithner article worth reading here:
        Are the Knives coming out for Geithner? He says that this article doesn’t reveal much that fanatics, I mean people, like us already didn’t guess or know, but that the NYT wrote such a long piece for the front page is in itself significant. It may give Obama cover if he needs to boot Timmy somewhere further down the road.

        Any reader of any remotely plugged in econoblog, or savvy enough to read between the lines of MSM reports will know that Geithner is a creature of the financial establishment. Probably the most important element in his pedigree is that he is a protege of Larry Summers and Bob Rubin. It also appears that he and Summers are working fist in glove (witness the marginalization of Paul Volcker).

        At a minimum, Geithner crony capitalist policies are finally leading to a hard look at his loyalties. There is no reason to think Geithner is personally corrupt (well, there was his little tax problem) but rather that he is as die hard a believer of finance uber alles as Alan Greenspan, albeit without the libertarian zealotry.

        Of course, if one were Machiavellian, this move may be Team Obama realizing rather late that they have made the success of Obama’s presidency contingent on the Summer/Geithner program, and now they are trying, even more so than before. to pin the policies on Geithner. That may work tactically but in the end, the banking mess is too central a problem for Obama to try to shift blame of policy failures onto his team. He picked the chefs, he has to eat the cooking. If the economy is still a mess in 2012, he will not escape the taint.

        And as much as this piece signals that Geithner may be starting to be perceived as a liability, it seems unlikely that he is in serious trouble yet. Sadly, the programs have to flounder first (although with the PPIP, that could happen sooner rather than later…..).

        And while the Times piece finally points to the elephant in the room, namely, how bankster friendly the new regime has been, it is far less pointed than it could have been. I suppose one has to treat Treasury secretaries with kid gloves The questionable incidents and relationships are diluted by a lot of narrative. But recall we never saw anything remotely like this treatment (save lots of grumblings) about Hank Paulson. Of course, handouts to the big end of town was standard operation in the Bush administration, so it was hard to work up much outrage about it (at least until the heinous TARP).

      • cometman permalink*
        April 28, 2009 2:06 pm

        Here is an interesting and unexpected development – the UAW could wind up owning a majority stake in Chrysler. Of course it will only happen if the banks say it’s OK.

        If the restructuring of the storied American automaker is completed according to the tentative deal, the union would have a 55 percent stake in the company, the Italian automaker Fiat would eventually hold a 35 percent stake, and the government and Chrysler’s lenders would share a 10 percent stake in the company. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the talks.


        The deal essentially relieves Chrysler of a portion of the $10 billion it owes to the union’s retiree health fund. In exchange for giving up its claims to some of that $10 billion, the union is getting the significant equity stake in the company.

        Chrysler and the Obama administration likewise want the automaker’s senior lenders to give up their claims of $6.9 billion in loans against the company.

        So far, however, Chrysler and its lenders are billions of dollars apart in the negotiations.

        Some of those lenders have already complained that the Obama administration is giving too much to the union while shorting the lenders who note that, legally, their debt claims should take priority. This agreement is unlikely to change those sentiments because it forces the lenders to accept an ownership stake of less than 10 percent.

        Pretty galling that after the banks have been bailed out with trillions, they’ll still scratch and claw to make sure the union gets nothing unless they get the loans that their fellow executives took out honored. Maybe the Chrysler execs can just hand over their private planes to the bankers and call it even.

        But even if the lenders do agree to the terms and the deal goes through, I think I may be smelling a rat here because this deal sounds almost, oh I don’t know, fair. More attention needed to figure out exactly what’s going on here.

  2. cometman permalink*
    April 27, 2009 8:00 am

    Calvin Trillin has a solution for the Wall Street looters from The Nation:

    On Dealing With Pirates

    We’ve shoveled ransom to the Wall Street band.
    Their lobbyists seek even sweeter deals.
    When next they want our dough for screwing up,
    We should, perhaps, send in some Navy Seals.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 27, 2009 8:29 am

      They should send in the mad massive hordes of ravaging cepahalopods and a few wiley dolphins too, to keep those Navy Seals honest. ;)

      Ah I love the scent of shredded polypropylene wetsuits in the morning. heh!

  3. cometman permalink*
    April 27, 2009 8:04 am

    And I meant to mention I liked the reference to Koyaanisqatsi. Been a while since I watched that one but it was extremely good. A college acquaintance who used to steal equipment from the chemistry lab ( purely for research purposes I assure you :P ) hosted a viewing of that after letting the viewers sample some of his research.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 27, 2009 8:34 am

      I saw the film in the theater when it first came out with a group of friends who had conducted their own botanical field research earlier that day. The flavor of bovine excrement in their samplings left much to be desired, but the audio and visual effects were outstanding!

      I’ve since seen Philip Glass (who wrote the soundtrack for the film) perform a couple of times and his music reminds me much of that research! :)

      • cometman permalink*
        April 27, 2009 9:18 am

        On the topic of ‘research projects’, it looks like some judges are getting more outspoken about the failed drug war and calling for the legalization of marijuana:

        A judge and Vietnam veteran from Orange County, California is on a publicity crusade to get marijuana legalized.

        From NBC San Diego:

        Jim Gray is a Vietnam combat veteran who spent 25 years on Orange County’s ‘bench’. He’s riled a lot of anti-drug crusaders with his critiques of America’s war on narcotics.

        In his view, it’s ‘high time’ — so to speak — for another approach to marijuana.

        “We would make marijuana less available for our children than it is today,” Gray said.
        “Why is that? Because alcohol is controlled by the government, and illegal drugs are controlled by drug dealers, and they don’t ask for ID. So what’s not to like?”

        And speaking of the failed drug war, damn that show Breaking Bad is really good. Saw the latest episode last night and it did not disappoint.

  4. sisdevore permalink
    April 27, 2009 9:17 am

    ah, so stemella is dd…..

    I’ve been thinking of a cartoon called “Rodentia: a Squirrel
    Girl in a Rat World” Because I do wonder what the interactions of these rodents are when they meet up.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 27, 2009 11:13 am

      The rat and the squirrel have been poorly represented in cartoon land. Mice have had the market cornered. There is Rocky of Rocky and Bullwinkle. There is a Disney Rat named Remy. There has been a dearth of female representation of rodentia as well. Minnie Mouse is so outdated. The chimpmunks should all be shot! :)

  5. cometman permalink*
    April 27, 2009 12:28 pm

    Icelanders give right wingers the boot and take back the Althing!

    The numbers are in and they are decisive. The longstanding, corporate-right forces of the Independence Party, known here as Iceland’s “Republicans”, have received a trouncing at the polls. With 100% of the vote tallied, the Social Democratic Alliance (moderate Socialist) won 29.8% of the vote (55,758 votes) and their partners the Left-Green Movement (Socialist-Green-Feminist) 21.7% (40,580 votes).

    Together they will now have 20 and 14 seats in the Parliament, or Althingi, respectively; 34 out of 63 total. The new Citizen’s Movement (left-populist) received 7.2% of the vote, garnering 4 seats. The former ruling Independence Party received 44,369 votes, shockingly losing 9 seats. Their support in the country has never been this low. Their former coalition partners, the Progressive Alliance (center-Right) gained only 2 seats.

    The fact that the Independence Party received less than 4000 votes over the Left-Greens signals a sea change in how Icelanders view their country and what should be done to take them out of the ruin imposed on them through 18 years of Independence Party and Progressive Alliance (mis)rule.


    Icelanders took to the streets with grit and determination following revelations that their ruined economy was driven into the ground by self-serving politicians interested more in hobnobbing with celebrities and selling off the country’s resources to the highest bidder than in advancing the people’s best interests. The people decided (in their typically reserved Icelandic manner) that enough is enough and nonviolently toppled the establishment in just a few short months. The people withheld their support, obstructed the governance of the country, and demanded completely new elections. They got all of that and more. A whopping 85.1% of eligible voters voted yesterday, an indication of Scandinavian civic-mindedness, to be sure, but also an indicator of how mobilized the people were.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 27, 2009 1:30 pm

      Good for the Icelanders! That holding people to account by withdrawl of support thing, it’s good to see it still works when the scale of population to government is reasonable. I’ll bet having a fairly homogenius society helps too.

  6. cometman permalink*
    April 27, 2009 12:38 pm

    Pam Martens puts the heat on the wingers of The Free State Project in New Hampshire, which hasn’t been doing well at all to begin with and will probably fare worse now that some light has been shined on them.

    One of the most audacious and cynical corporate-backed social experiments in living memory, the Free State Project in New Hampshire, has now shifted into damage control mode. Free State operatives learned this past week of my article that appears in the current subscription edition of CounterPunch, taking the first in-depth look at their plan to entice 20,000 out-of-state ultra libertarians and anarchists to move to New Hampshire and implant an extremist brand of free market capitalism: a brand the corporate backers hope will lead to a gutting of business regulations, environmental laws, and return the state to the right wing of the Republican fold. (Currently, all three branches in New Hampshire, known for its pivotal first primary status, are controlled by Democrats.)

    An effort at damage control is playing out in the Free Staters’ internet pummeling of this author and a reporter at the Keene Sentinel newspaper in southern New Hampshire, Phillip Bantz, who made reference to the revelations in the CounterPunch piece along with an eyebrow raising quote from a Free Stater on legalizing cannibalism, a demand of some fringe Free Staters.

    The attacks have not gone as planned. Over 128 reader responses are now registered in the Keene Sentinel, founded in 1799, which typically receives less than 20 responses to an article. Area residents, known for tolerance, are displaying pent-up fatigue and anger with the agenda of the Free Staters.

    Been hearing about these whackjobs for a few years now and it’s nice that they’re being shown as the rats that they are.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    April 28, 2009 7:15 am

    There’s a new article by Simon Johnson at the latest edition of the Atlantic here: The Quiet Coup

    The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

    Break up the oligarchy, break up the big zombie banks, break up the culture of corruption and cronyism, break up the stranglehold on Congress so we can oust some of these fuckwads come then next election. That’s the kind of change we need to see, lest the change we get will be undesirable to everybody.

  8. cometman permalink*
    April 28, 2009 7:20 am

    More nonsense regarding the “stress tests” out this morning. Here’s a link. Let’s see if the text of this article stays the same since the last time I posted an AP link here, when I went back to check it later I noticed that they had rewritten the text I had quoted from the article earlier.

    First we see this:

    Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., which have each received $45 billion in government bailout funds, have been told by regulators that “stress test” results show they may need to raise additional capital, The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday.

    Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America is looking at a shortfall in the billions of dollars, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation. Both banks plan to rebut the preliminary findings, according to the paper, with Bank of America expected to respond Tuesday ahead of its shareholder meeting Wednesday.

    Followed later by:

    Fed officials told reporters Friday that all 19 banks that took its “stress tests” will be required to keep an extra buffer of capital reserves beyond what is required now in case losses continue to mount. That would mean some banks will likely have to raise additional cash. But the Fed stressed in a statement that a bank’s need for more capital reserves to meet the requirements should not be considered a measure of the “current solvency or viability of the firm.”

    So they’re broke and need billions on top of the billions they’ve already been handed, but that doesn’t mean they’re insolvent or anything. And what I’d really like to know is what kind of reserves are they going to be required to have. Are they going to be leveraged at a more reasonable 10:1 ratio or are they going to be allowed to go out to 30:1 and 40:1 again which is what caused the problem in the first place? I’m not seeing anything to indicate that new regulations are on the way to keep these banks from making bets they can’t cover – just a lot of “suggestions” and handing over whatever money they ask for.

    And then there’s this:

    Banks deemed to have enough capital may learn whether they’ll be permitted to repay billions of dollars the government injected into them last fall, analysts and officials said. Most large banks have said they want to repay the money to escape executive compensation limits and other obligations.

    This is the height of idiocy. The government may not take the money back even if they want to repay it? And if they do repay it there won’t be any limitations on the banks at all? It isn’t like capping executive pay is really going to stop them from looting whatever they want from the companies they run. They’ll just come up with some new kind of compensation with a shiny new name that isn’t called ‘salary’ or ‘bonus’. And if they screwed up so badly that they needed billions in the first place why would the government not place permanent restrictions and regulation on the banks to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

    This is nothing more than lip service to make it seem like the government is doing something when in reality they are just running interference so the banks can get away with the biggest heist in history.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 28, 2009 7:51 am

      Exactly. Interference, shell games, smoke and mirrors, stall tactics … some might even say fraud. It all does boil down to the biggest heist, the biggest transfer of wealth in modern times.

      There’s more, of course. I saw another article about the continued crisis in pensions. The disassembly of the auto makers will reduce or even destroy the pension plans for hundreds of thousands. The safety nets of people who have already paid their dues, literally, are being pulled out from under them.

      At the rate we’re going we’ll be seeing corporately run poor houses for the production of soylent green topped with a little swine poo to insure the continuation of swine flu to keep everyone frightened and complicit. It’s all simply insane.

  9. cometman permalink*
    April 28, 2009 12:12 pm

    Here’s something. It looks like the authorities and Georgian citizens are on to the shenanigans that Mikheil Saakavili pulled last year:

    At the bottom of the recent demonstrations that have packed the capital city of Tbilisi with tens of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Georgian President Mikheil Saakavili is an investigation by the European Union (EU) as to who started last summer’s war between Georgia and Russia. According to a report in the German newspaper Der Spiegel, “A secret document may prove that the Georgian president had planned a war of aggression in South Ossetia.”

    The Russians charge that Georgian troops launched a surprise attack on South Ossetia last Aug. 7, while Saakavili claims that Georgia was merely defending itself from an invasion by 150 Russian tanks through the Roki Tunnel connecting South Ossetia with North Ossetia. The latter is part of Russia.

    But an investigation by the EU has uncovered “Order No. 2” dated Aug. 7, that says that Georgia was not defending itself but acting to “reestablish constitutional order” in South Ossetia. The EU is closely examining an Aug. 7 television interview in which Georgian Gen. Mamuka Kurashjvili used just those words. President Saakavili announced Aug. 8 that “Most of South Ossetia’s territory is liberated.” He did not claim that Georgia was acting in “self-defense” until Aug. 11. By that time Russian troops had driven the Georgian Army out of South Ossetia and were within 31 miles of Tbilisi. The war lasted five days.

    I think I remember a few people saying months ago that this was the case and that Saakavili was trying to provoke the Russians to get assistance from the US. But that didn’t stop the US corporate media from saying that it was all the big bad Russians’ fault.

  10. cometman permalink*
    April 28, 2009 12:22 pm

    Nice article here about pirates, propaganda, and the corporate media which invokes Edward L. Bernays who I first heard about in that ‘Century of the Self’ film.

    I can only assume there will be a “Black Men Down: Somalian Rescue” movie forthcoming which will be a smash hit next summer and make all who watch it just a little bit dumber.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 28, 2009 2:45 pm

      …the driving force behind the modern market-based news organization is the need to reach the largest number of the consumers that are desired by advertisers. The fear of alienating those consumers has an insidious effect on the ideas and opinions that are distributed, both consciously and unconsciously, as part of the news “product.”

      This is why television and for profit news in general must be viewed with understanding of that enormous bias, that the audience they choose to speak to are not viewed as citizens in need of honest information, but as consumers meant to be manipulated to buy their crap.

      We are all being conditioned, all the time. Simon Johnson had not only that article in Atlantic, but another one oh his blog today: Pierre Bourdieu, Tim Geithner, and Cultural Capital that talks not only about Geithner, but the idea of class distinction and cultural conditioning. We are all culturally conditioned, but differently depending on our upbringings and educations. He says Geithner was culturally conditioned by Wall St, a special sector of that upper crusty breed and that he will be always be loyal to that small class of people rather than to the nation at large.

      The real change that is needed is the overthrow of that Bernaysian conditioning, otherwise known as mind controlling propaganda. We’ve been under his and his proteges’ spells for far too long now.

      • cometman permalink*
        April 28, 2009 3:30 pm

        I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t even watch the supposedly liberal news programs like Keith Olberman anymore without yelling at the TV, so I don’t. Stopped watching the network news, CNN, etc a long time ago. One of the last network broadcasts I remember seeing was CBS news when I was in a bar and had no choice. Dan Rather was doing a report on the damage that is done to cars when people in rural areas hit deer with a look of disgust on his face as if to say “I’m not getting paid enough to read this shit and pretend it’s news”. I realized I hadn’t been missing much by tuning out. About the only one I actually enjoy watching anymore is Bill Moyers.

        • Stemella permalink*
          April 28, 2009 6:04 pm

          In addition to Moyers, I like to watch the Lehrer Report on PBS when I want some real television style reporting. They do real analysis and often send
          their reporters overseas to places like Pakistan and Afghanistan for interviews with foreign leaders. It’s a dinosaur, I know, educational rather than entertainment. Low on the comedy and nil on celebrities. But I always do end up feeling informed by them. CNN is only good during hurricanes. I always hope I’ll get to see Anderson Cooper blow away into the clouds, just like that pet Chihuahua did the other day! ;)

          • cometman permalink*
            April 28, 2009 9:29 pm

            I’ve never watched Lehrer very much, but a good friend of mine has been recommending it highly to me too. I’m going to have to start checking it once once in a while.

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