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December 4, 2009

gal·li·mau·fry (gāl’ə-mô’frē)
n. pl. gal·li·mau·fries
A jumble; a hodgepodge.

[French galimafrée, from Old French galimafree, sauce, ragout : probably galer, to make merry; see gallant + mafrer, to gorge oneself (from Middle Dutch moffelen, to open one’s mouth wide, of imitative origin).]

I learned a new word today. I thought Gallimaufry was the planet Doctor Who came from. Who knew?

What’s going on in this mixed-up world lately?

52 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    December 4, 2009 8:50 am

    Haha! Zombie Reagan!

  2. cometman permalink*
    December 4, 2009 1:01 pm

    Dylan Ratigan asks some questions of Obama advisor Christina Romer about a windfall profits tax on the banks in the video from this zerohedge post and gets a stupid smile and a non-answer in return. Funny how she tries to claim that Ratigan knows very well that some members of Congress are considering such a tax. Funny in the “I’d like to wring your lying neck” sort of way since the congresspeople who are considering this tax are the ones who have been right all along and are constantly ignored. Pretty clear from her non-reply that such a tax is the last thing Obama wants to see for the bankers who contributed so much to his last campaign and who will be needed to contribute even more for his re-election effort, because the way things are going he’s going to need a lot of help to win a second term.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 4, 2009 7:39 pm

      I throw shoes at Romer whenever she’s on. I know she has a brain, but she speaks as though Zombie Reagan has had a go at her. Infuriating in deceptive deflection all the while imitating Aunt Bee from Andy Griffith. Zapato!

      I love it when Dylan thrashes her.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    December 4, 2009 1:36 pm

    A fine word. I knew it from playing pinochle. It was one of the colorful words and phrases my sister was in the habit of using to bemoan her hands – “a dog from every town” was another. Endless complaining and commentary was a big part of the game for us.

    But I never knew the etymology, which is so delightful that it should not be contested no matter the evidence.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 4, 2009 1:50 pm

      I got a kick out the etymology too which sounds very epicurean.

      The root “galli-” made me wonder whether instead of being from an old French verb, it might simply mean French people. Some sort of Frankish soylent green :P

  4. cometman permalink*
    December 4, 2009 1:39 pm

    Here’s an entertaining review of a new book called “The Case for God”. I’d like to thank the author of the review for saving me from ever having any desire to read it, not thatI would have anyway. Sounds like the author of the book Karen Armstrong has come up with a bunch of convoluted sophistry in an attempt to show that while we may not be able to know anything about Mr. God, that doesn’t mean he isn’t there and that we shouldn’t stop being religious. Sounds like the perfect book for adults who can’t think for themselves and still need their security blankets to make their way through the big scary world.

    …she is almost unable to imagine a conception of meaningful human life that does not ultimately rest on God:

    “Nor, like Nietzsche, Sartre, or Camus, do [the new atheists] face up to the pointlessness and futility that ensue when people lack the means of creating a sense of meaning. They do not appear to consider the effect of such nihilism on people who do not have privileged lives and absorbing work.”

    Apparently it is to be privilege for some, religion for the rest, and nihilism for those unfortunates who have neither. Is there really no other alternative? Richard Dawkins, for one, has written quite movingly, in “Unweaving the Rainbow” and elsewhere, on the way an appreciation of the nature of the universe, as revealed by science, can inspire and inform a sense of wonder and meaning. There is no apparent reason to assume that skepticism must inevitably lead to nihilism. Nor, for that matter, should we assume that a religion based on an ineffable, unreachable mystery of which we know nothing, and which does not even exist in any sense of “exist” that makes sense to us, will be an effective stay against nihilism. Armstrong takes the link between religion and meaningfulness to be too obvious to be worth spelling out. In fact the link is not obvious at all; it is merely conventional—a matter of so-called common sense.

    I’ve always thought that just maybe if people’s security blankets disappeared somehow, instead of settling for getting the shaft their whole lives while waiting for some goldmine in heaven later, they might just stand up on their own two feet for once and refuse to be exploited so goddamned much by the privileged. I fail to see why grown people who don’t believe in Santa Claus still need the pablum of religious fairy tales to provide some sense of meaning or the threat of damnation to give them a sense of ethics. Kudos to Mr. Jollimore for tearing apart this kind of nonsensical pap.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    December 4, 2009 7:33 pm

    Bank Failure Fried day

    6 down for a total of 130 failures so far this year

    Greater Atlantic Bank, Reston, VA
    Benchmark Bank, Aurora, IL
    AmTrust Bank, Cleveland, OH
    The Tattnall Bank, Reidsville, GA
    First Security National Bank, Norcross, GA
    The Buckhead Community Bank, Atlanta, GA

    AmTrustless was a doozy with 66 branches and apx $8 billion in deposits

    Gold dropped nearly 50 bux, the bux went up to nearly 76 and Geithner is starting to scold the Goldies. Oh and unemployment magically reversed its trajectory so the economy must be all better. Yipppeee!

  6. Stemella permalink*
    December 4, 2009 7:48 pm

  7. Stemella permalink*
    December 7, 2009 7:17 am

    Today is a commemorative day of protest in Iran

    Iranian police use teargas and batons in clashes with protesters where phone and computer networks have been silenced by the State.

    and in Greece, in honor of the boy’s death by cop that sparked protests last year

    Riots grip Athens on death anniversary

    All too little too late as the globalized police state tightens its many tentacled grip around the necks of us all.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 7, 2009 11:37 am

      At least somebody is putting up a fight. In the most recent (most likely fudged) unemployment figures you mentioned above, unemployment for young people in much higher than for the rest of the population. If that keeps up, maybe the youth here will start getting riled up to and put those idle hands to good use.

  8. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2009 7:34 am

    Check out this series called Green Porno where Isabella Rossellini dresses up as not so cute and cuddly animals and talks about their sex lives. Here’s the one about squid.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 7, 2009 7:38 am

      Almost David Lynchesque in surreal quality. Very cool.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 8, 2009 2:32 pm

      I love that whole series. Genius.

  9. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2009 11:31 am

    Not that we really needed it, but here’s some more evidence that Obama’s speech last week touting the Afghanistan “surge” where he mentioned that troops would start leaving in 2011 was nothing but equivocating bullshit.

    A contradiction in stated Afghanistan War goals has emerged at the highest levels of American government.

    While President Barack Obama has indicated he would like US troops to begin leaving Afghanistan in 2011, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton point out there is no deadline or exit strategy.

    “We’re not talking about an abrupt withdrawal. We’re talking about something that will take place over a period of time,” Gates told Meet the Press. “We will have 100,000 troops there. And they are not leaving in July of 2011. Some handful or some small number or whatever the conditions permit, will begin to withdraw at that time.”

    Can’t wait to hear the justifications for how it isn’t really a contradiction and how when Obama agrees to send the military in indefinitely with no exit strategy whatsoever it’s completely different than what Bush did.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 8, 2009 7:50 am

      Status Hopey McChangey ever the same as it ever was.

      Lest they forget, Iraq is still a Mess-o-potamia

      Car bombs killed at least 112 people in Baghdad on Tuesday, police said, leaving pools of blood, charred buses and scattered body parts in a brutal reminder of the threat from Iraq’s stubborn insurgency.

      The blasts, most detonated by suicide bombers, ripped through crowded areas close to government buildings, which should have been under tight security after previous devastating attacks in the capital in recent months.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 8, 2009 8:43 am

        Yeah, if I have to hear one more time that the “surge” in Iraq was successful….

        Just because the media doesn’t report the bombings anymore doesn’t mean they aren’t still happening. But I guess if it’s only 100s of Iraqis getting killed and not any US soldiers or mercenaries, everything is hunky dory there now. Rrrrrrr.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 8, 2009 1:59 pm

        That latest attack in Baghdad really set Chris Floyd off. He has a very good and righteous post today – When Blood is Their Argument: An Empire on Fire.

        The worst attack in — not years, not decades — but mere weeks. In other words, it’s hardly been a month since the last time, of many times, over and over, like clockwork, that dozens of people were ripped to shreds in the American-caused, American-abetted, American-supported civil wars in Iraq.

        Think on that, then think on this: the situation in Iraq is now being held up as a model, a goal, for Barack Obama’s massive expansion of the war and occupation in Afghanistan.

  10. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2009 11:47 am

    Evo Morales wins another term in Bolivia! And it wasn’t very close.

    Based on a count of 91% of votes, the polling firm Equipos-Mori gave Morales 63% of ballots, way ahead of a crowded field of nine candidates. His Movement Toward Socialism party won control of both chambers of congress, though in the lower house it was expected to fall just short of a two-thirds majority needed for constitutional changes.

    Don’t know much about the guy quoted below and maybe he’s just a swell guy, but it’s kind of funny hearing a former military guy who had his clock cleaned by Morales whining about “authoritarianism”. Wonder if he had the same complaints when actual right wing authoritarians were running the show?

    Manfred Reyes, a former army captain and state governor, came second with 27%, and Samuel Doria Medina, a cement magnate, came third with 6%, according to exit polls.

    Reyes said the president would now have no restraint in following his ally, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, down the road towards authoritarian ruin. “What’s in play in this election is democracy,” he said.

    Much more inclined to agree with one of Morales’ supporters who was quoted in the article:

    Bolivia’s transformation was irreversible and redressed a historic injustice, said Fidel Surco, an indigenous leader and senate candidate for Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism party.

    “There is no way back, this is our time, the awakening of the indigenous people. We’ll keep fighting till the end. Brother Evo Morales still has lots to do, one cannot think that four years are enough after 500 years of submission and oppression.”

    After all the damage done by the right wingers all over Latin America for many, many years, Morales and the Socialists deserve a decent shot to try and turn things around.

  11. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2009 12:46 pm

    Rrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Now it’s Obama and the Democrats who are proposing a deficit-cutting commission. Jane Hamsher describes it as floating a trial balloon to go after social security in this post and if she’s right with what she describes in the rest of that post, liberals will barely make a peep about it.

    This is just more of the type of shock doctrine Naomi Klein describes so well. The oligarchs use some emergency to force massive redistributions of wealth with the threat that otherwise the entire economy will collapse. Now if a nation’s entire economy were to collapse, I imagine what we’d see is massive unemployment and poverty rising with a very few left holding the vast majority of the nation’s remaining wealth. So how would that be very much different than what we are left with when the oligarchs decide to “fix” things?

    I’d like to think that this was all part of some broader plan but judging by the evidence it sure as hell seems like it’s nothing more than various members of the oligarchy taking full advantage of a broken system and corrupt politicians.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 7, 2009 1:10 pm

      Chris Hedges sums it up well – Liberals are Useless.

      Liberals are a useless lot. They talk about peace and do nothing to challenge our permanent war economy. They claim to support the working class, and vote for candidates that glibly defend the North American Free Trade Agreement. They insist they believe in welfare, the right to organize, universal health care and a host of other socially progressive causes, and will not risk stepping out of the mainstream to fight for them. The only talent they seem to possess is the ability to write abject, cloying letters to Barack Obama—as if he reads them—asking the president to come back to his “true” self. This sterile moral posturing, which is not only useless but humiliating, has made America’s liberal class an object of public derision.

      This part was especially good:

      Liberals are the defeated, self-absorbed Mouse Man in Dostoevsky’s “Notes From Underground.” They embrace cynicism, a cloak for their cowardice and impotence. They, like Dostoevsky’s depraved character, have come to believe that the “conscious inertia” of the underground surpasses all other forms of existence. They too use inaction and empty moral posturing, not to affect change but to engage in an orgy of self-adulation and self-pity. They too refuse to act or engage with anyone not cowering in the underground.

      Liberals are very good at preaching to the choir but at taking the fight where it really needs to go, not so much. A few years ago I went to a meeting with at the time Congressman Tom Allen, the ACLU and a couple of other groups to discuss the illegal wiretapping that was going on. After an hour or so of yapping, Allen said that all present should start writing letters and calling our Senators, including Olympia Snowe who was up for re-election at the time. I piped up and said that everyone in the room had already written and called and then called and written some more but that our elected representatives simply weren’t listening. Then I asked Allen if he would do everything in his power to support Snowe’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming election since he was actually a Democrat himself, Snowe was a huge part of the problem and removing her would go a long way towards solving it. All I got was silence from him in response. He couldn’t even go on the record as favoring a Democrat to take that seat!

      After the meeting I had several people come up to me and thank me for asking that very blunt question and it seems to me that there are people who would get out and raise some hell if they knew that the elected officials who are supposedly liberals themselves would have their backs and not just call in the cops as soon as they started to protest. We’ve mentioned here several times how politicians in other countries have asked their supporters to hit the streets in protest in recent years. But here in the US, nothing.

      And now milquetoast Tom Allen is sitting at home after having his clock cleaned by Susan Collins last year after running a very tepid campaign.

      Fuck ’em all.

      • Stemella permalink*
        December 8, 2009 7:45 am

        Hard to argue with either Hedges or you on this. Liberalism is a fine ideology, but it takes a Zapatista or Zappatisto to take the action necessary to effect it. We in America have become too mentally enslaved and cowed. Those who have taken action in recent years have been swept up by the Police State. The Patriot Act uber alles has killed the action of political passion. Everyone else is brainwashed by fear and telvision’s supersized consumer dreams.

        • cometman permalink*
          December 8, 2009 8:51 am

          Yup, being a milquetoast didn’t stop Tom Allen’s office from having a few protesters arrested on a separate occasion a few years ago. Won’t stand up to the right wingers but he’ll have those dirty hippies arrested toute de suite!

          When people do get riled and try to stand up, it’s the liberal leadership who tells them to stand down, and I think the implication is clear that if you don’t, you will be arrested. The divide and conquer strategy always has and still does work very well. There is strength in numbers and when you can’t get enough people together, nobody wants to be the one guy yelling on a street corner in protest who gets arrested and painted as the town crackpot.

          • triv33 permalink
            December 8, 2009 10:15 am

            If you do get the numbers together it doesn’t matter in the end. Once an organization gets to a size where it has a voice and gets recognized, it always gets co-opted by big money voices who preach a line against anything radical, then the organization doesn’t want to rock the boat too hard and lose the big money or marquee voice it has attracted. You get people together into a coalition and put a power structure in place and it’s only a matter of time before that power structure will sell out, with very few exceptions.
            I ran across this the other day and it spells out some of what I’m talking about in regard to the non-profits that are supposed to work for “the people.” Some good links.

            • cometman permalink*
              December 8, 2009 12:11 pm

              That is a very good point about these organizations being co-opted.

              I think the only real possible solution at this point is to get out there and put the fear of jeebus into the oligarchs. But that’s going to take a lot of people who won’t back down getting civilly disobedient for a long time. Something along the lines of a general strike. One or two protests isn’t going to cut it.

              And I haven’t the slightest idea about how to make that happen, especially when so many people live paycheck to paycheck and can’t take the time away from work to even try to make things better through direct action.

            • artemis54 permalink
              December 8, 2009 2:37 pm

              Oh boy, does this ever apply to the big box enviro groups. That’s why I love Glenn Barry and his EcoInternet sites. He’s one of the few that criticizes them – and how! – from a deeper green perspective.

  12. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2009 1:18 pm

    Science is coming closer and closer to getting me that neural shunt – Brain waves can ‘write’ on a computer early tests show.

    Neuroscientists at the Mayo Clinic campus in Jacksonville, Fla., have demonstrated how brain waves can be used to type alphanumerical characters on a computer screen. By merely focusing on the “q” in a matrix of letters, for example, that “q” appears on the monitor.

    Researchers say these findings …. represent concrete progress toward a mind-machine interface that may, one day, help people with a variety of disorders control devices, such as prosthetic arms and legs.

  13. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2009 2:03 pm

    The demand for precious metals is so high that the US mint has temporarily at least run out of gold and silver coins.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 8, 2009 7:24 am

      The markets have been more wacked than usual lately, with the run on metals, yet now the dollar is rallying again with gold value sinking. The whole thing is manufactured and manipulated, just like the media.

      Keep an eye on Greece. It is very close to economic wipeout this week, along with Venezuela.

      Fitch cuts Greece to BBB+, negative outlook

      • cometman permalink*
        December 8, 2009 9:02 am

        With these other protests already started, Greece could turn ugly soon if their economy goes down the tubes. Interesting situation in that the Socialists just took charge there too and evidently inherited a mess from their predecessors. But then again the Socialist party there isn’t exactly new and has held power before. I’m certainly no expert on Greek politics but my feeling is that when people there get pissed off, they aren’t going to look at the letter after a politicians name before they decide how mad they should be.

        Here’s an article about the most recent elections there with some quotes from various financial and academic people on what to expect. This one may turn out to be prophetic:


        “PASOK won’t have a long period of grace. This percentage … is more the consequence of New Democracy’s collapse than a victory for PASOK. These voters won’t forgive it if it doesn’t respond immediately to the social and the economic problems the country faces and this could result to social tension.”

  14. Stemella permalink*
    December 8, 2009 7:19 am

    A couple of techie articles

    YouTube: the People’s University of the Internet I tend to agree with the premise of the article as there are more and more offerings from Universities and whatnot. On the other hand, if you read the comments on youtube, one’s faith in English speaking humanity is severely tested.

    And one on The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA),

    Net piracy: The people vs the entertainment industry

    Not surprising that Team Obama is going the non transparent route.

    The Obama administration’s plans to implement ACTA are still hidden in a thicket of non-disclosure agreements with movie studios and record labels. The UK’s Digital Economy Bill, unveiled in last month, is clearly inspired by ACTA.

    The bill stipulates that people who share copyright-infringing content should receive two warnings by post, after which they will face punitive “technical measures”. These may include having their internet connection filtered to block attempts to download copyrighted material, “throttled” to slow downloads to a crawl, or even cut off entirely. Spain, Ireland and France have similar plans.

    ISPs are wary of being seen to invade customers’ privacy by sifting through their personal data – and of the potential costs involved – though Nicholas Lansman, head of the European ISP Association, insists that they oppose illicit file sharing.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 8, 2009 9:19 am

      Ha! Know what you mean about English-speaking humanity on the intertubes. It seems like some people use their anonymity as an excuse not to be embarrassed about looking stupid. This part was key I thought:

      The limiting factor is not technology but access. Those who haven’t got broadband or a good smartphone are cut off from the outset.

      Similar to what Richard Feynman said about not bothering to memorize a bunch of facts when he could just look them up if he needed them. Not sure whether access will get easier or more difficult in the future as certain trends point in both directions. I think computers, phones, and other devices will continue to get smaller and cheaper so that everyone can afford one. But will everyone be able to afford the charges to log on? And we are seeing books being replaced with digital media in many libraries these days too. Will the politicians support net neutrality? I really don’t think they will once the lobbyists for the big media companies have their say.

      Regarding the copyright issue, those trying to protect them are fighting a losing battle no matter what laws get passed. Information wants to be free and there have always been ways of sharing it. New technology has made that even easier and the pirates are much quicker than the authorities. By the time one practice is banned there is already another one up and running.

  15. Stemella permalink*
    December 8, 2009 7:36 am

    As a film buff I found this piece discussing the Death of Method Acting interesting.

    The Stanislavsky “Method” employed in many of my favorite films was a reaction to the harsh realities of the post WWII world. The author celebrates the end of that approach and the return of the “Pretender” style of acting that was common before the Method came into vogue. The Method actor seeks to portray an inner truth, while the Pretender masks the truth to sell the fantasy, the make believe, the lie.

    This got me thinking about how this transformation is a perfect reflection of the politics of our time. Our so called art is reflecting our so called reality. Our presidents and other politicians have also been Pretenders, at ease with reflecting market branded personae and telling a lot of lies. We see it in all aspects of our society, certainly on Wall Street, but on Main St. too. Truth and honesty are unprofitable and overrated by our society.

    And that will be our unraveling.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 8, 2009 9:54 am

      Never really thought much about the differences in styles before but that was really interesting. I really love the Paul Newman films from the 60s and 70s and I think they’d fall under the ‘method’ category where the actor tries to get into the character’s skin. In ‘Cool Hand Luke’ there was one line when somebody asked him why he cut the heads off parking meters and he said he was “just settling an old score”. Newman acted the anti-hero so well that that was pretty much all you needed to know about the character’s motivations.

      One of the newer movies I liked was ‘The Departed’ and that one probably falls into the ‘pretender’ category, especially with the two main characters being an undercover cop and undercover gangster. The main flaw I saw in that film was Jack Nicholson’s character. I got the sense he was playing a caricature of a mob boss rather than getting into a specific character and having seem many of his other films his character in ‘The Departed’ was almost a self-parody.

      Anyhoo, the changing styles do make a very good metaphor for our current fake politics where the vast majority are rarely sincere. The cardinal sin in DC these days, otherwise known as a ‘gaffe’, seems to be allowing any shred of your actual humanity to show through.

      • Stemella permalink*
        December 8, 2009 10:24 am

        Newman was definitely a Method Actor and was at one point the President of the Actor’s Studio, the primary acting school for the Method approach in the US. I think he took method acting to an even more realistic or naturalistic state than his predecessors. Watching his movies one can be completely absorbed into the story, forgetting there are actors involved at all.

        Here’s an interview of him discussing his early involvement with the Actor’s studio

        I’ve had a long term amateur’s interest in radical politics and theater. The Group Theater was another incarnation of the Stanislavsky Method, the Actor’s Studio’s predecessor, that brought us an earlier generation of great writers and actors, many of who were ultimately blacklisted by the McCarthyists.

        As to Jack Nicholson, love the guy, it is a very rare film since he became a superstar that he portrays a character as anyone but Jack the Movie star with a veneer. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t entertain and bring in the big bucks though.

        • cometman permalink*
          December 8, 2009 12:24 pm

          I agree on Jack. I’ll still go see just about anything he’s in even if he is just playing Jack the movie star. He’s always entertaining even if he isn’t making any films like ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ or ‘Five Easy Pieces’ anymore.

          And speaking of method acting, Mr. Newman, and films based on Ken Kesey books, the following ‘Fuck you all’ moment is probably my favorite closing scene of any movie and the sentiment definitely needs repeating in these times. The good part starts about 7 minutes into the clip.

          I need to get one of those for the roof of my car :)

        • cometman permalink*
          December 8, 2009 3:00 pm

          Just got a chance to watch that Newman interview which I really enjoyed. Hard to believe he was ever really bad at anything.

    • triv33 permalink
      December 8, 2009 10:21 am

      I’ll grant you that Clinton was an actor, but I pegged him for a method guy. I could almost feel the sense memory going on there sometimes. I could be wrong.

      • Stemella permalink*
        December 8, 2009 10:34 am

        It was the lip bite and squinty eyes. We could certainly feel his pain and he tried to convince us he could feel ours. When I had the opportunity to meet him in person, the overwhelming sensation, however, was his raw and throbbing sexuality. He ooozed it. haha.

        I blame Reagan. Crap actor turned crap Governor turned crap President. The last was the best role he ever had. He got away with having Alzheimers on the job. He set the precedent. No President will ever have it any other way.

        • triv33 permalink
          December 8, 2009 10:46 am

          Do you know how many times I watched “King’s Row” as a kid? St. Ronnie emotes. Ugh.

  16. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2009 10:07 am

    Speaking of people who get arrested when they try to protest, this may not be exactly the same thing as people marching against the wars and being thrown in the slammer, but it’s pretty funny – Man Throws Tomatoes at Palin at MOA .

    Bloomington police arrested a man for throwing two tomatoes at Sarah Palin at Mall of America Monday afternoon.

    Jeremy Paul Olson, 33, was arrested for fourth degree assault and disorderly conduct.

    Palin was never aware of the incident.


    Bloomington police said Olson tossed the tomatoes from the second level of the rotunda.

    The tomatoes missed Palin by about ten feet. They bounced off the stage and hit two Bloomington police officers who were providing security.

    Viva tomatistas!

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 8, 2009 10:37 am

      Next time it needs to be something larger with more of a rind, like say a watermelon.

      Viva Sandiaistats! :)

      Good job Bloomington!

  17. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2009 10:13 am

    Naomi Klein calls for some civil disobedience. In Europe.

    We have to be the lie detectors here. Let’s not restrict ourselves to polite marches and formulaic panel discussions. If Seattle was the coming out party, this should be the coming of age party. And, as a friend of mine called John Jordan says, I hope that we have grown up to be even more disobedient.

    Wonder what would happen if she tried to rile people up here? Hopefully we’ll find out.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 8, 2009 10:40 am

      I like Naomi.

      They’ll probably send her back to Canada if she gets too uppity over here, though I think she is dual US citizen too.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 8, 2009 12:27 pm

        I will admit to finding Naomi not only right on with her politics, but absolutely dreamy as well. I could listen to her talk about thumbtacks for a couple hours with a dumb grin on my face the whole time :)

  18. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2009 10:20 am

    More of the same. When Obama is criticized by the whackjobs on the right, he bends over backwards to capitulate to them. When he’s criticized from the left, he gets pissy and asks why he’s being ‘demeaned’ and won’t even throw the left a crumb.

    …the president picked up the phone several weeks ago to find out why Conyers was “demeaning” him.

    Obama’s decision to challenge Conyers highlights a sensitivity to criticism the president has taken on the left. Conyers’s critical remarks, many of which have been reported on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post, appear to have irritated the president, known for his calm demeanor.

    Conyers, the second-longest-serving member of the House, said, “[Obama] called me and told me that he heard that I was demeaning him and I had to explain to him that it wasn’t anything personal, it was an honest difference on the issues. And he said, ‘Well, let’s talk about it.'”

    Sitting in the Judiciary Committee’s conference room two days after Obama delivered his speech on Afghanistan, the 23-term lawmaker said he wasn’t in the mood to “chat.”

    Now if Conyers and others would just hold their ground instead of caving in themselves, this might start to be more than just theatre. And if frogs had wings….

  19. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2009 10:29 am

    Good article on Obama’s capitulation to the right on his policy towards Honduras – The Man Who Wasn’t There.

    He got some help from Shillary too.

    What happened? According to Jim DeMint, conservative firebrand senator from South Carolina, Obama caved. DeMint is one of the domino-minded Republicans who seem to live in fear of the spread of Chavez’s social programs. Zelaya had begun helping the poor, such as raising the minimum wage 60 percent and offering discounted energy. DeMint sees that and thinks Stalin.

    After the coup, DeMint went to Honduras to declare Micheletti the rightful president. With the two main presidential candidates part of the business elite, Micheletti and DeMint knew that if they held on till Nov. 29, they’d win. Micheletti could not have survived without U.S. support. He got it.

    To protest Obama’s apparent support of Zelaya at the time, DeMint held up two State Department nominees. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed to recognize the election results with or without the reinstatement of Zelaya, DeMint withdrew his hold on the nominees. This is a deal reported by DeMint himself and not disputed by Clinton.

    One crazy cracker seems to be able to set foreign policy all by themselves. Guess Obama didn’t consider being trumped by one republican senator from a pretty small state ‘demeaning’ at all….

  20. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2009 10:43 am

    Now that Obama has doled out trillions to bail out the bankers and fund the war machine, he suddenly wants some austerity in government spending. Mike Whitney calls bullshit.

    When Obama says “We don’t have enough public dollars to fill the hole of private dollars that was created by the crisis.” He’s just flat wrong. As Marshall Auerback pointed out on this site yesterday, the government can print as much money as it wants; it’s not “revenue constrained”. What keeps the Fed from printing its way out of every jam, is the fear of inflation. But, consider this: inflation fears never stopped Fed chair Ben Bernanke from hosing down the entire financial system with $11.4 trillion, did it? Also, the Fed never hesitated to bulk up excess reserves at the banks by $1 trillion so bankers could shove it into high-risk assets and make windfall profits for themselves while the real economy drifted into coma. The only time the Fed’s “inflation alarm” goes off is when there’s the remote chance that someone on the low end of the economic food-chain might benefit from a government jobs program. Then the trumpets blare, the lights blink red, and Bernanke scuttles up to Capital Hill with dire warnings of impending doom. It’s all politics. Bernanke’s world view is shaped by institutional bias, the same as Summers and Geithner. Obama has aligned himself with this swarm of rogues.

    Whitney suggests that the banksters know that cutting government spending now would put the economy in a tailspin and when it does, they’ll be in line for another huge transfer of wealth as they get bailed out again.

    I suspect that the bankers realize that something similar happened in FDR’s time. He took a break from his New Deal programs partway through and cut spending on the advice of the right and the economy started to seize up. But the bankers had already received one bailout then and FDR starting spending again rather than continuing to listen to the right when they were obviously wrong. Something tells me Obama doesn’t have the resolve to stand up to these assholes like FDR did.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 8, 2009 11:32 am

      Worse, I think, Obama not only won’t stand up to the assholes, he is one of them. I see very little daylight between his politics and those of his bulldogs, the likes of Rambo and their financial enablers. Centrist, triangulator, capitulator, oligarch licker, hawkish and corporatist.

      He not only won’t bend to the lefties or even listen to them beyond a token meeting here and there with a couple of economists for show; he is sneering at the left with contempt and disdain. There is no point in pretending that the shreds of what might pass as a left wing has any place in today’s Democratic Party, let alone in the White House. That wing has been labeled fanatic and has been cut loose from the fold. The remaining members will either cave, suck up and sell out their principles to try to win favor or will work for their principles through a different venue than partisan politics. Or they walk away from it.

      It will be interesting to see how many people turn out to vote in ’10. Of course, who knows if the numbers will even be reliable by then.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 8, 2009 12:33 pm

        I’ve pretty much walked away from it at this point and just document the downfall here. I’ll show up for my protest vote on election day but I’ve given up trying to organize, donate money, or call or write any of these clowns anymore. I really think mass civil disobedience is the only hope we have at this point, but it needs to happen before the entire edifice collapses. Feels like grasping at straws, but I really hope somebody has a Howard Beale moment that sets off a spark with the larger population and wakes people up.

  21. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2009 12:42 pm

    Rrrrrr. Looks like the palm greasers noticed that Andrew Cockburn had noticed their little loophole in the pending derivatives trading legislation, and rather than fixing it, they just made it more difficult to understand and bigger – Wall Street Snaps Its Fingers.

    However, last weekend, days before it was to come before the full house for debate, the House Rules Committee posted the final version. A friendly veteran of such dealings quickly passed on the somber news:

    “…It appears the forces of darkness never rest; the House Rules Committee has posted what is likely to be the new derivatives section of the House financial reform bill. The new definition of [an Alternative Swap Execution Facility] (minus the “A”) appears below:

    (49) SWAP EXECUTIONFACILITY.—The term‘swap execution facility’ means a person or entity that facilitates the execution or trading of swaps between two persons through any means of interstate commerce, but which is not a designated contract market, including any electronic trade execution or voice brokerage facility.”

    My veteran informant explained the dark significance of these seemingly innocuous changes:

    “This language obviously creates a rather significant loophole for voice brokers, as we discussed earlier. It is also very odd that it now says “or trading” after “execution.” This seems to open up the same loophole that the “confirmation facility” language did, as the language now reads that an ASEF is a person or thing that “facilitates the execution” of swaps– which means a telephone, a person on the other end of a telephone, or any thing else that helps a swap get traded (as opposed to actually trades it). In fact it is broader, since now an individual can qualify as an ASEF! Doesn’t seem to meet the spirit of transparency and exchange-like trading that was supposedly being advanced earlier.”

  22. artemis54 permalink
    December 8, 2009 2:59 pm

    FYI, although you are probably already aware: Amy Goodman is broadcasting live from the convention center in Copenhagen for the duration of COP15. That makes her one of maybe 15 people there whose footprint for the trip is justified.

    Unless you’d rather hear just a little more about Tiger Woods and his animated set of Barbie Dolls, or watch the Senescate dribble on itself, Amy is your go-to gal.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 8, 2009 3:07 pm

      Thanks for the heads up on Amy Goodman. I haven’t listened to her as much as I should lately and I wasn’t aware that she was doing that. I’ll be sure to check it out.

      Thankfully I’ve been able to avoid the Tiger Woods story except for overhearing a few conversations on the street and I don’t know what Senescate is at all. Please don’t tell me :)

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