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21st Century Schizoid Man

February 4, 2010

Picked up a copy of this album a few days ago to replace one I had lost. Never really paid attention to the words before but while I was listening to it at my desk a line about having more than you really need caught my ear and made me look up the lyrics.

Cat’s foot, iron claw,
Neuro-surgeons scream for more,
At paranoia’s poison door
Twenty-first century schizoid man.

Blood rack, barbed wire,
Politicians’ funeral pyre,
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty-first century schizoid man.

Death seed, blind man’s greed,
Poets’ starving children bleed,
Nothing he’s got he really needs
Twenty-first century schizoid man.

The song was written during a 20th century war but very little has changed in the ensuing 40 years. The politicians still demonstrate their fondness for incendiary devices although smart bombs rather than napalm have become the tool of choice to pacify the foreigners while the surgeon’s scalpel has been replaced by billions of useless pharmaceutical pills to pacify the natives.

Other than that not much has changed at all.

To hear the Powers That Be tell it, war is still peace, subjugation is still freedom, and having no real choice in the matter is still democracy.

It’s enough to make you want to scream.

39 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    February 4, 2010 9:30 am

    One thing has changed a little bit, namely the song. While I was searching for the lyrics I came across The Human Experimente, a musical collaboration between Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew from “King Crimson” and Maynard Keenan from “Tool” among others. I’ve been a fan of “Tool” for a while and this looks pretty promising. For some reason I just can’t resist music with syncopated rhythms and strange time signatures. The album hasn’t been released yet but here’s the updated version of “21st Century Schizoid Man”.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 4, 2010 9:46 am

      Very nice. Perfect song and imagery for how my day is going so far. I’ve been a fan of King Crimson and Fripp for years, but only know Tool from its incredibly creepy videos. It is a nice collaboration.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 4, 2010 10:28 am

        Maynard Keenan has done some other collaborations too. I picked up his “A Perfect Circle” CD of anti-war songs called “Emotive” a few years ago. Most of the covers on that album are very gothic and dirge-like. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea but he does have a point to make.

  2. cometman permalink*
    February 4, 2010 9:48 am

    And speaking of having things you don’t really need, there’s another reworking of a 40 year old rock tune which recently came out. One of my other favorites, The Flaming Lips, have redone the entire “Dark Side of the Moon” album. So far it’s only been released digitally.

    Here’s the remake of the Goldman Sux theme song.

    Wasn’t sure what to make of that after the first listen but after the second it’s growing on me.

    You can listen to their version of “Time” here.

  3. Stemella permalink*
    February 4, 2010 9:52 am

    A couple of weeks ago Dr. Doom Roubini gave another warning:
    The Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis

    and low and behold, today Spain and Portugal are sinking, the Euro is tanking and around and around the toilet bowl we all go again. Greece still hangs on by the thinnest of threads, but barely.

    Here’s a summary from the Financial Times Sovereign debt fears rattle investors

    • cometman permalink*
      February 4, 2010 10:50 am

      Good articles there. It all boils down to a fairly simple statement – nobody is going to keep lending money that is unlikely to ever be paid back now that the scams and the threats they pose are being exposed. The oligarchs are still clinging to their failed ideologies and looking for new suckers but I have to believe the marks are going to be harder to come by these days.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    February 4, 2010 10:19 am

    Here’s a schizoid man for you preaching the creed of greed

    and because I’m evil

    • cometman permalink*
      February 4, 2010 10:37 am

      Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! Fuck Milton Friedman and his rotting corpse. He’s trying to compare bullshit economic theories with physics and engineering? And a Hitler reference as a defense of freemarketeering? May wild animals eternally gnaw his bones and decorate his grave with steaming piles of excrement.

      And fuck Abba and their earworms while we’re at it too. You are truly evil :)

      • Stemella permalink*
        February 4, 2010 4:21 pm

        Indeed ;)

        • triv33 permalink
          February 5, 2010 10:12 am

          You’re more than evil, you’re diabolical…you’re fucking lemon scented. Most of that line lifted from SpongeBob, gratuitous adjective supplied by me. : )

          • Stemella permalink*
            February 5, 2010 10:53 am

            At least I’m not kumquat scented :) Speaking of which I wanted to compliment you on your excellent skills of argument and debate in the HCR battles over there. I’m being serious here. I think you’ve done a great job wrestling with the facebook treefort girls. They are the female version of UGOG, the Uguglies. Keep up the good fight.

  5. cometman permalink*
    February 4, 2010 11:14 am

    Looks like Andrew Cuomo isn’t waiting around for the SEC to get a clue. The NY state AG is filing fraud charges against former BoA CEO Ken Lewis and former CFO Joe Price.

    Andrew Cuomo, attorney-general of New York, filed civil charges against Ken Lewis, former Bank of America chief executive, and Joe Price, the bank’s former chief financial officer, accusing them of fraud related to troubled asset relief programme bail-out funds.

    After more than one year of investigation, Mr Cuomo’s office determined that Mr Price, the chief financial officer, misled BofA’s general counsel as to the magnitude of Merrill’s losses in the fourth quarter of 2008, in order to get the general counsel to agree with the bank’s stance that Merrill’s losses did not need to be disclosed to shareholders prior to a December 5 vote on the transaction.

    Going to have to look into this part a little more:

    The SEC announced a $150m settlement with BofA on Thursday regarding shareholder disclosure, but Mr Cuomo’s charges are an attempt to affix blame to the bank’s top management.

    Guess this just happened today as I haven’t seen anything about it anywhere and a search didn’t come up with much. But is about the deal that Judge Rakoff had originally rejected when the SEC had wanted to settle for only $33 million. The best article I could come up with so far was this short one from Bloomberg. Evidently the deal isn’t quite done yet:

    The settlement is subject to approval by U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff, the regulator said in a statement today. In September, he rejected a proposed $33 million accord over disclosures about Merrill Lynch’s bonuses, ruling it wasn’t fair or reasonable. The SEC expanded its claims last month, saying the bank also failed to disclose Merrill Lynch’s expected losses.


    “The relief contemplated by the proposed order is fair, reasonable, adequate and in the public interest,” the SEC wrote to Rakoff in a court filing today, seeking approval of the settlement.

    I hope Rakoff sends them packing again because even $150 million is nothing but a slap on the wrist especially in comparison to how much taxpayer cash they’ve been handed recently. Lest we forget, Merrill was hit with a $100 million fine just a few years ago for misleading investors and that obviously wasn’t enough to get them to change their dissembling ways, so why should we think this new fine is going to turn them into model citizens? At the very least they should be fined in the mid- ten figures and have a few execs thrown in the slammer.

    I’m sure there will be a lot more on this soon at the financial sites. Stay tuned.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 4, 2010 4:25 pm

      Couldn’t happen to a bigger fuckstick. Well, ok, there are bigger fucksticks to fry, but he will do for an appetizer. Over at ZH, where by the way there are all kinds of good posts discussing what is happening over in Europe and in our markets today, there is a post on the Lewis case that mentions that the baldies, Paulson and Bernanke, may be called in to testify, which could unravel their foggy little reality somewhat.

      Ken Lewis about to drag down Bernanke and Paulson?

      Hopium lives :)

      • cometman permalink*
        February 5, 2010 12:32 pm

        That article sounds about right to me. I think the merger with Merrill was definitely pushed by people other than Lewis, and while Lewis surely isn’t blameless (if he knew it was a bad deal, which I find likely, he could have come out and said so) I think there more blame to go around here. The Goldies shouldn’t be able to get away with using others as scapegoats for the deals they pushed through.

  6. cometman permalink*
    February 4, 2010 2:36 pm

    Here’s a book that’s sure to raise a few eyebrows – check out this discussion of The Invention of the Jewish People. It was written by a Tel Aviv university historian and judging from the article at least it shows that contrary to conventional wisdom developed over the last century or two that Judaism is not a proselytizing religion, the historical record shows that it was. That has all sorts of implications for those who’d like to think that Israel is the special land of their ethnicly similar ancestors .

    The article reminded me of this NOVA program I watched a year or so ago – The Bible’s Buried Secrets. This show deals more with the pre-Xtian era history and shows that there is very very little archaeological evidence to back up the early accounts of Jewish history from the Pentateuch. There is zero evidence of a mass exodus of Jews from Egypt but there is widespread evidence that civilizations all over the Mediterranean faced a period of collapse during that time period. The archeological evidence shows what are likely refugees from many areas showing up in what is now Israel during that time period and expanding faster than normal reproduction would allow, meaning that people from all over immigrated to that area from elsewhere. IIRC, The NOVA show suggests that the “history” of the Jewish people was something invented during the Babylonian captivity to give a sense of purpose and togetherness to a bunch of people who’d just had their asses kicked.

    Anyhoo, I liked the words of the book’s author who after describing the revisions to Jewish history which have occurred over the years suggests:

    “In the final account, if it was possible to change the historical imaginary so profoundly, why not put forth a similarly lavish effort of the imagination to create a different tomorrow? If the nation’s history was mainly a dream, why not dream afresh, before it becomes a nightmare?”

    All I know is that after thousands and thousands of years of people being displaced from their homes by wars or natural disasters or immigration due to overpopulation, etc we are all mutts now.

  7. cometman permalink*
    February 4, 2010 2:49 pm

    Donna Edwards is proposing an amendment to the US Constitution to fix the damasge done by the recent decision by the Supremes to allow unlimited corporate cash in elections.

    Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards turned to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis for guidance in framing the Constitutional amendment she proposed Tuesday as the right and necessary response to the decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and a high court majority to abandon law and precedent with the purpose of permitting corporations to dominate the political discourse.

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both,” said Brandeis, the lion of law whose defenses of freedom of speech and the right to privacy renewed and extended the American experiment in the 20th century.

    I find it doubtful that this will get any traction at all since even the state legislatures who would need to ratify this are overrun by corporate lobbyists. That, and it’s co-sponsored by John “Stomp Loudly and Carry a Tooth Pick” Conyers. Still waiting for Conyers to get all those subpoenas enforced he was issuing when the Dems were trying to get their majority back.

    Thanks for trying though Donna.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 4, 2010 4:48 pm

      Traction seems to be quite the problem in DC unless there are predators, bombs or credit default swaps involved in the transactions. Traction to correct the course of this countries decline into a subsidiary of a multinational corporate state is unattainable when the roads are all slicked with the juices and oily residues of sleeze and greed.

      But yes, thanks for trying Donna.

  8. cometman permalink*
    February 5, 2010 7:49 am

    This is rich. From a Boston Globe article about the fraud suit against BofA execs:

    As part of their defense, Lewis, Price, and the company pointedly noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission, investigating the same matter, declined to charge the two executives.

    They’re going to use the fact that a captured regulatory agency which has constantly looked the other way as crimes were committed chose not to charge them as a defense? Good luck with that.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 5, 2010 11:01 am

      Sadly, much of the judiciary is also captured, which also looks the other way when it best serves the corporate masters. I suspect any trial, including further testimony by the Baldies, will also be nothing but more kabuki.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 5, 2010 12:36 pm

        That is very likely the case. I still haven’t seen whether Rakoff accepted the SEC’s latest deal but from some of the articles about it, one reason he rejected the first deal was because it didn’t hold any individuals accountable. I have no idea how much sway a guy like Rakoff has, but I’m hoping he might be able to insure that a non-bribed judge is in charge of any trial in exchange for agreeing to the larger fine (which still isn’t nearly enough).

  9. Stemella permalink*
    February 5, 2010 10:59 am

    This took a long time to read, but I highly recommend it. It is an article in the Nation by Lawrence Lessig, former colleague of “<o" and current law prof at Hahvahd. It relates directly to the Edwards Constitutional Amendment posted above.

    How to Get Our Democracy Back: If You Want Change, You Have to Change Congress

    In addition, here are two new sites he has built in support of a Fair Elections Act and a Constitutional Convention.

    Fix Congress First

    Call a Convention

    • cometman permalink*
      February 6, 2010 11:41 pm

      That was a great article. I particularly liked this point:

      Since the time of Rome, historians have taught that while corruption is a part of every society, the only truly dangerous corruption comes when the society has lost any sense of shame. Washington has lost its sense of shame.

      There will always be some corruption just about any time you get a big enough group of people together for any purpose, but if you ever want to accomplish anything as a group you’ve got to keep it down to a dull roar.

      He gets to the heart of the argument – none of the reforms we’d like to see are going to happen until the system itself changes. Public financing and getting rid of the lobbyist cash are essential and both need to happen at the same time. Just one isn’t good enough. There is public financing of state elections in Maine and while there have been some problems and abuses of the system, for the most part it works well and allows people who otherwise would not have been able to to run for and often win public office. My local state rep was elected this way. I met the guy a few times and he seemed very enthused about going to the capital and pushing for some very good ideas. But the place is swarming with lobbyists who have the party leaderships in thrall. I met the guy again after a couple months in office and he’d bought the line of the party leadership that even though they had a clear Dem majority they shouldn’t try to do too much like make any push at all for a stronger state health care plan or raise taxes on the wealthy and the corporations who have been getting enormous tax breaks after extorting the state with threats of lost jobs.

      The only thing I’d add to Lessig’s reforms is that in order to get those, we’re going to have to make sure our elections can’t be rigged on computerized machines with no paper trails. We must take corporate control away from our voting system too. There is no reason that any piece of a voting system bought and paid for by the public should still be the property of the corporation who built it as is the case now.

  10. cometman permalink*
    February 5, 2010 12:43 pm

    Another example of how to deal with the oligarchs. Again, not from this country. It happened a month ago (how surprising that this story didn’t get much play here) in Belgium.

    For two weeks in January Belgian brewery workers blocked roads, set fire to beer crates, kidnapped managers and handed out free beer as part of their tactics against job cuts proposed by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer. The company announced the cuts in spite of profits of $1.55 billion in the third quarter of 2009.


    RTBF radio reported on January 8th that workers at the Belgian Jupiler brewery had taken 10 of their managers hostage, keeping them in a meeting room near the plant. Marc Devenne, a union member told Belga news, “We are demanding that the (company’s) senior managers come here and call off the lay-offs.”


    The workers’ strategies were successful in the end and the blockades were lifted after a compromise was reached on January 22 in which the management agreed to freeze the job cuts.


    Following the AB InBev battle, workers at a Belgian Heineken plant took to the streets to protest the elimination of 43 of the 230 jobs at their brewery. Those workers also sealed off entrances to the plant until the bosses backed down on February 2nd. A union spokesperson told Reuters, “Management has said there will be no forced redundancies, which was our principal demand.”

    When will enough people in the US finally wake up and realize that this is the only way we are ever going to get concessions from the oligarchs here? Sure as hell isn’t going to happen by voting.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 6, 2010 11:04 am

      Who knows. Sometimes I think people are too selfish here to work together on behalf of their larger communities, unless they already belong to unions or related organizations. People seem to rally more for sports teams and celebrities than causes that actually affect their real lives. Then there are the teabaggers, who have some elements of a grassroot movement, but are mostly corporately sponsored astroturfers and freaks of rightwing nature. The anti war movement has been demoralized and was inundated by its own freaks of left wing nature. Most of what persists as Dean’s DFA has been marginalized by the DLC power user Dems. Obama’s OFA is a joke, pockets of cheerleaders keeping the campaign spirit simmering until the next election. It is primarily personality and candidate driven. The Environmental movement seems sequestered into specific organizations, good ones for sure, but you generally don’t see direct action in mass unless on the high seas with Greenpeace.

      It is simply going to have to get a lot worse here, sadly, before the oligarchs will be seriously challenged.

      • triv33 permalink
        February 6, 2010 11:22 am

        People are too busy listening to bullshit like this to even know which end is up. Have I mentioned that this fucking Luntz inspired lunacy has been playing at every break during my nightly Jeopardy viewing? At least the rude pundit gave me some comfort earlier in the week.

        • triv33 permalink
          February 6, 2010 11:24 am

          I do not know why that link did not work, but it’s funny, so I will try again.

          • Stemella permalink*
            February 6, 2010 12:15 pm

            I read that earlier and the rude one does his name hilarious justice as usual. Luntz is a putz and a fuckstain, in my honest assessment ;)

            I figure you must be pretty well socked in with the white stuff this weekend. I hope your power stays on that you and loved ones stay safe. The news just said the Philly area got the most of anyone, over 27 inches! That’s a lot of shoveling, right there.

          • cometman permalink*
            February 6, 2010 11:44 pm

            Ha! I haven’t checked that site in a while. He (she?)hasn’t lost his touch with the cursing :)

  11. cometman permalink*
    February 5, 2010 12:46 pm

    Kind of sad news. Another language goes extinct as Boar Sr, the last speaker of the Bo language of the Andaman Islands, passes away.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 6, 2010 11:10 am

      That is a very sad story, and all too common a story in our times. I found another article on the broader topic at the BBC. There are only 7000 extant languages left.

      The tragedy of dying languages

      On a more positive note, I heard on NPR recently that the company Rosetta Stone that makes language software is developing programs for some of the Native North American languages. Apparently young tribal kids are already using it for texting and chatrooms.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 6, 2010 10:48 pm

        I would have thought there were even fewer than that left. The article mentions most of those left haven’t really been documented either so projects like the Rosetta Stone one are very valuable. Somehow it seems more sad when a language disappears as the last speaker dies but all languages disappear eventually just from the linguistic drift. There is a lot to be learned from recording existent but shrinking languages and decoding some of the written languages that are already dead but so far unintelligible. I’d argue we could learn as much about human history and how different populations migrated and mixed together from that as from digging up old bones.

  12. cometman permalink*
    February 5, 2010 12:59 pm

    More warmogering. Remember that missile shield in Poland or WTF that “<0" decided to scrap? They're just going to build it in Romania instead.

    Romania has agreed to host medium-range ballistic missile interceptors which form part of a new US shield system, President Traian Basescu said on Thursday.

    “Romania has been officially invited by US President Barack Obama to be part of the missile defence system,” Basescu said at the end of a meeting of the supreme defence council.

    The former communist state had agreed to participate as the new system would “protect the whole of Romania’s territory”, the president added, stressing that it should not be seen as hostile towards Russia.

    “This defence system is not directed against Russia,” Basescu said.

    And if you believe that last bit, I’ve got some beachfront is Siberia you might be interested in.

    On a somewhat related note, the words of Paul Craig Roberts from the end of this article echo my sentiments when I keep reading about the duplicity of our “leaders” in this country.

    American power is on the precipice, about to fall. Perhaps it is a good thing. The world will be rid of bullying, of invasions of innocent countries based on blatant lies, of torture and murder of woman and children, of redistribution of income from the poor to the rich.

    The criminal record accumulated by the United States makes it the least indispensable country on earth.

    Amen brother. Let’s make it quick. I don’t really want to live through the death throes of the empire for the next several decades.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 6, 2010 11:13 am

      Well that sucks completely. The list of things I could state as positives from team “<o" keeps getting shorter.

      It sure seems as though his political career will be a short one, whether or not the end of the overall empire is.

  13. cometman permalink*
    February 5, 2010 1:18 pm

    Rrrrrrr. Looks like the SEC finally wants to regulate something. Of course, it’s the wrong thing.

    First, the bullshit:

    “The past year has witnessed one of the most significant rule-making agendas in years–an agenda that shows we are willing to address challenging issues and make the tough choices. The year ahead will be no different,” Schapiro said in a speech before the Practising Law Institute.

    It’s a rule making agenda! Whoop de doo! As to the actual rules? here’s what she’s come up with so far:

    Regarding short selling, the commission is close to finalizing a rule to rein in short selling. The SEC has asked for comments on whether it should reinstate a short selling restriction known as the “uptick” rule, in which investors can only short a stock after it rose or ticked higher.

    Regulators and industry insiders agree that the previous uptick rule isn’t workable with current lightening speed trades. But the SEC is expected to approve a modified rule designed to put a stop to short selling as stocks are falling. That rule is expected to be the next major action taken by the SEC.

    Not naked short selling, which is already illegal but just not enforced by the SEC. Sure sounds to me like she is talking about regular short selling which is not and should not be illegal as it allows people to take steps when a stock is overvalued. This seems designed to rig the market even further so it can only go up. Until the inevitable collapse of course once all measures to keep the stock pumpers at bay have been taken away.

  14. cometman permalink*
    February 5, 2010 1:23 pm

    Suppose we ought to mention that is now perfectly Ok for the government to assassinate US citizens. But not to worry! Those looking to off somebody have to get “special permission” from the guy who told them to make up the list of those to be whacked in the first place. Checks and balances!

  15. artemis54 permalink
    February 6, 2010 3:00 pm

    I am very curious about something. How many people exactly are steeping in Nashville? Is it anywhere near as many as say, a typical Ecological Society meeting? Or a Socialist Worker’s Party meeting? The media hypes this as some transformational thing.

    Remember their big 9/12 ballyhoo? 24 hours of coverage, not to mention six months of promotion on Fox, and it was 70,000 people according to DC officials, roughly the same as the gay march a couple weeks later, which was not even well supported in the gay community and which no one bothered to cover.

    Now we’ve got CSPAN and everybody else involved to cover how many nutcases, really? A couple thousand? Fewer than that? Bias is one thing, we’ve all come to expect it. But this seems to be creating something out of nothing.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 6, 2010 3:16 pm

      As luck would have it, after spending about twenty minutes trying to find this information, CNN informed me a couple minutes after posting the above that it is 600 people.

      600? You’ve got to be kidding me with this coverage. There are far more than that at any standard trade group meeting. The last Potato Association meeting I went to had at least three times that many – yes, I know, but it was vastly more entertaining and the average IQ was probably 50 points higher.

      • Stemella permalink*
        February 6, 2010 4:44 pm

        Yeah, 600 is pathetic. Even my small trade group meetings pull in 3000 – 4000 people. That the mediawhores are giving it so much attention is another excellent example of manufactured news. I imagine they will play Caribou Wolfmuncher’s little speech ad nauseum. Gah.

        I think a spud meeting would be fascinating! I can only imagine the session topics… *Smut, how to beat it
        *What to do when you find jeebus in yer tater
        *Blights, tubers and the Irish


      • cometman permalink*
        February 6, 2010 10:50 pm

        If that’s the size of a crowd needed to draw cameras, does this mean that every class B or larger high school pep rally is now newsworthy too? Xrist almighty.

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