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So Long Bill and Thanks for All the Grist

April 30, 2010

Part 2

Part 3

Bill Moyers has been separating the wheat from the chaff on his news broadcasts for 40 years now and tonight he signs off for the last time as Bill Moyers’ Journal comes to an end.

I’m leaving for one reason alone: It’s time to go. I’ll be 76 in a few weeks, and while I don’t consider myself old (my father lived into his 80s, my mother into her 90s) there are some things left to do that the deadlines and demands of a weekly broadcast don’t permit. At 76, it’s now or never. I actually informed my friends at PBS of my decision over a year ago, and planned to leave at the end of last December. But they asked me to continue another four more months while they prepare a new series for Friday night broadcast. I agreed, but said at the time – April 30 and not a week longer.

Enjoy the interview on education, rationality, and reason between Isaac Asimov and a much younger Moyers above and be sure to tune into to PBS tonight. If you can’t catch it on TV tonight, you can watch it here tomorrow.

We bid you a fond goodbye Bill and a heartfelt thank you for making us all a little bit smarter.

In the age of idiocracy, you will be sorely missed.

59 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    April 30, 2010 11:15 am

    Couple of good ones concerning the irrational among us.

    This one cracked me up. One Noah’s ark hunter is afraid that the unfounded claims of other ark hunters will make Xtians look gullible. Here’s a hint dumbass – people who believe in invisible men in the sky already look pretty damn gullible to rational people.

    And some hope for the rational. A British Lord who is actually named Justice Laws has struck down an appeal by a Xtian sex therapist who was fired for refusing to counsel gay people.

    Lord Justice Laws said legislation for the protection of views held purely on religious grounds cannot be justified.

    He said it was irrational and “also divisive, capricious and arbitrary”.

  2. cometman permalink*
    April 30, 2010 11:24 am

    William Rivers Pitt on the new AZ immigration laws –By the Time I get to Arizona.

    There is no doubt that immigration reform in America is among the thorniest political conundrums faced by state and local government, especially out west and along the Mexican border. A lot of East Coast liberals like myself, who live in areas with a fraction of the undocumented population that states like Arizona have, probably need to tread lightly around passing judgment on state governments trying to manage an issue this complicated.

    Most of the time, that is. This new Arizona law, however, deserves as much condemnation as can be mustered.

    But if Pitt thinks the following will be true –

    Republican approval of this bill has nailed that door shut, and you can expect massive Latino support for all things Democratic to be a sure-fire mortal lock for at least a couple of generations to come.

    – he didn’t pay enough attention to the words of the song he alludes to: “Neither party is mine not the Jackass or the Elephant.”

  3. artemis54 permalink
    April 30, 2010 12:17 pm

    Jindal is reading a long, complicated statement at 500 mph.

    He sounds a lot more intelligent when he drops that stupid Goober schtick.

  4. cometman permalink*
    April 30, 2010 12:17 pm

    On the possibilities of a better world – A Town Called Marinaleda .

    Since I can’t help myself from picking nits even in articles I like, I will mention that the author is a little loose with some figures. He mentions that the town has 2,700 residents and states:

    According to official statistics there are 130 registered unemployed in the town, which, during a time of deep economic crisis and unemployment in Spain, must be the lowest in the country and is effectively a situation of full employment.

    Actually no. Assuming that all the citizens are of working age that would be an unemployment rate of slightly less than 5% and since they likely are not all of working age the rate would be significantly higher. However it sounds like the people there take pretty good care of each other so being unemployed probably isn’t the disaster it can be in other places.

    More on Marinaleda in a more critical article here. I liked this part:

    Mr. Sánchez, a bearded 53-year-old who this month celebrated three decades as mayor of the town of 2,700, says the economic crisis proves the wisdom of his socialist vision.

    “They all thought that the market was God, who made everything work with his invisible hand,” Mr. Sánchez said on a recent morning, seated in his office below a portrait of Che Guevara. “Before, it was a mortal sin to talk about the government having a role in the economy. Now, we see we have to put the economy at the service of man.”

  5. cometman permalink*
    April 30, 2010 12:22 pm

    Reading a bunch of article on the Gulf spill but they all sat the same thing – it’s a gargantuan disaster that’s getting worse.

    I will note that it’s government agencies who are largely responsible for trying to clean up the mess. Wonder if they’re even going to bother sticking BP with the tab since we’re still waiting for Exxon to pay up for its disaster a couple decades ago.

    • artemis54 permalink
      April 30, 2010 12:29 pm

      One of the lines for the day from industry defenders is about how rare these accidents are. Why, they’re one in a million, it hardly ever happens at all.

      Rather misses the point. I rarely have heart attacks but still don’t look forward to even one. I understand that is often enough to do the trick.

    • artemis54 permalink
      April 30, 2010 12:46 pm

      Well there is new law since then.

      Oil Pollution Act Overview

      This makes it pretty clear they are responsible for cleanup etc. Open defiance of the law might get them cheers on Fox, but on the other hand BP might find out what trouble really is.

      • cometman permalink*
        April 30, 2010 2:07 pm

        Exxon dragged out the process and never had to pay what they were originally ordered and even with the new law I expect BP will do the same since Exxon’s tactics were so successful.

        Here’s where the case stood in 2006.

        A couple years ago the Supremes slashed the original punitive damages.

        Here are a couple I found from the 20th anniversary of the spill.
        This one mentions the Oil Pollution Act and says:

        Sure, some supertankers have double hulls. But that technology, while available and promised many decades ago, is far from universal, and Exxon Mobil is dragging its feet against the extra precaution as strenuously as any other oil company, if not more so. The double hulls aren’t actually mandated by Congress until 2015, thanks to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which was inspired by the Exxon Valdez spill itself.

        25 damn years and they still can’t put in the necessary safety precautions. And why were they given 25 goddamned years to comply anyway?

        This one talks about how it takes far longer than people originanly thought for the oil to go away:

        Researchers expected the oil to break up in a few years. Instead, it will take more than a century. They found that oil’s compounds, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — carcinogenic molecules that attach to fat, and refuse to break down in water — are toxic at levels hundreds, even thousands of times lower than was previously believed.

        And yet Robert Gibbs seems to think it’s all just part of the cost of doing business

        But, as Care2 writes, the White House is saying that the explosion should not derail plans for future drilling.

        “In all honesty I doubt this is the first accident that has happened and I doubt it will be the last,” press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, according to Care2.

        -and Barry wants to keep on drilling as long as it’s done “responsibly”:

        “I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security,” Obama said in remarks at the White House. “But I’ve always said it must be done responsibly, for the safety of our workers and our environment.”

        I guess that means Barry will be trotting out some new rules set for implementation around 2035. These assholes just don’t seem to understand the point you just made that just one lapse into irresponsibility can really fuck things up.

        Guess I posted some of those articles I wasn’t going to post anyway… :)

        • artemis54 permalink
          April 30, 2010 3:21 pm

          Onama’s motivating principle seems to be a bizarre reversal of Zeno’s paradox. If you hold a position diametrically opposed to his, no worries. He will come halfway, and then halfway again, and so on before even opening negotiations. You don’t have to move an inch to achieve compromise with Obama.

  6. Stemella permalink*
    April 30, 2010 1:38 pm

    So sad to see Moyers go. There are very few like him on the tube and even in print anymore. He will be greatly missed.

    The Gulf slick looks to be an epic disaster. It is going to be horrible as the images of the impact on sea and estuarine life roll out.

    It is also MayDay this weekend. Solidarity! May Poles!

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 1, 2010 10:17 am

      hurray hurray the first of May!
      outdoor swiving starts today!

  7. artemis54 permalink
    May 1, 2010 10:32 am

    The talk with Barry Lopez was most affecting, from his epiphany while looking at the chinook salmon in the McKenzie river to the I-thou relationship of indigenous people to the world to the centrality of reverence. Among other things it could stand alone as a refutation of the mocking backlash that is rising against Morton and the First Nations in their struggle to preserve all that is worth saving in BC. Sacred means worthy of reverence.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 2, 2010 7:55 am

      The people who mock Morton for trying to prevent salmon from disappearing from the earth are the same people who would starve to death if Jack in the Box were to disappear from the earth.

  8. artemis54 permalink
    May 2, 2010 1:18 am

    Green, as in cash.

    In the world of money, as in the natural world, everything is connected. Alexandra Morton connects the dots:

    Saving the sacred salmon

    Imagine a place where millions of salmon appear every year for free. Where fish carry ocean nutrients uphill to build the soil and grow billions of cubic feet of wood fibre that produces oxygen. A fish so reliable that it nourished a rich and unique culture into existence and then fuelled the economy of a greedy province, creating thousands of jobs and offering food security. Why would anyone sacrifice all this for a few low-paying jobs, to grow a foreign salmon – which has to be dyed pink – on a manufactured diet from Chile, and which is held in cages where no whale or local human can benefit while the profits are wired to wealthy European shareholders? Why indeed?

    . . . . .

    Why allow people access to free food, when you can force them to pay for every bite?

    • cometman permalink*
      May 2, 2010 8:11 am

      The more I read the details of this the more pissed off I get that Morton has to do this in the first place. I used to work in a seafood restaurant on the West coast and for a short time we had Atlantic salmon on the menu. People used to ask about it and I’d tell them not to buy it – why would you want a farmed Atlantic salmon from far away (I think these were actually farmed in the Atlantic) when you could have a local wild salmon that doesn’t have to be died to make it pink?

      I can see why there would be Atlantic salmon farms in the Atlantic since the wild ones are pretty much gone. But it seems like the wild salmon runs in Morton’s area at least are not in danger from overfishing, the only danger is from the damn farms that are killing off the wild fish.

      But again I do think farming could be done right. Check out this article on multi-species aquaculture and let me know what you think – New way of fish farming could help fix environment.

      I’ve heard for a while that this could stop the waste that accumulates from the salmon farms and sinks to the bottom but it’s the first article I’ve seen that says it may be able to stop sea lice too.

      The waters in Maine are naturally a little murky. There’s a mussel farm near here and the owner tells me that when he dives underneath the mussel barge to check on them the water goes from murky to crystal clear since they filter everything out.

      • artemis54 permalink
        May 2, 2010 9:22 am

        It certainly sounds promising. Wonder whether it would really solve the lice problem though, given the crowding inside the pens.

        But the thinking is certainly along the right lines. As William McDonough likes to point out, in nature there is no waste. And no paying someone to haul it away.

  9. cometman permalink*
    May 2, 2010 8:25 am

    Check out this weird little bugger called symbion pandora. Sounds like something from ‘Alien’ only smaller and with lobsters instead of people.

    Things start to get complicated when you consider their life cycle. Let’s start with a feeding animal living on a lobster’s mouthparts: this individual – it’s hard to assign a sex – can then produce one of three kinds of offspring: a “Pandora” larva, a “Prometheus” larva or a female.

    The Pandora larva develops into another feeding adult – a straightforward case of asexual reproduction. By contrast, the female remains inside the adult and awaits a male – but, attentive readers will be crying, what male?

    The answer lies in the Prometheus larva. This attaches itself to another feeding adult, then produces two or three males from within itself. These dwarf males, which are even more internally complex than the other stages, seek out the females and fertilise them – though the details are unknown.

    Once the female has been fertilised, she leaves the adult’s body and hunkers down in a sheltered region of the lobster’s mouthparts. Her body, no longer needed, turns into a hard cyst. Inside this, a fertilised egg develops into yet another stage: the chordoid larva.

    In due course this larva hatches and swims off to colonise another lobster. Once it has attached itself to one, it develops into another adult and the cycle begins again.

    Found this site which looks like a good resource while clicking on some of the links in the article – The Encyclopedia of Life.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 2, 2010 9:27 am

      Hmm. I won’t be complaining about my sex life any more after reading that.

      EOL is EO Wilson’s project. When he was given a TED prize, he got to make a wish, like all winners do. The Encyclopedia was his wish.

      • cometman permalink*
        May 2, 2010 10:37 am

        Just looked him up and found he’s a myrmecologist! I think he may be the author of a book a friend recommended a while ago that I never got around to reading. If only I could find the little scrap of paper I wrote the title on…

  10. cometman permalink*
    May 2, 2010 8:43 am

    Can’t remember if we’ve posted article from this guy here before or not but I ran into a couple good ones from Mark Ames on the financial meltdown. Looked him up and evidently he wrote a book with Matt Taibi about ten years ago and he has a similar, very entertaining writing style.

    Here’s the first one – 10 Ways the American Economy Is Built on Fraud. Greenspan doesn’t come off looking too good:

    America’s central banker from 1987-2006 once told a do-gooder regulator not to fuck with the bankers’ fraud schemes, because in Greenspan’s mind, fraud was not a crime and didn’t need to be regulated. Then Greenspan forced the regulator, Brooksley Born, to resign. Just in time for his next and final act as Central Bank chief: from 2001-2004, Greenspan pumped up the biggest housing bubble in human history by holding rates down to nothing, while touring the country promoting the glories of subprime and Alt-A mortgages. Then in late 2005, when the bubble was ready to burst, Greenspan tendered his resignation and switched over to the other side, signing lucrative contracts with three investment firms all of which bet big against gullible American homeowners, and reaped billions. First, Greenspan signed up to work for Deutsche Bank, which is being sued for securities fraud for selling an Abacus-like CDO to a Warren Buffett-owned bank, M&T; Greenspan also worked for Pimco, which earned $2 billion in a single day in September 2008, when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized with Greenspan’s lobbying help; and lastly, Greenspan went to work for Paulson & Co., the hedge fund that raked in $1 billion off the same Abacus CDO deal that brought the SEC fraud suit against Goldman Sachs. It’s an unusually perfect record for Greenspan, given his atrocious forecasting record at the Fed. It recalls the old Greenspan circa 1984-5, when he worked as a lobbyist for Charles Keating trying to push regulators off his back and vouching on the record for Keating’s character…Keating was eventually jailed for fraud in the worst savings and loan collapse of all.

    Guess I either never heard of or had forgotten the connection to Keating. The corporate media sure hasn’t given too many reminders of this fact as they touted “the Oracle’s” genius in the last couple decades.

    This one was also good – Fraudonomics.

    Looked through some of his archives at both of those sites. He’s a little looser with some of his statements than Taibbi but overall a good read. He also had this excellent article from last year discussing Federal troops being called in illegally in Alabama. He ties it in with the whole Jefferson County fraud story Taibbi has been discussing although he doesn’t get quite as detailed as Taibbi does. Wonder if the two of them are still collaborating?

  11. cometman permalink*
    May 2, 2010 10:55 am

    Hahaha! If housepets were libertarians!

  12. cometman permalink*
    May 2, 2010 11:16 am

    Haha! Pissed off Hofstra guy on the secessionists and tea baggers – Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 2, 2010 12:04 pm

      I agree. Seal the border behind Texas and forget about foreign aid. And take Alabama and South Carolina with you.

      Once in the Highlands I asked an old gent from Edinburgh what he thought about Scottish independence. “The trouble is,” he replied, “we’d have to take this lot with us” as he waved his arm at a ragtag bunch of highlanders demonstrating against the then toll on the bridge to Skye.

  13. cometman permalink*
    May 3, 2010 5:39 am

    The face of a man with something to hide –

    • Stemella permalink*
      May 3, 2010 7:45 am

      It just dawned on me who this turd resembles – the actor Stubby Kaye who played Nicely Nicely Johnson, a two bit gangster, in the film version of Guys and Dolls. Nicely Nicely was a lot nicer, though.

  14. cometman permalink*
    May 3, 2010 7:20 am

    This one’s going to leave a mark, namely a red welt in the shape of a female palm – Bob Rubin Just Wants to Be Cuddled. Ha!

    • Stemella permalink*
      May 3, 2010 7:32 am

      Ok. It would never be a good time to read this, but to read this so early in my day is simply beyond the beyond…. Truly a vomitous image. Thanks a lot c-man. ;)

      And not long afterward the former Treasury Secretary had his tongue down my throat and hands everywhere sort of like an octopus. But as soon as the thought entered my mind — the former Treasury Secretary has his tongue down my throat?! — I came to my senses a bit and awkwardly went back home before we both got too carried away. This is to say, I said to myself that there would be no other former Treasury Secretary appendages entering any other of my orifices.

      What’s next, a strip tease from Larry the Cane toad on youtube? Hank Paulson spanking it to a Lady Gaga tune? Ben Bernanke doin the nasty with Greenspan while watching CNBC?

      No, no no no no

      • cometman permalink*
        May 3, 2010 7:34 am

        Ha! I hear Andrea Mitchell has all kinds of tapes that nobody really wants to see :P

      • cometman permalink*
        May 3, 2010 7:43 am

        Oh my! Here’s another take on the story – Exclusive shot: Bob Rubin, cuddling.

        Not for the squeamish!

        • Stemella permalink*
          May 3, 2010 7:58 am

          I don’t know. That looks like God’s work to me. I think that might be Lloyd Blankfein. Too bald to be Rubin. :-D

  15. Stemella permalink*
    May 3, 2010 7:21 am

    A press release from the US Dept of Interior, Mineral Management Service Gulf Coast Region

    2010 Offshore Industry Safety Awards Postponed

    WASHINGTON D.C. — The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that the 2010 Annual Industry SAFE Awards Luncheon scheduled for May 3, 2010 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas has been postponed.

    The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.

    The MMS will announce how the agency will proceed with the 2010 SAFE Award program during the next several weeks. The MMS apologizes for any inconvenience and thanks the organizers of the OTC for their understanding of our current situation.

    Postponed. POSTPONED?!?!?!?!!? These fuckwads are still going to give this industry a safety award after what has happened? Jesus fucking fuck. These are the heinous cretins who were busted for all kinds of drug use, whoring and industry kickbacks up in Alaska not too long back. I wonder if Salazar has even bothered replacing them.

    At least BP wasn’t one of the companies listed to get an award. Details here

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 3, 2010 8:01 am

      Cheerleading where there should be monitoring and regulation.

      Does anyone see a pattern emerging?

  16. cometman permalink*
    May 3, 2010 7:33 am

    Somebody tried to blow something up again, this time in NYC. But since it looks like a another middle aged white guy was the perpetrator this one will probably go down the memory hole by Wednesday.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    May 3, 2010 7:51 am

    Damien Gillis’ 23-minute documentary Farmed Salmon Exposed: The Global Reach of the Norwegian Salmon Farming Industry is a great comprehensive introduction to the problem. It covers Ireland, Norway, and the utterly disastrous Chilean experience as well as BC.

    Even Geir Isakesen admits in this film that the problem could be greatly alleviated by just a few simple measures like emptying – “fallowing” in his lingo – the farms when there is a smolt run passing by. This would be difficult or impossible in many of the BC sites as there are multiple runs and the smolt are in nor particular hurry to get to the open ocean. Hence, they belong somewhere else.

    Of course that would mean a disruption in the 24/7/365 distribution chain. Salmon would again be a seasonal food as it always was.

  18. cometman permalink*
    May 3, 2010 8:09 am

    To be or not to bee.

    Disturbing news.

    • Stemella permalink*
      May 3, 2010 8:35 am

      US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. “We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies,”

      Perhaps I will stop eating bee pollen as a means of raising my resistance to allergies.

      The bees are another canary in the coalmine species it seems, succumbing to all the shit we are dumping in their environment and our terrible cultivation practices. No worries, Dow and Monsanto will no doubt create a chemical pollinating agent (that will be found to be highly carcinogenic, a mutagenic and a teratogen within five years of its widespread application once the bees are all gone).

      beyond tragic

      • artemis54 permalink
        May 3, 2010 8:51 am

        Bees like salmon almost seem beyond canaries. This is more like when your fellow coal miners are suddenly dropping dead for no apparent reason. I say that because, like salmon, they are in so many ways so incredibly tough, hardy, and adaptable to so many circumstances. When they are dropping dead in the millions for no understandable reason, it really should be headline news.

        I wish for one thing there could be more coverage of the regional differences, which could theoretically point to some answer. The main hive suppliers here that I know of, for instance, come out of Central California and haven’t experienced too many problems (as of last summer, that may have changed by now, I only hear about it after the fact).

        • cometman permalink*
          May 3, 2010 9:05 am

          That’s the strangest part of this to me – bees are pretty hardy and you’d think social creatures like that would adapt, although maybe they are in the process of doing so. The four or five years that this has been going on isn’t all that long in the grand scheme of things. But something is definitely up and considering the ramifications you’d think there would be a greater urgency to get to the bottom of this.

          In my own admittedly very unscientific observations of my 1/4 acre yard, I’ve seen quite a few bees so far this spring – bumblebees and some smaller darker looking bees- but nothing that looks like a honeybee to me.

          I think I’m going to start documenting the bugs of my yard just because there have been a lot of interesting ones showing up – saw a big iridescent beetle yesterday and one other really interesting phenomenon involving a fly. Hopefully I’ll be able to put up a pic of that one here. Just waiting for the camera to get back home. I would like to figure out what kind of bees I am seeing in my yard and maybe some pics would help. I just see those smaller dark bees flying around – not on any flower, although there aren’t that many blooming yet.

          • artemis54 permalink
            May 3, 2010 9:16 am

            Plant some fennel. It attracts all sorts of small bees, wasps, beetles, flies, etc. Really amazing, there is just a cloud of them hovering over it once things get going. Many are beneficial, tiny wasps that are predators of aphids, etc.

            You might have some leafcutter bees. If you have little notches around your lilac leaves, that’s them. Neat little critters – and a whole industry all by themselves in a few little areas. One of them is the great pollinator of alfalfa where it is grown for seed. They lay their eggs one at a time in little holes about an eighth of an inch across, with a layer of food between each egg. The eggs hatch in order reverse to their laying, the top one first.

            • cometman permalink*
              May 3, 2010 9:27 am

              Hmmmm. Just looked at some pics of leafcutters and they do look very similar to the bees in my yard. Both myself and the neighbors have lilacs which are just about to open up. I’ll have to check the leaves later tonight.

  19. artemis54 permalink
    May 3, 2010 8:11 am

    Oil spill? No worries, it’s really just chocolate milk and rainbows, according to Rep Gene Taylor, Democrat of Mississippi.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 3, 2010 8:30 am

      I was just reading this one where LA Democrat Mary Landrieu says just about exactly the same thing:

      “What’s important about this sheen is that 97% of it is a rainbow sheen,” she said in the Senate. “Only 3% contains emulsified crude…So it is important to understand that, while this is an unprecedented disaster—the oil slick is wide and covers a large section of ocean—97% of it is an extremely thin sheen of relatively light oil on the surface.”

      Evidently unicorns were not included in the talking points handed out.

  20. cometman permalink*
    May 3, 2010 9:09 am

    As expected the possibility for any meaningful financial reform continues to look grim as Corker and Dodd fight NOT to break up the big banks and nobody else affiliated with the <O administration feels the need to do anything either.

  21. cometman permalink*
    May 3, 2010 9:23 am

    Great post from Chris Floyd talking about the extradition of Manuel Noriega to France to face new charges – The Revenant: Brief Glimpses of Empire’s Reality.

    This story definitely bears keeping an eye on. Noriega’s trial in the US was very hush hush since he was a former CIA asset and knew quite a bit about Poppy’s dirty dealings. Now his sentence is up and instead of being sent back to Panama he’s going to France to face new charges. The gist seems to be that the US doesn’t want him going back to Panama (where he’d also face charges) because he’d let the cat out of the bag on a lot of what the CIA was up to, likely illegally. But why does the US not expect the same to happen in a French trial? Has Hillary already cut some deal with her French counterparts to keep any trial off the front page?

    If I were Noriega I wouldn’t fly in any small planes to get there.

  22. cometman permalink*
    May 3, 2010 11:44 am

    Very interesting article presenting a brief synopsis of the history of debt, war, and slavery – Debt: The first five thousand years.

    The promo blurb for the article:

    Throughout its 5000 year history, debt has always involved institutions – whether Mesopotamian sacred kingship, Mosaic jubilees, Sharia or Canon Law – that place controls on debt’s potentially catastrophic social consequences. It is only in the current era, writes anthropologist David Graeber, that we have begun to see the creation of the first effective planetary administrative system largely in order to protect the interests of creditors.

    Good stuff – worth reading the whole thing.

  23. artemis54 permalink
    May 3, 2010 12:33 pm

    We can add sea turtles to our list.

    At least 23 dead have washed up on the Mississippi coast.

    Add that to the 30 in Texas in the last month.

    Both numbers represent twice the normal rate. Kemp’s Ridleys and the rest are now caught between an oil spill and a dead zone, between shrimpers that refuse to use the proven turtle exclusion devices and the motorboaters that don’t know the difference or care. With so many assaults on their ecosystem you can cue up the denialists to point to any given cause and well that isn’t what’s responsible.

    An ignominious end for creatures that have been with us for a hundred million years.

  24. artemis54 permalink
    May 3, 2010 1:09 pm

    Of all people, Heckuvajob Brownie is on Fox bitching about the Obama admin’s response to the oil spill. This fucking jackass should have had his juicy lips superglued shut a long time ago.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 3, 2010 2:21 pm

      Unbelievable. We are truly the stupidest nation in history. I can think of no other that promotes its failures and idiots like this country does.

      Not that I think Obama is doing a superior job with this disaster (promoting more drilling in the midst of this is tremendously tone deaf) and not that Brownie could fathom the difference, but this is not an “act of god” that people could see coming for days ahead of time, it’s an act of BP.

  25. Stemella permalink*
    May 4, 2010 6:26 am

    Chris Hedges has a new one up, which confirms what we already know about American apathetic attitudes towards the imperial wars and towards the privatization of the MIC.

    No One Cares

    As an example he describes an event he attended,

    Last Thursday I traveled to Washington to join Rep. Dennis Kucinich for a public teach-in on the wars. Kucinich used the Capitol Hill event to denounce the new request by Barack Obama for an additional $33 billion for the war in Afghanistan.


    Kucinich also invited investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, writer/activist David Swanson, retired Army Col. Ann Wright and Iraq war veteran Josh Stieber to the event.

    The gathering, held in the Rayburn Building, was a sober reminder of our insignificance. There were no other Congress members present, and only a smattering of young staff members attended.


    Scahill and Swanson provided a litany of disturbing statistics that illustrated how corporations control all systems of power. Corporations have effectively taken over our internal security and intelligence apparatus. They run our economy and manage our systems of communication. They own the two major political parties. They have built a private military. They loot the U.S. Treasury at will. And they have become unassailable. Those who decry the corporate coup are locked out of the national debate and become as marginalized as Kucinich.

    This morning klub kumquat further proves Hedges point by nearly completely ignoring a post by David Swanson there , 33 Billion Dishonest Excuses for War.

    I am Jack’s complete lack of a surprise.

    Hedges concludes by condemning us all for our collective lack of care. It has sealed our fate.

    The voices of sanity, the voices of reason, those who have a moral core, those like Kucinich or Scahill or Wright or Swanson or Stieber, have little chance now to be heard. Liberals, who failed to grasp the dark intentions of the corporate state and its nefarious servants in the Democratic Party, bear some responsibility. But even an enlightened liberal class would have been hard-pressed to battle back against the tawdry emotional carnivals and the political theater that have thrust the nation into collective self-delusion. We were all seduced. And we, along with thousands of innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond, will all be consumed.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 4, 2010 8:14 am

      That was a good one from Hedges and it relates to that ‘5000 years of debt’ article I posted above.

      I think this is becoming ever more true:

      A slow-motion coup by a corporate state has cemented into place a neofeudalism in which there are only masters and serfs.

      There really isn’t all that much difference between slavery and a system where all must work or be reduced to abject poverty with no place to go. Less and less room for self-determination despite all the claims of “freedom”. Those ridiculous “freedom isn’t free” signs really make me want to blow a gasket.

      The surprising thing about Swanson posting at Klub Kumquat is that he’s posting at Klub Kumquat. I thought he was banned. Hard to keep track of all those who are banned for being more intelligent, politically astute, and far better writers than Dear Leader and the admins there.

      But on the bright side, this situation may persist for another year or a couple decades but it will not last forever. People always fight back when they have nothing left to lose and we are fast approaching that situation in this country. Most people already can’t afford the circuses created for the working man once upon a time like professional sports. When they can’t afford to watch it on cable TV either then look out.

      • cometman permalink*
        May 4, 2010 8:16 am

        H/T to melvin! I noticed you had posted a pic in the comments at the Deli. Didn’t think you could do that on wordpress but I just tried it and it worked.

        • artemis54 permalink
          May 4, 2010 9:04 am

          Nice to hear Miss D and I aren’t the only ones that don’t know what the hell we’re doing.

      • cometman permalink*
        May 4, 2010 9:09 am

        When I made the comment above I was thinking that people may stay docile even if they can’t afford cable TV as long as they have the internet.

        Well they may not have an open cheap internet much longer either as it looks more and more likely that <O will renege on yet another of his campaign promises regarding net neutrality. Couple of articles on it here and here.

        And the most maddening thing is that there is no reason for this to happen except that Obama and the Dems want it to happen. The FCC can simply reclassify broadband services to come under its purview, where they were already until the Bush changed the system, and the FCC commission already has the votes to make this happen. They just need to hold the vote. But they aren’t, and if a majority really wants to make the change I can only assume it’s <O who is stopping their hands.

        From the first article:

        Chairman Genachowski can fix this by reclassifying broadband as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act – where it was in the first place before a Bush FCC changed it, creating the mess we’re encountering now.

        If Chairman Genachowski fails to re-establish the FCC’s authority to protect Internet users, he will be allowing companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to slow down, block or censor content at will. And it will cripple the FCC’s ability to ensure universal Internet access for rural, low-income and disabled Americans.

        If he doesn’t reclassify broadband, the phone and cable giants will be able to block any website, blog post, tweet or outreach by a political campaign – and the FCC will be powerless to stop them.

        From the second:

        Fortunately, the FCC does have the power to easily fix the problem by “reclassifying” broadband under the law. All it would take is a vote by its five commissioners — and Genachowski already has the votes. But so far, he has done nothing…

    • cometman permalink*
      May 4, 2010 8:53 am

      Couple of other related items.

      Jeremy Scahill continues to care. He’s got more on Blackwater – Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed.

      Despite Prince’s attempts to shield his speeches from public scrutiny, The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Prince to a friendly audience. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. The people of the United States have a right to media coverage of events featuring the owner of a company that generates 90% of its revenue from the United States government.

      In the speech, Prince proposed that the US government deploy armed private contractors to fight “terrorists” in Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, specifically to target Iranian influence. He expressed disdain for the Geneva Convention and described Blackwater’s secretive operations at four Forward Operating Bases he controls in Afghanistan. He called those fighting the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan “barbarians” who “crawled out of the sewer.” Prince also revealed details of a July 2009 operation he claims Blackwater forces coordinated in Afghanistan to take down a narcotrafficking facility, saying that Blackwater “call[ed] in multiple air strikes,” blowing up the facility. Prince boasted that his forces had carried out the “largest hashish bust in counter-narcotics history.” He characterized the work of some NATO countries’ forces in Afghanistan as ineffectual, suggesting that some coalition nations “should just pack it in and go home.” Prince spoke of Blackwater working in Pakistan, which appears to contradict the official, public Blackwater and US government line that Blackwater is not in Pakistan.

      And here’s somebody who just doesn’t seem to give a shit at all. Now <O is cracking jokes about whacking the Jonas brothers with Predator drones.

      Guess Barry is just trying to emulate his hero St. “We begin bombing in 5 minutes” Ronnie again.

      • artemis54 permalink
        May 4, 2010 9:14 am

        That should have them rolling in the aisles in Pakistan.

        • Stemella permalink*
          May 4, 2010 9:53 am

          Or rolling out the propane tanks in Times Square.

  26. Stemella permalink*
    May 4, 2010 6:29 am

    I’ve started working on a new post about the oil spill that I’ll post later on today, FYIs

    • cometman permalink*
      May 4, 2010 8:21 am

      Thanks for the heads up. I was unable to get a good pic of the insect phenomenon in my yard that I was going to use for a new post. I need to figure out how to get the camera to focus on small objects held close to the lens. The pics I took keep coming out blurry. There must be some adjustment switch on the camera somewhere. Couple more years and the squidlette will be able to figure these things out for me :)

  27. artemis54 permalink
    May 4, 2010 9:11 am

    It is amazing how shameless some people are. Pataki is bitching that the Obama admin didn’t prevent this incident, only responded.

    Wtf? Buying a tank of propane is not a crime. Nor is traveling, even to Pakistan. Not that big a fan of O – currently promising everything to everybody in the Gulf – but when Pataki shows us the memo about an expected car bomb in Times Square maybe I’ll listen to his dumb ass.

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