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Trailer Park Boys Explain the US Economy

February 14, 2011

At one time I thought Trailer Park Boys was just an hilarious and sometimes poignant Canadian reality sitcom. Upon further reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it may in fact be a subtle and subversive critique of US economic policy. See for yourself –

Starring Bubbles Bernanke and Ricky the Regulator.

Pretty simple:

1) Acquire (ie steal) somebody else’s shopping carts.

2) If they are not already broken, break them yourself.

3) “Fix” broken shopping carts.

4) Sell “fixed” carts back to the suckers you stole them from for profit.

5) Follow steps 1-4 repeatedly because you’re too damn stupid to do anything else and as long as nobody’s going to stop you, it keeps you well stocked with cat food.

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65 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    February 14, 2011 10:05 am

    Still trying to find the right words to write up this comment into something more coherent.

    Had a bit of a eureka! moment while reading some of the links posted in the above comment in conjunction with a completely unrelated David Foster Wallace essay in which he describes the annual porn industry video awards and mentions in passing the new-to-me concept of the fluff girl. It suddenly became clear how Bubbles Bernake expects to get away with his policy of printing shitloads of money which is a somewhat complicated process to explain in full and requires a much longer and more detailed article complete with copious footnotes and asides (and even some charts and graphs) but alack! I am not David Foster Wallace and have been unable to put my thoughts down in writing very well.

    I will endeavor to explain in more detail at some later date so for now you’ll have to be content with the super-simplified explanation proffered by Bubbles and Ricky.

    Suffice it to say however that despite arguments to the contrary by the likes of CNBC tittering-têtes et. al., people living beyond their means by racking up debts they can’t afford to repay is not a drawback of the current economic system in the US, but in fact is required to keep the whole house of cards from tumbling. Of course there is no free lunch and the catch is that while you’ll still be able to get all your stuff, you will have to give up your pension and/or your Social security and/or your health care in return. And Bubbles (or Fluffy, which may be the more appropriate moniker) may be able to pull it off, at least until he runs headlong into reality.

    So for the time being, going out and purchasing the latest 253″ plasma TV on your credit card with the knowledge that you are unlikely to ever repay does not make you a parasite looking to get something for nothing, it makes you an Extremely Patriotic American.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 14, 2011 10:50 am

      Some homework for you.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 14, 2011 11:53 am

        Ha! That wasn’t exactly the part I was having difficulty with though :P

  2. artemis54 permalink
    February 14, 2011 10:51 am

    The winning entry in The world’s rarest bird photo competition is a shot of our friend the kakapo.

  3. cometman permalink*
    February 14, 2011 2:08 pm

    The Egyptian army now in charge urges strikers to get back to work.

    This take from Reuters via Rawstory sounds a bit more ominous –

    Egypt’s new military rulers will issue a warning on Monday against anyone who creates “chaos and disorder,” an army source said.

    The Higher Military Council will also ban meetings by labor unions or professional syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes, and tell all Egyptians to get back to work after the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

    The army will also say it acknowledges and protects the right of people to protest, the source said.

    Not exactly sure how you reconcile “protecting the right to protest” with forbidding protests.

    Meanwhile, police crack down on Yemeni protesters, more clashes reported with protesters in Iran, and at least one protester is dead after a day of rage in Bahrain.

  4. cometman permalink*
    February 14, 2011 2:57 pm

    A few good articles related to the post I may right one of these days –

    Excellent article on flooding the world economy with dollars has led to speculation and rising food prices across the globe – International Speculation and Rising Food Prices. The author’s conclusion –

    The only way to obtain price stability and start a global economic recovery is to drop the dollar, assume a more rational value for reference, and discipline the operation of financial and mercantile exchanges in London, New York and Chicago. That is what the Davos gathering of international leaders should have considered, but did not. Instead they focused, as always, on recipes for maintaining their own immediate and exclusive prosperity in a starkly unequal world.

    To which France says “Pas de probleme” – France wants new global finance system .

    France, as current head of the Group of 20 countries, will help the transition to a global financial system based on ‘several international currencies’, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said today.

    Lagarde, speaking ahead of a G20 finance ministers meeting in Paris on Friday and Saturday, said the world had to move on from the ‘non-monetary system’ it now has to one ‘based on several international currencies’.

    Also, Dean Baker on how the oligarchs continue to try to construct an economy based on finance rather than labor – Finance Myths.

  5. cometman permalink*
    February 14, 2011 2:59 pm

    One more ominous note – as the latest US stock market bubble continues to inflate, insiders continue to bail out in massive numbers.

  6. artemis54 permalink
    February 14, 2011 3:59 pm

    Beck is in rare form today. The Italian women’s protests against Berlusconi are folded into his cake batter along with everything else and voila, the caliphate has a new outpost in Rome. I would have thought this a little too great a leap even for him if he hadn’t described Ireland as an up and comer in the caliphate a couple weeks ago. Next stop Finland? British Columbia? Orange County?

    Maybe a primer on European history would help?

    • cometman permalink*
      February 15, 2011 8:57 am

      Did you happen to catch Jon Stewart yesterday? Sounds like the writers were watching the same stuff you did. Ha! – Jason Jones reporting from inside Glenn Beck’s brain!

      • artemis54 permalink
        February 15, 2011 9:31 am

        Ha. Thanks I hadn’t seen that. Kitler is in there too!

  7. artemis54 permalink
    February 15, 2011 9:20 am

    I believe Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s showboat Minister of Antiquities, was mention here a while back.

    Yesterday, 150 young archaeologists gathered at his office calling on him to join hist master Mubarak and “Get Out.”

    • cometman permalink*
      February 15, 2011 9:55 am

      Hmmmm. Hadn’t heard he’d recently taken a cabinet position. For a supposedly bright guy, not a good move. This sounds about right –

      The archaeologists’ protest was also deeply personal, with protesters saying Hawass was a “showman” and publicity hound with little regard for thousands of archaeology students who have been unable to find work in their field.

      Can’t do a program on Egypt without Hawass’ mug showing up somewhere. He’s been a very good promoter which is what brings in the cash but I do think he likes the pretty much complete control he has over Egyptian antiquities a little too much – a lot like Mubarak in that respect. He’s very protective of them and justifiably so to a great extent (mentioned earlier that he was likely the one who sent those people out to guard the museum and I find his efforts to have Egypt’s antiquities repatriated admirable) , but I think he takes it too far at times. Remember watching one program where after years of turning down requests, he finally allowed some foreign scientists to take some minuscule sample from some mummy or another. With current technology, it isn’t as if taking such a sample is going to cause drastic damage to the mummy and I had to wonder what took him so long to allow it other than pride and vanity.

      He’s definitely not irreplaceable.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 16, 2011 7:10 am

      Found a little more on Hawass’ current predicament.

      Mr. Hawass, who has run Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities since 2002, is the gatekeeper to Egyptology, a National Geographic Explorer in Residence (a lucrative perch) since 2001, whose rise in Egypt was at least partially sponsored by Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the ousted leader.

      ~snip~

      In the waning days of the Mubarak regime, he threw his weight behind the established order, and also appeared to have hid the extent of the damage done at the famed Egyptian museum – one of the great repositories of human heritage.

      After a brief spate of looting two weeks ago, he said nothing of great value was taken. On Sunday, he admitted that the thieves had made off with 18 priceless artifacts, including two gold-encrusted wooden statues of Tutankhamun. “He had to have known that much sooner,” says the acquaintance. “I think he held the information back because he understood it would be catastrophic for the regime’s legitimacy.”

      Can see how all that would piss a few people off considering the circumstances.

  8. artemis54 permalink
    February 15, 2011 9:27 am

    Protestors breach capitol building, Iowa joins Caliphate.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 15, 2011 9:38 am

      Very nice!

    • cometman permalink*
      February 16, 2011 1:35 pm

      It’s spreading. Wisconsin bows to the Sultan.

      • artemis54 permalink
        February 16, 2011 8:30 pm

        Actually Beck was all over this today. The Antichrist himself is stalking the streets of Madison.

        He is merely the most extreme – and not by all that much – in his portrayal of organized labor as the arch enemy of American democracy. I would like to see this prince of turds work hard enough to raise a blister, maybe ten, fifteen minutes.

        I have had it with these attacks on public workers. I have seen people trying to cover 24/7 in a lab to assess viral attacks in real time, or 24/7 to cover fish transport on the Snake – fish don’t pay much attention to clocks – in the fucking wind and ice storms, teachers bumming money from me – and they know I don’t have it – to buy enough supplies for the first couple weeks of class.

        • cometman permalink*
          February 17, 2011 9:30 am

          Seconded. Few years ago I donated $20 to some local fire department. Now I get calls all the time from various departments in the area asking for donations which I generally have to turn down because I can’t afford it. What I’d like to ask the callers is why in the hell does the fucking fire department have to go begging in the first place?!?!?! Aren’t my tax dollars supposed to make sure they have enough money?

          Of course I already know the answer. The fire departments’ $$ is being used to subsidize bankrupt developers so they can build crappy little strip malls.

  9. cometman permalink*
    February 15, 2011 9:35 am

    Poor Aaron Barr from HBGary along with Palantir and others really opened up a can of worms trying to discredit wikileaks. People have been poring over the emails acquired by “Anonymous” and it looks like they really fucked with the wrong people. Glenn Greenwald isn’t buying Palantir’s apology and claims that they weren’t really involved. The leaked emails also showed they wanted to go after Brad Friedman and he’s more than a little pissed off. As tenacious as those two are when they latch on to an issue, I really wouldn’t want to be on their bad side.

    Fuck ’em up!

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 15, 2011 2:47 pm

      Greenwald on the warpath: today he’s taking it to msnbc. On the Dylan Rantagain show right now.

  10. artemis54 permalink
    February 15, 2011 1:44 pm

    Victory in Ecuador! – for now

    Court Fines Chevron $8.6 Billion for Damage to Environment

    A judge in Lago Agrio today ruled that Chevron Corporation is responsible for oil drilling pollution in a section of Ecuador’s northern rainforest the size of Rhode Island, and he ordered the oil company to pay $8.6 billion in damages and cleanup costs.

    . . . . .

    Judge Zambrano gave Chevron 15 days to apologize publicly for the contamination or face doubling of the damages figure.

    Much more at ChevronToxico

    This brief, excellent backgrounder goes over the long history of the case and especially Chevron’s recent antics, which have been referred to a “kitchen sink” strategy of attack on all fronts, legal and otherwise. It should be called a scorched earth policy.

    Note esp: Chevron successfully had the case moved to Ecuador, praising Ecuasoran courts and complaining it wouldn’t get a fair trial in the US. Now it has launched every conceivable attack against those very courts.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 15, 2011 2:12 pm

      You beat me to it! Been gathering up a few articles on that myself today but I hadn’t found any yet with all the details in yours.

      If I’ve got the timeline right, this has been in Ecuadorian courts for more than just a few years. Bet Chevron didn’t count on Correa who’s been doing quite a bit to try to keep the oil companies at bay. And I love the judges ruling demanding a public apology or they pay double. $17 billion would go a long way towards keeping Ecuador’s oil in the ground :)

      Couple more links for you –

      Brief statement on the settlement from Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch.

      And Chevron is filing a countersuit against Ecuador but they’re moving the venue to NY state. Maybe they’ll get more favorable treatment considering the mess that is the US judicial system, but at first glance RICO charges seem pretty laughable. That last one says a US court has already ruled in Chevron’s favor and blocked Ecuador from enforcing any upcoming judgment. No idea how that’s supposed to work.

  11. February 15, 2011 2:13 pm

    Hey dude,

    Off topic but have you ever read Chung Kuo? :)

    I followed you to your own blog!

    • cometman permalink*
      February 15, 2011 2:29 pm

      That you ender?

      Guess it must be after I googled Chung Kuo. No, never heard of that before. Any good?

      • February 15, 2011 2:34 pm

        yeah it is me :) I read some of it a long time ago and it seemed good, but I don’t remember that clearly. The premise is great. Anyways, I am going to try rereading the first book and will let you know. 8 book series!

        • cometman permalink*
          February 15, 2011 2:59 pm

          Saw that at wikipedia. They said it was supposed to be nine but the publisher told the author to wind it up. Not sure if that’s a good sign or not. Let me know if it’s any good. Haven’t read any scifi recently since those Ken Macleod books I told you about.

  12. cometman permalink*
    February 15, 2011 2:26 pm

    Some science notes –

    Researchers discover more deep ocean vents. Nice to see, especially as one of the first groups of vents discovered in the 90s has gone dormant and all the wildlife is now gone. Wonder what critters they will find around this new set?

    All kinds of reports today on a potential new planet in our own solar system, although just barely because if it’s there, it’s a really long way out there near the Oort Cloud. Most I read were fairly sensational and mixed some things up. Here’s the most sober one i saw – Up telescope! Search begins for giant new planet.

    The two astronomers who leading the charge think it’s only a matter of time until they get definitive proof. Phil Plait is encouraged and doesn’t dismiss the idea but retains his skepticism – No, there’s no proof of a giant planet in the outer solar system.

    If true though, there will be a lot of astronomers and astrophysicists who will need to rework a lot of theories on how planetary systems form.

  13. cometman permalink*
    February 15, 2011 2:56 pm

    A few notes –

    As expected, the fucking Patriot act renewal passes in the House.

    Fluffy and Timmeh are doing a little jig today as one of the few decent people in government, TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky, resigns. Note how the WAPO just can’t help inserting a couple graphs from unnamed sources within the Treasury making unfounded allegations regarding Barofsky’s credibility –

    “We’re fine with critics,” said one Treasury official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak more candidly. “[But] he’s been consistently wrong about a lot of big things.”

    ~snip~

    …at least in certain corners of the Treasury, where news of Barofsky’s departure brought a touch of delight Monday.

    “It was,” said one official, “like a nice valentine to us.”

    Douchebags. But on the bright side, with no serious oversight, Fluffy may wind up fucking things up beyond repair a little quicker and we can finally be rid of him. His bluff is being called quite a bit these days.

    And the National Research Council has issued a report casting quite a bit of doubt on the FBI’s case against Bruce Ivins as the mailer of the anthrax letters. Too bad Ivins is already dead after being harassed by the FBI.

    A little commentary and more links from Meryl Nass who has been following the story for years.

  14. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2011 1:34 pm

    Absolutely gut wrenching – The Siddiqui Case.

    Unbelievable what has happened to this woman in the last decade at the hands of the US and its supposed allies. Whether she’s actually guilty of anything is almost impossible to tell, but she got 86 years nonetheless. Even if she is guilty, what happened to her small innocent children in unconscionable.

    I thought I was pretty damn pissed off about three years ago with all that has happened during the War on Terra. Now that I have a child of my own, I’m a little surprised at how much more anger I can muster towards scumbags like these. Death would be far too kind of a punishment for the likes of those who did these things.

  15. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2011 1:48 pm

    Somebody wrote my post for me, or at least a good portion of what I was trying to get at – How to Fake an Economic Recovery. All about flooding the economy with money, manipulating statistics, etc. A little channeling of Taibbi going on with the rhetoric –

    This may be a highly distasteful proposition, but just for a moment, I want you to sit back, and imagine that you are a member of the corporate banking elite. You are a walking talking disease ridden power mad pustule who naively believes himself intellectually superior to the vast majority of humanity and above the inherent laws of conscience, honor, and general good taste. You are a villain in the purest sense, in that you not only do great harm to the world, you actually SEEK to do great harm to the world, if only to benefit yourself and your exclusive circle of “friends”; a clan of degenerate blood thirsty sociopaths with delusions of omnipotence that stalk the night like Armani wearing Chupacabra exsanguinating the joy from poor unsuspecting cultures. You are capable of anything, and sadly, you take “pride” in this fact…

    Heard the bankers-as-vampire squid and now -as-pustule/Chupacabra comparisons, but no fluff girl yet!

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 16, 2011 4:26 pm

      Brilliant

  16. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2011 1:52 pm

    Hey melvin. Ever find anything on that study purporting to show that farmed salmon did not cause sea lice on wild fish?

    Related to that, I enjoyed this one disparaging the “empirical” study – The Age of Idiocy. A sample –

    Nowadays, we’re disinclined to believe anything that doesn’t have a study to back it up, apparently forgetting (what most of us knew not so long ago) that you can get a study to support any conclusion you want, so long as you are sufficiently careful in the crafting of your questions. An empirical study, is, as a means of gaining information, the crudest sort of imitation of the awesome mechanism of a run of the mill inductive inference. Let me draw an analogy here to make it a little clearer. The empirical study is to a human brain functioning properly like instant coffee is to real coffee: a pale, sad imitation which no person in his right mind would prefer to the original but would accept only if the original were, for some reason, unobtainable.

    Worth reading in full – the rest of it is pretty funny.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 16, 2011 4:28 pm

      Yes. It’s coming. I am just all tangled up here.

  17. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2011 2:29 pm

    Some unrelated notes –

    Not that I understand it all, but here’s how the “Anonymous” hackers took down Aaaron barr and HBGary Federal – Anonymous speaks: the inside story of the HBGary hack. The part I did understand is that the hackers didn’t really do anything that revolutionary, they exploited weaknesses in HB Gary’s security using tools readily available on the interwebs. Checked the url for HB gary Federal listed in the article and it’s still down. Ha!

    Greg Gordon at McClatchy continues his excellent reporting on the ratfucking banksters – Critics: Goldman should give back $2.9 billion to taxpayers. Reading through that one I had to wonder whether hackers might be able to do something similar to the Goldies if they put their minds to it. Still haven’t heard anything on who was responsible for the (illegal) naked short selling that sent Lehman’s price plummeting and set off this whole thing and from what I understand nothing has been done to curb the practice. Perhaps some hackers could start shorting the Goldies a few billion at a time.

    And Libya becomes the next country to start simmering.

  18. artemis54 permalink
    February 16, 2011 4:42 pm

    Governor Schweitzer of Montana – beloved by certain pseudo-progressives for reasons I don’t understand beyond his folksy manner – has done the right thing for the wrong reason. He has forbidden the shipment of Yellowstone buffalo into MT for fear of brucellosis. A fear that is to say the least grotesquely overblown. They might as well be socialists, Kenyans, or foot sodiers of the Caliphate.

    Meanwhile, evidence mounts of the genetic weakness in the “metapopulation,” the predictable result of an extreme bottleneck. It is inconceivable to me that the herd is not managed with an eye to long term genetic health. Every western state employs veterinarians to work on precisely that for its dairy and beef herds, but we don’t for the last continuously wild population of an icon?

    • cometman permalink*
      February 17, 2011 1:56 pm

      OK I need some help with this one. Heard about the whole brucellosis canard before so I get that part. Just came across this article – Bison Abuse in Yellowstone: Politics Trumps Science and Morality in America’s Oldest National Park . Don’t really understand what he’s getting at either since there isn’t much background.

      But he seems to be arguing that the the bison are being bottlenecked inside Yellowstone and should have a wider range than currently allowed. But you’re arguing that they shouldn’t be moved to Montana (I’m assuming that the Yellowstone bison are in WY and not already in Montana).

      Help! Not enough background and I don’t get it.

      • artemis54 permalink
        February 17, 2011 3:02 pm

        I didn’t help much. The buffalo were going to be shipped to Montana for slaughter and rereading my comment, leaving that out made a hash of it.

        Some buffalo wander out of the park proper each winter, and everyone freaks out, hazing them back in, shooting them, and going ape over brucellosis. There’s a lot of prevaricating going on, starting with the fact that there are very few cattle in the neighborhood at that time.

        One solution is to simply retire some cattle allotments, allowing the buffalo a little more room to roam.

        There is a wealth of information at Buffalo Field Campaign under the various headers – FAQs, Legislative, Science. Some info is not where you think it will be though. And of course, BFC is extremely pro buffalo and anti cattle. (As am I.)

        BFC’s proffered solutions

        Short Term:

        Buffalo must be recognized in Montana as a valued and recovered native wildlife species.

        Trained wildlife professionals without conflict of interest should manage wild buffalo; they should not be managed by the state livestock agency.

        Buffalo must be given full access to all suitable habitat in Montana within the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) at all times of the year.

        The Montana Department of Livestock must develop brucellosis-proof management plans for all domestic cattle that continue to graze in the GYA including the provision of wildlife proof fencing if necessary.

        Governor Schweitzer, together with the governors of Idaho and Wyoming, must petition USDA-APHIS to modify the federal brucellosis classification system to allow more flexible management of wildlife and cattle in the GYA.

        Ranchers outside of the GYA should not be threatened because those within the area choose to raise susceptible cattle near brucellosis-exposed wildlife without taking adequate precaution.

        Native American tribes – especially those with a cultural, historical, and spiritual connection to the buffalo – must be included in all decisions relating to the management and recovery efforts of wild buffalo in Montana.

        LONG TERM:

        State and Federal authorities should develop an effective vaccine against brucellosis for cattle and mandate use within the GYA.

        Public lands currently designated for livestock grazing should be reclassified to give priority to native wildlife species, including wild buffalo.

        The current property tax structure in Montana encourages livestock production by providing tax breaks for agricultural use. Landowners who allow wild buffalo to access their land should be provided with similar incentives through the Habitat Montana program.

        Underpass or overpass systems that allow wildlife to cross roads and highways should be developed to lessen the chance of collisions with automobiles.

        Wildlife migration corridors must be created through a process of creative cooperation between public land managers and private landowners, to allow wild buffalo and other migratory species to migrate within the GYW, and eventually, outside of the region.

        The difficult controversy over buffalo management today is a direct result of the transmission of brucellosis from domestic cattle housed within Yellowstone National Park to the native wild buffalo at the turn of the last century. Livestock producers and public administrators should ensure that cattle will not transmit diseases to native flora and fauna.

        • cometman permalink*
          February 17, 2011 4:56 pm

          Aha! Shipping them there to be killed was the part I was missing. Now it all makes sense. Thanks.

  19. cometman permalink*
    February 17, 2011 2:04 pm

    More on the Wisconsin caliphate.

    The protests are getting bigger! – Wisconsin Crowds Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver . Been so damn long since something like this happened I got a little choked up reading it –

    “I have never been prouder of our movement than I am at this moment,” shouted Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, as he surveyed the crowds of union members and their supporters that surged around the state Capitol and into the streets of Madison Wednesday, literally closing the downtown as tens of thousands of Wisconsinites protested their Republican governor’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

    Where Tuesday’s mid-day protests drew crowds estimated at 12,000 to 15,000, Wednesday’s mid-day rally drew 30,000, according to estimates by organizers. Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, a veteran of 27 years on the city’s force, said he had has never see a protest of this size at the Capitol – and he noted that, while crowd estimates usually just measure those outside, this time the inside of the sprawling state Capitol was “packed.”

    ~snip~

    In some senses, Wednesday’s remarkable rally began Tuesday evening, when Madison Teachers Inc., the local education union, announced that teachers would leave their classrooms to spend the day lobbying legislators to “Kill the Bill” that has been proposed by newly-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker.

    The teachers showed up en masse in downtown Madison Wednesday morning.

    And then something remarkable happened.

    Instead of taking the day off, their students gathered at schools on the west and east sides of Madison and marched miles along the city’s main thoroughfares to join the largest mass demonstration the city has seen in decades – perhaps since the great protests of the Vietnam War era.

    Thousands of high school students arrived at the Capital Square, coming from opposite directions, chanting: “We support our teachers! We support public education!”

    Thousands of University of Wisconsin students joined them, decked out in the school’s red-and-white colors.

    Buses rolled in from every corner of the state, from Racine and Kenosha in the southeast to Green Bay in the northeast, from La Crosse on the Mississippi River to Milwaukee on Lake Michigan.

    Buses and cars arrived from Illinois and Minnesota and as far away as Kansas, as teachers and public employees from those states showed up at what American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union president Gerald McEntee says is “ground zero “in the struggle for labor rights in America.

    And it looks like the Dem legislators are going to make it very difficult to even take a vote on this piece of crap legislation – Senate Democrats boycott Thursday vote on Walker’s budget plan .

    More please, in every goddamned state in the country!

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 17, 2011 3:05 pm

      w00t!

      Today would be a day to watch the Ed Schultz show if possible. He is doing it from Madison and presumably will have a lot of comments from locals. I would expect him to be wound up like never before.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 17, 2011 9:17 pm

        More-

        Yves Smith has a great post regarding the snow job Walker is trying to pull in WI

        …an analysis of the state’s finances shows this shortfall to be entirely the result of spending increases planned by Walker. The state ran a modest surplus in the latest fiscal year and the projected falls in tax receipts over the next two years were less than $200 million cumulative. So this budget hysteria is a gross distortion of the state’s true condition.

        ~snip~

        It’s bad enough that the “make the workers suffer” push is misguided (any budgetary pain should be shared, not dumped on a single target group). According to David Cay Johnson of Tax.com, the average Wisconsin pension is $24,500 a year, which is hardly lavish. But what is stunning is that 15% of the money contributed to the fund each year is going to Wall Street in fees.

        ~snip~

        In addition, the governor has poor-mouthed about the state pension and budgetary concerns generally while handing out further tax breaks to business. And in a strained economic climate, the state has been increasing gimmies to corporations. The state had tried tightening up provisions which had contributed to 2/3 paying no taxes in 2007, often due to income shifting to lower tax states. But tax expert Lee Sheppard believes that corporate tax cuts implemented by Walker will probably undo 2009 tax law changes intended to increase revenues from corporations. And note corporations pay for only 5% of the state’s general revenues.

        Ha! Wisconsin Dem Senator to legislature – brb.

        And protests spread to Ohio. Not exactly at Egyptian levels yet but it’s a start. Strikes me that these protests probably wouldn’t have been reported much at all if they didn’t parallel recent events in the Arab world, and the media is probably latching on to every comparison it can find to make a story. But hey, if it gets people off their asses, I’ll take it.

  20. cometman permalink*
    February 17, 2011 2:07 pm

    Some links, encouraging ones first –

    A small crack in the facade – In sharp reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council.

    The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

    But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.

    So they’ll agree to “illegitimate” only because they don’t want to describe the settlements as illegal (which they clearly are), but it’s a start. And considering what’s going on in the Arab world, it may not be so easy to simply make a veto in Israel’s favor and move on.

    And “Anonymous” will be watching. Here’s an article from one of its members – Anonymous and the global correction .

    The fact is that the technological infrastructure that allows these movements has been in place for well under a decade – but phenomena such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous have already appeared, expanded, and even become players within the geopolitical environment; others have come about since.

    This is the future, whether one approves or not, and the failure on the part of governments and media alike to understand, and contend with the rapid change now afoot, ought to remind everyone concerned why it is that this movement is necessary in the first place.

    Now the not-so-encouraging –

    Ray McGovern gets roughed up and removed as Shillary looks on and does nothing. His crime? Standing silently with his back turned while she mouthed some more platitudes and told some more whoppers.

    And Taibbi’s latest – Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? Haven’t read it all yet, but this sounds about right –

    “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”

  21. artemis54 permalink
    February 18, 2011 9:40 am

    UK forest sale plan scrapped

    To gleeful shouts of “timber!” from the opposition benches in parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron admitted on Wednesday that he was not happy with the planned privatization.

    David Babbs, of campaign group 38 Degrees, said: “Some say signing petitions and emailing (MPs) never changes anything. But it did this time. This is what people-power looks like, and over half a million of us are feeling very proud.”

    • cometman permalink*
      February 18, 2011 10:19 am

      Woo hoo!

      And is it just me or does it seem like the “leaders” of the world are starting to think twice before telling the people to fuck off and continuing business as usual?

      Maybe it will be back to standard operating procedure in another month, but damn February has been nice so far with so many douchebags having their asses handed to them.

      • artemis54 permalink
        February 18, 2011 11:21 am

        The Caliphate comes to Puget Sound:

        RALLY! To protect our future – Thurs, Mar. 17

        • cometman permalink*
          February 18, 2011 11:31 am

          Nice.

          Wondering how long this will take to spread to Maine. We have our own Teabag governor who’s trying to gut just about everything decent in the state who could use a good smack upside the head. Wins with 30% of the vote and takes that as a mandate to do whatever the hell his corporate handlers tell him.

          It’s cold, I’ve got cabin fever, and am looking for a good excuse to get out of the house. Heading to Augusta to fuck with LePage would be good for what ails me.

  22. triv33 permalink
    February 18, 2011 1:10 pm

    sneaking over here to say there’s patrolling a plenty still going on at the big orange and the unbanned one just can’t stay away from it. Fine upstanding long-time poster that he is and all.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 18, 2011 1:47 pm

      Hmmmm. Are you trying to say that somebody over there is now on his , let’s see, 1,2,3,4 …. 5th username or so and still playing these stupid games?

      • triv33 permalink
        February 18, 2011 3:49 pm

        No, if Lloyd’s back–he ain’t running with la blanca. Last time around he didn’t go near either, but old trashy can’t keep away from any patrol that get going. And vocal as hell whilst doing so. Somebody–put up a link to UGOG the other day and I watched history altered right in front of my eyes. Because he’s still posting and patrolling–he must have done no wrong.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 20, 2011 11:05 am

      I see Demando is back under his original Hamhando. He would be interesting if he didn’t have to drag that Hindenberg ego around.

      And Miep has a diary up urging amnesty for the banned. Now that would be hilarious – Dawn of the DKos Dead.

      • triv33 permalink
        February 21, 2011 7:22 am

        Special Rules for special people. No signs of the community overlord doing any “overlording” since DK4 went live.

  23. cometman permalink*
    February 18, 2011 1:49 pm

    Looks like no other rulers want to take the golden parachute out of the Middle East.

    Things get ugly in Libya and in Bahrain.

  24. cometman permalink*
    February 18, 2011 1:55 pm

    Been waiting to see evidence of something like this – Pollution Triggers Genetic Resistance Mechanism in a Coastal Fish.

    For 30 years, two General Electric facilities released about 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into New York’s Hudson River, devastating and contaminating fish populations. Some 50 years later, one type of fish — the Atlantic tomcod — has not only survived but appears to be thriving in the hostile Hudson environment.

    Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have joined colleagues from New York University (NYU) and NOAA to investigate this phenomenon and report that the tomcod living in the Hudson River have undergone a rapid evolutionary change in developing a genetic resistance to PCBs.

    Although this kind of reaction has been seen when insects develop resistance to certain insecticides, and bacteria to antibiotics, “This is really the first demonstration of a mechanism of resistance in any vertebrate population,” said Isaac Wirgin of NYU’s Department of Environmental Medicine and leader of the study. Moreover, he said, the team has found that “a single genetic receptor has made this quick evolutionary change possible.”

    Somewhat encouraging in that it shows life can adapt no matter how much we fuck things up. Yet I can’t help thinking that the corporate polluters of the world will latch on to findings like this in order to continue with the status quo, claiming it shows their pollutants really aren’t that harmful in the long run.

  25. cometman permalink*
    February 18, 2011 2:12 pm

    Bwaaaaahahahaha! A whole load of levity heading into the weekend. This guy’s going to need some expensive laser surgery if he wants to see his sweet lord Jeebus someday!

  26. cometman permalink*
    February 21, 2011 1:49 pm

    Popcorn time!!!!! Anonymous sets its sights on The Westboro Baptist Church.

    In response, the church discovers the intertubes –

    “GOD HATES FAGS & LOUSY ‘HACKERS!'” they declared, apparently responding to a missive from protest group “Anonymous,” which was well known for becoming a persistent antagonist to another group of religious fanatics: the Church of Scientology.

    “The only reason the Internet exists is for Westboro Baptist Church to tell this nation & this world that your destruction draws nigh.”

    They even threw in a “Bring it” in their little manifesto. How adorable!

    Seeing as Anonymous was able to shut down an internet security in about .3 seconds, I’m thinking ‘it’ has already been brought and these assclowns are just too stupid to have noticed yet.

  27. cometman permalink*
    February 21, 2011 2:28 pm

    Several articles regarding Wisconsin protests –

    Dumbass Scott Walker claims it isn’t about union busting.

    David Michael Greene explains that Walker is a lying sack of badger shit. This bit is worth noting as it leads into the next piece-

    He claims that the state is broke and that he has no choice but to roll back public sector salaries and benefits. Everything about that claim is a lie. The state is not nearly as far in the red as other states that are not doing what he is doing. The state could increase taxes if it wanted to solve its problem, rather than exploiting workers. In fact, the state just got done creating it’s the very deficit Walker claims to be the problem by slashing $177 million from its tax rolls. State employees are underpaid compared to equivalent private sector workers, not overpaid as he claims. And despite all this, the unions have nevertheless publicly agreed to negotiate givebacks with the Governor. And so on.

    Already the aggrieved are willing to compromise with a man who has said repeatedly there will be none. And I haven’t seen too many actual politicians come out in support of the Wisconsin protesters. This article explains why as good as any – What If the Egyptian Protesters Were Democrats?

    If the Egyptian protesters were Democrats, they would have accepted Mubarak’s proposed reforms—not because those reforms were good, but because Democrats are accustomed to settling for empty rhetoric. They would have accepted Mubarak’s handpicked successor, the infamous torturer Omar Suleiman—not because they like him, but because he would presumably be less evil than his predecessor. They would have accepted the inevitability of defeat—not because they wanted to lose, but because losing would be both pragmatic and realistic. The actual Egyptian protesters, however, would only accept freedom.

    For those who might respond to this hypothetical exercise by pointing out that the United States is not Egypt, I would agree. Egypt under Mubarak was more equitable than the United States under Barack Obama. Egypt has far less income inequality than the United States, and all of Mubarak’s brutality was at least indirectly underwritten by the American government.

    The people of the Middle East and North Africa have never listened to American liberals, who through the years have loved to bestow unsolicited advice on Arabs. Had the Arabs accepted this unsolicited advice, they would have become Democrats instead of revolutionaries.

    The only acceptable liberal American response to the revolutions in the Arab World is the silence that enlivens a sincere attempt to listen. Clearly it is time for American liberals to stop lecturing Arabs and start following their example, instead.

    More from a WI teacher – The War in Madison: When the People Lead, Leaders Will Follow .

    And from the Madison Times .

    And one more, noted only for this bit –

    At noon, guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine took to a stage on the Capitol steps to fire up the crowd.

    Yeah, it’s kind of juvenile, but this one’s for you Scott Walker, you fucking prick-

  28. cometman permalink*
    February 21, 2011 3:14 pm

    So Barry had his lackey veto the UN Resolution that would have called Israeli settlements illegal. As a result, the Palestinians are calling for a day of rage.

    Ibrahim Sarsour, an Israeli-Arab member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, said it was time to tell the US president, Barack Obama, to “go to hell”.

    “Obama cannot be trusted,” he wrote in an open letter to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. “We knew his promises were lies. The time has come to spit in the face of the Americans.”

    Abbas has really been painted into a corner lately with the wikileaks revelations that showed how willing he was to deal away his own people’s interests to Israel and the US. Barry and Shillary both made personal entreaties to Abbas but those two aren’t going to protect his sorry ass from an angry mob –

    …the Palestinian president – aware of the volatile mood in the region and the backlash he would face if he acceded to Obama’s demands – refused to withdraw. One Palestinian official told Reuters that “people would take to the streets and topple the president” if he backed down.

    Every other damn country on the Security Council voted to call the settlements illegal. Nice to see Israel and Uncle Sugar becoming more isolated on this issue. And Abbas the compromiser is getting what he deserves for playing the toady.

  29. cometman permalink*
    February 21, 2011 3:22 pm

    A few unrelated notes –

    Violence erupts in Libya as Gaddafi tries to hold on to power but the people are not backing down just yet.

    Ahmad Jibreel, a Libyan diplomat, spoke to Al Jazeera on Monday and confirmed that the justice minister had sided with the protesters.

    “I was speaking to the minister of justice just a few minutes ago… he told me personally, he told me he had joined the supporters. He is trying to organise good things in all cities,” he said.

    Jibreel also told Al Jazeera that key cities near Libya’s border with Egypt were now in the hands of protesters, which he said would enable foreign media to now enter the country.

    “Gaddafi’s guards started shooting people in the second day and they shot two people only. We had on that day in Al Bayda city only 300 protesters. When they killed two people, we had more than 5,000 at their funeral, and when they killed 15 people the next day, we had more than 50,000 the following day.

    “This means that the more Gaddafi kills people, the more people go into the streets.”

    Big surpise. Angelo Mozilo, the criminal who stole hundreds of millions of dollars through fraudulent mortgages as head of Countrywide, will not face criminal charges.

    And an even bigger surprise. Turns out those oil eating microbes that had supposedly cleaned up the whole Gulf of Mexico really weren’t all that hungry.

  30. cometman permalink*
    February 22, 2011 1:42 pm

    More on events in Libya –

    Gaddafi looks more than a little frazzled as he vows to fight and die a martyr if necessary. The latter is looking more and more likely.

    Excellent article giving good background on the Libyan political situation over the last few decades – The Libyan Labyrinth.

    Some more background and news from people at the scene here – Revolution in Libya: Protesters Face Gaddafi’s Murderous Backlash as US, UK Ooze Hypocrisy.

  31. cometman permalink*
    February 22, 2011 1:53 pm

    More on events in Wisconsin and related stories –

    Yves Smith looks at the fine print and sees that Walker may have plans afoot to sell off state resources – Wisconsin’s Walker Joins Government Asset Giveaway Club (and is Rahm Soon to Follow?)

    Consider this section from Wisconsin’s Budget Repair Bill (emphasis ours):

    16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

    WI area AFL-CIO threatens to call a general strike. Not sure exactly what all that means since evidently they can’t actually call said general strike legally.

    Meanwhile Indiana’s governor would like to pass similar measures and so Hoosier Dem legislators flee the state.

  32. cometman permalink*
    February 22, 2011 2:34 pm

    Some unrelated links –

    Greenwald has an excellent piece regarding the US “diplomat” being held in Pakistan . Turns out he was CIA after all and after being scooped on this by foreign papers, US newspapers are finally admitting it after previously hiding that fact to help out Barry.

    Bad news from the Gulf of Mexico – SPIKE REPORTED IN NUMBER OF STILLBORN DOLPHINS ON COAST. Don’t think anyone will have to look too far to find the cause. Heartbreaking –

    When a dolphin is born, its mother has the job of making sure it gets to the surface for its first breath of air.

    If the baby is dead, the mother still tries. Over and over, sometimes for hours. She stays with the baby, not realizing fully that it is dead. She will hit it with her tail, grasp it, pull it and nudge it gently, hoping to get it to breathe.

    “The more desperate the animal gets when the calf is not breathing, the more intense her behavior becomes,” Solangi said. “I’ve watched it.”

    She goes into a frenzy trying to get the baby to respond and then stays with her dead infant, sometimes for hours before she lets it go.

    That’s why some of the dead dolphin infants identified in the last two weeks have trauma to their bodies, he said.

    “They didn’t die by being hit,” Solangi said.

    Four US residents captured by Somali pirates are shot dead.

    And it’s sounding more and more like Evo Morales is listening to the wrong people in Bolivia. He tried to raise gas prices and was met with strikes, forcing him to repeal the measures – Street Politics in Bolivia: Governing by Obeying the People

    Was he obeying the people, or was he simply forced to respond to their pressure? In either case, his move was significant; while politicians around the world have recently been responding to protests against austerity measures with tanks and bullets, Morales responded by (eventually) agreeing with protesters and backing down. This illustrates the autonomy of the Bolivian social movements and the power they have over the government.

    Kudos to the Bolivian people and Morales deserves some props for listening. Glad to see the people aren’t just blindly following the guy that came to power with such promise. Too bad the Obama pom-pom girls in this country don’t show the same independent thinking.

    • sisdevore permalink
      February 22, 2011 7:40 pm

      They must have invited some of their big draws back. Dood Abides, who I adored, posted recently.

  33. artemis54 permalink
    February 22, 2011 8:03 pm

    starting to get frustrated with witr. pfiore is like obama, always on the lookout for some extreme idiot position to compromise with. ek and others gobbling up acres of fp real estate at a time without regard for anyone else, because that is their hoggish nature and I know already that if I complain it will somehow be my fault.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 22, 2011 9:52 pm

      I was wondering about all those posts by the swedish blade. Is there some point to posting TV schedules that nobody cares about that I’m missing? Inside joke maybe?

      • artemis54 permalink
        February 22, 2011 10:40 pm

        I have no clue about the tv guide feature. But I have taken to drastically shortening their fp footprint.

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