techno commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Why Modern “Country Music” Exists
I haver never liked country music—hated it actually. But now I have a woman in my life whose brother plays in a major Nashville band so I don’t make jokes about the genre any longer. And one thing I will say—there are a LOT of seriously great musicians around Nashville. Her brother could put a world-class band together in about two hours with only the names on his iPhone.
So my guess is that if country music sucks more than it once did, the fault can be found in the zeitgeist. When I looks around, I find there is damn little in USA anymore that doesn’t suck. I mean, try comparing the average clown who calls himself a “progressive” with someone like Bob LaFollette.
techno commented on the diary post Russell Brand, Lloyd Dobbler, And Finding Your Inner Dorothy by Dennis Trainor Jr.
Perhaps Thorstein Veblen’s most accurate observation was that status emulation was a human drive that ranked second only to the survival instincts (and sometimes not even in second place.) It is incredible the sheer amount of stupidity caused by people trying to be respectable. Freedom begins when people understand that status emulation is the greatest [...]
techno commented on the diary post Here Comes the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, Dragging a Broken Moral Compass by Norman Solomon.
Yes indeed—the problem with the Peace Prize is that it given out by the Norwegians—notice Nobel didn’t trust them to award prizes in physics or medicine. Couple of things to remember about the Norwegians. 1) They have been grindingly poor for most of their history. They were considered by the Swedes and Danes who occupied [...]
techno commented on the blog post CUNY Union Condemns Police Repression at Petraeus Protests, CUNY Responds
When I was still at the University of Minnesota (1967-74), I discovered that the myth of the “liberal” professor was so much right-wing horseshit. Out of over 5000 professors, there were exactly TWO that were willing to stick their necks out in opposition to the Vietnam War. The amount of DOD and CIA contracts was scandalous. One of the senior members of the Pol Sci department openly bragged that he helped design the Phoenix Program (look it up).
That, at a school with one of the more liberal reputations in the country. Our president was a Republican named Malcolm Moos who was hired in part because he had written Eisenhower’s Military-Industrial-Complex speech.
What we forget is that academics worship authority. Becoming authoritarian creep is a known occupational hazard. For most of the history of education, folks were hired for their willingness to beat up on children. The occupation of the most loyal Nazis was schoolmaster. So a slimy creature like Dean Ann Kirschner is hardly a surprise.
And in USA, academia was purged of it progressive voices during the reign of terror by Tail Gunner Joe
McCarthy in the 1950s and has never recovered. What passes for the “liberal” impulse these days is political correctness (which appeals to authoritarian creeps), rather than say, teaching how the Social Security Act was written or the political combinations that actually regulated Wall Street.
When I remember some of the sick, twisted, fucks I have met in the world of academia, I can literally tremble with rage. And I would certainly love to have returned the money and time I spent with them when I still young enough to believe I should take them seriously. And I believe the only appropriate response to human garbage like Kirschner is to reinstate the practice of burning at the stake.
Of course, this Pope is not Catholic. The minute a Pope starts to reform things, he is technically a Protestant—after all, minor reforms were all Marin Luther was trying to affect.
Anyway, it doesn’t take a deep inspection of Christian teaching to come to Francis’ current conclusions. When Jesus said, “Let those without sin cast the first stone” he was defending a women accused of adultery. But when Jesus confronted the moneychangers in the temple, he wasn’t nearly so forgiving—fashioning a whip and overturning the tables. Yes I know, there are FAR too many people who believe that if they are uptight about sex, they are moral beings. But Christianity teaches that an over-concern with the ethics of sex is a serious error—especially if it means you tolerate some real sins like usury and other methods of exploiting the poor.
Looks like this pope’s main credential is that he reads and comprehends. This should not be so rare.
Face it—Marxism was NEVER going to work. It wasn’t economics—it was theology. That’s why you had these crazy ideas like community steel making in China and Ladas in Russia. There are dozens of reasons why anyone who thinks as a Marxist is likely to produce shoddy goods.
Furthermore, there have been many great ideas of how to build a progressive society over the years. The only reason why the Marxists took over the leftist argument was because they were just more willing to murder folks who disagreed with them. That did not make them right—not even close.
We must replace neoliberalism but please, PLEASE, folks can’t it be something better than Marxism?
I am NOT the person to suggest how to fight the madness of neoliberalism. I have been fighting the good fight since 1980s and have the scars to prove it. And all along, I just assumed that some day folks would wake up to the absurdities and the neoliberal impulse would collapse like Marxism in 1989. Unfortunately, the economics profession made it virtually impossible to be anything BUT a neoliberal and have professional standing. No no reasonable alternatives have been advanced for over a generation.
So I guess the only way to fight neoliberalism is to nuke all the major university econ departments—Chicago, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, etc.
The banksters live and die by folks believing in the validity of their documents. If a city calls any of those documents into question, the moneychangers are in deep trouble. There are more debtors than creditors and if the creditors don’t give in (a little), there is always mob actions to fear—like dragging the actors in foreclosures through the streets behind tractors like happened in Iowa during the Depression.
Of course Anna Chapman is too old for Snowden. But try telling her that—she is actually only a year older than he. Then there is the matter that Snowden misses his pole-dancing girlfriend, there’s the Wikileaks babe that came with him from Hong Kong, and his lawyer claims he has had dozens of offers from single Russian girls—so Anna better get in line.
Having enough fun with the Snowden story yet? The sheer goofiness of USA foreign policy has been breathtaking. Part of the problem is that while a few folks have noticed the Cold War is actually over and the Russia has a reliably neoliberal economy, the only understanding most folks have of Russia at such places as the State Department is virtually unchanged from the days of Krushchev.
So now Putin has been handed this public relations gift. He loves being the good guy and by granting Snowden asylum, he gets to play one on the world stage. Not since perhaps U-2 has USA managed to bungle something so spectacularly. The sad fact is that in their ignorance and rage, the foreign policy establishment of USA could not do anything BUT screw things up.
In the meantime, Anna Chapman has offered to marry young Snowden while he has apparently fallen in love with Dostoyevsky. While back in USA, we are being treated to some old-fashioned Cold War Russky-bashing. And to think we had a chance to move beyond Cold War madness.
Folks, we must make a fight out of this. Since at least 1978, we have had madmen in charge of our economic policy. They have destroyed this country’s ability to survive (not to mention the middle class, the industrial base, the remotest possibility to meaningfully address climate change. etc).
And of all the drooling morons of the crackpot right, Summers is especially blessed. Two Nobel uncles, after all. But we have known he was crazy since he penned that famous World Bank memo accusing the third world of being under-polluted. And the reason we even know he wrote the memo is he thought it was so clever, he passed it around. THIS is the sort of thinking that passes for brilliant at Harvard these days. And then there’s Rogoff and Reinhart—but that fiasco is more proof that being crazy is a good career qualification at our most prestigious university.
Me? I want Marriner Eccles for the Fed. If on the tragic chance you don’t know about the Fed’s most enlightened chairman, please Google him. Believe it or not, bankers have not all been lying thieves throughout history.
And not stooges for just any corporations. We are stooges for the finance businesses who have publicly defined their mission as extracting the maximum return from the real economy. They define what it possible. Right now they are telling us that we must acknowledge their power by ruining the lives of billions of people in [...]
techno commented on the diary post Why isn’t Unemployment an Emergency? Damn it DC, Hire Us! by spocko.
Veblen wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class in 1899 (it has never been out of print since then.) But even though few social observers have ever been so spot on, I am pretty sure even he would be surprised at how utterly dominant the Leisure Classes have become.
techno commented on the diary post Which DC Lobbying Firms Are the Unemployed Hiring to Represent Them? by spocko.
I think the real reason there is no seriousness about the jobs emergency is that politics is populated from top to bottom in both parties by Veblen’s Leisure Class—people who actively despise useful and necessary work AND the people who do that work. For example, every so often the country’s civil engineers report that we [...]
Bringing up the Crusades are we? Why? Yes indeed, there have been plenty examples of religion being used as an excuse for warfare. But it is also true that there have been few (zero) more effective peace advocates than the religious groups who have labored over the years to cut down on the warmongering—with some [...]
The Bank of North Dakota has NOTHING to do with Socialism. If it did, then why wasn’t it copied freely back in the day when Socialist governments ruled half the world?
The BND was a creation of the Non-Partisan League. As such, it was a Populist idea. Of course, this is USA and people confuse Populism almost as much as they do Socialism. But Wall Street is right to worry about BND. It was invented by folks who hated Wall Street—something that cannot be said for most Socialists.
This one is hard—because far too many of us believe the BS that bankers have special skills that justifies their ridiculous pay scales.
The truth is that bankers as a group are easily the LEAST skilled, most over-rated folks in the economy. Folks who design computer chips and medical devices are smart. Folks who learn how to dress to please the boss and quote his favorite business rag are not.
Moreover, this bubble was in real estate. Since everyone except first-time buyers has an interest in rising real estate prices, you saw absolutely NO ONE who didn’t believe the real estate bubble was a fact of nature AND a sign of their own personal virtue. As Veblen once said, “The laws of the land were written in the interests of the petty real estate speculator.” Not much has changed.
Let’s get some historical facts straight. This guy is a Jesuit. This order was instituted to roll back the Protestant Reformation by any means possible—including burning them alive for heresy. They swear their allegiance to the Pope. They have long been considered the storm troopers of the church. But mostly, they have decided that the most effective way to run things is to educate the future leaders and get their ear when they gain power. They are MASTER schemers. A Jesuit who cannot discuss politics effectively isn’t much of a Jesuit. This reputation has kept a Jesuit from becoming a Pope until now.
Now let us assume that Bergoglio wanted to stand up to the Junta but was prevented from doing so by fear or expedience. This is certainly understandable for MOST of us who would rather not be tortured by pros who learned their skills of SOA. OK. So why hasn’t he cooperated with the mothers who are still trying to find out what happened to the children. They are the ones accusing Bergoglio of being complicit with the junta. After all, Bergoglio has no trouble finding his voice when it comes to criticizing Ms. Fernandaz-Kirchener.
techno commented on the diary post Engelhardt: Climate Change as History’s Deal-Breaker by Tom Engelhardt.
Doesn’t anyone see the craziness of holding a protest where everyone has contribute to the problems being protested. I think everyone who went to this ridiculous event should have been forced to carry a sign that showed how much CO2 they had put into to the atmosphere just getting there. It was like staging an [...]
I find this discussion about the quality of education in USA extremely depressing. Usually such debates have plenty of teachers who argue that: 1) We aren’t really behind, those other countries cheat on the big tests by sending in only their best students (false). 2) The problem is lack of funding. (false, we spend zillions [...]
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