techno commented on the diary post Thomas Friedman Escaped and Is Writing About Economics Again by Dean Baker.
Do you know why Tom Friedman gets so many ideas from taxi drivers? Because if my personal experience is anything close to representative, every damn cab driver in the world knows more and is more intelligent that one of NYT’s so-called wise men.
Does anyone know why NYT still has readers?
techno commented on the diary post Michael Klare: Have the Obits for Peak Oil Come Too Soon? by Tom Engelhardt.
Proof that once again, tea-party liberals are Michelle Bachman clueless. Fracking is a secondary production technique—and a damn expensive one at that. Fracking PROVES that Hubbert was absolutely correct. Hubbert said that when a field (well, country) reaches its peak, there is just as much oil in the ground as has been extracted. The difference [...]
I absolutely love this piece. Our family made a habit of listening to Messiah on Christmas Eve afternoon. Both my parents performed it when they were young. I finally got to sing it as a member of the University of Minnesota Chorus with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1967. Messiah is a big deal for me.
But this piece is special! The absolute BEST feature of Christianity is their idea that when God came to earth as a poor kid, the first people to be informed were social nobodies working outside on the night shift.
I also believe that the high point of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is the Shepherd Sinfonia. Bach and Handel—lots of musical genius was born in 1685.
I don’t find Putin so inscrutable. He is a poor kid from from Russia’s “second city” who had to struggle mightily to advance his cause in life. Add to that he is a short man. Hardly need to know more than that. He is a Russian nationalist who knows USSR beat the Nazis at incredible [...]
As someone who used to help my mother make spritz cookies, I agree they are something of a trick. But her “secret” was to use powdered sugar instead of granulated. It made the dough stiffer. She also made them first because the kitchen was still chilly (this was Minnesota). As the spritzer, I always thought [...]
I hate to be picky, but this sort of analysis usually fails because it concentrates on the BS artists and neglects the most important revolution of all—the industrial revolution. This was the revolution that determined what was possible. It determined how large the economic pie could grow. Since the only economics worth organizing a revolution [...]
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.
- Load More