No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
Also see Jim White on the strange dance of Pakistan officially insisting none of this is going on. Corrosively cynical comment omitted.
Before we started torturing others, we did it to ourselves: “The experiments, many of which took place at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick in Maryland, allegedly exposed test subjects to chemicals, drugs and electronic implants. Though the soldiers volunteered, they never gave informed consent, because the government didn’t fully disclose the risks, the veterans claimed.”
This helped justify it, by the way. Think of how many sadists in the media claimed it was OK to inflict cruelty on others because we did as much to our own boys.
So, protecting your head while getting beaten by police is now “resisting arrest without violence.” A snapshot of who we have become.
Matt Taibbi on the rocket docket. Lots of quotable stuff, but I’ll settle on this one: “In this lunatic bureaucratic jungle of securitized home loans issued by transnational behemoths, the borrower-lender relationship can only go one of two ways: full payment, or total war.” Here’s an update on the judge at the center of the article. Avedon pointed to more Taibbi here.
The garden variety fraud in the mortgage industry is rampant, but at the margins some of the stories nearly defy belief. Then there’s the line of the week: “I had to read it twice to make sure that’s really what she said, but she did: It was customary.”
Runners up for line of the week include David Dayen (“I wouldn’t characterize myself as ‘worried’ about this”) and Athenae (“I know it’s gonna upset the Villagers, saying they don’t deserve to be listened to and heard … look, maybe they do, but somebody other than Democrats can do it, because we have a limited amount of time on this planet and we don’t need to spend it this way.”)
I’m sure journalism classes spend some time educating students on how to entice readers into a story: The art of coming up with some tantalizing beginning that irresistibly piques the curiosity of anyone who scans it, drawing them inexorably into the main body.
Whatever the opposite of that is, it applies to any post beginning “Matt Bai muses:”
At some point “hunger” became euphemized as food insecurity, and I really don’t like it. “Food insecurity” makes it sound like you took some milk out of the fridge and don’t know if it’s expired or not. That’s not what the people being discussed are facing; it’s hunger, as in: not enough to eat. I know we don’t like to think of our country, with all its wealth, in such stark terms, but we owe it to ourselves to face it squarely.
Credit where it’s due. Obama hired her, and he listened to her - at least this once.
Back to foreclosure fraud with Marcy: “When the regulation and investigation all comes down to the banks and their corrupt law firms investigating themselves, you can be pretty sure the system is designed to not find the obvious fraud everyone is talking about.” And dday on perhaps the biggest bombshell of the week.
It’s not just America, either: “These debts were incurred, not to pay for public programs, but by private wheeler-dealers seeking nothing but their own profit. Yet ordinary Irish citizens are now bearing the burden of those debts.”
- Adam Serwer on why we should have been opposed to this sort of thing a long time ago.
- On the same lines, people who actually fly hate the new procedures. It would be nice if people who didn’t hated it just as much; that would bode well for more enlightened support of civil liberties elsewhere.
- Not exactly breaking news, but Will Saletan is not terribly bright.
- Civil liberties and cheesecake. Catnip. But there’s a legitimate point behind it as well: That’s about the level you have to go to in order to not be subjected to a groping or a trip to the porno scanner.
What Good Is Wall Street?
Tbogg mostly goes for the funny, but he threw in a really great bit of analysis this week:
Sarah Palin hears a little trash talk from the stands and she pulls up to talk shit with the peanut gallery while the game goes on around her.
This is yet one more reason why she won’t win; she can’t focus and she can’t help but be anything more than the sum total of all of her resentments and insecurities.
ECONNED EXCERPT from page 116, on the ascent of neoliberal economics:
As the economic and political tide turned, Friedman gained a bigger audience. Despite the present-day anxiety about terrorism, the Soviet Union in its heyday posed a much greater threat (after all, they had plenty of nukes). America’s confidence faltered due to Vietnam, the oil shock, stagflation, and the hostage crisis in Iran. Friedman’s die hard libertarianism fit the Reaganite/Thatcherite hostility to big government and vigorous defense of capitalist values, offered a simple, appealing antipode to the “Evil Empire” of the Soviet planning and central control.
When presented at that level of abstraction, democracy versus authoritarianism, individual choice versus government fiat, it’s hard to argue with Friedman. But this Manichaen view doesn’t translate neatly into the real world. When democratic decisions conflicted with his radical view of economic freedom, Friedman and his followers showed a disturbing tendency to give the economic realm primacy. Economist Lawrence J. Miller noted that the backers of “free market” orthodoxy took more extreme positions than the theory itself suggested:They emphasize the usefulness and relevance of neo-classical economic theory, equate the actual and the ideal market, see and apply economics in to every nook and cranny of life.