No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
In case you didn’t know (I didn’t until I checked the Press TV site), we have begun bombing the hell out of Somalia. This week:
- US drone attacks kill 26 in Somalia
- US strike kills 11 civilians in Somalia
- US drone strike kills 49 in Somalia
- 27 Somalis killed in US drone strike
Combat operations have concluded for:
- Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border, 31, of West Lafayette, OH.
- Army Staff Sgt. Jorge M. Oliveira, 33, of Newark, NJ.
- Army Staff Sgt. James R. Leep Jr., 44, of Richmond, VA.
- Army Spc. Michael D. Elm, 25, of Phoenix, AZ.
- Army Staff Sgt. Houston M. Taylor, 25, of Hurst, TX.
Days since Washington Post has updated its Faces of the Fallen site: 21.
Two US drones crash in south Somalia. Here is your updated drone crash scorecard:
- Two US drones crash in south Somalia
- Two US drones crash in south Somalia
- Three US drones crash in Somalia
- US drone goes down in Afghanistan
- Another US drone crashes in Pakistan
- US drone crashes in Pakistan
- US spy drone crashes in Afghanistan
A brief case study. Paul Ryan:
I don’t disparage anybody who wants to air their grievances, petition their government. As long as nobody gets hurt, and as long no property is destroyed, I think it’s fine people demonstrate to organize themselves. I’m not exactly sure what it is they’re calling for, but if there’s frustration aimed at crony capitalism, corporate welfare, at bailing out connected corporations, I agree with them. We shouldn’t have any more Solyndras, we shouldn’t be picking winners and losers with federal tax dollars by subsidizing, regulating or tax loopholing people with preferences. Let’s get rid of all of that.Barney Frank (emph. added):
Rachel, I do have to say, some of us have been trying to do this for a while, and I have to be honest and say in 2009, I wish some of these people had been energized then and were helping us fight back against this effort, because we got a strong bill, but it should have been stronger.Ryan manages to slip the wingnut cause du jour into his comment, but that aside he comes across as far more respectful of the Occupy folks than Frank, who basically gives a condescending lecture. This coming in the same week he went to Wall Street to beg for some of that sweet, sweet top 1% cash money, baby. (And did so defiantly: “If you take money from them, but you don’t vote [for] the things they want, how does that put you in conflict?” Translation: “I alone among all men am incorruptible.” What a jerk.)
Secondly, I will say this — I hope they will, but I want to — you know, sometimes telling your friends things is tougher than reeling at your enemies. Not if people think the demonstrations in and of themselves do something.
Look, let me — you said protesting at the Supreme Court is an appropriate way to deal with the terrible decisions they made that allow unrestricted campaign spending. A better way, not mutually exclusive, is a president who can appoint justices who won’t do that, because if look at the justices appointed by President Obama — Justice Sotomayor., Justice Kagan — they won’t vote that way.
The demonstrations are very important because they give you the potential to mobilize people. But people need to take the next step and they have to, one, let the people now in office know what they think. And two, vote for the people who do that. In the Senate, there was just a very partisan vote to put a surtax on income above $1 million.
I’d like to go even lower. That would have been a progressive step. Unfortunately, it was filibustered because the Republicans voted unanimously against it and all but a couple of Democrats voted for it. That wasn’t enough.
So, I — yes, I hope there will be pressure to do even more, but I, again, want to be honest — simply being in a public place and voicing your opinion in and of itself doesn’t do anything politically. It is the prerequisite, I hope, for people getting together and voting and engaging things.
And I understand some of the people on Occupy Wall Street are kind of critical of that. They think that’s conventional politics.
Well, you know, the most successful organization in America in getting its views adopted is the National Rifle Association. They are in many cases a minority. But in addition to everything else they do, they very effectively identify who the members of the Congress are, the legislatures and vote for them.
So, as I said, I welcome the Wall Street energy. I don’t agree with everything some of the people say. I agree with the general thrust of it.
But it’s not self-executing. It has to be translated into political activity if it’s going to have the impact. And — you know, I would just say, the last thing, we had an election last year in which people who disagree with them, and disagree with me and with you, got elected.
I want to be honest again here. I don’t know what the voting behavior is of all these people, but I’m a little bit unhappy when people didn’t vote last time blame me for the consequences of their not voting.
If you’d like to know why the right wing routinely translates populist anger into votes, there’s your answer. Sure, the GOP caters to the wealthy even more than the Democrats, but Republicans are much better at understanding (or at least pretending to understand) why people are so upset with the political class right now. By contrast, Democrats like Frank just tell them their silly little tantrums are completely worthless unless they put all that energy towards electing amazing statesmen like Barney Frank.
And since Barney Frank does not appear to be very bright (or at least has trouble remembering anything that happened longer than eighteen months ago), let’s review some recent history. In 2006 there was a tremendous amount of energy on the left, and activists translated it into political activity. Result: A wave election for Democrats, including a flip of both houses of Congress. In 2008 there was a tremendous amount of energy on the left, and activists translated it into political activity. Result: A wave election for Democrats, including the presidency and strengthened majorities in both houses of Congress. And the Democrats proceeded to lay down sacrifice bunts instead of swinging for the fences. The wars continue, new ones are added, Wall Street still calls all the shots, the economy still sucks and the health care system is still a mess.
Barney Frank is an imbecile if he cannot cast his mind back a few years and recall that his totally awesome prescription for Making America Great Again was just filled in consecutive elections by the very people he now castigates - and they got nothing close to what they expected. It should not be mysterious, confounding or vexing to Barney that activists on the left might not view the Moar Dems strategy as an especially promising one. And if he’s a little bit unhappy then he needs to work that out with his therapist, not put it on the rest of us.
Occupy Cleveland had some really good stories going into the week, including things like this, this student’s perspective and pictures like this (via):
There were arrests on Friday though. They aren’t giving up though. Pretty inspiring, if you ask me.
Steve Jobs wanted to bust teachers unions:
Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.”He’s an asshole in my book. He did make me go back and review a few things though, like this (emph. in orig.):
To put it bluntly, as the thinking goes in these folks minds, wouldn’t the Republican party be even more awesome if it didn’t have all these bible-thumpers and Southern crackers? It could be even better just focusing on tax cutting and just kicking ass in general — especially unions and other whiners. In other words, like Rudy or this new guy Chris Christie.And this.
It’s not that there’s not a parallel kind of Democrat who pines for just being able to found tech companies, chill with our gay friends and not have to get so jammed up over all this regulation and class warfare stuff.
So I’m late to the party on this one. I thought the whole creative class narrative during the 2008 primaries was one of those hair-splitting exercises partisans engage in to distinguish between candidates who are largely identical in all major respects. I still think Clinton’s beer hoisting photo op was a transparently phony blue-collar political set piece.
But thanks in part to Occupy and in part to candid revelations like Jobs’ and Marshall’s, we’re seeing some previously concealed fault lines exposed. There really is a segment of the left that is actively hostile to the economic needs of the lower and middle classes, and that would rather sidle up to Tech Geniuses like Steve who also have this little libertarian streak in them. And getting someone like Steve to think you’re cool means throwing economic justice under the bus. OK then. Would that it were different, but at least now we’re getting a clearer picture.
“It’s not every day that you write a letter to someone and tell them to take their $8.5 billion and shove it.”
Just a hunch, but I think this may end up being an absolutely enormous story. When the shit hits the fan BofA’s little stunt will either be repudiated or there will be open revolt. The public is a raw, exposed nerve right now, and if this latest scam looks like it’s going to go through it will get exceedingly ugly.
“Even US counter-insurgency experts have long known the surest harbingers of revolutionary ferment in any country is the growth of a population of unemployed and impoverished college graduates: that is, young people bursting with energy, with plenty of time on their hands, every reason to be angry, and access to the entire history of radical thought.”
- A Movement Too Big to Fail
- Jesse Jackson Occupies OWS Medical Tent, Saves it from Being Evicted by NYPD
- Why investors are clamoring to take over America’s highways, bridges, and airports - and why the public should be nervous
- U.S. steps up assault on Haqqani stronghold in Afghanistan
- Occupy Wall Street, unions get their activism together
- ‘Idiot’ officer no longer supports Kasich
- The New-Economy Movement (from several months ago, but didn’t see it until recently)
- Matthew Yglesias has good pieces here and here, though that first one conveniently omits Washington Democrats’ role.
Sunday funnies here:
And I can tell you with perfect confidence that Tom Friedman’s quick snuggle-bunny puff piece on Da New Mare — which cites only Da New Mare and a couple of C.E.O.’s — will tell you exactly nothing new or true or important about the actual state of politics or gummint in the City of Chicago.(That is a really fine piece of writing. More on Friedman.)
It will, however, confirm everything you already know about the work habits Thomas L. Friedman.
ECONNED EXCERPT from p. 205:
A second source of instability is the interaction between lending and asset prices. While banks make some loans based on the borrower’s overall income, many are also secured by specific types of property, such as real estate, equipment, automobiles. If their prices rise, both the bank and the borrower think they are wealthier. The seemingly better protected bank is willing to lend the apparently more-prosperous debtor more money. Conversely, if asset prices fall, the bank will get nervous about its loan. If it can, it will charge the borrower a higher rate of interest. And the fact that it may now face losses on this loan and others will make the bank chary about extending new credit. Customers may be forced to sell assets to pay the bank, further depressing prices. Thus falling asset prices and credit contractions reinforce each other, leading to a downward spiral.
These twin issues may seem trivial and well-known, but they create financial instability. It is essential to note that the second phenomenon, the feedback loop between collateralized lending and assets prices, contradicts standard economic models. Economics posits the existence of equilibria, and, lacking a model for financial systems, often projects the behavior of goods markets onto financial activity. In the world of products, higher prices generally reduce demand, Yet in the realm of finance, higher asset prices lead to more credit extension, which fuels more asset purchases. The financial system is predisposed toward credit expansion, followed by distress and a cycle of credit contraction. There is no propensity toward equilibrium.