Monday, October 27, 2008

Simon Critchley may be right about so many things; his conclusions are all wrong

...Speaking from a position of perhaps glorified impotence (SPOGI), on Obama's loneliness (and ours) here (sub). I want to say: wrong in part because nobody with Critchley's ideological standards could ever get elected, needless to say. Less obviously wrong because Obama's kind of rational "faith" in community may be the only kind to have, may indeed be the kind that all cultural/ethno-geographic hybrid subjects–those subjects after all with any future–have. Far from suppressing or entirely ignoring agonism, Obama has merely found a way to render the most destructive, distracting and reactionary elements abeyant. Call it sublimation, if you must. But in doing so he clears a space for political action. In any case perhaps another word (or two) is cosmopolitan...homesickness.

Or not...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And so the real work begins...

it has translations of Tronti, Badiou and other leftist philosophers writing on the financial crisis, ghost of Marx included.

Bernie Sanders

William Greider in The Nation:
Washington must assert its full emergency powers and tackle two things at once: manage the gradual downsizing of the financial system in an orderly fashion that sustains lending, and revive production and employment by force-feeding activities of many kinds. This cannot be a voluntary program that simply invites bankers to participate on their terms. The government must impose emergency regulatory controls to keep finance in step with the nation's overall goals. If bankers resist these terms, they should be cut off, isolated from the public's lifesaving assistance.

These are not idle suggestions. The nation is now in the grip of dynamic political change, and this will not stop with the decision on Paulson's grandiose bailout. Presuming the bailout prevails in Congress, Paulson will be handing out public billions to Wall Street players in the next few months. The political counterforce for genuine public-spirited solutions should be pushing back right away. Activists and intellectuals, public citizens and heavyweight financial players, even some members of Congress, are already at work on the details. If Congress reconvenes for a lame-duck session, you will see some of these measures surface for public debate and popular agitation.

The essence of this action will borrow ideas and models from the New Deal and update them to fit our present circumstances. This not simple nostalgia. It is a clearheaded recognition that the public interest has not been served and the crisis will not recede until it is. Here are five concepts for recovery and reconstruction that are in circulation. If we are lucky, these proposals will redefine the next presidency, whoever wins.

1. Stop the easy-money bailout. Instead of buying rotten assets from Wall Street firms with no strings attached, the government should examine their books and decide which banks can be saved with direct infusions of capital in exchange for public ownership--roughly on the terms Warren Buffett got when he aided Goldman Sachs (preferred shares and guaranteed dividends). The failing institutions should get regulatory euthanasia. This approach gives the government direct control over the survivors and ensures that the public is protected from egregious loss. The model is the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the 1930s, which recapitalized banks and corporations under stern supervision.

2. Help the folks who are hurting--directly. A homeownership corporation patterned after the New Deal original would have the money and the flexible authority to supervise "workouts" for millions of failing families. This is what bankers do for corporations when they get in over their head. Government can do the same for indebted households: stop the liquidation, stretch out default dates and arrange manageable terms. This is not a bleeding-heart gesture--keeping families in their homes is economic stimulus, and it halts the decay of neighborhoods.

3. Get serious about economic stimulus. We need a recovery program five or six times larger than the pitiful $60 billion proposed by Democratic leaders. These billions should go for the familiar list of neglected priorities--fixing bridges and schools--but should also jump-start the green agenda for alternative fuels and restoration of ruined ecosystems. The government should subsidize the new industries of our age, just as New Deal spending financed the modern development of aircraft, petrochemicals, steelmaking and other key industries in the 1930s.

4. Re-regulate the bad actors and indict the criminals. Start by restoring the law against usury--the predatory lending practices that ruin weak and defenseless borrowers. Government cannot wait for a relaxed debate about restoring regulations. We need newly designed controls over the financiers and well-defined public obligations imposed not only on banking but also on hedge funds and private equity firms. These cannot be discretionary rules. If the money guys don't like them, they should get out of the business. Paulson's Wall Street colleagues are already mobilizing lobbyists for this fight, but they may discover that Washington has been changed by events. The easygoing deference to Big Money seems suddenly out of fashion.

5. Create a new brain for government management of the economy. The crisis and the halting decision-making by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve--not to mention the secrecy and special deal-making on behalf of financial interests--make it clear that deep reform is required. I would start with a special reconstruction and recovery agency, empowered to lead policy and oversee banking regulators and the economic stimulus. The Federal Reserve's so-called independence is an antique concession to the big banks and doesn't make any sense. Monetary policy and fiscal policy must be balanced and decided in the same process. That rational approach might have stopped the Fed from the biases and dereliction that led to this crisis.

These ideas and many others are in gestation. They will reach fruition when politicians and other leaders swallow their bruised egos and rethink their supine posture, arm in arm with Wall Street. That looks improbable at the moment. But voters can help them change their minds. (read the whole thing)

Friday, October 17, 2008

recent work

Solid hickory and solid cherry. These are all for sale. As always, taking custom orders...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain, spoiled brat with no honor

The whole world being sick to death of this no-class liar, silver-spooned screw-off, but apparently he is allowed to "debate" once more tonight (hell even the RNC is pulling out), this biographic article on John McCain in Rolling Stone does a good job exposing his true history and character:

Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot...(read the whole thing)



Saturday, October 11, 2008


Matt Taibbi poking some much-needed fun at David Ray Griffin (via):
Secondly: what the fuck? What kind of lunatic comes up with this as his "illustrative example"? Your simplifying parable is more fantastic and complicated than the actual story! At first I thought you were kidding, then I had to go back and read it to believe it -- astounding! It should tell the readers of this debate quite a bit that this is your idea of a good way to start an argument: "Say for example that your best friend is killed in broad daylight with a crossbow, and the government frames you for the crime using advanced morphing technology."

Taibbi strikes again here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

steal back your vote

In contrast to NPR's shoddy disservice, DemocracyNow gives the real story on how to make your vote count. For instance, DO vote early, but DON'T mail in your ballot without a photocopy of government ID, and DON'T accept a provisional ballot, especially for reasons relating to your mortgage–they are all thrown out. Listen to the whole show here.

And for more on the history of the Voter-Fraud Fraud, read Digby.

And for all you swing voters who want to vote for a winner, this prediction is from an exceptional, non-partisan site that corrects for bias in polling and is far more comprehensive:
...set of state polling that follows is so strong for Obama that he continues to hit record marks in all three of our projection metrics. We are now projecting Obama to win the election 90.5 percent of the time, with an average of 346.8 electoral votes, and a 5.4-point margin in the national popular vote.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

the giant pool of money: root cause of today's financial crisis

This should really be the last post on the economy or politics for a while (if this blog had any self-respect), as anyone can read Firedoglake or DailyKos for themselves....Mentioned before, but "This American Life" had a truly great show on the American and world economy sometime back, called "The Giant Pool of Money."

The show should be required listening for anyone concerned with understanding why things are the way they are, and how to change them.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

you could ask your Senator they voted on the Sanders amendment (it didn't pass).

A couple interesting posts at Econospeak.

Economy of bubbles and campaigns for real change...

The whole world votes pretty overwhelmingly for Obama.

And now for something even worse

It appears that for the next three months at least, the democrats are still running to the center-right. Like a bunch of fucking politicians.

DemocracyNow covers the revised swindle, and the long-term prospects of a smaller Wall Street, as Paulson picks which criminal friends to reward for their crooked greed and who to sacrifice, all at taxpayer expense, and all without addressing any root causes. On the plus side, it will still be easy for anyone paying any attention at all to predict that another crisis is inevitable. The "feeling" among progressives being that Obama will be in a position to actually do something about it, then. The now inescapably obvious fact that our system is just incredibly fucked up and corrupted by/beholden to Wall Street likewise disheartening, but hardly a surprise. Still it's too bad no leader has emerged to take advantage of this opportunity for the left. Plenty of people, like Defazio, stood up for what was right, although it wasn't enough, passionately and eloquently so. They just weren't real players in the game. Or rather, there aren't hardly enough players worth a shit in the game. We're a sick, election-obsessed country and it's too bad there's no time or ideological room for real leadership.

Plenty of time to pass a terrible bill once hundreds of pages of pork and earmarks have been added to it, though. Not all of them bad, certainly. Some of them criminal. But none of them relating directly to addressing the root causes of the economic crisis. Since the bill itself doesn't do that either, what's the difference right?

Mortgages, from what I understand, are hardly mentioned. No real help is mandated.

The Conference Call.
Hunter. Update: And again.