• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    ProNewerDeal on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    ProNewerDeal on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Sweet Sue on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Sweet Sue on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Sweet Sue on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Sweet Sue on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Sweet Sue on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    ProNewerDeal on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    William on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Na on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Sweet Sue on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Eucatastrophe is Greek
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Eucatastrophe is Greek
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton Chris Christie cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    August 2015
    S M T W T F S
    « Jun    
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    3031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • As the Dow Jones Drops
      Down about 1,000 as of this writing. (Since mostly recovered.) Let’s review: First, various “emerging economy” exchanges lost value, then China, then Wall Street. The actual economic contagion started with resource prices. That was driven by reduced demand, primarily from China. Oil prices (only one commodity), already under pressure from moderately increase […]
  • Top Posts

Eucatastrophe is Greek

A eucatastrophe is a term and plot device invented by JRR Tolkien. It means something that happens in the story that at first looks very bad, like, Merry and Pippen being captured by the Orcs and taken off to Isengard. That looks like a it could have ended the book right there. Merry and Pippen fall into Saruman’s hands and he either holds them hostage until they cough up what they know about the ring or he sends them to Sauron. Either way, there would be no battle of Pelanor Fields. Ooo, there’s another eucatastrophe when Theoden falls to the Nazgul but then Eowyn kills it anyway.

So, the point is, in each of these cases of catastrophe, the actors see a way thru the disaster and change the course of the story for the good of many.

We should keep this in mind because the Greek crisis is a perfect opportunity to change the course of economic history, provided the actors look for a course through the disaster to act for the good of many instead of the selfish demands of a few.

in any case, when the dust settles, we will know who is on our side and who is working for the small evil group who thinks it runs the world and to which no one we personally know belongs.

Hey, Hillary Episode 1: Your biggest donors are hurting us

Google Pittsburgh in Bakery Square, East Liberty.

This is the first in a series as I try to catch Hillary up to what has happened in the last 7 years.

Back when she suspended her campaign in 2008, I thought her presidential hopes were finished. 2008 was her best year in terms of what she might have accomplished. After the financial collapse, there was an opportunity for a disciplined and knowledgeable president to force rehab on the malefactors of great wealth. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, the malefactors recruited someone more pliable and easily dismissed. I’ll never forget the passages in Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men,  where he recounts the meetings Obama had with Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Christy Romer. Obama would make an executive decision and Geithner would essentially blow him off and nothing would get done.

Anyway, what I could see happening after Obama won is that the bad deals on the financial clean-up and healthcare reform would get concretized. The changes to the workforce brought on by the massive layoffs and restructurings would lead to a different kind, but by no means better, kind of work environment for working people. And that’s pretty much what’s happened. Now, you could say that she’s working with what she’s got and I agree. In these circumstances, given what she’s got to work with, her policies are going to have to be more modest than the opportunities that might have presented themselves in 2008 would have created.

But if all you’re planning to do as president is tweak what is a sucky situation and slightly improve the status quo, then what’s the point of running? No, seriously. Wouldn’t that just make you Babysitter in Charge instead of a president? Oh, sure, Hillary would be a great babysitter, one of the best. No one is going to complain about her protecting us. By the way, that doesn’t mean she is a “hawk”, whatever that means. There are shades of gray. You don’t have to be one thing or the other. And she’ll probably be really good on infrastructure projects, especially broadband. That right there would be a not insignificant legacy. However, for working people who have been so busy trying to keep their heads above water that they are only now realizing how far out to see they have been dragged in terms of work security and income stability, that’s not going to be enough.

Hillary, you need to talk to your donors. Because right now, they can do whatever stupid shareholder value, McKinsey generated idea that pops into their heads and it’s going to hurt them. It is time that someone sat them down and told them that just because they are hiring people in India, or bugging out of NJ and we all need to adjust, doesn’t mean they’re going to save money in the end. In fact, they could be making their problems much, much worse.

Let’s take the latest examples of really stupid ideas in big pharma. It’s now more like, little disconnected, distributed pharma in a  very expensive part of the country. One of the latest Nature Alerts featured an article about the shortage of space in the Boston biotech belt and that the price of land in Cambridge Massachusetts is too expensive for new startups. In short, there’s very little land but big companies keep firing their R&D staff in Connecticut and New Jersey to relocate there. Now, the little start up companies to which we are all told we will find our pot of gold can no longer afford the cost of business there.

And we haven’t heard yet from the hapless souls who manage to get an invitation to work in Cambridge. Go read Derek Lowe’s comment sections on the latest relocation scheme to Cambridge of the virology division of BMS from Wallingford, CT. First, it should be noted that the business people are mostly keeping their jobs and relocating to a different site in CT. But by our calculations, the R&D staff is facing almost a 50% cut in personnel and the “lucky” ones will be relocated to… you guessed it. Cambridge. There’s a lot of anger and bitterness there. Housing prices are astronomical unless you live far from the city. If you live far from the city, your commute is long. Then there is the uprooting of families and finding new schools. Then, when they get there, there’s no guarantee that the job will be available for long. They will be expected to be ready to jump to a new job every couple of years.

And for what? What in God’s green earth would make all these companies decide that it HAS to be Cambridge or they aren’t truly living??

We have no f^&*ing idea.

Harvard is there and so is MIT. Ok, fine. But it’s not like there’s going to be a smorgasbord of people trading industry shattering techniques. Hell no. We all have secrecy agreements. You can’t just talk about what you’re doing over sushi with people from other companies or academic groups. Even 15 years ago the ACS meetings were becoming less and less useful and informative because presentations contained almost no relevant information, structures or data. It’s all protected by lawyers. So, the idea that Cambridge is some kind of hot bed of new open source learnings is just stupid. Do not let them tell you otherwise.

It’s not even like you even have to BE in Cambridge if by some weird chance you can actually share information. The internet makes location irrelevant. In fact, some of these companies farm out so much of their work to other companies that there’s no need for them to be in the same place geographically. Hey, if they want to break up their infinitely configurable corporate lab space and inefficiently run their research by having lab rats negotiate contracts with outside companies, complete with secrecy agreements so that they can become lightweight organizations free from the constraints of employees to whom they are obligated, let them do it and waste their money and talent. But in that case, they’d be saving a lot of money by relocating to Detroit.

And while we’re at it, why is it that the R&D people are the ones that have to make all the sacrifices? Why can’t an MBA who is after all just a bean counter live in a rust belt city? Aren’t they costing valuable office space for the shareholders if they’re located in Cambridge? I mean, if the almighty dollar is the reason why we are reconfiguring pharma, shouldn’t we eliminate the costs of things that don’t actually contribute to the discovery of drugs? If I were a shareholder, I’d want to know why the cubes have to be in an expensive high rise facing the Charles River. It’s not like an accountant or marketing person will have any reason to hob nob with the PhD superstars at Harvard so why are they there? Can’t we find plenty of English speaking MBAs in Hyderabad?

Speaking of rust belt cities, Pittsburgh, for example, offers a lot of culture and plenty of affordable housing for working people. We are not located in East Jabip, most people have all their teeth and this city has one of the most literate populations in the country thanks to Andrew Carnegie’s magnificent libraries. This is a great place to live and work with public transportation, a thriving university center with Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh at the center. There’s plenty to do here from an outdoor perspective and free jazz every Tuesday in Katz Plaza downtown. And we have internet. We even have our own Google headquarters. Why Cambridge? Or why not Cincinnati? I only ask.

But nooooo. They’re all going to squeeze themselves into a shoebox or run themselves off a cliff like lemmings. In the process, they’re uprooting a lot of scientists or just plain ruining their careers, and setting back drug discovery by decades. Somewhere on Derek’s comments section a commenter noted that drug discovery requires Leonardos not Mozarts. That’s because it takes a very long time to learn to be a drug hunter. There are software moguls who think they can speed it up by applying something like Agile principles and maybe they can have a minor effect on the middle layer of research. That is, the layer between routine analysis and project team level collaboration. There is a sweet spot consisting of protein groups and crystallography groups that might be amenable to that kind of intervention. But, in most cases, they’re already there. They’ve figured it out and work as a team and they don’t need no stinking software guy telling them how to do it.

The rest of the time, research just needs to grind through it, one cell assay at a time. It’s aggravating to the shareholders who have the attention span of a newt. Ok fine, Ditch the shareholders. No, seriously, they don’t seem to have any appreciation for this stuff. Outsourcing doesn’t make the process go faster, in fact it can cost money and time in the end. What looks like a sure fire way to cut costs and put money in the shareholders’ pockets just doesn’t in the end.

So, Hillary, the next time you meet with these guys, and they are almost always guys, ask them why they are doing what they’re doing. Does it really make sense from a business perspective? Is cutting R&D really the only thing these toadstools can think of doing to increase shareholder value? Aren’t there better ways to cut costs? Or is there a hierarchy of costs to cut that have nothing to do with actual productivity? Are these titans of industry deliberately overlooking the obvious in order to appeal to their MBA culture of smartness? What is the long term strategy or is there even a long term strategy? Is all this pain on the R&D side really necessary? And how does that result in new drugs? Is relocation to certain areas of the country really about costs and collaboration, or is it really about egos and classism? And ask to see the numbers. Tell them you’ll wait until they find them.

Someone needs to start asking these uncomfortable questions and getting straight answers. Because if you want to be the next president and champion for us, you’ve got to start getting the executive class to explain how their McKinsey generated restructurings actually work in the shareholders’ favor. I’m not seeing how it provides value over what we had when the industry was working through new technology but still producing blockbusters. Call me extremely skeptical.

Someone needs to start holding these people accountable for the havoc they are creating. If you’re not going to do it, don’t be surprised if the country doesn’t get all excited about your campaign. Do you really want to be another British Labour party politician?

Next week, does contracting everything out really work?

Lest you think I am exaggerating…

… about how dangerous undue influence can be, check out Confederate Pam’s twitter feed. When I first saw her tweets popping up at #freebree, I thought she must be a troll or something. Her stuff is so over the top it’s a wonder she hasn’t been banned by Twitter for hate speech. But it looks like she is the real thing. She hates African Americans, healthcare and gay people. And she’s got a special place in her, well, let’s not call it a heart, for liberals.

She could be one of my sister’s friends.

Oh, and she seems to watch an awful lot of Fox News. Hmmm…

I’m sure there’s no correlation. Butcha know, you are who you hang out with.

Just sayin’.

Who are they still fighting?

I saw this earlier today but am happy to make the video go viral.

Bree Newsome took down the Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina statehouse. Watch as she climbs the pole and quotes the good parts of the bible (you know, the parts that are about not being afraid):

I was wondering when someone would finally get around to doing this.

But my question is, if it’s not about race (call me skeptical), who do the confederate battle flag supporters think they are still fighting?

And I don’t completely buy it that it’s just Scots Irish rednecks. There’s something bigger and far more menacing behind it if they can keep that middle finger in flag form up for 150 years. That flag means the war is never going to end. It means that there are forces in this country who think they are entitled and are going to make it as difficult as humanly possible for the rest of us to move away from feudalism, aristocracy and privilege. They’re going to keep this battle up with the North for as long as it takes and we the rest of us are told over and over and over again to compromise and give in and respect their Southern pride.

The people who love that flag have no respect for the rest of us. They don’t care about your climate. They don’t like public schools because ignorance is a good way to keep the help in line. They feel it is their right to do what they want with their property and they are never going to get over having some of it emancipated away from them.

Bree is awesome and brave. Thank you, Bree.

But in light of what happened last week, it shouldn’t have to take a bill and six months of waiting for a legislative session to get that flag removed from the statehouse. It’s the very least that South Carolina legislators could do before the sun set on the Thursday after the shooting.

Update: The FreeBree IndieGoGo page started by Credo is up to more than $43000 and growing at a really fast clip! After they bail Bree out, maybe they can apply that money to other courageous non-violent acts.

Proud Nations

rainbow-wallpaper-18Congratulations to everyone out there who can now share equally in the benefits of marriage that the state provides. That’s justice. No longer will same sex couples find themselves locked out of hospital rooms, denied tax breaks and excluded from other benefits that heterosexual couples have taken for granted for centuries.

Just out of curiosity, I girded my loins and went over to Fox News to check out the reaction from the hysterically nauseated homophobes who think that this ruling is going to precipitate the end of civilization as we know it. It’s always amusing to watch their reactions, especially since they seem to be in denial about what modern heterosexual married couples do to each other in bed. But, whatever. Not my problem.

But I did see this little bit of stupidity on their breathless “the-World-is-going-to-end-now-that-the-gays-can-marry” page. Take a look:

We don’t have to guess about the sociological implications of Friday’s decision. Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, contends that the legitimization of same-sex unions in Scandinavian countries has caused the heterosexual marriage rate to drop dramatically, while the number of children born out of wedlock has risen, resulting in numerous societal problems.

The reason for the drop in the heterosexual marriage rate is clear:  if marriage can be redefined to include any and every relationship, then why bother to marry at all? Anytime you counterfeit something, you cheapen the value of the real thing, and gay marriage is “counterfeit marriage” (In fairness, heterosexuals have also been cheapening the value of marriage for years through adultery and divorce.)

As a Christian, I am most concerned about the spiritual implications of Friday’s decision. During the oral arguments for this case on April 28, Justice Kennedy noted that the traditional definition of marriage “has been with us for millennia. It’s very difficult for the Court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.’”

Friday, the Supreme Court said in essence, “We know better than God how to define marriage.”  For thousands of years both Christians and Jews have believed in both the Old and New Testament definition of marriage that was  written by Moses and affirmed by Jesus Himself when He said that God “made them male and female … For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-5).

Jesus taught that sex was a gift from God between one man and one woman in a marriage relationship. Any variation from that—premarital sex, adultery, polygamy, unbiblical divorce, or homosexuality—is a deviation from God’s original plan for sex.  Friday’s Supreme Court decision represents a collective shaking of our fists in God’s face saying , “We don’t care what You say about life’s most important relationship. We know best.”

The guy who wrote this about the effects of marriage in Scandinavia clearly doesn’t understand the research but this is really how these people think.

They don’t get it that the reason why marriage rates are down in Scandinavia is because the social safety net there is so strong, and, I’ve heard from people who have actually lived in Sweden that the culture worships children, that there is no need to get married if you become pregnant. The parent-child relationship is considered so important that the state makes sure that it’s strong with economic assistance and job security. In Finland, for example, each new baby gets a gift box of clothes, diapers, blankets and other goodies (including condoms for the parents). The maternity box even serves as a first bed complete with a mattress. How cool is that? I’ll tell you, it’s very cool. And it doesn’t matter how much money you have. Every child is entitled to the same start in life in Finland. That’s so, so, what’s the word? Enlightened, or kind, or fair-minded or something.

Commie slacker parasite newborns in Finland get these things in a maternity box without putting any of their delicate scrumptious skin in the game

Even if Scandinavian countries didn’t force their citizens to get gay married, they would still have this incredible safety net for children and their parents regardless of marital status. There is no shame or economic pain attached to having children out of wedlock in Scandinavia so there’s no need to get married. Imagine that! Having children because you want them regardless of whether you are married. Why, that would almost make abortion unnecessary.

As for cheapening marriage, the exact opposite is true with this supreme court ruling. In fact, it shows just how valuable marriage is to all people who can derive real tax benefits and other privileges from the state sanctioned married state. It kind of reinforces how important that license is. If you’ve got it, your retirement bennies are transferable, your property is covered, you can give your trusted partner the authority to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You know, important stuff. Now, gay and lesbian couples can have those very valuable benefits. That’s all this ruling means.

Of course there’s more to it than that from a societal point of view. It does give married same-sex couples the dignity they’ve been forced to carry all by themselves. By the way, is there something seriously wrong with Clarence Thomas or what? I’m beginning to think he has some kind of personality disorder. But if what Atrios calls “the Olds” don’t want to join the party and celebrate, fine, let them go sulk in a corner. Their opinions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

It’s really too bad that so many people felt coerced into marriage back before the Pill and are projecting their envy and bitterness on the rest of society. They do have a choice. They can be Calvinistic crepe hangers or they can let their Grinchy little hearts grow 5 sizes by enjoying other people’s happiness. But they seem determined to not only refuse to evolve but also to prevent other people from evolving too. And their chosen media seems willing to support their stubborness. I ask myself, what’s in it for Fox News and the wealthy people it represents? Because when they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money. Well, Fox News is catering to the olds now but that’s not going to last forever.

Anyway, that brings us to the whole silly so-called “Christian” thing.

I don’t care.

No, seriously.

I don’t care what you believe. It’s none of my business. In any case, if the bible is nothing more to me than bronze age and iron age writings and not some divinely inspired rule book, then it’s useless to keep bringing it up as something I need to pay attention to. There are better sources of morality than that book.

Just like it’s none of your business to decide what people do in the privacy of their own homes between two consenting adults. There’s absolutely no reason for you to get involved in that. I’m not interested in your reasons for why you think this is your business or why it makes you feel superior to judge and criticize people so wholly unconnected with you in an attempt to shame them and deprive them of their happiness.

If that’s what it means to be Christian these days, it’s not a very good recruiting tool. That’s what the current research is showing as well. It’s anti-evangelical. Not only is it not working, it’s turning people off from the Republican party. That’s got to be of some concern to the small evil group who runs Fox News and the world to whom no one we know belongs.

Republican cruel, harshly punitive “you’re on your own” brand conservatism and fundamentalist evangelical so-called “Christians” are inextricably tied to one another in the minds of voters now. You just wait and see, somehow, the party has to ditch you people to make itself look cool and attractive again. It’s coming. And if it’s as cruel to you as you have been to the LGBT community, African Americans, poor hungry children and the unemployed, well, you have it coming. It will probably look something like the Republican party aggressively courting libertarians and younger people who have been forced to pay the freight on every little thing your generation took for granted. They’ll start looking at your Social Security benefits as something they shouldn’t have to pay for. Generational warfare.

But for you diehard “Christian” homophobes, I just think that’s a waste of time to be grumpy, unattractive, religious bigots, After all, it’s not gay people who are making working peoples’ lives miserable and eroding our quality of life. Where people, gay or straight. put their naughty bits, has nothing to do with the erosion of the middle class or income instability or exploitative profit mining of American working people by the wealthy and well-connected or whether the conservatives that frequent Fox News really, really hate Social Security with a white hot passion (because they do).

Funny that Fox News would spend its fury on same sex marriage and abortion when the plight of the long term unemployed gets completely ignored.

I don’t think that Jesus would approve.

Dylann Root, Charleston, Thoughts

For now, we see through a glass darkly

This post is in parts for reasons that I hope will become clear(er) as I write them:

1.) I was on the elevator at work on Friday. It was just the two of us, an African American guy and me. He sighed heavily and looked down. He looked worn out. “Tired?”, I said. “Depressed”, he said. I asked him why. “It’s Charleston.” He got off at the next floor, turned to me and said something to explain as the doors were closing.

I didn’t catch it. I couldn’t stop the elevator. He was gone before I had a chance to hear him. I felt really bad about that.

2.) Dylann Roof didn’t spontaneously generate. He is a product of his environment. I read the article in the NYTimes about his so-called “manifesto” and how some of it had its genesis in the stories the right wing tells itself about George Zimmerman gunning down Trayvon Martin. Roof came to see that Zimmerman’s actions were completely justified. Just out of curiosity, I googled Rush Limbaugh and George Zimmerman. I took one for the team and read that garbage so you don’t have to, my best beloveds. Here’s what I found:

First, Rush was livid (well, when is he not livid?) that the news media wasn’t covering the Zimmerman trial as obsessively as he and his droogs were. That really ticked him off. The Zimmerman trial explained everything that was wrong with America and not covering just showed how complicit the media was.

Secondly, Trayvon Martin was planning to commit a felony. This was explained by the use of the word “cracka” to his friend who he was talking on the phone with just before Zimmerman shot him. According to Rush, in a matter of seconds, Martin had determined that Zimmerman was a police officer (in plain clothes) or a security guard, weighed the consequences of his actions and had decided to beat the shit out of this “cracka”, which would have been a felony.

So, basically, the argument goes, if you are black and minding your own business talking to someone on the phone and someone is following you in a menacing manner, if you have any intention of defending yourself, that intention will be interpreted as a criminal act of defiance even if the person who is threatening you is not authorized to interfere with you. In other words, if you are African American, treat every person who bothers you or attempts to curb your liberty as an authority figure who has the right to do it or you will get shot. If you try to defend yourself, as most people might do if they are confronted with a gun wielding stranger, and you get shot, you brought it on yourself by refusing to submit and by your felonious actions.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who sees obvious problems with this theory.

3.) Here’s my own thoughts about what’s going on. Referring back to what I have written previously about thought reform, the BITE model and information control, it is my hypothesis that the reason why we can’t have nice things, long term unemployment is not important to anybody, poor people are “parasites”, religious people are really into shaming women and the racism genie is finally all the way out of the bottle, is because there has been an increasing and steady stream of information flooding the cable news channels, radio airwaves, conservative churches, and family picnics. If you have never been to a cookout where one of your sister’s redneck friends indignantly tells you about how all the liberals should be shot with his gun collection as you offer him a grilled sausage stuffed peppadew, you haven’t lived. Yes, that actually happened. I have often wondered how this dude who I had never met before or had exchanged any words with had any idea that I was a liberal. I wasn’t wearing my standard issue liberal garb that day so how did he know…? This is one of the reasons I absolutely refuse to live in central Pennsylvania. They just have radar about these things.

If you ever want to hear something chilling, listen to Steve Hassan, former Moonie and current cult mind control expert, talk about how far he was willing to go to follow Sun Yung Moon even to the point that he would praise Hitler. Hassan comes from a nice Jewish family but his devotion to Moon was so great that he was able to ignore all that he knew about the Holocaust and mindlessly spew anti-Jewish propaganda.

Side note: I was stunned to hear people I cared about tell me back in 2008 that it was ok if you have racist thoughts. It’s not illegal. Oh, sure, THEY didn’t have racist thoughts. THEY weren’t ignorant and bigots. But if a person is ignorant and bigoted and has racist thoughts, what’s that got to do with me? It’s not against the law. We can’t go around policing other people’s thoughts all the time.

That was a bad omen, Oh best beloveds. I heard this said by multiple people who I respected who were essentially giving permission to the ignorant and bigoted. It was about the same time that it became ok to treat women as irrelevant and “bitches” too. So, you know, once you start letting some of the worms hatch out of the mud, they all start to hatch out.

Hassan says that people who are susceptible to undue influence are not necessarily stupid people or poorly educated. The left’s notion that low-information voters are the people most susceptible to voting against their own interests is missing the point. Anyone is vulnerable to undue influence when they are targeted by manipulative actors who are skilled at using the BITE model. Control someone’s thoughts and emotions and you can control their behavior. Control their behavior and emotions and you can control their thoughts. Control the information they get, from whatever sources, and you can control their thoughts and emotions. For Democratic activists, who were the key to the 2008 elections, controlling the information in the left blogosphere was crucial. I’ve gone over how they did it in detail but if anyone wants the Cliff Notes version in BITE format, I’ll be happy to do that to show exactly how they did it.

For Americans in general, controlling the information from cable news channels, talk radio and religious institutions is key. Converting a population takes a lot information until it almost seems normal to believe what all your neighbors believe even if you’ve never believed that crap before. Before you know it, you’re saying stuff you never would have thought thirty years before.

Whole countries have gone stark raving mad when under the influence of the BITE model. Nazi Germany stayed in its grip right up to the very end when Adolf and Eva had to hide in a bunker while Berlin and eastern Europe were bombed back into the stone age. Sometimes, that’s what it takes to snap people out of it, especially when they’re under the influence of very powerful practitioners. In the modern era, we have just seen the UK vote into office some stunningly awful economic conservatives, and while those newly elected leaders slash and burn the social safety net, voters lament all the services they are losing and how harshly it is going to affect the lives of the poor. But they are unable to break free of the BITE model. They can’t snap out of it. It’s interesting to note that the Scottish independence movement almost managed to do it last year but at the very last moment when the complacent saw how the polls were going, newspapers, television and the BBC turned off the spigot to independent voices, turned up the volume on fear, uncertainty and dread, and the vote died. Lots of promises were made, promises that Parliament had no intentions of keeping. Now Scotland is stuck. It’s tax dollars go to support a regime that is completely at odds with its own population north of Hadrian’s wall.

4.) So, now we are starting to recognize acts like those that took place in Charleston this week for what they are: domestic terrorism. Indeed, Roof’s rationalizations remind me of Tim McVeigh’s reasons for blowing up the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. McVeigh was angry about what the FBI did in Waco and Ruby Ridge. Let’s face it, people like Roof and McVeigh, dissatisfied with the way life is going in the US and prodded to become enraged by influencers whose motives they might not be completely aware of, are dangerous people.

The problem is that there are many people out there who feel like the current economic and social model is not meeting the expectations they were raised to expect. They’re not on the top of the pyramid in the way their gender or “race” had promised them. And for some reason, they’re not looking up to see who is choking off them money supply. Even the best politicians we have running for president, save one, are masking who is responsible for what is happening to our economic prospects. Instead, there is a lot of information out there that blames poor people or black people or women or atheists or gay people. And we have seen from Ferguson and McKinney and from Baltimore and Cleveland, that if you go after the people who the influencers with big microphones say are drinking your milkshake, you can get away with murder.

Maybe if you start a race war or a war against the government, you can finally take care of the problem once and for all.

By the way, you will have noticed that up to this point, I haven’t said anything about Obama. That’s for a couple of reasons. First, this problem started before Obama even thought about running for anything. Second, it’s not like Obama has spent his years in office as a champion for African-Americans. He’s a company man who reacts to events that happen to the African American community. I’m hoping that the left is finally seeing the difference. What he is to the right wing is simply a convenient lightening rod to channel their anger and outrage.

I’ve said before on this blog that the Islamic terrorists don’t frighten me nearly as much as the domestic variety. That’s because the number of Muslims in the US is pretty tiny and the ones I know have better things to do with their time than plan terrorist events, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev notwithstanding. In fact, the Tsarnaevs prove my point. Their actions, as grievous as they were, were self-limiting. There was no network, they were killed or captured quickly and there was nowhere for them to hide, really. An Islamic terrorist in the US has to be very careful.There are a lot more of us than there are of them.

But a domestic terrorist whose motives are that African Americans, women, gay people or liberals are getting in the way of Jesus, baseball and apple pie?

They are EVERYWHERE. They can blow up abortion clinics and hide in the mountains for years and people will cover for them.I was surprised by the reaction of some of Roof’s neighbors to hearing about what he did. It wasn’t horror and condemnation. It was more like, why did he have to go all the way to Charleston? Why indeed.

It’s a lot harder to racially profile a domestic terrorist. They look like your neighbors or conservative brother in law and who is going to think they’re going to do something crazy? Dylann Roof’s roommates didn’t take him seriously. So what if he was into confederate flags?

5.) And they have guns. There are a lot of angry people that have guns.

This is the summary of my hypothesis. There is a flood of information from people who wish to unduly influence a population. The purpose of this influence appears to be to use the election cycle to impose a plutocracy. The flood of information that money can buy is being used to enrage ordinary people against people who may use the safety net. The unduly influenced vote for candidates who undermine the safety net. The people who have the money to buy the information empire do not possess the capacity for empathy. They appear to be malignant narcissists. That there may be collateral damage from pushing emotional outrage and thought control techniques on an unsuspecting public does not seem to bother these malignant narcissists a whit. In fact, it works in their favor that there is an anachronistic, ill-defined second amendment ensuring that the people they are angering have almost unlimited access to guns.

That makes the outrage self-reinforcing. If I’m outraged and I have a gun, I don’t have to put up with any government pushing crap on me. I am defiant. I can fly the confederate flag above my statehouse. What are you going to do about it?

If I didn’t know better, I would say that the plutocratic malignant narcissists who are funding the flood of enraging information are actively encouraging a sort of domestic terrorism. Because the other half of the American public is starting to come to the realization that there are a lot of irrationally angry people out there with guns and they are now starting to turn on the people who are getting in their way.

It is getting to be very dangerous to be an American who is African American, gay, female or poor.

6.) It’s now clear that the combination of inflammatory rhetoric with access to guns is a dangerous combination to the rest of us. There are a couple of ways to address this problem. One is gun control. But as many people have pointed out, in the current political environment, that’s going nowhere.

The other thing that can be done is to stop with the inflammatory rhetoric. That doesn’t mean censorship. It’s just that the Rush’s and Glenns and Fox News’s could voluntarily choose to broadcast in a way that is less unethical and uses fewer BITE model techniques.

The fact that neither option is under consideration by the predominately Republican legislatures around the country and that the media has not offered to stop with the rhetoric demonstrates that the plutocrats and the mob that are disguising themselves as a party are comfortable with the current state of fear, intimidation and tension. Liberals might just want to think twice about disagreeing with ignorant bigots or bible thumping shamebots or economic hyper-conservatives on their soapboxes at picnics. Too bad for you if you weren’t born into a family with at least one other free thinker where you can eat your potato salad in peace. Shut up or you will pay in ostracism or maybe a target on the back of your head someday.

It is the way it is because the menace of domestic terrorism works for the plutocrats and the party they control. It serves a useful purpose. Undue influence works fantastically well when there aren’t any dissenters speaking up. When it no longer serves a useful purpose, they will stop funding it.

If there is any hope of changing it, presidential candidates and other people with temporary access to big microphones will need to learn how to reveal what is going on to their audiences in a step by step fashion through a series of “A-Ha!” moments. This is the task that is appointed to them and if they do not find a way, no one will.

If they can’t do it, they will go the way of the other feckless politicians with presumably good intentions who lost elections in other countries to be replaced with the red meat, heartless, useful lackeys to the fabulously rich and soulless. Say hello to President Scott Walker.

Ok, I’m done now.

Wow, the NYTimes really hates Hillary. What’s up with that?

Yesterday, Hillary’s kick-off speech got a short mention down the side of the page. I can’t recall if it was the main event at all yesterday on the front page. Now it’s buried in the Politics section. No comments section.

Interesting.

C’mon, guys, if it’s *too* obvious it’s not effective.

Anyone got any ideas on why the paper of record hates Hillary with such a white hot passion? Does it have anything to do with Punch or Pinch or whatever the hell his name is and his romantic idea that political introvert Caroline Kennedy would make a swell senator a few years ago? 

Is it because the vast majority of predators on Wall Street know that she’s less tractable than Obama?

Is it because the American Wolf  Hall still likes to think that their leaders are born into the right families?

What gives?  Anyone want to dish on this? I’m genuinely curious. It’s amusing in an embarrassing way for the NYTimes. Not the kind of route a paper with relevance wants to go, in my humble opinion. This campaign season may be more notable for the lengths that the NYTimes will go to get her unsuccessfully than for the actual campaign itself.

Maybe we should start a weekly list of its failures.

Update: I found a bit of linky goodness from a Jeff Jarvis tweet about the NYTimes self-interested OCD coverage of other topics. This piece is from the Public Editor. So, they are aware they have a problem and that the Hillary Clinton mobbing is in a class by itself. Worldview indeed. I guess it goes with the territory when the world’s rich can buy up real-estate and park their money in Manhattan and not even live there, while the young, talented and professional try to eek out an existence in shared studios. It might be the paper of record but what it is recording doesn’t apply to everyone anymore.

***********************************************************************************

Funniest tweet yesterday regarding the speech comes from Lance Mannion:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 533 other followers