When I was a student of chemistry in college I did a lot of extracurricular reading about politics. I particularly read about the history of the Russian and Chinese revolutions. I read about Narodnaya Volya and their leaders like Sophia Perovskaya, Zhelyabov, Mikhailov and others and their eventually successful attempts to assassinate Czar Alexander II. Stepan Khalturin, working under the cover of a carpenter, blew up part of the Winter Palace, but had failed to kill the Czar.
I know how hard and long Lenin worked in his hotel rooms in Switzerland and London to bring about the Bolshevik revolution, along with his early comrades like Martov, Vera Zasulich, Axelrod and Plekhanov. They smuggled thousands of copies of Iskra or the Spark, a revolutionary newspaper, into Russia. Vera Zasulich was a very interesting woman. She shot the Governor of St. Petersburg, Trepov, for flogging severely a revolutionary comrade named Bogolyubov, who had failed to tip his hat to Trepov. She escaped from Russia. Two very important men, Trotsky and Stalin joined the revolution. Later, gold shipments were robbed to finance the revolution.
You may have heard of the book by Noam Chomsky (and Ed Herman) with the same title as this video. But actually the ideas in this video are based on a different book by the same title, “Manufacturing Consent” by Michael Burawoy, which was written in 1979 years before the Chomsky book.
Rather than argue the consent to the social order is impose[d] upon people from above through the media, as Chomsky argues in his book, Burawoy argues that the structure of capitalist social relations generates its own illusions, ideology and consent. Chomsky would have done well to read Burawoy’s work before he wrote his own.
Is the economy really recovering or is it all just hype?
Here’s what we know. The Fed doesn’t drop rates to zero unless its facing a 5 alarm fire and needs to pull out all the stops. The idea is to flood the markets with liquidity in order to avoid a complete financial meltdown. It’s a last-ditch maneuver and the Fed does not take it lightly.
The Fed initiated its zero interest rate policy, ZIRP, eight months ago (December 16 2008) and hasn’t raised rates since. In the meantime, Fed chair Ben Bernanke has pumped huge amounts of money into the financial system using thoroughly-untested and unconventional means. No one knows whether Bernanke can roll up his multi-trillion dollar lending facilities or not (and avoid Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation) because no one has ever created similar programs. It’s all “make-it-up-as-you-go” policymaking. What we do know, however, is that the Fed intends to keep rates at rock-bottom for the foreseeable future, which means that the lights are all still blinking red.
Here’s an excerpt from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on Wednesday: Continue reading →
Many progressives are getting all bent out of shape over the “brown shirt” rabble organized by health industry PR firms to disrupt the so-called “town meetings” being organized all over the country by Democratic members of Congress.
What they are conveniently forgetting is that these are not really “town meetings” at all, at least in the sense of the town meetings I grew up with, and started out covering as a young journalist in Connecticut–that is, meetings called and run democratically, with leaders elected from the floor, open to all residents of a community.
These “town meetings” are really nothing but propaganda sessions run by members of Congress who are trying to burnish their fraudulent credentials as public servants, and trying to perpetrate a huge fraud of a health care bill that purports to be a progressive “reform” of the US health care system, but that actually further entrenches the control of that system by the insurance industry, and to a lesser extent, the hospital and drug industry.
“We’ll know it when we see it.” — Richard Holbrooke, Special US Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan on defining victory in Af-Pak
“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . .” — Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart defining pornography in 1964
Well, there you go…Richard Holbrooke has defined the US’s demented mission in Af-Pak as an indefinite proposition and when I say “define” I am joking, because what kind of definition is “we’ll know it when we see it?”
Oh yeah, I know what kind of definition that is; it’s a Bush era definition, which is totally appropriate because it seems like in so many ways that we are still in the Bush/Cheney era…or error.
Helen Redmond explains how the drug industry got a seat at the head of the health care reform table. SocialistWorker.org
August 13, 2009
BILLY TAUZIN, a former Republican member of Congress from Louisiana and the current president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America PhRMA, is all about the art of the deal. He’s the Donald Trump of brand-name prescription drugs, but unlike “The Donald,” “The Billy” goes to the White House and closes deals in private with the president of the United States.
In a secret, behind-the-scenes mother of all deals, the Obama administration agreed to two central PhRMA demands: no government negotiation of drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and no re-importation of cheaper drugs from Canada or other countries. In exchange, the industry “pledged” $80 billion in cost savings over 10 years. The details of how the cost savings will be achieved and accounted for haven’t been disclosed.
Claiming that Ohio’s Republican U.S. House Rep. Jean Schmidt R-2nd is “conced[ing] that she does deny the Armenian Genocide”, the campaign of her Democratic challenger David Krikorian has just issued a press release posted in full below, stating that Schmidt has dropped four of her “false statements” complaints against him in her Ohio Election Commission OEC case, while petitioning the court to add a new claim in the bargain.
In today’s statement, Krikorian says: “Jean and her friends at the Turkish Legal Defense Fund are on a fishing expedition … First she brought the charges, then she realized that she could not win her case and petitioned the court to drop the charges, now she is adding a new one. Typical Jean Schmidt behavior, its a shame she is not putting forward this kind of effort on the health care debate.”
The campaign said that “the statements Schmidt claimed were false are in relation to her denial of the Armenian Genocide,” adding that “In dropping the charges, Schmidt essentially conceded that she does deny the Armenian Genocide.”
The Krikorian Campaign’s press release follows in full below…
Writing about fascism for an American audience is always a fraught business. Invariably, a third of the readers will dismiss the topic (and your faithful blogger’s basic sanity) out of hand. Either they’ve got their own definition of fascism and whatever’s going on doesn’t seem to fit it; or else they’re firm believers in a variant of Godwin’s Law, which says (with some justification) that anyone who invokes the F-word is a de facto alarmist of questionable credibility. I get letters, most of which say something to the effect of, “Calm down. You’re overreacting. We’re nowhere near there yet.”
Another third will pepper me with missives that are every bit as dismissive — for exactly the opposite reason. To them, anyone who’s been paying the barest amount of attention should realize that America has been a fascist state since (choose one:) 1) 9/11; 2) Reagan; 3) McCarthy; 4) The Civil War; 5) July 4, 1776. For them, my careful analysis and worried warnings are dangerously naive — clear evidence that I’m simply not seeing the full horror of America as it truly is, and always has been, at least since (insert date here).
All through the dark years of the Bush Administration, progressives watched in horror as Constitutional protections vanished, nativist rhetoric ratcheted up, hate speech turned into intimidation and violence, and the president of the United States seized for himself powers only demanded by history’s worst dictators. With each new outrage, the small handful of us who’d made ourselves experts on right-wing culture and politics would hear once again from worried readers: Is this it? Have we finally become a fascist state? Are we there yet?
And every time this question got asked, people like Chip Berlet and Dave Neiwert and Fred Clarkson and yours truly would look up from our maps like a parent on a long drive, and smile a wan smile of reassurance. “Wellll…we’re on a bad road, and if we don’t change course, we could end up there soon enough. But there’s also still plenty of time and opportunity to turn back. Watch, but don’t worry. As bad as this looks: no — we are not there yet.”
Media analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO Drew Altman discuss the messages in health care ads today, and how well they reflect the real issues of health care reform.
The GOP is in trouble. Even though the Obama Administration refers to the fact only in passing, and even then not frequently at all, as is well-known to the readers of BuzzFlash, it is the Bush/Cheney policies, unfortunately presaged by Clinton on such matters as free trade (in reality nothing more than the free export of capital), of the last eight years that for the most part have lead our nation into the fix in which it presently finds itself. There were many policies, foreign and domestic, and I do not have to review them here, which have lead to very bad outcomes all around. In fact, it is hard to find one Bush/Cheney policy that has lead to a good outcome.
So what is the GOP to do? Obviously it cannot promote Bush/Cheney policy as the solution to the problems those policies created. Thus certain leaders, from time-to-time, have said “we have to come up with new solutions.” The problem for them is that their ideology doesn’t permit them to do that just because, as again is well-known to BuzzFlash readers, none of the necessary solutions, some of which are being pursued by the Obama Administration, fit at all into the GOP playbook.