A truism perhaps, but before resorting to brute force and open repression to halt the “barbarians at the gates,” that would be us, the masters of declining empires (and the chattering classes who polish their boots) regale us with tales of “democracy on the march,” “hope” and other banalities before the mailed fist comes crashing down.
Putting it another way, as the late, great Situationist malcontent, Guy Debord did decades ago in his relentless call for revolt, The Society of the Spectacle:
“The reigning economic system is a vicious circle of isolation. Its technologies are based on isolation, and they contribute to that same isolation. From automobiles to television, the goods that the spectacular system chooses to produce also serve it as weapons for constantly reinforcing the conditions that engender ‘lonely crowds.’ With ever-increasing concreteness the spectacle recreates its own presuppositions.”
After a year-long investigation, court-appointed bank examiner Anton Valukas has produced a deadly 2,200 page report which details the activities that led to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The report is a keg of dynamite. The question now is whether anyone in government has the nerve to light the fuse. Valukas provides powerful evidence that Lehman executives were involved in “balance sheet manipulation” by implementing an arcane accounting procedure called “Repo 105” which masked the bank’s true financial condition from investors and regulators.
According to Valukas, Lehman was “Unable to find a United States law firm that would provide it with an opinion letter permitting the true sale accounting treatment” using Repo 105. So, Lehman executives went outside of the country in an effort to enlist the support of a London law firm that would approve the procedure.
It’s happened again. Another well meaning soul insisting that EveryOne is to blame for the mess that engulfs the U.S. politically, militarily and economically because in our political system, the country gets what it votes for. Therefore, ‘we are all responsible.’
Some may get their kicks from an existential guilt trip, but please count me out.
First, we almost never get what we think we voted for. Just a few examples: Remember George W. saying he’d be a ‘uniter, not a divider’? Before the vote he also said yes to more social programs, lower taxes and a balanced budget. Franklin Roosevelt said he’d keep the U.S. out of foreign wars and Richard Nixon said he’d end the war in Viet Nam.
We spend the hour with world-renowned linguist and dissident, Noam Chomsky. In a wide-ranging public conversation at the Harvard Memorial Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Chomsky talks about President Obama’s foreign and national security policies, the lessons of Vietnam, and his own activism. “You just can’t become involved part-time in these things,” Chomsky says. “It’s either serious and you’re seriously involved, or you go to a demonstration and go home and forget about it and go back to work, and nothing happens. Things only happen by really dedicated, diligent work.” [includes rush transcript]
Matt Welch: Tea Party people are all alienated from government but divided on Palin and other issues
Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason magazine. Welch’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register, LA Weekly, ESPN.com, Salon.com, Wired, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Daily Star of Beirut, and dozens of other publications.
Eric Margolis: Democrats and Republican leadership buy into “Pax Americana”
From Wikipedia Pax Americana (Latin: “American Peace”) is an appellation applied to the historical concept of relative liberal peace in the Western hemisphere and, later, the Western world, resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States of America starting around the turn of the 20th century. Although the term finds its primary utility in the latter half of the 20th Century, it has been used in various places and eras, such as the post United States Civil War Era in North America and globally during the time between the Great World Wars. Pax Americana is primarily used in its modern connotations concerning the peace established after the end of World War II in 1945. In this modern sense, the term has come to indicate the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations. The term derives from and is inspired by the Pax Romana of the Roman empire and the Pax Britannica of the British Empire.
Vultures defend themselves by vomiting on their enemies. In Britain this week, terrified vultures puked up a Tory MP named Christopher Chope.
Two weeks ago, the day after we broadcast our investigation on BBC Television of financial vultures preying on the world’s poorest nations, the British Parliament voted to effectively put them out of business in the UK. A rare victory for victims.
Pennsylvania Only State to Permit Live Pigeon Shoots
A Pennsylvania district attorney took campaign funds from an organization which promotes killing live pigeons in contests, and then refused to allow the prosecution of animal cruelty charges against a gun club that hosts pigeon shooting contests.
DA John T. Adams of Berks County accepted $500 campaign contributions from the Flyers Victory Fund in August 2008 and August 2009, according to campaign finance reports issued by both the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Berks County Registrar of Voters.
Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.
The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.
Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.