Jukebox: Because it’s getting to be that time…

Informal, Pete Seeger among friends.

More Pete (naturally)

Odetta

Marian Anderson

Friday Catblogging: Mother Jones catblog ‘ saves the day’

more at Friday Cat Blogging – 14 November 2014 by Kevin Drum

Rosetta results: Comets ‘did not bring water to Earth’

BBC, By Rebecca Morelle, December 10

Scientists have dealt a blow to the theory that most water on Earth came from comets.

Results from Europe’s Rosetta mission, which made history by landing on Comet 67P in November, shows the water on the icy mass is unlike that on our planet. The results are published in the journal Science.

The authors conclude it is more likely that the water came from asteroids, but other scientists say more data is needed before comets can be ruled out.

[…]

The team found that there was far more heavy water on Comet 67P than on Earth.

Prof Altwegg told BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science programme: “It is the highest-ever measured ratio of heavy water relative to light water in the Solar System.  “It is more than three times higher than on the Earth, which means that this kind of comet could not have brought water to the Earth.”

Scalia: Constitution silent on torture

AP – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is joining the debate over the Senate’s torture report by saying it’s hard to rule out the use of extreme measures to extract information if millions of lives were threatened.

Scalia told a Swiss broadcast network that American and European liberals who say such tactics may never be used are being self-righteous.

The 78-year-old justice said he doesn’t “think it’s so clear at all,” especially if interrogators were trying to find a ticking nuclear bomb.  Scalia has made similar comments in the past,

He doesn’t think, he doesn’t read, he doesn’t learn, and he doesn’t give a damn.. . What a guy.

The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind

New York Times, By Binyamin Appelbaum, December 11

Annapolis, MD — Frank Walsh still pays dues to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but more than four years have passed since his name was called at the union hall where the few available jobs are distributed. Mr. Walsh, his wife and two children live on her part-time income and a small inheritance from his mother, which is running out.

Sitting in the food court at a mall near his Maryland home, he sees that some of the restaurants are hiring. He says he can’t wait much longer to find a job. But he’s not ready yet.
Continue reading The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind

Crimenibus passes House; gangsters strut

Wall Street wins a loosening of the rules for preventing another crash but preserves its government safety net. Sweet. Party tonight at the mansion. Guardian has the story and this live tweet:

That’s it. Yes vote reaches key 218. The Christmas Cromnibus passes the House, complete with baubles for Wall Street and political money men

US Senate Torture Report publication countdown

12/8/2014 (originally posted Dec 8th, 10:37 pm)

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said that the release of a Senate report examining the use of torture by the CIA a decade ago will cause violence and deaths abroad.


12/9/2014 (originally posted Dec 9th,13:37 pm)

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, defended her push to release the report on the interrogation program, saying that though she was concerned that the new information could draw violent reactions around the world, it was a necessary step for the United States to move beyond a dark period in its past.

Update: (via EmptyWheel). Reports released include:

The SSCI Torture Report
The Minority Response to SSCI Torture Report
Dianne Feinstein’s Statement

Cops and Protests and People, Oh My.

   When I was growing up, we didn’t necessarily expect law enforcement to be happy with all the hell we raised. Technically, TPing someone’s house or tipping over their outhouse was vandalism but no one would have expected or condoned an officer pulling his gun under such circumstances. Putting a condom on the tailpipe of the cop’s car or plugging it with a potato were frowned upon by the victims, laughed at by the kids and smiled tolerantly at by most grownups, including the cops (once their blood pressure got back to normal).

   It was common for us kids to stay out well after dark, often ‘camping out’ on someone’s lawn for all-night bull-sessions. We sometimes raided a garden – our own or others’ – for spuds and veggies to roast in a campfire. One gent in the neighborhood tried to grow corn: at 7700+ elevation & a 3-month growing season it got about 31/2 feet tall and the cob about 3 inches. Nevertheless, he was extremely proud and possessive of it. When a couple of us grabbed a few of the mini-cobs, he discovered us and let loose with a shotgun. Fortunately, we were too far away for buckshot to be very effective. But we were justifiably offended at his over-reaction.

   Word got out (it’s hard to explain away gunshots in a small town) and the sheriff rounded us up next day and scolded us. We both realized he was obligated to do so, but neither he nor we took it too seriously. However, he also paid the gardener a visit and told him that if he ever shot at kids again, he’d be locked up.

   Today the gardener would have an AR15 and someone might be dead – and he would be applauded for ‘standing his ground’. Today’s cop would deal with us heavy-handedly – maybe tasers for white kids and 9mm for the hispanics.
Continue reading Cops and Protests and People, Oh My.

Open Thread

Wassup? How has the year been, or what are your hopes / aspirations?

Keep an Eye on the Yen

Global financial crises have a tendency to spring upon the world unsuspected, especially if the foreign exchange markets are involved, since they tie all global markets together (equities, bonds, commodities, derivatives).  That’s why it is necessary to keep one eye fixed for the moment on the yen.

The yen was trading around Yen 100/$ in October.  On Halloween, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda surprised the financial markets with a massive expansion of the central bank’s Quantitative Easing program.  The Japanese central bank is now using QE to buy up every new bond that the Ministry of Finance is issuing.  This constitutes 100% monetization of Japanese debt by its own government, a situation which is unprecedented in modern finance among major industrialized countries.  The foreign exchange markets reacted poorly to this announcement, on that same day driving the yen down to Yen 110/$.  Today it has now crossed the Yen 120/$ threshold, meaning several things.  It is cheaper to buy yen – for every dollar spent, you now get 20 more yen than a few months ago.

This is great news for Japanese exporters, because their products are now 20% cheaper merely because of an exchange rate change.   But the flip side of this is that Japan is exporting its deflation problem (which has persisted for over 20 years now), by forcing its competitors to lower their prices by 20%.  This is a real problem for American and European manufacturers, who can’t afford such a hit to their revenue, but it is devastating for the Chinese export machine, since “Made in China” is the mainstay of the Chinese economy.  China can quietly or not so quietly protest to the Japanese government, but much more likely, China can allow its currency to devalue in order to restore its competitiveness.  This is how currency wars start, and currency wars have been the most frequent source of global financial crises in the past 30 years.

Japan will be under terrific pressure to halt the slide in its currency – but here’s the nub of the problem: Japan is out of tools to defend itself financially.

Continue reading Keep an Eye on the Yen

What do you call….?

It’s always been:
“What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?”
“A good start.”

What do you call 39 dead bankers?

Continue reading What do you call….?

LAPD shoots man with pocket knife. 15-year-old killed in MO hit-and-run hate crime. Deep South goes deeper GOP. It’s hard to

not go into brain-freeze or a national seizure at the pace of militarized police killings, racial/religious/you-name-it hatred, and the racialized rightward whirlpool of the GOP’s appeal to fearful whites.

In the latest of a spate of fatal shootings, officers of the infamous Los Angeles Police Department raced to touristy Hollywood Boulevard, where they fired 10 rounds to terminate a reportedly homeless man carrying a Swiss army pocket knife. Yes, a pocket knife. Guardian story here. Police pic of the palm-sized weapon here. The victim was white, by the way.

In Kansas City, a 15-year-old Somali Muslim was run down and killed outside a mosque by an SUV driven by a Somali Christian known to have threatened Muslims with violence.

In the much-anticipated runoff U.S. senate election in Louisiana, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu fell to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy. Like many Dems in this midterm, in her race she fled the causes embraced by her base (at the 11th hour she sang the praises of the Keystone Pipeline and its claimed monetary payoff for Louisiana) only to prove, once again, that a weak-kneed Democrat commands increasingly little electoral appeal against an unapologetic Republican rightie. Much of the American South, thanks to white-powered districts, is now in the hands of a GOP that is laying its last big demographic bet – in an increasingly brown country – on the fears of petrified whites.

In other words, the headlines we read are racing into a blur of brazenly militarized everyday policing, unrelenting hatred and rage, and accelerated racialization of national politics.

What do we do with this?

Continue reading LAPD shoots man with pocket knife. 15-year-old killed in MO hit-and-run hate crime. Deep South goes deeper GOP. It’s hard to

War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda

Counterpunch, By John Pilger, December 5

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.
Continue reading War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda

Weekend Jukebox

Hattip Scott.

Friday Catblogging

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