Massive Paris Unity Rally, Jan 11, 2015

Coverage and many pictures of the rally in Paris at the usual news links.

Two million marched across France.
Update: At least 3.7 million marched in Paris alone.

Netanyahu, recognizing an opportunity, was in the line at the head of the march with Hollande,
Cameron, Merkel, and Mahmoud Abbas for the photo op.

Obama, not recognizing one, sent retiring Attorney General Eric Holder and Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.
Update- Holder was in Paris but did not attend the rally. So where was Joe Biden?
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Jukebox: Curses and Blessings

Don’t let the ugly overwhelm the beautiful.

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Friday Catblogging: The weather outside is frightful …

Kevin Drum

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The Internet of Things You Should Not Do

The latest announcement from Samsung is that smart phone sales have peaked, and Samsung believes the Internet of Thingys (IoT) is the Next Big Thing. The IoT vndors want your ID, and be wise, don’t be an ID IoT.

Samsung wants your thermostat, baby cam, watch, home security system (cameras etc), fridge, washer dryer, cooker, TV and light bulbs (to mention just a few devices)all controllable over the Internet, probably by Wi-Fi.

We suspect the Mafia as well as your Internet Service Provider, Google, Facebook, NSA , the FBI and other members of the Five Eyes (we’d not use the body part “eyes” to describe them, but something a bit lower down on one’s anatomy). Collecting your information and selling it to corporations and government agencies is big business. They call it “Big Data,” because of the huge volume they collect and sell.

We’d also note that The International Brotherhood of Robbers and the others on our list probably have very similar outlooks on ethics, respect for the law, and your individual privacy. They believe that they can protect their privacy by force, while making the most of the information they gather about you. Seems paranoid? If you think so, you haven’t done your homework.
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The Cowardice of Extremism

The radical Islam movement shares some things in common with the radical Reactionaries in America. Among them is the promotion of fear as a way to both unify and discipline those who would nominally identify superficially with their cause.

To-wit, let me bring in Juan Cole:

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Police Power: Nothing but Regressive Taxation

An interesting experiment is underway in New York. As a result of two policemen being executed, for which we express all condolences to the families of all who have been murdered by guns, the Police are working-to-rule (a Union term for Going Slow), and their productivity has plummeted.

However, the already very low crime rate has not jumped by an equivalent amount.

There is a theory that violent crime was a direct result of in utero and early childhood exposure to lead from paint and gas, and the declining use of lead paint and leaded gas has a 20 years lag in crime reduction (children have to grow up to adulthood to become criminals).

Thus the police force size should be dropping, but is has not. Indeed the Police Department budget is the largest city department budget in any City in the US, and the police and jails building larger than any non-police city buildings.
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NYT Photo: Caption Contest

h/t Tina

New Zealand: Asian Infrastructure bank: Leaving the Empire

This week New Zealand, home of the Kiwi and having more sheep than humans, becomes the 24th founding member of the Asia Infrastructure Bank (AIIB).

The first “developed country” to join the institution – although we’d not call New Zealand ‘Developed,” but would agree it has Western Values. Superior values because it plays Rugby, 45 minutes each half without stopping every 30 seconds, does not allow forward passing, and it is a foul to interfere with any player not holding the ball, and New Zealand plays Rugby with considerable skill! I’d like to see a 300 lb America Football player run continuously for 45 minutes.

For those of you who don’t follow Imperial minutiae, the US has control of the dollar through the IMF and World Bank, where it stacked the boards of both institutions so that the US always has a majority of the votes (based on one million dollars one vote, more or less). And you believed the Republicans recently invented dollar based voting – nope, the Supremes are just adhering to the precedent, based on old American Imperial Values.

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James Howard Kunstler’s yearly review and forecast for 2015

James Howard Kunstler’s yearly review and forecast always makes for interesting reading. While not always accurate in the details, he maintains a firm grasp on the condition of this world and is a hell of a writer as well.

Read it here.

The Cowardice of Mortality

A couple of studies floated to the surface last year in the debate about ammosexuality that I found interesting, not so much for what they concluded — we all sort of knew this stuff instinctually — but for the implicit underlying meaning when you put two and two together

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Bill Moyers Signs Off

I was a little disappointed in Bill’s final show. I was hoping that he would feature himself and sum up his thoughts about where we have been recently…, and more importantly…, where we are going. And hoping that he would announce that he was going to run for President in 2016. At least that would give me something to look forward to…, without projectile vomitting …, in that race. Anyway…, here are his closing comments:

BILL MOYERS: Mary Christina Wood reminds us that democracy, too is a public trust – a reciprocal agreement between generations to keep it in good repair and pass it along. Our country’s DNA carries an inherent promise for every citizen of an equal opportunity at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our history resonates with the hallowed idea – hallowed by blood – of government of, by, and for the people. Our great progressive struggles have been waged to make sure ordinary citizens, and not just the rich and privileged, share in the benefits of a free society. In the words of Louis Brandeis, one of the greatest of our Supreme Court justices, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Yet look at just a few recent headlines: this one from “The New York Times”: “U.S. Wealth Gap Is Widest in Decades”. From the website Alternet: “Just 40 Americans Own As Much Wealth As Half the United States.” From “The Great Wealth Meltdown: Middle-Class Families Are Worth Less Today Than in 1969.” And from “The Economist”: “Wealth without workers, workers without wealth,” pointing to the reality that “for all but an elite few, work no longer guarantees a rising income.”

So as the next generation steps forward, I am tempted to think that the only thing my generation can say to them is: we’re sorry. Sorry for the mess you’re inheriting. Sorry we broke the trust. But I know in my heart that’s not what they ask or expect. So instead I recommend to them the example of Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, another of my heroes from the past. He battled the excesses of the first Gilded Age a century ago so boldly and proudly that he went down in history as “Fighting Bob.” He told us, “…democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle.” I keep asking myself, what if that struggle is the palpable reality without which this world would be truly barren?

So to this new generation I say: over to you, welcome to the fight.

And to all of you who have been loyal to these broadcasts, and to my colleagues who produced them and our funders who kept on giving despite my foibles and flaws, I say: thank you. This series ends, but not our website — I’ll see you there, and I’ll see you around.

Oh…, he opened with this, “BILL MOYERS: Welcome. This is our final broadcast. But you haven’t seen the last of us — we’ll continue to report and comment at our website,, I hope you’ll join me there for a webchat later this month.” I’ll be watching for that…, not sure what to expect?

Yves Smith: Something That Changed My Perspective: Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation

Naked Capitalism, By Yves Smith, January 2

The first Christmas-New Years period for this site, in 2007, we featured a series “Something That Changed My Perspective,” which presented some things that affected how I viewed the world. The offerings included John Kay on obliquity and Michael Prowse on how income inequality was bad for the health even of the wealthy.

Perhaps the clearest and most important illustration was the the must-see four-part Adam Curtis BBC series “The Century of the Self.” If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to make it a priority for this weekend. Even though you may think you know about propaganda, this program is likely to be an eye-opener. As Curtis says:

This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.” It focuses on how Sigmund Freud’s ideas were used by business and government, far more deliberately and extensively than one might imagine, during the 20th century to achieve what Freud’s nephew and creator of the public relations industry Eddie Bernays called “the engineering of consent.

The Curtis documentary and the works I highlighted weren’t simply informative. They actually covered a fair bit of ground I thought I knew. But by filling in key gaps and providing a new context, they allowed me to observe phenomena that I thought I understood differently, and I’ve found I’ve incorporated that new vantage going forward.
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Mario Cuomo, Former New York Governor, Dies At 82

The Huffington Post, By Mollie Reilly & Paige Lavender, January 1

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has died at the age of 82, NY1 and the New York Daily News report.

Cuomo died just six hours after his son Andrew was formally sworn in to a second term as governor of the Empire State. Cuomo’s swearing-in was initially set to take place in Albany, but the governor relocated the ceremony at the last minute so he could spend New Year’s Eve with his father, according to Newsday.
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Early Jukebox: Looking Back and Forward

Best wishes to all for the new year.

…done right for a change

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

Regrets and hope.

Catblogging: New Year’s Eve and beyond, despite it all

Two (from the great collection: New Year’s Eve Cats ) / to view :-)

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