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Surf’s up

Beach Boys:

This on-target piece in Washington Post is about the contemporary conservative agenda, but it’s not only about so-called conservatives. Which politicians do you trust these days?

Trumka

“We’re done playing defense.”

Well, Richard, money talks, bullshit walks. I’m not holding my breath.

You’re under surveillance

As part of our increasing militarization of the police, the CIA has developed a handy workaround to spy domestically!

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.

Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, is told exactly what’s going on.

The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as “rakers,” into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They’ve monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even when there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.

More Irene

October2011.org

Near-As-No-Matter Feudalism

One of the US’ founding laws is a prohibition on creating a titled aristocracy. A couple centuries on, this seems quaint. But considering that our nation is violating the crap out of it in spirit, which I will illustrate below, it’s worth revisiting.

Setting aside a long list of unjust aristocratic perks and abuses, the worst thing about feudal systems was their everyday suckitude. Most people lived in hopeless misery, were held to harsh standards by authorities and had no protection from injury by their superiors in wealth or power. Following the invention of epidemiological studies, it was discovered that chronic poverty and mistreatment causes illness and shortened lifespans, to no one’s very great surprise.

While we can’t ask them, I’m pretty sure that most of the misery in feudal societies wasn’t caused by philosophical disagreements with Divine Right of Kings theory.
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Yep

What Dave said. Boy, I wish Dave Johnson was a Times columnist, instead of David Brooks.

Reaction

I was reading the different reactions to yesterday’s quake, and I have to say, the last thing I thought was that it was a terrorist attack. I immediately thought “WTF, an earthquake?”

Dire

So they fudged it:

Partisans will surely find things to love and hate about CBO’s updated economic outlook. It projects that the 2011 deficit will be lower than the last two years’ deficits, but still near record highs. It forecasts a slow but steady economic recovery over the next six years. And it makes clear that the country’s medium-term fiscal imbalances are manageable unless lawmakers decide to screw things up.

But there’s also a major, major caveat.

“CBO initially completed its economic forecast in early July, but it updated the forecast in early August to reflect the policy changes enacted in the Budget Control Act [the debt limit deal],” the report reads. “However, the forecast described here does not reflect any other developments since early July, including the recent swings in financial markets, weakness in certain economic indicators, and the annual revision to the national income and product accounts. Incorporating that news would have led CBO to temper its near-term forecast for economic growth.”
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