Daily Archive: 09/21/2014

Sep 21 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: An Alternative Economic System. Part One by Diomedes77

Think outside the box. Way outside it. That’s the key when it comes to the “vision” thing. Most attempts at vision handcuff themselves to the strange idea that everything must work within the frame of the already done, the conventional, the status quo. Which is strange, given that the desire for change must assume that the status quo isn’t working. That being the case, why would we chain ourselves to it and its (arbitrary) rules?

Okay. So the vision thing in this case is primarily about the way we do business, the tools we use and who benefits. At present, we know that business is set up and structured to rain down benefits on a select few at the very top. Any system that creates the kind of inequality we’ve had since its inception isn’t working, and every single aspect of its structure and reason to be should at least be questioned. At least. Offering an alternative vision is common sense, given the horribly unequal results of the capitalist system, and instead of mocking or dismissing those attempts, it’s long past the time when we should be actively seeking those alternatives.

Money. Money is a strange concept, if you think about it. In the capitalist system, it is a store of value, a form of accounting and a means of exchange. But it is also a fiction. It has no inherent value, at least outside societal and international agreements. The key variable is those agreements, which means, logically, that other agreements could be made instead (there have been so many other kinds of agreements in the past). Again, money is a fiction in the capitalist system. It is printed by central banks all over the world, and virtually all of that is done behind closed doors, without any transparency, and without much rhyme or reason. Our Fed, for instance, a few years ago, printed some 16 trillion dollars and handed it out to banks and billionaires all across the globe. They did this in hopes of avoiding yet another world-wide depression, but still clung to the old ways in that the money went to the richest and most powerful, instead of the people who really needed it.

Money is fiction that works especially well in the real lives of the rich. Right now, roughly $1000 trillion in derivatives trading is being conducted worldwide, with a fraction of a fraction in concrete assets backing this. Even after the crash of 2008/2009, when we should have learned that billions in assets backing trillions in trade is never a good idea, things have actually gotten worse along those lines. And why? Because the fiction of money works so well in reality for the financial elite. They make billions on the fiction, while inequality gets more and more severe.

So, what if we made the fiction work for 100% of the people, instead of 1%? What if we agreed to use common sense when it came to funding what we needed, the ownership of that funding and its distribution? What if we made the fictional world fully accessible to everyone, thus making it, finally, a reality?  

Sep 21 2014

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher – Jihad Me At Hello

Real Time with Bill Maher: Jihad Me At Hello – September 19, 2014 (HBO)

Sep 21 2014

On This Day In History September 21

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 21 is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 101 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1780, during the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold meets with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word “traitor.”

Born in Connecticut, he was a merchant operating ships on the Atlantic Ocean when the war broke out in 1775. After joining the growing army outside Boston, he distinguished himself through acts of cunning and bravery. His actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, successful defensive and delaying tactics despite losing the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776, the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to major general), operations in relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, and key actions during the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that ended his combat career for several years.

In spite of his successes, Arnold was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress while other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments. Adversaries in military and political circles brought charges of corruption or other malfeasance, but he was acquitted in most formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts, and found that he owed it money after he had spent much of his own money on the war effort. Frustrated and bitter, Arnold decided to change sides in 1779, and opened secret negotiations with the British. In July 1780, he sought and obtained command of West Point in order to surrender it to the British. Arnold’s scheme was exposed when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers that revealed the plot. Upon learning of André’s capture, Arnold fled down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of George Washington, who had been alerted to the plot.

Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, an annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of over £6,000. He led British forces on raids in Virginia, and against New London and Groton, Connecticut, before the war effectively ended with the American victory at Yorktown. In the winter of 1782, Arnold moved to London with his second wife, Margaret “Peggy” Shippen Arnold. He was well received by King George III and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs. In 1787, he entered into mercantile business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick, but returned to London to settle permanently in 1791, where he died ten years later.

Sep 21 2014

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guest on Sunday’s “This Week” is U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

The roundtable guests are: Democratic strategist James Carville; Republican strategist Ana Navarro; Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens; and editor and publisher of The Nation and Washington Post columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieefer’s guests are: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power; CBS medical adviser Dr. Jonathan LaPook; and Dr. William Schaffner, the chair on the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

His panel guests are: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT); former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the Woodrow Wilson Center; Robert Kagan, the Brookings Institution; and Mike Morell, former CIA Deputy Director.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests are: Adm. Michael Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Vali Nasr Dean, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; Michael Leiter, NBC News National Security Analyst and former director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; and Thomas Frank, author of “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

The roundtable guests are: John Stanton, Washington Bureau Chief, BuzzFeed; Amy Walter, National Editor, The Cook Political Report; Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor, National Review; and Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are: former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair;  Hall of Famer and former CBS commentator Shannon Sharpe; former NFL player Izell Reese; and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan.

Her panel guests are Newt Gingrich; Donna Brazile; Marc Lamont Hill; and Tara Wall.

Sep 21 2014

Formula One 2014: Marina Bay

Singapore under the lights which means I have to get up at the relatively sane hour of 7:30 am.

Relative to what?  Have you met my relatives?

At least they’re not as crazy as Uncle Bernie who was all for banning radio between the pit and the drivers until he was all for it again.  Personally I think it a particularly daft bit of madness because as Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says, “The changes are absolutely not necessary. For us of course it’s a big disadvantage because the more inexperienced the driver is, there’s more information you have to give him.”  

Pat Symonds, chief technical officer for Williams, added: “The whole thing has been handled hastily. It’s a team sport. I don’t see any difference between an engineer advising a driver how to drive and a caddie helping a golfer choose an iron. Golf is not a team sport but that is perfectly permissible. Racing is a team sport. Should drivers get out and change the tyres during a pitstop?”

He added: “We want personalities in the sport and if the personalities are engineers and not just drivers what’s wrong with that? I think the banter between the engineer and a driver is a good thing.”

As for the FIA, the race director, Charlie Whiting, admits there will be problems policing coded radio messages. He said: “I agree it won’t be straightforward.” Chaos and confusion vie for pole in Singapore.

And then there’s the issue of new, unreliable, and complicated engines and energy recovery systems and batteries which don’t just drive the car forward but also assist in braking and substantially effect fuel consumption.

In short I think it’s entirely contrary to my position which is that the struggling teams need more practice and development time to perfect their cars and train their drivers than the teams that are oozing with money, not less.  It’s a false economy.

Oh not to worry says crazy Uncle Bernie, we’ll just have less teams and give them more cars on the track because that’s what the people want to see- Mercedes or Red Bull or Ferrari all driving away in a pack from everyone else and grabbing first, second, AND third except for those that get purposely bashed out of the race by their team mates and heaven forfend that an engineer someplace reminds them that this hardware is expensive and all comes out of the same wallet.

Sure, that will help.

In other “big” news the suits at Fiat have finally won and the last Formula One program trained executive at Scuderia Marlboro has been shoved to the curb and replaced by a pencil pushing accountant, not that he had a record of anything except failure but that belongs to the Team as a whole and will not be improved by the replacement of a single individual.

The Marina Bay street circuit is the second slowest track after Monaco and due to the number of turns (23), heat and humidity (even at night), and counter-clockwise layout is one of the most demanding despite being the shortest and having 2 DRS zones.  Tire strategy is going to make a huge difference, on offer are Softs and Super-Softs.  The Super-Softs are 2 to 2.5 seconds faster per lap but will only last between 13 and 14 laps before they start to go off.  In a 61 lap race that might mean frequent changes, but you also have to factor in the mandatory two compound rule and the fact they only have 3 sets total and most Teams have used 1 or 2 sets in Qualifying.

Pretty tables below.

Sep 21 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Alan Henning’s wife appeals to IS to release him

 21 September 2014


The wife of a British taxi driver being held hostage by Islamic State has pleaded with the militants to “see it in their hearts” to release him.

Alan Henning, from Eccles in Salford, was seized while on an aid mission to Syria last December.

In a statement released via the Foreign Office, his wife Barbara said he had been driving an ambulance stocked with food and water at the time.

Mrs Henning said she had sent messages to IS but had received no response.

The militants issued their threat to kill the 47-year-old in a video released last Saturday which showed the killing of another British man, David Haines.

‘Selfless man’

The full statement released from the Henning family read:

“I am Barbara Henning, the wife of Alan Henning.

“Alan was taken prisoner last December and is being held by the Islamic State.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Scientists reveal ‘fair system’ for countries to tackle climate change

Blasphemy laws silence another voice in Karachi

Ghana goes green with bamboo bikes

The Middle East and its armies

From gangsta rapper to Islamist militant

Sep 21 2014

The Breakfast Club

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Breakfast Tune