09/28/2014 archive

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: An Alternative Economic System, Part II by Diomedes77

The Stone Breakers, by Gustave Courbet. 1849

At the end of Part I, I said we, as communities, regions and nations should be able to ask the following, when it comes to public projects, without worrying in the slightest about funding:

1. Is this something we all want?

2. Is this something we can build together?

3. Is this something we can maintain together?

4. Does it benefit the community?

5. Is it Green? Is it sustainable?

6. Do we need it now?

I also talked about money being a bizarre concept and a fiction. Another thing that is truly strange? That a government would print money, give it to bankers so they can distribute it as they see fit, with the government getting some of that back in the form of taxes later. Much later. Not to mention the incredibly complex system of taxation and collection, which still manages to miss hundreds of billions per year in potential revenue.

A conservative might think this is strange/wrong because, to them, far too much money goes back to the government in the first place. A minarchist would want very close to nothing going back to a public sector they’d rather see shrink to the size of a peanut. Me? I think it’s all quite bizarre for a totally different reason. Not that it’s inefficient and bad because a portion of the money flows back to the government, instead of remaining in private hands. But that the public sector sends it out into the private sector in the first place. This I find to be absurd.

It’s like if you had plans to build a house, and you had all the resources needed — labor, funding, time, etc.. But the system said you have to send all of your tangible resources out into the private world first, and then wait until a portion of them come back to you. You had everything you needed to begin with. But the system says you can’t just build your house. You have to accumulate tiny portions (percentages) over time before you can build it.

An alternative to that would be that the public sector starts with a permanent store/pool of funding that never runs out. It’s always there. It’s already there, waiting to be used. And it’s owned by everyone. We all own it in common. No one owns more of it than anyone else. There is no need for taxes, debt, borrowing or investors. All funding would come from commonly owned banks on the community, regional and national levels. Not from the price of merchandise. Not from the exchange of dollars for that merchandise. The banks would completely supplant the former revenue stream used in capitalism. That revenue stream would now be obsolete and non-existent. Funding would only flow from the commonly owned banks.

How would this work internationally, once it took hold nationally? More below the fold.

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – The Big Bang Area

The Big Bang Area – The Next Big Terrorist Threat

On This Day In History September 28

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 28 is the 271st day of the year (272nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 94 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1928, the antibiotic Penicillin was discovered. It’s discovery is attributed to Scottish scientist and Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming in 1928. He showed that, if Penicillium notatum  was grown in the appropriate substrate, it would exude a substance with antibiotic properties, which he dubbed penicillin. This serendipitous  observation began the modern era of antibiotic discovery. The development of penicillin for use as a medicine is attributed to the Australian Nobel laureate Howard Walter Florey together with the German Nobel laureate Ernst Chain and the English biochemist Norman Heatley.

However, several others reported the bacteriostatic effects of Penicillium earlier than Fleming. The use of bread with a blue mould (presumably penicillium) as a means of treating suppurating wounds was a staple of folk medicine in Europe since the Middle Ages. The first published reference appears in the publication of the Royal Society in 1875, by John Tyndall. Ernest Duchesne documented it in an 1897 paper, which was not accepted by the Institut Pasteur because of his youth. In March 2000, doctors at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José, Costa Rica published the manuscripts of the Costa Rican scientist and medical doctor Clodomiro (Clorito) Picado Twight (1887-1944). They reported Picado’s observations on the inhibitory actions of fungi of the genus Penicillium between 1915 and 1927. Picado reported his discovery to the Paris Academy of Sciences, yet did not patent it, even though his investigations started years before Fleming’s. Joseph Lister was experimenting with penicillum in 1871 for his Aseptic surgery. He found that it weakened the microbes but then he dismissed the fungi.

Fleming recounted that the date of his discovery of penicillin was on the morning of Friday, September 28, 1928. It was a fortuitous accident: in his laboratory in the basement of St. Mary’s Hospital in London (now part of Imperial College), Fleming noticed a petri dish containing Staphylococcus plate culture he had mistakenly left open, which was contaminated by blue-green mould, which had formed a visible growth. There was a halo of inhibited bacterial growth around the mould. Fleming concluded that the mould was releasing a substance that was repressing the growth and lysing the bacteria. He grew a pure culture and discovered that it was a Penicillium mould, now known to be Penicillium notatum. Charles Thom, an American specialist working at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was the acknowledged expert, and Fleming referred the matter to him. Fleming coined the term “penicillin” to describe the filtrate of a broth culture of the Penicillium mould. Even in these early stages, penicillin was found to be most effective against Gram-positive bacteria, and ineffective against Gram-negative organisms and fungi. He expressed initial optimism that penicillin would be a useful disinfectant, being highly potent with minimal toxicity compared to antiseptics of the day, and noted its laboratory value in the isolation of “Bacillus influenzae” (now Haemophilus influenzae). After further experiments, Fleming was convinced that penicillin could not last long enough in the human body to kill pathogenic bacteria, and stopped studying it after 1931. He restarted clinical trials in 1934, and continued to try to get someone to purify it until 1940.

Punting the Pundits

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”.

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The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests are: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH);   former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan; and former Counterterrorism Coordinator for the Homeland Security Department John Cohen.

At the roundtable are: Yahoo News national political columnist Matt Bai; ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MI); and syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr, Schieffer’s guests are: Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken; Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); former Gen. Carter Ham; Michèle Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; and Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA.

His panel guests are: Peter Baker, The New York Times; Kim Strassel, The Wall Street Journal; Michael Crowley, Time Magazine; and Ruth Marcus and Michael Gerson of The Washington Post.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: This week’s MTP is preempted for the final round of the Rider’s Cup. Golf is most likely more interesting.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are:  Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken; Sen Chris Murphy (D-CT); former Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers and former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.

Her panel guests are Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservative Fund; Mercedes Schlapp, co-founder of Cove Strategies; CNN contributor LZ Granderson;  and Penny Lee, Venn Strategies.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Al-Qaeda-linked group warns US-led coalition

 Nusra Front vows retaliation over military operation in Syria as air raids target ISIL fighters besieging Kurdish town.

Last updated: 28 Sep 2014 07:10

A group to al-Qaeda has pledged retaliation over the ongoing air strikes in Syria, as the US-led coalition widens its assault on ISIL targets in Syria and British warplanes fly their first combat missions over neighbouring Iraq.

In its first reaction to the military operation aimed at destroying ISIL, or the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, said the air strikes in Syria were a “war against Islam”, and threatened to attack the worldwide interests of participating Western and Arab countries.

A US attack on a Nusra base in Aleppo on the first day of the air campaign killed dozens of the group’s fighters.

Sunday’s Headlines:

War against Isis: It’s started, but do we know what we’re doing?

Hong Kong activists carry out pro-democracy protest threat

Grim life awaits refugees in Cambodia

Leader of Catalonia calls for independence referendum

Questions linger over Hamas’ role in West Bank kidnapping that led to Gaza war

TBC (Yellow Dog Dem – Word Origin)

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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Today’s word: Yellow dog Democrat

Fifteen or so years ago I used to consider myself one. As far as I knew, it meant I’d vote in every election, I’d vote for everyone on the party line- never splitting, and I’d vote for a yellow dog if there was a D next to its name. You could say I’ve evolved though I still can’t spell worth a dam.

I used the phrase recently in a conversation with a political neophyte who had never heard it before and I was asked indignantly what the hell I meant by that!  I tried to explain as best I could, when I was interrupted and asked “yes but why the term yellow dog?” as if I had just dissed every yellow labrador retriever fan on earth.  Labs are great! I really like them and they like jumping on me and licking my face! Honest!

So why the term yellow dog? I had to admit I was completely stumped. I guess I’m just not as well read and worldly as I pretend to be. Who’s the neophyte now she asks.

Following Auntie Mame’s advice, first stop, Merriam-Webster. Everyone one has had an Auntie Meme figure in their life right? To the inter tubes!

Definition of YELLOW-DOG

yel·low-dog adjective

1:  mean, contemptible

2:  of or relating to opposition to trade unionism or a labor union

First Known Use of YELLOW-DOG



Next Word in the Dictionary: yellow-dog contract

Well that’s Not Cool. I’ve never considered myself anti union. Even back in 1998 when I was a self labeled YDDem. Mean & contemptible… well that depends on who you asked.

I had a vague recollection about yellow-dog contracts from a junior high history class. Better click on that to see how truly Not Cool this is.


yellow-dog contract – noun

an employment contract in which a worker disavows membership in and agrees not to join a labor union in order to get a job



Ugh. My 1998 self was not my best self.

So the first known use of Yellow-Dog was in 1880.

First known use of yellow dog contract was 1920.  

But wait, there’s more. Onto wikipedia.

Yellow Dog Democrats was a political term applied to voters in the Southern United States who voted solely for candidates who represented the Democratic Party. The term originated in the late 19th century. These voters would allegedly “vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for any Republican”.[1][2] The term is now more generally applied to refer to any Democrat who will vote a straight party ticket under any circumstances.

The first known usage to date of “yaller dog” in relation to Democrats occurred in the 1900 Kentucky gubernatorial contest involving Kentucky Governor William Goebel. Theodore Hallam was criticized at a Democratic Party meeting for first supporting Goebel, then campaigning against him.

The critic pointed out that Hallam earlier had said “if the Democrats of Kentucky, in convention assembled, nominated a yaller dog for governor you would vote for him” and asked “why do you now repudiate the nominee of that convention, the Honorable William Goebel?” Hallam responded:

   “I admit,” he stated blandly, “that I said then what I now repeat, namely, that when the Democratic Party of Kentucky, in convention assembled, sees fit in its wisdom to nominate a yaller dog for the governorship of this great state, I will support him – but lower than that ye shall not drag me![7]

There are indications that the term was in widespread and easily understandable use by 1923. In a letter written in Huntland, Tennessee by W. L. Moore of Kansas City, Missouri on May 9, 1923, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, Moore writes:[citation needed]

   “I am a Democrat from inheritance, from prejudice and principle, if the principle suits me. But I have passed the yaller dog degree.”

Emphasis mine. The only wiki link I included in that quote from the yellow dog page was the one for that Democratic Kentucky Gov William Goebel. If you click through you’ll learn that he really was a pretty unscrupulous politician even by politician standards. As you might expect he shifted loyalties and principles as needed. Though after rigging his own election for Governor, he was shot the day before he was to be sworn in. He only served for 4 days before he kicked the bucket. No one was convicted. Cough.

More from the wiki:

The phrase “yellow dog” may be a reference to a breed of dog known as the Carolina Dog indigenous to the Americas, specifically the Southern United States, and not descended from Eurasian breeds.[3]

The Carolina Dog, or American Dingo, was originally a landrace or naturally selected type of dog which was discovered living as a wild dog or free roaming dog by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin. Carolina Dogs are now bred and kept in captive collections or packs, and as pets. A breed standard has been developed by the United Kennel Club that now specifies the appearance of these dogs.

Carolina Dogs were discovered during the 1970s living in isolated stretches of longleaf pines and cypress swamps in the Southeastern United States.

Clicking through to the wiki on Carolina Dogs, it seems unlikely anyhow that Abe Lincoln and the others that used the term Yellow Dogs were referring to this breed or any other yellow haired dog. You could break it down a bit more and look up all the possible meanings of the word Yellow and the word Dog. But I don’t think that answers the deeper question of how this phrase came to be used as a point of pride. That will take someone better than me.

This Day in History

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