notes October 26, 2007
October 26, 2007 § Leave a comment
What is most on my mind is the way we are entering a perfect storm of water problems, climate problems, an economy that cannot deal with distribution and is skewed by the American debt and the conditions of war out of the control of any ensemble of governments. This is a common condition for humanity. The first and second world wars show that people were aware but powerless. Kings and presidents, acting like high school football quarterbacks, get carried away with what they think is " ours".
But the failure is deeper. Things like last Sunday’s New York Times magazine article on the decline of water in the west shows that local jurisdictions are not nearly capable of handling the complexities of the issues, issues that Starwood is increasing population, decreasing water, and lack of jurisdictional authority. How will government respond?
The inability of the economy to take on the issue of distribution is really an issue of the failure of Congress to be able to represent all the people, because they are so closely tide to financial assets. The current struggle and Congress over retroactive immunity to the telephone companies for probably illegally providing information on customers to the fed’s is one symptom of this.
The intractable – and apparently -intersection of climate and energy problems highlights that short-term institutional advantage takes precedence over long-term health of the species – and the economy. The lack of leadership from either bush, or the democratic candidates illustrates that something here is clearly broken.
From Walter Lippmann, Remembered by Scott Horton (Harper’s Magazine) quoting from the intr by Bluementhal.
“For in an exact sense the present crisis of western democracy is a crisis of journalism,” Lippmann wrote.
“Everywhere today,” Lippmann wrote in Liberty and the News, “men are conscious that somehow they must deal with questions more intricate than any that church or school had prepared them to understand. Increasingly they know that they cannot understand them if the facts are not quickly and steadily available. Increasingly they are baffled because the facts are not available; and they are wondering whether government by consent can survive in a time when the manufacture of consent is an unregulated private enterprise.”
Lippmann had witnessed firsthand how the “manufacture of consent” had deranged democracy. But he did not hold those in government solely responsible. He also described how the press corps was carried away on the wave of patriotism and became self-censors, enforcers, and sheer propagandists. Their careerism, cynicism, and error made them destroyers of “liberty of opinion” and agents of intolerance, who subverted the American constitutional system of self-government. Even the great newspaper owners, he wrote, “believe that edification is more important than veracity. They believe it profoundly, violently, relentlessly. They preen themselves upon it. To patriotism, as they define it from day to day, all other considerations must yield. That is their pride. And yet what is this but one more among myriad examples of the doctrine that the end justifies the means? A more insidiously misleading rule of conduct was, I believe, never devised among men.”
second hand from Open Left
It’s been all over the news that in 2007, executives at Verizon and AT&T donated over $42,000 to Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Prior to 2007, Rockefeller wasn’t getting any significant contributions from telecomm executives. But of course, prior to 2007, Rockefeller wasn’t pushing his committee to grant retroactive immunity to phone companies that helped the NSA with its secret, warrantless surveillance on America’s telephone calls.
There are so many reasons to be enraged by this.
As CEO of Working Assets, the socially responsible mobile and long distance company, I have watched for 15 years while big telecomm "bought" monopoly power from Congress, from the White House and from the FCC. This is how they do business. Instead of building the best phone company, they buy politicians.
This is extraordinary. A poster man for militarism that udnermines its own country. DADDY’S $10M ‘BAD’ MITZVAH
October 26, 2007 — The former CEO of the leading supplier of body armor to U.S. soldiers in Iraq was charged yesterday with looting the company to bankroll a lavish lifestyle that included a $10 million bat mitzvah for his daughter.
In addition to the bat mitzvah – which included performances by Aerosmith, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Kenny G and the Eagles – prosecutors said David Brooks got the firm, DHB Industries, to pay for other goodies.
Among them were a face lift for his ex-wife; vitamins for his stable of 100 horses; pricey vacations; fancy jewels; an armored car; a $194,000 Bentley; and a $100,000 diamond-studded belt buckle.
The elaborate scheme exploded yesterday when federal prosecutors unsealed a 21-count indictment accusing Brooks, 53, of securities fraud, insider trading, tax evasion and obstruction of justice. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind ..
Very helpful. Amazon has stats on books. try Amazon.com Escape from Freedom Books Erich Fromm and go down to"inside this book" an click on text stats. Number of words and sentences and comparables to other books in categories. Amazing.