FM newswire, 20 November – News you can use

Today’s broadsheet from the FM website pressroom.  There are 4 sections, all with hot news.

  1. Links to interesting news and analysis
  2. Quote of the Day — Goldman’s contempt for us
  3. Another quote of the day — Capitalism is dead
  4. Featured article of the day
  5. Plus, an Afterword

(I)  Links to interesting news and analysis

(a)  The Army’s Suicide Prevention Efforts“, conference with 4 Army Generals, 17 November 2009 — These articles often spur comments from America’s “love the wars, ignore the troops” scum.

(b)  Vet Shrinks That ‘Get it’ Get Sacked“, Kelley Vlahos, American Conservative, 16 November 2009 — Excerpt:

There are snowballing reports of war heroes belittled and shamed by commanders and fellow comrades for daring to fix themselves. They are “set apart” as freaks by those who don’t understand, and who have bought into the institutional mindset that real warriors don’t cry — that is, until someone close to them blows their head off, or puts a bullet into somebody else.

… Now comes Dr. Kernan Manion, a contracted psychiatrist with the Marines at Camp Lejune in North Carolina, who was sacked last summer for repeatedly warning of a coming “Columbine-style attack” on base if the mental healthcare there wasn’t improved. Mark Benjamin, a writer for Salon who has been living and breathing these issues for sometime in an attempt to call attention to this military crisis, wrote about Manion and his alarms in this report, published on Sunday.

 (c)  Drug Violence: Reaching a New Pinnacle“, Alejandro Schtulmann, RGE Monitor, 17 November 2009 — More about Mexico.

(d)  “Why Pakistan is winning ITS war against the Taliban“, Daily Mail, 14 November 2009 — Note how easily Pakistan routs the Taliban, despire the hysterical warnings a few months ago by geopol experts (working their rice bowl, as always). Such as Kilcullen in April:  “Warning that Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months“.  Juan Cole provides more examples of Pakistan’s success here.

 (e)  “Poll: Majority Of Republicans Think Obama Didn’t Actually Win 2008 Election — ACORN Stole It!“, TPM, 19 November 2009 — Best follow-up comment was at the Daily Kos:

“One last thought: pause for a moment and ponder how they’d be handling things if they’d lost the election by, say, 500 votes. In a state run by Obama’s brother.”

(f)  “Is There a Palin Doctrine?“, Annie Lowrey, Foreign Policy, 18 November 2009 — “If the former would-be veep’s memoir is any indication, the answer is no.”  More evidence that much of the conservative movement has lost their marbles.

(g)  The Mod Squad“, Mark Steyn, National Review, 7 April 2008 — A classic about the difference between the fading vitality of Christianity and the growing strength of Islam.  Such contrasts remake the world in a few generations.

(II)   Quote of the Day

A ten-year veteran from Goldman Sachs explains how they see the world” “Don’t Apologize for Anything, Goldman Sachs“, Evan Newmark, blog of the Wall Street Journal, 18 November 2009:

“The public anger towards Goldman is just too hardened. In an economy full of losers, everyone is fixated on hating the winner.”

Dozens of ex-Goldman partners as high public officials, feeding Goldman info and caring for its interests (ex-Goldman in the sense of ex-KGB.  As Russians know, there are no “ex-” KGB agents).  Massive subsidies from the government, cheap loans, aggressive government action to protect its interests.  That makes them winners, in the sense that all public corruption produces winners.

They work the system better than most, and of course are contemptuous of those lacking their greed and skill.

(III)  Another quote of the Day

“Maybe the government will simply retain its policy of artificially supporting the market with taxpayer money. After all, when the U.S.A. feels compelled to run with a headline titled “Government Won’t Run Automakers“, you know that the book on capitalism has been closed for good.

— David Rosenberg, economist, report 19 November 2009

(IV)  Featured article of the Day

Your Sobering National Security Thought for the Day“, Michael Cohen, Democracy Arsenal, 19 November 2009:

Sometimes it’s worth putting American foreign policy – and the military decisions we have made and continue to make since 9/11 – in a proper and sobering context.

Eight years and two months since America was attacked on September 11th, and 3,000 Americans were killed, the United States has approximately 168,000 soldiers stationed in two Muslim counties, In neither of these countries is there any al Qaeda presence – and there has not been any such presence since 2002. Indeed, since the fall of 2001, al Qaeda has not launched a single major attack on US targets or the US mainland.

Yet, instead of having a national debate on how we got ourselves into such a bizarre and pointless predicament — and squandered so many lives and so many billions of dollars in the process — the current debate in Washington is focused on how many more troops we will send into harm’s way to pursue an enemy that is down to about 200 core operatives.

Do you ever get the queasy feeling sometimes that somewhere in a cave in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden is having a bit of a chuckle about this?

He’s to kind to us.  Spending multiples of a nation’s GDP to occupy it is nuts.  We could lease the entire place for less.

(V)  Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

9 thoughts on “FM newswire, 20 November – News you can use

  1. The other thing, and why Goldman should be hated…

    a) They received a huge amount of money from the AIG bailout. In fact, the AIG bailout was really a bailout of Goldman and a couple of others. Until goldman acknowledges that the AIG bailout was tens-of-billions-of-dollars gift to Goldman from the treasury, they deserve our contempt.

    b) ALMOST everything that Goldman does to make a “profit” is ‘complicated wall street stuff’, aka Zero-sum games. Almost anything they do with ‘trading’ or ‘investing’ or ‘hedging’ or ‘derivitives’ are such transactions. Tranching and repackaging are also zero-sum transactions.

    Thus since they are zero-sum, every dollar actually earned must see someone else losing a dollar. So if Goldman claims to have made $3B in the last quarter, the zero-sum nature implies that most of this $3B must be from a combination of phantom profits (which could dissapear on the next mark-to-market) and real profits, with the real profits exactly equaling the losses incurred by others.

    Thus to a large degree, big wall-street firms are multi-billion-dollar economic parasites. Goldman Sachs deserves our contempt.

  2. The one good thing about the unrest in Mexico is that it has nothing to do with the legacy of the sixties, a frame which otherwise confines the United States into the ridiculous course it now is following.

    So much of what goes on is nothing but a worn out replay of what various people think about Vietnam, Civil Rights, rock music, etc., with people staking out various positions on those issues and responding to current events based upon those positions as if nothing had changed.

    Well, things have changed – and Mexico if nothing else is going to force us to adapt.

  3. Patton lives!
    What I mean is that the command attitude toward soldiers who suffer mental strain because of war still appears to presume that they are either shirkers or sissies.

    I cannot suggest this is pervasive, but it seems that enough soldiers are chilled by the level of occurrence that does exist to make it a problem. Certainly the solution is not retaining more Major Hasan’s (in the name of diversity) to treat these vets.

    It also appears that this is exacerbated by shortfall in the ability to care for these problems, and to get what care exists to those who need it. That does not come as much of a surprise given the scandals even on the physical side of veteran care (the Walter Reed hospital problems) where the need is irrefutable.

    Would that those who trumpet the need for our wars could trumpet as hard for the returning vets who gave service.

  4. FM: “A classic about the difference between the fading vitality of Christianity and the growing strength of Islam. Such contrasts remake the world in a few generations….

    >And not for the first time I was reminded of an old joke I modified for America Alone: >A ten-dollar bill is in the center of the crossroads. To the north, there’s Santa Claus. To >the west, the Tooth Fairy. To the east, a radical Muslim. To the south, a moderate >Muslim. Who reaches the ten-dollar bill first? >Answer: The radical Muslim. All the >others are mythical creatures.

    Ha Ha Ha – But surely this shit needs to be leavened with some good Nigger and Jew jokes?
    But once all the laughter has died down lets take it seriously: for instance Styen’s only reference to the “the fading vitality of Christianity”…

    “the cowed accommodationist governments of a largely post-Christian Christendom”

    I isn’t any reference to “the growing strength of Islam.” Maybe because it’s all just radical Islam now. This is half witted racist drivel – I’d like to know why you think it is so good.

    Do you believe like Mark Steyn that because the a few extremists claim to have the true faith that hundreds of millions of Muslims are suddenly all radicals or apostates ?
    .
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    FM reply: I don’t understand your conflation of this with racial and ethnic prejudice. Western religions in their growth phases are often radical, exclusionary, violent, and doctrinaire. It’s a historical fact, which you seem unwilling to recognize. It was true of Christianity, both during its original growth spurt and for early Protestanism. If you doubt this, I suggest reading Luther on the proper treatment of Jews — and both Catholic and Protestant policy about witches.

    For more information see the Wikipedia entries on Martin Luther and antisemitism and Witch trials in Early Modern Europe.

  5. Perhaps our attitude towards Pakistan is a projection of our nightmares? That tactically, we never really lose a battle but our strategy will ultimately produce failure.

  6. FM reply: “I don’t understand your conflation of this with racial and ethnic prejudice

    Baloney. That article was bigoted nonsense and and obviously so.
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    FM reply: Much of it was recital of factual events, all of which have strong historical parallels with the history of religion. The modern American belief that crying “bigot” (and its varients, such as “racist” and “sexist”) provides definitive rebuttal — without the tiresome bother of giving facts or logic — is IMO a commonplace of human illogic. Five hundred years ago folks would cry “heretic” and consider the matter similarly settled (as in, proving the Sun revolves around the Earth).

  7. As long as we are link dropping here is one of the most interesting things I have read in a long time: A thermodynamic explanation of politics. {M Simon, Power and Control, 21 November 2009.}

    This is a must read. There is a short introduction on my www site. And a link to the whole article. It explains the biology of conservatives and liberals. And explains why the libertarian answer is the only viable one for right wing politics.

    It is one of the best things I have ever read lately on the www. It explains why the culture of both the left and right are correct. For their ecological niches.
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    FM Note: the article he describes is “The Thermodynamics of Conservatives and Liberals – The Biogeography of Political-Religious Affiliation“, Charles Brack, Neopolitics, January 2009.

  8. FM: “We could lease the entire place for less.

    But that is not the point. It is having enough contact with Americans for long enough to change their culture. The article I linked above has a lot to say about that.
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    FM reply: To bad we don’t apply these wonderful skills to “change the culture” of our inner cities. Odd that our inner cities have not had “enough contact with Americans” to produce these wonderful changes.

    Also, occupying a nation to change their culture not only violates our treaty obligations as a member of the UN but also has near-zero support of the American people. Even if “changing Afghanistan’s culture was a major objective our government (which I consider unlikely), they will never state this as a major reason. We can classify this as “another way to end our Af-Pak war in Days.

    By the way, if we’re seeking a secular humanistic government for Afghanistan, why did we overthrow it when they had one? It wasn’t Iowa, but far closer than anything Afghanistan will have for generations.

    Update: The ultimate reply to comments like this one — David Petraeus For D.C. Metro Police Chief“, Spencer Ackerman, Attackerman, 20 November 2009.

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