FM newswire for 4 February, articles for your morning reading

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis.  If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. The Eikenberry Cables and the Escalation in Afghanistan – Turning Sun Tzu on His Head“, Franklin C. Spinney, Counterpunch, 29-31 January 2010
  2. ClimateGate update — So much for the foreign intel agencies hacking into the CRU files:  “David King admits to speculation over source of climate science emails“, The Guardian, 1 February 2010 — “Former government adviser backs away from sensational claims over involvement of foreign intelligence or wealthy lobbyists. … {The} UEA confirmed today, all the files and emails were archived on a single backup server on the Norwich campus. Once access was gained, it would have been simple to copy all the material.”
  3. Proof of our victory over communism:  “Russia’s Evolution, Seen Through Golden Arches“, New York Times, 1 February 2010
  4. About our new economic system, state capitalism:  “Privatizing Gains, Socializing Losses“, Peter T. Treadway, The Big Picture, 1 February 2010
  5. Nice analysis of the core problem with western banking:  “Profits, not principals, move the age“, Spengler (aka David P Goldman, senior manager at Credit Suisse and B of America), Asia Times, 2 February 2010
  6. Good analysis of a commonly misunderstood aspect of global macroeconomics:  “Never short a country with $2 trillion in reserves?“, Michael Pettis (Prof Finance at Peking U), at his website China Financial Markets, 2 February 2010
  7. Whitewash of climate scientist Prof Mann (Prof U Penn):  “The Mann Report“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 3 February 2010 — To some people it’s important that we learn nothing from the revelations about malfunctioning of climate science.
  8. An important example of the flaws in peer-reviewed science:  “The Lancet’s Vaccine Retraction“, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, 3 February 2010 — “A medical journal’s role in the autism scare. … The Lancet episode shows how even reputable publications can become conduits for junk science when political causes run hot.”

Today’s feature stories

(A)  One graphic tells the story about the sad story of American labor
(B)  Quote of the Day about the death of American journalism

(A)  One graphic tells the story about the sad story of American labor

From “The Public-Union Ascendancy“, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, 3 February 2010 — “Government union members now outnumber private for the first time.”

(B)  Quote of the Day about the death of American journalism

From “Change of Climate“, Mark Stein, National review Online, 2 February 2010 — Comment on something evident to anyone reading the FM website in the past few months. Excerpt:

You have to assume that America’s dying monodailies are now actively auditioning for state ownership. How else to explain the silence of the massed ranks of salaried “environmental correspondents” on the daily revelations emerging from the fast disintegrating “scientific consensus” on “climate change”? You get livelier coverage from the Chinese press.

But in competitive newspaper markets they still know a story when they see one. Surely the most worrying sign for the thuggish enforcers of “settled science” is that even the eco-lefties at the Guardian and the Independent, two of the most gung-ho warm-mongers on the planet, are beginning to entertain doubts.

Afterword

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15 thoughts on “FM newswire for 4 February, articles for your morning reading

  1. “Privatizing Gains, Socializing Losses“

    ….perfect way to put it. I thought the government was there to hold businesses accountable to their losses (and/or negative externalities) but I guess the gov is really there to help spread the pain around.
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    FM reply: We have evolved from a system of capitalism to corporate socialism (aka state capitalism). Politically powerful groups get subsidies and capital investments from the government, and often stick the government with any resulting losses. For good reason Adam Smith wrote a Theory of Moral Sentiments before Wealth of Nations. Capitalism is first a moral system, not just an economic one.

  2. Latest development: Corporation says it will run for congress, blog of the NY Times, 2 February 2010.
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    FM note: This is a milestone in American history. Here is additional information. Keep it for your grandchildren, a momento of when America changed.

    Advertisement: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHRKkXtxDRA&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

    Text of their announcement:

    Following the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to allow unlimited corporate funding of federal campaigns, Murray Hill Inc. today announced it was filing to run for U.S. Congress and released its first campaign video on YouTube. “Until now,” Murray Hill Inc. said in a statement, “corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence peddling to achieve their goals in Washington. But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves.”

    Murray Hill Inc. is believed to be the first “corporate person” to exercise its constitutional right to run for office. As Supreme Court observer Lyle Denniston wrote in his SCOTUSblog, “If anything, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission conferred new dignity on corporate “persons,” treating them — under the First Amendment free-speech clause — as the equal of human beings.”

    Murray Hill Inc. agrees. “The strength of America,” Murray Hill Inc. says, “is in the boardrooms, country clubs and Lear jets of America’s great corporations. We’re saying to Wal-Mart, AIG and Pfizer, if not you, who? If not now, when?”

    Murray Hill Inc. plans on spending “top dollar” to protect its investment. “It’s our democracy,” Murray Hill Inc. says, “We bought it, we paid for it, and we’re going to keep it.”

    Murray Hill Inc., a diversifying corporation in the Washington, D.C. area, has long held an interest in politics and sees corporate candidacy as an emerging new market. The campaign’s designated human, Eric Hensal, will help the corporation conform to antiquated “human only” procedures and sign the necessary voter registration and candidacy paperwork. Hensal is excited by this new opportunity. “We want to get in on the ground floor of the democracy market before the whole store is bought by China.”

    Murray Hill Inc. plans on filing to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Campaign Manager William Klein promises an aggressive, historic campaign that “puts people second” or even third.

    “The business of America is business, as we all know,” Klein says. “But now, it’s the business of democracy too.” Klein plans to use automated robo-calls, “Astroturf” lobbying and computer-generated avatars to get out the vote.

    Murray Hill Inc. is launching the campaign with a website, Facebook page and YouTube video.

  3. Hey, maybe the USA would benefit from having a corporation in power. Maybe Apple. That would be ironic considering their 1984 commercial. But seriuosly, great design!

  4. From #1 FM reply: We have evolved from a system of capitalism to corporate socialism (aka state capitalism). Politically powerful groups get subsidies and capital investments from the government, and often stick the government with any resulting losses.

    When was this ever different? “The Moral Theory of Capitalism” has always been corporatism/oligarchy in practice.

  5. Sorry, that came out wrong. Let me rephrase. I am sure that, to many, Capitalism is a moral system as well as an economic one. I also agree that there are reasons beyond mere greed to have markets, corporations, etc. The part that I dispute is that there ever really was a time when corporations or oligarchs refrained from manipulating the state, or passively accepted losses, as they were supposed to do under this moral/economic system. I do not believe you can separate politics from economics.

  6. FM: “3. Proof of OUR victory over communism: “Russia’s Evolution, Seen Through Golden Arches“, New York Times, 1 February 2010
    Who is this ‘OUR’ that you speak of? and the answer?
    “after his business success, Mr. Semenov has gone into politics, serving in Parliament with the ruling United Russia party.”
    &
    FM: “4. About OUR new economic system, state capitalism: “Privatizing Gains, Socializing Losses“…

    Never mind. I get it now. Nice Symmetry, FM.
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    FM reply: Looking at the news radomly arranged, often hidden patterns emergy.

  7. Murray Hill Inc. plans on spending “top dollar” to protect its investment. “It’s our democracy,” Murray Hill Inc. says, “We bought it, we paid for it, and we’re going to keep it.”

    If the above was not intended as a clever satire of the modern political process… Then we are screwed on a truly epic scale…
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    FM reply: Yes, it was satire. Much like that of Court Jesters, able to say unspeakable or unpleasant truths.

  8. I think that free markets are moral. It makes sense to me. But state capitalism seems immoral. If the government is supposed to protect moral order, than it should not be helping to socialize losses.

    Too big to fail implies hardship on everybody if we allow it to fail and therefore the government thinks it should protect us by bailing out some corporations like GM. But then it is competing against the immoral act of socializing the loss. So there are two competing moralities for the government to choose from.

    So what does a government do?
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    FM reply: Economic systems are founded on moral systems. You might find a specific system “moral” (i.e., matching your personal moral beliefs). Or not. In our system government exist to maintain basic moral standards of society, and elections are the means by which we control how governments do so. So the question is not “what does a government do”, but what do we do.

  9. “Following the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to allow unlimited corporate funding of federal campaigns…”

    I just wanted to point out that this is completely false, in case anyone might think otherwise.

  10. You really believe in the “fast disintegrating “scientific consensus” on “climate change”? Keep telling yourself….

  11. Have you guys seen the Reason youtube video on citizens untied versus FCC? “3 Reasons Not to Sweat The Citizens United Ruling” was written and produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts. Seems Reason would be all butt-hurt over this if it were going to mess with their freedoms, right?
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    FM reply: I might not be getting your point, but most conservative groups are giddy with pleasure at this large step closer to a corporatist State.

  12. Rollerball (1975 film)

    BARTHOLOMEW – Jonathan, let’s think this through together. You know how the game serves us. It has a definite social purpose. The Nations are bankrupt, gone. None of that tribal warfare any more. Even the corporate wars are a thing of the past.

    JONATHAN – I know that…

    BARTHOLOMEW – So now we have The Majors and their executives. Transport, food, communication, housing, luxury, energy. A few of us making decisions on a global basis for the common good.

    JONATHAN – The team is a unit. It plays with certain rhythms.

    BARTHOLOMEW – So does an executive team, Jonathan. Now everyone has all the comforts, you know that. No poverty, no sickness. No needs and many luxuries, which you enjoy just as if you were in the executive class. Corporate society takes care of everything. And all it asks of anyone, all it has ever asked of anyone ever, is not to interfere with management decisions.

    JONATHAN – I don’t mean to resist. I’m just tryin’ to understand.

    BARTHOLOMEW – This is for your own benefit. You must know that, Jonathan.

  13. i didn’t think of reason as a conservative group. do you? I mean, they certainly aren’t social conservatives. And what does this supreme court ruling affect? the fiscal or social aspect? it seems to me FM thinks that the fiscal impacts of allowing corps to pay for advertisements and perhaps even lead us down the road to full corporate rule. so it will ultimately have a negative social impact in terms of personal freedom, right? Well, don’t you think Reason mag would be un-giddy? or probably pissed off? I know this is some kind of fallacy in argument (ad authoritarium or something?) but really, i always thought reason mag would be on the individual’s side. Is that crazy? are libertarians considered conservative?
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    FM reply: You appear to be more familar with Reason than I (which is why I spoke of conservative groups, rather than specifics). More broadly, these lines are blurring — making these labels less useful every passing year. For more on this see The breakdown of the American political system, pointing to a new and better future.

  14. from FM reply to comment 11: “conservative groups are giddy with pleasure at this large step closer to a corporatist State”

    this doesn’t make sense to me because a ‘corporatist State’ is totally NOT a free-market, which is what libertarians advocate and what a lot of conservatives advocate as well.

    I subscribe to Reason Magazine and like most of what they write. I could never see them advocating corporate statism. How then could the editor in chief of Reason magazine say that it isn’t bad? Is he some lackey for corporate America?
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    FM reply: Conservatives are those in this world, at this time. Not classified by some abstract system, or people chatting in bars.

    “which is what libertarians advocate and what a lot of conservatives advocate as well.’

    I don’t know about libertarians, which is IMO the fantasy football of American politics. But consevatives in Washington hardly support free markets. As we saw in the Bush Administration’s support for bank bailouts, give-aways of Federal land to mining companies, support for the Export-Import Bank, and a thousand other such bills and regulatory subsidies.

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