Links, 8/5/11

Banana Republic of America

The S&P is reportedly about to downgrade America’s credit. So the wingnut hostage-taking will end up costing us about $100B. [Update: While we are so badly governed we no doubt deserve to be downgraded, it appears we’re sufficiently powerful enough to bully the S&P still. S&P is now claiming they made errors in analysis and it’s looking like the TeaParty Tax downgrade is off.] Oops, wrong again. S&P pulled the trigger.

The wingnuts who shut down MN’s government last month were responsible for laying off 23,000 people. Meanwhile, Congressman John Mica, who was responsible for laying off 74,000 FAA workers, “didn’t know it would cause this much consternation. … People don’t have to get so personal,” he said with a sigh. “A lot of people hate me now and think I’m the worst thing in the world for what I did.

Apparently, TeaParty Nation head Judson Phillips thinks government spending creates jobs, but thinks it should only be spent on war toys, not highways.

Adventures in corporatist denial: Here’s ALEC claiming recent reporting about their corporate-funded hijacking of state governments are nothing to worry about. And here’s the Center for Competitive Politics assuring us we need not worry about a corporation forming and dissolving for the sole purpose of donating $1 million to Mitt Romney’s Presidential SuperPAC. Meanwhile, two ThinkProgress journalists were violently kicked out of the NOLA Marriott where ALEC is meeting.

The Chamber of Commerce is attempting to prevent the NLRB from ruling against employers that fire employees for talking about work conditions on social media.

While George W Bush was dodging the draft in 1972, Rick Perry was getting a “C” in “Animal Breeding”–a course within his major of Animal Sciences–at Texas A&M. But don’t worry. If he becomes President, I’m sure Vice President Rick Santorum can handle that aspect of the country.

I’ve long questioned the assertions that giving 1.3 billion Chinese (or even just the 300 million Chinese considered middle class) our American lifestyle was possible. Here’s one reason why: you can never create enough parking spots to affordably match our levels of car ownership. Meanwhile, Moisés Naím has a thoughtful post seeing the source in contemporary turmoil both in the declining middle class in developed countries and increasingly demanding middle class in developing nations.

The city of Central Falls, RI, has just become the municipal equivalent of Ireland. It just declared bankruptcy, but because of a new state law, bondholders will get paid before pension holders.

Justice and Injustice

Five NOLA cops were found guilty today of trying to cover up their role in shooting people on Danzinger Bridge in the aftermath of Katrina.

More people are using smartphones to collect evidence of what assholes their bosses are being.

The FBI is finally getting around to investigating News Corp’s hacking of Floorgraphics, which Chris Christie refused to investigate.

Surveillance Nation

A security consultant hacked the cell phone of MO’s Attorney General Chris Koster–it took him less than a minute–to show how easy it is to conduct Murdoch-style scams. Meanwhile, AT&T just committed to making sure its users have passwords to protect against this kind of hacking.

Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador who (as he reminds) was fired for whistleblowing about the British policy of cooperation with torture, asks whether Sir Peter Gibson, who heads the whitewash torture investigation, ever saw the documents the Guardian posted yesterday revealing an official policy of cooperating with torture.

German cops say full body scanners don’t work.

Fareed Zakaria calls our defense establishment, “the world’s largest socialist economy.” To some degree, he’s calling on DOD to cut pensions the same way other industries have (which I’m not cazy about). But he’s also calling out DOD for being too big to fail.

DOJ has written the 9th Circuit to remind it not to tell any secrets when it hears Jewel v. National Security Agency later this month.

13 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    Unbelievable arrogance in that DOJ letter to the 9th.

    And I’m guessing they typically get away with it, and will do so this time.

  2. Brian Silver says:

    After reading this summary, I feel like we’re all being dragged through Nathaniel West’s Chamber of American Horrors. (p.s., nice wrap-up)

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Cong. Mica’s perception is at least sharper than his self-awareness. He is indeed a political figure to be loathed. I assume he will use dog and pony-driven carts to travel, since he has so hobbled the FAA as well as American labor. What a tool.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The US Chamber – I forget whether it’s offices are opposite Lafayette Park or under the Capitol’s dome – is more addicted to secrecy than Mr. Obama. It doesn’t want employers sanctioned for illegal retaliating against workers who disclose poor pay and unsafe working conditions. If it were consistent, it would sanction its own employees foolish enough to drink DC tap water and walk its streets at night.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Texas A&M is a tough school, but an ungentlemanly “C” in “animal breeding”, the thing the GOP seems to know best, is about as much to brag about as his bad hair.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Fareed Zakaria is foolish. He should be arguing that the standard American pension is comparable to the best the government provides its top politicians and military officers. That should be the floor, not the ceiling, for the middle paid. It’s no skin off Mr. Zakaria’s nose: like David Brooks and Ross DoubtIt, he’ll never need a public pension or public health insurance, something probably 95% of Americans could never say.

  7. MadDog says:

    And S&P decides a new lower rating for the US is their political contribution under Citizens vs United.

  8. siosal says:

    I am overwhelmed at the proliferation of ideas, and attacks against the powers that rule us. You have freed yourself from the onus of term paperhood, or maybe senior thesis of the week, and us along with you.

  9. Southern Beale says:


    I hate that fucking E*Trade baby, always have. This stuff ain’t child’s play, people.

    So, now that the S&P has given the Republican Party an early Christmas present, who thinks this isn’t more political theater to get the Scary Islamofascist Black Man out of the White House?

    More convinced than ever that the GOP deliberately sabotaged the economy to orchestrate their 2012 power grab. When will Democrats wake up and realize they are dealing with political terrorists?

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