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JackRiddler

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,947

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"Runs the show at Goldman"

"Social investing" and "public and private partnership work" are weasely euphemisms. An outfit like Goldman Sachs doesn't do anything of the sort. It does some public relations to put the perfume on the dogshit, and engages in social engineering to shape society in its interests.

Isn't compartmentalization grand? Anyone who chooses to work at the firm responsible for running up oil and food prices and causing worldwide hunger in 2008 doesn't get excuses, even if she had nothing to do with those activities.

Goldman Sachs is a criminal organization deriving hyperprofit from actions of global piracy, plunder and effectively mass murder. No one person runs the show, various functions are undertaken in making possible the eventual bottom line. A key part of that is distracting from the criminality by engaging on the side in some ostensible charity to a few of the victims of capitalism. Blunting potential opposition by spreading a bit of money around, especially in New York. However, after Goldman's immense atrocity became so internationally prominent during the crisis, I would have respected someone willing to walk away from the perks of such a job by making her resignation as loud as possible. But then she wouldn't be considered for new jobs in management positions, would she now?

Goldman Sachs, of course, shouldn't exist. It should have been liquidated along with the other TBTFs in 2008. Instead they were rescued at an enormous expense to the public, so that they could emerge more powerful and more enabled to engage in mass crime than before. Did they throw some obols afterwards at the worthy poor? Was this lady one who got to put a smile on the affair?

New York City has hundreds of CEOs of housing and development groups that aren't Goldman Sachs to choose from. Your assertion that she's the only one for the job is ludicrous! Such an appointment is a signal to the ruling class and everyone else who doesn't have blinders on that it will be business as usual with at best the appearance of reform, just like Bratton -- just like the choice of Rahm Emanuel by Obama as his first appointment.

Tale of two cities. Where's the other one?

Actually, sir, I think Hillary Clinton is pretty good looking.



Here's a swimsuit photo:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef01348641bc49970c-400wi

Wish her looks were the only thing to worry about with her.

Your implicit assumption that there is one measure of "attractive" that allows you to categorize one woman as attractive, and another as unattractive, and assume that everyone will take these assessments as self-evident, and to do so in such a public form without regard for the response, is just one of the things that makes you and your post so singularly unattractive.

But maybe you can still get away with the "sorry, I was drunk" excuse.

I too fantasize about women all the time. The difference is to know who wants to hear about it.

"Maybe one day you'll understand free-speech."

Free speech is protection from having your writing, speaking or ideas censored or restricted by the government, and ideally from other authorities that may have an actual physical or legal power to prevent you altogether from publishing or public speaking.

Free speech is not a protection from the opinions of others or from others' responses to your opinions. In fact, such a protection is contrary to the idea of free speech. If you talk, you'll also have to hear. That's the free speech of others. If everyone doesn't have it, it's meaningless.

Free speech also does not extend to the editorial policy of publications. It does not mean you get to speak as you like in the New York Times, in the Socialist Worker, on Al Jazeera, or even on the far more open platform known as Democratic Underground.

Sometimes this can be so awfully unfair, how media editors and producers behave, and often it contributes to hegemonic power structures. But as long as they don't gag, fine, arrest or otherwise prevent you from speaking or publishing, they aren't violating your human right to free speech.

I do believe a modern idea of free speech must extend to the freedom for all people to have and run their own sites on the Internet as they see fit. For example, no one's stopping you from finding a Manly Man's Club on this world-wide web and pecking away all of your complaints about the womens to your heart's (or dick's) delight. And it's essential that these be indexed. In a sense, Google is taking over the function of an authority with the power to censor. I think if they kept your problem with women off their index, that would be a form of censorship, because then no one would be able to find your bitter rants who was actually looking for them. But DU doing so (which of course it has not) would not remotely approach that standard.

What is the NSA really for?

Back in October, when the NSA claimed that their bulk surveillance program had figured in preventing 50+ terrorist plots, the only example they presented in any detail turned out to be one where human intelligence alone did the job. NSA's bulk surveillance had nothing to do with catching the suspects in that case.

You gotta wonder how they couldn't manufacture anything better!

If this was the best they could do, perhaps it was an act of contempt. Perhaps they were telling us that yes, they are full of bullshit, but enough people believe them or don't care so that nothing will change.

What are you going to do about it?

But first, let's consider another question that arises.

Since it's value as a protection against "terrorism" is butkus, what is the actual function of the NSA?

I propose four answers:

(1) Industrial Policy:

For ideological reasons, the U.S. pretense is that the government does not subsidize technological development. This is supposed to be one of the worst Sins Against Capitalism. Industrial policy is something that the Socialist Europeans and Chinese Commies do. We just have a "market" that accomplishes everything by magic.

Now of course U.S. governments have always subsidized R&D. That is necessarily how most R&D happens in the capitalist and imperialist powers, regardless of all our myths about lone geniuses and courageous private entrepreneurs. Outfits like NSA and DARPA (previously ARPA) have paid to develop computing and telephony going back to the Bell Labs days. Directly or indirectly, Top Secret America has spawned the basis for the WWW, Oracle, Cisco, Apple, MS, Google, Facebook, Paypal, etc.

Industrial policy, an indispensable component of modern capitalism, is implemented in the form of a so-called "security agency" that subsidizes industries but does not actually provide any security. In fact, it's part of a larger military-industrial-intelligence apparatus that makes enemies. And if it doesn't make enough enemies, it makes them up.

(2) Blanket Surveillance For Clients:

A general surveillance apparatus of Americans, Earthians and all of their businesses and corporations, with all of the power and benefits for those who have access to it that such an apparatus implies.

For those who have access -- including the private contractors -- an enormous advantage, with the ability to manipulate, blackmail and own politicians, officials, corporate CEOs and other key figures around the world.

Such information can be accessed and used covertly, without needing to go through protocols, warrants, court orders, etc. The target under threat need not know what the source is, only that the targeter has the troublesome information. And that's just in the case of blackmailing someone. A company can be outmaneuvered, find that its secrets have been stolen, or be hit by trading with insider information, all without having any clue how its competitors or antagonists got the information.

This is the kind of power that is allowed to the likes of Booz Allen Hamilton and its friends. (Oh wait, there are access limits monitored by software and no one can do a search without oversight being aware, ha ha.)

Congress, the main body with an ostensible oversight function, would be an obvious target for such surveillance attacks. As if this is necessary given its general abdication from responsibility and fearful kowtow to the god of "security," and the fact that only a handful of committed, bought and sold properties of the MIC like Feinstein get to be in the leadership positions of the responsible committees, and thus have substantive access if they want to use it.

(3) Getting Rich:

The system of course makes a lot of money for the contractors and, importantly, their executives and consultants, the decision makers and policy framers.

NSA and other "Top Secret America" officials go through the revolving door after an early retirement from "service" and are recruited by the contractors as very high-paid "consultants" and the like, so that the system becomes a massive self-licking ice-cream cone. It is the equal of Wall Street in corruption and self-deceiving justifications - and, fatally, fully unaccountable power.

To further justify it, it creates all those wonderful jobs jobs jobs. Many thousands of them, but not millions like a real manufacturing sector would. You have to ask, so what? We could be paying a far higher number of people just as well to put up solar panels and wind turbines and make electric cars, damn it.

It's hard not to think of this as the most important factor. Money is a huge motivator, but I believe it also needs an ideological and emotional justification, because most people don't like to think they're power-mongering assholes out only for themselves. (The ones who don't mind, the sociopaths, are the most dangerous, most able to disguise themselves to everyone else, and tend to succeed very well and rise to the top in such a system.)

So, finally-

(4) Satisfying Ideological Needs:

All institutions require an internal morality, a religion. For the military-industrial-intel complex this is going to have to be a lie, since these agencies and industries are superfluous, parasitic, destructive, and actually cause most of the problems they purport to address. They have become a dictatorship over a separate, extraconstitutional realm of government -- a parallel state that provides "security" against "enemies" and is thus expected by definition to break laws and "Do business with unsavory characters."

So there is a nearly totalitarian but seemingly sincere ideology in place, and most of the operators, the non-sociopaths, presumably believe it in earnest. They usually become fanatic about it. Everything they do is justified, and much worse will be justified besides, because all this is all necessary to protect "Americans" and help America -- oh beloved land of the free! -- to survive in a perpetual death-struggle against World Communism.

Sorry! Terrorism! I meant World Terrorism.

(Communism, where did that come from?)

And this is the system that Snowden and the earlier whistleblowers have begun to expose, at sacrifice to themselves. They are the ones who need defense from progressives and all people of good conscience -- not the NSA!

So what is the NSA really for?

Already back in October, the only example they presented in detail of supposed successes in stopping terrorist plots turned out to be one where human intelligence did the job. It turned out NSA surveillance had nothing to do with catching the suspects in that case.

If that was the best they could do - you gotta wonder how they couldn't manufacture anything better, but it was basically an act of contempt, another fuck-you to us, like: We're full of bullshit but people believe us anyway, what are you going to do about it?

But that prompts a key question:

So what is the NSA for?

(Spontaneous notes)

(1) Among other things, it's an industrial policy. For ideological reasons, the U.S. pretense is that the government does not subsidize technological development, that this is one of the worst Sins Against Capitalism. Now this is a tough one, since of course government has always subsidized R&D and that's how most R&D happens in the capitalist and imperialist powers, whatever our myths of lone geniuses and courageous private entrepreneurs. So we have outfits like NSA and DARPA to develop computing and telephony (going back to the Bell Labs days) and eventually spawning (directly or indirectly) the basis for www, Oracle, Google, Facebook, etc.

And so industrial policy, an indispensable component of modern capitalism (which according to ideology is a European-Chinese sin only, we just have a "market" do everything by magic) is implemented in the form of a so-called "security agency" that subsidizes industries but does not actually provide any security. (In fact, it's part of a larger apparatus that makes enemies, and if it doesn't make enough of those, it makes them up.)

And what is the particular technology that is being developed?

(2) A general surveillance apparatus of Americans, Earthians and all of their businesses and corporations, with all of the power and benefits for those who have access to it that such an apparatus implies.

While:

(3) Making a lot of money for the contractors and, importantly, their executives and consultants, who are recruited through the revolving door after an early retirement from "service," so that it becomes a massive self-licking ice-cream cone, the equal of Wall Street in corruption and self-deceiving justifications - and, fatally, power, fully unaccountable power - plus all those wonderful jobs jobs jobs to justify it.

And

(4) Because like any institution it's got to have an internal morality or religion, and because this is going to have to be a lie (since it is a primarily superfluous and parasitic institution) it turns into, along with the rest of the "intelligence" and "security" and "homeland" "communities," a dictatorship over a separate, extraconstitutional realm of government -- a parallel state that provides "security" against "enemies" and is expected to break the rules and "Do business with unsavory characters." With a nearly totalitarian ideology in place that most of them always believe and usually become fanatic about. Everything they do is justified and much worse will be justified besides, because all this is for America to survive through a perpetual death-match with World Communism.

Sorry, terrorism. I meant world terrorism. Communism, where did that come from?

So fucking stupid & neo-puritanical

How about a resolution against the state's disgusting advertising campaigns pushing the lottery 24/7?

Nothing shows the hypocrisy of the present establishment than a comparison of publicly financed anti-smoking ads against those claiming that you could get filthy rich (and tell your boss to fuck off) if only you buy some lottery tickets and get yourself addicted to scratch-off cards. Which are attached to the big lie that the money goes for education!

And the common factor in both cases is revenue, from the lower classes to governments unwilling to tax the rich.

I do not submit to these premises.

This is only true in a country where no opposition party exists, the mass media have been monopolized by capital, and all acceptable discourse is narrowed to this right-wing range you describe--because the logic you describe is self-fulfilling.

No one with a platform ever puts forth the alternatives because the alternatives can't win, and they can't win because no one with a platform dares to put them forth for long enough.

It is a failure of the Democrats for never representing an opposition to the dominant politics, let alone pushing it with consistency.

"Americans" are not an inert mass that never changes. They have moved massively to the left over the last 20 years, but no one gives them that alternative. They would respond differently at the polls if they were consistently given at least a social democratic alternative over these same decades, instead of the kind of bullshit realpolitik that decided in advance to foreclose on a single-payer health care system on the European model (and call it that! and do so for years!). They would respond differently if they could also drop the poisonous self-defeating thinking that you are propagating (this is the way things are, choose the lesser evil).

What they see is that Democrats are the party of NAFTA and TPP, bank bailouts just like the Republicans', kinder-gentler wars than the Republicans', slightly less corruption than the Republicans, fundraising from corporate sponsors just like the Republicans, and moderately less crazy shit than the Tea Party and the fundamentalists. And the Democratic leaderships have prevented the party from doing better or following its base.

The majority of the people are kept demobilized by the unrelenting lack of choice, they believe there is no point to "politics." If you're going to point to the election results in such an environment as an empirical observation that you fashion into some function of inevitable fate, then at least deal with this empirical observation too: the vast majority are of the opinion that "politicians, they're all the same." Why? Whose fault is that?

Clinton for President: Support / Don't Support

Hillary Clinton for president in 2016?

It's not a kingdom, it's a criminal enterprise.

The NSA is not "we" -- it is "they."

The NSA is "our adversaries."

The NSA is more enemy and more threat to the people in America than the countries you imagine are our "our" adversaries.

Snowden, of course, did not "provide" these "keys to the kingdom" of the unlimited surveillance state to "adversaries." He opened up the secrets of an unaccountable authority to everyone in the world. That is a big difference.

It is not "espionage" but exposure of criminal activity by an illegitimate, extraconstitutional, by-definition criminal enterprise that has been set up as though it fulfills a legitimate function of government. It does not.

As I'm fine with the underlying ideas...

And constantly expound on the very same in my frequent tirades against state-sponsored gambling, especially the lottery and scratch off games, there's no need to put this as an attack on me.

You are simply wrong here: I spend no "time insulting the motivations of people who are against gambling."

The "don't know math" meme is in fact the opposite of being against gambling. It blames the gamblers for being stupid, rather than the state for aggressively pushing the product on them constantly, taking advantage of their emotional states -- which are due to alienation, largely a product of economic circumstance, and indeed often desperation. As I said!

"Don't know math" is analogous to blame-the-poor arguments, it essentializes the problem as one of inherent personal qualities (stupidity).

So there's a reason to go on about that and speak of the real personal psychology and drives exploited by the gambling machinery.
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