RisingTide's blog

The Art of the Understatement

To talk, in any real sense, of a multipolar world is to ignore the actual reality on the ground. America is still the top economy, the top military power, etc. But that's not America's point -- not to discuss the reality, but to understate America's power -- and in so doing, acknowledge that America is constrained by the rest of the world. 

This newfound (rediscovered?) humility seems to be serving America well -- many allies and neutrals were sick to death of being bullied about and insulted. They see it in their own interest to reward America for it's good behavior. America, by being humble, gives the rest of the world back it's pride. Though intangible, it is something that diplomats appreciate -- and are motivated to respond to, in good measure.

Our enemies? They are uncertain, confused, and indecisive. America has much to offer them -- and now that she doesn't come with a baseball bat and brass knuckles, they are reappraising their approach. Each of America's enemies has many more priorities than simply "I hate America" (even Chavez!). And they all understand that America has the power to make or break their ambitions -- by favoring their enemies, if nothing else. Iran wants to be a regional power, rivaling Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/opinion/04iht-edcohen.html?_r=1

Moral Hazard, now in Action

http://blogs.ft.com/maverecon/2009/05/derivatives-and-attempted-state-ca...

man, this stuff is fucking scary. it's one thing to say that some people speculated on homes -- yeah, sure, some did. and they deserve to rot in hell for their stupidity (or at least be forced to live in cars for a while).

a note of appreciation from the rich

A note of appreciation from the rich

Let's be honest: you'll never win the lottery.

On the other hand, the chances are pretty good that you'll slave away at some miserable job the rest of your life. That's because you were in all likelihood born into the wrong social class. Let's face it — you're a member of the working caste. Sorry!

As a result, you don't have the education, upbringing, connections, manners, appearance, and good taste to ever become one of us. In fact, you'd probably need a book the size of the yellow pages to list all the unfair advantages we have over you. That's why we're so relieved to know that you still continue to believe all those silly fairy tales about "justice" and "equal opportunity" in America.

Of course, in a hierarchical social system like ours, there's never been much room at the top to begin with. Besides, it's already occupied by us — and we like it up here so much that we intend to keep it that way. But at least there's usually someone lower in the social hierarchy you can feel superior to and kick in the teeth once in a while. Even a lowly dishwasher can easily find some poor slob further down in the pecking order to sneer and spit at. So be thankful for migrant workers, prostitutes, and homeless street people.

Always remember that if everyone like you were economically secure and socially privileged like us, there would be no one left to fill all those boring, dangerous, low-paid jobs in our economy. And no one to fight our wars for us, or blindly follow orders in our totalitarian corporate institutions. And certainly no one to meekly go to their grave without having lived a full and creative life. So please, keep up the good work!

You also probably don't have the same greedy, compulsive drive to possess wealth, power, and prestige that we have. And even though you may sincerely want to change the way you live, you're also afraid of the very change you desire, thus keeping you and others like you in a nervous state of limbo. So you go through life mechanically playing your assigned social role, terrified what others would think should you ever dare to "break out of the mold."

Naturally, we try to play you off against each other whenever it suits our purposes: high-waged workers against low-waged, unionized against non-unionized, Black against White, male against female, American workers against Japanese against Mexican against.... We continually push your wages down by invoking "foreign competition," "the law of supply and demand," "national security," or "the bloated federal deficit." We throw you on the unemployed scrap heap if you step out of line or jeopardize our profits. And to give you an occasional break from the monotony of our daily economic blackmail, we allow you to participate in our stage-managed electoral shell games, better known to you ordinary folks as "elections." Happily, you haven't a clue as to what's really happening — instead, you blame "Aliens," "Tree-hugging Environmentalists," "Niggers," "Jews," Welfare Queens," and countless others for your troubled situation.

We're also very pleased that many of you still embrace the "work ethic," even though most jobs in our economy degrade the environment, undermine your physical and emotional health, and basically suck your one and only life right out of you. We obviously don't know much about work, but we're sure glad you do!

Of course, life could be different. Society could be intelligently organized to meet the real needs of the general population. You and others like you could collectively fight to free yourselves from our domination. But you don't know that. In fact, you can't even imagine that another way of life is possible. And that's probably the greatest, most significant achievement of our system — robbing you of your imagination, your creativity, your ability to think and act for yourself.

So we'd truly like to thank you from the bottom of our heartless hearts. Your loyal sacrifice makes possible our corrupt luxury; your work makes our system work. Thanks so much for "knowing your place" — without even knowing it!

 

--this is copied adverbatim from CalculatedRisk, a Michael's posting. I found it funny.

 

Brawl at the Washington Post

http://getenergysmartnow.com/2009/04/09/washington-posts-willfully-civil...

Owch. Okay, seriously, whatever happened to actually trying to stay within the bold lines of the truth? When George Will mischaracterizes, prevaricates about a report That He Is Citing, and the paper can't even be bothered to fact check it? That's dumb, stupid even.

But when the writers of said report show up in high dudgeon, it's time to print an apology.

It's emphatically NOT time to just sit mutely, as a war in your paper takes place, all in the view of your public audience.

When someone on your staff says something that is painfully wrong, aren't you supposed to take responsibility?

The man with the Russian MIGs...

From Hillary Clinton, SoS:

8 years of isolation hasn't worked. We've isolated him (Hugo Chavez), so he's gone elsewhere. He's a sociable guy, so he's found the sorts of friends we don't like. Eight years of isolation hasn't worked so let's try something else.

Yeah, it's generally NOT a good idea to piss off a strategically necessary country like Venezuela.. particularly when they're in the habit of inviting over Russian Migs for training excercises...

And thanks, Chavez, for just giving our president a book... not a 50 minute harangue, like OTHER people decided to. The reason for the conference was not to yell at America, thanks for getting that.

But... But they made fun of US! (Paging Lagomorph)

Didn't feel like finding the proper place to reply, so sorries to anyone this bothers.

If you're concerned about people like Jon Stewart making fun of your protests... it's not cause they're the big bad leftist media... it's because protests are inherently funny

A clip from early in the Iraq War:

Stewart: On Saturday, a 100,000 strong peace march descended on Washington seeking to crystallize America's dissatisfaction with the war into one single idea. Clip of young male speaker: Peace! Stewart: Okay. Clip of male speaker: Justice! Stewart: (pause) Fine. Clip of male speaker: Environmental protection! Stewart: (pause, confused look on face) Clip of male speaker: No racism! Stewart: (dumb-founded, and then says in Valley Girl-like voice) Dude! I didn't hike from Oberlin for this.

 

Seriously, the man makes jokes. It is okay to laugh.

BUT THEY'RE LAUGHING AT US!!!

Dude, yes, laughing about teabagging is juvenile. juvenile humor. you should be GLAD! What, you've never been gifted by a Democrat before?

Look who gets to be the adults!

I know, new experience and all that, but treasure it!

Don't be a Maxie, all upset that they don't take you seriously.

You've all heard of the famous quote from the fecally obsessed prophet

"first they laugh at you..."

If not? Then you learn something today, and you may thank me!

In Honor of Thomas Paine...

Some Quotes:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. [Government must] create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property. And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.

(cred to matador, who did the research, and actually was passing these out in maryland)

 

This Just In

Scott Murphy Ahead by 56 votes (they're still counting absentees).

And Tedisco's campaign just... challenged Senator Gillibrand's ballot.

This is a great day for the Tedisco Campaign!

(seriously, teh lame. and teh backlash will begin)

... He Counted?

"Could you help a brother out? No more national conventions with 36 people of color in the room," Steele told fellow Republicans on Monday, according to the Miami Herald.

seriously, that was my first thought. he counted how many people of color were in the room??

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