Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Today's links

1--Reddit forum blacklists WSWS, WSWS

The slanderous charges of apologizing for rape are a smokescreen to conceal the real fact of the matter: the two WSWS articles point to the coming together of open reactionaries, the media, “human rights” posers and right-wing proponents of identity politics in defense of the state and its operations.

There is a long history of reactionary forces using allegations of rape and sexual abuse to promote their political agenda, in the United States and internationally. The use of the term “blacklist” by the r/socialism moderator says it all—the embrace of a practice made infamous by the McCarthyite assault on socialist-minded artists in Hollywood, as well as left-wing writers, intellectuals and workers more broadly, during the 1940s and 1950s. There is a certain irony in the fact that Walsh has written extensively about the Hollywood blacklist and interviewed blacklisted directors and writers such as Abe Polonsky, Walter Bernstein and John Berry.

Walsh’s article on Polanski refers to other notorious cases in which sex scandals were concocted in an attempt to destroy prominent people targeted by right-wing forces and the state. These include the use of the Mann Act, which prohibited the transport of females across state lines for “immoral purposes,” to target boxing champion Jack Johnson and film actor and director Charlie Chaplin, a socialist.

2---Bad jobs reports won't change tapering: Yellen, cnbc
So much for that "dual mandate" thing

3--Exxon oil spill town 'deserted land', residents still getting sick, forced to abandon homes, RT

4---'F**k the EU': Tape Reveals US Runs Ukraine Opposition, antiwar

In the latest debacle for the US State Department and the Obama Administration, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was caught on tape micro-managing Ukraine opposition party strategies with US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. That the Ukraine regime-change operation is to some degree being directed from Washington can no longer be denied.

The tape (listen below) was released today, on the eve of Nuland's second trip to meet with Ukrainian protestors and opposition leaders in the past two months -- last time she passed out cookies to protestors.

The taped conversation demonstrates in clear detail that while Secretary of State John Kerry decries any foreign meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, his State Department is virtually managing the entire process. The "F**k the EU" part is her expressing anger that the EU is not moving fast enough with regime change in Ukraine and her plan is to get the UN involved in the process....

The call is concrete confirmation of what we have been writing here at RPI for some time. This is a cruder and more violent version of the US-sponsored Orange Revolution.

Particularly interesting from the recording is the treatment of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as some sort of junior errand boy for Washington. That explains his cowardly move to rescind Iran's invitation to participate in the Geneva II talks as soon as Secretary Kerry demanded it.

One can only wonder why the government of Ukraine does not rescind Nuland's visa and send her packing back to Washington, along with the US ambassador. No normal country on earth would allow foreign officials to actively plot inside the country with those seeking to overthrow the government.

A final bit of irony in the US government reaction to the bombshell tape is State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki directly accusing the Russian government of being behind the tape and expressing shock -- shock! -- that a foreign government might be spying on the US. "A new low," she called it. It's only OK if we do it!

5---Rising house prices fail to match rising loan loss severities, oc housing

6---Study Confirms Money Turns Left-Wingers Into Stingy Right-Wingers, mark gongloff

The chart shows that nearly 18 percent of people who won 500 pounds or more in the U.K. lottery switched from left-wingers (or non-wingers) into right-wingers after winning.

Many right-wingers will try to convince you their beliefs are based on a sober moral calculus that has nothing to do with base selfishness (unless they're big Ayn Rand fans, that is). They claim to have genuine concern for the poor, but think any sort of wealth redistribution is a terrible affront to justice or the Founding Fathers or Ayn Rand's ghost or whatever.

Many conservatives really are being honest about that -- after all, not all right-wingers are wealthy. And not all wealthy people are right-wingers.

But the lottery-winner study suggests that, for at least some people, beliefs in such conservative policies as tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor are probably based mainly on the morality of "I've got mine, sucker."

7---Stagnation nation, Stiglitz on stagnation, cnbc

Soon after the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, I warned that unless the right policies were adopted, Japanese-style malaise — slow growth and near-stagnant incomes for years to come — could set in. While leaders on both sides of the Atlantic claimed that they had learned the lessons of Japan, they promptly proceeded to repeat some of the same mistakes. Now, even a key former United States official, the economist Larry Summers, is warning of secular stagnation.

The basic point that I raised a half-decade ago was that, in a fundamental sense, the U.S. economy was sick even before the crisis: It was only an asset-price bubble, created through lax regulation and low interest rates, that had made the economy seem robust. Beneath the surface, numerous problems were festering: growing inequality; an unmet need for structural reform (moving from a manufacturing-based economy to services and adapting to changing global comparative advantages); persistent global imbalances; and a financial system more attuned to speculating than to making investments that would create jobs, increase productivity, and redeploy surpluses to maximize social returns....

Policy makers' response to the crisis failed to address these issues; worse, it exacerbated some of them and created new ones — and not just in the U.S....Median real income in the US is below its level in 1989, a quarter-century ago; median income for full-time male workers is lower now than it was more than 40 years ago.....Markets are not self-correcting. The underlying fundamental problems that I outlined earlier could get worse — and many are. Inequality leads to weak demand; widening inequality weakens demand even more; and, in most countries, including the U.S., the crisis has only worsened inequality.

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