In the Caribbean of the late and immortal Capa, José R. Capablanca, any elementary schoolchild who has just, just learned the rudiments of setting up a chessboard, will know and remember two basic conventions: white square last on the right, and the queen ‘takes her colour’. Kinda easy, n’est-ce pas?
Not so – not if you’re one of those US legislators who never fail to surprise with their self-assured cluelessness. And this time it is a Senator Ted Cruz. We allow each waiter to pour the ridicule. From mediaite, we get Senator Ted Cruz Doesn’t Know How To Set Up His $800 Chess Board
[To imagine that a nice Staunton set of felted wood pieces would fetch a far lower price, and could come with even a book of instructions like Chess for Dummies.]
And even from NYMag comes, a more diluted, Ted Cruz Might Not Know How to Set Up a Chess Board
And, no need to mention, the Senator is a graduate from an ‘Ivy League’ university – just as George W. Bush.
Of course, such esteemed folk are the very ones with the blood lust, ever ready to attack or undermine some country, of which not one would be embarrassed to expose abysmal ignorance. Such proud, resolute ignorance. Excepcional.
The quibble with the outstanding Prof Krugman has been his, at times, mighty efforts at self-restraint in using the obvious, apposite language. This was evident in his article of some time ago, Robots and Robber Barons, where he dallied ever so briefly with Karl Marx, before moving briskly on – something not lost on Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer with their, When Mainstream Economists Discover Karl Marx.
Yet how time flies. Today, more unbeholden and ever more irreverent, he calls the 1%, the, well, the (cupidinous) 1%, and unapologetically so – but with the usual strong evidence and argument, unlike the shrill incantations of the evangelists of the exalted set. And he does so with his, Plutocrats Feeling Persecuted.
So here’s what Mr. Benmosche did in an interview with The Wall Street Journal: He compared the uproar over bonuses to lynchings in the Deep South — the real kind, involving murder — and declared that the bonus backlash was “just as bad and just as wrong.”
Strange fruit? Send in Billie Holiday? Such a show of unbridled arrogance and sense of unchallengeable exceptionalism would ensure a ‘no more Mr Nice Guy’ and more incisive use of language. That such offensive language from the entitled 1% would have attracted so little attention from corporate media, the voice of the plutocracy, is perfectly understandable. [Even more evidence that PK remains one of the few redeeming features of NYT, and more than worth the limited non-paying access ]
Richard Wolff would explain further that the manna from heaven that the corporate MSM claims is falling on the undeserving and increasingly disadvantaged masses is anything but manna. No showers of blessings. His article, Recovery Hype: American Capitalism’s Weapon of Mass Distraction, says it all. One example of cynical distraction:
Hyping a recovery helps politicians to boost their popularity (or at least, slow its decline). It also serves to give masses of people with growing economic difficulties the impression that “other people” are experiencing a recovery. So they blame themselves (their age, skill set, education and so on) for missing out. The recovery hype thereby functions as a massive “blame-the-victim” program, in which a dysfunctional capitalism escapes criticism, while its victims instead turn criticism inward upon themselves.
One inescapable conclusion is this – those who abandon subscriptions to complicit corporatist US cable or its printed news will be not only less disadvantaged economically, such fortunates will also be less uninformed and more knowledgeable. And will have their intelligence less insulted.
Plutocrats feeling persecuted? Those insensitive poor should be truly ashamed of their victimising such wretched innocents.
No bombardment with clichés. No torture of language.
And three exceptional articles from exceptional blogs that bring even biting irony, dripping sarcasm to the doctrine of exceptionalism, a doctrine derided and repudiated by all but the self-deluded – Hellfire or Tomahawk missile or not.
Over at commondreams comes a post from Tom Engelhardt, The American Exceptionalism Sweepstakes
And from firedoglake comes a sardonic look at still persistent, nationalistic self-delusion, Frankie’s exceptional exceptions to American Exceptionalism And, from the opulence of the Vatican, can come chastising words to the plutocrats, we know the Last Rites should not be far away…
And, again, from firedoglake, a thoughtful look at realising the dream of Ending One War, Ending All Wars Another day of death and destruction in Iraq or Libya – yet scantily reported on without context? Crime and punishment? Yes, ‘Republican’, ‘Democrat’, same difference – near complete corporate control and agenda, clearly no ‘shining example of democracy’ for the world.
…such blogs, harbingers of the inexorable passage of the discredited MSM into terminal irrelevance. Now that is exceptional…
Galileo Galilei would be confused.
After all, he did have to use his telescope, something very, very few had then, and also had to apply some serious maths in his astronomy, knowledge and skills way beyond most of his day. And there was the challenge of those orbiting distant and close planets including earth, which were a bit too large to show folk in Tuscany or Rome to prove his theory and discovery. And in any case, the general public had no option but to believe the religious and Aristotelian truth that the planets orbited the earth – the heresy business could be brutal for body and mind.
So this present challenge should be a no-brainer, no challenge, right? All the data and evidence are out there, readily available for even an economics senior to analyse and reach the obvious conclusion? Wrong. Just like Galileo, analysts in an enlightened western world face similar rejection and ridicule – the new religion of Crony Capitalism has declared the reality to be a fiction. No matter how detailed and clear the analysis, though not in Latin, the verdict of the corporate media, ‘Heresy!’
Repudiation of the Reinhart-Rogoff advocacy of that famous ‘fiscal cliff’, inconclusive in their GITD, did not mean the religious truth of Expansionary Austerity would not remain received doctrine for the faithful. Thus, Krugman would state, in referring to a chart on government purchases in his The Depressed Economy Is All About Austerity,
As you can see, the gap is large and has been growing rapidly; it’s currently at about 400 billion 2009 dollars, or more than 2 1/2 percent of GDP. Given reasonable multipliers, this suggests that real GDP is somewhere between 3 and 3.75 percent lower than it would have been without the austerity. And given the usual Okun’s Law rule of half a point of unemployment per point of GDP, this in turn says that without the austerity we’d have an unemployment rate well under 6 percent, maybe even under 5.5 percent.
And that unemployment rate is not the more realistic U6. Read the rest of this entry »
Trust us. Famous last words.
So with the Audacity of Hope a salesman at the UNGA on Tuesday tried to explain to an ungrateful world how the US is safeguarding the interests of the countries, institutions and their inhabitants. And the US does so without cost to such nations.
Thus, we can only conclude that Dilma in her address at the UNGA immediately before failed to understand and fully appreciate the wonderful benefits accruing to Brazil and Brazilians from the exhaustive spying conducted by the NSA. Skeptics would consider NSA activities to be based on motives totally distinct from anticipating and deterring terrorism.
Indeed, at CEPR Stephan Lefebvre seems to support the President of Brazil in his, Dilma Speaks Out Against Spying and Boeing “Top Salesman” Obama May Lose $4 Billion Deal
Actually, Obama recently spoke out about how his administration’s policies are affecting Boeing, but he chose not to emphasize the fallout over NSA surveillance. During a meeting of the U.S. President’s Export Council two days after Dilma cancelled her trip, Obama had this to say:
I think Jim [McNerney, Chairman and CEO of Boeing], at least, will confirm that I’m happy to go out and make sales. I’m expecting a gold watch — (laughter) — from Boeing at the end of my presidency, because I know that I’m on the list of top salesmen at Boeing. And that applies to all of you.
Of course, such economic, industrial and political espionage by the NSA is to the exclusive benefit not of the US but rather of Brazil – and all the other countries spied on, not so? After all, the US President says, ‘Trust us’. Surely, no jester, he? And gold watch (and significant remuneration) guaranteed.
At the 68th Annual Meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday 24th September, the embarrassment would continue and increasingly so – but some would remain unrecognizing of embarrassment, being exceptional and solely from their own perspective.
Unlike the discourtesy of a speech to the General Assembly that was three times the expected length, the President of Brazil would include in her address the issue of wide-scale espionage conducted by the NSA of the US on Brazil in particular. And that she did within the allotted time. Julian Borger of The Guardian strives to be evenhanded, yet with the predictable ‘tilt’ to a ‘well-meaning’ US, with his Brazilian president: US surveillance a ‘breach of international law’
“As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country,” the Brazilian president said. She was imprisoned and tortured for her role in a guerilla movement opposed to Brazil‘s military dictatorship in the 1970s.
[Bold added for emphasis]
Moral underpinnings and accomplishments of substance? No need to mention which exceptionalist country had provided strong support to that dictatorship (and others), trifling matter glossed over by the establishment media. After all, who are ‘the good guys’? Read the rest of this entry »