The Weekly Tendown September 4-10 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dear Internet:

How long until there's a movement to replace Labor Day with Job Creator Day?

The right wing argument is what - when we cut taxes on corporations, they will create jobs.  Put more money in the hands of the job creators - and that will equal more jobs.

Or not.

There was a debate this week.  Here's what none of the Republican candidates for President said or would ever say about Labor Day.

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

They wouldn't say it because they don't believe it.  They wouldn't say it because to say it would get one labeled a radical, dangerous Marxist.  Obama's labeled a radical, dangerous Marxist, and he wouldn't say it.

Labor is the superior of capital.

What would Fox News have said about that this week?  Anti-American?  Not respectful of 9-11?  Not sufficiently deferential of the job creators who are the real heroes of the economy?  How they'd sneer on Fox&Friends had Obama begun his jobs speech by saying labor is the superior of capital.  They'd say never before in American history had we heard such destructive rhetoric designed to subvert the American economy.  Only someone with a deep seated hatred of the United States would say such a thing.

Labor is the superior of capital.

Do you know who said it?  The President who said it to Congress? The goddamn Marxist we put in the White House who said labor is the superior of capital?

Here's Tendown 93.

1. Hey, It's 9-11.  Time for the Airing of the Grievances.
My thoughts on the tenth anniversary of 9-11?  Here's Greenwald.

We are now enduring a parade of wistful, contemplative, self-regarding pundit-meditations on The Meaning of 9/11 Ten Years Later or, far worse, self-righteous moralizing screeds about the nature of "evil" from war zealots with oceans of blood on their unrepentant hands (if I could impose one media rule, it would be that following every column or TV segment featuring American political commentators dramatically unloading their Where-I-Was-on-9/11-and-how-I-felt tales, there would be similar recollections offered from parents in the Muslim world talking about how their children died from the pre-9/11 acts of the U.S. and its client states or from post-9/11 American bombs, drones, checkpoint shootings and night raids:  just for the sake of "balance," which media outlets claim to crave).  Notwithstanding this somber, collective 9/11 anniversary ritual descending upon us, the reality is that the nation's political and media elite learned no lessons from that attack. 
The mere utterance of the word Terrorism (which now means little more than: violence or extremism by Muslims in opposition to American or Israeli actions and interests) is -- at least for America's political and media class -- as potent in justifying wars, civil liberties assaults, and massive military spending as it was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  And worship of the American military and all that it does -- and a corresponding taboo on speaking ill of it except for tactical critiques (it would be better if they purchased this other weapon system or fought this war a bit differently) -- is the closest thing America has to a national religion.
2. The Other 9-11.
And here's Chomsky

Suppose, for example, that the attack had gone as far as bombing the White House, killing the president, imposing a brutal military dictatorship that killed thousands and tortured tens of thousands while establishing an international terror center that helped impose similar torture-and-terror states elsewhere and carried out an international assassination campaign; and as an extra fillip, brought in a team of economists -- call them “the Kandahar boys” -- who quickly drove the economy into one of the worst depressions in its history. That, plainly, would have been a lot worse than 9/11.
Unfortunately, it is not a thought experiment. It happened. The only inaccuracy in this brief account is that the numbers should be multiplied by 25 to yield per capita equivalents, the appropriate measure. I am, of course, referring to what in Latin America is often called “the first 9/11”: September 11, 1973, when the U.S. succeeded in its intensive efforts to overthrow the democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile with a military coup that placed General Pinochet’s brutal regime in office. The goal, in the words of the Nixon administration, was to kill the “virus” that might encourage all those “foreigners [who] are out to screw us” to take over their own resources and in other ways to pursue an intolerable policy of independent development. In the background was the conclusion of the National Security Council that, if the US could not control Latin America, it could not expect “to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world.”
3. There's Someone Whose Name Was Missing Today

Back in 2004, had you thought about the NFL opening its season on 9-11-11, you would have bet your 401K (back when you still had one) that it would include a league wide tribute to Pat Tillman, at least a patch worn by every player in the league.

Not so much.  Here's Zirin.

In all the scurrying to make sure “9/11 NFL Sunday” is a day to remember, one name is strikingly absent from the press release trumpeting the day’s events: Pat Tillman. After 9/11, Tillman took the extraordinary step of leaving the NFL to join the Army Rangers. His experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed him to question the official rational for the “Global War on Terror.” He read antiwar authors. He told friends that he felt the war in Iraq was “f—in’ illegal.” Then he died at the hands of his fellow Rangers in an instance of what was deemed “friendly fire.” The Pentagon and the Bush administration hid this reality from Pat Tillman’s family. The NFL, for its part, inaugurated a USO center at Bagram Airfield in Pat Tillman’s name without hinting at the complicated realities of either Tillman’s service or his betrayal at the hands of those he trusted. The NFL’s failure to highlight Tillman in this Sunday’s 9/11 tributes is in some ways a relief, but it also reads like an act of cowardice. His story is a polarizing one that Roger Goodell wants to avoid on this day of “unity.”

4. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
That's Ike from 1953.  He, in a way that American Presidents subsequent have been afraid to do, put the cost of military spending in terms of opportunities lost.  In an America where we now say we need to pay for hurricane relief by cutting safety net programs, that's probably an overdue conversation.  

Here's the opportunity cost of the last decade of American war.

– Provide 63.3 Million Scholarships For University Students Every Year For Ten Years
– Give 58.9 Million Children Low-Income Health Care Every Year For Ten Years
– Give 23.6 Million People Access To Low-Income Healthcare Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide 20.68 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide 15.12 Million Head Start Slots For Children Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide Veterans Administration Care For 14.7 Million Military Veterans Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 2.01 Million Firefighters Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 1.76 Million Elementary School Teachers Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 1.73 Million Police Officers Every Year For Ten Years
– Retrofit 69.4 Million Households For Wind Power Every Year For Ten Years
– Retrofit 26 Million Households For Solar Photovoltaic Energy Every Year For Ten Years

5. 10 Years Ago, Bill O'Reilly Said This:

Okay, that's not what he said.  But he did say this:

Remember, the people of any country are ultimately responsible for the government they have.

He was talking about why we should go start bombing Middle Eastern countries.  But as a principle, it's a curious analysis for a conservative to make about 9-11.  

And 10 years ago, Robert McFarlane said this.

"Our principled defense of individual freedom and our reluctance to intervene in the affairs of states harboring terrorists makes us an easy target"

That's Robert McFarlane.  The guy who sold weapons to Iran.  Our reluctance to intervene in the affairs of states harboring terrorists.  Gotta admire the balls on that dude.    

6. And one more.  The American Public Weighs In.

We like Muslims less in September of 2011 than we did in October of 2001.  The power of years of right wing drumbeat in evidence:

In October 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, an ABC News poll showed that a plurality of Americans (47%) had a favorable opinion of Islam, while 39% had an unfavorable response. Over the subsequent years, when the same question was asked, the favorable number declined. In the current poll, only a third (33%) had a generally favorable opinion, while six in ten had an unfavorable 

And half of us still think Iraq was somehow involved in 9-11 and really did have WMD:

Support for the decision to go to war is highly correlated with beliefs held by substantial and undiminishing minorities that Iraq was providing support to al Qaeda (46%) and either had a WMD program or actual WMDs (47%).

What did O'Reilly say?  We are ultimately responsible for the government we have.  

7. The Difference Between Social Security and a Ponzi Scheme
In a second, I'll recap my posting week like I do - I've posted something every day in run up to the beginning of the NFL season.

Shorthand - I want the Niners to go 0-16.  The shortest distance between us and a Super Bowl is Andrew Luck.

Why mention that here?  

Because I'd like you play Counterfactual 2008 with me.

Had McCain won - is the leading Republican contender for the Presidency calling Social Security a ponzi scheme?

And would the Democrats say that Social Security is on the table?

Standard Democratic argument as to why you should vote for them is based on practicality - we're not as bad as they are, these are the two choices, do what's smart.

I don't know if, metaphorically speaking, there's a Super Bowl coming for American progressives.  But I'm not sure the shortest distance to it isn't a Rick Perry Presidency.  And that's as close to 0-16 as we are going to come.

Anyway, here's the difference between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme:

And there's this.

  • Nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.

  • Social Security benefits represent about 41% of the income of the elderly.

  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 54% of married couples and 73% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.

  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 22% of married couples and about 43% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.

  • About 91 percent of workers age 21-64 in covered employment in 2009 and their families have protection in the event of a long-term disability.

  • Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.

  • 67% of the private sector workforce has no long-term disability insurance

  • About one in eight of today’s 20 year-olds will die before reaching age 67.

  • About 97% of persons aged 20-49 who worked in covered employment in 2009 have survivors insurance protection for their young children and the surviving spouse caring for the children.

  • An estimated 157 million workers, 94% of all workers, are covered under Social Security.

    • 50% of the workforce has no private pension coverage.
    • 31% of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement.
    Or, I mean, it's a ponzi scheme.  One or the other.  

    8. Did We Turn Down a Deal for Roy Halladay?

    As it turns out, yes.  The Jays offered the Giants Halladay for 3 pitching prospects, all of whom washed out, in 2003.

    And why is Jeremy Affeldt out for the season?

    He sliced open his hand making hamburgers.

    World Champion Giants?  Yeah, I don't know anything about that.  This stuff.  This is the kind of stuff that makes perfect sense to me.

    If you missed any of them - I wrote every day this week.  My fantasy football top 100 is here. My list of the 100 best players in the NFL is here.  My predictions for the 2011 season are here.  Note that they came out when Peyton Manning was supposed to only miss the first couple of games of the season.  I, however, wrote the following:

    -If you can find a book taking Colts action, look to play the under. Let me be the first person to offer the following "Remember how the Spurs got Duncan" scenario.  Manning misses the season.  The Colts go 3-13 and get the top pick.  I've already written the sign "If the Colts Get Luck, We Riot."

    My Week One picks are here. My unsuccessful attempt to pick college football games was here. And I resumed my look at each NFL franchise's all time roster, which will continue this coming week, here.

    9. She Used to Bang Test

    Stacy Keibler used to date Ric Flair's kid David.  Now, Clooney. Clearly, she won the breakup.  Leaving a locker room filled with Jannettys and giving hopes to Kelly Kellys everywhere.

    I watched 10 four star matches this week.  Some of which you can find at my 2011 Match of the Year post here.

    Ricochet/Generico v Strong/Shelley  4 stars July PWG 
    Yuji v. Suwama 4 ¾ All Japan June
    Ibushi v Taguchi 4 ½ New Japan June
    Yuji v Tanahashi 4 New Japan June
    Go v Akiyama 4 ¾ NOAH August
    Go v. Suguira 5 stars NOAH July
    Kotaro/Aoki v. Kenta/Kanemaru NOAH July 4 1/2
    Kotaro/Aoki v. Kenta/Kanemaru NOAH August 4 3/4
    Davey v. Edwards ROH June 4 3/4 
    Kotaro v. Kanemaru July NOAH 4

    10. My Advice to Adam.  Big Brother Spoiler Alert

    If you either (1) don't care about Big Brother (US version) or (2) do care about Big Brother and don't want the results of the second leg of the final HOH competition (it took place yesterday, the next CBS broadcast is Wednesday's finale) I have nothing else for you this week.  

    So - if anyone's left.

    Spoiler alert...





    Porsche won the second leg; so she and Rachel head to the third leg - and it looks like they would each take the other to the final two regardless of which wins that leg.  Meaning - Adam would be out.

    He recognizes this.

    So - to Adam, who I call Big Brother Louis CK, I offer the following advice.

    Approach the two women differently.

    1. Porsche needs to be strong armed.  It requires that you reduce the chance of being friendly with her post-show, but you want to squeeze Porsche until she pops.  

    If Porsche takes Rachel - she cannot win.  Not, "gosh, I'm the deciding vote, it's gonna be tough."

    But "if you and Rachel are sitting in the final two, you will lose."

    Because you tell her that, obviously, Rachel has Brendon/Jeff/Jordan in her pocket - meaning she just needs one more to guarantee a win.  And you aren't undecided about your vote - you are going to vote for Rachel.  You need to promise Porsche that you will vote for Rachel to win that money.  Your mind is made up - she has played a better game.

    So - Porsche can sit next to Rachel and absolutely, 100% guarantee she loses the game - or she can sit next to you, able to argue to the jury that she beat you and Rachel head to head in the final HOH, and take her shot.

    That's her choice.  

    2. Rachel needs to be flattered.  You started down this road last night, saying if you got to the final two you''d tell the jury you don't deserve to win.  That's a good start.  Rachel can count the jury votes as well as you - what you need to do is tell her there's something even bigger than winning the game in front of her  - it's being acclaimed as maybe the greatest player in BB history.

    You tell Rachel that you will make her argument to the jury for her - in fact, you should be writing it now to give it to her Monday.  Tell her that if Porsche is sitting next to her, she risks losing - Porsche has two guaranteed votes, a real possibility of a third with Shelly, and maybe a 4th with you.

    But next to you - she wins 7-0.  You will tell that group they are not real BB players if they pick you.  They would be dishonoring the game by picking you.  They need to put their personal feelings aside - and this is where you remind Rachel that there are 3 people in that jury who really, really, dislike her in a way that might cause them to vote for Porsche over her - and do what's good for the game.

    You tell Rachel that your speech to the jury will get Dani to vote to give Rachel half a million dollars.

    She can take Porsche and take her chances.  Or - she can take you and possibly leave Wednesday as the greatest BB player who ever lived.

    That's it.

    I'm not of the mind that Adam's played a bad game - BB is a really hard game to win, Evil Dick's game won, but so did Jordan's.  Adam's a floater and that worked for him.  Rachel's Rachel and that worked for her.  When Kalia hectored Adam "make a big move" - she was wrong.  He didn't need to make a big move then.

    But now - now he can't be go with the current nice guy who watches 90210 Adam.  He needs to pressure Porsche and absolutely flat lie to Rachel.  His one argument to make to the jury is that he was able to talk his way into the final two.  If he can maneuver his way into one of those seats - and then reveal, completely, how he did it - that he made one of these two arguments and somehow, it worked, then maybe he slips into the money.

    I'd guess he won't.  I'd guess its Rachel and Porsche and Rachel wins - and that's an unsatisfying, but fair result.  I'd vote for her too.  

    But there's a path for Adam.  A twisty path, but one nonetheless.

    That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

    Your pal,


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