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Archive for June, 2013

Tea Party Leader Dick Armey’s Piggish Ways With Women

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2013

I was reading the first page of this article on Poor Widdle Rich Boy Dick Armey’s being booted as chief mouthpiece for the FreedomWorks piece of the Big-Business-financed Astroturf called “the Tea Party” when this passage stopped me cold:

It was 1983, and Dick Armey needed a new job. He had once been happy at North Texas State University, whose faculty he had joined in 1972. He began economics classes by reciting: “Armey’s Axiom Number One: The market’s rational; the government’s dumb.” He spun dry academic concepts into engaging lessons—using, for example, Al Capone’s crime syndicate to explain market-sharing cartels. Students voted Armey their favorite professor.

By the early 1980s, though, North Texas State’s campus in Denton was growing increasingly liberal and politically correct, and Armey felt out of place. “I had to get out of there,” he says.

So Dick Armey says “political correctness” drove him from academia to politics. Is that his euphemism for the fact that a growing number of female students were complaining about what they considered his grabassery and the fear that he would not grade their papers fairly if they didn’t submit to his advances?

From Miriam Rozen’s 1995 Dallas Observer article on the subject (h/t Salon):

Susan Aileen White, who earned her master’s in economics from North Texas in 1976, says she took offense at what she regarded as Armey’s inappropriate behavior with female students. Armey often flirted with undergraduate women before and after class, she says. Two other economics graduate students at the time, Anna Weniger, now an economist for the New Mexico legislature, and Anne Marie Best, now an economics professor at Lamar
University, echo those complaints.

Weniger is now the mother of two. But at the time she studied at North Texas, she was an attractive single woman in her early 20s. She had contact with Armey as a graduate student in the economics department. She recalls that Armey’s behavior toward her was “inappropriate.” She says she does not remember the details of what Armey said or did. But she left the university for several months beginning in the spring of 1976, partly because of Armey’s behavior. (She also says she was distraught because her father was ill and her parents were going through a divorce.) Her mother confirms that her daughter left school abruptly, citing problems she had with a “Professor
Armey,” and considered not going back. Weniger recalls she complained to a fellow student about Armey. The colleague conferred with a professor in the economics department, Bullock Hyder, now deceased. Weniger recalls speaking to Hyder on her telephone from her mother’s home in New Jersey and that when she told him about what had happened, he said, “Oh, is that Dick Armey bird-dogging again?”

Armey’s marital history hints that he doesn’t think of women as anything other than objects put on earth for man’s (and especially his) personal use and pleasure. Again, from the Observer article:

Dick and Jeanine Gael Armey had met in college in North Dakota, and married the day he earned his bachelors degree. (She declined to talk about her ex-husband for this story.) She filed first for divorce, citing “discord and conflict of personalities…”

Armey’s brother Charley, who has stayed close with his first wife, says Jeanine Gale, who had a master’s in education and taught school, was “a women’s libber” who didn’t put Armey’s needs first. Armey’s second wife, Susan,
his brother says, is nearly the opposite.

Just in case this wasn’t entirely clear, the article provides the following information:

[E]conomists, including the well-known liberal Harvard professor John Kenneth Galbraith, had referred to housewives as “crypto-slaves,” whose work was undervalued in American society.

In a paper entitled “A Realistic View of the Relative Income Shares of Male and Female Homemakers,” Armey offered a contrarian point of view: that a housewife was overpaid.

The notion that housewives are slave labor is “a complete misrepresentation,” Armey wrote. Because a housewife, in
theory, receives half her husband’s income, she makes out like a bandit, he concluded. After all, half the median income of married couples amounted to more than the “market value” of the hours a homemaker logged as a nursemaid, cook, dishwasher, and laundress, he concluded. Because the theoretical housewife’s husband probably chipped in and performed 25 percent of the household chores, Armey wrote, there was even more reason to believe the woman was overpaid by the measures of the outside world.

Armey conceded his theory ran into a problem when a couple divorced, and the husband-’employer’ abruptly left the housewife in the lurch. “Unfortunately this is the chance she takes when she elects marriage and non-pecuniary employment,” he wrote.

Dick Armey, living up to his name. Remember, this is the guy who, like Henry Hyde, Dan Burton, and Helen Chenoweth had the hypocritical effrontery to get shirty about Bill Clinton’s sex life.


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Union Edge on Mexican miners

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2013

Via Union Edge, Mexican Mineworkers, Metalworkers, and Silverworkers president Napoleon Gomez speaks about issues affecting miners. He is in exile in Canada.

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Scahill and Greenwald

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2013

Via Quentin Compson at DK.

BTW, Greenwald says the NSA is in fact storing every phone call. You can hear it at about 40 minutes into the talk.

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Did Venezuelan opposition seek US coup?

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2013

That’s what the Venezuelan government is claiming in releasing a recording of a conversation between two opposition figures.

Ryan Mallett-Outrim, Venezuela Analysis:

The Venezuelan government released a recording that allegedly shows that one of the leaders head of the country’s opposition coalition discussed a possible coup with U.S. State Department officials.

On Wednesday morning the Minister of Communication and Information, Ernesto Villegas and Caracas mayor Jorge Rodriguez released an audio recording that they alleged showed opposition legislator Maria Corina Machado speaking to a Venezuelan academic, Germán Carrera Damas.

In the recording, Machado discusses the outcome of the April 14 presidential election. She states that the head of the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable’s (MUD) Ramon Guillermo Aveledo advocated for a “coup” or other destabilisation plan to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

When presenting the recording to Venezuelan media, Rodriguez stated that the material was handed to the him by an opposition activist, commenting that its content “violates the constitution in a terrifying way”.

The opposition has previously released a recording suggesting that General Diosdado Cabello is engaged in corruption and plotting against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. A journalist whose voice is heard in the recording says that the tape is “a set-up.”

Posted in Venezuela, wiretapping | 3 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on June 28, 2013

Conquering Mt. Sofa.

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 3 Comments »

Alex is coming!

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2013

Posted in Just for fun | 2 Comments »

EvilOlive, ShellTrumpet, MoonlightPath, Spinneret, Transient Thurible, XKS DeepDive: NSA’s answer to the Fourth Amendment

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2013

The program code names are the first step in figuring out exactly what the NSA was really doing. It seems to me that a good question to ask is whether they had our allies do what would have been illegal in the US (frail though our legal protections may be).

Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian:

The NSA called it the “One-End Foreign (1EF) solution”. It intended the program, codenamed EvilOlive…

This new system, SSO stated in December, enables vastly increased collection by the NSA of internet traffic.

It continued: “After the EvilOlive deployment, traffic has literally doubled.”

The scale of the NSA’s metadata collection is highlighted by references in the documents to another NSA program, codenamed ShellTrumpet.

On December 31, 2012, an SSO official wrote that ShellTrumpet had just “processed its One Trillionth metadata record”.

Another SSO entry, dated February 6, 2013, described ongoing plans to expand metadata collection. A joint surveillance collection operation with an unnamed partner agency yielded a new program “to query metadata” that was “turned on in the Fall 2012”. Two others, called MoonLightPath and Spinneret, “are planned to be added by September 2013.”

A substantial portion of the internet metadata still collected and analyzed by the NSA comes from allied governments, including its British counterpart, GCHQ.

An SSO entry dated September 21, 2012, announced that “Transient Thurible, a new Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) managed XKeyScore (XKS) Deep Dive was declared operational.” The entry states that GCHQ “modified” an existing program so the NSA could “benefit” from what GCHQ harvested.

Posted in NSA eavesdropping, wiretapping | Comments Off on EvilOlive, ShellTrumpet, MoonlightPath, Spinneret, Transient Thurible, XKS DeepDive: NSA’s answer to the Fourth Amendment

The Irish discuss Obama

Posted by Charles II on June 25, 2013

Clare Daly of United Left Alliance TD holds forth.

Posted in Just for fun | Comments Off on The Irish discuss Obama

The loss of our national influence is nothing to cheer

Posted by Charles II on June 24, 2013

Crossposted from a comment on DK

The US has made serious policy blunders under two administrations, leading to a decline in influence. For several reasons, this should trouble and alarm us all.

1. A decline in one power means that power vacuums open up and the likelihood of armed conflict rises. This is most dangerous in Asia, where rising nationalist sentiments in Japan and China, coupled with declining American power, have led to skirmishes. In Latin America, the risk of armed conflict between states is lower, but in Honduras, a narcostate seems to be emerging, Mexico is suffering internal conflict, and there have been confrontations between, e.g. Colombia and Venezuela.

2. All hegemons suck, but some suck worse than others. So far, the U.S. has not been as oppressive as many Great Powers. China, notably, is unlikely to be a benevolent ruler if U.S. power is displaced.

3. A decline in influence means a decline in national efficacy. There are big problems that need to be dealt with urgently (climate change, declining productivity of the oceans, etc.) and on an international level. If the U.S. ceases to be a world leader, it’s difficult to see which nation will replace it. At a time when we need to work together, there could well be anarchy.

The Snowden story is an iconic tragedy. Written large, it is the story of America’s decline. A young, intelligent, idealistic American exercises the greatest of the fundamental freedoms: the freedom to say no, the freedom to speak out in witness against wrongdoing, the freedom to leave a system that he feels has become unjust. The system, instead of taking stock of how the revelations look to the world, behaves in a manner that simply confirms what he has said by failing to explain or perhaps apologize for the alleged abuses, by shouting traitor rather than vowing to end any abuses, and by trying to strongarm other nations into handing him over.

There are many other Americans who have stood up for what they felt was right and have been trampled by the power of corporations and the state. (Based on the literature on whistleblowing) Probably over 1 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed because they have been punished for doing the right thing. Reporters like Bob Parry and Gary Webb tried to stand up against the decline in our media and were trampled. Wal-Mart workers trying to take a stand against unfair labor practices are fired. And so on.

Cumulatively, the uncorrected wrongs they couldn’t stop add up to our national illness.

Punishing Snowden will not cure anything. Our national treatment of him is, rather, exacerbating our national decline.
Added: The witch hunt atmosphere could also induce Snowden to flip and to divulge everything he knows to the Russians, the Chinese, or whoever, in exchange for asylum. So, what the US is doing is stupid and counterproductive even from the narrow vantage point of achieving what the elites want, namely to arrest Snowden and make an example of him. A successful strategy would have been to low key it to try to keep Snowden silent until he was in custody. No better example of the rampant incompetence at top leadership levels could be adduced.

Posted in abuse of power, NSA eavesdropping, wiretapping | 7 Comments »

The Death Spiral Of Futile Leftism

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 24, 2013

This is a few months old, but it resonates strongly with me:

The biggest challenge facing the left or any minority movement is convincing people to spend their time, energy, and other resources working with them. Most people, especially those people you should want to attract to your side, do not want to waste their time doing things that will achieve nothing. It is hard enough convincing someone that a minority movement can win, but that difficulty is compounded many times over when the movement itself is full of the type of people who do not actually care about winning. A person who remarks that they do not want to get involved because it looks like a bunch of self-congratulating actions that never lead to anything has a totally accurate assessment of the state of things.

What you get when the futile purity cultists take hold is a death spiral of increasing incompetence and futility. Those interested in futile nonsense are basically the only people attracted to thing: so their numbers hold steady or swell. Those opposed to futile nonsense flood out or never join to begin with. Futile leftism just begets more futile leftism because anyone halfway sensible would never bother to waste their time with it.

Let’s go back to something Professor Richard Wolff said over two years ago:

Organisation is what the US left lacks. Not issues, not members, not a wide public audience: the US left now has all of them in abundance. Indeed, the economic crisis that exploded in 2008 – now becoming a social crisis because the “recovery” bypassed the majority that needed it most – has only enhanced that abundance. Yet, a deeply rooted and continuously nurtured aversion to unified organisation undermines the US left’s social influence and collective action at every turn. The decline of past left organisations – the socialist and communist parties, student groups such as SDS, SNCC, major segments of organised labor – has fostered a sense of the futility of organisation. The demonisation of those and other left organisations, by liberal as well as conservative voices, renders individual left thought and action sometimes acceptable but collective criticism and activity always deeply suspect.

Or what he said more recently: Read the rest of this entry »

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