Friday, October 03, 2008

"Patriotic Grace" 

I just listened to Noonan on NPR's On Point, discussing her new book Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now.  I should have turned off the radio, but instead listened with the special rapt repugnance one reserves for listening to brutal child rapes through the wall of a neighboring apartment.

Noonan isn't so much lamenting the rise of vulgarity and the decline of "patriotic grace" in politics as much as she is scolding the masses for having a very bad attitude about Washington.  Fortunately (this seemed to be Noonan's actual thesis) this situation will be remedied whether we like it or not when a massive terrorist attack will teach the people an important lesson about helping one another and remind them who's really in charge.  Thus a "New Unity" will be established.

You can buy the book here.

A glimpse into the near future? 

From an episode of The Simpsons set to air Nov. 2:

arbeit mach frei 

The bailout passes!

All Hail the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie!

The proposal of any new law or regulation which comes from [businessmen], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.

-- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

The "tax" on "small" "businesses" 

Last night Palin tried again to claim that Obama's proposal to rescind the Bush tax cuts on incomes over $250,000 amounted to a tax increase on small business that would result in job losses.

Uh, can we talk about this real quick?

Now that I've been self-employed for a little while (I know some of you guys have been doing this for years) I've learned a lot about taxes. Palin's claim is based on the fact that for many self-employed people, the "profit" from your business activities (aka the money you make after deducting business expenses) is recorded on a form called Schedule C and then "passes through" to your 1040. In other words, the money you make as a self-employed person is taxed as though it were plain old income. So in theory, if you are self-employed and earning over $250k, you'll pay more in taxes, just as you would if you had an ordinary job that paid over $250k.

So Palin's theory is that lots of small business owners -- not self-employed people but owners of actual businesses that hire and employ actual staff -- are using Schedule C and allowing their business profits to pass through as personal income.

That may be the case, but with all due respect those small business owners are fucking retards who need to get a better accountant and educate themselves about the tax code. I mean, if you have a real small business with real employees, you really ought to become, like, an actual LLC or other corporation. Then your profits are taxed at the corporate rate, which is much lower than the marginal rate for almost any personal income tax bracket.

And if that paperwork is too complicated, they can at least become a "S corporation." Under this designation, the business owner pays himself a small "salary" out of the profits. This salary is taxed as income, so you set this salary as low as you reasonably can. Then, you pay the rest of the profits to yourself as a dividend, which is taxed at a much lower rate than personal income.

Plus, even if you stay as a "C corporation" -- the default setting, in which you file Schedule C and all your profit passes through to you as income -- there are zillions of deductions out there that you can use to reduce the amount of "profit" you have to report. There's everything from the use of a room in your house (which makes a portion of your rent and utilities deductible) to a much, much more generous IRA deduction that allows you to deduct almost 25% of your income.

So this claim of Palin and McCain's is really groundless. Plus, the vast majority of what they're characterizing as "small business" -- taxpayers using Schedule C or Schedule S -- are either individual freelance workers who employ nobody or people living off investments and dividends.

It's true that any self-employed person or small business owner has to pay the self-employment tax. If you work for a company, you pay half the social security and FICA and the company pays the other half. But if you work for yourself you have to pay it all -- this other half is the self-employment tax and is basically an extra 7% on the first $100k you make. BUT -- nobody is talking about eliminating the self-employment tax. Nobody. That shit is never going to go away.

"Crisis" as shock 

With the amount of time I felt like investing, I couldn't find the isolated clip, but let the whole show load in and then skip to about halfway through to watch Colbert interviewing Naomi Klein, who is stunningly impressive and matches him line for line.

Random VP debate thoughts 

The people running McCain/Palin '08 are not good at what they do. They should have sent Palin on a balls-out kamikaze attack mission tonight. That would have been the correct move -- either she does real damage to Obama/Biden that swings the momentum, or else she crashes and burns so badly that McCain can get rid of her and replace her with Romney. I mean, what does McCain care about the risk of a train wreck? She already was a train wreck. And thanks to YouTube the train wreck will be replayed a zillion times anyway. So they made the wrong choice, played it safe, and got nothing out of this. The state of the race is still status quo, and the status quo for McCain right now is free fall.

Plus, not only does McCain not reverse the momentum of the race, but he is still stuck with Palin! And on the key question of whether she's qualified to be president, there is no statistically significant movement in the snap polls. Even worse, the Troopergate report is coming out October 10, which means more Palin-related damage is on the way. And now that she "went toe to toe" with Biden it will be much harder for Palin to dodge Couric-style interview requests or press conferences, but she is still likely to crash and burn in those encounters.

So I definitely disagree with predictions like this one from Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight --

I suspect that the Sarah Palin chapter of the campaign is largely over.

-- which is similar to this headline from that clown Mark Halperin:

The Race, Status Quo Ante; For Palin, Late Night Jokes Could Cease

Why is the Palin coverage and ridicule not going to end until Election Night? Because people want to watch it. If the election isn't going to revert to a tight race, the media needs to find some way to attract viewers to the story. And don't tell me that Tina Fey won't play Palin on the SNL episode coming up within 48 hours of the VP debate.

I think all of this is great for Obama. McCain's campaign is run by fools, the impression of Palin as unprepared and problematic has improved slightly but also -- importantly -- solidified, the sideshow will continue in its current form until Nov. 4, and McCain cannot get rid of her.

This was their one shot, and they blew it. McCain better start hoping another bin Laden tape drops soon.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Electoral Map with Lots of Blue on It 

Just a moment of enjoyment before the inevitable shitstorm of McCage smear ads and media "narrative" acquiescence makes the race "tight" again.

One cool thing at electoral-vote.com is their "This Day in 2004" function.  So here is today's Obama/McCage map, and here is the Kerry/Bush map from Oct. 2 2004.

Aside from the obvious fact that Obama is doing better than Kerry was, one thing I notice is the difference in the strength of their respective support in blue states.  At this time in 2004, Kerry was polling 50% or better in only seven states.  Today, Obama's at 50% or better in nineteen--count 'em, nineteen--states.

His support--at least right now--is just far more solid than Kerry's was.

You know something? 

These are a bunch of smug assholes.


She's really smarter than you think.


For maximum interpretive accuracy while watching tonight's debate, I suggest watching it with the sound off. This will give you the best idea of what will be discussed afterward.

Some recent lead headlines... 

...from the "Entertainment" page of the HuffingtonPost:

"Sandra Bernhard Cut From Benefit After Palin Gang-Rape Joke"


"Hustler Produces Palin-Lookalike Porn"

Read up!

And in other news: "Nude portrait of Sarah Palin hung in Chicago tavern":

this guy really IS new! 

Wow. See, traditionally you're supposed to wait until after the election to start stabbing your constituents in the back. Not this guy! He's changin' it up already! Welsh:

I can't think of any way to sugar coat this, I'm afraid. It's a bad bill and it isn't just that Barack Obama voted for it, it's that everything I'm hearing from the Hill says that he's been actively whipping it, not just in the Senate but in the House. Barack didn't hold his nose and vote for this, he made it his bill as much as it is Paulson's.

With this bill go your chances of having, say, universal health care, or massive infrastructure development, or really getting the US of its dependence on foreign oil, or really rebuilding America's school system—or whatever other big, expensive project you thought Obama was promising. 700 billion is a lot of money, and in the end this is almost certainly going to cost even more than that. Probably at least 1.5 trillion. (The technical term, I believe, is 'good money after bad').


Instead, as usual, it's the middle class that gets to pay. And it's Barack Obama who turned to Nancy Pelosi and Reid and said "this bill must pass". It's Obama who is whipping votes and bending arms for this despite the fact that it is massively unpopular. This is Obama's bill.


Americans are being robbed, reverse Robin Hood style. Take money from ordinary folks, hand it directly to the rich. That's Obama's first real act as the presumptive President and as the Democratic party's de-facto leader.


I’ll support him over McCain, but he is effectively a moderate Republican at heart and I will be in opposition the day after the election, because he clearly cannot be trusted to do the right thing unless his ass is in the fire.

I will also predict right now that he is a one term president. He will be lucky to not be impeached in 2011 by the Republicans when they take control of the house, which he has made virtually certain of these last two weeks. Because no, this isn’t going to work, but it is going to cost a lot of money to not work.

Fundamental Disagreement 

Sorry to keep posting TPM video, but these clips of McCage in the meeting with the Des Moines Register ed. board are just mind-boggling.  I guess I really haven't seen that much of McCage on camera.  But I couldn't believe how much he reminded me of my former boss (also a former military officer).  That guy loved all manner of collegial repartee, including self-deprecation, as long as he was certain of your complete subordinance.  Once he felt "crossed"--particularly in instances where he was in the wrong and knew it and so couldn't actually address the content of the issue--this deep well of paranoid aggression would surge forth.  He would simply bully people, in this same "teeth-gritting" manner, into nodding along with him.  The underling--by virtue of having drawn attention to his hypocrisy or injustice or what have you--became the thing to be destroyed.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

true things 

John Gray from LSE:

In parliamentary democracies, governments get defeated from time to time on votes of non confidence. The government falls and there is an election to form a new government. In the US, a defeat of the government on a vote in the House ordinarily has no political significance. Business as usual slouches on. In short, the US is not a parliamentary democracy. It never has been.

Following the second world war, however, the two-party presumption was grafted onto the already un-parliamentary system. But even that duopoly was further constrained by a bipartisan foreign policy and an anti-Communist ideology. In effect, the US became a one-party state with an imperial presidency and a politically-impotent legislature. The essence of democratic political power resides in the possibility that an opposition may bring down -- not merely obstruct -- the government.

Monday's defeat of the bailout bill occurred at a propitious time and under extraordinary circumstances. The coincidence of an already scheduled election made the vote a de-facto no confidence vote. And the fact that the bill was supported by the leadership of both parties made it explicit who the ruling party actually was -- not the Democrats, not the Republicans but the center-right bipartisan party. That governing party suffered a humiliating defeat. The Republican contingent of the BPP suffered an even more profound defeat. A leadership that is repudiated by two-thirds of its constituents has no legitimacy.

"Lame" duck is not the anatomically accurate metaphor for what remains of George W. Bush's administration. Castrated is. The Republican House leadership is walking dead. Congressional Democrats have no mandate, a situation Speaker Pelosi conceded two years ago.

The government has fallen. But the one-party bipartisan non-parliamentary system, which has so successfully insulated itself from political consequences for 60 years virtually assures that this political crisis will not be resolved through the upcoming elections. Resolving the crisis will require dismantling that non-parliamentary regime, the American counterpart to the failed Soviet state.

h/t Sandwichman

The Bottom 

Paul Reyes' essay in the October Harper's, "Bleak houses: Digging through the ruins of the mortgage crisis," offers a fascinating and horribly depressing picture of what the mortgage crisis looks like from Ground Zero, as it were. Reyes' father operates a crew out of Tampa whose job is to break into (usually deserted, but sometimes not) foreclosed homes, clear out mind-boggling messes of left-behind garbage, and get the houses ready to be placed back on the market (by the banks who now own them) or on the block at these insane foreclosure auctions. Reyes' father works as a kind of team with his second wife, who is a foreclosure agent for a bank. Reyes travels home to work with his father and crew on these jobs, and the essay is an account of these experiences.

One fascinating angle is the trans-class aspect of the crash: while most of the homes in this account are low-end, a good deal are also condos and McMansions. Also, while most of the former homeowners were people who got scammed into shady adjustable-rate loan deals, some are themselves scammers--e.g., a party from New York who came down to Florida, bought a condo, took out a whole string of loans, squeezed every penny of equity out of the property (and actually more than every penny, to the extent that the loans added up to well over the market value of the home), and then defaulted on everything and scampered back to New York, leaving the lenders holding their respective bags and the Reyes family to clean up the mess.


No Blinking 

Perhaps all the mirth has chilled into dread in advance of tomorrow's debate, but for those who haven't yet succumbed to Sarahmania fatigue, or who missed any of the key interview clips, here's TPM's highlight reel:

Counterpoints welcome 

As someone who doesn't really know shit about what the fuck has been going on the last couple of weeks, I find this take persuasive-- and I'm eager for counterpoints. Who's got 'em? "Read some Marx 101," you out there?

I have certainly found suspicious the recent refrain coming from friends and populists on the tube alike that things are as simple as "fuck Wall Street," as though what happens there has nothing to do with us. Economics are about connectivity-- I know that much.

Now, is the bailout the right solution? Saw Kucinich on Maddow, and he was arguing that the solution would be to give the zillions to individuals to pay off their mortgages, restoring the value of the debt from the bottom up. This certainly sounds good, at least in theory. As it amounts to something close to socialized housing, however, I'm guessing there might be some difficulty in pushing that forward.


Some elegant information design to allay fears of GOP hegemony:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Palin Reads Any and All Magazines 

Full new interview segment here.

Banana man. 

Don't look now, it's the banana man!!! And he's gone bananas!

Monday, September 29, 2008


A 54% donation difference from banks and securities firms:

All House Members//// Average Amount Received

Voting Yes................................$231,877
Voting No..................................$150,982

Voting Yes................................$212,700
Voting No..................................$107,993

Voting Yes................................$273,181
Voting No..................................$181,688

h/t MojoBlog

In other news... 

I'm sure we'll see a lot of this after the Bush gang leaves in disgrace: leaders who have made their careers on jingoism and murder finally, having lost it all, admitting what they have always been.

This has happened in Israel in the case of Ehud "Asshole" Olmert, who has essentially recanted everything he has ever said or done in public. (As I write this, I am remembering that I posted something very similar about another Israeli leader a few years ago -- but I can't remember specifically who the post was about. The classic example is Atwater in the U.S.)

Anyway, from the Times:

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview published on Monday that Israel must withdraw from nearly all of the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem to attain peace with the Palestinians and that any occupied land it held onto would have to be exchanged for the same quantity of Israeli territory.

He also dismissed as “megalomania” any thought that Israel would or should attack Iran on its own to stop it from developing nuclear weapons, saying the international community and not Israel alone was charged with handling the issue.

In an unusually frank and soul-searching interview granted after he resigned to fight corruption charges — he remains interim prime minister until a new government is sworn in — Mr. Olmert discarded longstanding Israeli defense doctrine and called for radical new thinking, in words that are sure to stir controversy as his expected successor, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, tries to build a coalition.

“What I am saying to you now has not been said by any Israeli leader before me,” Mr. Olmert told the newspaper Yediot Aharonot in the interview on the occasion of the Jewish new year, observed from Monday evening till Wednesday evening. “The time has come to say these things.”

He said that traditional Israeli defense strategists had learned nothing from past experiences and that they seemed stuck in the considerations of the 1948 war of independence.

“With them, it is all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop and that hilltop,” he said. “All these things are worthless.”

He added, “Who thinks seriously that if we sit on another hilltop, on another hundred meters, that this is what will make the difference for the State of Israel’s basic security?”

Over the last year, Mr. Olmert has publicly castigated himself for his earlier right-wing views and he did so again in this interview. On Jerusalem, for example, he said: “I am the first who wanted to enforce Israeli sovereignty on the entire city. I admit it. I am not trying to justify retroactively what I did for 35 years. For a large portion of these years, I was unwilling to look at reality in all its depth.”

Great that he figured this out now. I wonder how he feels about his attempt to depopulate South Lebanon. Well, if he goes to jail for corruption, he'll have plenty of time for meditation and contrition. He will also be more easily ignored by the next round of thugs and killers.

some things 

Dean Baker at TPM Cafe with a piece that may help with The Alchemist and Dawkins' questions:

While the editorialists are busy denouncing members of Congress for surrendering to the vulgar masses, it's a good time to quickly check the score card. The United States is in a recession and facing the worst financial crisis in almost 80 years because the folks currently in charge were out to lunch.


The main problem in recovering from the recession will be finding ways to boost demand other than household consumption. In the longer run, this will mean reducing imports and increasing exports. In the short-run, we will have to rely on government stimulus to help spur growth and reduce unemployment. The Democratic demands for stimulus were not extraneous to the legitimate goal of a bank bailout bill. Fiscal stimulus must be central to any serious effort to boost the economy.

The weakness of the banks contributes to the downturn, but they are not the core of the problem. We would still be facing a recession even if all our banks were flush with cash. Hence the hype about the urgency of the bailout was an invention. It would be good to get our banks in order, but it also would be good to send $100 billion to state and local governments to support infrastructure projects and other spending.


How do we go about getting the banks in order? Almost every economist I know rejects the Paulson approach and argues instead for directly injecting capital into the banks. The taxpayers give them the money and then we own some, or all, of the bank. (That's what Warren Buffet did with Goldman Sachs.)

This isn't about begging for a sliver of equity as a concession for a $700 billion bailout, this is about constructing a bank rescue the way that business people would do it. We have an interest in a well-operating financial system. There is zero public interest in giving away taxpayer dollars to the Wall Street banks and their executives.

If Secretary Paulson constructed a package that was centered around buying direct equity stakes in the banks, he could quickly garner large majority support in both houses. Better yet, Congress could just construct its own package centered on buying equity stakes and send it to President Bush. If he balks, we can just threaten him with stories about the Great Depression

Krugman!™ it may be noted, agrees with Baker's assessment of what should be done. He was only weak-kneed about the possibility of it actually happening due to the "trickiness" of the politics, a totally separate question. Now that the PDF Plan has been dynamited even he concedes that it might be wise to go, y'know, craft a plan that will actually solve the fucking problem. It seems there's an emerging consensus among non-rapist economists about equitable and effective solutions, but Krugman in my opinion has the politics exactly backward.

Krugman is terrified that the Dems be seen to be the sole authors of whatever package is finally passed lest it become a massive political liability and fuck up the election in favor of the GOP. But now there is actually a perfect political opportunity for some ever popular economic populism. The Bushites and now McCain are completely discredited. Whatever fallout results from the non-passage of this current bill can easily be blamed on them and the House Republican hardliners. Especially if the Dems actually propose a decent non-rape plan.

As I see it, Krugman has two main issues. For one, he's been beaten like a red-headed stepchild for the last eight years like the rest of us, and is so traumatized that he can't see how much the terrain has shifted and how little GOP bullshit is flying among the hoi polloi. For two, he's a good technocratic managerial liberal and defaults to the belief that the more democratic the process is, the less likely it will yield a good result. Hence his, admittedly tepid, support for this shitty bill conceived and gestated in the such an autocratic manner.

The process, as Greenwald pointed out so well, is rotten to the core, and anything that comes out of Bush, Paulson, Pelosi, Dodd and Franks in a room with no windows bears a heavy heavy burden of proof. (As would anything coming out of a room with Sanders, Kucinich and Conyers in a room with no windows.) Any citizen worth her social security card should be incredibly suspicious of it.

But the sky is falling! There's no time for process! The Apocalypse is nigh! Here Baker's last graf is key: IF Paulson and the Dem leadership were as afraid of the plan not passing as they wanted everyone else to be, they might have offered a less politically offensive plan that would have had a higher probability of passing. That they didn't is, I think, extremely telling. A better bill could have gotten the necessary Dem support and made the House Republican opposition irrelevant.

I'd like to be clear that while I don't agree with Abote that all of this makes it more likely that the House Reps will get their super-psycho provisions in the final bill, I also don't think we're going to get even close to some Magical Platonic Pony Plan of Justice. The Dem leadership is bought and paid for, and it doesn't serve their class interests in any case to do something that will help the middle-class more than the over-class. However what we saw today wasn't to be lamented, it's to be cheered. It was a little breath of democracy. Granted, probably a final fetid air bubble escaping the decaying lungs of a drowned corpse and rising anemically to the surface, but still.

And now, by popular request:

monday rapeblogging 

Dean Baker:

There is no plausible scenario under which the no bailout scenario gives us a Great Depression. There is a more plausible scenario (but highly unlikely) that the bailout will give us a Great Depression. There is no way that the failure to do a bailout will lead to more than a very brief failure of the financial system. We will not lose our modern system of payments.

At this point I cannot identify a single good reason to do the bailout.

Mike Whitney:

Professor Nouriel Roubini, chairman of Roubini Global Economics, summed it up like this, "You're not resolving the two fundamental issues: You still have to recapitalize the banking system, and household debt is going to stay high". A large number of economists believe Roubini is right. The bill will not solve the underlying problems.

In ten minutes you will witness the biggest heist in world history.

UPDATE: In a blockbuster post that everyone should read, Glenn Greenwald finally figures out how our political system works and breaks it down into ten easy pieces. Welcome to the desert of the real, Glenn!

UPDATE II: Bill fails in a squeaker 228-205!!!!!! AWESOME!!! Shit-sandwich eating delayed until at least tomorrow!

UPDATE III: A little late for this post, but Sirota has a good piece about why this bill should not have passed.

word salad 

The Sarah Palin Interview Response Generator

Rotten Fish 

I find this shit despicable-- this entire coercive line of thinking.

What does it mean for a monstrous war criminal president to "make it back" as a "likeable" American celebrity, as Fish put it? Why this assumption that just because some people are amnesiac fucks, we all are-- and that this is somehow okay?

This is so profoundly sick, so unabashedly and proudly disempowered. Our chief power as Americans is to "like" or "dislike" our leaders. Their actions are meaningless, since all is perception. This column is a nadir for American deconstructionism.

Big Shoes to Fill!! 

ANCHORAGE -- Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago -- about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct -- the teacher said.

After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks..."

Oh, and by the way, if you've got a Jewish parent or grandparent with cold feet, be sure to watch the Sarah Silverman video!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Angry, Crazy Old Man Alert 

McCain has been criticized as condescending toward Obama and for refusing to look at his Democratic opponent during the debate. McCain called the criticism "foolishness."

"I've been in many, many debates," he said. "And a lot of the times I don't look at my opponents because I'm focusing on the people and the American people that I'm talking to. That's what the debate's all about."

I get it now: one eye was focusing on "the people" and the other eye was focusing on "the American people that I'm talking to."

A Christian Perspective 

From the Guardian:

The Church of England's two most senior clerics have launched a scathing attack on the financial industry, calling the bankers and speculators behind the credit crisis "bank robbers" and "asset strippers".

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, demanded tighter regulation of the industry and said it was out of touch with reality.

Williams added that Karl Marx had been right in his assessment of the nature of capitalism.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said the market took its rules of trade "from Alice in Wonderland".

In an article published in the Spectator magazine, Williams wrote: "It is no use pretending that the financial world can maintain indefinitely the degree of exemption from scrutiny and regulation that it has got used to.

"This crisis exposes the basic level of unreality in the situation — the truth that almost unimaginable wealth has been generated by equally unimaginable levels of fiction, paper transactions with no concrete outcome beyond profit for traders.

"Marx long ago observed the way in which unbridled capitalism became a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that had no life in themselves; he was right about that, if about little else."

In a speech to last night's annual dinner of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Sentamu criticised the practice of short-selling, temporarily banned by the Financial Services Authority following the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB.

"To a bystander like me, those who made £190m deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS in spite of a very strong capital base, and drove it into the arms of Lloyds TSB, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers," he said.

"We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland.

"Our country has built its financial strength historically on the manufacturing of goods, where money was the medium of exchange.

"In the last week, we have seen its systems come close to ruin because now money is no longer being the medium of exchange for goods, but rather is the very item that is being traded."

UPDATE: Here is the actual article by the Archbishop, a useful primer on the basics of the current (but longstanding) situation.

Dear American Friend 

From: The Iraqi People

To: Thomas Friedman

Dear Mr. Friedman,


The Iraqi People


Perfect timing, big story. Perfectly matches McCain's insane behavior and a brilliant Times conjecture. Who knew the sissy-ass NYT had it in them?

Honestly, this is great. Finally, the fact-based offensive we've been waiting for from actual press-- doing the job they're fucking supposed to.

Happy Rosh Hashanah bitches.


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