Never mind popular consent, nor even the propaganda seeking legitimacy: Rulers now rely on coercion

One might think, in the wake of revelations of flaws in the intellectual underpinnings for austerity—flaws that include what appear to be cherry-picked data—and indeed the apparent failure of austerity policies in actual experience,[1] that the elite, concerned as ever for the economic health of our society, and about putting people back to work, might be interested in what economists have to say now. What should we do now, they might ask. Or perhaps, they could score points on C-SPAN denouncing economists for failing to predict the financial crisis in the first place,[2] and now for the most listened-to part of their profession being wrong about austerity. Why, the point-scorers might ask, should we listen to economists now, especially when they apparently still don’t know what to do?[3]

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Tragedy–and recognizing tragedy as tragedy

Someone on Facebook wrote, apparently not publicly,

I got caught up in the news again about Boston. I saw a photo of SWAT members holding Dzhokar Tsarnaev down some time after his capture. The image of his shirt pulled up to his chest exposing his soft, hairless, 19 year old’s belly is an image that caused a flurry of emotions/ideas to well up in me. He looked so soft, so weak, so tender, and so young surrounded by all these men dressed in tactical gear and carrying cold black weapons. This child, acted out a path of madness. It is cosmologically starling that this is the face of evil acts in our time. What is this story we are all living in?

Apart from a widely published presumption of guilt, s/he’s right. My mother was watching live coverage on television that included Tsarnaev’s capture. The neighbors cheered—as if any of this was something to celebrate. But no, three people are dead and at least 170 injured—some maimed—as pressure cookers rigged with shrapnel exploded sixteen seconds apart near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.[1] A story loaded with the all-too-typical shocked family and friends, denying that the brothers could have done it, mentioned that the younger, Dzhokhar, could be manipulated by the older, Tamerlan.[2] Read more

  1. [1]Katharine Q. Seelye, Eric Schmitt, and Scott Shane, “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim,” New York Times, April 16, 2013,
  2. [2]Erica Goode and Serge F. Kovaleski, “Boy at Home in U.S., Swayed by One Who Wasn’t,” New York Times, April 19, 2013,

Update on Admiral Janeway

Admiral Janeway, April 6, 2012 (a year ago).
Admiral Janeway, April 6, 2012 (a year ago).

The good news is especially that Admiral Janeway is not in a shelter. The thought that she might end up there had broken my heart all over again.[1] Even better, she is now back—or more precisely, I should say, I am back to being her human.

There have been a lot of trips to the vet. And it seems there are a lot more to come. My mother relented enough to at least have her checked out and then one thing led to another.

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  1. [1]David Benfell, “Admiral Janeway (formerly my cat) may be headed for the shelter,” February 5, 2013,