Repost: Olympics, Swaps, Obits, etc.

by Chris Sturr | July 25, 2012

Turn Off Your Television

Turn Off Your Television

(1) The Olympics:  Today’s image (above) is from a series of pre-Olympics billboard hijackings that a guerrilla group called Brandalism did recently (reported at Buzzfeed). Part of what they’re protesting is the excessive control over branding by the Olympic committee, as reported in the Independent: “Britain flooded with ‘brand police’ to protect sponsors.”  Check out also this piece from the Telegraph about how Olympic sponsor Dow Chemical (they apparently made some plastic panels for the stadium) is responding to criticism by blaming the Indian government for the Bhopol disaster.

(2) Swaps:  Hat-tip to Ridgely F. of the Occupy Boston Banking Working Group for alerting us to this piece from Business Insider urging other cities to follow Oakland’s example and renege on their interest rate swap agreements with banks like Goldman Sachs.  Also, I’d been meaning to point people to this piece from NewsWorks (affiliated with WHYY) about the role of the Boston Consulting Group (check out their slick and smug website and its page about their “educational competencies”) in the changes happening in the Philly schools (which were saddled with interest-rate swaps).

(3) Obituaries:  I was sad to hear that Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn died the other day. He and the film and art reviews were the main reason I kept subscribing for many years.  There are some wonderful tributes, including one by D&S pal and frequent author Bob Pollin, at the Nation website, here.

Former D&S co-editor Abby Scher (author of our current cover story on the “New Economy” movement) sent in this about left activist Ward Morehouse, who died at the end of June:

On June 30, we lost Ward Morehouse, a great, sweet, bear of a man who was a practical visionary. He died at 83 near his home in Western Massachusetts. He understood, way ahead of his time,  the urgency of creating another form of economic organization for the sake of both people and the planet, and he brought that urgency to his work with The Other Economic Summit, which dogged the G-7 for years, Apex Press, POCLAD — the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy — and much more. He broke pathways for the rest of us, not the least for his work challenging the notion of “corporate personhood.”  As Dollars & Sense readers would appreciate, his on the ground analytical work gave people the data and resources necessary to show  that we can really change the economy and also see the political urgency that we must make it happen.  He was a quiet man with a huge spirit and wonderful smile, someone you could never spend enough time with. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. For more,  http://bit.ly/PEz8kt.

(4) This and That: Some interesting and amusing links I’ve been sitting on:

  • At Bloomberg.com, “Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals?“  Hat-tip to Bryan S.  But–I’m not sure teaching more ethics at business schools would change much.
  • Via Naked Capitalism and the UMKC New Economics Perspectives site, Randy Wray on “Why We’re  Screwed.” Depressing but important. Bits of it resonate with Greg Palast’s forthcoming book, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, whose manuscript I’ve been reading; we’ll run an excerpt in an upcoming issue.
  • Cultural critique, I:  from Alternet: Fifty Shades of Capitalism: Pain and Bondage in the American Workplace.  A left critique of Fifty Shades of Gray.  Sorry to spoil all the fun!  It was pretty obvious when you read the dust jacket, though, and find out that the sadist hero is a billionaire.
  • Cultural critique, II: from Something Awful:  The Call of Duty Villain of the Year is YOU.  Apparently the videogame franchise Call of Duty has a new game out featuring a shadowy, Chavez-esque demagogue for the 99% who is out to hack the U.S.’s drones. Message: you Occupy activists and sympathizers are dupes of terrorists. (I think I heard somewhere that there’s a similar anti-Occupy message in the new Batman movie, and at least one outlet had an early report–completely unsubstantiated–that the Aurora, Colo. mass killer had some Occupy connection.  Brace yourself for mass-media companies to start demonizing Occupy regularly.

Ok, that’s it for now.

–Chris Sturr

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