Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sexual Harassment Report Aside, How Can a Moron Like Herman Cain Be Considered A Candidate for President in the First Place?


GOP front-runner Herman Cain's campaign is denying "allegations Sunday that he was twice accused of sexual harassment while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s."

Will this report amount to anything? Will the mainstream media continue to explore this story, or will it disappear after a 24-hour news cycle?

I have no idea. What I do know, though, is that Cain is a blithering idiot. His comments on abortion alone confirm this.

The fact that this alone hasn't sunk Cain's presidential ambitions is proof positive that GOP candidates are simply held to a standard by the MSM that is trillions of miles removed from Democrats.

Note that President Obama has been raked over the coals now for months over a simple gaffe that he made, mispronouncing the word, "corpsman." Talk to a Republican and they're all familiar (and livid) over this "story."

By contrast, I'd bet that most Americans have never ever heard of George W. Bush's joking about missing WMDs.

In one of the most jaw-droppingly offensive performances by any U.S. politician in history, Bush laughed and joked about the missing WMDs in Iraq, during his March 24, 2004 appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Of course, I guess the MSM does have an excuse for not reporting this. After all, they were there that night, listening to Bush, and laughing heartily at his "humor."

Back to the topic of Cain and abortion. If you've heard Cain's pronouncements on abortion, you know that this issue alone should disqualify him from being president.

After all, we're not talking about mispronouncing a single word. In our 24/7 media era, our presidents tend to live a goldfish bowl existence, in which they have cameras pointed at them for hours every day. It's perfectly understandable that, after a typical hectic, grueling day, that a president would have a brain fart and mispronounce a word. It doesn't mean they're stupid.

But trying telling that to the Repukes. Every single one of them I've spoke to is convinced that Obama mispronouncing a word "proves" that he is stupid and unfit for office. Oh, and he also showed "disrespect" to the troops with this gaffe, they claim. (But of course, Bush didn't disrespect the troops when he lied the nation into a war that slaughtered over 4,400 U.S. soldiers---and then later joked about the missing WMDs). Such is the creepy, twisted worldview of Republicans these days.

Speaking of creepy and twisted, what Cain has said about abortion is so incoherent that it borders on surreal. Watch the video below. Cain's position on this topic is literally all over the map.

Even though he is making his pronouncements on abortion on friendly (Fox "News") territory, the hosts are staring at him in amazement. Cain's gibberish makes anything Michelle Bachmann ever said sound like Einstein. Cain flip flops back and forth on a variety of positions on abortion probably a dozen times, just in this one short interview. It's an astonishing sight to behold. Is this a Saturday Night Live comedy sketch or is it the reality that is the complete moron named Herman Cain?

What's even more amazing about Cain's gibberish is that abortion, of course, is one of the key issues for any GOP politician. In some ways, it is the key issue, for millions of GOP voters. That a Republican candidate wouldn't have at least rehearsed a coherent position on abortion is mind-boggling.

I mean, abortion simply isn't a difficult position for a Republican is it? "I'm Pro-Life." That's really all you have to say in order to satisfy the base. I mean, f*ck those cases involving rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. The base doesn't give a sh*t about any of that. They just wanna hear you say you're "Pro-Life." How hard can it be?

Simply put, Cain is a blithering idiot. The fact that he is still somehow in the race to be president says a lot about the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, as the rot, the corruption, and the stench of decay settles in upon our crumbling nation. And the fact that he is now the GOP front-runner is positively surreal.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Marc's Jukebox: Halloween Edition: The Damned's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"



From time to time on this blog, I've presented a regular feature called, Progressive Music Classics, which spotlights notable and challenging Left-Wing music. Today, I'm launching a new music feature, Marc's Jukebox, in which I'll occasionally highlight a song or band that I believe has been unfairly neglected over the years.

Today's tune is "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," by British band, The Damned. With a classic horror theme, it's a perfect song for Halloween.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," appeared on The Damned's 1980 double album, The Black Album. If that title sounds familiar, it's because it's been ripped off by other artists over the years, most notably by Prince (in 1987) and by Jay-Z (in 2003), among other artists. To my knowledge, The Damned were the first to use this title for a record (in homage, of course, to The Beatles' "White Album").

If you've not heard of them before, The Damned are a long-running British music act that started out as a punk band in 1976. The band was notable early on for being the first U.K. band to release a single, ("New Rose," in 1976). The band went on to release Damned Damned Damned and Machine Gun Etiquette, two of the greatest punk albums ever made.

Unlike critically acclaimed bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash, the Damned were never about trying to "make a statement," or creating "Art." They were only in it to have a good time. And in this, they succeeded brilliantly. It's impossible for me to imagine anyone with any interest in rock music listening to The Damned's best work and not wanting to get up and dance. This is life-affirming music that is first and foremost fun.

After the Great Punk Explosion of 1977 began to wane, The Damned, like their contemporaries, began to think about what do for an encore after punk. The band still enjoyed three-chord high-energy punk rave-ups, but clearly was eager to explore other styles as well.

Just as The Beatles once embraced a variety of music styles with their 1968 "White Album," The Damned also decided to branch out. The Black Album, which arrived in October 1980, showed a new side to the band. I remember buying the U.K. import and being very impressed at the variety of styles: from punk to garage to psychedelia to cabaret(!). The album showed a new "mature" Damned who were capable, as "Dr. Jekyll" showed, of writing memorable melodies. (For its U.S. release, The Black Album was whittled down to a one-disk release and sank without a trace).

Although I wasn't really much of a Damned fan before, The Black Album quickly converted me. I remember eagerly looking forward to their 1982 follow-up, Strawberries. It was another classic Damned release. The U.K. import arrived in an elaborate package that literally smelled of strawberries. It was a great gimmick (and, of course, gimmicks like this, along with colored vinyl, were one of the things that made the vinyl era so exciting for music fanatics). I suspect it's the sort of thrill that today's music fans would have a hard time understanding, as they go to iTunes and buy sterile MP3 files.

After Strawberries, my interest in The Damned waned. The band went silent for several years and, when they resurfaced, with 1985's Phantasmagoria I wasn't particularly impressed and moved on. By then, there were too many other amazing bands competing for my attention (The Smiths, The Nightingales, Sonic Youth). (Actually, looking back, Phantasmagoria was a worthy release and showed the band further exploring gothic horror themes).

In my opinion, The Damned has been unfairly neglected by the masses over the years. They were never critical darlings, and they never cultivated the respect of bands like Sex Pistols and The Clash. With a few exceptions, they never had much chart success in their native U.K. (and, of course, had zero commercial impact in the U.S.)

Still, The Damned are survivors (they continue to this day) and they still have loyal fans around the world. They should be recognized as one of the true great original punk bands (and well as a great rock'n'roll band, period). Although I'm sure the Hall of Fame will never come knocking, that's probably just fine with The Damned. In fact, as punk heroes, they wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Steve Jobs Represented Much Of What's Wrong With The U.S. Economy Today


The late Steve Jobs was a genius. He was an incredibly shrewd businessman. And he was a marketing wizard.

Jobs was the larger-than-life visionary behind Apple, which has been hailed as one of the all-time great American economic success stories.

But there's one big problem with this rosy picture. The fact is, Apple represents a great deal of what's wrong with the U.S. economic system today.

Since around 1980, the U.S. capitalism has increasingly become a "winner take all" system. This corresponded with a trend in which the very top elite in society began seeing an enormous increase in their compensation. These "winners" included everyone from CEOs to movie stars to hedge fund managers to sports superstars.

And nobody was more representative of this new breed of elite "winners" than Jobs.

The only problem is that, since 1980, wages started stagnating for the rest of us. Allowing for inflation, average workers' wages have barely budged in more than three decades.

The result is that America now has the income inequality levels of a Third World nation. In fact, the top 400 richest Americans now own a titanic amount of wealth that exceeds the combined wealth of the bottom 155 million Americans.

And that's only the beginning of the problems with U.S. capitalism today.

However, if you talk to the vast majority of economists today, they'll tell you that the American economy is still the world's crown jewel economy. We have nothing to learn from the likes of East Asia or Europe nations, the economic "experts" tell us. In fact, Europe and China ought to be taking notes from us, they claim.

As an "Exhibit A" of their claims, economists usually point to the great U.S. corporate success stories that have emerged in recent years: Google, eBay, Facebook and, first and foremost: Apple Inc.

While Americans fret over the ongoing destruction of the nation's once world-beating manufacturing base, our free-market economists and globalist politicians tell us not to worry. After all, they claim, high-tech, prosperous companies like Apple will ensure that the U.S. remains economically dominant.

But out here in the real world, there's a big problem with these grand claims. They simply don't hold up to scrutiny.

America, after all, has lost millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs just in the past 10 years. We've lost over 42,000 factories, just since 2001. By contrast, even America's most prosperous and high-profile companies, like Apple, haven't even come close to replacing the job losses in the manufacturing sector. Hence, America's stubbornly high jobless rates (and the even more troubling absence of new well-paid jobs).

For all the grand claims made upon its behalf, it is important to note that Apple is still a remarkably small company. That shouldn't be surprising, considering that Apple doesn't actually manufacture the products it sells. Apple only employs about 50,000 people worldwide. That's a mere drop in the bucket, compared to the great U.S. corporate success stories of the past, like General Motors. In fact, even today, a vastly-shrunken GM still employs over 200,000 workers in the U.S. alone.

A second problem with Apple is that many of its workers are not particularly well-paid. Sure, the likes of Jobs and other company top elites have pocketed enormous pay packages. But the average Apple employees make mediocre wages. In fact, most of Apple's employees simply consist of the unskilled sales people in the company's retail stores.

All of this represents serious problems for any economist who holds up the likes of Apple as an "Exhibit A" of how America's economy still supposedly leads the world.

Economists also hail the likes of Apple's wildly popular iPhone as proof that America is still in the world's technological forefront. At first glance, it appears that this claim is valid. After all, the iPhone is a high-tech marvel. And it is in heavy demand, worldwide.

The problem is: is the iPhone really even an "American" product?

Yes, it is sold by Apple, an American company. Yes, Apple came up with the concept. And yes, Apple does all the marketing.

But who really manufactures the iPhone? If you said, "China," you're only partly right.

The fact is the real heavy lifting and the technological wizardry that makes the iPhone possible comes from Japan (and to a lesser extent, Germany). This shouldn't really be surprising: virtually all of the world's most advanced manufacturing takes place in either Japan or Germany these days.

China does have a high-profile role in the building of the iPhone in that Foxconn, the Taiwanese-owned assembler of the iPhone, has captured a lot of media publicity over the harsh working conditions of its workers in mainland China. By contrast, Germany and Japan's vastly more important role in the iPhone's production is virtually invisible.

But it's important to note that China's only role is the assembly of the iPhone. (Assembly is by far the least sophisticated part of the modern manufacturing process).

The real high-tech manufacturing heavy lifting is done mostly by Japan. That shouldn't be surprising: Japan has long completely monopolized the making of the key, crucial components at the heart of all the world's smart phones.

So is the iPhone really an "American" product?

Consider this: as Robert Reich pointed out in an article in December:

About $61 of the $179 price goes to Japanese workers who make key iPhone components, $30 to German workers who supply other pieces, and $23 to South Korean workers who provide still others. Around $6 goes to the Chinese workers who assemble it. Most of the rest goes to workers elsewhere around the globe who make other bits.

And the share of the U.S. workers (whose role is mostly research and design on the iPhone): a mere $11.

It's clear that the iPhone is really much more of a Japanese product than it is an American product. The key, crucial enabling components that make smart phones like the iPhone possible are made only in Japan. By contrast, the iPhone's research and design work could be done in any number of countries which excel in R&D (everywhere from Israel to South Korea).

Note that barriers to entry for service economy activities tend to be vastly lower than those for high-tech manufacturing.

These days, high-tech smart phones are designed by a number of nations, from Finland to Taiwan to South Korea. South Korea's Samsung, for example, makes phones (like the Galaxy S2) that rival and even surpass the iPhone technologically. And it's important to note that all these nations' phone builders get their high-tech phone components from the same Japanese suppliers as Apple does.

What's troubling about all this is that it completely upends the "conventional wisdom" about the global economy that has been sold to the American people over the past few decades. The conventional wisdom dictates that America's loss of millions of manufacturing jobs was an "inevitable" part of economic globalization. And in any case, we're told, U.S. manufacturers supposedly can't compete these days, unless they move their jobs overseas, where they can pay lower wages.

But if America's free-market economists and globalist politicians ever took a look at the real world for a change, they'd see that the "conventional wisdom" is wrong.

For a start, nations like Japan and Germany are simply no longer low-wage countries. Both have wages that are as high, if not higher, than what U.S. workers earn. Both nations have strong organized labor and strict pro-labor laws that would be inconceivable to Americans. Mass layoffs are virtually impossible in both nations. And the extremely strong yen of recent years has made Japan a particularly expensive nation to do business in. But despite all these "obstacles," both nations continue to go from strength to strength in leading the world in high-tech manufacturing.

(Incidentally, the story that Japan has been "struggling" economically that has been widely peddled by the U.S. media in recent years is nothing more than a myth).

In short, there must be other reasons why the likes of Apple rely on Japanese and German suppliers for key iPhone components. Low wages and low manufacturing costs simply can't be the reason.

It's clear that a big part of the reason is that the U.S. simply can't compete with nations like Japan or Germany in high-tech manufacturing. The reasons for this are many: everything from America's abysmal public education system to our nation's crumbling infrastructure to our complete lack of a logical industrial policy.

By contrast, nations like Japan and Germany have honed carefully planned long-term industrial policies aimed at boosting both nations' industrial competitiveness.

It is extremely unlikely that the U.S. will ever regain its former high-tech edge. After all, no economic activity on earth has higher entry barriers than high-tech manufacturing. This is evidenced by the fact that all the world's high-tech manufacturing these days still takes place in the First World, rather than low-wage nations like China.

To give just one example: aerospace. While Boeing has lost market share in recent years, it hasn't lost it to low-wage Third World nations. Rather, it has lost market share to the high-wage First World producers of Airbus.

Incidentally, Boeing shares with Apple the same distinction of being a U.S. company that increasingly can't manufacture the products it sells. Note that the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing's latest generation Boeing jet, is largely made by overseas suppliers. And Japan is the nation that has the most crucial role in building the Dreamliner: the manufacture of the Dreamliner's extremely sophisticated, high-tech carbon fiber composite wings.

The fact that Japan placed massive early orders for the Dreamliner has little to do with "market forces" and everything to do with long-term Japanese industrial policy. With every new generation of Boeing airliner, Japan has negotiated to manufacture a bigger share of each plane. It's clear the Japanese eventually intend to dispense with Boeing entirely in the future and go it alone in developing its own commercial airliner industry.

It's clear that, far from being a showcase of U.S. high-tech might, Apple in fact reveals many of America's shortcomings in the modern global economy.

And for all the praise heaped upon Steve Jobs over the years, it's clear that his role in making the iPhone a reality was greatly exaggerated.

Jobs' role was akin to Aladdin rubbing the magic lamp. The super-sophisticated high-tech manufacturers of Japan and Germany then brought Jobs' ideas to reality.

Of course, the limelight-loving Jobs got all the glory---which is perfectly in sync with the "winner take all" ethos that characterizes today's U.S. economy. And no doubt, all that was just fine with the industrial planners of Japan and Germany, who are happy to take a low-profile role. The reason for the latter is that, if both nations' roles in the iPhone were heavily scrutinized by the U.S. media, it would shine an unwelcome spotlight on policies that have methodically decimated America's high-tech manufacturing in recent years.

Yes, Apple came up with the idea for the iPhone. But it's clear that other nations benefited vastly more from the manufacturing process of the iPhone than American workers ever did.

And this raises a troubling questions about the state of U.S. capitalism today. America continues to lose millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs. And it's clear that the likes of Apple are simply never going to be able to create jobs to replace those that have been lost. This is no small point when you consider than Apple now rivals Exxon Mobil as America's most valuable corporation.

Today's America continues to bleed the sort of good-paying manufacturing jobs that made possible the Great American Middle Class. The latter made America's economy the envy of the world for decades. The jobs that are replacing the lost jobs tend to be low-skilled and low-paying (think Walmart and McDonald's).

And even the occasional U.S. economic success story like Apple these days offers little to cheer ordinary American workers. After all, as noted above, Apple is not a particularly large company---and most of the jobs it creates in the U.S. are unskilled and not particularly well-paid. The only real U.S. beneficiaries from companies like Apple are the handful of people at the very top, as well as the stockholders (which, of course, are not only in the U.S., but worldwide).

In the 1950s, it was once claimed that "What's good for General Motors is good for the U.S." And actually that statement had a kernel of truth to it. General Motors, after all, in those days, offered hundreds of thousands of workers good-paying jobs that helped built the backbone of the Great American Middle Class.

But economic titans like Apple that outsource all their high-tech manufacturing will never play a similar role in today's economy. And as a result, the once-Great American Middle Class continues to shrink. Today's America has a Top One Percent that increasingly owns everything, while the bottom 99 percent become more impoverished, year by year.

Far from being the "crown jewel" of today's economy, it's clear that Apple represents a great deal of what has gone wrong with the U.S. economy since 1980.

It's inconceivable that a genius like Jobs never grasped the fact that the massive outsourcing of high-tech manufacturing jobs (as practiced by Apple) posed a serious, long-term threat to the U.S. economy. It's a shame that Jobs never used his high-profile position to call attention to this crisis, or to offer proposals to fix the problem. Instead, he was simply happy to outsource everything, make loads of money, and keep his mouth shut on the issue.

Jobs has been hailed as a genius and visionary who contributed a great deal to the U.S. economy. But I beg to differ. In reality, he was nothing more than a narcissistic, greedy, modern-day Robber Baron whose policies account for a great deal of what is wrong with the U.S. economy today as America continues its long-term decline.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bush Was Greater Force For Evil In The World Than Gaddafi Ever Was


It's hard to see Muammar Gaddafi's death Thursday as anything other than positive for the world. However, there's a couple of issues that continue to trouble me about the dictator's violent end.

One is that if those who killed Gaddafi really wanted to show the world that they were morally superior to the dictator, they should have given him a trial. If Libya is really going to turn over a new leaf and become a democracy, it will now do so on a weak foundation of violent, blood-soaked anarchy.

Gaddafi was a tyrant. But for any nation that is supposedly based on the rule of law, even tyrants deserve a trial. The exact circumstances surrounding Gaddafi's end are murky, but the videos of chaotic scenes around Gaddafi's bloody, battered body show lynch mob rule at its worst.

The world is better off without Gaddafi. But frankly, lynch mob violence is nothing to be celebrated.

The second issue that nags at me is that the U.S. media once again fails to put things into perspective about Gaddafi. Let's be clear, the man was a tyrant. But he was a third-rate dictator who presided over a poor and relatively small Third World country that has little real influence in the world.

If you stop and think about it, George W. Bush was a far greater force for evil in the world than Gaddafi ever was.

Take the Iraq War for example. This was a totally unnecessary, illegal, immoral war that killed as many as 1.4 million Iraqi men, women and children civilians.

Gaddafi was guilty of many crimes over the years, but these were all nickel-dime crimes compared to the Iraq War.

I'm old enough to remember back in the 1970s when U.S. leaders like President Carter would criticize other nations for human rights violations. From time to time, we'd hear about some dictator in a far-off land that was guilty of human rights violations, including (gasp!) the crime of torture.

Fast-forward to 2011. These days, America still goes around the world and lectures other nations about human rights. But our words simply don't carry the same weight as they did when Carter was president.

After all, under Bush, we became the nation with little respect for human rights. We became the nation that invaded other countries that posed no threat to us. We became the nation that waged wars based on lies. We became the the nation that ran hell holes like Gitmo and stunned the world with the shocking photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

We became the nation that thumbed its nose at international law.

In short, under Bush, we became an outlaw nation.

Make no mistake, Gaddafi was a tyrant. But he was a nickel-dime, small-time crook, compared to the truly massive crimes of the likes of Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest of the NeoCons that caused an enormous amount of death and destruction around the world.

Gaddafi ultimately paid a horrible price for his crimes, as the videos of his battered, bloody body show. By contrast none of Bush's NeoCon team has ever faced any sort of justice for their crimes. Indeed, they continue to thrive on the lucrative book-writing and lecture circuit and no doubt will continue to pocket many tens of millions of dollars for the rest of their comfortable, prosperous lives.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Progressive Music Classics. The Mekons' "Fight the Cuts"



Welcome to another edition of Progressive Music Classics.

In the era of "Occupy Wall Street," this is what it all comes down to: As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, every single right that workers today enjoy was fought for, tooth and claw. The 40-hour week. The minimum wage. The dole.

Hell, even the right of 8-year-old kids to not have to work in a dangerous, filthy coal mine in order to line the pockets of greedy plutocrats (who only ended child labor when legislation forced them to).

Now, the bastards want to take it all away from us. Everything from the New Deal to Medicare.

It's interesting how there's always trillions of dollars readily available for war, death and destruction and "military" profiteers.

But when it comes to the working class, "our" government can never do enough slashing and burning of the programs that we fought for decades to give us a decent life with some measure of dignity.

So while these plutocrats are spending trillions on the likes of Halliburton and the crooks on Wall Street, they're always claiming that the "money just isn't there" for "wasteful" domestic spending.

Yes, that's definitely the problem. Our nation simply has the wrong priorities.
We just spend too goddamn much on the likes of roads, bridges, schools, teachers
and firefighters.

In this song, Britain's mighty Mekons spell out what the working class must do: Fight the Cuts.

The Mekons have been going for some three decades now. Most of their existence,
they've produced a unique body of work that draws inspiration from the likes of
Hank Williams (the original, not his fascist retard son) as well as other traditional
country music, folk and rebel music.

But in an earlier incarnation in the late 70s, the Mekons were a punk band. On "Fight the Cuts" the band are gloriously amateurish and fired up by righteous progressive anger at the outrages of Tory Britain.

As the "Occupy Wall Street" continues to grow, it's important that we Fight the Cuts that the Ruling Class Pigs are trying to force down our throats.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Film Review: Lars von Trier's "Melancholia"



Picture this: there's a wedding ceremony and party at a big, beautiful estate, where dozens of upper-middle class people have gathered to celebrate. Lots of family, friends, good times and bad. Laughing, drinking, toasting, arguing and crying--and then drinking some more.

Oh, and a mysterious planet has appeared out of nowhere and is about to crash into the earth, ending all life.

Sounds like my kind of movie.

If you're fed up with the usual predictable Hollywood dreck these days, you should check out Melancholia, the new film by the Danish director, Lars von Trier, who created such controversial films as Dancer in the Dark and Antichrist.

Von Trier's films (and his eccentric personality) tend to divide his audience. Either you love him or you hate him. But I will give him credit for making thought-provoking films that push the boundaries and give little consideration to commercial appeal.

Melancholia is by turns strange, outlandish and depressing. In fact, depression is a big theme in the film. It's a topic that von Trier (who himself has suffered from crippling depression) knows a thing or two about. Melancholia won't cheer you up. But it will make you think about our short existence on this earth in ways you never have.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

I Smack Down An Obama-bashing "Financial Times" Columnist


I've long been of the opinion that Britain's The Financial Times is the best newspaper in the English-speaking world. It has everything that has been increasingly disappearing from U.S. newspapers since the 1970s: solid in-depth reporting; outstanding international news coverage; and a welcome absence of fluff, sleaze and sensationalism.

The New York Times often smugly claims that it is the "best newspaper in the world." To which I say: bullsh*t. Maybe the Times was the best 40 years ago. But it's important to note that the The New York Times has been coasting on past glories for decades. (This is a paper, recall, that featured the stories of one Judith Miller, a reporter who worked tirelessly in 2003 to assure us that Bush's case for war in Iraq was solid). It should be no surprise that Miller went on to work for Fox "News." She and Fox were made for each other.

In my opinion, The Financial Times is better than the The New York Times ever was. But even FT has a few weak spots. One is the columnist Christopher Caldwell, who regularly pens articles that unfairly bash President Obama.

In one recent column, Caldwell slammed Obama for supposedly not working with Republicans in addressing the health-care crisis. I've heard this argument before, from the likes of right-wing talk radio and Fox and frankly, it is a crock.

I responded with a letter to the editor that set the record straight. I expect my letter, which appeared today in the FT, will in turn get typically incoherent responses from the handful of wingnuts who read the FT.