• comment on a post "how stupid do they think we are" over 3 years ago

    but the damage is done. As I was following the Aussie returns, I also watched this story grow. The only sites reporting it were conservative citing a Swedish tabloid that is the Swedish version of the British Daily Mail. It was reported as fact. 

    So from now on no matter what happens in reality to conservatives, Julian Assange is now forever a rapist. 

    Another demonstration of how the right wing echo chambers works through innuendo and smear.

  • I haven't seen any polling but an AP story earlier this week pointed that the Kelly Ayotte campaign wasn't going well and that the endorsement had been rotundly criticized in the NH press. I'll see if I can find the AP story again for you. 

  • Bingo on your second point. My view is that the most dangerous guy running this cycle is Marco Rubio. We know Sharron Angle is crazy, we can tell Rand Paul is off his rocker, but Marco Rubio who shares the majority of Angle's and Paul's views is much more polished. Rubio isn't a Christian Reconstructionist nor is he a hard core libertarian but he has ties to neoconservatives like Jeb Bush (his mentor), William Kristol (a huge fan) and Elliot Abrams (it's a Cuba thing). And then he straddles DeMint's worldview. He's articulate, less belligerent on immigration, after all he's Hispanic but conservatives already see him as the next Ronald Reagan. There's no denying that he's charismatic and handsome and unlike Palin he can speak in complete sentences.

    If Rubio wins in Florida, Rubio becomes a Presidential contender overnight. 2012 may be too soon but 2016 or 2020 most definitely. 

    I think the Tea Party Movement is really just the latest manifestation of a deep undercurrent in the American psyche, an inherent mistrust of the Federal government. It's a battle that has been with us since even before the founding of the Republic. We had Federalists versus anti=Federalists, Jeffersonians versus Hamiltonians. Hamilton largely won but the Jeffersonian faction has never ever really faded. In the late 19th century, economic laissez-faire held sway but classical liberalism lead to a series of economic panics  1819-1824, 1837-1839, 1853-1857, 1873-1878, 1893-1896, 1907-1909 and 1929. We adjusted our views with heavy doses of government intervention in the economy and strict regulation of business with the New Deal but many elements within the GOP for various reasons have been trying to kill the New Deal ever since and they have succeeded on various fronts in the post 1980 world and now of course we have started to see more frequent and more severe economic hiccups. We'll always have recessions, downturns in the business cycles, but these prolonged downturns with high unemployment and deepening inequality is something we haven't seen in over 80 years. 

    If you want to see the ideal conservative state, it's Haiti. More millionaires per capita than any other country in the New World but also the most unequal. There are more private security guards in Haiti than policemen, 85 percent of Haitian school children who attend school attend private schools. There is ONE public hospital, the rest are private clinics. All infrastructure is built by private firms. There are no departments of public works. Getting a govt contract is dependent on who you know and kickbacks. Entire sectors of the economy are controlled by monopolies. Tariffs are among the lowest in the world. Same with taxes. Gated communities for the wealthy and slums for everyone else. 

    The problem with Haiti's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) wasn't that they were state-owned, it was that they were ransacked by private interests. Corruption was the problem. Post-Duvalier, Haiti Telecom was a pretty well run company but again the neo-liberal agenda forced a privatization and now telecommunications in Haiti is owned by outside interests allied with local families. Everything is a monopoly or oligopoly. And while import tariffs are low, export tariffs are high because that helps to keep competition out. Again certain families get exceptions because they control the political process.

    Haiti's port is among the most expensive in the world for consumers and haulers. Although it falls under the auspices of the National Port Authority, a cadre of shipping agents and terminal owners operate everything from the cranes to the warehouses. It's the classic definition of economic predation. The misuse of the state for private gain.

    Free trade policies destroyed Haiti's rice sector. Clinton forced a lowering of tariffs from 35% to 3% (in return for an IMF assistance package) and boom half of Haitian farmers lost their livelihood leading to a concentration of land tenure. Haiti went from self-sufficient in food in 1994 to being aid dependent in six years.

    NGOs are seen by many critics as just another part of the neo-liberal agenda to emasculate the state. These organizations perform tasks that the state should be providing but instead these are nothing more than private charities. They are band-aids for a patient that has cancer. The Economist estimates that the number of international non-governmental organizations rose from 6,000 in 1990 to 26,000 in 1996. India and the US now have over a million non-profits each. Not to deny that these do good important work but the well paying jobs in NGOs are for Westerners or elites. They serve a purpose but they also fulfill gaps that the state should be providing but can't provide because the state has no tax base. It's why Bush pushed private charities. 

    Lotteries here in the US are another tax transfer scheme. By using lotteries to finance education in the US, the rich can avoid paying taxes and the poor being the ones who buy lottery tickets end up financing schools for the wealthy. It's all rather ingenious.

    Though we will never be as poor as Haitians, we are headed for deepening inequality. Haiti is our future if the conservative agenda gets enacted. What's worse is that we will go bankrupt because we are addicted to an Empire we can't afford. But that doesn't seem to bother them. Ending social security and gutting medicare, however, is a must and to some a moral obligation because they see it as impinging on their freedom. But the "it's your money" meme has been very successful is getting the middle income groups in the US to buy into an agenda that really only benefits the top 1 percent of Americans.



  • I was somewhat surprised he didn't mention God in his self-aggrandizing oratory.

    Certainly Sarah Palin believes that she is a messenger from God as does Sharron Angle. Not sure if Newt believes it though he may express such a sentiment but he is such the conniving liar. Huckabee certainly sincerely believes he is an instrument of a Christian God. 

  • on a comment on The Fala Speech over 4 years ago

    Happy to make the edit. I've never known any really. There's a pair in my neighborhood but I'm  more a sighthound and hunting dog person. The last dog I had was a Pomerarian though. Thinking about a Portuguese Water Dog mostly because a friend has one and she's a joy. Not ready for another puppy though.

    Well Eleanor was on the road so often and that relationship was strained after FDR's affair in 1918 with Lucy Mercer. Eleanor offered a divorce but Franklin's mother intervened forcing Franklin to break it off with Ms. Mercer who was Eleanor's social secretary. Of course, FDR came down with polio shortly thereafter.

    FDR also maintained contact with Ms. Mercer in letters throughout the 1920s and only broke contact after he became President. At the end, Roosevelt's daughter brought Lucy to see Franklin in Warm Springs as FDR was dying. Indeed, it was Lucy who was with FDR when he died.

    No doubt Franklin and Eleanor were a political marriage unlike any in the country's history perhaps only rivalled by John & Abagail who adored and lived for each other and Bill and Hillary who have had a more conflicted relationship. But Eleanor really redefined the role of the First Lady. With FDR's mobility limited (and the extent hidden to the public), Eleanor was his ambassador to the nation. She was also the progressive of the two. I do think she pulled her husband leftward.

  • on a comment on The Fala Speech over 4 years ago

    The post is about the messaging and the framing of Obama as Muslim as a Socialist etc. It is about the right wing echo chamber and pointing to the fact that Roosevelt too faced one, albeit a more limited given it was the 1940s. The problem of a right wing reaction has been with us for some time now.

  • on a comment on For Crist's Sake over 4 years ago

    Well as an atheist I'd be hard press to make the case that Goldman, or investment banking more broadly, is doing "God's work" but in a country that lacks an industrial policy, the investment banking sector + venture capital sector has largely functioned as our industrial policy.

    And we have done well. We especially did well in the period between 1933 and 1980 when under a series of regulatory laws, Glass-Steagall first and foremost, we let banking do what banking need to do. It's in the period post 1980 when the sector was deregulated an inch at a time that we began to get all these periodic financial crisises that included a Mexico peso crisis (twice), a general LATAM default crisis, a SE Asia currency crisis, a Korean banking crisis, a Russian bond crisis, a S&L crisis in the late 1980s, and now the mother of all recessions caused by lack of regulation and oversight over banks that have become glorified casinos.

    Gotta run.

  • on a comment on For Crist's Sake over 4 years ago

    Well I am Wall Street liberal. I worked for Goldman Sachs and spent a decade at various investment banks. The problem isn't Wall Street per se as the engine of American capitalism; it is the morphing from its traditional role of picking winners based on intense research and banking services into a glorified casino based on trading and in particular on derivatives. I've said this before the problem isn't the blue bloods that run the i-bank side, it's the born working class but traitors to their class traders that because they made it think no one else is entitled. Lloyd Blankfein is a case in point. Born poor, he worked his way up on the trading floor. Now he thinks he rules the world. Traders are some of the most reactionary people I have ever met. They were born to Democratic parents and largely the first generation to have "made it" but now that they have the American Dream they want to deny it to others. Rick Santelli whose rant launched the Tea Party Movement is another case in point. This isn't to say that there aren't reactionaries on the banking side, Lawrence Kudlow comes to mind, but i-banking requires an elite education, trading didn't. A liberal education can make a difference. Moreover, the i-bank side is heavily Jewish and thus more liberal while the trading side is the Pat Buchanan subset of white ethnics that in the 1970s were peeled off from the Democratic base over issues like busing and affirmative action but now held in place over low taxes. 

    And of course, there is a deeper cultural issue where we have come to put the individual over the interests of society at large. In a nut shell, Thatcher and Reagan did leaving a lasting mark because they changed the culture. Greed became an acceptable human virtue. Gordon Gecko lives. 

    Demonizing Wall Street and Goldman Sachs for the sake of demonizing elites misses another point. There are two different types of elites: participatory and predatory. There are elites who realize that a broad-based prosperity is in the interest of society. That they are better off when the wealth is spread around and then there are those who use the state for their own nefarious purposes. Take the DuPonts for example. Their wealth was due to a government contracts and a monopoly over chemical production before WW I. That's a predatory elite. Warren Buffet is an example of a participatory elite.

    It will be fun sparring with you on this. Welcome to the front page.

  • comment on a post For Crist's Sake over 4 years ago

    is the anti-christ. Have you seen his 100 bright ideas for Florida? Pathetic. Only conservatives would be impressed by their vagueness, emptiness and puerility.

    The difference between him and Palin is that he can speak in complete sentences and he isn't a religious nutcase. Otherwise, pretty much just as vapid. Moreover, he has ties to neoconservatives like Jeb Bush (his mentor), Bill Kristol and Eliott Abrams. He's more dangerous because he's polished and peels back the wingnuttery but it's still there. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    I know a lot of Floridians, Democrats and LGTB folks, who like Charlie Crist. I agree with you that the Florida race is the most compelling but I'll take Crist over Rubio no questions asked. Rubio is another DeMint/Inhofe, Crist is to the left Lieberman and Nelson.

    Just on climate change alone, Crist stands apart. Given the importance of that issue, it is unconscionable to support Rubio.

    Not sure how one can have a favorable view of a right wing populist movement but I look forward to hearing your arguments.


  •  should i front page it, then?

  • comment on a post Barbour the Elephant over 4 years ago

    I do think Gary Johnson's views deserved an airing especially since libertarianism is the flavour du jour.

    Still, I'm hoping Mitch Daniels runs. I view him as the anti-Palin. Articulate, non-dogmatic (less ideological anyway), successful and relatively moderate on social issues. Surprised that you didn't include the Huckster in your poll. Certainly think that his economist populist message would do well in 2012 though his social conservative/religious views provide a stiff headwind.

    Thune may be the stealth candidate though. Perhaps the retiring Judd Gregg.

  • That's really the crux. They thought that they had done enough and that as unemployment came down that would provide a political headwind. 

    Summer-Geithner-Emanuel sunk this Presidency.

  • on a comment on House Contests over 4 years ago

    I agree. I've noted before that is time for a progressive Green party.

    Look progressives are never going to achieve power directly given current institutional arrangements but we can get our agenda enacted by building a progressive left that can claim a 20% share of the electorate. That's how much of the progressive agenda of the 1910s became enacted. 

    The other path is to wait for collapse and hope that out of the ashes, the left can succinctly make the case for a more egalitarian country. It is inequality that is breeding our breakdown. A broad-based prosperity was built on a progressive income tax.

  • on a comment on Costello inbox over 4 years ago

    It's really American-style capitalism and American-style government that isn't working so well. Regulations that rein in the abuses coupled with a social safety net fix the former but I am not sure how one gets around the problem that is the US Senate. 

  • on a comment on House Contests over 4 years ago

    The problem I have with this argument is the damage that GOP will do when they come back into power. 



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