Not sure if you saw but in the Florida's Governor primary on the GOP side and in the Florida's Senate primary on the Democratic side, two political novices, both multi-millionaires, are now leading in the polls.
I go on average twice a month. Most of the talks/events are not included in the annual membership which runs $110 for Bay Area residents. They are priced according to expected demand and are open to non-members. Members get a discount. Some of the bigger events like Gore's post 2000 election reappearance are held at the Fairmont Hotel but otherwise most are held at the Club's offices on Market Street.
Cory is a good guy and he's doing a good job as mayor especially given the toughness of the situation.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, facing a mounting budget deficit, announced a series of "savage" cuts today, including a four-day work week for 1,450 non-uniformed city workers, shuttering the city’s pools and even banning the purchase of toilet paper.
The extreme measures Booker said he will implement starting next month come on the heels of the city council’s decision earlier this week to defer action on the creation of a Booker-backed municipal utilities authority. The authority, which would take over Newark’s vast watershed holdings is a linchpin in his budget.
Without the MUA, the budget is left with a $70 million hole the mayor said he must attempt to fill without resorting to draconian tax increases that could push homeowners over the edge and cripple the city’s fragile economic revival.
"In the meantime, I’m going to shut down as much of city government as I can," Booker said during a City Hall press conference. "We’re going to stop buying everything from toilet paper to printer paper. Call me Mr. Scrooge, if you want, but they’ll be no Christmas decorations around the city."
Barring any city council action, Booker said, the belt-tightening will begin Aug. 2 with the closing of Newark’s city pools and the popular Camp Watershed in West Milford. On Sept. 27, allowing for the required civil service notifications, the city’s non-uniformed employees — all except police, fire, water and sewer — are to begin a 4-day work week, the equivalent of a 20 percent pay cut. And, he said, he’s "taking away" the council’s gasoline debit cards and asking members to voluntarily join their City Hall colleagues on the furloughs.
It's all relative but when you look at the likes of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Gary Johnson, or Rick Perry, John Thune appears sane by comparison.
Mitch Daniels is probably the sanest of the lot but his suggestion to take issues like abortion and gay rights off the table so as to concentrate on fiscal and economic ones wasn't well received by the base.
Perhaps we have arrived the triumph of the id. Too many believe it seems buy into the Thatcherite view that there is no such thing as society, only the individual. There is no us only me. I think that a dangerous view.
At this point, I think the only likely cure for these beliefs is societal collapse. Haiti is really the conservative dream state. The state is almost non-existant, almost all typical functions of government are private (for example, Haiti has the largest percentage of private schools in the Americas, 84 percent of Haitian children attend private schools, of course most Haitians can't afford to send their kids to school beyond elementary school; there are 6,000 police officers in Haiti, but 15,000 private security agents; there is one public hospital), the trade regime is the most liberal in the Americas, tariffs are low, it's a free trade haven, the regulatory environment is next to non-existent but the licensing regime very expensive. Yet Haiti has more millionaires per capita than any other country in the Western Hemisphere. Then again it is also the poorest and thus the most unequal. But Haiti is precisely where the belief in unfettered free markets leads. Corruption is endemic as Haitian elites effectively have monopolistic control over sectors. One family controls the ports, a few own the construction companies that get all the govt. contracts. Granted Haiti also has a deep racial divide and has long been poor and unequal but as a result of its free market experimentation that was forced upon it by Clinton, the country has gone from being self-sufficient in its food supply to being aid dependent in less than a decade. And functions that the state used to perform are now perform by NGOs and non-profits. Non-profits are a double-edge sword. All too often they are just another neo-liberal tool in dismantling the state.
But we are on way to becoming like Haiti. We won't be as poor obviously but the social inequality levels are headed in that direction as we develop an aristocracy and a vast underclass of low wage earners without a social safety net. This is likely to have implications for the openness of our political system. It's not surprising to me that we are seeing calls to repeal the 17th Amendment nor even to restrict suffrage. Even Ann Coulter has wondered aloud about repealing the 19th Amendment which is bizarre than anyone would want disenfranchise themselves but that's Ann Coulter. Or look at various moves afoot to ban felons from voting. And no doubt to run for political office is now a rather expensive proposition. I'm not sure the number of individuals running for office who have net worths in the tens of millions in this cycle but it used to be rare and it's now commonplace.
We'll see if there is a middle class reaction or not. Britain may be the test case. Cameron's budget is quite regressive and will fall hardest on the poor but there is increasing pressure on the middle classes in Britain. My expectation is that we are headed for a lost decade for a significant number of people. The Obama Administration now doesn't see the unemployment rate falling below 9% until 2013. The U6 is over 16%. A test of values is coming but if your friends are any indication, we are likely to fail that test.
Tucker Carlson has proven himself the pettiest and most pathetic individual time and again.
Why is it that conservatives engaged so willingly in self-deception? Tucker Carlson is willfully misleading his readers and he's unabashedly unremorseful of that fact.
I think Ezra Klein hit the nail on the head when he wrote that this was about increasing his hits (they are up 30% to 200,000 per day) but I'll add that it is also about Tucker increasing his credibility with the rabid deranged wing of the American right wing that sees liberal conspiracies afoot everywhere. Tucker doesn't really belong to the Palin-Bachmann-Tancredo pantheon of insanity but that's where the action is and this is his chance to get a slice of that putrid pie.