Monday, December 1, 2014

Time and tide

This is my Thanksgiving and Advent post. As always, I am grateful to all of you who have been a part of The Sideshow and made it possible. It's been a pretty busy period, what with having two separate Thanksgiving dinners to throw on the nearest Saturdays, along with a death in the family. So I don't have an Advent calendar list ready, but check out the Christmas Countdown Calendar Hunt Emerson is doing this year for Cancer Research UK, which unfortunately doesn't start until the 1st of December. Meanwhile, the addresses from last year often work, so give them a try. Oh, and of course, it's "Carol of the Bells" time.

"Ohio Could Pass the Country's Most Extreme "Secret Executions" Bill" - the most extreme, but by no means the only law that would eliminate checks and balances from the process.

William Greider, "How the Democratic Party Lost Its Soul [...] Instead of addressing this reality and proposing remedies, the Democrats ran on a cowardly, uninspiring platform: the Republicans are worse than we are. Undoubtedly, that's true - but so what? The president and his party have no credible solutions to offer. To get serious about inequality and the deteriorating middle class, Democrats would have to undo a lot of the damage their own party has done to the economy over the past thirty years. [...] Long ago, the party abandoned its working-class base (of all colors) and steadily distanced itself from the unglamorous conditions that matter most in people's lives. Traditional party bulwarks like organized labor and racial minorities became second-string players in the hierarchy that influences party policy. But the Dems didn't just lose touch with the people they claimed to speak for; they betrayed core constituencies and adopted pro-business, pro-finance policies that actively injure working people."

Here's Gaius Publius on "Harry Reid, Tax Extender Basics, And A Suggestion For Senate Progressives," or pushing back on stupid Democratic "deals".

Dean Baker tweeted, "Have fun with right-wing uncle, ask them why they favor government patent monopolies on prescription drugs," and linked to "Current drug-patent system is bad medicine [...] This rapid run-up in costs is exactly what economists would expect from an industry that is protected from competition by the government. Just as the old system of cost-plus contracts in the military sector led to outrageous charges for weapons purchased by the Defense Department, the system of government-granted patent monopolies gives companies little incentive to control costs and reduce waste. For this reason, it would not be surprising to find that major drug companies are seeing runaway cost increases. [...] This is why it is very bad news for people in the United States, India and the rest of the world that India is now reviewing its patent policy at the insistence of Barack Obama's administration. The White House wants India to adopt a much stronger patent regime that would limit the ability of its generic industry to provide low cost alternatives to expensive drugs in the United States."
- In related news, the real drug pushers. (via)

RJ Eskow, "Prosecute Now: The Justice Department Can Still Act Against Bad Bankers: It's been a grim period for American justice. Despite compelling evidence of widespread bank fraud in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis -- and despite all those billion-dollar settlements -- prosecutors have not indicted executives at any major U.S. bank. This stands in contrast to the much smaller savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, which led to the conviction of more than a thousand bankers. And as the Justice Department's criminal division remained idle in the aftermath of 2008, the statute of limitations passed for most of bankers' crimes. But there's a ray of hope: The bankers' own deep-seated propensity for cheating and corruption may have given prosecutors a new opportunity to indict them. With the upcoming departure of Attorney General Eric Holder, there is the chance to forge a new approach toward Wall Street lawbreaking by pursuing evidence of wrongdoing wherever it may lead."

Ta-Nahisi Coates on The Gospel of Rudy Giuliani, which is that, for some unclear reason, people should be more worried about "black on black violence" and not just about being murdered by cops. That's, you know, seriously needing a red-herring.

Hm. It's rather unusual for a prosecutor to go before a Grand Jury and present the defense for the accused. Boy, that guy really didn't want an indictment.
- "A prominent legal expert eviscerates the Darren Wilson prosecution, in 8 tweets"
- "It's Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson's Just Did"
- August's fine rant from Jon Stewart on Ferguson and race
- John Oliver last August on Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization
- "Video of Police Shooting of 12 Year Old Child Looks Almost Like a Drive-By"

What's wrong with this story? I think I'm being told that it's okay for cops to kill people if they are obnoxious first. And also that I shouldn't worry about it if I learn of it from a libertarian.

You can see why they want us to forget what Black Friday was.

Adam Serwer writes the RIP for The Mayor: "Why D.C. Will Always Love Marion Barry [...] From the outside, observers could see only Barry's flaws, his corruptions and addictions. The mystery of Barry's political survival despite numerous run-ins with the law, mismanagement of the city government, and numerous allegations of sexual assault is easier to solve if you know the history of the city. Barry didn't bring corruption to D.C. He changed who benefited from it." In The Chocolate City, the beneficiaries had all been white men until Barry came along. And boy, they punished the voters for re-electing him, too. The District of Columbia gets a substantial part of its budget from the rent it charges the government for use of its lands. Congress got so mad at Barry that they actually withheld the rent for several years running - and then blamed Barry for the budget problems. (via)

Stu Shiffman (1954-2014): Stu was our friend and brother and co-conspirator for the best part of our lives, a talented, funny, wonderful artist and dinner companion. I am grateful for the many gifts he brought us, and so, so sorry we will never hear his jokes or see his smile again.

3 comments:

  1. But the Dems didn't just lose touch with the people they claimed to speak for; they betrayed core constituencies and adopted pro-business, pro-finance policies that actively injure working people.

    Indeed. The Republican wing of the Democratic party took over. And it spite of its spectacular failure in 2014, it still has its hands firmly on the reins.
    ~

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you have 36 minutes for it, here's historian H. W. Brands adding some color and a good introduction to the financial basics behind the original Black Friday. [LINK]

    (That said, I think Brands is wrong at 42:50 of the parent video where he says that the Legal Tender Acts said the Greenbacks it authorized would not be acceptable for taxes. As I read it the second of the two acts, which were issued in February and July of 1862, said whereas the fiat currency would not be good for paying duties on imports or interest owed to the government, and that the federal government, itself, would pay the interest it owed on "bonds, notes, and certificates of debt and deposit" in gold backed notes the second act also said, explicitly, that greenbacks would be good for paying taxes.

    The precise wording of the act was:

    ...such notes shall be receivable in payment of all loans made to the United States, and of all taxes, internal duties, excises, debts, and demands of every kind due to the United States, except duties on imports and interest, and of all claims and demands against the United States, except for interest upon bonds, notes, and certificates of debt or deposit; and shall be lawful money and a legal tender in payment of all debts, public and private, within the United States, except duties and interest as aforesaid.. [END QUOTE] [LINK]

    Now it is true that before and for years after the Civil War most the Federal government"s revenue was from duties on imports , though I don't know if during the Civil War that was the case, and that may be what Brands meant. Then again, he has a Ph.D. so there's more than a small chance I have this nitpick wrong all together.)

    There's also this thirteen and a half minute clip of the same Brands at a workshop for secondary school teachers that's off the topic of the nineteenth century's Black Friday but, whether or not you have the same sense of the current political milieu as he does, it's clarifying in its simplicity.* Liberals, I think, should be quick enough on the draw to lay out these essentials in 45 seconds or less whenever it would be useful to do so in, say, taking on Originalists. [LINK]

    ========
    *You are still left to get versed in technical speak about the differences between merchant capitalism which was present in colonial times and modern industrial capitalism which isn't underway in the U.S. until the 1840s and, also, what's different about productive land in an economic sense from capital/capital equipment-- or, at least, what was once seen as the difference between the two.

    ReplyDelete