Thursday, April 11, 2013

And dreams you never dreamt

Digby says to make those phone calls. Do it.

Yep, those ads really do write themselves: "GOP campaign chairman calls chained CPI 'trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors'"
Even Grover Norquist is right: "Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, leader of the organization, criticized the policy via Twitter on Wednesday. 'Chained CPI is a very large tax hike over time.'" Via Atrios.

I think Josh Marshall is still dreaming, but he's getting closer by acknowledging that Obama really wants to cut Social Security. Meanwhile, now Katrina vanden Heuvel is acknowledging Social Security's needed expansion - in The Washington Post.

"America Is Ruled by Billionaires, and They Are Coming After the Last Shreds of Our Democracy."

"How conservatives still run America, despite losing elections [..] Social security and gun safety are but a couple of the numerous issues on which conservatives in Washington get their way and the minority liberal party loses out. Most recently, every Republican and 33 Democratic conservatives came together to repeal a tax on medical devices, a major source of funding for Obamacare. And on Dec 28, the conservative party - 42 Republicans, 30 Democrats and 1 Independent senator - voted to extend the foreign intelligence law known as FISA, opposed by civil libertarians. We should further expect that the conservative party will keep winning on many fronts, from greatly limiting all new investments in education to unduly slashing social spending." (via)

Max Baucus is their man - and not ours: "No other lawmaker on Capitol Hill has such a sizable constellation of former aides working as tax lobbyists, representing blue-chip clients that include telecommunications businesses, oil companies, retailers and financial firms, according to an analysis by LegiStorm, an online database that tracks Congressional staff members and lobbying. At least 28 aides who have worked for Mr. Baucus, Democrat of Montana, since he became the committee chairman in 2001 have lobbied on tax issues during the Obama administration - more than any other current member of Congress, according to the analysis of lobbying filings performed for The New York Times."

Krugman on "The Intellectual Contradictions of Sado-Monetarism [...] What I realized is that Stockman, and many others, represent the latest incarnation of sado-monetarism, the urge to raise rates even in a deeply depressed economy. It's a long lineage, going back at least to Schumpeter's warning that easy money would leave 'part of the work of depressions undone' and Hayek's inveighing against the 'creation of artificial demand'. Nothing must be done to alleviate the pain!" Krugman also talks about how Obama is going with Chained CPI even though it's terrible policy because he is Desperately Seeking 'Serious' Approval that he won't get, but now that he's come right out and said it, the Republicans have their talking point all neatly tucked in. Yes, Obama wants to cut your Social Security. Dems now definitely have a great chance to lose the Senate.

Meanwhile, Chris Hayes finally spells out that some bad people really are trying to foment an age war in order to help them sell killing Social Security. (But not all of them are Republicans, Chris!)

Tim Shorrock joined Sam Seder to talk about Obama's War on Whistleblowers on The Majority Report.

"Judge Strikes Down Age Limits on Morning-After Pill: A federal judge on Friday ordered that the most common morning-after pill be made available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger. But his acidly worded decision raises a broader question about whether a cabinet secretary can decide on a drug's availability for reasons other than its safety and effectiveness."

RIP: Carmine Infantino, 87
More on Infantino

I'm told that "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead" made it into the Top Ten this week.
Seumas Milne: "A common British establishment view - and the implicit position of The Iron Lady - is that while Thatcher took harsh measures and "went too far", it was necessary medicine to restore the sick economy of the 1970s to healthy growth. It did nothing of the sort. Average growth in the Thatcherite 80s, at 2.4%, was exactly the same as in the sick 70s - and considerably lower than during the corporatist 60s. Her government's savage deflation destroyed a fifth of Britain's industrial base in two years, hollowed out manufacturing, and delivered a "productivity miracle" that never was, and we're living with the consequences today. What she did succeed in doing was to restore class privilege..." (via)
Juan Cole, "Top Ten Ways Margaret Thatcher's Policies Made our World more Unequal"
Pierce does not remember her fondly.
Petition to privatize Thatcher's funeral, thus saving the state a lot of money and honoring her legacy. (Alas, Thatcher's version of privatization usually involved many expensive front-end sweeteners to buyers before giving away the family jewels - so, not so much of a money-saver after all.)
Elvis Costello, "Tramp the Dirt Down"
(Later, I found more songs on the same subject.)

Depression-busting music


  1. Russell Brand wrote a surprisingly good commentary in the Guardian on growing up Thatcher.

    How conservatives still run America, despite losing elections
    I heard an interview in which Amitai Etzioni took issue with the interviewer's reference to Republicans as the minority party. He said something along the lines of, no, liberal Democrats are the minority party. Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, are the majority. You have to see the correct picture.

  2. Cut off from the land that bore us,
    Betrayed by the land we find,
    When the brightest have gone before us,
    And the dullest are most behind-
    Stand, stand to your glasses, steady!
    'Tis all we have left to prize:
    One cup to the dead already-
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

  3. Replies
    1. Yup, and this has been smack-my-ass-and-call-me-Sally clear for fucking years, right? Yet we should all be steeling ourselves for the shrieking harlots who are about to tell us how important voting is in 2014, that despite how bad these corporate dems are we should suck it up and vote for lesser evil b/c well, you know, gradualism and unicorns and all that shit. Anything and I mean anything to avoid reality or the long, incredibly arduous task of recreatinig democracy out of what's become a vacuum.

      I mean, shit, if I were on the Titanic I'd want me some violin music, whiskey and, well, let's be honest, wild sex too, but ...

  4. ksix, been sayin' that for years.

    Avedon, I think Josh Marshall has the right of it. Obama doesn't care about Social Security, one way or the other; he cares about his Grand Bargain--making a deal.

  5. I stopped reading Josh Marshall and TPM more than four years ago because...well...remember what those of us who didn't love Obama were being called four years ago...but I followed your posted link just to see what was what. And here is the sentence that says Marshall is still in denial and still making excuses: "There are also a number of progressive economists and policy analysts that think this (the chained CPI) might be a positive step in the context of other changes to get the country’s longterm financial house in order."

    I challenge Marshall to back that up. He can't. The only "economists" and "policy analysts" supporting the chained CPI horseshit are those that call themselves Obama supporters, "New Democrats" or Republicans. (Same difference.) Social Security is self-funding and has nothing...absolutely do with getting "the country’s longterm financial house in order." Josh Marshall and his "news" outlet can suck my...lemon. They lie and excuse. In all things Obama, they are blind. Even here, where the light is so bright that even the sightless can find their way unaided, they are blind.

  6. Romberry, but his insight about the Grand Bargain is a good one, and I think it's correct. Heavens, if I only read news sources who politics I agreed with, what would I read?

    Live, from the District of Columbia, it's Barry Obama with Lets! Make! A! Deal!

  7. Did anyone else notice Charles Pierce on the McConnell embarrassment: "Back in the day, when my grandfather was involved in political intrigue in the city of Worcester, they'd hear that the opposition was meeting in the old Hotel Vernon and my grandfather would take the room next door and put a water glass against the wall to listen. And people wonder whatever became of the classics."--

  8. Michael Brenner's article about how plutocrats rule us somewhat misses the point. Plutocrats can rule only to the extent that people let them.

    I'm always astonished by how ordinary people see through the lies propagated by the media and, also, by how it doesn't matter because they refuse to build the solidarity necessary to actually change things. The petty bickering that divides the left is an obvious example, but it's less important to the plutocratic result than the dislike and distrust of the poor common to much of the middle class--even to people who claim to be defenders of the poor.

    I take flak on a number of websites because I am a Christian and say so....and also that there are many people who call themselves atheists or agnostics who behave a lot more like Jesus than many people who call themselves Christians. What is truly discouraging is how difficult it is in congregations where people who are committed to helping the poor--are willing to spend money, cook food, and so on--have such a hard time talking to them as equals.

    The problem is not confined to churches. Lots of secular people who talk about helping the poor are willing to write checks, but are not willing to get personally involved. Until one gets personally involved, as a friend and not as a benefactor, it's difficult to build solidarity.

    There are some hopeful signs. Solidarity with vets is greater than it has been in the past, for example. The Occupy Movement has built bridges, especially in NYC. Issues like preventing gun violence provide opportunities to get over the polarization that fragments us.

    But for there to be real change in the political system, there has to be real change in people's hearts. They have to want to work with people with whom they ordinary wouldn't.

  9. Richard Wolff takes on very concerned (you can tell by his eyebrows) former Clinton OMB chief economist John Minarik's arguments justifying Social Security cuts. Real News Network