Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Here’s to acknowledging reality

Via Rachel Maddow:

Ohio really did go to the president last night.

And he really did win.
And he really was born in Hawaii.
And he really is, legitimately, President of the United States.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make-up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence
That cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.

And the polls were not skewed to over-sample Democrats.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election
To make conservatives feel bad.
He was doing math.

And climate change is real.
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us.
It was not a scandal by us.

And no one is taking away anyone’s guns.
And taxes haven’t gone up.
And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

And the moon landing was real.
And FEMA isn’t building concentration camps.
And UN election

Posted at 12pm on Nov 8, 2012 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics, Religion & Society

Paul Krugman was right (again)

Portugal has done everything it was told to do in order to reduce its debt, but its debt is rising because the austerity measures the country adopted are killing the economy.

NYT: Portugal’s Debt Efforts May Be a Warning for Greece

By the broadest measure of a country’s ability to repay its debts, Portugal is going deeper into the hole, because its economy is shrinking.

Posted at 9pm on Feb 14, 2012 | 1 comment
Filed Under: Politics

Godwin’s Law

From Wikipedia:
“There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once … a comparison [with Hitler or the Nazis] is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.”

The Republicans Larouche supporters who were manning a stall today on the Main Street in Newmarket, New Hampshire, don’t appear to know that they’ve lost the debate before it’s even started.

When I challenged one of the people manning the stall, pointing out that Obama has not in fact rounded up and killed millions of people, his reply was, “How do you know he won’t.” By that token, I pointed, out, he himself was Hitler, since how do we know that he won’t start killing Jews?

Posted at 7pm on Feb 13, 2012 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

Verizon, taxes, and lobbying

From the Google+ stream of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Posted at 8am on Feb 11, 2012 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics


I want you to stop being afraid
Of other Americans
Of other religions
Of other classes
Of other nations
Of speaking out.

You’re Americans.
Act like it.

If you don’t get it, ask an American who does.

Posted at 7pm on Feb 10, 2012 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

Paul Krugman is tired of trying to reason with you people

Loved this image.

When Krugman won his Nobel Prize for Economics, I commented that it was like discovering that your favorite, rather scholarly, uncle was secretly an undercover agent.

Posted at 9am on Jan 27, 2012 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

The casual acceptance of violence and torture

The deliberate inflicting of pain is now being accepted by government as a way of keeping the population in line.

The use of pepper spray in wartime, we should be constantly reminding ourselves, is an official war crime. It’s chemical warfare, and it’s torture.

If these policemen were soldiers, and the students were citizens of a foreign country, those in uniform would be facing prison sentences for what they’d done. Why do police forces have the right to perpetrate with impunity what are effectively war crimes against their own people? Why do we accept this so easily?

From the Atlantic:

James Fallows: Pepper-Spray Brutality at UC Davis

In case you haven’t yet seen the YouTube footage of what happened yesterday at UC Davis, here it is. The first minute has the main drama:

Let’s stipulate that there are legitimate questions of how to balance the rights of peaceful

Posted at 2pm on Nov 20, 2011 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics, Religion & Society

The economy grows, the people get poorer

In every quarter since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the economy has grown. And yet ordinary Americans are still getting poorer, while the gap between the richest and the poorest still continues to grow. We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the rich.

The graph is from this article in the NYT.

Posted at 9am on Oct 10, 2011 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

We are the 99%

we are the 99%

The Occupy Wall Street campaign has been widely seen in the media as a coalition of flakes, unsure of why they’re actually there, without any clear message. And while there may be a grain of truth in that there is no one clear leader articulating demands, as Glenn Greenwald said,

Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that Wall Street is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power—in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions—is destroying financial security for everyone else?

I admire Glenn’s passion, and while he’s right, I think he’s articulating the wrong emotional message. He’s articulating disgust (“oozing,” “corruption,” “crony”). The problem with this is that disgust isn’t an attractive quality. It’s offputting. People aren’t generally inspired by disgust. And when they …

Posted at 8pm on Oct 4, 2011 | 2 comments
Filed Under: Politics, Religion & Society

Why the US is the only industrialized country without universal healthcare

This appeared in my stream on Google+, having originally been posted by Armando Lioss.

I haven’t checked the figures, but given that the US accounts for almost 50% of global military spending, it looks about right.

Added later:
However, the military budget of the US has little directly to do with the country not having universal health care. The US in fact spends far more of its GDP on healthcare compared to other industrialized nations, although it gets far less for its money. If there is a common factor, it lies in the fact that government in the US is largely controlled by business interests who push military spending to absurd levels and who prevent the substantive healthcare reform that would allow all Americans to have access to healthcare.

Posted at 10pm on Oct 2, 2011 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

Who ate all the cookies?

From time to time one of my kids will grab the other kid’s food and eat it. They have an excuse. Their brains are not yet mature, and they don’t understand fairness, or only in a selfish way, being concerned to get their share, but often being unwilling to let others have theirs.

This graph shows, well, graphically, I suppose, what’s been happening in the US since the 1960s, in terms of income inequality.

The US has been baking more and more cookies, but 5% of the population has been grabbing most of them, leaving very few to be shared among the 95% of the population who are, for the most part, actively engaged every day in making the damn cookies.

Posted at 4pm on Sep 30, 2011 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

The cowardice of helping heroes

Ross Douthat, the younger and hipper of the NYT’s right-wing columnists (the other being the rather gray and staid David Brooks) concludes a piece today praising the recent outbreak of bipartisanship with this extraordinary statement:

Real courage is required as well [as bipartisanship]. And this month’s outbreak of bipartisanship was conspicuously yellow-bellied. Republicans and Democrats came together to cut taxes, raise spending, and give free health care to the first responders on 9/11. They indulged, in other words, in the kind of easy, profligate “moderation” that’s done as much damage to the country over the years as the ideologies of either left or right.

Note how two different things here are lumped together as “yellow-bellied” (i.e. cowardly): the extension of the Bush tax cuts, and paying the health-care costs of heroic individuals who rushed in to the rubble of the World trade Center …

Posted at 1pm on Dec 27, 2010 | 2 comments
Filed Under: Politics

Where did our debt come from?

I came across this fascinating graph recently (in the Atlantic), and thought it worth sharing. The first column of figures shows how much the US federal debt grew, or shrank, as a share of gross domestic product during each administration. The second column of figures is the average annual rate of growth or reduction during that administration — for example, you can quickly see that under Truman, the debt burden fell by an average 4.7% for each year of that administration. Red is bad, green is good.

One thing that’s clear is that for most of the last 61 years, federal budgets were well run. The second thing that’s clear is that until recent times, federal budgets were well run under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The third thing that’s noticeable is that something has gone horribly wrong with the federal …

Posted at 6pm on Nov 29, 2010 | 1 comment
Filed Under: Politics

Ron Paul on the so-called mosque near Ground Zero

Ron Paul has taken a brave stance that will make him unpopular with many conservatives.

It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

Via Think Progress

Ron Paul is a man I disagree with on many things, but he’s spot on here. This is where libertarianism and liberalism overlap.

Posted at 4pm on Aug 29, 2010 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics, Religion & Society
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Obama is still destroying the US!

Back in September, I posted a graph of job losses covering the final fourteen months of Bush’s presidency and the first seven of Obama’s.

job loss graph

I’d ironically titled the post See how Obama is destroying the US because someone had put a poll on Facebook asking the question, “Is Obama destroying our country?” The answer choices were thoughtfully provided as:

– Yes
– No
– Only a little

If you look at the comments for that post you’ll see I was criticized as “partisan,” “misreading the statistics,” and that I “do not understand what is going on.” I was also told that “Hard times are coming and you will not be prepared.”

Of course I don’t have any advanced skills in analyzing the economy, but it seemed obvious that the trend was in the right direction and that …

Posted at 9pm on May 7, 2010 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics
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Journalist calls for military overthrow of Obama administration

Here’s the article, which was published on Newsmax, and then pulled. I got the text from Google’s cache:

Obama Risks a Domestic Military ‘Intervention’

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 10:35 AM

By: John L. Perry

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

# Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”

# Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American

Posted at 10am on Oct 1, 2009 | 8 comments
Filed Under: Politics
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See how Obama is destroying the US

Job losses, 2008 & 2009

Someone just posted a poll on FaceBook evaluating the Obama presidency. The question and answer choices were as follows:

Is Obama destroying our country?
- Yes
- No
- Only a little

The graph above compares Bush’s “economic miracle” — the miracle of destroying jobs at a rate unprecedented in modern times– with Obama’s performance. Note what happened in the months since Obama took office. Job losses have declined to a point where they’re not much worse than they were before the recession got fully under way. If current trends continue it’ll only be a couple of months before we see positive gains in the number of jobs.

Then we’ll be back to the start of what may be another long nightmare of prosperity, although the nightmare of peace is something we won’t see for some time, given that the Bush administration started two wars …

Posted at 10pm on Sep 14, 2009 | 28 comments
Filed Under: Politics

Peter’s health insurance reform march on Washington

Peter Clothier has a neat idea for motivating people to push for a public health insurance option. Here is what he wrote:

Step 1: I handwrite a brief letter to my Senators. “Dear Senator …, I voted for you. I have placed my trust in you. I hereby respectfully request that you unequivocally INSIST on the inclusion of a public option or its equivalent in any health care bill that goes to President Obama. Yours truly, (signature.)”

(Find your senators’ addresses here)

Step 2: I place my letters in sealed, stamped envelopes, marked in bright, unmistakable letters on the outside: PO/PO (for Public Option/Post Office) in order to identify it as a part of this effort.

Step 3: IMPORTANT! On Tuesday, September 1 at precisely NOON o’clock, I drive, ride or walk to my nearest United States Post Office and silently place my letters in the outgoing mailbox. Suppose I were to

Posted at 9pm on Aug 21, 2009 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

Right-wing lobbying firms encouraging hooliganism

Rachel Maddow’s piece is very sobering and shows how right-wing lobbying firms set on derailing health insurance reform are attempting to use thuggish behavior to intimidate legislators.

For some reason the Maddow video doesn’t display unless you visit the post — click on the title above if you can’t see it.

Stewart’s piece is lighter, but does a good job of showing how Fox News helps by endlessly recycling its own talking points (which themselves come from the Republican Party).

Posted at 9pm on Aug 5, 2009 | 4 comments
Filed Under: Politics
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Obama’s broken promise

Glenn Greenwald is good at highlighting government hypocrisy, no matter where it originates:

Regarding Obama’s refusal to disclose the identity of health care executives meeting in the White House, TPM’s David Kurtz notes:  "It’s an especially painful continuation of Bush policies since candidate Obama promised to let CSPAN in to cover the creation of a health care bill and his campaign website still promises transparency in meetings between White House staff and outside interests." 

There are certain times when Obama betrays the spirit of his promises and other times when he betrays both the spirit and letter.  This seems quite clearly to be an example of the latter.

Posted at 9am on Jul 23, 2009 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

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