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2014 Election & Plutocratic Psychopathy

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Barry Grey and Patrick Martin in “The US elections and the American plutocracy” declare that the Democratic and Republican parties agree on austerity, government spying, tax breaks for the rich and war.

Hunger, homelessness, joblessness, Detroit’s bankruptcy are not worth seriously addressing by either of them in this election cycle. Read below the fold...

Ferguson learns from Hong Kong

Common Household Remedies Request

Gaah.... Not so much a request for technical help, but for good thoughts. The boiler has been especially cranky this year, and I have a terrible feeling its on its last legs, or feet, or appendages, or fundament, or whatever boilers have. Read below the fold...

Light Reading: "Spectres of the Atlantic"

Since Empire of Necessity came up on the charts, the idea that slavery -- although in opposition to wage labor as a social relation -- was nonetheless essential to the formation of what we know as capitalism and moreover, thrives today, not merely metaphorically, as debt slavery, but actually, in the soccer stadiums of Dubai, the shrimp boats of Thailand, and indentured servitude Silicon Valley. So, Spectre of The Atlantic, by Ian Baucom. Read below the fold...

Light reading: "Empires Without Imperialism"

Since I am temporarily in funds, I decided to buy some books, and when I get into bookbuying mode, I always buy too many; I can't just sit down and read a whole book anymore; maybe I should restructure my time so I can do that again; perhaps if I pretended I had a long commute again. When I was a courier, picking up advertising checks for a weekly, just coming up, I took public transportation around Boston, and I read several long novels on the trains and buses: Dickens, Zola, Balzac, James. Heavy books. I used the checks as bookmarks.

Anyhow, the first book I bought was Empire Without Imperialism (good luck with that) by Jeanne Morefield. Here she describes the theme of the work in the Introduction. After Staff Sergeant Robert Bales whacked a sixteen Afghani civilians, including nine kids:

President Obama responded to these events ... by claiming "It's not who we are as a country." His words prefigured and echoed almost exactly those of Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, and General John Allen, all of whom rendered some version of the same sentiment: This is just not who we are.

Except it is, isn't it? Read below the fold...

In the garden: The fisheye

I'm trying to like the fish-eye, but I dunno....

Not so fishy close up, where I'm sorta faking a wide angle. Read below the fold...

Richard Wolff: How class works

letsgetitdone's picture

Cantor Repeats the Same Old Nonsense: Shows He Hasn't Learned A Thing From Defeat

Eric Cantor weighed in today at Quora on the balanced budget Amendment. This is what he said:

Once created, government programs build constituencies of special interests determined to keep the money flowing, whether or not the particular program is effective. There have been many times when the House has placed wasteful and duplicative programs on the chopping block, only to see pressure from the spending lobby win the day in the Senate.

Near-term spending cuts are necessary to alter the course, but they will not be enough without long-term changes. Likewise, promises of cuts 10 years from now mean little without a way to enforce them. The only way to truly guarantee delivery from future elected officials is for the Constitution to demand it.

To that end, the House has scheduled a vote on a balanced budget amendment that would require supermajorities in both chambers to run a deficit, raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes and spend more than 18% of the GDP. With the balanced budget movement gaining momentum, members of the spending lobby want to argue that Congress and the President already have the ability to control spending. Ability and discipline are not the same. If Washington actually had the discipline to live within its means over the long-term, every American citizen would not owe $46,000 toward the national debt.

In my view, the importance of these upcoming votes cannot be overstated. The adoption of a Balanced Budget Amendment would make reckless borrowing a thing of the past, and will ensure that our children enjoy futures full of opportunity.

Democrats and Republicans should join together to do the right thing, pass this amendment, and make a real difference for the future of our country.

Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Marketplace "consumers" denied the information they need to shop

The Times:

With health insurance marketplaces about to open for 2015 enrollment, the Obama administration has told insurance companies that it will delay requirements for them to disclose data on (1) the number of people enrolled, (2) the number of claims denied and (3) the costs to consumers for specific services.

For months, insurers have been asking the administration if they had to comply with two sections of the Affordable Care Act that require “transparency in coverage.”

In a bulletin sent to insurers last week, the administration said, “We do not intend to enforce the transparency requirements until we provide further guidance.” Administration officials said the government and insurers needed more time to collect and analyze the data.

The mind boggles, doesn't it? Remember, the whole (flawed) rationale for ObamaCare (assuming good faith) was that consumers, by shopping in the marketplace, would bring costs down by forcing competition on insurers[1]. Suppose -- bear with me, here -- I were ordering health insurance from Amazon.com; not so far fetched when you remember Obama compared using the marketplaces to buying a flat screen TV at Best Buy. At Amazon, you'd see (1) how many people bought the product ("the number of people enrolled"), (2) whether the shipper actually delivered on the product ("number of claims denied"), and (3) how much the product costs ("the costs to consumers for specific services"). On this last, yes, I know services are supposed to be covered by the policy, but with narrow networks and formularies, along with high deductibles and co-pays, it's hard to know. For example, I'd want to make damned sure, with a high-priced procedure, that the service provider was in network. Price breakouts would help with that.)

So, Obama wants you to be a smart shopper; he just doesn't want to give you the information that would make you smart (again, assuming the idea that shopping makes you a better consumer of health care works, which it doesn't). That's some catch. Read below the fold...

Whenever you hear "the economy," ask "Whose economy?"

A classic example from The Economist:

DESPITE headwinds from the continent, Britain’s economy continues to do pretty well. GDP has exceeded forecasts so far this year, and in the second quarter was 3.1% larger than a year ago. The economy has at last surpassed its pre-crisis peak. Yet working Britons are not feeling the benefit. Real wages have fallen for seven consecutive years, and are 6.9% below their 2007 level. Britain is experiencing its longest period of pay stagnation since records began in 1855 (see chart).

And the handy chart: Read below the fold...

Intersectionality and identity politics

I'm told by a trusted academic that this by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is the key source. Here's a typeset PDF, and here's a web version, with less pretty footnotes, but with selectable text: Read below the fold...

In the garden: Victory through squash power

More on those squash:

Read below the fold...

Maine Democrats about to get shellacked in the gubernatorial race

Portland Press-Herald:

[Republican Paul] LePage leads [Democrat Mike] Michaud 45 percent to 35 percent, with independent Eliot Cutler at 16 percent and 4 percent undecided, according to the poll of 639 likely voters conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. The landline and cellphone poll has a 3.8 percent margin of error and was conducted from Oct. 15 to 21, a period that coincided with three televised debates, leaving questions about whether the forums affected the results.

The findings include results that show respondents view Michaud as the more likable candidate, but they believe LePage better understands them.

Opening a ten-point lead with a little more than a week to go? Debates or no, that's not good news for the Democrats.[1]

And in a way, I get that "better understands them." For all that he's gay and out, Michaud is a colorless functionary within the Democratic nomenklatura who has little to recommend him other than his party affiliation. He's not an Edmund Muskie, or even a George Mitchell. There's no there there. By contrast, LePage may be an asshole -- and by "may," I mean "is" -- but he's our asshole. There's no institution that speaks to deep Maine more than Marden's, and LePage was the CEO:

Read below the fold...

Why Asher Platts is no longer a Democrat, but a Green

From an interview with the Bangor Daily News:

[PLATTS:] I spent the first ten years of my political life as a Democratic Party activist and turn after turn through the Iraq War and the way the Democrats kept authorizing funding… And saying publicly that they don’t condone torture but after leaks it would turn out that not only did they condone it, they were complicit by not doing anything about it… Between all of that and impeachment proceedings, which the Democratic Party activist base was trying to do everything in their power to bring against the Bush Administration for war crimes and the leadership was doing everything that could be done to stop that from happening. Then from 2008 to 2010, when the party controlled the House, Senate and presidency, and here in Maine they controlled the governorship and both sections of the legislature, nothing progressive happened. In fact, here in Maine in 2009, Democrats voted for a flat tax, which is just crazy to me.

I became very disillusioned. I had believed very strongly in the idea that you stay in the Democratic Party and reform it but I had spent ten years doing that and it had only gotten worse. I had worked for Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign and I saw the immune response the party has within its various apparatuses to any progressive voices and I was just like, alright, this entire power structure has been build to prevent itself from reform. So I gave up on trying to reform an essentially broken structure and decided to work towards building a different structure entirely. The Green Party is that structure.

Well, maybe. Read below the fold...

Jack Trammell: The government is like a household

Some Blue Dog-centric Democratic apparatchik seems to have laid eggs in Jack Trammell's brain[1]. The ongoing process of transformation and assimilation has been horrifying to watch. The Star-Exponent:

"[TRAMMELL:] The government needs to balance its checkbook like ordinary people have to do."

Buried the lead on that one, didn't they? Read below the fold...

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