Department of Why Can't We Do That?
for items in which one is caused to mourn being an american, because others are making us look bad
Charlie Pierce, (not for the first time) is consumed with iration. The cause of his irritation: the threat by Inifinito Gold (love that name...) to sue the Country of Costa Rica for $1 Billion (U.S.).
I'm working on some Medicare for All graphics that with your indulgence I would like to post here to solicit critiques. None of them have specific calls to action for now because I don't know where to direct people that they won't get bogged down, so I'll add those later as they become appropriate. (And I welcome any suggestions about whom to hook up with.) For now, I just want to get a sense of what works visually and textually for people who aren't me.
I'm doing this now because I think the ongoing Obamacare drama presents an opportunity to raise the visibility of single-payer and to draw new adherents to it from a variety of positions. Everybody everywhere likes them some Medicare, except the people whose profits are diminished by it. Nobody likes insurance companies, except the people whose profits depend on them. This is one of those rare moments when just about everybody is talking about health care and 90% of the people who are talking about it are saying "lord god this is fucked up."
Probably everybody who hangs out at Lambert's joint is of the opinion that we were robbed of a splendid opportunity to push for single-payer in 2009-2010. Now there's another opportunity and we'll be robbing ourselves if we don't take advantage of it.
The background photo in this flyer is off Flickr using a creative commons license. For font aficionados, the font all the way through is ITC New Baskerville Standard. I want to make graphics that are suitable both for posting online and printing as handouts/pinups. Let me know what you think.
I think the defenestration of the odious Larry Summers is super, and I hope Larry's hitherto impermeable ego took a deep puncture wound from the shards and splinters, though I doubt very much that it did. And Janet Yellen, both as a glass ceiling-shattering woman and a consensus builder, is clearly a superior choice* to a corrupt, chauvanist gasbag who cashed in at DE Shaw and blew a squillionaire-sized hole in Harvard's endowment, after which he fired the (black (female)) whistleblower who called him on it, Iris Mack, Ph.D.
Nevertheless, schadenfreude is a poor basis for determining policy, as is -- and one would think after campaign 2008, we'd understand this -- hagiography. Dr. Lynn Parramore provides a fine example of Yellen hagiography here. First, I'll summarize the article's talking points; then, I'll do a closer reading and point out one issue, pertaining to women, that one would have thought a focused editorial process would have protected Parramore from failing to raise. Happily, however, this same issue provides a litmus test both for the seriousness of Yellen's advocates on politics, and the seriousness of Yellen herself on policy. 6 Things You Need to Know About the Woman Who May Soon Be the Most Powerful Economist on Earth:**
1. Yellen has an impressive resume.
2. She has an independent streak.
3. Her forecasting ability is renowned.
4. She cares about unemployment.
5. She has the right management skills.
6. Yellen is the most qualified.
OK, let's color code those talking points. I'll use blue for careerist talking points (credentials, resume, job performance, and so forth), yellow for personality talking points (example: "In addition to the progressive values I believe Obama holds in his heart, I also believe he is an honest, decent person who wants to do the right thing"), and green for policy talking points (example: "[I]t'd be nice if someone in the Fed at least acknowledged that 'giving people free money' is what needs to happen."):
1. Yellen has an impressive resume .
2. She has an independent streak .
3. Her forecasting ability is renowned .
4. She cares about unemployment .
5. She has the right management skills .
6. Yellen is the most qualified .
See any policy there? Read below the fold...
“All we want to do is combat voter fraud. Why can’t we ask for people to prove that they are who they say they are?” That’s the talking point we always hear to justify legislation to disenfranchise millions of Americans. And it’s an effective talking point in the political sphere, despite its inherently disingenuous nature.
I’d like to propose a counterargument: Why can’t we ask you to prove voting fraud? Why can’t you prove they’re guilty of what you say they are? Read below the fold...
A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers will Rule the Future by David H. Pink (Riverhead Books, NY, copyright: 2005, 2006)
Excerpts from Introduction and Chapter 1 - “Right Brain Rising”:
The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind -- computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands.Read below the fold...
Paraphrasing Jill Stein from a workshop in NYC 3-23-13:
There are 40 people on one side of a road. There is one person on the other side of the road.
A bread truck pulls up and the driver gives the one person -- standing there alone (perhaps impatiently tapping a Gucci-loafered foot and checking his Rolex) -- 40 LOAVES OF BREAD. Then the driver gives the group of 40 people, in varying states of dress and hunger, ONE LOAF OF BREAD to share among themselves. He drives off.Read below the fold...
[I'm leaving this sticky because I wish more people would write up their experiences like this! --lambert]
A majority of medical schools recite the Modern Hippocratic Oath either at entrance to, or graduation from medical school. Although this oath is in no way binding, those of us who use physician’s services trust them to adhere to the principals that they once professed to embrace.
I could analyze each part of the Oath, but I would like to focus on this paragraph:
“I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.”
This paragraph has no basis in the real world of the “For Profit” medical system in the U.S. Here is a quick story to illustrate. Read below the fold...
I'd sure rather put my money in the Post Office bank as opposed to a den of thieves and CEO snakepit like Bank of America:
On July 27, 2012, the National Association of Letter Carriers adopted a resolution at their national convention in Minneapolis to investigate the establishment of a postal banking system. The resolution noted that expanding postal services and developing new sources of revenue are important components of any effort to save the public post office and preserve living-wage jobs; that many countries have a long and successful history of postal banking, including Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United States itself; and that postal banks could serve the nine million people who don't have a bank account and the 21 million who use usurious check cashers, giving low-income people access to a safe banking system. "A USPS [United States Postal Service] bank would offer a 'public option' for banking," concluded the resolution, "providing basic checking and savings - and no complex financial wheeling and dealing."
Gee, you'd think the Democrats and The Greatest Orator of Our Time would be pushing this; it saves a great -- and Constitutionally established -- American institution, it helps preserve unions and good jobs, and it would give hundreds of millions of Americans a place to put their money where Lloyd and Jamie and Michael couldn't out their trotters on it. Read below the fold...
This a long examination of the "tortured history" of the Socialist movement in America from an organizational perspective. I imagine there are a number of people who will be unhappy with the post -- Obama is, after all, a "Socialist" -- but I think the writer says some sensible things:
here are some ideas for potential forms a new socialist movement could take: Read below the fold...
Mirah Riben has a provocative article on dissident voice entitled “Statistics, Politics and Solutions in the Gun Discussion.” The following is a listing of many of Riben's enlightening facts and revelations.
1. FBI statistics for homicides in 2011:
Total homicides: 12,664
Firearm homicides: 8,583
Hammer and Club homicides: 496
Knife and other blade homicides: 1,694
2. "2009 findings for homicides by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes state that 66.9% of all homicides in the U.S. were from using firearms."
3. "More than a million Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 – more than in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and various smaller conflicts, combined."
4. "More than half of all gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides and not included in numbrers above. Nor are accidental fatalities by guns of all kinds included." Re report from National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, January 2013.
5. “The United States suffers far more violent deaths than any other wealthy nation, due in part to the widespread possession of firearms and the practice of storing them at home in a place that is often unlocked, according to a report released Wednesday by two of the nation’s leading health research institutions.” Re report from National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, January 2013. Read below the fold...
Well, not really. But if you view the Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC) meme, as I do, as a short-hand for the more general idea of using Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS), then yes, it can change the whole political game for progressives if President Obama dares to use it.
Literal TDC proposals would solve the debt-ceiling, but they won't solve the larger problem of defeating the austerity politics that is so close to getting the cuts to social safety net and important discretionary government programs that austerians have long sought. PCS game-changer proposals are the ones calling for, or analyzing the impact of, PCS options aimed at paying off the national debt and covering anticipated federal deficit spending for some years.
PCS options of that kind change the game of fiscal politics by removing the issue of austerity from fiscal policy considerations. With this kind of PCS the national debt and the debt-to-GDP ratio go away as matters of concern. The focus of fiscal policy then becomes the impact of specific policies rather than some overall deficit or debt reducing target. The issue in fiscal policy then becomes public purpose. It becomes what specific impacts, including inflation, and full employment, are anticipated from passing specific legislation, and whether or not those impacts are in line with public purpose. But, when the national debt and the debt-to-GDP ration go away as matters of concern; then the issue of the deficit viewed as something that is draining a limited supply of financial resources goes away, also, because people will understand that using PCS to cover deficits ensures that the US Treasury can never run short of its own fiat currency.
I'm sorry to say that there are few posts of this kind, relatively speaking. I'll list and link to some of those posts later. But first I want to point to what some in the MSM blogosphere are saying right now. Read below the fold...
Please leave new "sightings" of Proof Platinum Coin Seigniorage items -- whether old or new -- in comments below, or contact the blog!
And see here for an interpretation of the data, at least from the perspective of the blogosphere.
NOTE The number of items seems to challenge the scale of the map. I should debug the map to make sure the background and all of the phases look perfect... And when I have time I will! Read below the fold...
Social pain, anger at ecological degradation and the inability of traditional politics to address deep economic failings has fueled an extraordinary amount of practical on-the-ground institutional experimentation and innovation by activists, economists and socially minded business leaders in communities around the country.Read below the fold...