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
A lot of Americans have the feeling that those who have and supply big money to candidates, office holders, lobby groups, think tanks, and media have bought politics. That it is they who are determining the agendas that office holders act upon and even the specific decisions they make in passing laws and rendering executive and even judicial decisions. This short post won't debate the extent to which big money has perverted democratic processes in the United States. Instead it will offer a simple, perhaps an oversimple, solution to the problem that will really work. Here it is. Read below the fold...
Why is it that Washington village “progressives,” and their associates in other parts of the country who are nevertheless part of the Washington village culture, often ask useful questions, but, almost always deliver, underwhelming answers? Here's an example from Richard Eskow, probably the best writer at Campaign for the American Future. Read below the fold...
On Valentine's Day, Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to the President, authored by himself and signed by 15 other Senators, all Democrats. The letter was a response to the rumors that the President intends to include his Chained CPI proposal to cut Social Security benefits in the budget he will soon send to Congress. Read below the fold...
Today, John Boehner bowed to the inevitable logic of the impending political season and placed a “clean” debt ceiling increase bill on the floor of the House. At this writing, the bill passed with 28 Republican and 193 Democratic votes. Now it moves on to the Senate, where it is expected to pass in time to allow the Treasury to keep issuing debt instruments.
So, now we have had agreement on a budget partially rolling back the sequester, and the Republican leadership appears to have decided not to have another debt ceiling crisis. I wrote a post called “What Happens Now?” just after the Government shutdown ended last October. There I analyzed the political situation and made a number of predictions about the short-term future. Here's how I answered the question: “Growth and Jobs or Shutdowns and Debt Ceiling Crises?” Read below the fold...
It's easy to recognize that after many years of trade deficits accompanying implementation of trade agreements beginning with NAFTA the US needs to change what it's doing. Many, including Robert Borosage of the Campaign for the American Future (CAF), advocate for balanced trade and they contrast that with the so-called “free trade” policies we have now. The case for balance trade policy is summarized by Borosage this way during his discussion of the policies favored by the New Populism:
Our global trade policies have been defined by and for multinational banks and companies. They have shipped good jobs abroad and driven wages down at home, while racking up unprecedented and unsustainable trade deficits. Those imbalances, as the International Monetary Fund and former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke have noted, contributed directly to blowing up the global economy.
The new populists demand balanced trade policies. . . .
So, we need “a balanced trade policy” meaning one that reduces trade deficits because it will support lower unemployment by keeping “good jobs” here, drive wages up rather than down, be more sustainable, and won't contribute to a collapse of the global economy. But, is that the only or the best way to get these outcomes? Read below the fold...
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...