Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Update: It Wasn't a Joke. It Should Have Been.

Congratulations to the Republican party, for screwing the pooch so thoroughly that even the worst debate performance in modern American history (and a lingering depression) couldn't get you the White House.

Sincere congratulations to America, meanwhile, for making sure that they DIDN'T get the White House. Wasn't sure you had it in you. Sure, the Republicans still have the House, but one thing at a time, right?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ryan? Is this some sort of joke?

Oh, I had to come back for THIS.

Paul Ryan is Romney's running mate? You've gotta be kidding me. Really, this must be a joke. 

This whole election is about concentration of wealth. It's about how the "one percent" (really the zero-point-zero-zero-one percent, but who's counting) are screwing over the rest of America, if not the rest of the world. It's about how the middle class, working class, and lumpenproletariat are finally starting to wake up to the reality that they've been screwed over for going on thirty years now. It's not even just Occupy: that's what the Tea Party was really about, even if the poor bastards were completely co-opted by the handmaidens of wealth.  Everybody's already pissed, and they're getting more pissed by the day.

With Romney as the Republican nominee, that's the only way it COULD have gone. That's why the Republicans were so desperate to nominate somebody else: Romney's the worst possible choice for a candidate in a situation where Americans are already starting to light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks. Obama's people don't need to be political experts to realize how to take advantage of the situation, and Romney's played into it quite nicely with the tax issue.

So why the fuck would you pick Ryan as the running mate?

Literally the only thing that he has to sell himself is his budget plan. There's nothing else to the guy. Sure, you could sell him as a wonk and a thinker, but Romney doesn't NEED one of those. They aren't going to appeal to Republicans and independents in the first place.  He's a good looking youngish guy, but he's not going to match Obama on that, and he's not going to carry states.

No, it's all about the budget proposal. And that budget is the worst possible thing for Romney to be running on. Not only is it utterly dishonest bullshit—Paul Krugman must be licking his chops at the prospect of carving Ryan up on a weekly basis—but it's a direct attack on both medicare and the middle class on behalf of the wealthy minority that Romney and Ryan both represent. That budget isn't going to defuse Romney's negatives. It'll MAXIMIZE them.

The only thing Ryan has going for him is the whole "DEFICIT! DEBT! DEFICIT! DEBT!" hysteria. That hasn't been the defining issue in American politics since 2010, not since all that supposed hyperinflation failed to materialize. There are bigger issues now. The effect that global warming is going to have on food prices are going to be more important than that.

Seniors will hate this choice.  The middle class will hate this choice. Minorities will hate this choice. Women will hate this choice. Independents will hate this choice. The only people who will endorse this choice are the exact same wealthy white men that Romney already has in his pocket.

Sure, he might still win. If he does, though, he'll do it in SPITE of Ryan. Ryan's a loser. What a ridiculous choice.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Roberts Court After All?

May have been a bit too fast on that "Scalia Court" last month. Who knew that Roberts was going to show some self-awareness? Who knew that he'd realize that going along with the Scalia Faction would finally nail down people's nascent realization that the Supreme Court is in the tank for the Republicans?

Don't get it wrong. He still did solid wingnut work. He's opened the door to all sorts of plump challenges to Commerce Clause stuff, and that Medicare expansion funding thing is going to be exploited by every Republican-owned state in the Union. We should also all remember that Citizen's United was a more vicious attack on individuals' rights and freedoms than striking down ACA could ever be.

But, hell, at least Americans' health care won't be quite as embarrassing as it has been. That's something to take comfort in.

(At least until we find out just how badly global warming has fucked the price of food.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Walker Won Wisconsin

Well, what were you expecting after Citizens United? Walker outraised Barrett by eight to one, with most of that money coming from outside anti-union moneymen. It would have been shocking if Walker HADN'T won.

The Scalia Court won this recall vote. Nobody else.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Job Creators"

Yes, this point in ThinkProgress about how small businesses wouldn't be affected by the Buffet rule is an important one. Useful, too, since it highlights just how disconnected Republicans are with actual small business.

It's still important to remember that we are the job creators, not them. Capital allocation is important, but without labor and without consumers, you can't have a functioning economy! Somebody needs to do the work. Somebody needs to buy the product. If you don't have either of those, the best capital can do is sink the money into real estate or even more speculative nonsense. That never works for long.

There is no functional economy without laborers who can live off their work, and there is no  economy whatsoever without consumers. The smartest and wisest of the ultra-wealthy are already coming around to that realization. People like Gates and Buffet are saying "tax me" for a reason. It's the dumb, shortsighted, and ideologically blinkered ones that are bankrolling the Republicans.  The Kochs and Scaifes and whatnot, who got their fortunes through oil or luck. They don't know jack, and they ain't worth listening to.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Progressive Bloggers and Whatzisname

Huh. I'd been keeping an eye on this nonsense going on with the Canadian "progressive bloggers" list—quasi-summary here by "Doctor Dawg"—but wasn't expecting to be dropped in the middle of it by Antonia Zerbisias. Zerbisias has a point. Whatzisname didn't exactly cover himself with glory. But it's odd to see this come up again.

Funny thing is, I'd mellowed out towards ol' Kinsella over the years. I don't think he's changed, but his weird idiosyncratic issues about pseudonymity doesn't strike me as relevant anymore. Canada's got bigger issues, just as America does, and his holdout position against pseudonyms just isn't shared by too many people these days.

I also think he's right about how the Liberals and the NDP need to get together. Yes, some Liberals may break away. So? Screw 'em. Liberals have far more in common with social democrats than hard-right conservatives. If they defect to the Conservative party of Stephen Harper (of all people!) they weren't liberals to begin with.

That's the issue. Words like "liberal" and "progressive" and "conservative" actually have to mean something. You really do have to draw lines, and you can't let everybody in. That's one of the reasons why the American political parties don't use labels like that, and call themselves "Democrats" and "Republicans". You can have conservative Democrats and progressive Republicans and still get all the benefits of partisan unity.

(Not that that's entirely the case, the Republicans are conservative to a man, but that's the general idea.)

If you have to draw lines, you're going to have people going over the line. That's what happened with the progbloggers, where a few progressive-in-name-only-bloggers went over the line on women's rights to choose, and were justifiably shredded for it by the real progressives. The real progressives questioned whether the fake progressives had any right to the name. They went to the admins, and the admins freaked out, because they forgot that WORDS MEAN THINGS.

Then Kinsella comes charging in and just makes it worse. His claims are ridiculous. Fern Hill's clearly just pointing out that "even the Dominion nuts hate being spied on". It makes sense! I hate being spied on too! Kinsella's being awfully silent on that side of it. He talks about the "what" but never the "why" when the "why" is critical. Doesn't seem to mention the whole abortion thing, either. Not sure what that means.

But I have to ask: what's the POINT of it? He wants the Liberals and NDPers to merge or align or whatever. Does he really think that this sort of thing is going to help? Does he really think that that new party isn't going to have lines that can't be crossed? Does he really think that any sort of progressive movement worth the name is going to invite anybody and everybody that doesn't call themselves "conservative"? Does he realize WHY all this is happening? What is he THINKING?

He's supposed to be a clever political strategist. I think there's something to that. I did pay attention to that last election in the Canadian province of Ontario that he was involved in, where it looked like he managed to help turn back a serious and potentially disastrous Conservative surge and keep a basically progressive Liberal government in power. He knows how these sorts of things work.

So I'm honestly baffled at the angle here. Both the Fern thing and the Zerbisias thing are bad opinion journalism and bad politics. It makes the merger he's advocating far less likely, and it's far more likely to push people away from the "Progressive Bloggers" than anything else.  It's only helping Harper. It just doesn't make sense.

(Edit: Oh, one more thing. Changing the text of Zerbisias' blog comments was just plain silly. I haven't the foggiest about the legal side, but the dumb is unquestionable.)

(Re-Edit: Fixed Zerbisias' name. Sorry, Antonia.)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Hope You're Having a Good Easter

The Republic isn't seeing its best days. So it's good to take your positive moments when you get them.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What the Hell is WRONG with California?

Libraries? You're seriously cutting state funding for PUBLIC LIBRARIES?

Granted, this is a problem across all of America, as ignorant legislators assume that because their kids can afford iPads, everybody else in America doesn't need public sources of information. (Or trained professionals to help them find it.) But, honestly, CALIFORNIA? The heart of the information revolution SHOULD DAMNED WELL KNOW HOW IMPORTANT PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION IS.

The worst part is that the same worthless wingnut shitheels that always complain about too-high taxes will also be the ones complaining about the unemployment, underemployment, and piss-poor test scores that come from this. An educated populace is the foundation of a modern economy, and California appears to be doing its level best to make sure that they don't have those.

But, hey! At least your property taxes won't go up!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Upward Jobs Tick

Apologies for the lack of updates. Been occupied (heh) of late.

Not quite sure if I buy that the latest upward tick in the jobs numbers is a good thing or not. Certainly it's a good thing for the newly employed. No-one would deny that. But any sort of improvement is going to be seen as a reason to lay off on low interest rate policies, to deny any further need of stimulus, and even to avoid changing anything at all about US economic policy.

That's not a good thing. America still has the same problems. It still has manufacturing jobs moving to other countries, especially China: not because of low wages, but because of the ease of access to suppliers and appropriate human capital. That's why Apple's there, that's why everybody else is there, and that is NOT something that Indiana is going to solve by nuking public-sector unions.  It requires a sophisticated understanding of the role of public investment. Those Chinese factories didn't spring up out of nowhere. Read the story: the Chinese government had a hand in it. As long as America is still led by people who think that government is the enemy of success, America won't have success.

America also still has the problem of financialization, and the fallout from that sector's dominance. Matt Taibbi's right that it's good that the foreclosure scandal hasn't been completely buried...but considering it was one of the biggest and more prevalent scams in U.S. history, the fact that it came as close as it DID is a problem.  Smart people are still moving out of the real world and into Wall Street chasing the big financial dollars, or simply trying to find a decent job as other sectors empty out. That's not right. That's not sustainable. And it's nothing to build an economy on.

But, mostly, America is STILL behind on one of the most important trends in the 21st century: renewable energy. Look at this story on India: the price of solar panels is absolutely crashing there. That story in the New Scientist quoted analysts as saying that solar could as cheap as grid energy across half of the globe by 2015. That's three years from now. This will absolutely revolutionize how the world looks at energy...and what is the United States doing? FRACKING! Jamming toxic chemicals into the earth to extract more hydrocarbons, possibly causing honest-to-goodness earthquakes, while the increasingly-inaccurately-named "developing world" says "heck with it" and just builds cheap solar panels! Panels that they may soon produce without any sort of American help whatsoever!

So, yes, this is good news. But it doesn't address the underlying problems.