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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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Timmy’s Tantrum vs. the Mosuo Matriarchy

0,1020,1534447,00mWhile reading Dakinikat’s post on Geithner’s profanity-laced rant against Sheila Bair and Mary Shapiro I could not help but wonder how the dynamic would have been changed had either Bair or Shapiro been in Geithner‘s position and vice versa. This lead me to wonder if their gender might have influenced his performance tactic or if his control issues manifested themselves in a gender-neutral fashion. Then, having recently read a piece in Der Speigel on the Mosuo matriarchy, I wondered how differently the whole episode would be playing out, if the Mosuo matriarchy’s institutional structure was guiding their behavior.

At the outset, it is worth noting that the Mosuo matriarchy is only one of potentially myriad forms of matriarchy. This brief mainstream media-derived post should not be seen as claiming that all matriarchies would carry similar features based upon a specific essentialized version of human femaleness in its socially-dominant context.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is Mosuo society a paradise for feminists?

Coler: I had expected to find an inverse patriarchy. But the life of the Mosuo has absolutely nothing to do with that. Women have a different way of dominating. When women rule, it’s part of their work. They like it when everything functions and the family is doing well. Amassing wealth or earning lots of money doesn’t cross their minds. Capital accumulation seems to be a male thing. It’s not for nothing that popular wisdom says that the difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys.

Hmm. I think it fair to suggest the Mosuo’s take on the role of the Federal Reserve Bank, and Wall Street in general, would proceed along a vastly different tack then it did in the aforementioned meeting. Given the downplay of capital accumulation, how does this cash out in terms of social organization?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is life like for a man in a matriarchy?

Coler: Men live better where women are in charge: you are responsible for almost nothing, you work much less and you spend the whole day with your friends. You’re with a different woman every night. And on top of that, you can always live at your mother’s house. The woman serves the man and it happens in a society where she leads the way and has control of the money. In a patriarchy, we men work more — and every now and then we do the dishes. In the Mosuo’s pure form of matriarchy, you aren’t allowed to do that. Where a woman’s dominant position is secure, those kinds of archaic gender roles don’t have any meaning.

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That’s why he’s the Big Dawg

bill-clinton-photograph-c10102849

From CNN:

North Korean President Kim Jong Il has pardoned and released two U.S. journalists, state-run news agency KCNA said Wednesday.

The announcement came after former U.S. President Clinton met with top North Korean officials in Pyongyang to appeal for their release.

“Clinton expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it,” the news agency reported. “Clinton courteously conveyed to Kim Jong Il an earnest request of the U.S. government to leniently pardon them and send them back home from a humanitarian point of view.

“The meetings had candid and in-depth discussions on the pending issues between the DPRK and the U.S. in a sincere atmosphere and reached a consensus of views on seeking a negotiated settlement of them.”

The report said Clinton then conveyed a message from U.S. President Obama “expressing profound thanks for this and reflecting views on ways of improving the relations between the two countries.”

Obama can claim a victory or wash his hands of it, but two Americans are coming home.  The Clinton haters and blogstalkers will find something wrong with it, but Bill doesn’t give a f**k.

Neither do I.

NOTE: Be prepared for some serious Clinton hate.  Team Obama won’t sit still for Clinton & Clinton stealing the spotlight.

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Geithner and Summers: Economic Disaster Deja Vu

g + s

Timothy Geithner’s profanity-laced rant against Sheila Bair and Mary Shapiro for their rational, reality-based concerns about increasing the power of Federal Reserve Bank, as opposed to increasing oversight of the system, should elicit a kind of déjà vu because the scenario has been played before. (Note: Increasing oversight does not mean policy disclosure.)

In 1997-8, Brooksley Born, the head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, tried to open a discussion about introducing oversight measures into the OTC derivatives market by producing a memo because she could see that:

“There was no transparency of these markets at all. No market oversight. No regulator knew what was happening,” Born says. “There was no reporting to anybody.”

Summers, Rubin’s deputy (and now director of the National Economic Council), said the memo had “cast the shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market, raising risks for the stability and competitiveness of American derivative trading.”

History, in the form of the role these derivatives played in this economic disaster, has proven that she was right to undertake that initiative. Unfortunately, Greenspan, Leavitt, Rubin, and Summers, to name some major players, were effective in pushing legislation that ended the CFTC’s ability to undertake oversight.

Born assailed the legislation, calling it an unprecedented move to undermine the independence of a federal agency. In eerily prescient testimony, she warned of potentially disastrous and widespread consequences for the public. “Losses resulting from misuse of OTC derivatives instruments or from sales practice abuses in the OTC derivatives market can affect many Americans,” she testified that July. “Many of us have interests in the corporations, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, municipalities and other entities trading in these instruments.”

Notwithstanding, her concerns were dismissed and her ominous predictions came to pass.

Geithner is a protégé of Summers.

Is it not an ironic twist of fate, and a testament to Geithner’s blind faith against oversight, that he, like his mentor before him, is assailing intelligent, moral, qualified women for pointing out the  folly of his ways.

{Note: I defer all economic inquiries to our resident expert, Dakinikat.  My interest in the situation is the social dynamic.}

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Democracy ain’t pretty

sausage-making

Once again I find myself reluctant to get my tightie-whities in a twist the way I’m told a good liberal is supposed to do:

ThinkProgress reported today on the growing number of angry right-wing activists viciously harassing Democratic, as well as moderate Republican, members of Congress on health care reform. Jonathan Cohn wrote that these tactics represent “classic astroturf organizing, in some cases bankrolled by the health care industry.” The insurance industry is sending staff members to over 30 states to “confront” lawmakers about health care reform. Simultaneously, Cohn writes, the health care industry will use the August recess to “flood the airwaves with ads picking apart reform legislation.” Indeed, AHIP, the lobbying juggernaut for the health insurance industry, has promised to change its tone and begin running negative ads on reform soon.

ThinkProgress sat down today with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to discuss efforts by the health insurance industry and the right wing to derail health reform. Asked about the recent ambushes at town halls, Durbin expressed confidence that his “colleagues won’t fall for a sucker-punch like this”

First of all, any blogger who didn’t see this coming needs to turn in their keyboard. “GOP and health insurance industry unite to oppose health care reform” is as predictable as “wild bear shits in the woods.” This not only should have been foreseen but planned for by anyone who was really trying to change our current health care clusterf**k.

This is why I knew we were screwed as soon as I heard the announcement that single payer was off the table. Well, actually I knew we were screwed when the DNC/RBC stole the nomination from Hillary and gave it to Obama, the single payer announcement just confirmed it. If somebody REALLY wanted to reform health care they wouldn’t take the best option away before they even started.

Instead of single payer we get something that should be called the “Health Insurance Industry Protection Act,” with a consolation prize of “public option” that isn’t really public option. Sorry, but real ponies don’t oink.

So now I’m supposed to be outraged because the Republicans and the health insurance industry are exercising their legal rights by trying to block some shitty legislation that wasn’t worth getting excited about in the first place?  I don’t think so.

This brings me to my final point.  Take another look at the first two sentences in that quote from Think Progress:

ThinkProgress reported today on the growing number of angry right-wing activists viciously harassing Democratic, as well as moderate Republican, members of Congress on health care reform. Jonathan Cohn wrote that these tactics represent “classic astroturf organizing, in some cases bankrolled by the health care industry.”

Which one is it – “angry right-wing activists” or “astroturf organizing?”  It seems like every time the GOP tries to organize themselves in opposition to anything the Obamacrats are doing  it gets called astroturfing.  I guess all those people that showed up at the Tea Party rallies weren’t real people, they were just paid operatives.

What’s that you say?  The rallies and this current strategy were ginned up by the GOP and in some cases funded by special interests?  Well no shit!

Weren’t the Obama bloggers just recently gushing over their exclusive conference call with Teh Precious on the topic of health care reform?  Didn’t they tell us how His Supreme Hopenchanginess commanded them to go forth and spread the word?

I find it highly amusing and hypocritical that the Sippy-Kup Kidz of the Kool-aid Kingdom are upset about the Republicans doing a little community organizing of their own.  The Failbots apparently thought that they had a monopoly on Alinsky’s methodology too.

Don’t get me wrong, I think most of these tea-partying Republican radicals are ignorant twits.  But then again, so are most Obama supporters.  I don’t belong to either tribe, but the Democrats do bring back fond memories and some of them claim to want the same things that I do.  However right now the Democrats have a bad plan, bad message and bad leadership.

Currently it’s all about defeating and demonizing Republicans, winning elections and passing meaningless or bad legislation just to claim victory.  The agenda is tribalism, not policy.  Policy should determine strategy and strategy should determine tactics.  Right now tactics determine strategy and strategy determines policy.

I want to see genuine health care reform – single payer.  I’m not gonna get all excited fighting for something I don’t even want, and I’m damn sure not playing this game anymore:

1107charlie_brown_lucy_football


UPDATE:

Let’s take this from the NY Times in pieces:

Health Plan Opponents Make Voices Heard

Senator Arlen Specter and the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, were heckled and booed in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Are they sure those are connected?  I’m pretty sure Specter and Sebelius get booed all the time.  If they don’t, they should.

The protests, organized by loose-knit coalition of conservative voters and advocacy groups, were a raucous start to what is expected to be weeks of political and ideological clashes over the health care overhaul President Obama is trying to push through Congress.

The conservative groups, including FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, are harnessing social networking Web sites to organize their supporters in much the same way Mr. Obama did during his election campaign. Democrats said they expected supporters of the health care overhaul to mobilize against Republican events later in the month.

Don’t Facebook and Twitter belong to Obama?  Letting the Republicans use them is sacrilege!

Republicans, however, seemed to get the early jump, in part because Democrats, who hold the majority in Congress, have scheduled numerous events, including forums and town-hall-style meetings, to discuss the proposed health care legislation with constituents.

So the Democrats scheduled meetings and the Republicans showed up?  Wow!  Couldn’t see that coming.

BTW – why does the NYT assume that all the protesters are Republicans?  There are a lots of pissed of liberal Democrats out there too.

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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Health-care Waterloo Nightmare Pseudo-Reform

I know he’s a douche but this is really good.

This is a very good question: Why should we preserve the he for-profit health insurance industry? Really, why?
What’s so great about private health insurance?

The bloody battle in Congress over a ‘public option’ ignores the insurers’ role in creating the nation’s healthcare crisis and their efforts to throttle reform.

This is truly “deja vu over again”.
Health Plan Opponents Make Voices Heard

The protests, organized by loose-knit coalition of conservative voters and advocacy groups, were a raucous start to what is expected to be weeks of political and ideological clashes over the health care overhaul President Obama is trying to push through Congress.

Our Government runs the best health care in the US

The US Family Health Plan is a military health plan sponsored by the Department of Defense. The USFHP offers benefits to active duty family members and all military retirees and their eligible family members, regardless of whether or not they participate in Medicare.

Democrats May Bypass Republicans on Health Plan, Schumer Says

Senate Democrats may decide to pass a U.S. health-care overhaul without Republican support if some opposition lawmakers don’t agree to a plan by mid-September, Senator Charles Schumer said.


Big Dawg To The Rescue

Bill Clinton in North Korea to Seek Release of U.S. Reporters

Former President Bill Clinton landed in North Korea on Tuesday to negotiate the release of two American television journalists sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering North Korean territory, according to a person briefed on the mission.

Bill Clinton’s Novel Role: the Spousal Envoy


Economy Watch

A government program is working and Republicans don’t like it. Quelle surprise!
Senate Republicans aren’t buying ‘cash for clunkers’

Senate Republican leaders railed against it Monday, calling the program a model of government inefficiency and out-of-control spending. The program originally got $1 billion, but all but exhausted that funding last week, its first. The House of Representatives approved another $2 billion on Friday, but the Senate’s balking.

Goldman’s new ‘American Socialism Manifesto’

8 ways ‘The Conspiracy’ is destroying our American democracy

Morning in America Means `Long Slog’ as Nobel Winner Phelps Eyes Recovery

Just as banks from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. rushed to raise their forecasts for U.S. growth in coming quarters, Nobel laureate Edmund Phelps warned the economy is in for a “long slog.”

What recession? Not that I’m gloating here but we’re on the list twice, starting with the first spot. Just sayin’.
15 Government-Heavy (and Recession-Resistant) Cities


Around The Nation

Just because Right-wingers were having a collective orgasm when Gallup said 40% of Americans consider themselves conservatives.
Political Party Affiliation: 30 States Blue, 4 Red in ’09 So Far

An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from the first six months of 2009 finds Massachusetts to be the most Democratic state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states, as they were in 2008.

Rather sues to return CBS execs to $70 million suit

Former TV news anchor Dan Rather sued CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward on Monday in a bid to have them reinstated as defendants in his $70 million lawsuit against the network.
[…]
“These are the two individuals who committed the crime on behalf of CBS and we’re holding them personally responsible,” said Rather’s lawyer, Martin Gold.

Ruth Madoff Can’t Spend $100 Without Telling Trustee

Bernard Madoff’s wife, Ruth, can’t spend more than $100 on herself without telling the trustee liquidating her husband’s investment-advisory business, a bankruptcy judge ruled.

Olbermann not playing nice with News Corp.

MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann is disputing a report that his feud with Bill O’Reilly, Fox News and News Corp. has had the kabosh put on it.


Op-ed Columns

A Canadian doctor diagnoses U.S. healthcare

The caricature of ‘socialized medicine’ is used by corporate interests to confuse Americans and maintain their bottom lines instead of patients’ health.

Quite an interesting approach.
Safe at Home

THE financial crisis has given rise to all sorts of wrongheaded ideas, among which is the notion that we should not subsidize the “losers” who can’t make their mortgage payments. In fact, the solution to our troubles is not to restrict homeownership, but to expand it.

Ross Douthat, are you on crack? Liberalism is to blame for California’s woes and Texas is a model state?
Blue-State Blues

Responses to Ross’s silliness are here: More on Red States and Blue States


Around The World

China’s Broken Olympic Promises: Detained Activist’s Kafkaesque Nightmare

Ji Sizun, a legal activist who represented ordinary people, disappeared into the clutches of Chinese state security a year ago, on the fourth day of the Olympic Games in Beijing. He had wanted to demonstrate in one of the official “protest parks.” Instead, he ended up in prison.

Their fiscal stimulus seems to work better. How about their healthcare reform?
China eyes health care cure to rebalance economy

A new plan to provide universal healthcare in China could rein in its sky-high savings rate and stimulate private consumption — a boon to the world economy, which is counting on Chinese consumers to start spending.

Will a Police Probe Take Down Israel’s Foreign Minister?

After 13 years of on-and-off probes into his private and political affairs, Lieberman has had good reason to believe that Israel’s police were bugging his calls. And it certainly came as no surprise to the leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party when the police National Fraud Squad on Aug. 2 recommended that Lieberman be indicted for money-laundering, accepting bribes and obstruction of justice.

A Mafia Boss Breaks Silence on an Assassination

Salvatore (Toto) Riina, the Mafia’s notorious former boss of bosses, has broken his silence from his prison cell near Milan, where he is serving a life sentence for dozens of homicides, including the masterminding of the Borsellino hit and one three months earlier of another crusading Sicilian prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone.


From The Department of Huh???

Seattle bank teller chases robber, loses job

A Seattle bank teller has lost his job because he ran down a would-be bank robber and held him until police arrived. Jim Nicholson, 30, who had worked for more than two years at a Key Bank branch near the Seattle Center, says he understands the bank’s strict policy that employees comply with robbery demands and avoid confrontations.

Why couldn’t this guy adhere to the rules? How hard is it?


From Cuckooville

Birthers release forged Kenyan birth certificate for Obama

To hear the Birthers tell it, their Holy Grail has been found: Over the weekend, de facto movement leader Orly Taitz released a photo of what is supposedly a certified copy of a Kenyan birth certificate for President Obama, which shows that he was born in Mombasa, Kenya, and not in Hawaii.

Birther or Not, Here They Come! Rightbloggers Work the Obama Birth Certificate Angle

As you may have heard, there is among certain people a controversy as to whether Barack Obama was really born in the United States. They generally believe that Obama’s certification of live birth and the confirmation of Hawaii’s State Department of Health are either bogus or insufficient.

Why isn’t this guy in a straitjacket? If not for his own sake, at least for the sake of society.

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