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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 19, 2023 by Tony Wikrent   Global power shift China Leads A Successful Middle East Summit Ian Welsh, March 16, 2023 Something which has slipped past most people’s radar is that China recently acted as the intermediary for peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The two countries have been at each other’s throats f […]
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Everyone Has Their Secrets

And Obama’s “State Secrets” are a real doozie. Glenn Greenwald covered Obama’s assasination program against Anwar Awlaki. Apparently Obama is sentencing him to death without a trial, without due process and without even convicting him of any crimes, invoking “State Secrets” as a reason, which means

not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate its legality.

This is so radical that even Bush supporter David Rivkin, one of the most far right, executive power loving lawyers in the country is disturbed.

The government’s increasing use of the state secrets doctrine to shield its actions from judicial review has been contentious. Some officials have argued that invoking it in the Awlaki matter, about which so much is already public, would risk a backlash. David Rivkin, a lawyer in the White House of President George H. W. Bush, echoed that concern.

“I’m a huge fan of executive power, but if someone came up to you and said the government wants to target you and you can’t even talk about it in court to try to stop it, that’s too harsh even for me,” he said.

And we thought Bush was scary?

Don’t run from the “Tax hikers” meme

Sometimes, I have to wonder if anyone in the Democratic party understands politics.

It looks like the vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will be postponed.  Why?  Because Democrats are afraid to be called “Tax Hikers”.

This is sad.

You ARE tax hikers.  You’re going to raise taxes on the top three percent.  Don’t run from it.  Embrace it.  It’s easy.  Say:

“Yes, we are tax hikers and we’re damn proud of it.  If you are making $250,000, you are making much more than the average worker in this country.  This country is hurting.  I don’t know whether you noticed or even care but your neighbors are out of work and losing their houses.  You said you don’t want deficits.  So, pay up.  Don’t be selfish.  Yeah, you heard me.  You’re selfish.  And greedy.  We give and we give and we give so you can have paved roads and air traffic controllers and law enforcement and teachers for your servants.  Shut up and fork over your share.  Stuff your Ayn Rand.  So you’ll actually feel the expense of that private school or this year’s must-have Hermes bag.  Cry me a fricking river.”

This is not hard.  Shame them, mock them, call them what they are.  The country is waiting for you to start soaking the rich so they experience some of the sacrifice that everyone else is suffering.

And stop cowering.  It’s pathetic.

If you don’t want to be punched, don’t vote for a hippie-puncher

Good morning, all… Wonk here, with my Saturday reads, independent voter-style.

But, first a few words on my independence from both political parties.

A little over 6 years ago, Obama made a speech at the DNC proclaiming “there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America.” He went on to say, “We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States.”

His oratory underwhelmed me from the start, but I do believe we live in a country that is deeply purple.

Good policies and governance by Democrats bring out the liberal tendencies in more voters, regardless how they self-identify. Bad policies and governance by Democrats bring out the electorate’s conservative tendencies, which is where we are at in 2010. Cue the Democrats’ fierce urgency of punching a hippie to prove how liberal they aren’t, pushing the conversation ever further to the right.

The only way the Democrats will learn to stop punching a hippie is if the grassroots will stop voting for them. This is why I am an independent. It’s not because I have forgotten how terrible the GOP is. It’s because I want the Democratic party to be an actual alternative to the GOP. I don’t want to be punched by two wings of the same corporate-controlled political system. I certainly won’t vote for one “party” over the other to continue punching the grassroots.

And, on that note, let’s take a look at some headlines.

First up… looks like pigs are flying and hell hath frozen over with a glossy Obey poster sheen to it: Shepard Fairey is losing Hope.

From Aamer Madhani at the National Journal, via Yahoo News:

The artist whose poster of Barack Obama became a rallying image during the hope-and-change election of 2008 says he understands why so many people have lost faith.

In an exclusive interview with National Journal on Thursday, Shepard Fairey expressed his disappointment with the president — a malaise that seems representative of many Democrats who had great expectations for Obama.

You can see the Hope check bouncing in the latest polling from CNN as well:

(CNN) – President Barack Obama is contending with the lowest approval rating of his 20-month presidency, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds.

The president’s approval rating now stands at 42 percent – an all time low in CNN polling and 8 points lower than where Obama was only three weeks ago. Moreover, 56 percent of all Americans think the president has fallen short of their expectations.

Okay, that Hope check isn’t just bouncing–it’s ricocheting across the electorate and being returned to sender.

Obama came into the WH with a lot of goodwill and the wind at his back, with 8 years of Bush-Cheney Fail to point to as a case study in where GOP governance leads to. Bill Clinton said it the best in his speech at the DNC in 2008:

…the extreme philosophy which has defined his [McCain’s] party for more than 25 years, a philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and Congress. Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades were implemented.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 1/2 million falling into poverty — and millions more losing their health insurance.

When they came into power in 2009, Obama and the Dems had the perfect opportunity to make the case for government that works. Instead, they have made the opposite case and then tried to excuse it by saying variations on the theme that “America is ungovernable.” (If America is so fundamentally ungovernable, then why does it matter if a Democrat or a Republican wins anyway?)
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The Sun and the Wind

Stephen Colbert testified before Congress regarding migrant labor protection and reports that “most soil is at ground level”:

Blowhard Beck’s blog says that “Colbert makes a complete mockery of Congress”.

Ayup, no irony there.

Too funny.