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    • Politics Series: Power
      (Previous: Economy) (Introduction and Table of Contents) We have seen that who gets how much of what is a political decision: that the economy and economics is downstream from politics. Power is the ability to make people do what you want, or not do what you don’t want. Ideology determines what the good life is and power determines who lives it. All politica […]
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Saturday: Things that make you look stupid. And other stories.

And I thought he looked dumb with a rubber chicken in his mouth!

Rather neatly cutting out the Popcorn Gallery, Peter Daou noticed:

For some time, the basic division over Obama on the opinion-making left was between those who argued that he had accomplished much considering the obstacles and those who believed he was selling out progressive principles out of a misguided desire for bipartisanship.

Whatever.


We weren’t supposed to worry too much about the Cat Food commission …. Even though the commission was obviously stacked with deficit hawks and Social Security haters because (the story went) the commission would have to agree to ALL the recommendations as a package and it would take 14 votes to send it along to the Capitol.

And now that the package got only 11 votes? (I LOVE this headline)

Obama Offers Hope for Debt Panel’s Plan

President Obama said he would consider adopting some of the recommendations in the provocative debt-reduction plan from his fiscal commission, which wrapped up work on Friday with more of a bipartisan accord than even its members had expected.

Soon after the commission finished — with 11 of its 18 members backing the package of deep spending cuts and revenue increases — Mr. Obama issued a statement praising the panel’s work. Without embracing any particular ideas, he said he would review them all as he looks for ways to “correct our fiscal course.”

And why shouldn’t he send some of those recommendations? Isn’t that why they gave him the big bucks back in 2007?


Well, a girl’s gotta dream and I like this one (H/T Suburban Guerilla)

The Infernal Commissions of Elites Should Give Way To One of Real People

I would like Barack Obama to do something entirely uncharacteristic.

President Obama, appoint another panel of American citizens who have never had an income of more than $30,000 dollars, 18 or more of them. I’d require that they have a proven ability to read a budget and to not be afraid of mathematics. I’d require representation of public school teachers, first responders, non-profit health professionals and others with a professional or avocational experience in providing disinterested public service. Let them come up with proposals to make cuts and rearrange things. Make it regionally representative. They should be required to sign contracts to prevent them being bought off by the elites that would try to corrupt them. Give THAT commission a staff of real, non-DC insiders, an adequate budget AND THE AUTHORITY TO FORCE A VOTE IN CONGRESS THAT THE ELITE COMMISSION HAD.

I’m sure that the DC beltway elite would scorn and ridicule the very idea of a commission of those kinds of Americans. The idea would be attacked and mocked, their product discounted as the product of ignorant stupid people. Sally Quinn, David Broder and just about every one of the known presstitutes would attack them. The idea that a commission of modest, middle class professionals should get so close to writing legislation that has to be acted on by the House and Senate will horrify the connected elite and the media that serves them.


We have a pretty good idea of the sorts of things that would come from that idea:

AmericaSpeaks But It’s Not What Pete Peterson and Crowd Want to Hear

The AmericaSpeaks events were a series of town meetings held across the country ostensibly to provide the public with a greater voice in influencing policy with regard to “fiscal responsibility.” But something funny happened on the way to the forum, as the plebes tuned out framing biases both subtle and blatant and came up with progressive solutions to our ills.

Froomkin concentrates on showing that participants emerged from the fora having moved toward more progressive positions, contrary to the sponsors’ claim that the forums caused both liberals and conservatives to “moderate” their views regarding spending and tax cuts. But it’s not just that participants moved toward traditional liberal positions, they pretty much arrived there. And on the way they weren’t happy being coralled, in particular with regard to single-payer:


That’s about all I can stomach today…. What have you found in your bookmarks this morning?


[Edited to add an oldie but goodie]

I hate leaving on a sour note, so I’m offering this post just because I’d like to see idea of A job guarantee program brought up at least once a week. Or even more:

Job Guarantee
By L. Randal Wray (thanks to Lambert at Corrente)

A job guarantee program is one in which government promises to make a job available to any qualifying individual who is ready and willing to work. Qualifications required of participants could include age range (i.e. teens), gender, family status (i.e. heads of households), family income (i.e. below poverty line), educational attainment (i.e. high school dropouts), residency (i.e. rural), and so on. The most general program would provide a universal job guarantee, sometimes also called an employer of last resort (ELR) program in which government promises to provide a job to anyone legally entitled to work.

Many job guarantee supporters see employment not only as an economic condition but also as a right. Wray and Forstater (2004) justify the right to work as a fundamental prerequisite for social justice in any society in which income from work is an important determinant of access to resources. Harvey (1989) and Burgess and Mitchell (1998) argue for the right to work on the basis that it is a fundamental human (or natural) right. Such treatments find support in modern legal proclamations such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the US Employment Act of 1946 and the Full Employment Act of 1978.

. . .

There are different versions of the job guarantee program. Harvey’s (1989) proposal seeks to provide a public sector job to anyone unable to find work, with the pay approximating a ‘market wage,’ whereby more highly skilled workers would receive higher pay.

. . .

Proponents of a universal job guarantee program operated by the federal government argue that no other means exists to ensure that everyone who wants to work will be able to obtain a job. Benefits include poverty reduction, amelioration of many social ills associated with chronic unemployment (health problems, spousal abuse and family break-up, drug abuse, crime), and enhanced skills due to training on the job.


30 Responses

  1. And from Anglachel, this is inspiring:

    What the pair of convention speeches Hillary and Bill gave in 2008 have become is a declaration of what an FDR Democrat stands for: Fairness, Dignity, Respect. An FDR Democrat is someone whose politics rewards those who work hard and play by the rules. An FDR Democrat never stops fighting for the ordinary person, even when the media, political opponents and even your own party mock you because you aren’t part of their class. She doesn’t look down on you because you earnestly believe in God and can hunt for your own dinner. He isn’t going to tolerate racism or misogyny, and will call you on the carpet for either. She encourages the better angels in her opponents and can always answer “And we get…?” with something constructive. He can distinguish between personal insult and political challenge, because it isn’t about him and his feelings, it is about his constituents and their needs. We aren’t resentful that some people are more economically successful than others – opportunity is a good motivator – but we won’t accept that some classes should get all the goods while the majority scrabble for a stable life.

    An FDR Democrat begins each day with a single question – What will I do to make the lives of ordinary Americans better? – and ends the day by saying what he or she has accomplished towards that end.


  2. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/class-and-social-security/

    Digby sounds the warning: a fair number of “centrist” Democrats – probably including the Incredible Shrinking President — seem willing, even eager, to join up with Republicans in cutting Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age. As she says, this is idiotic even in narrow political terms: in the very next election, Republicans will run ads in which they pose as the defenders of Social Security, while Democrats are the meanies who want to take away your retirement.
    snip
    in 2004, during one of the presidential campaign debates. Tim Russert, the moderator, asked eight or nine questions about Social Security, trying to put the candidates on the spot, while asking not once about Medicare
    snip
    The answer, I suspect, has to do with class.
    snip
    The importance of Medicare, in short, is obvious to all but the very rich.
    Social Security, by contrast, is something that matters enormously to the bottom half of the income distribution, but no so much to people in the 250K-plus club. A 30 percent cut in benefits would represent disaster for tens of millions of Americans, but a barely noticeable inconvenience for VSPs
    snip

    • As more and more “serious” people (Katie Couric, etc) talk about the reduction of SS benefits as if it’s reasonable, the more and more sick I feel.

      • I think that we need to admit that what we’re experiencing a class struggle (let’s not use “war”), not only in the U.S., but worldwide. This struggle needs to be labeled correctly. We have the numbers, the other side has the power, but power is worthless unless we bow to it.

        “Power to the people” — John Lennon

  3. Great post, KatieB–thanks for all the links. I really look forward to interesting pol. links. I save them away for quiet moments.

    Did you finish your sweater?? I had to pull out half of my scarf. Somehow had skipped a line so it was slanted. Anyway, basically starting over.

    • Thank you, kc!

      I’ll post a knitting diary tomorrow, I’ve made a lot of progress but, it was touch and go for a while.

      The scarf I’m working on as a side project has a VERY definite pattern and every few rows I’ve got to tear out a row or more. I’ll post a photo of it too.

      It might even be done by then.

  4. Wow–I just read the Anglachel post ‘Hillary is not going to save us” and saw that she linked to MYIQ. That is awesome. Actually, that post makes me so sad–really, sometimes you just feel powerless.

  5. Well, the Obama loving New Feminists had their Women and Media 80s Prom party last night in NYC. I thought about going but the hypocrisy was too much for me in the end. Everyone dressed up as 80s female icons and a good time was had by all apparently…though I’m still not sure who or what they were celebrating exactly.

  6. Again with the “hope”? (NYT headline). It’s soon becoming as dirty a word as W made “compassion”
    Just like he appealed the ruling ending DADT 3 TIMES, Jr.jr is reserving a third shot for himself to kill Social Security (after both Senate and commission failed to do it for him)

    • You’re right. Hope will never be the same.

      • Though I enjoy putting extra emphasis on the word when I use it with Obot friends and relatives. “Hope they win the game.” “Hope the test is not too difficult.” I’m thinking of italics for my emails.

  7. […] Although it’s arguable that Obama did nothing. The Wikileaks would draw a blank and he wouldn’t be in Afghanistan, taking another shot at our Social Security. […]

  8. It is time for us to demand Obama be thrown out of the Democratic Party. He ain’t no Democrat… not even for a day! Call and write the DNC. Let him run for re-ection in2012…BUT NOT as a Democrat. Make him start a third party. He is a traitor. I always said that Obama was designed to infiltrate the Democrats because the Republicans had so fouled their own party. Make him go home to the Republicans. Obama, go home to the G..O(logo)P. Even they won’t take him.

  9. One of my sisters just posted an interesting question on Facebook. I asked if I could post the question (and the story) here to see what you guys think. And she OKed it.

    I was thinking about how my friends took their 3 kids to the movies in East Hampton a few weeks back–The Kids Are Alright–they’d waited in a long line and just as their turn came up, Alec B. [Alec Baldwin] went to th…e front, right in front of them, and took the last five tickets. Just the number they needed! I thought of posting this question earlier, when this occurred, because I’ve heard other stories over the years. I asked my friends why they didn’t cause a fuss. It took them by surprise, I guess. So I’ve wondered how others feel about this, generally.

    I’ve always hated line jumpers. It seems like they always do it when I least expect it and I’ve never protested.

    Do you protest line jumpers …. And what if it was someone famous … Someone that you admire?

    • It’s funny. A lot of people like Alec Baldwin’s acting, even if they don’t like his politics. For me, his personal behavior is atrocious and he’s generally a bad human being. That’s the problem with celebrity. There’s nothing wrong with finding him a good actor just like you would appreciate the work of a good mechanic or a painter. Expecting greater qualities in someone because of their notieriety is the problem. It got a guy who was all noteriety and no substance president.

      Oh, and a guy who cuts the line for the last 5 tickets when he can afford his own theater is a jerk.

    • Well it’s East Hampton. The politer older money is in South Hampton.

      • I don’t know the Hamptons from a hole in the ground. So, I wouldn’t know about that.

        My sister had another story:

        Steven Spielberg’s daughter once said, in an interview, that she cut lines routinely until someone kicked her hard in the shin when she cut a long queue at some award show.

        I’m guessing that while Spielberg’s daughter probably feels entitled, most people probably don’t know who she is. I wonder if anyone would ever dare kick Alec Baldwin hard in the shin?

        • According to research, the average Brit will spend six months of their life in a queue. This may have been one reason for the Revolution. So yes, if I see Alec Baldwin trying to cut infront of me, I’d go after his shin. I like movies too much.

        • No question about it and hard as I could kick the inconsiderate asshat.

  10. No violence, please. Even in jest, I hope. But one can confront things. A sharp well placed statement is wonderful. A biting remark, a stinging rebuke…… Even a quiet reminder is better than silence.

  11. It looks like your dog has a rubber pig in his mouth.

  12. This is a really good piece by KK Townsend. It’s clear Palin has shifted right to court the base, but this is what will get her in trouble with the general populace. What I liked about her governing style in AK was that she did NOT impose her religious beliefs on policy. Here Townsend suggests that’s exactly how she is positioning herself. It’s an articulate and non-PDS argument.

    Sarah Palin is wrong about John F. Kennedy, religion and politics
    By Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/03/AR2010120303209.html

    • What is the abbreviation for Alaska? I think AK is Arkansas…no time to look it up. Sorry if I offended any Arkansians or Alaskans. 🙂

      Happy Sunday all.

    • Townsend is missing the fact that we know the religious faith of every president in history. It’s the 4th or fifth thing in every biographical summary. JFK gave his speech for political reasons. Even though most (all?) presidents have been Christians, the argument against JFK was that as a Catholic, he would be beholden to the Pope. He needed to distance himself from influence on Earth, not from God.

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