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    • As Palmyra Falls to ISIS, What Are the Syrian Government’s Prospects?
      So, yet another city falls, and the city has some very nice ancient architecture, which we will no doubt soon see sledgehammered.  Some Palmyrans apparently thought the international “community” might protect them since they’re a great cultural site. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so sad. ISIS has fought well and fought smart, and came into [...]
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The Conflucian policy advice to Hillary Clinton on economics

It’s a bit much for one dragon.

She didn’t ask for my opinion but she’s getting 200 advisors to tell her theirs. The problem she is facing is how to rebalance the country in terms of income inequality without, you know, pissing off the ultra wealthy. I’m not sure it can be done. A little bit of a snit is to be expected in all likelihood. Although, maybe she could have someone from Vox put together one of those cool and groovy graphics that demonstrate that no matter how hard the vanishing middle class works, we will never be able to afford our own yachts. That might bring a tear to the eyes of the 1%. The graphics should show how big a boat you can buy on a lifetime of $32000/year (if you’re lucky enough to get that these days) compared to what Steve Ballmer can buy.

Ok, so what would I recommend? Well, the rich are not going to like this but I’m not really interested in how the rich feel about these things. I’m only interested in bringing back prosperity, income security and innovation to the American middle class. It’s not all about them, except they are behaving like greedy dragons sitting on a giant pile of gold. If they’d just get off the stash we wouldn’t have any problems with the rich. I don’t envy their wealth and don’t want to be like them. I just want to be fairly compensated without feeling like I just got a handout that i didn’t deserve.

What I see as the biggest obstacle to income equality is what I call “exploitative profit mining”. That is the idea that Americans  can be harvested for various wealth through rents, fees and deregulation. I don’t want to feel like a crop anymore. The number one biggest policy initiative that I would propose is to eliminate the incentives to take advantage of everyday Americans simply because there is no one making sure it doesn’t happen. Than means reregulation. I can already hear the screams and howls from the flaming swamp monsters of the ridiculously rich. We can start at Wall Street. Let’s stop rewarding excessive financialization and risk taking. Maybe this would mean that Wall Street bonuses have to be capped at no more than 15% of income. That’s right, give those guys a straight salary. Maybe this would mean you can’t work an analyst to death at 100 hours a week. Go through every industry and increase the compensation to all stakeholders, not just the shareholders. Hire good managers and stop making CEOs co-owners who have an incentive to increase the values of their options at everyone else’s expense. That’s not socialism. That’s fairness.

Speaking of shareholders, I would like to see an alternative to the 401K. Americans should not be forced to gamble their retirement savings at a global casino. It’s immoral to require non-wealthy Americans to do this. Sorry, I’m not into it. I don’t like risk, especially when I’m going to have to live on that money. Plus, the 401K system undermines industries and innovations that create jobs. We have all seen investments gain in value when jobs are eliminated. The work still has to be done but it’s sent overseas or heaped onto the backs of people who are left after the lay off bloodbath. It’s inefficient and it destroys wealth of the middle class. Again, shareholders are not the only people who count. Bring back defined benefit pensions.

Medicare for all. There I said it. It’s ridiculous that anyone in this country has to be at risk of losing everything they’ve worked for all of their lives because cruelty is the flavor of the day on TV and radio. Let’s stop beating people when they’re down. If there are going to be sacrifices, everyone should have to make them, including the people getting rich on hip joint replacements and hospital beds. If you can’t get Medicare for all, at least impost cost controls and uniform fee schedules. Insurance companies shouldn’t have to negotiate different payments for each course of treatment based on how much profit providers think they can reap. Obamacare is not the wonderful panacea it’s been made out to be and it was never supposed to control costs. Let’s stop lying about it.

For god’s sakes, do something about long term unemployment. We’ve been hanging out here for too long. The jobs numbers are not telling the whole story. There are too many part time positions, too many temp positions and salaries are too low. Plus, ageism is rampant. Those of us who have decades to go before we can retire need to live on something. In the meantime, our lives are on hold. We can’t spend money because we don’t have it. That’s a drag on the economy and it depresses the wages of everyone else. People in the sciences especially need help. There’s a blighted generation that needs to be working. Set up some  private-public research labs, pay us a living wage and let’s get on with it already. We’re being wasted out here.

Those are some of my suggestions. I can think of a zillion more. We need to work on infrastructure, especially broadband. We need to gradually free ourselves from fossil fuel. The lefties will make climate change the reason but I’m just as interested in loosening the control of the super rich oil barons on the rest of our lives. Their price manipulations affect everything from mass transit initiatives to food prices. We should be allowed to choose whether we want to be owned by oil. I choose not to.

By the way, I don’t want profit sharing. I want a nice, steady income with a living wage. I’ve seen profit sharing schemes and they’re not serious. They are no substitute for stability. Our corporate overlords have a different value system than average Americans. Some of us do not want to be our own bosses, aren’t particularly turned on by playing capitalist games and just want the sweet relief of a regular paycheck. Recognize this. It’s important. Let’s stop measuring success in terms of how many yachts we can buy. Success can mean many things from discovering a new drug to being the best baker around. It’s not all about money.

I invite other Confucians to chime in here. What would your advice be to Hillary?

Finally, here is a video from one of my favorite straight talking Australians, Jane Caro. Caro has a background in advertising but she has been a popular speaker on education and feminism as well. In this video, Caro speaks about Dangerous Ideas. Her bit on quotas for women on boards and other institutions is brilliant. Not to be missed. So, I would add as a final suggestion to Hillary to institute a Gender Glasses program like they have in Finland. That is a government office that actually gathers cold, hard statistics from workplaces that demonstrate whether there is discrimination that prevents women from succeeding. No more “he said/she said”. If statistics are good enough in sports, they’re good enough to prove sexism in the workplace. Let’s measure everything. This country is way too deferential to men’s needs and ignores the economic impact on women’s lives.

Fast forward to about the 3 minute mark to Jane’s introduction.

My frustration with Krugman

The problem is he is only one of a very few prominent liberals with access to a microphone. Today, he wrote some things I can personally relate to in his piece Twin Peaks Planet:

Furthermore, the travails of workers in rich countries are, in important ways, the flip side of the gains above and below them. Competition from emerging-economy exports has surely been a factor depressing wages in wealthier nations, although probably not the dominant force. More important, soaring incomes at the top were achieved, in large part, by squeezing those below: by cutting wages, slashing benefits, crushing unions, and diverting a rising share of national resources to financial wheeling and dealing.

Perhaps more important still, the wealthy exert a vastly disproportionate effect on policy. And elite priorities — obsessive concern with budget deficits, with the supposed need to slash social programs — have done a lot to deepen the valley of despond.

Unfortunately, there is an older generation of Americans who think there is nothing that can be done to stop this trend. They have been convinced by popular media that corruption is inevitable. These are the same older Americans who are benefitting from the Social Security that was  hard won after the last catastrophic depression. They were children back then. They benefitted from the post war economic expansion that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that conditions for working class Americans do not have to be one step away from destitution. It is not the natural order.  But these older Americans fail to make the connection time after time. They have been taught to disbelieve their own past prosperity and the conditions that were necessary to keep the predators at bay.

I blame TV.

But I also have to blame Krugman for some serious rationalization of very bad policy in the last 6 years. He states:

So who speaks for those left behind in this twin-peaked world? You might have expected conventional parties of the left to take a populist stance on behalf of their domestic working classes. But mostly what you get instead — from leaders ranging from François Hollande of France to Ed Milliband of Britain to, yes, President Obama — is awkward mumbling. (Mr. Obama has, in fact, done a lot to help working Americans, but he’s remarkably bad at making his own case.)

Obama hasn’t been bad at making his own case. He hasn’t got a case to make.

I’ve been harping on research for awhile now and people have pointed out to me that my industry has not been the only one to suffer during this downturn and I get that. But it is a perfect example of how this country has allowed our leadership in science erode away and that science has provided benefits globally over the past century. I have watched as this administration and Congress has done absolutely nothing to stop the demolition of the American research industry and that is going to come back to bite this country.

Well, I’m beating a dead horse here but I’ve become convinced that our president, Senators and Representatives have been getting some very bad advice from lobbyists and other industry representatives who deceive them into believing that globalization of a very complex industry was beneficial and inevitable. They are going to regret it before long. We can’t get jobs, can’t make a living and can’t contribute to the welfare of this country anymore. You’d think that would be of interest to this White House but there has been very little interest in creating policy to address this problem. And if the best educated in this country can’t get the attention of the most powerful people in the world, then what hope do the rest of the struggling Americans have for having their concerns addressed?

It doesn’t help when Krugman insists that Obama has done great things but he’s too modest to talk about them. Maybe he’s not talking about them because Americans are finally seeing through the PR machine about “green shoots”, Lilly Ledbetter and Obamacare. We’re all asking ourselves, how stupid do they think we are? Anyone not living off their investments in this country is trapped. It’s a real life Ballad of the MTA with no way to exit the train because we’re always a nickel short and the meter keeps running.

One thing Krugman does have right though is the specter of a return to an ugly malignant narcissism that is creeping into our public discourse. The rise of nationalism and the tendency to kick disadvantaged groups when they’re already down is a bad, bad sign.

Once again, I blame TV.

My advice, whether you want it or not- 1

I’m dispensing advice to the blogosphere.  You’re welcome.

1.)To Digby, Corey Robin, et al, regarding whether the recent set backs in the rights of women in America have something to do with protecting the influence of the traditional hierarchy in the home, you’re not quite seeing the whole picture.  The backlash against women started about the time that more women were moving into the workforce, competing with men who used to get all the good jobs, frequently with little more than a high school diploma.  This was also about the same time that african americans were moving into the middle class.  It also roughly corresponded with a lag in wages compared to productivity.  We should do more research to find out if there is a correlation and what it is.

I think the push to put women “back in their place” has less to do with protecting the home than to protecting the traditional privileges of the workplace.  How can we decide which is the case?  We can look to countries with better and worse gender equity scores than the United States and do some comparisons of what cultural and legislative changes they have made in the past 100 or so years.  My gut feeling is that we are experiencing a backlash because we have rewarded the persons who promote it via their outsize representation in the media and through their culturally protected religious affiliations.  It is OK these days to say racist things and insult women by referring to them as sluts.  No harm done, says Limbaugh and the Fox News team.  There’s no law against being an ignorant bigot.

In other words, the language is being used in the service of the previously privileged.  It was and always will be the economy, stupid.  When money gets tight, women should get the f^&* out of the way and go home.  Making it hard for her to get out of the house when she’s tied to babies and lacks good childcare serves the guys very well indeed.  They’re just all hoping it’s the next guy who has to put up with the domestic situation, not them.  It’s purely opportunistic.

2.) Countries that have had a history of secret police and neighbors spying on neighbors in a manner that lead to mass murders and ruined careers tend to have a negative reaction to their allies spying on them for unknown purposes.  It’s just freaks them out in a way that Americans cannot fathom (yet).  Think twice (or thrice) about doing it.

From the NYTimes article on the expulsion of US spies from Germany, we get this nugget and advice from Angela Merkel:

As is usual with intelligence matters, the United States Embassy had no comment on the expulsion request. But in a statement, the embassy also said it was essential to maintain close cooperation with the German government “in all areas.”

“Our security relationship with Germany remains very important,” the embassy statement said. “It keeps Germans and Americans safe.”

Ms. Merkel, speaking two hours before the expulsion request was announced, said in response to reporters’ questions that spying on allies was “a waste of energy.”

“We have so many problems,” she said. “We should focus on important matters.”

Waste of energy indeed, not to mention money.  Money that could be used on mass transit and infrastructure improvements that the Republicans seem to think are unnecessary.  I guess it’s OK if New Jersey looks like Mississippi.  Mississippi might be what America looks like to Republicans and NJ is just being uppity.  How would they know the difference?  Come to think of it, I’m tempted to start a “…You might be a Republican” thing.  Like, If your friends would describe you as a greedy old prick, you might be a Republican.  Or If they would describe you as a grumpy old prude, you might be a Republican.

Wait, I’m getting off topic.

Yeah, don’t spy on your friends.  It’s unnecessary.

3.) With tensions and rockets flaring in Israel, be prepared for your local fundamentalist Christians to be almost ready to pee themselves with delight at the impending rapture.

4.) To the Republicans who are itchin’ to impeach the president– DO IT!  Yes, by all means, find something to nail on him.  Tie him up with congressional hearings.  But please, do it Blitzkrieg style, ok?  Don’t waste any time drawing the whole procedure out.  Wrap it up quickly.  Better yet, take Biden down first.  Then we can appoint Hillary to VP while you guys go for the jugular.  Then when Obama is forced out, Hillary can step up to the presidency.  It will save us a lot of money in 2016.  And it’s what everyone wants anyway.  You’d be doing us all a big favor.  Oh sure, we’ll have to put up with your nonsensical grandstanding and foaming at the mouth over a guy who is mostly ineffectual rather than criminal but when has reason ever curbed you and your destructive waste of legislative privilege?  Just do it and make it quick.

5.) When you’re planning your next kitchen renovation, do yourself a favor and pick the refrigerator first.  Make sure that the one you want will fit through your doorways and won’t bang into the expensive teak cabinets you just had to have above the refrigerator.  Because once those cabinets are up and you’ve spent thousands of dollars getting the look you want, you are going to have a hard time taking them down to accommodate the behemoth refrigerators that appliance makers are manufacturing these days.  If you have a small kitchen made smaller by those annoying cabinets that are only good for seasonal ice buckets and Rubbermaid containers, you should know that appliance makers don’t really make a lot of nice refrigerators in the small to medium category.  Yes, they are still living in 2008.  Adapt accordingly.

 

Remember the Ladies?

So, now that the left is having another litte orgasm over suspension of deportation of DREAMers, let’s reflect a bit on what all of this means.

First it was the LGBT community that threatened to withhold money and that choked some (ultimately meaningless) words from Barack Obama about same sex marriage.  Don’t get me wrong, he should have said this back in 2008 when he was a candidate because it was the right thing to do, instead of winking to his more evangelical constituents that he opposed it.  But it doesn’t really matter because the outcome is zero sum.  There’s a brief blip of feeling really good about the guy until you realize that he has no intention of doing anything about it.  It will be up to the states to discriminate or not and he’s cool with that.

Then came the hispanic community demanding compassion for the families he’s breaking up and bright students whose lives he is ruining with the disastrous and aggressive deportations.  Those students in many cases had no choice in the matter when they came to live here as children.  For all intents and purposes, they’re American except that they weren’t born here.  If I were king, I’d have found a way to naturalize them by now.  That would be the Christian thing to do.  All Obama has done is kinda sorta said they won’t be deported but there are no guarantees.

We are hearing more and more stories that one of the reasons he has been so ineffective at getting legislation through is that he doesn’t like the political process where you have to go around and ask people to do things for you or you have to hold things over their head and threaten them.  Obama just doesn’t like face to face interactions.  It’s not his thing.  Maybe he should have stuck to writing autobiographies and dispensed with the detestable politicking.  It’s never too late to reconsider…

So, who’s left? Ahhh, yes, we haven’t heard from the women yet.

WHY haven’t we heard from the women??  Have they not sought an audience with the Lightbringer?  If they have, did they get one? Why haven’t we read about that? With the latest outrage in Michigan, where female legislators are forbidden from even saying the word VAGINA, one can only imagine that Obama must be determined to stride the halls of the White House to meet with representatives of women’s groups to assure them that This. Will. Not. Stand!  And yet… {{crickets}}

You know, women are not really a special interest group.  We’re more than half of the population.  We’re getting attacked in a way that will affect our ability to work effectively and that will impact our economic situation.  And what affects the economic situation of more than half of the country should be something that is pretty high in Obama’s priority list.  But the strange silence of women and the even stranger silence of Obama on women, is downright spooky.

I’ve noticed that the National Organization for Women is having their annual convention in Baltimore on June 29- July 1.  They will be discussing the War on Women, which suggests to me that they have already bought into the Democratic framework and have decided to hide behind Barack Obama’s skinny legs for protection against those meany Republicans.

This is pathetic.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so disgusted in my life.

Unlike the LGBT and hispanic community, women outrank ALL of the supplicant groups.  They shouldn’t be grumbling that Obama gave them a half an hour of his time and acted like a pissy little prince.  They should make HIM come to THEM.  The frostiness should be coming from their side until he gets down on his knees and kisses their asses.

Reclusive Leftist wrote a post four years ago called Archimedes Lever about the power of women to shape elections.  They can demand just about anything they want and get it but they almost never do.  Like Dorothy, they have no idea that their ruby slippers are capable of transporting them home.  They have always had this power.

This is not as hard as you think, ladies.  All you have to do is demand representation and justice for your sex- now.  Not in a couple of months, not next year, and not with some ineffectual mouthing of words with indefinite content that have no power behind them.

Sure, there will be a bunch of Democrats and pundits who will ask whether it is wise to ask for so much in this bad economy.  Guess what, YOU are the economy and if you don’t get what you want, you should pick up your ball and go home.  There is no point in playing with people who do not see you as their equals and who do not think they have to work for your vote.  Sure it will be tough to fight every single battle all over again.  It looks like we’re going to have to do that anyway, apparently without any help from Democrats.  It’s been done before and the elderly conservative obstacles who fanatically vote for Republicans over abortion won’t be around much longer.  The Republican’s electoral chances are waning and they know it.  That’s why they stepped it up this year.  But we’ve always known the evil in the Republican party.  It’s in the Democratic party where the evil needs to be ferreted out and exposed to sunlight.

Don’t underestimate your power.  Rahm Emannuel, Steny Hoyer and all of the other bastards in the Democratic party can’t match it.  They can be all macho and tell you no and you can tell them to go fuck themselves in November. It will make them weak in the knees. If they’re not going to do anything for you, the Republicans have won anyway and as I’ve said, the Republicans are on their way out.  You can figure out how to use your votes more constructively.

Use your lever and see what happens.  The Democrats are in a tight spot. Let me spell it out for you: The Democrats entire electoral strategy, and that which they are pinning their hopes this year, depends on women staying on their side. In fact, you might almost say that all of the new laws enacted against women this year play right into their hands.  At this point, they have no reason to try to curtail any of them.  All they have to do is nothing and they will look good in comparison.  But if you ever decide that’s not good enough for you, they’re going to start shitting their pants.  You can get anything and anyone you want this year.  Now is the time to ask for everything.

Let this be the summer that they will Remember the Ladies.

MAY 7, 1776
ABIGAIL ADAMS TO JOHN ADAMS

        “I cannot say that I think you are very generous to the ladies; for, whilst you are proclaiming peace and good-will to men, emancipating all nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over wives.

        “But you must remember that arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken; and, notwithstanding all your wise laws and maxims, we have it in our power, not only to free ourselves, but to subdue our masters, and without violence, throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet.”

Thursday: Glen’s righteous rant and then he loses the plot at the end. Sigh.

Not Your Sweetie pointed me to a righteous rant that Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report made about the left’s capitulation to Obama.  Glen thinks that Obama is not the lesser evil.  He is the evil.  But the problem remains that many voters on the left are quite willing to let him get away with murdering America because they are fixed on intentions.  I couldn’t say it any better so I will let Glen do the honors:

Who is the Effective Evil? I haven’t even gotten into his actual term as president, much less his expansion of the theaters of war, his unique assaults on International Law, and his massacre of Due Process of Law in the United States. But I want to pause right here, because piling up facts on Obama’s Most Effective Evils doesn’t seem to do any good if the prevailing conversation isn’t really about facts – but about intentions.

The prevailing assumption on the Left is that Obama has good intentions. Heintends to the Right Thing – or, at least, he intends to do better than the Republicans intend to do. It’s all supposed to be about intentions. Let’s be clear: There is absolutely no factual basis to believe he intends to do anything other than the same thing he has already done, whether Democrats control Congress or not, which is to serve Wall Street’s most fundamental interests.

But, the whole idea of debating Obama’s intentions is ridiculous. It’s psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.

I have no doubt that New Gingrich and Republicans in general have worse intentions for the future of my people – of Black people – than Michelle Obama’s husband does. But, that doesn’t matter. Black people are not going to roll over for whatever nightmarish Apocalypse the sick mind of Newt Gingrich would like to bring about. But, they have already rolled over for Obama’s economic Apocalypse in Black America. There was been very little resistance. Which is just another way of saying that Obama has successfully blunted any retribution by organized African America against the corporate powers that have devastated and destabilized Black America in ways that have little precedence in modern times.

Obama has protected these Wall Streeters from what should be the most righteous wrath of Black folks. To take a riff from Shakespeare’s Othello, “Obama has done Wall Street a great service, and they know it.” He has proven to be fantastically effective at serving the Supremely Evil. Don’t you dare call him the Lesser.

He is the More Effective Evil because Black Folks – historically, the most progressive cohort in the United States – and Liberals, and even lots of folks that call themselves Marxists, let him get away murder! Yet, people still insist on calling him a Lesser Evil, while he drives a stake through Due Process of Law.

I have not spoken much about the second half of Obama’s first term in office. That is the period when the Left generally becomes disgusted with what they call his excessive “compromises” and “cave-ins” to Republicans. But that is a profoundly wrong reading of reality. Obama was simply continuing down his own Road to Austerity – the one he, himself, had initiated before even taking office. The only person caving in and compromising to the Republicans, was the Obama that many of YOU made up in your heads.

Yep, pretty much.  Obama never was that guy the left thought he was.  He left it all to the imagination and flattered his fan base and love bombed them.  What we need now is an intervention for the left to deprogram them.  This faith in Obama and the Democrats to somehow hold the line or make it right flies in the face of all of the evidence to the contrary.  This religion is bad for you.  You know it but you keep going to the altar and making sacrifices for it anyway.  Find a new church before you waste more of your life pining for a paradise that they promise but never intend to deliver.

So, Glen has all the stuff about who Obama really serves pretty much nailed down.  Then he pivots and starts catering to his base.  This one is anti-war.  This is where I despair.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m as anti-war as anyone on the left and always have been but I’m also a rational being.  Let me assure you that I have every reason to want the wars to end because my only brother is serving in Afghanistan.  So, the sooner we stabilize and pull out, the better.  But I don’t want to leave the region in worse shape than when we invaded.  Let’s put the blame for the terrible state of affairs where it belongs, with Bush/Cheney.  Destabilization was their goal, I think.  That guarantees that we will have to stay in central Asia for a long time.  And Pakistan is a nuclear powderkeg run by Islamacists who are just slightly more sane than their neighbors to the west.  Getting out of Afghanistan was never going to be easy in the best of circumstances.  Iraq is a different story.  Let’s just leave already.  Iran is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.  If Israel wants to go there against our warnings, let them do it on their own dime.  I’m sick of catering to Israel and their own extremist base.

But I am sickened by the response of the left to Syria.  Darfur got a lot of attention a few years back and everyone remembers what happened to Bosnia and Rwanda.  But there are children in Syria who are being maimed and are dying in pain without treatment, murdered by their own government who has turned its guns on civilians and I am watching the left cross its arms and tighten its lips and turn a cold shoulder to this suffering.  What would it take for them to want to call NATO airstrikes?  How many Syrians will have to die?  How many reporters and Syrian activists will have to die?  The uprising in Syria has taken its toll of foreign correspondents who die from lack of access to medical care as they sneak in and out of the country to cover events or are killed by those events.  And remember that the Syrian uprising is part of the Arab Spring.  Why would we want to curtail that?  I’m sorry, but people are people.  I don’t care what their political views are, butchering young human beings is morally wrong.  If it’s wrong for a soldier to go on a rampage against Afghanis, it’s just as wrong to leave Syrians to their fates unaided.

There is a point where anti-war activism makes no sense.  The lack of compassion is astonishing.  But even if they had a point about their complete, adamant, unmovable resistance to intervening on behalf of other human beings, they are going about it all wrong.  To end the wars, you must end the economic war in this country first.  That war is commanding all of our attention at this time.  There will not be a popular movement in this country to end the wars right this very minute until working people stop worrying about how they are going to keep a roof over their heads and feed their kids.  You don’t have to think back too many years to remember that the anti-war movement was much stronger and got better press back when the economy was stronger, before the financial collapse of 2008.  The collapse has sucked the oxygen out of the that fight.  Anti-war activists will not get the sympathy of the public if the average person thinks they are out of touch with when war is not a priority for them at the present time.

This is the Shock Doctrine in all its regalia.  Naomi Klein should be all over this.  Marshall your troops against the economy, re-establish control of your own government and then the wars will end and no sooner.

If you are truly anti-war, you are wasting your time attending meetings and drafting resolutions about how to end the wars over there.  Focus your attention at home on the economy and holding the Democratic party accountable.  It always was and always will be the economy stupid.

Land’s Sakes, What’s a body to do?

Why are all those busy body adbusters people riling up plain folks?

Educate yourself.

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I don’t know what to make of the liberals for Ron Paul phenomenon except that they seem to edge towards the “Single Issue voter” side of the spectrum.  Civil liberties and war are the primary problems for them.  If I recall correctly, Matt Stoller voted for Obama in the primary because of his reputed anti-war position.  I can remember the day that Stoller announced his decision on Open Left even though up to that point he was at least pretending to be objective.

But I would like to suggest that the best way to end the wars and take on the military industrial complex once and for all is to fix the economy.  Because the vast majority of Americans are stressed out, trying to make ends meet.  It was already stressful enough before the crash of 2008 to keep a job and everything that goes with it, like money for housing, food, healthcare and retirement.  Now, it’s almost impossible.  And when people are that stressed out, trying to keep track of dozens of tasks and walking on eggshells to make sure they’re not on the list for the next layoff, they don’t have time to get all up the grill of the US government about wars.  Did you notice what happened to the anti-war movement since 2008?  From what I can tell, it’s been replaced in the news with endless bad economic news.

So, to those single issue voters who have the luxury to pick lint out of your belly buttons and get all breathlessly righteous about the war, turn your attention to fixing the economy.  It shouldn’t have to be said again, but the economy was THE most important issue in the 2008 election.  Because if you want to keep the anti-war pressure up, you need to get people to care about it.  And right now, they’ve got more important things on their minds.  I know this is a foreign concept to young men who have no families to worry about but, frankly, your single issue?  Not even on our radar right now. That’s alarming, I know. That doesn’t mean we aren’t just as anti-war as you are, especially those of us who have brothers over there (I do, do you?).  It’s just that we are fighting our own wars right now and feeding our kids is more important.  That’s how the bad guys get their way and their wars.  They distract the very people who care.

People who are overwhelmed with fighting for their own economic survival are less interested in their civil liberties and war.  It is, and always has been, the economy, stupid. Fix that first and the rest will follow.  And if you are following that much of my logic, then you will stop toying with the Ron Paul option.

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As long as we’re speculating on whether it is acceptable to vote for the lesser evil, why don’t we take a poll?

Of course I can throw Hillary on that list.  Whether the Matt Stollers and Chris Hedges types like her or not, the Stollers and Hedges types are a tiny fraction of the American electorate and they may find out just how tiny a fraction they are come election day.  There are much bigger fractions out there that the Democrats are in danger of losing right now, like women and people with families and the unemployed. Remember, it’s the economy stupid.  So, if you had to pick a lesser evil, why not Hillary?  How much more eeeeeevil than Barack Obama is she?  The party changes its rules when it wants to.  Right now, it *thinks* it can shove Obama down our throats again but there are plenty of us who are not interested in what either party is selling.  Give us a different option, someone we see as less evil, and we might come back.

Think about that.  Do you want a Democrat in the White House or Barack Obama?

To our Republican sympathetic readers

I know what they’ve been telling you. They’re telling you that if you can balance your household budget, the government should be able to balance one as well. This is simplistic and misleading. It doesn’t matter. You’ll believe it anyway.

They’re telling you that tax hikes kill jobs. Oh, really? How come they didn’t kill jobs in the 90’s when Clinton was president? And we’re not talking about all tax hikes, just the ones on the rich.

In fact, this has been said for years since Ronald Reagan. The rich have always said, “If you lower our taxes, we’ll create new jobs”. This is untrue and you know it’s untrue because so many of us are out of work and hurting and the rich are paying the lowest amount of taxes in generations. So, you know, this is bullshit. But you’ll believe it anyway.

They’re not telling you how many jobs a deficit reduction is going to cost during the Lesser Depression. But you don’t have to be a politician to realize that if you take money out of the economy when people aren’t spending a lot to begin with, they’re going to spend even less afterwards. This will cause more people to be laid off. Your Republican politicians will tell you that reducing the deficit is going to make it possible to hire more people but they don’t tell you HOW that’s going to happen and they don’t tell you because they don’t have an answer. But they’ll insist that it’s true and they will repeat their carefully worded statements to make sure you remember them and you’ll believe them anyway.

So, believe them if you want. There’s nothing we can do to stop you. We’ve pleaded with you to stop watching cable and network news. We’ve begged you to be on your guard. We’ve shown you time and time again how the Republicans have lied to you about everything from war to the economy over and over and over again. But you will just have to feel the pain personally to really get it.

Here’s the bottom line: The Republicans are trying to make the economy so bad next year that you will not even consider voting for Obama in 2012. And you know what? That’s just peachy with me. He’s a walking, talking disaster and is no friends to New Deal Democrats. But as they’re taking Obama out, they’re going to take us with him. All of us younger voters will be jettisoned from the middle class by these bastards who you listen to. Our lives are going to get much harder. Our kids educations are going to get less interesting and a lot more expensive for us personally. In general, everything in life is going to get harder. You’re going to suffer too. Most countries fought their way out of income inequality and servitude to freedom and prosperity. We’re doing the opposite, with your help.

But there doesn’t seem to be any other way to knock sense into you so here we go.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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