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       *** MANDOS POST *** I have been thinking about writing another post about Britain and Brexit for some time, but every time I started it, there’d be literally another new dramatic twist, so I’d stop.  But now it seems like a corner is being turned. What the corner really is, we’ll still have time […]
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This creek smells funny. How did we get here?

Shit_Creek_
Imagine you were rowing your boat gently down the stream and one of the oars got caught in the hatch. What would happen? Logic suggests that the current would slowly move you downstream as you spun the boat in circles.

O.K. Rowboats don’t have hatches, but Orrin Hatch is a creature and a feature of the ship of state and it is people of his intellectual and moral quality who are spinning the boat in circles when it’s clearly in need of proper direction. In fact, abandoning the first metaphor, they’ve piloted the US up the creek to where it is today. When you’re up this creek, you need a paddle, not an Orrin.

In response to Charles Schumer’s statement, that the Democrats can pass healthcare reform without Republican support:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who joined Schumer on the show, said Democrats should not try to use reconciliation to force through a bill which could not overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

“If they use that, that would be an abuse of the process,” Hatch said. He also said creating a government health plan open to all would be a grave mistake. “If we do that, we’ll bankrupt the country.”

Earth to Orrin. What do you think you’ve been actively working at for the last 8 years? What do you think lying to the public to make a war in Iraq, and loosely regulating the financial community, have to do with the current economic situation?

The Republican Party set the stage for bankrupting the nation by adopting neo-conservatism as its political philosophy. Neo-conservatism, which is conservatism without moral and intellectual grounding, is bankrupt at the conceptual level, so it’s hardly surprising that Bush’s application of its principles gutted the economy of the nation. It’s also why so many Republicans continue working to bankrupt the nation by applying the principles they say prevent bankruptcy.

Ideologues whose brains can’t get beyond binaries are incapable of accepting the empirical world when it conflicts with their beliefs. One such belief is that public healthcare would bankrupt the economy, when every study ever published in The New England Journal of Medicine on the topic shows that public healthcare is more efficient and cost effective than private healthcare.

With people like Orrin at the helm, there is no reason to wonder why the country is up the creek. I can think of at least two good uses for a paddle.

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The Culture of Cannibalism in US Politics: The Cycle of Corruption

MarkTwain_arts Mark Twain, in “Cannibalism in the Cars,” suggested that cannibalism of the body politic is a logical outcome of the practice of the political values of the elected representatives of the United States, in dire circumstances. What would occur, if such dire circumstances did not require a natural disaster, but became a systemic feature of the political landscape?

doncamp

The current economic crisis and America’s abject failure to provide economically-efficient, affordable healthcare are two examples of dire circumstances that are systemic features of America’s political landscape. Both crises are the results of bad governance. Both circumstances are direct products of the growth of influence of en-corporated political interests (encorps) in the system of governance of the United States. Bad governance, in both cases, involves a betrayal of the public trust that is manifested in not regulating the encorps in a way that protects the public’s interests, especially with respect to not meaningfully regulating the encorps ability to influence government officials.

The United States was born wary of the power of vested interests to influence public policy. Alexander Hamilton’s comments in the Federalist Papers are an example of this concern. .

In republics, persons elevated from the mass of the community, by the suffrages of their fellow-citizens, to stations of great pre-eminence and power, may find compensations for betraying their trust, which, to any but minds animated and guided by superior virtue, may appear to exceed the proportion of interest they have in the common stock, and to overbalance the obligations of duty.

Unfortunately, keeping the vested interests out is not a simple matter. How can it be when parties themselves are collective expressions of a set of weighted interests? Frankly, it is sensible for people of like purpose to strive together to achieve their aims, and there is nothing necessarily insidious about the practise. In fact, it’s a cornerstone of Democracy and civil society.

It is also, however, the entry way for corruption because the crux of the matter is not that people have differing and competing interests: it’s that they differ so greatly in terms of their power to realize those interests. When the power to realize those interests is used to unjustly deny the interests of less powerful, but equally or more deserving citizens, through a donation that is traded for a piece of unjust legislation, then it can be said that a positive feedback loop of corruption has been initiated.
The overly simple analysis that follows attempts to describe the basic workings of this system.
Continue reading

To Paul K with love

So Krugman says:

The magazine cover effect

I’ve long been a believer in the magazine cover indicator: when you see a corporate chieftain on the cover of a glossy magazine, short the stock. Or as I once put it (I’d actually forgotten I’d said that), “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first put on the cover of Business Week.”

. . . . Presumably the same effect applies to, say, economists.

You have been warned.

Could he be talking about this from Tennessee Guerilla Women?

Newsweek Cover: “OBAMA IS WRONG: The Loyal Opposition of Paul Krugman”
Paul Krugman — who as far as I can see is right about everything — is on the cover of the forthcoming Newsweek. The choice of the cover story — Obama’s Nobel Headache — is explained in a letter to readers by Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham.

Joseph Cannon isn’t going to forget. . . . (and neither will I) Continue reading

Obama’s asking the GOP for advice on…the ECONOMY???

he-resigns

But…but, isn’t that the party who royally screwed the economy from 2000-2008?  This is like a farmer asking the fox for advice on building a more secure chicken coop.

Obama seeks GOP help on economy; McConnell hopeful

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is making good on his promise to hear from Republicans as he pushes for swift passage and bipartisan backing of his massive $825 billion plan intended to jolt the country out of recession.

The unanswered question: Whether the new Democratic president will actually listen to GOP concerns about the amount of spending and the tax approach — and modify his proposal accordingly.

With the economy worsening, Obama was making his first trip to Capitol Hill since his swearing-in last week for two private afternoon sessions Tuesday with House and Senate Republicans. A former Republican congressman who is a member of Obama’s Cabinet, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, was accompanying the president.

“The goal is to seek their input. He wants to hear their ideas,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “If there are good ideas — and I think he assumes there will be — we will look at those ideas.”

“I think the president is genuinely serious about this,” Gibbs added.

The presidential spokesman would not, however, reveal what concessions Obama may be willing to make, if any, to demonstrate his seriousness about securing Republican support.[edited by me: oh yes he did, see below in next blockquote.] Gibbs, however, noted that there already are tax provisions in the measure, mostly small business cuts, that are direct GOP suggestions to Obama and his economic team.

DakiniKat, our resident Conflucian Economist, wrote about the dangers of tax cuts at this time in herTax Cuts Don’t Cut It or Cure It post. I’m no economist – but it seems to me that having a job stimulates the economy, not more of the same what Bush did.   When people are working, they can pay their bills, rent, mortgages, insurance, spend on consumer items, invest their extra pennies tucked away etc.

But WHAT is being done to make sure people don’t lose their jobs, and for those that lost their jobs (hello, me!) how can we help them to get new ones?  Not a damn thing.

This part of Liz’ article just made me angry as hell:

In a sign that Obama may be willing to compromise, officials said the president made a personal appeal to House Democrats to jettison from the package family planning funds for low-income people. Republicans have criticized the provision as an example of wasteful spending that would neither create jobs nor otherwise improve the economy. A decision on the provision was expected Tuesday.

Get that?  JETTISON.  As in, throw overboard.  Well, no soup for Planned Parenthood!  But Faith-Based initiatives are safe and tucked wonderfully under Obama’s wing.  Here’s where that “family planning to low income people”  money’s going to:

(From USA Today)

Many people assumed that any Democrat would restore the secular work of government and strive to remove religion from politics. But Obama has indicated that he intends to expand, not eliminate, the faith-based programs. Indeed, he has stated that Bush’s faith-based office “never fulfilled its promise” due to a lack of funding. This “lack of funding” cost this country $2.2 billion in 2007 alone.

Obama reportedly plans to change the name from the “Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives” into his own “White House Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.” The old office would become 12 offices to carry out the expanded program. Not exactly the change that many secularists and liberals were hoping for.

Again, Obama is NOT interested in helping the middle class, the jobless, the uninsured, or for that matter, the liberal-minded.  He’s not interested in liberal principles or philosophies, since Obama considered them as “excesses of the 60s & 70s.”

But Obama will bend over & kiss the Republicans’ tooshies by doing away with programs that religious zealots have been fighting to eliminate since Jerry Falwell created the “Moral Majority.”   Yes he can!

I can see Obama making a deal with Republicans & PNAC Neo-Con crew, promising to carry out their agenda so long as he wins.  Is it any wonder WHY Obama had a secret dinner with Bill Kristol & friends?

Now I have no doubt.  Obama’s hell-bent on being Ronald Reagan with a tan & Caesar cut.

obamas-daddy1