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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 1, 2021 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy U.S. Population Growth, an Economic Driver, Grinds to a Halt [Wall Street Journal, via Naked Capitalism 7-26-2021] America’s weak population growth, already held back by a decadelong fertility slump, is dropping closer to zero because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In h […]
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Politicizing gun control? Are you kidding me??

This is more dangerous and political than….

Update: Here’s a new article in the NYTimes about the candidates’ reluctance to talk about gun control.  What I get from this is that both candidates think they have more to lose from pissing off the gun nuts than half of the voters in this country.

It’s the biggest slap in the face to women who have been bumped down to second class status by the relentless discussion of personal reproductive matters, as well as dismissive of anyone who cares about unregulated access to guns and ammunition.  Do voters have ANY say at all in this country anymore about what is important to them?

I caught up with the Daily Show this morning and did you know that if we want to discuss regulating access to guns, even just sloooooooowing the process down so that murderous paranoid psychotics can’t get their hands on them without raising suspicion, that we are “politicizing” gun control?

Yep, not only that but it’s an “unpopular” position for a candidate to take.  Really? And how do we know it’s unpopular if no one is allowed to discuss it publicly?  Can we take a vote on that?

The New York Times is a master of understatement on the issue:

Responding to the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York,called on the presidential nominees Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to come up with a comprehensive gun control policy.

That might require political courage. Despite feelings of outrage over the horrific loss of life from shootings like the one on Friday, support for gun control has declined. Can a politician, particularly a presidential candidate, buck conventional wisdom and show leadership by calling for an assault weapons ban, even if it might not be popular?

Ok, let me put it this way.  The President is supposed to be a leader.  Leaders lead.  That means they persuade people to do things they might not otherwise do. So, if the presidential candidates do not want to talk about how families’ lives and finances have been ruined as a result of free access to guns no matter how crazy the buyer is, because it *might* make them unpopular, then maybe they should find another profession.  They could become accountants or ceramic artists where leadership on public matters is not a desired characteristic.

But wait!  There’s more.

While it is completely unacceptable for us to discuss gun control because congress is exhausted by the subject and the issue is now “settled”, it is perfectly fine to discuss and find ways to regulate lady parts because that is NOT settled, even after 50 years when we all thought it was.

So, to recap: Gun control- unpopular, exhausting subject that is so five minutes ago.

Your Reproductive Organs- perpetually pleasing topic of conversation, politically popular, never goes out of style, DESPERATELY IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE REGULATION!

this. These are not at all dangerous or political.

Guns- kill human beings with jobs, responsibilities, lovers, children, parents and friends.

Your Reproductive Organ- May contain human beings that might develop all the characteristics of a gun victim.  Or it may not.  Or may be waiting for a player to be named later.  The people that potential human touches is limited to one- the bearer.

I don’t know about you but I think we could all stand to hear a lot less about the latter and a whole lot more on the former.  Gun control needs to get as much attention as possible.  You can call it politicizing if you like, like I give a f^&*.

I call it self-preservation, maturity and common sense.

We’ve got our priorities all wrong if it is so outre to talk about how gun access has changed people’s lives permanently and destroyed their futures but have verbal diarrhea every damn day about whether or not some coed should have unfettered access to Lo-Ovral.   There’s something very wrong, tribal and unmodern with American society today if we think that somehow it’s OK to treat half the population as cattle that needs to be herded but the wannabee warriors in the crowd are allowed to be as violent as possible and no one is supposed to talk about these inconsistencies.

It’s sick.

Will someone please tell me where the women’s orgs are?  Why they f^&* are we putting up with this s^&* during election season and letting the candidates get away with it?  This is outrageous.  No piece of legislation on reproductive rights should go to the floor of any legislative body without a companion piece of legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of crazy people.

Let’s make a deal: We’ll stop politicizing gun control when politicians stop politicizing our vaginas.

******************************

Tana French, the only mystery/thriller writer I read, has a new book featuring more of her characters from her Dublin murder squad.  The new title is Broken Harbor.  I love the way French writes.  Her characters are vivid and deep, the dialogue snappy and sharp.  It’s hard not to like some of these people, even the flawed ones.

Three days until my Audible credits renew.  I can barely stand it.  If you’re looking for a good beach read that is not brainless chick lit and interested in diving into mystery a la French, start with In the Woods.

******************************

Totally off topic, this is Jack Van Impe and his dotty wife Rexella talking about The Rapture.  These two are very clever.  It feels like Van Impe uses rapid fire scripture citations to invoke some kind of trance state.  There are people out there who think he has this stuff in instant access memory.  I think he’s either reading it from the teleprompter or listening to the bluetooth in his ear.  Or maybe he does have it all memorized because he’s done this schtick for so long.  But to me, I hear “Oh, we got trouble, right here in River City” playing music in the background.

So, here’s Trouble in River City.  Compare and contrast:

Soak the Rich

Taxin’s too good for them now.

Check out The Daily Show for 12/1/2011 first segment on TARP.

$16 Trillion, $7 Trillion, $23 Trillion, who knows? I can’t keep track of all of the zeros. You know what will really scare politicians and the public?
When we start to use scientific notation.
$7.0 x 10^12. $1.6 x 10^13.

Picture it at the next Congressional Finance Committee meeting. “Listen up, people. We’ve brought in a professional chemist to instruct you in the proper use of scientific notation. This afternoon’s tutorial will also cover propagation of error and significant digits. Tomorrow, theoretical finance notation: how big *is* a mole of dollars in cubic centimeters? Hey, where’re you all going?”
*THE* quickest way to reduce the Finance committee members down to a reasonable number. I guarantee it.

By the way, if anyone has straightforward instructions on how to embed a Daily Show video on wordpress, let me know in the comments.  Because the youtube method doesn’t work and I can’t find instructions anywhere.  Maybe it’s not possible but I’m betting it is.

This weekend in Occupy, man-o-man-o-man, those Occupy folks are good.  So, the cops and the mayors and DHS (who reports to the president, BTW) think they have cleared out the problem by eliminating it from the parks.  Au contraire.

Lots of bands and other performance artists on the roster.  24 hours.  I’m definitely going tomorrow because not only will there be performances, there will also be an Occupy to Celebrate with Occupy Faith event at Zuccotti park.  If what I have found through my research is correct, we may be seeing a spontaneous resurrection, so to speak, of The Way.  And *this* time, even the atheists can participate.

Wahoo Dores Wahoo Dahoo, Christmas time is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.

Oh, BTW, Bono is in the US somewhere…

Oh, yeah, I totally get it.

***********************

Oh, no he di’int. Oh yes he did.  Newt Gingrich says “really poor children” don’t understand the meaning of work unless it’s illegal.

Then, a tweet from Charles Blow of the New York Times piqued my interest.

RT @foxnewspolitics Gingrich: Poor kids don’t know work unless it’s crime: politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/12/01/new… < Oh HELL no! What?! Somebody get

Surely, the Fox News report was referring to something from Gingrich’s end-welfare past. Would that were so.

GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich defended his stance against certain child labor laws during a campaign stop in Iowa Thursday, saying that children born into poverty aren’t accustomed to working unless it involves crime.

“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed.

“They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

Jeez, some pharisees just don’t know when to stop punching the publicans.  The fact that this guy is a front runner says more about the moral sickness plaguing Republican voters than it does about Gingrich.  I mean, we’ve *always* known that he’s an ugly, hypocritical, authoritarian, word manipulator, who has a social conscience so wanting that it makes Ebeneezer Scrooge look like a flaming commie.  But what’s in it for the working class dude who votes R?  I blame it on Fox News induced Acquired Stupidity Syndrome.

The “gaffe” would normally end a politician’s political career but in this election season, all bets are off.

******************************

Conflucian Arran points to a Dan Froomkin post at Huffingtonpost that suggests that Obama may try to harness Occupy Wall Street’s righteous indignation towards Wall Street for his own re-election benefit.  Of course!  This makes perfect sense.  He can bop on over to Zuccotti Park right after his fundraisers.  That oughtta go over well.

*****************************

All I want for Christmas:

I can take it to the library!  And then to a real paying job someday!  Oh, wait, do I live in the right neighborhood?  Gotta check with Newt.

Anyway, I *love* the gadgetiness of this bento box.  There’s even a little sleeve for chopsticks.  Too cool.  And there’s a whole blogosphere out there devoted to how to package your lunch to make it look cute.  I think I have found my new obsession.

While we were out chasing phantom racists…

Pic courtesy of The Daily Show

…like magpies drawn to some shiny object, the fabulous banker boyz were deep sixing Elizabeth Warren for head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

(One of our commenters said that ‘racism has been weaponized’. Pretty much.)

I’m not surprised that they hate Warren’s guts.  The consumer finance industry is juicy with rent type devices.  Here’s a good example:  I tried to convert some dollars into euros for my daughter’s upcoming trip to France.  Went to my bank to do the deal.  No can do.  I would have had to order the euros 3 days in advance.  They don’t keep euros laying around, you silly customer of 22 years.  I didn’t have time for that so the bank directed me to a money changer in the mall.  So, I went there and found that they weren’t offering the current exchange rate.  No, their exchange rate was much higher.  Fees, you say.  Nope, worse than that.  The cashier said that the currency operator negotiated its own exchange rate for euros and then charged a fee on top of it.  The fee was waived if you exchanged more than $500.  But even if I had it, who in their right  mind sends a teenager abroad with more than $500 in cash?

The final rate for the exchange on July 6, 2010 at the ubiquitous ripoff currency exchanger was going to be $151.00 for 100€.  Needless to say, I passed, bought her a Visa with some emergency money on it and put her on the plane with her US cash, instructing her to get her host family to make the conversion at the French end, which they did for the correct exchange rate.

But wait!  There’s more.  We got to the airport and at the very last minute, got charged an additional $100 unaccompanied minor fee.  This fee pays for a flight attendant to take your kid’s passport, put it in an envelope, and escort the kid to the waiting family at the arrival gate.  $100 buckaroos.  Pay up or the kid never leaves Kennedy, which is a fate worse than death.  I mean, have you *been* to Kennedy?  Was there any mention of this fee at the time the (ridiculously expensive) ticket was purchased online where the kid’s age was clearly entered in the age field of the ticket form?  No, there was not.  The same thing happened to the host family on the French end resulting in a $100 last minute fee for their kid too.  Surprise!  Surprise!  (Should I mention the airline?  Ok, it was Delta)

See, with an Elizabeth Warren type, I’m thinking that abuses like this would happen with less frequency.  And the only reason they’re happening now is because there is no one watching the store.  Put in a less competent or committed individual and it will be one little rip off after another.  My little example from my “overprivileged” lifestyle is just the tip of the iceberg.  Consider all the ATM fees, the wireless fees that are *supposed* to go towards building better networks but don’t, the teaser rate mortgages, the financial services fees from people who are managing your 401K but don’t seem to think they owe you a decent return on your investment.  Stuff like that.  A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon we’re talking about real money.  *YOUR* real money.  Maybe the wealthy don’t think these fees are a big deal but the rest of us can’t afford to keep shelling out hidden costs and surprise last minute fees and astronomical interest rates.

Anyway, that’s what was going on while you were distracted by the unfortunate saga of Ms. Shirley Sherrod, may she live long and prosper at an agency that will appreciate her dedication and enlightened attitude.

More on what the new Financial Reform bill and what it will do, or NOT do, can be found in this Fresh Air interview with Benjamin Applebaum of the NYTimes.

Update: ABCNews reports that Warren will be “actively involved” in the Consumer Finance Protection Agency that she helped to create.  Oooo!, isn’t that special.  Maybe they’ll let her pick out an agency logo or choose the colors for the offices.  My leg is all tingly.  Actually, this news is depressing.  But don’t despair.  There’s probably another racism story in the works to take our minds off of it.

Webby Goodness

Some stuff from around the web:

  • It’s not OK to say anything that might even tangentially be distantly connected to a remark that might be deliberately misconstrued as racist. But apparently it is all ticketyboo to make women seem like childlike simpletons and airheads. From the Indianapolis Star, Deroy Murdock (any relation? Probably not) pens this ridiculous piece of faux journalism:

    Like a little girl whose Chief Executive Barbie is falling from her fingertips into the sea, Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions are slipping tragically from her gasp. This may explain her increasingly unhinged behavior, which would be bad enough were she winning. To lose the Democratic nomination this way, however, is particularly pathetic….
    “Shame on you, Barack Obama!” Clinton snapped. Like a diesel-powered dental drill, she squealed: “Enough with the speeches, and the big rallies, and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove’Shame on you, Barack Obama!” …Polls show Texas and Ohio voters cooling toward Clinton. They clearly see what now is beyond disguise: The big ideas fueling Hillary Clinton’s candidacy are blonde ambition, an unbecoming sense of entitlement, and a thirst for power that all the Gatorade in Gainesville could not quench.

    My, my, MY, my. Well, there’s no way you could misconstrue THAT column. Don’t these guys have editors? (Ladies, do not date this man)

  • TalkLeft is reporting that Hillary will be on the Daily Show on Monday. Hmm, well that should be interesting. I haven’t watched it since the WGA strike but I had heard that Jon had gone to the dark side. (Er, it’s just an expression and it predates Obama’s political career. Jeez) Here is the press release. I have trouble viewing it but you may have better luck.
  • Hillary signs onto a bill that may be the best way to end the war in Iraq. It was sponsored by Bernie Sanders in Vermont and it proposes to ban private contractors like Blackwater from operating in Iraq. Barry is still dithering on this one.