They were against democracy before they were for it

When people vote to take my family, conservatives call it democracy. When people vote to take their money, they call it tyranny, socialism, slavery, blah blah blah. #prop8

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“Community Reinvestment Act” h…

“Community Reinvestment Act” has become, like “confiscatory taxes”, code language for “I’m an ideologue and you should not talk to me.”

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You can’t cry for holy war and…

You can’t cry for holy war and yet say you’re better than jihadists. At that point the difference between you isn’t moral, it’s tactical.

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Tarryl Clark for Congress

The netroots can help her defeat Michelle Bachmann.  Count me in.

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Death of a killer

Christine Maggiore has died.  Of pneumonia, of course.

On one hand, a family who loved her is now grieving, which is tragic.  On the other hand, she was responsible for deaths.  Many deaths.  If the reports are true that she is the one who convinced Mbecki to withhold AZT from his people, then she is responsible for more deaths than the genocide in Darfur, more than the Haiti earthquake and more than the Tsunami back in 04.  Even the monsterous fact that she killed her own daughter pales in the face of her overall impact.

So, sorry for the family.  But I’m glad she will be given no more time on this earth to use killing people.  Ignorance kills.

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Fantastic misreading of history of the day

Proof that in the world of libertarian lasseiz-faire economists, you pretty much just have to memorize the talking points to be considered an “economist.”

In their embrace of Keynesianism, many economists have concluded that even though the New Deal’s hodgepodge of policies never brought about full recovery, World War II did, as the economy expanded to produce munitions and enlarge the armed forces. Huge, deficit-financed government spending, they argue, finally wiped out the lingering mass unemployment.

The truth, however, is really quite simple. In 1940, after eight years of New Deal pump priming, the unemployment rate remained about 10 percent even if, unlike the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we count people enrolled in federal emergency work-relief programs as employed. The gigantic buildup of the armed forces, primarily by conscription, then pulled the equivalent of 22 percent of the prewar labor force into the military. Voilà, unemployment disappeared, as it was bound to do regardless of any wartime Keynesian fiscal policies.

Mr. Higgs says all the jobs created by the war don’t count as real jobs because the government created them, and that the Great Depression was only masked by WWII.  I don’t see anything in the article that explains how all these guys who fought in the war came home to get jobs, make money, and take part in an economic boom, all during a Great Depression that hadn’t ended.

To put it more simply, Higgs says that we had tons of unemployed people because there was a Depression, and that the government undertaking mass hiring for the war effort didn’t fundamentally change that.  If that were the case, at the conclusion of the war unemployment would have again skyrocketed as our soldiers returned home and factories de-tooled from making munitions.  But that didn’t happen.

Higgs thinks it’s because just at the moment the labor market would have been flooded with supply, investors stepped in and, with new confidence inspired by the war’s end, invested tons of money into making things.  However, this makes no sense.  If I’m an investor and I see a country suddenly about to be flooded with unemployed people who won’t be able to buy things, why would I invest in production?

Fact is, the investment was spurred by demand.  And the demand was spurred by all of the money people had to spend after being employed by the government for years.  People had money saved up and needed things they’d waited for a decade to buy.  The demand caused the investment.  Good old Keynesian stimulus.

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Compassionate conservatism

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Lawmakers are considering cutting ALL services for nearly 26,000 people with disabilities as South Carolina tries to plug a $560 million budget hole.

You know what REALLY gets me about this? Aside from the ignoramuses who seem incapable of seeing what anti-tax ideology is doing to the country?

It’s their seething hypocrisy. They applaud Sarah Palin for raising her disabled child and not aborting the pregnancy. Then they oppose the taxes that go to help women who make the same choice.

Message of the radical right wing to women: “It’s your God-given duty to keep that pregnancy and raise that disabled child. What’s that? You need a little help? Fuck you, slutsy; if you didn’t want an inconvenient baby you should’ve stayed a virgin.”

Message of the radical right wing to the rest of us: “We will totally stand by and do nothing as our neighbor’s disabled children go without their basic needs being met. That’s fine. But we better not catch Family Guy making fun of them!”

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Man with a plan

Dave Bing wants to bulldoze half of Detroit and plant corn.  Sounds like a great idea, but I’m totally not eating that corn.

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Power: Why the Right Fails at Individualism

Over their dead hands.  Don’t tread on them.  They see themselves as freedom-fighters; advocates for the individual against the power of a distant, corrupt government. The impulse which prompts in them skepticism over the value of giving government power over their daily lives is a healthy one.  Unfortunately, for them it carries with it a giant, gaping blind spot:  corporations.

A wholly-formed individualist would shudder at the idea of ceding our institutions to whoever can wrangle up enough wealth and power to dominate them.  He would scoff at the idea that we should gut democratic provisions that prevent such concentrations of private power from ruling over us from afar, passing down feudal edicts from behind gated privilege.  He would favor legal measures that make individuals the decision-makers in their lives rather than governments OR corporations and robber-barons.

The ranks of the right do not contain many of these wholly-formed individualists.  But it is bursting with half-baked ones.  Ones who viciously hate the idea of another man having power over them, but only so long as that man is foreign or a government official.  If he comes in a business suit with shiny shoes, the previously rugged individualist pretends not to notice him and signs away control of his life without protest.  This is Atlas’ true Shrug – the shrug of indifference as control over the individual is given away for free to Madison Ave, Wall St., K Street, Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Tyson, Dow and Exxon-Mobil.  The right constantly reminds us that our government is corrupt because politicians take money from private power in exchange for favors, and while they bravely stand against the government for taking the cash, they never cease to defend the rights of the private powers that pay the bribes.

They do not recognize their true enemy:  concentrated power.  Yes, we really should prevent our government from becoming too powerful.  But we should do the same for ALL institutions.  Our local police shouldn’t have too much power over us.  Our military shouldn’t have too much power over us.  Goldman Sachs shouldn’t have too much power over us.  Microsoft and Google shouldn’t have too much power over us.

Someone who doesn’t recognize their own enemy is extremely valuable to that enemy.  So these half-baked individualists have been employed to huge success by the most powerful organizations in the world:  corporations.  Today they have “tea-parties” in which they participate in an absurd game of charades in which it’s an affront to their freedom for government to implement a safety net, but not for Monsanto to become lord and master over their farmland.  They draw a meaningless line between public and private power, benefiting no one but the wealthy elite.

It seems to me that someone truly interested in maximizing the power of individuals over their own lives would generally accept the idea of using the democratic process to limit others’ power over them.  But this is not the case with Republicans and Libertarians today, because they see the democratic process ITSELF as too powerful, while transnational corporations escape their eye.

They insist that they love freedom.  But to them, freedom is a symbol, not anything real.  It’s a pin that they wear, a sticker that goes on the back of the Tahoe, but little more.  It’s a song to sing, a flag to wave, a self-image.  An uninsured woman with breast cancer is “free” only so long as she is not saved by tax-funded medical care.  A mother whose child died from Ecoli contamination is “free” only so long as the company who killed her child is not hindered by safety regulations.  Our children are only “free” so long as companies are allowed to advertise junk to them.  As such, the freedom they advocate is that enjoyed by rats in a dark sewer.

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New site, two great articles and My Two Cents

I stumbled across True/Slate for the first time today and like what I see so far.  In particular there’s a great post from Matt Taibbi about Sarah Palin.  He’s particularly salient when he points out her major source of propulsion; namely that while other conservatives have to run to the where the battles are, Sarah Palin’s battleground is whatever is going on directly in her orbit.  She has BECOME the battleground.  And this observation makes her phenomenon make a bit of sense.

A second article that struck me was this post from Sara Libby about how fat people at Lincoln University are being forced to become un-fat or else take a required class about how they are too fat if they want to graduate.  I thought there was a connection to be made between those two pieces, so I’m transcribing my comments below:

I recently had a date with a guy during which the conversation ranged from the derangement of the media to food to music. Sounds pleasant enough on paper, but in reality it amounted to a monotonous lecture on how I should spend less time on the internet, not shop at grocery stores, avoid just about any food you can imagine besides vegetables grown in my own back yard in specially sanitized soil, and not work for any corporation (besides his, apparently.)

He was a modern ascetic, food neurotic and a dietary schoolmarm. So for my next drink (our date was over coffee) I switched from house coffee to a hot cocoa with extra sugar and extra syrup. As is my habit, I immediately undertook a vigorous inner self-analysis, faintly serenaded by sounds coming out of his mouth that sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Why did I order that? I don’t even want that! The drink was sickly sweet and over-flavored. Obviously I was reacting to my date’s snobbery. Suddenly it started making sense to me how conservatives can so often view liberals as being authoritarian snobs. Never before did it make any sense to me how Jonah Goldberg (who is a terrible writer, by the way) could sell a book called “Liberal Fascism” or how people could earnestly respond to Sarah Palin’s tripe about only the undeveloped half of the country is Real America.

This story is another example. Imperfect people being tut-tutted about their imperfections by the same gaggle of self-righteous do-gooders that harangue me about smoking, drinking, owning a car and eating french fries. It’s as if they would like each of us to have, perched upon our shoulder, our own personal douchestached Morgan Spurlock to remind us that for every action we perform in a given day, we could have done it better.

Matt Taibbi has a fantastic article here about Sarah Palin and how she has cornered the political market for white resentment. The only flaw I saw in the otherwise brilliantly sharp piece was that he dismisses that resentment as unhinged and irrational; the crazed bitterness of people kicking against imaginary assholes who seem to exist only through their warped prism, but not in reality.

Well, here’s proof. This article is about the assholes, and the assholes are real. If you are too fat, you are not going to get through Lincoln University without getting harassed by assholes who will mindlessly assume that if you are fat you must also be ignorant, and that skinny people are skinny because they know something that you don’t, Lard-ass.

This story just makes me want to hop in my Hummer, drive straight to the nearest McDonald’s, and eat double cheeseburgers while I watch Fox News. It’s kind of no wonder why there are people who actually do it.

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