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JHB's Journal
JHB's Journal
April 16, 2013

Raise your hand if you're glad our foreign policy right now...

...is not in the hands of that gaggle of chickenhawk neocons that had attached themselves to Romney.

April 13, 2013

Particular things that stood out for me:

1) Jumping to extreme alternatives: North Korea, Communism, giving up all modern gadgetry. As if there are no alternatives, as if you can't incentivize economic behavior in any way other than is done right now, even though we've done so in the past. "Where's this Golden Era?" Nobody said anything about a "golden era", but there were some things that were handled differently in the past and maybe we should take a second look at them, especially given #2:

2) the bland rewriting of history: "first we tried one thing, it went to far, now we're trying something else..." as if the deregulation, extreme tax cutting, and privatization that started under Carter but got rocket boosters under Reagan had been rationally debated, and was not the result of political power plays. I recall Reagan making speeches about how lowering taxes at the high end would let that money be used for investment to modernize our aging industrial plant to restore our competitiveness in markets at home and abroad. Instead, that money went into the stock market and fueled Merger-mania, leveraged buy-outs that let company assets be stripped and sucked upward, and union-busting. More bait-and-switch than the swinging of a pendulum, especially considering that the pendulum never swung back.

3) Did you notice how he went completely ballistic when she noted he was a rich guy? As if that was just prying into his personal business, and had no bearing on the perspective from which he evaluates these issues? That it might affect his view of budgetary priorities? Easy enough for him to talk about raising the retirement age when to him it is of no more significance than adjusting the bass on a stereo, but for tens of millions of people there might be a higher incentive to look at other alternatives.

4) The way he kept wondering aloud what her agenda was, what she "was getting at", largely because her reaction to his pearls of wisdom was not simple ooh-ing and ahhh-ing.

And a plug for blogger Driftglass, also of The Professional Left Podcast, who originally made me aware of the interview.

April 12, 2013

They need to constantly be reminded that in the 1860s Republicans were the liberal-left party

I like to use this (conservative) political cartoon from 1860. The characterization of Lincoln and his supporters would be at home at any Tea Party rally -- where it'd be used to describe Democrats.


“People who just want stuff”: 1860

With all the conservative whining and wailing going on about Obama’s re-election, saying that he won because of “people who just want stuff” and other assorted poutrage, it’s worth noting that this is a trope they’ve been playing for a very, very long time.

Below is a conservative political cartoon from 1860, engraved by Currier and Ives and published in Harper's Magazine. Way back when “The Party of Lincoln” was actually running Lincoln for president, it was considered the liberal/left party.

See if you recognize the playbook:


"The Republican Party Going to the Right House"

Lincoln rides on a fence rail, carried by Horace Greeley (anti-slavery editor of the New York Tribune), leading his followers into a lunatic asylum.
GREELY: "Hold on to me Abe, and we'll go in here by the unanimous consent of the people."
LINCOLN: "Now my friends I'm almost in, and the millennium is going to begin, so ask what you will and it shall be granted."

Younger Woman: "Oh! what a beautiful man he is, I feel a passionate attraction' every time I see his lovely face."
Bearded Man: "I represent the free love element, and expect to have free license to carry out its principles."
Man with trim beard and hat: "I want religion abolished and the book of Mormon made the standard of morality."
Caricatured black man: "De white man hab no rights dat cullud pussons am bound to spect' I want dat understood."
Older woman: "I want womans rights enforced, and man reduced in subjection to her authority."
Scruffy man with bottle: "I want everybody to have a share of everybody elses property."
Barefoot man: "I want a hotel established by government, where people that aint inclined to work, can board free of expense, and be found in rum and tobacco."
Seedy top-hat man: " I want guaranteed to every Citizen the right to examine every other citizen's pockets without interruption by Policemen."
Man at the end: "I want all the stations houses burned up, and the M.P.s killed, so that the bohoys can run with the machine and have a muss when they please."

Let’s go down the list, shall we?:
Supported by "liberal media": Check
Liberals will embark on profligate giveaways to THOSE PEOPLE? Check.
Flighty, emotional, entranced by charisma/celebrity? Check.
People conservatives consider sexual deviants? Check.
People conservatives consider religious deviants? Check (and how ironic, this particular turn).
Grasping minorities after special rights? Check.
"Feminazis"? Check.
There's a vast army of layabouts, thugs, and outright thieves who want to take your hard-earned stuff? Check, check, check, and check.
April 10, 2013

Quietly bookmarking

'cause, y'know, you're all scary

April 7, 2013

Eskow: Have Wall Street's "Third Way" Democrats Ever Been Right About Anything?

Have Wall Street's "Third Way" Democrats Ever Been Right About Anything?
Richard (RJ) Eskow

Prof. William K. Black Jr. was understandably displeased by The New York Times' description of the Third Way think tank as "center/left." Prof. Black writes that "Some lies will not die ... Third Way is Wall Street on the Potomac. It is funded secretly by Wall Street (it refuses to reveal its donors), it is openly run by Wall Street, and it lobbies endlessly for Wall Street." Black adds that "Third Way, like every Pete Peterson front group, is dedicated to shredding the safety net as its highest priority and throwing the Nation back into a gratuitous recession through self-destructive austerity."

The description of Third Way as a "Pete Peterson front group" might seem to contradict the "Wall Street" label. It doesn't. Peterson's a hedge fund billionaire who has devoted decades of his life, as well as an enormous sum (he spent nearly a half-billion dollars in one five-year period alone) to slashing Social Security and lowering taxes for himself, his ultra-wealthy peers, and large corporations.

Third Way's board members include a number of prominent financial types who benefited mightily from bank deregulation, including some (like William M. Daley) who lobbied and fought for deregulation.

Third Way argues that their patrons' preferred system of (lower) taxes would increase employment in the United States. The response to that is simple: We've had more than a decade of low taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations. How's that working out for you? But lower taxes lead to economic growth, don't they? Look around you: Wrong.

In an interview on Bill Moyers Journal, Moyers introduced the quoted Prof. William K. Black Jr. like so:

"The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, 'get Black — kill him dead.' Metaphorically, of course. Of course."
April 6, 2013

On September 6, 2008, Senator Barack Obama told AARP members:

"John McCain's campaign has suggested that the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost of living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear: I will not do either."

Less "bluffing" and more clarity, please!

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