Archive for the ‘regulation’ Category

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The Anti-American GOP

15 July, 2010

How’s that for an inflammatory title?  I think I can support it, though.

Democracy is the philosophy which holds the United States of America together.  The rules apply to all.  We all pay taxes1, taxes which we, through our elected representatives, have agreed to pay as an admission fee for a civilized country.  We all obey the same laws, laws which we, through our elected representatives, have agreed to obey to make our lives safer.  Yet one of our major political parties, the Grand Old Party, the Republican Party, is attempting to short circuit this grand experiment in self-government.   

Democracy cannot be enforced at the point of a bayonet2.  It is a social and governmental compact to which we, as citizens and residents, have agreed.  The idea that all men are created equal, that there are certain inalienable rights which apply to all, requires fealty to the idea that we all must follow the same rules, tolerate the same red tape, stand in the same lines.  We expect there to be no special privileges such as the hochadel of the 1600s enjoyed, such as the lords of England enjoyed, such as the party members of the USSR enjoyed.

But democracy also requires three basic conditions — literacy, free time, and wealth.  And, since the Reagan Revolution of the early 1980s, what has been under attack by the new conservatives?  Education and middle class wealth, and the free time that wealth created. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Tactics of Authoritarianism: Fear

19 April, 2010

They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers call this a new order.  It is not new and it is not order.
                   Franklin Delano Roosevelt Read the rest of this entry ?

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Healthcare: Profits and Prophets

14 September, 2009

I have some weird friends.  They’re good people, but some of them are severely disconnected from reality.  I find myself trying to explain things calmly and rationally.  And with no effect.

I’ve told her that yes, Obama really is an American.  His mother is a citizen, therefore, no matter where he was born (that would be Hawai’i (an actual state of the United States)) he would still be a US citizen and no, he does not kill babies.  I’ve told him (yeah, more than one) that high tax rates on the rich, massive public investment in infrastructure, and strong labour unions have, historically, lead to much more rapid economic expansion than supply side economics.  And I have, patiently, explained to both of them that ‘death panels’ already exist — they are run by for-profit insurance companies.

And here is a case in point:  Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Shark Jumping GOP

7 September, 2009

There was a time, long ago, last century, to be exact, that the Republican Party, the GOP, was a party of ideas.  The ideas were bullshit, but they had ideas.  Cut taxes for the rich, raise taxes on everyone else, and the economy will improve.  Cut taxes and the tax revenue will increase.  Punish people for being poor and the poor will bootstrap themselves right up.  Deregulate industry and industry will  regulate itself.  These policies have given us huge deficits, a wider gap between rich and the rest of us, businesses bankrupting themselves for lack of regulation, and a government which does not have the money to provide the basic services Americans expect.  This is all the direct result of the GOP’s ideas.

Now, the GOP has become the party of no.  No ideas.  Just say no to everything.  Loudly.  Read the rest of this entry ?

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You Can’t Make This Shit Up XI

21 February, 2009

Pennsylvania is a nanny state.  We have laws to protect us from potential harm.  Oh, we can still ride our motorcycles and ski without helmets.  We can still gamble, bet on the horses, drink hard liquor, wine and beer, and speed (almost) with impunity.  But we cannot name a company in a way that “constitute[s] blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane[s] the Lord’s name.”  Thank you so much for protecting us. Read the rest of this entry ?

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A Team Of Rivals Will Not Work

20 November, 2008

Since the election, there has been a constant drumbeat coming from right-wing blogs and the mainstream media.  This drumbeat tells President-elect Barrack Obama that he must govern from the center, that he must work closely with the radical Republicans, that he must work with the Republicans and avoid, under all circumstances, giving the American people that for which they voted.  Some liberal and progressive blogs are striking a similar tone.  Even the President-elect himself, during the campaign and after the election, has seemed to agree.  Supposedly, by trying to work with the right, he will be able to avoid the partisanship, contention and fury of thwarted conservatives.

It feels odd to disagree with a majority of politicians, analysts and bloggers (me being pretty much of a neophyte in this whole public policy thing).  I do disagree.  Not only do I disagree, but I disagree strongly, vehemently, violently. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Enriching Friends at the Expense of Nature

13 November, 2008

I remember quite clearly some of the assholes with whom I went to school.  Kids who sat in the back of the room making wisecracks during class, laughing it up, knowing that, no matter what they do, Daddy (an important and upstanding (and rich) pillar of the community) would protect them.  Kids who, if they were losing a game, would take their ball and go home, or dump the Scrabble board, or throw the checker board, or do some other childish thing which poisoned any future games.  George W. is one of those assholes. Read the rest of this entry ?

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You Can’t Make This Shit Up X

4 November, 2008

Just in case you needed another reason to vote Democratic this election:  the chief risk officer for Bear Stearn, a guy named Michael Alix,  has landed a job with the Federal Reserve.  He will be in charge of looking out for banks that are taking risky investments.  Sheesh.

From Clusterstock:
“In a move that is sure to put to rest the notion that there are no second acts in American life, former Bear Stearns chief risk officer Michael Alix has landed a job in the office of the Federal Reserve charged with assessing the safety and soundness of domestic banking institutions. We suppose that Alix at least has plenty of experience with unsound banking institutions. He was the chief risk officer of Bear Stearns from 2006 until 2008. So, basically, he was the guy on the mast charged with yelling “iceberg” just before the titanic introduced its bow to a floating hunk of ice. Prior to that he ran credit risk management for Bear from 1996 to 2006, Jon Keehner at Bloomberg points out. That worked out just great.”

Remember:  Obama would be ‘risky.’  And Republicans aren’t?

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Vote Reality

3 November, 2008

Neoconservatism is based upon faith.  Faith that, if we deregulate business and finance, they will suddenly behave themselves and act ethically.  Faith that, if we lie to children about sex and prophylaxis, they will not experiment with their bodies.  Faith that we will be welcomed with flowers in Bhagdad.  Faith that tax cuts pay for themselves.  Faith that tax cuts for the rich will help the poor.  Faith that one can shape reality, can create a new reality, through sheer willpower.  Faith that, because we are creating a new reality, the laws do not apply.  Faith that everything that our founding fathers wrote has been misinterpreted by virtually every historian and that we are a Christian nation.

Faith, as I have said before (see here and here) is the ability to believe something despite no evidence or evidence to the contrary. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Vote Competence

2 November, 2008

One of my friends is a Republican. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Republican.  He also rationalizes to an unbelievable extent.  Why is he voting for McCain and Palin?  A couple of reasons.  Abortion (he seems to think that Republicans would actually shoot that cash cow).  Taxes (he seems to think that Obama will raise his taxes and McCain will cut them).  Competence (he seems to think that during the last seven years and nine months the nation has been run with competence).

Competence?  Competence?  I asked him to name one thing that the Bush administration has done right.  Read the rest of this entry ?