• BMiller224 commented on the blog post Acknowledgements

    2012-12-21 18:09:56View | Delete

    David, I hope you will be able to use you obvious abilities in political analysis in your career and/or political activism going forward. You have a real talent for it. Lots of people will miss you daily work here a FDL News.

    Bruce Miller

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Merkel Intervention at G8 Summit on Stimulus for Eurozone

    2012-05-19 16:47:30View | Delete

    Angela Merkel is a nasty piece of work.

    The Spiegel Online article on the G-8 statement (http://spon.de/adE7X) was titled, “Merkel setzt Sparkurs durch” (“Merkel puts through her savings course”). For whatever reason, Angie really believes in this austerity stuff – for other EU countries, for Germany not so much.

    What I gather from the Spiegel report is that, after telling Obama and Hollande to go diddle themselves, Angie spelled out what she means when she babbles about growth measures: more austerity; structural reform; and, investments in the future. “Structural reform” means more reduction of wages, jobs, income, retirement security and union rights. Investments for the future probably means new tax cuts for corporations or more deregulation or the like. No change from her suicide course for Europe, in other words.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post German Unemployment Drops, as Euro Works for Them

    2012-01-03 08:39:42View | Delete

    If (when) the euro disintegrates and the countries have to go back to individual currencies, the German mark is likely to be the strongest currency of all. Which will hammer Germany’s exports. Because a very large portion of their exports are to the eurozone. Angie will have her strong currency then. And Germans will be able to stop whining about having to bail out “lazy” Greeks and “corrupt” Italians. Of course, they will have to bail out those efficient, productive German banks that collapse along with the euro and the eurozone bond defaults because of their dificient capital reserves and poor risk management. But that will be for virtuous German institutions, so I’m sure the German taxpayers who are losing their jobs because of the hit to exports won’t mind that at all!

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Europe Resigns Itself to Recession, Continues Austerity

    2012-01-03 08:32:43View | Delete

    The head-in-the-clouds attitude of European elites in this situation is stunning. Even the bankers-collection-agent governments in Italy and Greece are warning they can’t meet their EU-imposed (i.e., Angela Merkel-imposed) austerity targets. The Greek government is wanting the private banks to take up to 80% haircuts on the Greek bonds instead of the 50% that Angie asked them to take. And they are talking up going back to the drachma.

    I think there must be some strategy among the eurozone members to try as hard as possible to let some other country be the one that pulls the plug and drops out of the eurozone – Italy and Greece being the two biggest candidates at the moment. And will the EU-minus-Britain group all really agree in March to effectively give Germany a veto over their annual budgets? I just don’t see how Angie’s game with the EU can continue much longer. Which is terrible: prior to 2007, the EU was an exceptionally hopeful project to promote democracy and peace. No more.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post ECB Shovels Free Money to European Banks

    2011-12-21 10:25:37View | Delete

    I can’t help but wonder whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel will scold the European bankers for their shiftless ways and force them to make layoffs and reduce bankers’ salaries, bonuses and pensions the way she’s forcing pretty much everyone else in Europe to do. Anyone want to make bets on the chances of that happening?

  • Knut: “No one in authority seems to have the capacity any more to think straight.” John Kenneth Galbraith said that with all the ink spilled over the causes of the First World War, the role of just plain stupidity was usually underestimated. It’s probably short-sighted even for the banksters to insist on self-destructive austerity economics. But even Masters of the Universe can make the mistake of believing their own ideology even when reality strongly contradicts it.

  • I suppose this settles the question of whether Prime Minister Papandreou was seized by a moment of democratic scruples in declaring the vital need for a vote on the EU’s economic-suicide austerity program for Greece.

    Even taking into account the bullying from Sarkozy and Merkel – who are on the verge of going down in history as the leaders who wrecked the EU – Papandreou didn’t put up much of a fight for his referendum once the conservative opposition signed on in theory to the economic suicide pact. For those of us who have seen the EU as an historic vehicle to encourage democracy and promote peaceful relations among European nations, seeing Merkel and Sarkozy turn it into a collection agency for the banksters is leadership failure on a 1914 scale (though without the immediately lethal consequences).

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Notion of Greek Democracy Deeply Shocking to Elite Failures

    2011-11-01 13:42:17View | Delete

    And PASOK is the social-democratic party, those scary, scary socialists! The purpose of the EU was always primarily to promote democracy and ensure peace among the countries of Europe. It’s a 1914-level failure for Europe’s leaders, especially Germany and France, that the EU has become an enforcer for banksters. (I just read yesterday that Nicolas Sarkozy’s brother Olivier in a honcho at the Carlyle Group, a major one-percenter institution.) Fortunately, the immediate military consequences of Europe’s failure today won’t be as drastic as 1914.

    I don’t know that much about Greek politics. Georgios Papandreou is obviously not a Greek William Jennings Bryan or Bob LaFollette. But I’m guessing he thought he had to put it to a vote because the process had become so devoid of democracy legitimacy. He surely knows that almost any referendum on this, even if worded generally, is likely to fail. Bob Reich and Krugman both seem to think that the fallout is likely to wind up with Italy pulling out of the euro before Greece. No one knows exactly what will happen when one country pulls out, of course. But it sure looks like we’re about to see.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post On Joseph Kony, War Powers and Liberal Interventionism

    2011-10-17 10:04:20View | Delete

    And in practice, there is a political dynamic that goes along with even a small intervention. Once the troops are there, our sacred National Prestige is involved. How can The Great Power In The World allow itself to be humiliated by a tiny force of thugs? As Lyndon Johnson, who had some experience in the matter, said,

    It’s a hell of a lot easier to get into a war than to get out of one.

    In theory, that doesn’t have to be the case. In practice, it is.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post And Another Thing on Obama’s Last Lecture

    2011-07-18 12:42:17View | Delete

    The excerpt the White House made available on July 14 and then publicized has its own context, since the event itself was March 8. The July 14 excerpt is about the abstract value of Compromise, which is a completely banal point. But to present the Emancipation Proclamation as primarily about compromise with slaveowners reveals an amazingly conservative outlook. In the terms of the time, the Proclamation turned a conventional war (one army fighting another) into a revolutionary war, in which one side intends to overthrown the social system of the other and to encourage insurrection behind their lines. And neither slaveowners nor Abolitionists missed its significance at the time. This piece by historian John Hope Franklin tells the story in a meaningful context: http://1.usa.gov/nmP9v5

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Obama’s Last Lecture

    2011-07-18 09:25:10View | Delete

    Correction: the neo-Confederate position is “see, Lincoln DIDN’T free all the slaves …”

    Addition: Lincoln insisted on a plank in the 1864 Republican platform calling for a Constitutional Amendment to abolish slavery. When it was ratified after Lincoln’s death, the Abolitionist actuall did get a 100% abolition of chattel slavery.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Obama’s Last Lecture

    2011-07-18 09:02:33View | Delete

    To repeat the comment that I left at Digby’s related post, Obama’s historical revisionism on the Emancipation Proclamation is astonishing to me. The Emancipation Proclamation in his telling was mainly about compromising with slavery! This actually is one of the neo-Confederates’ big talking points: see, Lincoln did free all the slaves and that shows what a big ole hypocrite he was! And, yeah, Lincoln making a strategic compromise with pro-Union border states in the middle of a Civil War is just like, uh, Obama caving in to industry lobbyists on the public option before it even came to a vote in Congress?

    For what it’s worth, Frederick Douglass was a great admirer of the radical-democratic violent revolutionary John Brown and the best known African-American opponent of slavery before and during the Civil War. (Maybe for Obama that makes Douglass just like the Huffington Post.) Douglass called the Emancipation Proclamation “the first step on the part of the nation in its departure from the thraldom of the ages.” Douglass, unlike Obama in that video, actually understood the political and military signficance of the Proclamation, though he certainly continued to push for full emancipation. Lincoln before he was murdered called for the 13th Constitutional Amendment barring slavery everywhere in the US.

    This is the first thing I’ve heard Obama say that sounds like something that could have come from Shrub Bush’s mouth. Up until now, he has been awfully frustrating and disappointing for progressives. In this video, he’s starting to sound downright pitiful.

  • He wants to cut Social Security AND extend the payroll tax holiday, which will further decrease Soc Sec revenue and become an excuse for more cuts. And, of course, when they expire, the Reps will call letting them expire a “tax increase,” following Obama’s usage that you quote here. I really don’t see how this ends well for the Democrats.

  • How does a Democratic Party that opposes Social Security and Medicare survive? Like they say, predictions are hard, especially if they are about the future. I have no faith in any current third-party efforts. But unless the Democrats in Congress take the extremely unlikely step of voting down any deal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, I just don’t see how this ends well for the Democratic Party.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post The Bond Market Makes Its Move in Greece

    2011-07-05 12:13:45View | Delete

    The most pitiful thing in all this to me is to see the European Union nations sitting there, evidently trembling in fear before the discredited rating agencies. The purpose of the EU was always primarily a political one, to sucure peace and democracy in Europe. The fact that the EU is itself facing a major crisis because of problems in the small country of Greece is a real failure of political leadership. I see this as terrible, because I regard the consolidation of the EU up until recently as the most hopeful democratic development in the world.

    Greece has 150%-plus of its GDP owed in sovereign debt. Seemingly everyone involved realizes they are not going to pay that off. There has to be actual debt relief, i.e., a writedown of the principal. The rating agencies have seriously blurred the distinction between restructuring the debt and writedowns. Although the details were still being negotiated even before this latest nonsense from the rating agencies, my understanding is that it rolls over some of the Greek debt on more favorable terms to Greece but does not require any creditor to take an actual writedown on the principal.

    It is bad enough for the EU to join with the IMF and the European Central Bank to dictate destructive policies to the Greek Parliament. And that the ruling social-democratic party became a cheerleader for it. (The Greek prime minister is currently President of the Socialist International!) But for an institution like the EU to let self-interested rating agencies with a rotten record for both accuracy and integrity dictate what they will do about it, that is more than sad. You have to wonder if the conservative governments of France and Germany are serious at all about keeping the EU going as more than an empty shell.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Protests Rage in Greece Over Prospect of More Austerity

    2011-06-06 14:05:48View | Delete

    Portugal’s parliamentay elections yesterday (6/5) turned out the center-left Socialist Party in favor of the conservative Social Democratic Party. (Despite the names, the Socialist Party is the real social-democratic party, i.e., the sister party of Britain’s Labour Party and of Germany’s SPD in the Socialist International. It’s enough to make Glenn Beck’s head pop.)

    The conservatives promised to be even more aggressive in enforcing the EU’s ruinous austerity measures than the Socialists were. But there seemed to be enough of a throw-the-bums-out vote to throw the election to the conservatives, just like in Spain at the state and local levels two Sundays ago. Embracing neoliberal beggar-your-own-people-for-the-sake-of-German-bankers policies haven’t done the center-left parties in Spain or Portugal anything but harm.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Obama Decides Against Releasing Bin Laden Photos

    2011-05-04 12:55:10View | Delete

    I’m certainly no expert on this, but I think it may be against international law for a government to publicly display photos of those it has killed in combat. Not that international law has carried much weight with this Administration, much less the last one, in such matters. But it’s a grisly practice. Law or not, it’s a good idea to assume that our enemies will do the same to American soldiers as we do with “terrorists” or “enemy combatants” captured or killed.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post There’s Only You and Me and We Just Disagree

    2011-01-14 13:26:07View | Delete

    I was really surprised by Krugman’s holding up the abortion debate as some kind of model of vigorous disagreement within essentially civil boundaries. It didn’t quite make sense, for just the reason you named.

  • BMiller224 commented on the blog post Reid Staunchly Defends Social Security

    2011-01-10 12:26:43View | Delete

    I’ll add a Good for Harry Reid! too. He has been sticking post-election with some key things like DADT repeal and a run at the DREAM Act that he said he would do. Defending Social Security is another. It’s mind-boggling that in a couple of weeks we could be looking at a Democratic President proposing some form of Social Security Phaseout.

  • This cutting back on Congressional staff was one of the things the new Republican majority did in 1995. This meant in practice that lobbyists got to write more legislation directly. They substituted lobbyist “services” for staff work.

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