David Kaib

Last active
3 months, 3 weeks ago
  • In terms of the politics, it strikes me that we spend a lot of time imploring politicians that it would ‘help the economy’ to address joblessness and that it would be good politics. It strikes me that they’ve hired the people they want to give them policy and political advice. What we aren’t doing is demanding better, and not accepting excuses. That’s essential.

  • The trick is that much government action is not considered an ‘intervention’.

  • How much of an impact could a fair contracting order, which raised wages among low wage workers for federal contractors, have?

  • David Kaib wrote a new diary post: Chained CPI, Social Insurance and Two Kinds of Politics

    2013-04-12 10:50:29View | Delete

    Thumbnail The president’s new budget proposal includes both Chained CPI, a cut in Social Security benefits, and cuts in Medicare benefits.  As Shawn Fremstad   notes, the White House’s assurances that the ‘most vulnerable’ will be protected are not to be taken seriously. It’s troubling for any number of reasons, including that the defenses offered are nonsense.  Chained CPI [...]

  • It is certainly true that

    we depend on one another for our shared public goods

    but it is even more than that. The vast bulk of what is misleadingly labeled private is nothing of the sort – corporations are collectivist (albeit run in the interests of a smaller group of people than those that do the work), and much of the so called private sector is really quasi-public (where the sole buyer is the government). The rhetoric equation of individuals with the activities of world-wide conglomerates does nothing but obscure.

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post The Right’s Dreams of American Apartheid

    2012-07-15 17:02:04View | Delete

    Very late to the party. It is a shame more are not willing to point out the similarities between earlier efforts to enforce second class personhood and current ones. I would say we need a Voting Rights Amendment, one that guarantees the vote for all citizens over the age of 18 (at least).

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post The Decline of Nations and the Climate Crisis

    2012-06-24 10:13:13View | Delete

    Thanks Glenn. Interesting that ND is not exactly a liberal bastion, although obviously this is not a recent development. (Also you might be interested in this post on my blog: http://notesonatheory.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/why-is-framing…ns-of-democrac/)

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post The Decline of Nations and the Climate Crisis

    2012-06-24 09:47:18View | Delete

    Public financing is a key strategic initiative for overcoming these difficulties. I think public banks are as well – state tax dollars should not be deposited in Bank of American or the rest. In North Dakota, where they have a state bank, they have a more diversified banking system and were in much better shape with the housing bubble. Public banks are utilities, and having a policy that leads us to talk about that idea would be extremely valuable.

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post Racism and the Right

    2012-04-01 10:04:49View | Delete

    I wish I could say I am surprised. Unfortunately, some Dems have been complicit in the assault on public sector unions, especially as part of corporate education reform. In addition, during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, you say the same thing among Democratic mayors, at a time when public sector unions were a key arena for energetic Civil Rights activism (and public sector jobs were one of the only paths to the middle class for most African Americans). Unions stand in the way of corporatizing government – a key goal for conservatives and neoliberals alike, and they are one of the most important barriers for the agendas of corporatists in both parties. That, incidentally, in one of the reasons revitalizing unions is so essential.

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post Racism and the Right

    2012-04-01 09:38:10View | Delete

    This was often the way Republicans found a way to talk about race without being explicit about it, which Altwater famously pointed out was necessary (mentioned above). But in addition, Democrats (like the DLC) who wanted to distinguish themselves from traditional Democrats adopted very similar themes. It strikes me that one of the key ways to fight back is to tackle issues like crime, drugs and poverty head on from a progressive perspective. Their biggest strength is in how callow Democrats get when these things are brought up. There is no point in avoiding these things, since Republicans will always bring them up – we need to make these issues our own.

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post Racism and the Right

    2012-04-01 09:22:50View | Delete

    As I have said before, I think your point about Democratic consultants fearing any discussion of race in the wake of the VRA / CRA is quite right, and it has the added bonus of the powers that be in the party of helping us avoid talking about the way opportunity and security is distributed by society. Certainly the media will never begin discussing what is going on here if Democrats refuse to.

    In addition to the obvious intend of this nation wide campaign to disenfranchise voters of color, I also think it is important to note why. It is not just to win elections, although this is part of it. It is designed to advance a far right agenda of dismantling security and opportunity for everyone outside the 1%. It is to advance punishment for the 99% and lawless predation for the 1%.

    Democrats, and here I do not mean only elites but activists and partisans as well, do not seem to like discussing the intentions behind these policies. We point them out and says it will hurt some class of people, but rarely talk about why it is wrong. I asked this question in another context the other day – if Democrats were free to make policy without interference from Republicans or even corporate Democrats, what would we do? How would we address inequality, the economy, jobs, democracy, to name a few? What principles would guide us? Without knowing the answer, we are hobbled in our ability to parry these assaults.

  • To this day the FBI operates with no legislative charter.

    What the what?

  • I am not sold on the idea that liberty and security are opposing forces. Much of the kind of liberty busting activity, it seems to me, is about silencing legitimate dissent or overreacting to stereotypes. Both make us less safe, not more. Unmooring surveillance, for example, from legitimate suspicion that someone(s) are committing crime distracts from actual threats. Do you have examples where they really was a tension that you discuss in the book?

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post On Culture Wars and Running With the Wolves

    2012-02-12 10:41:24View | Delete

    Forgive me for repeating myself, but culture wars, like race relations, is an odd way to describe an argument about who counts as a person.

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post On Culture Wars and Running With the Wolves

    2012-02-12 10:11:37View | Delete

    Thanks for this Glenn. It has been driving me batty to see the nature of the progressive response on this. The issue is not simply that evidence is on our side, or that their position is unpopular, or that they have not been consistent in taking this position. It is that they are taking a position that denies freedom to women, under the guise of protecting religious freedom. It is that they are denying, implicitly, that women are fully human. They believe in the freedom of churches, employers and husbands to make decisions for others. This is about different approaches to freedom.

    You have been highlighting this problem for a long time – that progressives refuse to talk about their values. I do wish more people were listening.

    The whole focus on hypocrisy and lack of sincerity is a distraction. It enables us to avoid talking about our values. Given our difficulties on this score, we cannot risk that.

  • Culture wars is an odd way to describe an argument over whether certain people do not get to count as a person.

  • David Kaib commented on the blog post Enlightenment and Inquisition

    2012-01-29 09:57:35View | Delete

    The quest for freedom of movement and thought is always contested by the desire for control, order and authority. Those moved by the latter have their own conceptions of freedom, of course. Some inquisitors think freedom is possible only within strict hierarchy and order. They can be terrified by threats to order. Others are simply cynical manipulators who impose order on others so that they can enjoy the freedom of the oppressor.

    Corey Robin in The Reactionary Mind argues the conservative view of freedom is a freedom for some to rule over others – in the governmental sphere, it has manifested as a defense of segregation against those who seek equal citizenship, or as the ability to rule other countries under the guise of combatting communism or terror. In the non-governmental sphere, it has manifested as the power of a husband to rule over his wife, the employer over his/her employees. The solution is to offer a better view of freedom – one that rejects the false choice, as you say, between chaos and order.

  • Overturning Citizens United would, at best, end the role of corporate money in politics (which could be achieved via other means) but it would not eliminate unlimited spending from politics – which has been legal since 1976. The pre-Citizens United campaign finance system was already broken.

    For those who think the filibuster can serve progressive ends (leaving aside its undemocratic nature), I wonder – when has the filibuster actually blocked significant conservative legislation? When Dems used it to block conservative nominees, Republicans were ready to use the nuclear option to end it, and the Gang of 14 essentially agreed not use the filibuster. This is exactly what would happen in the future – Republicans will not allow Dems to use it to serve progressive ends.

  • Thanks ksix. That article really explains what the contours of this discussion look like. I cannot overstate how important this piece is.

  • Until we have full public financing of elections, money, like water, will find its way into the hands of candidates. The world before Citizens United featured a good deal of influence-peddling, after all. But that’s no reason to turn on the spigot full blast. An amendment banning corporate personhood would have a number of applications to the benefit of society. And it represents a rallying point for progressives, to create a more perfect union.

    I agree that public funding is the key, but that is why I find this all so maddening. Public funding (as long as there is no trigger) would not be struck down by the Court. It does not require a constitutional amendment. It can be pursued at the state and federal levels. And it would deal with much more of the problem, rather than focusing on corporate spending. There are other things that could be done as well – such as people-powered electoral strategies (that obviously cost less), shareholder rights laws, pressuring institutional investors to tamp down on political spending (including lobbying), ensuring former staffers get good pensions (so they can leave with less temptation to go into lobbying) or changing the way consultants are paid so that they do not get more money for running more ads.

    We seem to be focusing on the most difficult path to a partial (at best) solution. And much of it seems based on a misreading of CU (which was not really about personhood anyway). And if we are going to have an amendment related to elections, why not include something to better protect the right to vote as well – since disenfranchisement is clearly part of the problem too.

    This all seems to be misguided, both strategically and tactically.

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