• jonerik commented on the diary post We Won’t Forget Wisconsin by David Swanson.

    2014-08-07 06:31:46View | Delete

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost the election against Walker in 2010 also ran against him and lost in the 2012 recall. I no longer live in Wisconsin but I have close relatives who do. Until Barrett decided to run in the recall, which I recall he did reluctantly, the recall had no candidate. Barrett [...]

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Late Night: The Untouchables

    2014-08-01 06:42:38View | Delete

    “The Untouchables” and “cackling birds” pretty accurately sums up the state of our plutocracy these days. But I wonder if all the 1% are all that happy or satisfied with things either?
    I was watching a British detective show the other night set in 1968 involving an investigation of some aristocrats. One of the characters was describing a book he was writing about how the British ruling class went mad after the Suez crisis and never recovered. I thought, how true. The Suez crisis was the last hurrah of the British Empire in which the Empire’s rulers could no longer deny that they needed Uncle Ike to bail them out. It’s probably true that they became unglued with this.

    Are we at a similar stage with our empire where the reality of US global hegemony has passed and neither the ruling elite or the public have yet grasped that fact?

  • All of these neoliberal policies relate to banking and making these places safe for US bank investment. Central and South America have been a fertile source of bonds for US banks collateralizing the natural resources, including the “human resources” and the land, which is owned by a privileged elite. This podcast has made me aware that the violence in Central America did not end in the 1990′s as I had thought but that it has continued and become the modus vivendi.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post The Political Decision in Hobby Lobby

    2014-07-06 20:00:58View | Delete

    One more thought: I wonder if the “Religious Restoration, etc” Act is itself a violation of the First Amendment. Under 42 United States Code sec. 2000cc-5, “the term “religious exercise” includes any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”

    Is the nonuse of contraception even “central to” Catholicism? Or Christianity? As a Christian, I submit that “Hobby Lobby” be the occasion that we flush into the open and force what counts for “church authority” to defend what is exactly “central to and compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”

  • jonerik commented on the blog post The Political Decision in Hobby Lobby

    2014-07-06 19:35:13View | Delete

    Until I read the language of the “Religious Restoration, etc.”
    statute, which you thoughtfully quoted from in your post, masaccio, it hadn’t occurred to me what a monstrous decision this is. So a person or even a corporation’s belief about the use of contraception is the “exercise of religions”? That statement is perhaps true if you are a very doctrinaire and strictly observant Catholic. Otherwise, absolutely not. I recall that one of the BIG issues surrounding the candidacy of John F. Kennedy was his religion and the concern, which appears quaint in hindsight, that he would govern on orders from the Pope. Now we have a US Supreme Court opinion which is grounded in no less, Catholic dogma. Which of course finds absolutely no foundation in anything like the Bible or even the Nicene or Apostle’s Creed! Only Paul VI’s Encyclical “Humanae Vitae”.


    Only a devout and dogmatic Catholic who was at one with the Pope’s religious teachings on contraception and birth control could be blind to how such teachings do not even reflect the “exercise of religion” and by such blindness ensconce peripheral religious dogma into Constitutional writ.

    I completely concur with those commenters who compare this decision with the adoption of Sharia law or “The Handmaiden’s Tale”. These comparisons are entirely fair and apt. But many do not understand that the First Amendment not only protects the free exercise of religion” but the “establishment” of a state religion. “Hobby Lobby” undermines the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment by making one church’s idea of what is part of their faith the “exercise of religion.” “Hobby Lobby” is a scary step to establishing a state religion which only a devout and dogmatic Catholic like Alito could fail to perceive.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Can We Talk About the Economics, Politics and Religion in Snowpiercer? by spocko.

    2014-07-03 21:31:07View | Delete

    Sounds like a good discussion to have, spocko. I might see the film but my impression from the trailer is “Ayn Rand’s Polar Express” with Tilda Swinton as Ayn and no Tom Hanks or Santa. Downer.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Things in Politico That Make Me Want to Guzzle

    2014-06-29 11:08:11View | Delete

    It seems that the glaring inequality was one of the several elements that formed the tinder for the two major revolutions we know about: the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. But it wasn’t the only thing and neither revolution really fixed that basic problem over the longer term. Both revolutions got out of control with even the Dantons and the Robespierres being victims. Same with the Russian Revolution which ended in Stalinism.

    The USA is not immune from any revolution. But as gratifying as an uprising of a pitchfork-wielding mob against the 1% mobbed might be in fantasy, I hope and pray nothing like ever comes to pass in our land. Reading the hateful screeds of the Michale Ryans should remind us that the sort of hatred such people feel is often a blind hatred usually misdirected at the wrong people.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Saturday Art: France’s President Names Greatest Painter? by Ruth Calvo.

    2014-06-28 18:20:07View | Delete

    France’s Socialist President declares favorite painter “paints in black”. That’s controversial?

    Is the Rolling Stones’ Song “Paint it Black” completely passe?

    Anyway, why shouldn’t a painter who paints all in black be everyone’s fave painter? What’s to be optimistic and hopeful about?

  • This post may be a nonevent for many. But I noticed a few points which are starting to form a pattern. Most of us, including me, have become inured to the revolving door between government and industry that we’re unable so see some of the subtle ethical transgressions that arise. If you’re not paying real [...]

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Thoughts On Education After Vergara v. California by cassiodorus.

    2014-06-14 09:33:21View | Delete

    Thanks for the response. It’s unbelievable that in this day and age, with the right having created about 12 doctrines of “standing” that these Plaintiffs somehow managed to get themselves into a hearing and actually present witnesses, lame ones though they may be. But speaking of standing in another sense, the economics profession, having sunk [...]

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Thoughts On Education After Vergara v. California by cassiodorus.

    2014-06-13 06:15:57View | Delete

    “Now, of course, one is justified in asking about the economic hypotheses of economists such as Raj Chetty, whose work was used by the plaintiffs in Vergara v. California, and whose methodologies appear to have been both badly written and badly interpreted in producing the Superior Court’s decision in Vergara v. California.” Jut wondering: is [...]

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Food Sunday: Birthday Dinners by dakine01.

    2014-06-08 18:27:41View | Delete

    Happy Birthday, dakine! I have many happy birthday memories, but the most cherished was my 50th which was a 50th birthday party my wife surprised me with. This included a surprise visit (“this is your life, jonerik”)) moment by my brother from Oregon who sneaked (snuck?) up on us as we were having dinner on [...]

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Lee Camp Features Gen. Petraeus Oil Wars Video on “Redacted Tonight” by Steve Horn.

    2014-06-08 18:17:59View | Delete

    “flaming pile of truth”. That’s good. The “large glass of genocider” was pretty bad but after you get through Camp’s schtick, the “flaming pile of truth” is that the leader of the Iraq War Mission did not correct the North Dakota Secretary of State’s introduction of him as a leader of a war in Iraq [...]

  • jonerik commented on the blog post What Did We Get For All That Money

    2014-06-08 17:44:43View | Delete

    “Piketty in Chapter 3.”

    Thank you, masaccio, for that weekly reminder and motivation to get Piketty and start reading. And thanks for the teaser too. Your summary of Chapter 3 really puts the matter in perspective. I read somewhere I can’t recall (but maybe it was Thurman Arnold), that the US Government wasn’t allowed to account for the assets and liabilities so all of our financial issues are spelled out in terms of cash flow. (That’s my reading of what I recall). But I think Arnold, whom I now am fairly sure was the source of that observation, compared the government to corporations which, of course, routinely engaged in deficit spending against their accumulated equity. Piketty seems on the same track but now looking at this in terms of what we now understand to be the British Imperial System in the 17th and 18th c.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Clear And Magical Thinking by cassiodorus.

    2014-06-01 11:09:45View | Delete

    We’re all going to die sometime from some cause or other. But you seem to feel that unless something like “X” is done right now and I gather “X” is what you say needs to be, the world is doomed (and if you said whatever “X” was in your post I missed it.) Human life [...]

  • jonerik commented on the diary post Clear And Magical Thinking by cassiodorus.

    2014-05-31 17:24:51View | Delete

    I’m not sure that criticizing other “magical thinkers” about their “magical thinking” is really all that helpful. Neither am I so sure that the path to sustainable co-existence with life on this planet for the human species requires the overthrow of “capitalism.” A lot of talk and magical thinking ends up in the chicken and [...]

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Piketty and His Critics Chapter 1

    2014-05-25 20:19:34View | Delete

    Some thoughts, yes. Some thoughts that trail off into some vague unknown regions. I have no idea what this fellow is babbling about.

  • jonerik commented on the blog post Piketty and His Critics Chapter 1

    2014-05-25 17:13:42View | Delete

    I haven’t dug into Piketty’s book yet but it’s high on the priority list of readings. So I’m grateful for your posts discussing this important work.

    I wonder if Piketty’s point which you discuss wasn’t suggested by J.M. Keynes’s 1930 essay “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren”? There, Keynes calculates that the then volume of British foreign investment, about 4 billion pounds, happened to be what the treasure pirated by Sir Francis Drake in 1580 from Spain would be at its present value at compounded interest. I continue to come back to Keynes and his insights which are informed by his understanding of probability, mathematics, economics, history and the importance of interest rates which he also describes as being established by “convention” or public opinion, not necessarily by public authorities like the bank of England or the Federal Reserve.

    Is Piketty suggesting that perhaps “convention” might also determine expected rates of growth, so that in a similar way, “convention” might also “predetermine” economic inequality? In other words, maybe we have economic inequality because people assume and expect that’s how the “world works”, that’s the “natural order of things”, and there’s nothing that can be done about it? Who has never heard Christ from the Gospel’s being quoted, out of context, “the poor you will always have with you” to justify this “natural order of things”?

  • jonerik commented on the diary post VIDEO: Coming Out of The Abortion Closet by Dennis Trainor Jr.

    2014-05-20 08:06:20View | Delete

    “the undue influence of money is protected.” Good one!

    Good post Dennis. Thanks.

  • jonerik commented on the diary post At Least 31 Dead In Odessa As Pro-regime Rioters Burn Trade Union by fairleft.

    2014-05-02 20:26:07View | Delete

    The only reason I’m concerned one bit about events in the Ukraine is because somehow, it will involve the U.S. Government. Which, right now, does not seem to have any idea about what is really happening. Or it least that it admits to. I’d like to believe that the U.S. Government is not somehow behind [...]

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