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2 years, 8 months ago
  • Not surprising, but good to have it out in the open: the government is, in effect, playing both ends of this game. They are prosecuting Manning, but then they are gaming the system by selectively claiming that any exculpating evidence is “secret.”

    The more clear this becomes in the proceedings, the more the world will realize that this was, from the beginning, a kangaroo court with a predetermined verdict. Or, at least, that’s what the prosecutors were hoping…

  • Democrats have always been better as an opposition party. Full stop.

  • ouroborous commented on the blog post Greek “Bailout” is a Bank Bailout

    2012-05-31 06:30:13View | Delete

    This cycle — banks gamble, banks lose money, banks demand that taxpayers foot the bill and use a faux morality play about “austerity” and “living within your means” — is so depressingly familiar. It’s playing out everywhere.

    Anyone with a brain can see through it; any first-year economics student knows that you don’t stimulate economic growth by laying people off and cutting benefits. Any nine year old savvy in the ways of media manipulation can see through the crocodile tears that the banks are crying. And anyone with a newspaper and two neurons can follow the money from the initial speculation, to the inevitable losses when the bubbles burst, to the demands for austerity (always from thunderous pulpits with a politician behind them who is wholly bought-and paid-for by their local banking cartel) to pay the banks back for their gambling debts.

    So. Bloody. Familiar. And yet, because the “banks own the place” both here and overseas, so amazingly repetitive.

  • Wouldn’t it be precious if Wikileaks were to release some… savory details about those secret deals between Sweden and the US, or some documents proving that all of this is motivated by the US gov’ts desire for revenge over the embarrassments of WL’s leaks?

  • As an atheist, I can only shake my head sadly at all this.

    The Bible DOES say, in Leviticus, that “a man laying with a man” is grounds for death. Now, biblical scholars have claimed that Jesus brought a new covenant, so all of those old laws are rescinded; but obviously not everyone agrees, and it is frankly a reasonable interpretation of the Bible to say that — according to the Bible — homosexuals should be put to death.

    The problem isn’t that their interpretation of the Bible is right or wrong, in my opinion. The problem is that bigots and others full of hate will always use religion as a justification for their poison. In short, religion is the match to the fuse of hatred and violence.

  • I am glad to see patience wearing thin within the protest movement for the juvenile attention-seekers who want to turn every single protest into a riot. I honestly don’t know WHAT the “correct” response to the wannabe-anarchists should be. But showing “solidarity” with a group that only promises to undermine everything you’re working for is a [...]

  • Okay, I’m sorry, but OWS needs to disavow black bloc tactics if it wants to maintain any semblance of being the “99%.”

    Here in Seattle, the “word on the street” that I’m hearing from coworkers and friends is distinctly anti-OWS, and it’s all because the black bloc angry youth brigade seems to take every possible opportunity to turn a peaceful march into a riot.

    I think OWS is pretty much over as a popular movement, even if the folks involved do not/will not admit that yet. I’m just hoping that whatever REPLACES OWS (and make no mistake, since the underlying injustices/inequities are still very much there, and growing, something WILL replace it) has the sense to disavow black bloc tactics and aggressive actions (like vandalism) from day one. Otherwise it, too, will be doomed to irrelevance as the “common man” loses patience with what he (rightly) sees as just a bunch of angry teenagers looking for mayhem.

    I still haven’t ruled out the possibility that black bloc tactics are a false flag op, but if OWS openly and forcefully disavowed these tactics and turned over black bloc kids to the police, then in the mind of the “common man,” there would be two distinct groups — OWS protesters, and black bloc troublemakers. Right now, I can pretty much guarantee that just about everyone in Seattle just sees one group: protesters, who like to break windows and set shops on fire.

  • As DDay makes clear, the class most responsible for this policy preference is most likely not the top .001% of billionaires and so on, but rather the “insecure 1%’ers” — those who are at the top of the heap statistically, but still close enough to the rest of us that they can (legitimately) fear reverting back to the mean and falling into poverty.

    The top-tier plutocrats — the .001%, say — are so rare that it’s probably not good to assume they run the joint. The actual 1%, however, are simply looking out for their own interests by being short term risk-averse.

    So, TL/DR, I don’t think they’re stupid, as much as perhaps not inhabiting the same market segment as the billionaires. The 1% truly ARE afraid of inflation, which is why they choose policies that are — in aggregate — self-destructive to all of us.

    It’s a sort of monetary policy version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

  • I am actually just entering the home buying process for the first time, right now.

    I can’t speak for others, but title security is a HUGE deal to me. The entire system sucks, and I really don’t want to be one of the people caught standing when the music stops.

  • I concur with juliania; I believe that the “preference” “we” have means not what we (regular) people want, but rather what the people who actually wield real power want.

    “By their acts you will know them” is sort of the gist of “revealed preference,” unless I’m misreading it. The actions and inactions of the political class during this trying time (and historically) make it clear what the intent of the ruling class is.

    We “regular” people may — and do — disagree, vehemently. But we simply don’t have any power, unless and until we break out the pitchforks and torches.

  • Depressing, but truthful and (I believe) accurate.

    Thank God someone is at least willing to discuss this bluntly.

  • Interesting. In the list of “follow the money” culprits I’d considered for the reasoning behind the continuation of the increasingly unpopular and ruinously expensive “war on drugs,” I never even thought about the pretext that it affords us to colonize our southern neighbors!

  • ouroborous commented on the blog post Hide Your Profile, Hide Your Life

    2012-03-31 06:07:09View | Delete

    As a programmer, I could write an application that does the same thing in about an hour using Facebook’s open API. The app isn’t the danger; it’s the tendency for people to expose every aspect of their lives online with no thought to privacy that is the danger. Once that data is out there, and available, I guarantee you that SOMEONE will find a way to exploit it.

  • DDay and others have, I believed, shown how required-coverage laws can and do function just fine without a mandate to pay. The actuarial death spiral fantasized about as the reason we had to have the mandate is very much in question.

    Generally when someone rushes me into something requiring me (and by proxy here, I’m talking about all US citizens) to pay a lot of money, and tells me “don’t think about it, don’t question it, we HAVE to do this!” my instincts are to put on the brakes, question the entire argument, and ask “oh really? Do we HAVE to do this, or are you just trying to rush me into something I’ll regret later?”

    With the mandate, it’s looking more and more like my innate skepticism about this kind of disaster capitalism is spot on.

  • The only alternative are the Republicans — who are truly insane — and progressive candidates who either turn into 2%-of-the-vote-also-rans, or wait until they are elected and then immediately morph into… more corporatist Democrats.

    These are the reasons I just can’t be bothered to vote anymore. The whole game, from top to bottom, is rigged, and I really don’t believe the system can be changed from within, anymore.

    A council of despair, I know. But honestly — what are the options at this stage of the game?

  • ouroborous commented on the blog post Individual Mandates and Unraveling the Great Society

    2012-03-29 14:44:11View | Delete

    I agree with Jon’s legal analysis, but think that his belief that striking down the mandate — which I support, to be sure; the mandate is the stinkiest part of the ACA by far — is a bit naive.

    As others have pointed out, both Democrats and Republicans have shown precious little interest in allowing Constitutionality or legal precedent to prevent their latest excursions into ideological extremes and/or massive handouts to Their Friends in the Industry. Even if the Supremes strike down the ACA mandate, burn it in effigy, and declare holy war on any other bills containing mandates-to-buy, you can expect that the Republicans will push Social Security privatization (including their own mandate-to-buy) literally seconds after the ruling is published.

    We’re in a post-reason era, sadly.

  • Incidentally, Medicare for All polled at wildly popular levels. It would have none of the Constitutionality issues of the ACA (which isn’t to say that Republicans wouldn’t oppose it tooth and nail, but they wouldn’t have the same Constitutional grounds to oppose it in court). It would require expanding an existing system, as opposed to building an entire new one. And the entire bill could be written in a few dozen pages of easy-to-understand language, as opposed to the hundreds? thousands? of pages of the ACA — littered with carve-outs and handouts to the big lobbyists.

    And it’s single payer. And we could have done it. But it was never even on the table.

    In my mind, that tells me as much as you need to know about whether the ACA is really an “incremental improvement,” or is — as I and others have claimed — a “giant handjob to the insurance industry.”

  • Single payer isn’t utopia. However, the mandate-to-buy not only doesn’t fix the underlying cause of our broken health care system (selling lifesaving services for a profit), it makes it worse — it creates an artificial government bailout forcing people to buy the product even if they can’t afford it or don’t believe they’ll get sick.

    Of course people will put off buying insurance until the last possible moment. That’s how the game plays; as a consumer, I don’t want to pay insurance premiums that I think I have not likelihood of recouping. With a free market, at least I have that choice — I can simply NOT buy the insurance and take my risks. Once you mandate purchase, however, you not only DON’T fix the broken insurance we have — and trust me, it IS broken; even those of us with pretty decent health coverage are regularly bankrupted by major medical issues… it’s not like having insurance is some sort of utopia, either! — but it removes the consumer’s ability to simply opt out of the system.

    The problem with the ACA is that it’s a half-assed solution that doesn’t actually make anything better. A few more percent get health insurance — mostly due to the mandate — but there’s no analysis of access to care or affordability of care, which are the two most important metrics of the health care system! That’s why I opposed the ACA; it’s not because I hate poor or sick people. It’s because I felt like, as tough as it was, as crappy as it is to pit one demographic (the very poor) against another demographic (the very sick), it’s simply NOT the right solution to just force everyone to buy insurance, tweak the eligibility requirements a tiny bit, and say “there, I fixed it for you.”

    It’s possible to oppose the ACA and be very progressive. Those of us who oppose it are not closet Republicans. And we’re not just sour grapes “it’s not single-payer, so it’s not acceptable” puritans, either. Many of us really think that the ACA will make things worse in the long run, by essentially locking us in, as a nation, to a fundamentally broken system. Incidentally, by successfully playing one faction in the liberal/progressive wing of the Democratic party against each other, the lobbyists who fought for and got the mandate-to-buy have shown how willing to tear each other apart over doctrinal differences.

    Please at least accept that there are progressives who earnestly believe that the ACA is fundamentally flawed to the point where it will make things worse. You don’t have to agree, of course, and it’s human nature to look out for our personal self-interest; if you’ll gain health care under the ACA, that’s great for you. But it’s also very possible to think the ACA is very, very bad policy — and to be somewhat happy at the prospect of it being struck down — without being a Republican shill or a crazy ideological purist.

  • ouroborous commented on the blog post NYT Picks Up on Weaknesses of Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

    2012-03-28 08:00:27View | Delete

    Heh, I was just going to comment on this. DDay, I’m sure you know this (it sounded like the type of homonym-typo I do all the time), but the word you wanted there is gall (“bitterness of spirit,” per M-W) not gaul (French).

  • The more states vote to legalize it, decriminalize it, approve it for medical use, etc., and the more the federal government is required to override the state laws and crack down, the more the following things happen:

    1. Obama and other faux-Democrats are exposed for exactly what they are; DINO’s.
    2. The libertarian-leaning portion of the Republican base realizes that regardless of their personal feelings on marijuana, the reality is that “big gummint” has too much skin in the game here. So you begin to gain support from unlikely sources.

    So although I think your analysis of lobbyist support is accurate, I’m not sure we’ll lose this year, and even if we do it’ll be a Big Deal because even in losing we’ll win valuable ground and mind-share.

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