Monday, April 30, 2012

The "Self-Made" Myth

[via G&T comment section]

This looks like an interesting read. The ignorance of history and lack of common sense needed to believe the myth that America's wealthy are the product solely of their own hard work is staggering. Fair arguments can be made about the optimal extent of government involvement in the market, but the die-hard Randian types are stunningly, glaring wrong. Of course government can needlessly constrain individual achievement, and of course it can make unwise policy choices. But the harm to our society from the efforts that go too far the other way, that is, to limit regulation and and "let loose the power of the market," seems, to me, to be vastly more detrimental.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

President McCain Would Not Have Done This

Call it desperation, or whatever, but I wanted to feel good about the President today, and so I'm happy to share this news. The tension between how things are and how I'd like them to be is pretty heavy, so I take some solace in even little things like this.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Day In History: April 20

I submit, without any hyperbole, that this is where the anti-union radicals are steering this county:
On April 20, 1914, members of the Colorado National Guard, along with a strikbreaking militia employed by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, a corporation owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., opened fire on a tent camp of strikers at Ludlow, in the coal country of southern Colorado, north of Trinidad. At least 19 people died in the tent camp that day, mostly wives and children of the strikers.
History repeats, and we're foolish to deny that fact.

Hayek On Healthcare

Excuse the ultra-lazy re-post. Who is Friedrich Hayek? Read here.
“Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance – where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks – the case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong… Wherever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself nor make the provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken,” – The Road To Serfdom (Chapter 9).
 I miss non-crazy Conservatives.

First Presidential Speech Filmed With Sound

And THIS is what Calvin Coolidge did with it. Not exactly "media savvy," eh?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Low-Hanging Fruit For Misanthropes

This is horrible.

The Right Brain

This book looks interesting. I tend to agree that the divide in this country is "unfixable" because people aren't even speaking the same language. From the interview with the author:
We can't count on facts to change minds - emotions and values trump facts almost every time. Nor can we rely on our [liberals'] own natural, nuanced, complex style of communication to reach the public. The research suggests that our very instincts are leading us to only know how to talk to ourselves; conservative styles of communication - decisive, direct - have a great appeal to the right and, likely, the middle. And we can use this research not only to better reach conservatives, but to reach people who are moderate or undecided, but who also have some conservative attributes.
At a minimum, this helps me to understand why I can't seem to get through to certain people. I often forget that facts and reason simply aren't important to them.

We Have A Winner

Congratulations to the Wanker Of The Decade: Tom "Suck On This" Friedman. The most disturbing thing about American public discourse isn't the loonies that we all love to hate, like Limbaugh, or the politicians peddling their bullshit, like, well, pretty much every politician. The thing that is truly "sign of the Apocalypse" bad is that someone like The Mustache Of Understanding himself is considered a person worth listening to, and given a platform for his idiocy.

Check out the rest of the list here.

Know Why Liberals Think Conservatives Are Racist?

Because only a right-wing site would allow something this grotesque. The link is to Sadly, No!, so don't worry about giving hits to a site that publishes racist screeds.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Define "Greatest"

RS published a list of the 100 greatest guitarists. This guy did not make the list. Kurt Cobain did. HA HA HA!

Any other glaring omissions?

It Ain't Easy Being Green

[via LG&M]

I don't agree 100% with this op-ed, but I do think my well-intentioned friends sometimes miss the complexity of this issue. Just as some conservatives pine for the good old days without understanding the actual history, or the inapplicability of the past to current situations, my liberal friends are sometimes guilty of the same thing.

And I don't understand anything, which is why I outsource everything to other blogs/people. ;-)

Fish In A Barrel

To be fair, the argument being destroyed in this piece is so absurd and over-the-top that destroying it is like, well, see the title of this blog. OTOH, so much talk from the right is based on the kinds of absurd lies and misrepresentations that Mosler addresses, I thought it useful to see them refuted in this style.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chomsky On Education

[via Truthout]

I don't take his word for every little detail, but I think he has the big picture just about right. I firmly believe that the elite wish to suppress critical thinking and train drones. Power has tried to preserve itself this way for a long time.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

If You Can't Win Fairly, Play Dirty

The right-wing assault on the fundamental right to vote. I am reminded of a right-wing radio show I unintentionally heard (the station's programming changed) where the host said voting is a privilege. Real Americans, the lot of them.

More here.

And this.

See here about the myth of voter fraud.

Very Restrained, Indeed

Incredibly inappropriate, biased, childish behavior from the Federal bench. Not too surprising from wingnuts in the heart of Wingnuttia.

Austrian Economics: Rarely Correct, Always Hysterical

In lieu of the hysterical, paranoid, evidence-free rants I have subjected myself to in an effort to understand "hard money" believers and their hard-on for returning to the Gold Standard, here is a response to the hysteria. Reading the Austrian/Gold-bug material is like reading the early American sermons of people like Jonathan Edwards (no, not this dick). Fevered religious nonsense, based on magical thinking and a deep misunderstanding of how the world actually works.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Once Again, Justice Comes In The Form Of The Feds

Yet another reason why I tend to support centralized power.
On Sept. 4, 2005, as much of New Orleans still lay submerged in floodwaters, Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius, then sergeants, and Anthony Villavaso and Robert Faulcon, then officers, jumped in a Budget rental truck and raced with other officers to the Danziger Bridge in eastern New Orleans, responding to a distress call on the police radio.
As soon as they arrived, witnesses at the trial said, they began firing on members of the Bartholomew family, who were trying to find a grocery store. A 17-year-old family friend named James Brisette was killed, and four others were severely wounded.
The police then began to chase two brothers, Lance and Ronald Madison, who was 40 years old and mentally disabled, who were trying to get to the other side of the bridge. Ronald Madison was shot in the back by Officer Faulcon and then stomped on by Sergeant Bowen as he lay dying.
A cover-up began immediately and eventually grew to include made-up witnesses and a planted handgun. Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, a veteran investigator, was charged with overseeing much of the cover-up.
The local D.A. screwed up (intentionally or not, we do not know) the original case against these murderous N.O.P.D. thugs.

Gold vs. Fiat

[I just realized this is a re-post of the same article, but it is important, so in case you missed the original, I'll keep this one, too]

Understanding that we are not on the gold standard, and what fiat currency means is essential to understanding public discourse with respect to our Federal budget. Suffice to say virtually all the discussion is based on inapplicable gold standard logic.