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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

And so forth

A few random items worth mentioning:

1. Shoot! This YouTube video contains a segment from Sarah Palin's reality series in which she shoots a caribou under the tutelage of her father. Those who know about such things say that this video proves that Sarah Palin -- despite her claims -- is no hunter. See here.

I don't hunt. But I'm a carnivore, and I have no issues with hunters who act responsibly. In this instance, I was rooting for the caribou.

2. The deficit. Many nations now face deficit problems, thanks to the Wall Street deregulation debacle. Joseph Stiglitz tell us how to combat the problem. He sets out the context of the problem:
-- a massive increase in defense expenditures, fueled by two fruitless wars, but going well beyond that;

-- growth in inequality, with the top 1% garnering more than 20% of the country’s income, accompanied by a weakening of the middle class – median US household income has fallen by more than 5% over the past decade, and was in decline even before the recession;

-- underinvestment in the public sector, including in infrastructure, evidenced so dramatically by the collapse of New Orleans’ levies; and

-- growth in corporate welfare, from bank bailouts to ethanol subsidies to a continuation of agricultural subsidies, even when those subsidies have been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization.

As a result, it is relatively easy to formulate a deficit-reduction package that boosts efficiency, bolsters growth, and reduces inequality.
Not easy politically, alas.

3. Nazis. On this date, it would be well to recall Project Paperclip, the secret post-war program to import Nazi scientists and war criminals into the United States. Even if you feel that you have been well-schooled on this subject, you'll find new and shocking material in this excellent series by Hank Albirelli. A sample:
Dr. Gerstner’s Texas cancer patients never for a moment suspected that their treatment at the hands of Gerstner and his associates was not in their best interest or aimed at curing their illness. Even when they became deathly sick with constant vomiting, dehydration, skin lesions, and rapid weight loss, Gerstner’s patients did not suspect that they were being administered an extreme amount of X-ray dosages that would eventually kill them.
Once a Nazi, always a Nazi. And that is why we must always oppose fascists -- foreign and domestic.

4. Farewell, America?
This piece forecasts the end of the dollar's dominance. China and the US are facing off -- and China may hold the stronger position.

Alfred W. McCoy (best known for his seminal The Politics of Heroin) projects trends into the future -- the near future.
Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.
And the Romans...? McCoy left them out. That's because it's not easy to say when the collapse of the Roman empire began -- although many would say that the period of decline lasted from 395 to 476 (AD). Rome's great rival, the Parthian empire, began to totter around 114 AD but managed to hang on for another hundred years. Then there's the Mogul Empire, which got onto a downward trajectory in the early 1700s and formally came to an end in 1857.

So be of good cheer, folks. Contrary to McCoy's dire warning, it is possible for us to sludge our way into slow oblivion! Yes we can!

5. Graphics. A reader informs me that the previous attempt at a New Deal poster/t-shirt/whatever may have been unclear. We don't want anyone to misinterpret the storyline.

So here is a revised version. Hope this pounds the message home in an unmistakable fashion. (Click to enlarge.)

By the way -- many thanks for all the feedback on these graphics. The general sense seems to be that the "red and blue arrow" logo is punchier. On the other hand, it doesn't work in black and white -- and the "pyramid" logo does.

Besides, the pyramid thingie will make the Alex Jonesians shriek. You gotta love that.
Sorry, but I can't bear the thought of our logo with BO's face on it. And, as I recall, this movement isn't just about Obama, correct? Please, please, PLEASE, no logo with Obama's face on it or that horrible poster thingamabob that every one has taken and used ad nauseum.

I'm begging you. Please, no.
What about the rectangular New Deal with out arrows? In your latest iteration the red (republican) arrow is pushing the blue (Democratic) arrow off the field.
The word New with a blue background and the word Deal with a red background works because the blue is over the red, Dems superior to repubs.
The Obama Xing into FDR is too derivative of that Hope poster, it doesn't work as good as the shredded Obamandias parody.
How about a Monty Pythonesque animation of Obama's head opening up like a toilet seat lid to reveal a little Ronald Reagan at the controls? Just some thoughts.
If you want to do something that has both Obama and FDR why not Barack using Roosevelt's grave stone as a urinal?
Harsh, I know and certainly bad taste but it gets the message across.
I like the film-roll from Obama to FDR more than the X-out, but the message is still a bit muddled... "What's this mean, Obama is the new FDR?" I'm thinking of how mangled most American's understanding of history has become. Maybe something along the lines of "New Deal Yes, Obama No" ? I hate to nitpick with my lack of graphical abilities, but if you want feedback...

For a movement platform, might I suggest: Public financing of all national elections? (Senate, House, President.. leave the Gubernatorial to the states as a sop to states-right-ists.) In my view, we'll never separate the corruption from the public service without separating the contributions from the campaigns. Ad space on television/radio is conducted over the public domain (airwaves) and should be a public service provided by the license holders. Additional funding should be provided to candidates based on....? Signatories for inclusion on ballots? It may not be perfect but it's a better than polls. And really, taxing people for election funding isn't increased taxation, it's shifted taxation - the lobbyists don't get paid out of thin air by their private benefactors, but from pricing that includes lobbying expenses.
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