Friday, January 24, 2014

More things

(Video removed. It autostarted on certain browsers.)

Inequality. I'm always amused to see Libertarians try to explain away the lessons of history. The clearest lesson is this one: America was more prosperous and powerful during the 1945-1980 period, when the rich/poor gap was less horrific and class mobility was easier.

Krugman's recent column on the topic has attracted some attention:
First of all, jobs and inequality are closely linked if not identical issues. There’s a pretty good although not ironclad case that soaring inequality helped set the stage for our economic crisis, and that the highly unequal distribution of income since the crisis has perpetuated the slump, especially by making it hard for families in debt to work their way out.

Moreover, there’s an even stronger case to be made that high unemployment — by destroying workers’ bargaining power — has become a major source of rising inequality and stagnating incomes even for those lucky enough to have jobs.

Beyond that, as a political matter, inequality and macroeconomic policy are already inseparably linked. It has been obvious for a long time that the deficit obsession that has exerted such a destructive effect on policy these past few years isn’t really driven by worries about the federal debt. It is, instead, mainly an effort to use debt fears to scare and bully the nation into slashing social programs — especially programs that help the poor. For example, two-thirds of the spending cuts proposed last year by Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, would have come at the expense of lower-income families.
If you watch the Jon Stewart clip embedded above, you'll learn that the top 85 wealthiest people in the world have more money than half the world's population. One man applauds that statistic:
One Canadian entrepreneur couldn't have been more excited to learn that the 85 richest people on Earth are now worth as much half the world's population.

"It’s fantastic," said Canadian millionaire Kevin O’Leary on his own Canadian news show the “The Lang & O’Leary Exchange.”

“This is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one percent and say, ‘I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top,’ " said O'Leary, who's been dubbed Canada's Donald Trump and is also an investor in the reality show Shark Tank.

“This is fantastic news and of course I’m going to applaud it,” O’Leary went on to say Monday, on the record, in front of television cameras that were recording him. “What can be wrong with this?”
Keep talking, O'Leary. Every syllable you utter creates a new liberal. Hell, you may soon gain a rep as the best spokesman for out-and-out socialism in today's world.

Why Snowden couldn't go through channels:
You still hear some people whine: "If Ed Snowden encountered intelligence abuses, why didn't he bring them to the attention of the proper authorities instead of leaking to the press?" In an online interview, Snowden explains:
One of the things that has not been widely reported by journalists is that whistleblower protection laws in the US do not protect contractors in the national security arena. There are so many holes in the laws, the protections they afford are so weak, and the processes for reporting they provide are so ineffective that they appear to be intended to discourage reporting of even the clearest wrongdoing. If I had revealed what I knew about these unconstitutional but classified programs to Congress, they could have charged me with a felony. One only need to look at the case of Thomas Drake to see how the government doesn’t have a good history of handling legitimate reports of wrongdoing within the system...

My case clearly demonstrates the need for comprehensive whistleblower protection act reform. If we had had a real process in place, and reports of wrongdoing could be taken to real, independent arbiters rather than captured officials, I might not have had to sacrifice so much to do what at this point even the President seems to agree needed to be done.
The GOP wants to rein in the NSA. Who says the Republican party can't change? This is one of the (few) positive impacts the libertarian wing has imposed on the party.
In the latest indication of a growing libertarian wing of the GOP, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution Friday calling for an investigation into the “gross infringement” of Americans’ rights by National Security Agency programs that were revealed by Edward Snowden.

The resolution also calls on on Republican members of Congress to enact amendments to the Section 215 law that currently allows the spy agency to collect records of almost every domestic telephone call.
Let us quickly add the obvious points: This move has more to do with partisanship than ideology. No Republican would have talked this way while Dubya was president. That said, I cannot deny that a step in the right direction is a step in the right direction.
The economic malaise is almost entirely being caused by too much credit card and student loan debt ALONG WITH credit card and student loan default debt, which is NEVER added in to consumer debt and continues to pile higher via ongoing interest rate charges.
Canadian millionaire Kevin O’Leary.. what an idiot.. another embarrassment for us canucks!
This is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one percent and say, ‘I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top

On the other hand, it might just inspire people to stock up on ammo and gasoline.
Off topic- How is Bella
Thank you for asking, Anon. Alas, she isn't well. There is a new lump. The vet said that it was probably not malignant. However, her stomach is bloated, she isn't eating, and she is quite lethargic.

The weather isn't helping. She obviously wants to go for walks, but she hates the cold.

At night she curls next to me and sleeps deeply. What else can one do but treasure these moments?
Ah, Kevin O'Leary, a self-made man who made his fortune by... packaging and selling freeware. Scum.
Love the expression of O'Leary's co-host when he proclaims the statistic 'fantastic.' A celebratory moment, according to O'Leary.

I've seen O'Leary on Shark Tank. He has a penchant for rude, dismissive, highly provocative comments. He seems to be enjoying himself in the clip, only cementing the idea that the 1% are insufferable louts, regardless of where they come from. Only to inspire guillotine construction in the Wilderness where the rest of the world lives.

Read a Letter to the Editor this morning [Wall St Journal, I think] where a reader decried populist bigotry towards the well-heeled, declared it similar in its vitriol to what the Jews suffered at the hands
of the Nazis.

Hyperbole much? These rich guys just can't get any love. The O'Leary's of the planet are making sure they never do.


PS: Sorry to hear about Bella, Joe. This weather doesn't make it any easier. The temps are frigid even down here where I am.
Are you familiar with the neoreactionary fascists?
Just in answer to Anon's post at 10:59 pm: The Dark Enlightenment? Really. There's no limit to crackpot philosophies on the Net. But pining for a monarchy with racist overtones is right up there in cuckoo land.

So glad we're all living in the 21st century! Just like all the rest. Yikes.

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