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What if they held a class war and nobody noticed? For decades, liberals and progressives have been bashed for conducting a "class war" every time they suggest that it would be appropriate for the extremely wealthy to shoulder a bit more of the burden of paying for government. Meanwhile, a swarm of far-right think-tanks and political action committees have been working tirelessly to promote the idea that taxes on the wealthy should be lowered further from their historic lows, and that entitlement programs such as social security and medicare are too expensive to sustain (and in any case, immoral). The latest attempts to delegitimize public employee unions are the logical next step in what genuinely appears to be the systematic dismantlement of the middle class. This blog will highlight some of the more extreme examples of this activity that may not always show up in your news feeds.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Interesting, For What It's Worth

The Economic Intelligence Unit, a sister organization to The Economist, has come out with a list of the best places to be born today:

1. Switzerland 
2. Australia 
3. Norway 
4. Sweden 
5. Denmark 
6. Singapore 
7. New Zealand 
8. Netherlands 
9. Canada 
10. Hong Kong 

The main criterion seems to be economic stability.  The article finished with the following:

All said, the takeaway from the index seems to be that in today's world, a country's stability and trust in public institutions results in the best quality of life for its citizens. 

From this, it's easy to see why the US did not make the top 10, given the relentless efforts from the Right to demonize government, education, and science, while destabilizing economic stability through increasing income inequality.  I'm sure they'll drop out of the top 20 soon.

Pierce on the Deficit Scolds

Mr. Charles Pierce at Esquire provides a pithy takedown of the cabal of highly compensated "Fix the Debt" CEOs.  Many great lines, but this last graph stands out:

It is hard to believe, given the very real look into how these people think that was the essence of the Romney campaign, that so many people now covering our politics seem unwilling to admit what is plainly in front of their face. We need government more than ever to protect us and our political commonwealth from a rapacious business and financial elite that sees the country as something to be pillaged, and that doesn't have the basic patriotism that god gave the common sea slug. These people have no more business directing the politics of the country than does your drunk uncle who watches Fox News. These people ought to have less influence in our politics than do the people who leave the mints on their pillows every night. There is nothing for the rest of us but self-government, which occasionally must show the right people its fangs so they do not wreck the country and loot what's left. It is all that the rest of us have.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Hate to link Politico, but this has some great quotes from butthurt Republicans about mean Harry Reid.

Here’s what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering: banning filibusters used to prevent debate from even starting and House-Senate conference committees from ever meeting. He also may make filibusters become actual filibusters — to force senators to carry out the nonstop, talkathon sessions.

As Zandar said:

To recap, if Harry Reid tries to stop the GOP from shutting down the Senate, the GOP will shut down the Senate.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

David Simon on Competence vs Moral Rectitude

Via Mistermix, here is a post by David Simon (creator of Homicide:  Life on the Street, The Wire and Treme) on the Petraeus scandal.  He begins with a comment from an earlier post, invoking the Churchill quote, "The price of greatness is responsibility," and pointing out that neither Petraeus nor Bill Clinton can be considered "great" due to their lapses of infidelity.

Dave Simon counters first with a digression about Churchill's excessive drinking, noting that by some standards this could be taken as a sign of moral failure, and hence reason to remove him during a time when he was providing singular leadership to a beleaguered Britain.  Then he provides a lengthy anecdote about the late John O'Neill, an FBI agent who was well on his way to uncovering the 9/11 plot when he was forced into retirement due to his womanizing.  Ironically, he died in those attacks, as he was at the time director of security for the World Trade Center, and was in the south tower trying to rescue people when it came down.

He concludes with:

"I don't need rectitude from my leaders.  I need competence.  I need results.  If you have someone better than Petraeus, then that's one thing.  If he's the best at counterinsurgency, then he is not expendable at this time, when insurgency and our response to it mean actual American lives in the balance."

I agree with this concept, though I am not sure Petraeus really is the best person for this job.  I can't help but feel that much of his success over the last 10 years has arisen from a preternatural talent on his part for building a cult of personality among politicians and media types.  However, I do find it quite ridiculous that his extramarital relationship should drive his resignation.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Learning from the Aussies

Australia mounts a major inquiry into cover-ups of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church and other institutions.  Why can't North American elites grow a pair and do likewise?


You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Robert Reich Nails It

This One's Gonna Leave a Mark

Garry Wills writes a long political obituary for Mitt Romney in The New York Review of Books:

What happens to those who lose a presidential campaign? Some can do it with heads rightly held high, and go on to give valuable service to the nation. We were reminded of this just two weeks before the recent election, when George McGovern died. Though he underwent a humiliating defeat by Richard Nixon forty years before, he was a man of integrity, some of whose ideas were continued by people who worked in his 1972 campaign, like Bill and Hillary Clinton, veterans of his Texas office that year. McGovern was re-elected to the Senate after his presidential loss, where he performed important services, like defying the cattle, egg, and sugar lobbies to set up national dietary standards. This was a long-time commitment of his. Even before he went into the Senate, he had served as President Kennedy’s point man in the Food for Peace Program. In 1998, President Clinton appointed him his ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, where he worked effectively to curb world hunger. Above all, though he was a heroic flyer in World War II, he was a principled opponent of useless militarism.
What public service do we expect from Mitt Romney? He will no doubt return to augmenting his vast and hidden wealth, with no more pesky questions about where around the world it is stashed, or what taxes (if any) he paid, carefully sheltered from the rules his fellow citizens follow.
Many losing candidates became elder statesmen of their parties. What lessons will Romney have to teach his party? The art of crawling uselessly? How to contemn 47 percent of Americans less privileged and beautiful than his family? How to repudiate the past while damaging the future? It is said that he will write a book. Really? Does he want to relive a five-year-long experience of degradation? What can be worse than to sell your soul and find it not valuable enough to get anything for it? His friends can only hope he is too morally obtuse to realize that crushing truth. Losing elections is one thing. But the greater loss, the real loss, is the loss of honor.

(via TBogg)