Saturday, March 12, 2011

Have You Ever...?

Ordered medication an aspirin online? Think you have a fucking headache now, wait until your email explodes with offers from every drug dealer pharmaceutical retailer with internet access. How do they do that? The government can't find the assholes that blew up the world economy, but every two bit purveyor of dope can network my email and purchasing history?  You Know what's next:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lesson From Day 20152 of My Life

Experience is often mistaken for expertise.

Just A Thought (borrowed)

Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let's Party Like It's 2011

Dr. Reich has more on the emerging Peoples Party. Everyone is invited. The time has come to throw the bastards out.

The Principles of the People’s Party

Robert Reich
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The following was sent to me by someone in Madison, Wisconsin, who found it in the Capitol building last week. It was obviously written in a hurry, and it carries the label “first draft.”
It’s emerging from the heartland – from Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa — and it is spreading across the nation. It doesn’t have a formal organization or Washington lobbyists beyond it, but it’s gaining strength nonetheless.
 1. Increasing the pay and bargaining power of average working people. We’ll stop efforts to destroy unions and collective bargaining rights. Protect workers who try to form unions from being fired. Make it easier for workers to form unions through simple up-or-down votes at the workplace.
 2. Requiring America’s super-rich to pay their fair share. Increase top marginal tax rates and the number of tax brackets at the top. Treat income from capital gains the same as ordinary income. Restore the estate tax. Revoke the citizenship of anyone found to be sheltering income abroad.
3. Protecting and expanding government programs vital to the working middle class and the poor. These include Social Security, K-12 education, Pell Grants for disadvantaged students, public transportation, Medicare and Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
4. Ending corporate welfare and cutting military outlays. Trim defense spending. End special tax subsidies for specific corporations or industries – at both state and federal levels. Cut agricultural subsidies.
5. Saving Social Security while making it more progressive. Exempt the first $20,000 of income from Social Security taxes. Make up the difference – and any need for additional Social Security revenues – by raising the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax.
6. Ending Wall Street’s dominance of the economy and preventing any future taxpayer-funded bailout. Break up Wall Street’s largest banks and put a cap their size. Link pay on the Street to long-term profits rather than short-term speculation. Subject all financial transactions to a one-tenth of one percent transactions tax.
7. Fully enforcing regulations that protect workers, consumers, small investors, and the environment. Raise penalties on corporations that violate them. Expand enforcement staffs. Provide more private rights of action.
8. Providing affordable health care to all Americans. The new health law isn’t enough. We’ll fight for a single payer – making Medicare available to all. End fee-for-service and create “accountable-care” organizations that focus on healthy outcomes.
9. Slowing and eventually reversing climate change. We’ll fight to limit carbon emissions. Impose a ceiling on emissions or a carbon tax on polluters. Return the revenues from these to the American people, in the form of tax cuts for the working middle class.
10. Getting big money out of politics. We’ll fight to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overrule Citizens United v. FEC. Require full disclosure of all contributions for or against any candidate. Provide full public financing for all presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative candidates in all general elections.
A few of the places it’s happening:
  • Madison (ongoing).
  • Des Moines (ongoing).
  • March 10: Indianapolis. Gather at 10am and rally at 11:30am at Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. Rallies will continue at the capitol until the impasse is over.
  • March 11: St. Louis. Downtown at 3:30 pm at Kiener Plaza. SB 1 is expected to be voted on in the Senate the week of 3/7 or 3/14.
  • April 4:  In cities across America. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Demonstrations to show that “We Are One.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Peoples Party

Is Robert Reich todays John Lennon? I think the argument can be legitimately made. Here is Dr. Reich's early read:

The Birth of the People’s Party

        Robert Reich
Monday, March 7, 2011
Look at the outrage in Madison, Wisconsin. Look at the crowds in DesMoines, Iowa. Look at the demonstrations in Indiana and Ohio and elswhere around America.
Hear what they’re saying: Stop attacking unions. Stop making scapegoats out of public employees. Stop protecting the super-rich from paying their fair share of the taxes needed to keep our schools running.
Stop gutting the working middle class.
Are we finally seeing average Americans stand up and demand a fair shake in an economy now grotesquely tilted toward the wealthy and the privileged? Are Americans beginning to awake to the fact that our economy now delivers a larger share of total income to the very top than at any time in living memory? That big corporations are making more money and creating more jobs abroad than in the United States?
That this concentration of income and wealth has so corrupted politics that corporations can extort whatever they want from the government — tax breaks, loan guarantees, subsidies — while the super-rich can take most of their income as capital gains (taxed at 15 percent), and the rest at the lowest top rate in 25 years? And that because of this our kids are crowded into classrooms, our streets and highways and bridges are falling apart, and our healthcare bills are out of control?
The Tea Party grew out of indignation over the Wall Street bailout — an indignation shared by the vast majority of Americans. But the Tea Party ended up directing its ire at government rather than at big business and Wall Street. Was this because billionaires Charles and David Koch and their like funneled money to the Tea Party through front organizations like Dick Armey’s Freedom Works, and thereby co-opted it?
Now we may be seeing the birth of a genuine populist movement. Call it the People’s Party. Like the Tea Party, the People’s Party doesn’t have a clear organization or hierarchy or single address. It doesn’t have lobbyists in Washington. It’s not even yet recognized by the mainstream media.
But the People’s Party seems to be growing in numbers and in intensity. And it’s starting to push elected officials — first at the state level — to listen and respond.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just A Reminder

In this harsh economic climate there is little talk about the real fiscal problem.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wisconsin Where?

Dave Weigel is doing an outstanding job not forgetting The Wisconsin Workers.

Wisconsin Capitol Occupation Ends With Fishy Damage Figures

The two week sleep-in at the Wisconsin state capitol is over; protesters will no longer crash in the building. The decision comes after a court battle (a polite, short one) over whether it was legal for the state to limit access to the building, and the state's case was that protesters were doing damage.
[S]tate officials said that damage from the demonstration to the marble inside and outside the Capitol would cost an estimated $7.5 million: $6 million for damage inside, $1 million for damage outside and $500,000 for additional expenses.
How do they estimate this?
But the state provided no explanation for their figures or the kind of evidence that one expert said they would need for such a figure.
Officials said in court that the damage came from tape used for posting fliers and papers and other materials.
But DOA spokesman Carla Vigue said she could not immediately provide any detail about how state officials arrived at such a figure.
I've got my own call in on this. There's no precedent for the occupation of the Capitol, nothing to compare this number to, but protesters were very conscious to limit damage to the building. The conservative MacIver Institute reported that the door to the Supreme Court had been damaged, but I did not hear about or see any physical damage to the building. After the first day, according to student organizer Tom Bird, only blue electrical tape was used to put up signs -- this tape left no noticeable impression on wood or marble. There was a little vandalism of toilet paper dispensers in bathrooms, but by the time I got to the state the doors to every bathroom had signs on them asking people not to "tag" anything.
The only times I looked at the Capitol and said "wow, this is going to need cleaning" were when I saw carpet in the rooms being used for strategy and protest-staging, like the third floor room occupied by teaching assistants. There wasn't filth; there was just some of the liquid spatter and food crumbs you'd expect after two weeks of people living in these rooms. But will it cost $6 million to scrub the building's carpets and floors? It's worth checking back in a few months to see if this $7.5 million estimate actually panned out; also worth checking how much it usually costs to clean the building.

Thanks to Dave Weigel.

Once In A While, just once in a while...

I read Ezra Klein. He is not a flaming left wing commie. He is, generally a very sensible person. He is kind enough to explain to George Will the economic theory of choices.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When Freedom Rings...Hollow

Our present SCOTUS has legitimized the Westboro/Phelps carnival barkers, etching this little gem in the stone of American jurisprudence:

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented.
"What Westboro said, in the whole context of how and where it chose to say it, is entitled to 'special protection' under the First Amendment," Roberts wrote, "and that protection cannot be overcome by a jury finding that the picketing was outrageous."

Outrageous? Driving drunk is outrageous. What Westboro does is terrorism. SCOTUS should be able to differentiate.

I suppose future historians will understand that you just had to be here.