Posts filed under 'Corruption/Cronyism'

That’s Nice, But It Kinda Misses The Point

The problem isn’t that some states don’t know how to make voting accessible to everybody, it’s that THEY DON’T WANT TO.

January 22nd, 2014 at 06:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Fingers Crossed, But…

While it is certainly encouraging to think that the South is a ticking demographic timebomb poised to blow up the Republican Party once and for all, I would be a lot more excited if the Democrats had not shown themselves to be ready, willing and able to fill the political void that remained.  Much as I like the idea of the GOP relegated to the role of a crazy ineffectual fringe party, it’s not as exciting if the newly dominant Democrats are indistinguishable from, if not actually to the right of, the pre-crazy Republicans.

Maybe it’s an instinctual compulsion to maintain a constant ideological distance from their opponents that causes the Democrats to move rightward at the same pace as the Republicans, or maybe they’re just completely corrupt and cynical, and the most conservative positions they can get away with move to the right as the GOP does.

If the Democrats destroy the Republicans only to become them, it will be a Pyrrhic victory at best, as America will rapidly follow the GOP down the drain.

June 5th, 2013 at 10:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Politics,Polls,Republicans

Whither The NRA?

It’ll be interesting to see where the NRA comes down on California’s attempt to ban 3D gun printing.  I can’t think of any other issue where the goals of unfettered, unaccountable gun ownership and maximum gun manufacturer profits aren’t perfectly aligned, much less completely at odds.

May 8th, 2013 at 07:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans

Epic Fail Complete

The Democrats are now officially the party that’s trying to cut Social Security, and the Republicans are now the party that’s trying to protect it.  Nice work Mr. President, I didn’t even know it was possible to score an own-goal in eleventy-dimensional chess.

April 10th, 2013 at 07:11pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Wankers

Shocking News That No One Expected

No!  Really?

First and foremost, rich people care about the deficit. More than 85 percent of the survey participants said they considered the nation’s budget deficit to be a “very important” problem facing the country, the researchers found. In addition, nearly one-third of those surveyed said the budget deficit and too much government spending is the nation’s biggest issue.

That stands in contrast to the rest of the country, only 7 percent of which focused on the budget deficit, instead zeroing in on jobs and the economy, according to a 2011 CBS survey cited by the researchers.

“Why did policymakers focus so intently on the deficit issue?” Page and Bartels wrote in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. “One reason may be that the small minority that saw the deficit as the nation’s priority had more clout than the majority that didn’t.”

Rich Americans also have ideas about how to cut that deficit that differ from the less wealthy. Compared to others, the survey found the rich are more likely to want to cut government-subsidized health care and social welfare programs like Social Security. They’re also less supportive of initiatives that help the unemployed and raise the standard of living for low-wage workers than the rest of the country.

Wow, if it weren’t for this study, I would have had no idea that rich people have completely different priorities and far more political influence than everyone else.  Thanks, Science!

March 26th, 2013 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Wankers

Left & Right Are Not The Only Directions

There’s also up & down, and inside & outside (although they tend to correlate with each other pretty closely).  Which is why you can have a bipartisan consensus among the outsiders at the lower income levels that has absolutely zero influence on the bipartisan consensus among the elite insiders at the higher income levels.

Unfortunately, the 1% (or .1%, or .01%) are the ones who get to set policy, and they don’t have much interest in what the rest of us think, except insofar as they desire it to conform more closely with their own Beltway/millionaire worldview.

February 4th, 2013 at 06:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Taxes

The Most Patient Man In The World

Harry Reid still hasn’t seen enough obstruction from Senate Republicans to support filibuster reform, saying, “The only way we’ll get rid of the filibuster is if it continues to be abused.”  He has either been sound asleep for the past four years, is the most trusting man alive, or he is simply and completely full of the brown stuff.

I believe that what’s going on here is that filibuster reform would actually make life more difficult for Reid and the rest of the Democratic caucus.  Their job isn’t to enact progressive economic laws that their corporate donors oppose, it’s to quietly prevent them while avoiding blame.  The continued existence of the filibuster makes this easy: They can all declare their undying support for financial reform, or the public option, or tax increases for the rich, and then let the Republicans do all the dirty work of blocking it.

But if there’s no filibuster and all the Democrats need is a simple majority which is easily attainable, Reid must engage in reverse whipping: Finding enough conservative Democrats from the Villain Rotation to vote against Progressive Bill X in pretend defiance of the party leadership.  Instead of just exposing one or two at a time to the wrath of their state’s Democratic voters, Reid could find himself forced to burn half his villain pool on every vote.

Worst case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by progressives who refuse to join the Villain Rotation.  Best case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by actual Republicans, making his job even easier than it is now.

(Cross-posted at MyFDL)

1 comment January 24th, 2013 at 09:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

When Goldman Sachs Does It, It’s Not Illegal

Fun legal fact I learned yesterday: Apparently it’s perfectly okay to outright lie to your customers, as long as there’s some possibility that they’re so “sophisticated” that they know you’re lying.

It’s apparently also okay as long as you have a whole bunch of innocent, hardworking hostages employees that would lose their jobs if your company got prosecuted out of existence.  Of course, if you sent the individuals responsible to prison, that wouldn’t put everyone else out on the street.  I can only assume that Breuer was worried that aggressive prosecution would drive those delicate souls to suicide like it did to Aaron Swartz.

I’d like to think Breuer is out at DOJ because of gross incompetence, but it’s probably more like he’s completed his mission of escorting the fraudsters safely across the statute of limitations threshold and is now ready to collect his reward.

(Cross-posted at MyFDL)

January 24th, 2013 at 07:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Obama,Politics,Wankers

The Difference

After finally watching the hilariously bad strawmanathon of Atlas Shrugged: Part I, where corrupt CEOs, lobbyists and politicians conspire to make it harder for corporations to make obscene profits, it was really driven home that one of the biggest differences between the right and the left is a fundamental disagreement on who’s mooching and who’s producing.

January 21st, 2013 at 02:44pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Movies,Politics,Republicans

Something To Look Forward To

Good job, Democrats!  Because the first thing you ask yourself when you pick a DSCC chair is, “Does he get along well with Republicans?”  I’m sure this will end well.

January 7th, 2013 at 07:37am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics,Wankers

Well This Is Reassuring

Shorter Nancy Pelosi: I was totally bluffing when I said I supported cutting Social Security, but it’s actually not such a bad idea.

January 6th, 2013 at 10:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Social Security,Wankers

It All Depends On What The Meaning Of “Center-Right” Is…

Great article by Bruce Bartlett in the American Conservative about how the GOP lost its mind and, consequently, elections.  But I think he misses a connection.

At one point, Bartlett says this about Obama (which I agree with 100%):

The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.

And then, later on, he also says this:

It is now widely understood that the nation may be center-left after all, not center-right as conservatives thought.

This is probably true too, but the point that I think Bartlett should have made more explicit is that the problem is not that Republicans misjudged where the American people are on the political spectrum, so much as where the political spectrum is in the first place.  Even if America is a center-right country as Republicans love to say, the center-right is where Obama and the Democrats are, not where the Republicans are.  Even by their own assessment of the electorate, their political positioning is terrible – and it only makes sense if you define “center-right” as somewhere to the right of Dick Cheney.

So the good news is that between the GOP’s extremism and America’s demographic trends (which Bartlett also talks about), the Republicans may be dooming themselves to irrelevance for a long time to come.  Of course, the bad news is that most Democrats might as well be Republicans too.

November 29th, 2012 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Yay, I Guess?

So yeah, the Democrats had a pretty good election on Tuesday: Electoral vote landslide for Obama, wins for progressives like Liz Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown and Alan Grayson, and losses for misogynistic Tea Party buffoons like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Allen West and Joe Walsh.  Better yet, as the minority and youth votes grow, it looks like these kinds of results could be the new normal.

But.

Isolated pockets of progressivism notwithstanding, today’s Democrats as a whole are still just as corporate-owned as the Republicans, they’re just subtle enough to frame their sellouts as “pragmatism” and “compromise”.  Worse yet, it looks like Obama and the Democrats are poised to Grandly Bargain away Social Security and Medicare, the crown jewels of the liberals and progressives who just swept them back into office.  So you’ll forgive me if I’m less than excited about Democrats retaining control of the White House and Senate when they’re committed to delivering Republican policy outcomes.

Demographics make the GOP irrelevant, Democrats make it unnecessary.

Cross-posted at FDL.

1 comment November 8th, 2012 at 08:03am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Sexism,Wankers

Something To Look Forward To

Apparently Paul Ryan’s plan for Social Security is awfully similar to Pinochet’s, which didn’t end up working out so well.  That’s why it’s so important to re-elect Obama, because he’ll fight to keep Social Security intact.  Or not.

October 25th, 2012 at 11:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Obama,Republicans,Romney,Ryan,Social Security,Wankers

The Job Creator’s Manifesto

This is absolutely perfect.  Just read the whole thing.

October 2nd, 2012 at 07:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Taxes,Wankers

GOP Proves Itself Right On Voter Fraud

You see?  Voter fraud (or at least registration fraud) really is a thing!  So what if it’s the Republicans who are perpetrating it instead of ACORN?

October 1st, 2012 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Republicans,Wankers

Stop The War On Global Warming!

Yet another Great Moment In Republican Framing:

The Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, was approved in a 233-175 vote, although as usual, the bill many Democrats described as anti-environmental still found some Democratic support — 19 Democrats voted for it.

The legislation is a combination of five bills that would overturn or prevent an array of regulations that Republicans say would harm the coal industry and the economy. Among other things, it would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and prevent rules on the storage and disposal of coal ash and limit Clean Water Act rules.

It would also prevent potential Interior Department rules to toughen environmental controls on mountaintop removal coal mining, and thwart other air emissions rules, including air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants.

So apparently imprisoning black and brown people in the name of the wars on drugs and terror is a-okay, but a war on rising oceans and poisoned air is cruel and unjust.

September 24th, 2012 at 07:57am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Energy,Environment,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Better Naming, Please

This organization’s name seems a little incomplete to me:

An organization founded by Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson announced Tuesday that it has raised more than $25 million to launch a national campaign to encourage policy makers to pass debt legislation in the coming months.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt has collected contributions from corporate CEOs and others for a national media campaign and advertising campaign to urge lawmakers reach a solution to the debt crisis.

A more accurate name would be “The Campaign to Fix the Debt without Making the Rich Pay More Taxes”.  See also: The supposed need to cut Social Security in order to save it, instead of simply raising or removing the income cap on payroll taxes.

September 19th, 2012 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Social Security,Taxes,Wankers

Selectively Small Government

Funny how Republicans and conservatives are all about small government when it comes to guns, regulating or taxing rich people and corporations, or helping the poor, the sick, and the elderly, yet they can’t get enough government when it comes to voting and registration requirements, security theater, domestic spying, immigrants, drug laws, prisons, abortion, or anything to do with the military.

Why, it’s almost as if “small government” is just a convenient excuse for letting moneyed interests have whatever they want at the expense of everyone else, rather than a bedrock principle conservatives sincerely believe in.

September 5th, 2012 at 07:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Taxes,Terrorism,Unemployment,Wankers,War

The Real Problem With Socialism

Arizona has decided to let private companies bid on creating a new prison, despite the fact that privately run prisons are actually more expensive than state-run ones.  But that little fact is secondary to the most important problem with any state-run enterprise: No one gets rich off of it. (See also: Why we have healthcare “reform” that features an individual mandate and no public option, much less single payer)

August 28th, 2012 at 11:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Prisoners,Wankers

Overlap

Funny how the people who argue that corporations will do the right thing in the absence of regulation and government oversight are usually the same people who believe that atheists can’t be moral without the fear of divine retribution.

August 9th, 2012 at 07:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Religion,Republicans,Wankers

Conciliator Or Collaborator?

David Bromwich offers up a lengthy explanation of how the young Obama’s grappling with racial identity and his self-perception as a transformative “man of genius” have shaped his desire for unity and consensus above all else, and his preference for words over deeds, but it’s the wrong explanation, proceeding from a faulty premise.

Obama doesn’t half-ass progressive policies because he craves bipartisanship or is bad at follow-through, he half-asses them because he doesn’t want them.  Obama isn’t some weak or foolish liberal hamstrung by personal drama, he’s a corporate tool who uses the DLC strategy of packaging conservatism as cunning political positioning rather than plain old selling out for money.

June 27th, 2012 at 07:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Supreme Court Gives Up On Even Pretending To Not Be In The Tank

This is such a disgrace.

With today’s decision in Southern Union Company v. United States, the Chamber [of Commerce] has declared victory in all seven of its cases that have reached a clear outcome [this year]….

This string of seven straight victories brings the Chamber’s overall win/loss rate before the Roberts Court up to 68% (60 of 88 cases).  As we have reported in prior studies, this is significantly higher than the Chamber’s success before the Rehnquist Court of 56% (45 of 80 cases), and dramatically higher than its success rate before the Burger Court, when the Chamber only won 43% (15 of 35) of its cases.

Yet another sign that government of the people, by the people, and for the people has indeed perished from the earth.  Or at least from the United States.

June 22nd, 2012 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Judiciary,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Greed > Altruism

YouTube Preview Image

No one could have anticipated…

So why are Democrats losing the money war?

There are several answers. The simplest is supply — there are more rich Republicans than rich Democrats, a lot more.

(…)

“Second, there’s no self-interest here,” argues Begala. “Jeffrey Katzenberg is our largest donor. He gave us $2 million. He’s not going to sell any more tickets to Kung Fu Panda 2 if Obama gets a second term. He’s just doing it because he believes in his country. …

“There’s a return on investment for some of the coal and oil billionaires who want to see the president’s clean energy initiative shut down. But the third thing is the deep ambivalence that I and everybody else on my side of the aisle has about superPACs,” says Begala.

It’s an ambivalence President Obama famously shared. After telling independent groups to stand down in 2008, he welcomed them back this year. But that didn’t convince liberal billionaires such as Peter Lewis. His spokeswoman Jen Frutchy says Lewis would rather fund progressive think tanks and media groups than TV ads.

“On superPACs, he really believes that the idea of spending fortunes to denigrate opponents is deeply offensive,” says Frutchy. “I would say that is just not how he wants to spend his fortune, you know, in some kind of arms race. He does not want to be part of the negativity or any kind of corrupting influence that money can have on the electoral process.”

#2 is the heart of the problem.  Just as facts have a well-known liberal bias, money has a well-known conservative one, and it’s a much more powerful motivating force than facts.  Money is what pulls Republicans towards their traditional core values, and Democrats away from theirs.

In a nutshell: As long as money determines the outcome of our elections, both parties will continue to drift inexorably to the right, and Democrats will continue to be for austerity, endless war and drone strikes, and against unions, taxes, regulations, the public option and the rule of law.

1 comment June 13th, 2012 at 07:03am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Politics,Republicans

Corrupt, Not Weak

Obama had only to ask Hank Paulson to include mortgage relief as part of TARP, and he couldn’t even be bothered to do that.

1 comment June 4th, 2012 at 07:10am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Republicans Are Like Catnip For Filipino Teenagers

Chicks dig the longball, Filipino and Israeli teenagers dig anti-choice GOP candidates for Congress.

Yeah, that’s totally not dodgy at all.

June 1st, 2012 at 07:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Freedom To Lie

You go, Rand Paul!  Don’t let The Man keep us down!  And by “us”, of course I mean “corporations”.

May 27th, 2012 at 02:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Helpful Hint For Jon Gruber

Mr. Mandate just wants Obamacare to be loved:

Gruber hopes for a not-too-distant future where Medicare and the health reform law enjoy the same status in the public’s mind. “My dream is of a world, 20 years from now, where someone says, ‘Keep the government’s hands off my ACA,’ ” said Gruber, a key architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare.

Well, you know, if you want it to be loved like Medicare, maybe you should have modeled it on Medicare.  Just a thought.

May 22nd, 2012 at 07:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Wankers

On Mindless Partisan Boosterism

Not only is it not okay when our guy does it, it’s actually worse, because he’s supposed to be the one who doesn’t do it.  That’s why he was our guy in the first place.

I will not be an apologist for betrayal, and I will not adjust my core principles based solely on who’s in power.

2 comments May 17th, 2012 at 07:02am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Education For All!

Universal access to education is a good thing, and something every country should strive for.  Universal 5- and 6-figure student debt, not so much.

May 14th, 2012 at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Education

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