Posts filed under 'Corruption/Cronyism'

The Profit Motive Is Not Your Friend

Despite what conservatives would have you believe, unfettered capitalism is not actually a force for good.  The profit motive, at its core, is all about charging the highest possible prices you can get away with, at the lowest possible cost.  Which is an open invitation to cheating, corruption, price gouging, union-busting, and shoddy (if not downright dangerous) goods and services.

True, some companies have consciences or strive to differentiate themselves with quality service, but the free market does not guarantee either, and such companies are the exception rather than the norm.

May 14th, 2012 at 07:51am Posted by Eli

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

When Will Democrats Learn?

You can’t make a gentlemen’s agreement without gentlemen.

(Actually, I think they know that full well – they’re just not gentlemen either)

May 12th, 2012 at 12:15pm Posted by Eli

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

How Dare They

The National Association Of Manufacturers is terribly offended by the fact that some California teens are suing the government to reduce carbon emissions:

“At issue is whether a small group of individuals and environmental organizations can dictate through private tort litigation the economic, energy, and environmental policies of the entire nation,” wrote National Association of Manufacturers spokesman Jeff Ostermeyer in an email.

But a small group of ultra-rich individuals and giant corporations using their money and lobbying power to dictate the health of the entire planet and everyone on it, that’s totally okay.

May 11th, 2012 at 07:25am Posted by Eli

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

Our Descent Into Banana Republicanism Continues

Horrible.  Just horrible.  Another new low in police brutality.

Arbitrary violence is nothing new. The apparently systematic use of sexual assault against women protestors is new. I’m not aware of any reports of police intentionally grabbing women’s breasts before March 17, but on March 17 there were numerous reported cases, and in later nightly evictions from Union Square, the practice became so systematic that at least one woman told me her breasts were grabbed by five different police officers on a single night (in one case, while another one was blowing kisses.) The tactic appeared so abruptly, is so obviously a violation of any sort of police protocol or standard of legality, that it is hard to imagine it is anything but an intentional policy.

Tell me again how we’re a beacon of democracy and the greatest country in the world and everyone else should be totally envious of us.

May 4th, 2012 at 07:02am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Sexism,Wankers

Obama Administration Identifies And Fixes Key Flaw In Unemployment Insurance

The problem is that all of these people are just sitting around and collecting unemployment checks without doing anything to enhance corporate profitability.  But Obama has the solution!

April 20th, 2012 at 07:30am Posted by Eli

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

Cowardice Or Corporatism? Part 117

Is Obama deathly afraid of conservative attacks on “job-killing regulations” and “the nanny state”, or does he simply agree with them?  Either way, he’s hamstringing his regulators just like his predecessor did.  I particularly like this tidbit about the guy Obama put in charge of regulating the regulators:

Cass R. Sunstein, director of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, advocates what he calls “libertarian paternalism,” a regulatory philosophy that encourages rather than mandates changes that improve or save lives.

With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

April 3rd, 2012 at 11:09am Posted by Eli

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

The Joy Of Partisanship

One of my biggest disappointments since Obama’s election has been not just Obama’s despicable betrayal of Democratic ideals, but liberals and Democrats’ complete willingness to overlook those ideals simply because he’s nominally a member of the same team.  Conservatives did the exact same thing when Bush was president, but I had really hoped progressives were better than that.

When loyalty trumps principles, those principles become meaningless.  And right now neither party has any recognizable principles other than supreme executive power and blind loyalty to moneyed interests.

March 14th, 2012 at 07:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Foreign Policy,Obama,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers,War

Great Moments In Journalistic Balance

From Michel Hiltzik’s column about how 501(c)4 “non-profit” organizations are used to bypass campaign finance disclosure requirements:

I don’t mean to pick on Rove or the Republicans here; Democratic Party operatives and the Obama campaign are certain to exploit the same dodge as fundraising for the November election kicks into gear.

“I can’t actually find any Democratic examples, but I’m sure there will be some eventually.”

March 5th, 2012 at 07:54am Posted by Eli

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

Wanker Of The Day

Obamacare shill Jonathan Gruber, on Bell Curve author Charles Murray’s latest book about the moral decay of working class white America:

Charles Murray took the economic concept of moral hazard – the concept that if you reward people for bad behaviour then they behave badly – and turned it into prose. Reading the book moved me a notch to the right. It posed a challenge to liberals – to get more rigorous in our analysis. It showed the simple facts didn’t look so good for us and that we needed to address questions like, “Is welfare causing women to become single mothers?” Murray really challenged the way I thought.

What about questions like “Are bailouts and deregulation causing corporations to become more reckless and criminal?”  Or “Are lax campaign finance laws giving politicians more incentive to betray their constituents than to represent them?”

February 8th, 2012 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Wankers

Corey Robin In A Nutshell

“Hey conservatives, what are you reacting against?”  “Whaddaya got?”

According to Robin, conservatism’s only consistent guiding principle is that power must remain concentrated in the hands of elites at the expense of everyone else.  That sounds pretty accurate to me.

January 12th, 2012 at 08:02am Posted by Eli

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

Something To Look Forward To

In case you were hoping Obama’s latest chief of staff would be an improvement over Rahm and Bill Daley, don’t hold your breath.  The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin found this gem from last year:

A former top executive at Citigroup who participated in the deregulation of Wall Street during the Clinton administration and recently was tapped by President Barack Obama for a top White House post told a Senate panel last week that deregulation didn’t lead to the recent financial crisis.

Jacob “Jack” Lew, Obama’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, the White House agency entrusted with ensuring that federal regulations reflect the president’s agenda, was asked Thursday during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee by Sen. Bernie Sanders whether he believed that the “deregulation of Wall Street, pushed by people like Alan Greenspan [and] Robert Rubin, contributed significantly to the disaster we saw on Wall Street.”

Lew, a former OMB chief for President Bill Clinton, told the panel that “the problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation,” and after discussing those issues, added that he didn’t “personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don’t believe that deregulation was the proximate cause.

Well, I guess that explains how the resolutely obstructionist GOP allowed him to be confirmed as the head of OMB…

January 10th, 2012 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

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

Why I Can’t Support Obama

Glenn Greenwald and Taylor Marsh helpfully explain why it is impossible to view Obama as a Democrat in any meaningful way other than “less insane and slightly less awful than the Republican candidates”.

No, I’m not going to support Ron Paul or any of the other Republican candidates, but as Taylor Marsh puts it, “Pres. Obama has helped Democrats deliver a climate that this party has threatened since the ’70s would happen if I didn’t vote for them.”

January 3rd, 2012 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Foreign Policy,Obama,Politics,Prisoners,War

Bobo Sort Of Gets It?

Amazing.  David Brooks actually acknowledges that Obama really isn’t nearly as anti-business and pro-regulation as Republicans keep claiming he is, and even admits that what regulation there is has not been the cause our chronic high unemployment.

He still seems to think Obama’s imposed too much regulation, just because.  But at least it’s progress of a sort.

December 6th, 2011 at 07:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans

The Shining City On The Hill

Well, it certainly is nice to see that the United States is still looked up to as an inspiration and a role model around the world:

Two people were killed in Cairo and Alexandria this weekend as Egyptian activists took the streets to protest the military’s attempts to maintain its grip on power. And guess how the state is justifying its deadly crackdown.

We saw the firm stance the US took against OWS people & the German govt against green protesters to secure the state,” an Egyptian state television anchor said yesterday (as translated by the indispensable Sultan Sooud al Qassemi; bold ours).

USA! USA! USA!

I feel so proud.

(h/t dday and PW)

November 21st, 2011 at 02:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Foreign Policy

“Job-Killing Regulations” Myth Exploded In One Paragraph

Can’t say it any better than this:

Whenever a firm lays off workers, the Bureau [of Labor Statistics] asks executives the biggest reason for the job cuts.

In 2010, 0.3 percent of the people who lost their jobs in layoffs were let go because of “government regulations/intervention.” By comparison, 25 percent were laid off because of a drop in business demand.

So if Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) really want to do something about jobs, they should start putting some money in the hands of the people who are most likely to spend it (hint: not the rich).

Sadly, it also suggests that the leading cause of unemployment is… unemployment.

November 14th, 2011 at 05:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment

Hit & Run Metaphor

So let’s see… a member of the 1% (or close to it) recklessly or willfully causes harm to members of the 99%, and the cops just let him go without any consequences? Wow, sounds pretty much like the last 3-4 years in a nutshell, doesn’t it?  Maybe he’ll end up paying a $20 fine or something.

November 3rd, 2011 at 07:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Wankers

Missing The Point

The problem is not that there is a lack of game-changing ideas, the problem is that our political system is so corrupt and broken that it’s impossible to implement any game-changing ideas, unless they’re the shitty kind that benefit moneyed interests.

Really, how can anyone expect any kind of meaningful reform when the most ironclad rule of government is “First, do no harm to your biggest campaign contributors”?

1 comment October 14th, 2011 at 11:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics

Concerned CO Governor Is Concerned

The latest it’s-totally-not-because-I-hate-dirty-hippies-at-all excuse for busting up one of Occupy Wall Street’s regional offshoots:

“Come at 6 o’clock in the morning, make all the free speech you want until 10 at night,” said [Colorado Governor John] Hickenlooper, who stepped away from a charity event to talk to the reporters. “But we can’t let you stay overnight. With all these tents … with these tents all next to each other. They could catch fire.

“What happens if suddenly one catches on fire, suddenly four or five tents burn. Who are you guys going to blame? You guys are going to be all over us like white on rice. In a second. The whole community will say how can you take that risk?”

All those tents so close together, rubbing up against each other, they could totally get ignited by friction and stuff.

October 14th, 2011 at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Wankers

Remember When The Tea Party Was The New Silent Majority?

I seem to remember media (and politicians) making a big deal out of polls showing that some huge percentage of Americans “supported” the Tea Party, and both parties were eager to appease them.

How things can change…

[Occupy Wall Street] has a 54% favorability rating compared to the conservative group’s 27%, according to a new Time magazine poll.

A sizable number – 23% – said they didn’t know enough about the Wall St. protesters to make a decision.

In contrast, 23% said they had a negative opinion of Occupy Wall Street compared to 65% who said the Tea Party’s influence has been negative or negligible.

Who ever could have guessed that a message about corrupt rich people and corporations hijacking our country for their own gain would be more popular than “Fuck the poor”?

(I also find it hilarious when teabaggers and Republicans indignantly complain about how the Occupiers are angry, rude, divisive and negative.  Not like those nice polite people who were carrying guns and shouting down their elected representatives at healthcare town halls, or carrying misspelled signs portraying the President Of The United States as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose.)

October 14th, 2011 at 07:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Politics,Polls,Republicans

Close But Not Quite, Part 1

Sean Paul Kelley:

So, elites our are on record calling for less democracy. Not days after they do the New York Times writes an article that in many ways delegitimizes public, peacefull assembly and protest:

Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries. Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.

Excuse me, but I was brought up to believe, even here in America that the right to assemble was an essential adjunct of democracy. Read the rest of the article. It’s very interesting in its use of innuendo, in the sly way it identifies protest as anti-democratic and they way it asserts that “that liberal economics combined with democratic institutions represented the only path forward.”

It’s the essence of neo-liberalism at work and the Davos-type elites are getting concerned.

While it may be true that the NYT is subtly dissing the protestors, I don’t see how their loss of faith in corrupt government systems where virtually every single politician is in the pockets of big corporations is inherently “anti-democratic”.  To me it sounds more like the protestors are starved for democracy, not opposed to it.  Additional quotes from the story:

“Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”

(…)

“We elect the people’s representatives so they can solve our problems,” said Sarita Singh, 25, among the thousands who gathered each day at Ramlila Maidan, where monsoon rains turned the grounds to mud but protesters waved Indian flags and sang patriotic songs.

“But that is not actually happening. Corruption is ruling our country.”

They really don’t sound anti-democratic to me, just anti-corruption.

September 29th, 2011 at 08:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics

“Jobs”

I should probably refine my translation of “jobs” as used by corporations and Republicans (and almost everyone else) from “profits” to “profits for industries which have powerful lobbyists and throw lots of money at corrupt politicians”.

September 23rd, 2011 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

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

Why?

Has Russ Feingold been watching the same Obama I have?

Last week a group of liberal activists and academics, led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader and scholar Cornel West, announced that they were looking for six “recognizable, articulate” candidates to launch a primary bid — not to rip the nomination from Obama’s grasp but to keep him honest on issues like civil rights, consumer protections, labor and foreign policy.

(…)

“I strongly disagree with Ralph Nader. As I’ve said many times before, I believe that re-electing President Obama is an absolute imperative for our economy, our judicial system, for progressives and for our country,” said former Sen. Russ Feingold, who announced recently that he was not running for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat.

Really?  Because Obama has been incompetent on the economy (and frighteningly pro-austerity), downright destructive to progressives, and has all but ignored the judiciary.  More from Feingold:

Now, facing Republican candidates that are bought-and-sold by corporate money, and who want to give more tax breaks to the wealthiest and attack the rights of working Americans, the President is fighting to create jobs and provide economic security for middle class families.

Again, who is Russ talking about?  Obama is almost as much a corporate creature as the Republicans, strong-armed congressional Democrats into extending Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, and has twiddled his thumbs on jobs until just recently.

I’m still not quite at the point where I would say I would prefer a Republican president, but I can’t think of a single persuasive reason why Obama deserves to keep his job.  If we could get a Democratic nominee who might actually be a good president, I’d be all for it.

3 comments September 22nd, 2011 at 08:00am Posted by Eli

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

Who You Gonna Believe, Your Gullible Peers Or Your Lying Eyes?

Apparently California Democrats all ignored huge red flags that there was something dodgy about the embezzler they had hired as their treasurer because all the other Democrats were doing the same thing.  It’s a pretty spectacular example of collective stupidity, and it also explains why so many incompetent Democratic political consultants keep getting work despite their long resumes of failure.

I guess “But everyone else is doing it!” is a more important consideration than evidence or outcomes.  It’s a wonder they didn’t all invest their money with Bernie Madoff.

1 comment September 17th, 2011 at 02:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics

No One Could Have Anticipated…

Services provided to the government by for-profit corporations cost more than those the government performs in-house!  Who knew?

But hey, at least those profits are trickling down and creating jobs and stuff, right?

September 14th, 2011 at 06:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy

Strawman Of The Day

Thomas Sowell courageously attacks those who oppose the creation of wealth.

The thing is, no one that I know of is actually opposed to wealth creation.  But I and most other progressives are opposed to creating wealth solely for the enrichment of the wealthy.  If everyone else had a little more wealth, that just might create a virtuous cycle of consumer demand, increased employment, and yes, more wealth.

1 comment September 8th, 2011 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Unemployment,Wankers

HAMP For Unemployment

Looking for another way to give desperate people false hope and pretend to solve the problem while actually just benefiting corporations?  I know!  Let’s let people on unemployment work for free and call it “training”!

August 25th, 2011 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

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

No Room For Improvement

Ezra Klein explains that Obama couldn’t possibly have done a better job, what with his miniscule majorities in both houses of Congress and all.  I particularly like the part where he suggests that Obama would have been less popular and the 2010 bloodbath would have been worse if Obama had passed an effective stimulus and generally done more to live up to his campaign promises.

Because the American people just hate strong politicians who get results, especially when they don’t act like corporate tools.  That’s why FDR was only able to get elected 4 times.  Well, that and dying.

August 23rd, 2011 at 07:51am Posted by Eli

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

Are There No Workhouses?

Thomas Sowell laments that the poor just don’t know their place anymore, and that this will be the end of civilization as we know it.

Of course, there’s absolutely no possibility that they might have legitimate grievances, or that most of “the top” that they’re so “focused on tearing down” has been motivated by nothing more than selfishness and greed, and has been buying politicians for years to avoid participating in any of the “shared sacrifice” being heaped on the poor, the working class, the sick, and the old.

August 17th, 2011 at 08:11am Posted by Eli

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

It All Depends On What The Meaning Of The Word “Good” Is…

The NYT recently revived Obama’s old quote from early in his presidency that he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president, in the context of talking about what he has to do to turn his presidency around before he’s up for re-election.  But really, that only makes sense if you buy the premise that he hasn’t been a good president, which can only be properly evaluated if you know what his goals are.

That is the question.  There has been a spate of Obama-evaluating articles and blog posts lately, with the likes of Robert Reich, Drew Westen, Der Spiegel, LAT, and the Wall Street Journal attributing his disappointing presidency to weakness and/or cluelessness, while Matt Stoller, David Sirota, Jamie Galbraith, and, well, me, argue that Obama has been enacting exactly the policies he wants to enact.

There is room for agreement between the two views, however: Regardless of whether Obama is a successful Republican or an unsuccessful Democrat, he has been an absolutely miserable politician who has demoralized his own base, alienated independents, and done nothing to win over Republicans. (Well, actually, he’s done quite a lot to win over Republicans, but none of it has worked.)  And the economy and employment situation is still terrible, although I suppose that could also be considered a matter of perspective – the wealthy are still doing fine, if not better, but the overwhelming majority of the electorate are not feeling very secure.

So is Obama a good president or a mediocre one?  I think the answer mainly depends on how much money you have.  Is he a one-term president or a two-term one?  I think the answer mainly depends on how crazy the Republican nominee is.

1 comment August 11th, 2011 at 07:42am Posted by Eli

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

S&P Report To Be Posted On Bulletin Board Outside SuperCongress’s Locker Room

The congressional reactions sound an awful lot like that of a sports team that’s been dissed and is using it as motivation:

Representative Joe Courtney, Democrat of Connecticut, said he had “read and reread the S. & P. report” several times since it was issued Friday night, and he said it could spur action by Congress. If the 12 members of the committee, to be appointed by Aug. 16 by Congressional leaders of the two parties, could agree on a deficit-reduction package, and if Congress approved it, Mr. Courtney said, “that would surprise a lot of skeptics” and could disprove the company’s criticism of the United States political system.

Representative Blake Farenthold, a freshman Republican from Texas, said the S.&P. report could have a beneficial effect. “Anything that encourages the new committee to get the job done and get us back on a rational fiscal path is a good thing,” Mr. Farenthold said.

Another freshman Republican, Representative Steve Southerland II of Florida, said the credit report created “a sense of urgency for the two parties to come together.” The possibility of a further downgrade “scares me,” Mr. Southerland said.

Go team! Let’s show S&P who’s boss!  By doing everything they tell us to!

August 8th, 2011 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

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

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