Saturday, July 28, 2012


Thirty years after the Reagan Revolution, which delivered America from the perils of New Deal-Great Society socialism, we see the results of  Saint Ronald the Reagan and his devoted followers.  America's growing poverty is testament to the wonders of the trickle down social and economic policy.  From Saint Ronald to Newt Gingrich to Cheney/Bush, with help from corporate-minded Democrats like Bill Clinton, the idea of a purposeful, effective public sector has been ridiculed and dismissed in favor of a supposed free market that is rigged largely in favor of great wealth and corporate influence.  The loss of that purposeful, effective public sector is evident in the decay of public infrastructure and America's growing poverty.

Since most of the perpetrators of this welfare-for-the-rich have been Republican administrations, I was not surprised to find this graph in Timothy Noah's The Great Divergence.

 Simply put, more Americans share in the nation's prosperity under Democratic rather than Republican administrations.  Even Clinton's neo-liberal triangulating didn't change the balance (or maybe the trend would be even more pronounced).  Despite this very distinct difference in income growth, Timothy Noah amply demonstrates that income distribution has grown very unequal over in the past three decades.

Conservatives used to always belittle Democrats and liberals for simply "throwing money" problems, of always advocating the same policy, regardless of circumstances.  Those same so called conservatives have now become a variant of their own parody:  for every problem, tax and domestic spending cuts are always the correct solution unless the problem is "national security" in which case the money faucet is on.

But my schadenfreude at conservatives hoisted on their own petard still leaves most Americans poorer and increasingly on the margin.  As cynical as I am about the national Democrats, I look at the graph above and think, "No way do I want to see a Republican president in 2013."   


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fun & Giggles with an M-240B

Since dad and mom go away for months on end with multiple deployments, I guess it makes sense to explain why those dads and moms are away and what they do while away.  Still, nothing says family values than a five year-old with an M-240B

The kids get the whiz-bang of military hardware and the rest of us get the normalization of war.

A side note:  The Olympian ran the story with the photo in its dead tree version but the photo is nowhere to be found on The Olympian's website.  Hence the scanned version. 

It's disturbing enough.  Maybe that's why the photo is so scarce.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Alexander Cockburn (1941-2012)

A voice that will be missed.
Alexander Cockburn, a sharp-witted journalist and unapolo­getic provocateur of the left who brought a hard-nosed intensity to his political columns in the Nation, the Village Voice and other outlets, died July 21 at a medical clinic near Frankfurt, Germany. He was 71.
In 1987, writer David Rieff reviewed Mr. Cockburn’s book “Corruptions of Empire: Life Studies and the Reagan Era” in the Times Literary Supplement, calling it “a mass of bile and invective, some of it tremendously funny and some of it monumentally ill-judged...The American political scene is immensely enlivened, and I think improved, by his presence in it.”
Godspeed, Alex.


Explains A Lot

J. William Leonard, the government’s former classification czar, on the needless classification of information.
 In an e-mail Friday, Leonard, speaking generally, said the system for classifying information is “becoming dysfunctional” and “clearly lacks the ability to differentiate between trivial information and that which can truly damage our nation’s well-being.”
Secrecy is also good for creating fear and fear is one of the great agents of social control so it stands to reason that the government would classify information.  But it's also sheer bureaucratic inertia and self-aggrandizement.   More of anything--staff, documents, secrets--equals more importance.  All of the players, however minor, want to be important.

And so it goes.