Sunday, January 29, 2012

Obama's latest Republican oriented analysis: College costs

President Obama has served notice to higher public education officials to become "more efficient" and threatens reduction in their federal aid if they don't control prices they charge students.

As the parent of a high school senior, that is superficially welcome news. But as usual for Obama, he has embraced a Republican narrative. I won't speak about public colleges outside California, but I know quite a bit about the UC system because my wife's cousin is a high ranking budget analyst there. I've seen the budget and analysis, and I can state with great confidence that the UCs are one of the most cost efficient administrations one can find anywhere. See here for a glance at its latest cost cutting moves, and its continued efficiency that I would defy other private entities to compare for themselves. These latest cuts were on top of other cuts that would have already crippled most institutions. See here.

The reason for the 50% increase in UC school tuition these past five years is straightforward: The state has significantly reduced its aid as part of UC's overall revenues.

The shortfall from state revenues had to be filled from somewhere else, and the obvious places are from the pockets of the students and the students' parents. And recruiting out of state students to pay higher tuition fees.

If Obama was the socialist Kenyan Muslim he is supposed to be, he'd ask:

Where are the tax rates of forty years ago when UCs charged next to nothing for tuition, and attracted the best professors and the best students?

How can we continue to allow more money to be spent on imprisoning people than educating them?


But no. Obama just threatens to cut federal aid and demands the UCs become more efficient, when neither he nor his hapless Education Department Secretary, Duncan, have the slightest clue about how the UCs actually operate. It is telling that late in the first linked article, it is left to Lamar Alexander (Republican-Tennessee) to recognize why Obama's statement is not merely cynical, but wrongheaded. And get this: Alexander says Obama is wrongly punishing students with the effect of Obama's proposal.

Obama is now to the right of Lamar Alexander when it comes to higher public education. Sheesh!

The UCs are the crown jewels of public higher education. We as citizens of California need to do more, starting as taxpayers, to support the UCs regardless of whether we have children, regardless of whether our children attend any UC. A UC college is, without a doubt, good for the economy of that area. I'd rather have a new UC or a new California State University than a Wal-Mart any day in my community. See here for CSUs and see here and here for UCs....Ethical alert: It is true that my son has applied to four UC campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Riverside and San Diego.

Notwithstanding the above, I must say I am deeply impressed--and knocked out--with the various private liberal arts schools to which my son has also applied. And the Ivys he's applied to, well...not much more to say there other than...Wow!

Overall, we simply as a nation cannot allow our higher eduction to fall from its status as the envy of the world. Our higher education drives the best and most useful aspects of our economy, and the scientific endeavors, from stem cell to neurobiology to physics and astronomy, are what gives us our sense of wonder in an otherwise cynical world.

(Edited)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Conservatives in corporate media attacking Gingrich to save Romney

This article is fairly remarkable because it misleads people into thinking most of these conservative pundits and operatives have been "lukewarm" for Romney, when in fact they have been supporting Romney for months and months now. They know their marching orders from the donors who sustain them and nurture them: Romney is the elite Republican Party choice and they will follow that order.

These same Republican pundits and operatives in the corporate media are very happy that Santorum is fading away (no money equals no publicity for any candidate other than Ron Paul) so that it is just down to Gingrich and Romney--with Ron Paul a nerve-twitching irritant.

The question is whether Gingrich can in fact be stopped if he wins the upcoming Florida primary. If Gingrich wins in Florida, or it is a tight race with Romney barely winning, then Plan B, as I've talk about weeks ago, will swing fully and openly into operation. Favorite sons and daughters will suddenly appear on the ballots of any remaining primaries (and there are plenty of primaries), whether write ins or otherwise, talk of brokered convention will be in the air among these same pundits and operatives, and Jeb Bush (the favorite candidate of the brokered convention) will write, or have written for him, more articles in newspapers like this.

One more thing to ponder: The elites in both wings of the Property Party (Gore Vidal's phrase for the Democratic and Republican Parties) fear Ron Paul because he does not support the Empire. If Gingrich is defeated too early, then Ron Paul becomes the "last man standing" against Romney, and Paul is a perfect vehicle for many right wing populists to register their disdain against the elitist choice, i.e. Romney. That is a dangerous thing for the economic elite because Ron Paul will continue to critique the Empire, rail against excessive military and agribusiness spending as well as Social Security and well nearly anything the government spends money on, and his socially conservative positions on abortion and even gays will start to get a hearing.

(Edited)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Corporate media continues to push inevitability of Mitt narrative

First, South Carolina was supposed to be so important. But let's watch this become the corporate media narrative if Mitt wins close against Newt, or Newt outright defeats Mitt in the primary election in that state today.

As I have posted before, the elite corporate media wants to create an inevitability of Mitt theme--but religious working class voters in the GOP are not buying it. They will forgive a cretinous grifter like Newt just to sock it to the even more rich guy, Mitt Romney, who has no clue about how they live.

The way Mitt has so poorly handled his refusal to release his taxes, the mantra of "Mitt is the only one who can beat Obama" is falling apart as an effective rationale for Republican voters. That undermines, perhaps fatally, the inevitability of Mitt narrative.

Mitt should win in Florida, as he gets the votes from Country Club Republicans, Well Off Retiree Republicans and the always interesting Republican Jewish vote. Watch for corporate media to say, "Gee, look at Florida! It's more diverse!" As if the Republican primary voters in Florida are really "America."

As Daffy Duck would say...

Powerful testimony about an abortion

Every once in awhile, we see this sort of article. But this one is outstanding in its pathos, anger, fear and then helps us understand why public policy requires us to keep abortion legal.

I always say, "Look, I've seen ultrasound. It's a baby pretty early. But I'll be damned if I'm going to pass a law that forces a woman to bear a child against her will."

And when the anti-abortion person says, "Well, she should have thought of that before she got pregnant. She already made her choice..."

I respond: "So are you pro-life or pro-punishment? You see pregnancy as a punishment. That's your position: You are pro-punishment, not pro-life."

And being pro-punishment is too often the basis as to why people are anti-abortion. When such folks rant against abortion, they are ultimately ranting against women's autonomy over their bodies. And the fact that some women are anti-abortion does not change that point one bit. There were plenty of women in the 19th Century who thought women were too dumb to vote. That does not change the argument. It only shows us ironies within public policy disputes.

Plus, let's remember this: Most women who undergo abortion procedures do so in the first three to four months of pregnancy (less than 1% of abortions are performed after the fifth month). Therefore, the discussion about late term abortions is the right wing equivalent to the left wing stuff about "...You mean that politician is against abortion even after rape or incest?" (Also, about 1%)

Even if an abortion procedure is performed in the sixth, seventh or even the rare eighth months after pregnancy begins, we still need to look carefully as a society at the health and life of the mother to be. Compassion for the mother is our first consideration.

The Guttmacher Institute has a list of factual information regarding abortion in the USA.

As I said, read the initial article in this post. It tells us why we don't want to return to the days before Roe v. Wade, even as we know today that abortion is already effectively illegal in many parts of our nation--due at least in part to terrorist attacks against doctors and hospitals that provided abortion procedures.

Final note: Good for Obama in recognizing that abortion is not as much a cultural wedge issue for his political prospects as some think--and for once making a decision that benefits regular people, in this case, women facing an unwanted pregnancy.

(Edited)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Max Roach and Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK, Jr. Day

This has always been a favorite of mine ever since I heard it over thirty years ago.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dick Cheney's inadvertent defense of the New Deal

This brilliant article from the veteran and truly investigative reporter, Robert Parry, lays out what I have long said, which is that (1) the Republicans and conservatives and libertarians want "Pottersville"," and (2) how much they miss in their own personal narratives the proof of the superiority of New Deal policies.

Here, Parry shows how Dick Cheney misses the point that his family achieved economic stability through an activist government that actually helped people and communities.

Today, Queen Victoria would have written a children's book and had interviews with Oprah

See here for Queen Victoria's lovely drawings. They really are wonderfully drawn.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The two charts that explain most of everything in public policy today

Both charts come from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Here is the latest chart showing how government social spending is actually quite efficient in making sure most of the money goes directly to beneficiaries. It is ironically in the private sector, where there are large payouts to executives and advertising and other costs, where beneficiaries get less for every dollar they pay in. This is why insurance companies are really upset at the 85% threshold they must now meet for providing benefits to their insureds. They will have to either cut back executive salaries or lower marketing costs. I suppose, though, they'll just fire customer service reps...

Here is the chart showing where our federal deficits are coming from and will continue to come from. It is not on generous social welfare spending, as people are propagandized to assume.

These two charts upend and negate most of the assumptions behind the discourse of government is inefficient and government spending on the poor and middle class is the problem that must be faced or solved. As Jared Bernstein reminds us, people are entitled to their opinions, but not to the facts. And as Stephen Colbert recognized, early in his show's tenure, how "truthiness" works--and how "reality has a liberal bias"...and therefore must be rejected...:-)

Is getting old realizing people never learn?

Glenn Greenwald has posted a wonderful piece recognizing that the NY Times serves imperial power on a consistent basis, and is a dutiful stenographer of government officials when it comes to war making and imperial adventures. He has much derisive fun in his discussion of the hapless ombudsman editor at the Times who publicly asked readers whether NY Times reporters should challenge misstatement of facts from public officials.

That this generation of media leaders can't recognize the optimal role of media reporters is quite astonishing because, if they went to journalism school in the 1970s, they would have been taught by those who went through the 1950s Red Scare. Those teachers would have been the ones who realized too late that letting Joe McCarthy and his ilk (and there were plenty) call people Commies when they weren't, or assume that being a Commie meant being a traitor and a spy created the very atmosphere that undermined First Amendment rights and led to much despair in many quarters in the US.

I was privileged to know the late Edwin Bayley, who was Dean of the Journalism School at Berkeley from 1969 to 1985. I met him after his retirement in the late 1980s because I had found, read and devoured his outstanding book on Joseph McCarthy and the "press," entitled quite naturally, if not very excitingly, "Joe McCarthy and the Press." Bayley had been, during the 1950s, the lead political reporter for the largest-circulation newspaper in McCarthy's home state of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal. Bayley's book consisted of an analysis of a variety of newspapers and their coverage of McCarthy through the period of the 1950s when the McCarthy Comet appeared, raged and burnt out. His conclusion was that reporters should have called McCarthy and others on their statements and made them accountable to prove their statements. The reporters should have quoted others and determined who was right or wrong. This failure, Bayley said, led to public officials misleading the populace and worse, polluted the discourse that kept us from discerning what was happening around us.

In our time, I often say that people should avoid the political cable and network shows (especially the Sunday morning shows), and most television and radio "news" in general. Such shows and "news" programs pollute any reasoned discourse and are often structured in a manner that works against the economic interests of most Americans. These shows and "news" are ridiculously venal to the worst elements of American ruling class power and promote the worst imperial policies our nation's leaders end up pursuing. Hey, but other than that, they are wonderful...:-)

Still, as I read Greenwald's post, I am left with an abiding sadness that our species does not learn from its past, even when it is painstakingly set forth in books and speeches, in schools and in mentors' experiences. It just doesn't seem to matter to the players who enter the top levels of our society, whether this be Barack Obama or Paul Brisbane or Jill Abramson. Pathetic, really.

PS: A funny story: I once had the privilege of meeting the legendary investigative reporter, Sy Hersh. I asked him about his label as investigative reporter, and before I could even finish the question, Hersh said: "Isn't it ridiculous that I'm called an investigative reporter? Shouldn't all reporters be investigating and informing people of what they investigate?" I laughed in agreement and said the reporters in the DC circuit are essentially stenographers, and he said he definitely agreed. He then signed a copy of his latest book, which I had handed him, and he was off...

ADDENDUM: I learned that the ombudsman, Brisbane, is actually the grandson of the famous (infamous?) editor of the NY Sun and then the Hearst chains around 100 years ago (Oh, look it up on Wikipedia...:-)). So here is a scion of the journalist world ruling class. And yet he asked that inane question. The way players play is a continued but morbid fascination...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Those who claim to love Israel should look carefully at this moment

Read this article and begin to weep for the two state solution.

And note this video about the growing economic gap within Israel, showing that the "reforms" (deforms, really) of the 1990s are finally having the effect of undermining community values.

Years from now, many will look back at this moment and say that Israel had an opportunity to create a lasting peace with the Palestinians, but ignored it to its peril. Israeli politics is increasingly being controlled by yahoo fundamentalist elements, Jewish and indirectly Christian. Israeli governments continue to oppress Palestinians, while Palestinian leaders are afraid to completely renounce violence as a tactic for a Palestinian state. However, it remains quite clear that Palestinian leaders, including elements of Hamas, have, more from a temporary exhaustion, moved closer to a position where true negotiations can take place. See this December 29, 2011 editorial from Ha'aretz, for example.

Yet, the American-Jewish yahoo organizations--Israel Uber Alles groups, I call them--are more than ever caught up in promoting strife, not peace. Stand with Us is one such organization which has sprung up over the past decade. As a local temple president, I get missives from the local San Diego chapter of this group, constantly telling me to attend some rally that promises to protect Israel from its enemies. Most of the time, its rallies are poorly attended. However, its propaganda permeates throughout most temples and that propaganda from it and other Jewish-American organizations shuts down any true discussion that one may still find within Israeli media such as Ha'aretz or Yediot Achronot.

Simply put, the door to avoiding an all out war of survival among Jews and Palestinian Arabs is closing over the next decade unless there is a fundamental change in the mind set of Israeli leadership. Stand with Us, and their fundamentalist allies in the evangelical movement, may get their apocalyptic wishes, but as some wiser leftists have on occasion told some less wise leftists when the latter say, "The worse it gets, the better it gets":

"No. The worse it gets, the worse it gets."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Santorum's Communist past...

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

This is funny. Can we vote for Santorum's grandfather?

Libertarian David Brin finds Marxist's video compelling...

Good for Dr. Brin.

See his post and watch at least some of the linked video here.

I also posted a comment to the link this morning.

Now, off to work...

Are we sick or something?

Another Iranian scientist in Iran has been killed, this time with a magnetic bomb attached to his car. And another person was in the car with the scientist.

I doubt I'm alone in saying these continued murders of Iranian scientists are sick, but I wonder what corporate media pundits are saying about this. I figure this must be the work of either the Israeli military (with US complicity and support) or the US military itself.

I've gone through the various stages of warmongering and grief about the Iranian nuclear program. I'm with Ron Paul on this issue overall. And I believe what we or the Israelis are doing is creating a terrible precedent. We are killing the smart people in Iran. We are killing their Oppenheimers and Fermis. Yes, they are building a nuclear bomb. But we are wrong to think the mullahs really want to use this for anything more than a balanced threat against Israeli or US aggression in the region (the old mutually assured destruction scenarios). I don't like that, either, but it's not worth creating a precedent where nations can go around killing scientists in other nations.

And if we read the second link above, we see the Iranians were saying last September that they would not retaliate, and instead sought international action. The Iranians are acting more responsibly in this single instance, while it is likely the Israelis and the US governments which are acting like terrorists and "rouge states."

Obama keeps making me want to explore third party options and these continued murders are an example...I may even vote...egad!...Libertarian if Gary Johnson is the nominee. At least he does not appear to have the anti-abortion, anti-gay and wacky Manichean views that come with Ron Paul (Though even Johnson has supported parental consent and partial birth abortion legislation...Sigh). It's gonna be a depressing vote I make on the presidential level, I am supposing.

ADDENDUM: Heck, even these people show more restraint when they attack property, not people.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

John Lennon, Yoko Ono, New York City Is Your Friend

I finally was able to find the song by David Peel that says NYC is the friend of John and Yoko on the Internet. Here it is (It's the Ballad of NYC).

Yes, there is an irony as to what happened on December 8, 1980.

But let's remember Mark David Chapman came from Hawaii and originally from Texas and then Georgia. New Yorkers tended to give space to John and Yoko, and Yoko continues to stay in New York City three decades later. New York City was truly their friend.

ADDENDUM: The song was on the album, "The Pope Smokes Dope" (1972). I have always been against drug abuse and found the antics of Peel uncomfortably trivial for the most part. Still, he and his band made me laugh beyond my discomfort back in the day...The song, though, is a gentle one, and again filled with a poignant irony as we hear it today.

(Edited)

The Official Story in Argentina

This is chilling reminder of the sort of cruelty and deception our nation endorsed in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s.

This
film, "The Official Story" (1985) had laid out the issue in a brilliant and dramatic manner. That most Americans did not get to see this film is not a surprise, but my wife and I were honored to see the film upon its release nearly 27 years ago. It is worth watching today. And will be tomorrow...and thereafter.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

1972: Great album releases

Forty years have gone by...Forty years, as The House of Freaks once sang...

The following music albums were released forty years ago this year, and I place the album titles in order of my favorites:

"Thick as a Brick"--Jethro Tull

("Brick" is one of the singular musical achievements of the 20th Century by any musical artist or composer in any genre and deserves its own place in the list provided here)


"Close to the Edge"--Yes*

"Foxtrot"--Genesis

"Grand Wazoo"--Frank Zappa

"Banco del Mutuo Soccorso"--Banco del Mutuo Socorso

"Storia di un minuto"--Premiata Forneria Marconi (affectionately called PFM)

"Islands"--King Crimson

"Three Friends"--Gentle Giant

"Prologue"--Renaissance (first album with the incomparable Annie Haslam)

"Trilogy"--Emerson Lake & Palmer

"School's Out"--Alice Cooper (Band, not simply the individual)

"Flash"--Flash (debut album of ex-Yes alumni)

"Eat a Peach"--The Allman Brothers Band

"Fifth"--Soft Machine

"Let's Make Up and Be Friendly"--Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

All of these albums represent remarkable and amazing musical achievements. During the era from 1967 to 1975, there was something in the air with respect to music, musicianship and an overall creativity and innovation of sounds ("air" art or sculptures, as Frank Zappa called music). And that era has simply not been equaled since then. In fact, nearly every sound today in pop, rock, post-rock, jazz or even modern classical etc. owes a debt to this era, which, as more careful readers of this blog know, was destroyed as much by crass, commercially compromised radio programmers and the idiocy and cynicism of corporate news media rock critics as anything else.

In every of those years in that era, my friends and I, who were budding musicians or music theoreticians, would greet the new year with anticipation: What outstanding music will be released this year? Who will it be this time? Will the music always get better and better?

By the mid-1970s, as disco "music" and then later punk bands began to permeate the cultural landscape, we began to understand punctuated equilibrium and much later full house concepts that Stephen Jay Gould discerned, and then helped explain and popularize...I never made my peace with disco or its even more violent and delinquent child rap/hip-hop, but I did like punk from the start, mostly because it made disco seem lame to those who are slaves to corporate media inspired trends.

God Save the Queen, indeed.

* Yes also released the "Fragile" album in the US in February 1972, but the album was released in England and Europe in November 1971. There was a delay back then for reasons I never understood, though I have speculated that it had to do with tour scheduling.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Conservative Mind...

There is a major dust up over Corey Robin's book on the consistency of "conservatives" in supporting public policies and sometimes violent actions--whether revolutionary or counterrevolutionary--that favor economic elites. This is a welcome intellectual debate because, too often, it has been the province of American conservatives to paint the liberals and left with a broad brush. How often do we hear conservative commentators say, "Liberals are this..." "Liberals believe that..." "Liberals have always..."?

Here is Mark Lilla's review of Robin's book in the NY Review of Books and a smack down of Lilla's review from Alex Gourevitch that is as brilliant as I've read in some time.

Crooked Timber has two more posts on the subject showing more reviews and the subsequent response from Lilla to Gourevitch, which Crooked Timber sees as weak (as do I).

My brief take on this is as follows:

I wish all who participated in this discussion across the Internet had been more familiar with Daniel Bell's wonderful subdividing of the terms "liberal" and "conservative" into separate and then overlapping realms of political, economic and cultural. Had they done so, the NY Times reviewer, Sheri Berman (professor of political science at Barnard College), would see why she is wrong to criticize Robin for supposedly not recognizing Palin's attack on elites, which she says contradicts Robin's thesis. If she had recognized Bell's point, she would see that Palin's attack on elites is in the cultural realm, not the economic realm. The policies Palin proposes, despite her rhetoric, increase the power of the economic elite. That is Robin's point about the ultimate consistent stance over centuries by "the conservative" against economic progress or development of what some could quaintly call "the masses."

Robin is therefore essentially correct regarding the consistency of an economic conservatism. He is correct to look for the consistency amidst the twists and turns of particular circumstances, and how the form of the attack on those who seek economic progress for the masses or workers, serfs, etc. changes over time. Example: One era (particularly in the early 19th Century) will have conservatives attack the liberals and left for being sentimental; hence the term "Romantics" was turned against Shelley and Keats when they dared criticize the early capitalist accumulation and loss of the commons. Another era will have the conservatives attack the liberals and left for being cynical and traitors to sentiment and traditional values. Our modern cacophonous era contains a simultaneous attack by different sets of commentators. Whatever way, the point is the same: De-legitimize or demonize those who support economic progress or development for those who are not in the elite.

These different circumstances do not undermine Robin's thesis, as Robin himself seems aware of the particulars in a way that shows deep scholarship and ability--whether or not that may be fully expressed in a single book. Robin is saying the circumstances are merely masking the consistency.

Oh well. I have to get ready for work. I leave the reader to read the links and analyses. The fun of this, again, is that Robin has written a book designed to make conservatives defensive and to recognize that their motives can be easily "discerned" in the way conservatives have "discerned" liberals' motives over the past century...And really, anyone who exposes Bill Buckley as a precursor to Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin is fine with me. See my "depreciation" of Buckley upon his departure from this mortal coil. See also my post about how Buckley regurgitated conventional nostrums with little analysis, and how it was masked by philosophical syllogisms and debaters' tricks.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Tragedy of Mitt Romney

My political "what if" thought as we enter the year 2012:

What if Mitt Romney had switched parties in 2006 to 2008, and then ran in a Democratic Party primary challenge against Obama?

Had Romney done so, he would have been free to find his Inner George Romney, his Dad, whose economic views are now to the left of Obama. And even Ol' George knew the Vietnam War was something to stop--and stop quickly. Plus, George Romney was a "can do" businessman who saved American Motors and added jobs, unlike his financier son whose fortune was enhanced through laying off workers.

As for the Romneys' religious preference, let's just say that a secular oriented pro-science Mormon is still secular oriented and pro-science. It would not have bothered me in the least that he is nominally Mormon. Plus, on a personal level, I think I'd like Mitt Romney quite a bit.

The problem we have as a nation is that Mitt Romney is running as a Republican in a Republican Party that demands and receives an institutional fealty that, even if Romney was successful in winning the Republican Party nomination and then defeating Obama, would have him do things we Democrats would vehemently oppose. He would sign MORE legislation for income and corporate tax cuts disproportionately benefiting the top levels of our economic pyramid. He would NOT push for more infrastructure spending, but would foster more imperial wars. He would continue to curtail civil liberties as Bush II and Obama have done (and in the event of significant "domestic disturbances," use drone technology to attack cities or buildings on American soil). He would more affirmatively pull away economic ladders for poor and discriminated minority youth to ensure their continued serfdom. He might let some science money get spent on climate change, but much less than even Obama has so far.

But the biggest irony of all is that Mitt Romney is institutionally blocked from winning the Republican primary in the first place. The winner take all system is not sufficiently rigged in his favor since it requires 50% of the vote to trigger the winner takes all delegates in a particular state with such a system. Right now, poor Mitt is stuck at a seemingly permanent 15-30% support level that shows no current sign of increasing anywhere near 50%. When Republican Party primary voters start to look at clowns like Santorum, they are saying "Anyone But Romney. Anyone." The only saving grace for MItt Romney is that the elite in the Republican Party want him--and want him badly enough to lavish money for propaganda and to have Romney triple down on pandering to the irrational right wing that has come to dominate Republican Party primary voting patterns.

If Romney wins the nomination, it will be the most elite driven nomination in the Republican Party since Wendell Wilkie, Wall Street lawyer, surprised most observers at the time by winning that party's nomination in 1940. Romney, however, should realize this is not 1940 and the Republican elite cannot simply walk into a convention and crown a candidate. The delegate process is now much more open and hence sloppy. Should Romney win the Iowa Caucus, the immediate goal of the Republican elite would be to create an "inevitability of Romney" aura. This may work, but only with wealthier and less religiously driven Republicans. Longer term, meaning through this spring of 2012, REGARDLESS of whether Romney wins the Iowa Caucus, the Plan B goal of the Republican Party elite is "Nobody, Especially Ron Paul." This means spending money to keep at least three candidates in the race besides Mitt Romney and Ron Paul--which means three of the four remaining candidates, Perry, Gingrich, Bachmann or Santorum, have a chance to audition for that trio of the "Not Romneys and Not Pauls."

This is also why I keep saying Jeb Bush is the guy to watch this summer if no current candidate receives a majority of delegates through the primary.

Meanwhile, we who are economic New Dealers can only hope the Occupy movement continues to grow, and continues to indirectly and perhaps directly pressure Democratic Party leaders into finding their Inner FDR. Now that is a delusional wish if ever I've heard one...And what I mean by delusion is not that the Occupy movement can't grow. It can and likely will. What I mean is that the Democratic Party deserves to go the way of the Whig Party, and the Occupy movement has a better chance of fostering a new party than truly galvanizing Obama, Reid, Pelosi et al to be responsive to workers' interests. Fat chance either way, the way our national discourse is filtered through corporate owned media. So I sit in front of a computer this morning cobbling together this post...and now it is time to do some work for my boss.

(Edited)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Are some who saved Jews from the Holocaust more "righteous" than others?

I guess if you're an Arab Muslim, you are not worthy of being called "righteous" when you save Jews from German Nazis in the middle of World War II.

This story constitutes a new disgrace from the official Holocaust memorial and reparations bureaucracies.

NDAA, not as bad as we think...but only because Obama claims he won't fully enforce the bad stuff

Welcome to the new year, and let's all read the links at this short post from Marty Lederman at Balkinization. The links are definitely worth reading.

The short version of the new National Defense (War) Authorization Act is that the really draconian policies regarding infinite detention, continuing Guantamamo Bay practices, etc., contain a waiver that allows the president not to enforce those policies. Still, the president must be transparent about invoking the waivers, which allows jingos in and out of Congress to say the president is "weak" and "giving in to terrorism."

What it means is that the bad stuff has been put into place. And these bad provisions will be followed by each of the Republican candidates, sans Ron Paul (but let's not be so sure about Paul, shall we, when we consider his belief in Manichean conspiracies and his support of American government side propaganda during the Cold War; note the link buys into the propaganda too and is trying to say, "See, Ron hated the Commies and supported big military spending.").

We are left with the faint hope that the US Supreme Court will continue its jurisprudence of limiting the effects of the growing Star Chamber mentality that has been slowly engulfing our national legislature since the events of 9/11/2001.