Tuesday, November 18, 2014

David Harvey and Richard Wolf on The Charlie Rose Show, End of Capitalism

A great interview and critique on Capitalism, cities and the future to come.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Democrats - We're Going to Lose Senate Seats (And Probably the Senate) Here's why That's Okay...

Go vote November 4th.  Let me start by saying that.  Let me also say it's incredible likely we're going to lose the Senate.  And that's okay.  And here's why.

Presidents, even really, really popular Presidents lose seats 6 years in.  Take a look at say FDR and Ronald Reagan:

A wildly popular populist FDR - lost 7 seats in 1938 (6 years in).  A wildly popular actor plutocrat - lost 8 seats in 1986 (6 years in).

15 Senate seats during Eisenhower's 6th year, 4 Senate seats during Nixon's (Ford's) 6th year,  and 5 seats in the 2006 sweep Dem's made during GW's 6th year.  The only outlier was the wildly popular Bill Clinton who missed the bullet in 1998 during the insane tail end of the Reagan revolution where there was a stand still.  The Republicans overplayed their hand that year with the Monica nonsense and the public wasn't having it, that being the only exception.

Why bother voting?  The Dems are going to hold/pick up seats depending on turnout House and Senate.  Let's just try and minimize the historical pattern, this isn't going to be a fun November 4th.  But watching the run of the mill Republicans/Tea Party crowd deflate over the fact that they literally "can't" repeal the reforms Obama and the Democrats passed, well that's going to be something delightful to watch:

“It would take 60 votes in the Senate. No one thinks we’re going to have 60 Republicans, and it would take a presidential signature,” McConnell said. “I’d like to put the Senate Democrats in the position of voting on the most unpopular parts of this law and see if we can put it on the president’s desk.”

The Germans have a word for what were about to watch become of the Republican Party... Schadenfreude...  Their upcoming Civil War will draw battle lines between the purists and corporatists and we'll get to watch as they run to the far right pushing government shutdowns prompting filibusters from Senate Democrats, and veto threats from the President all while trying to persuade a left leaning country they're not completely looney tunes and fit to govern:

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans won’t be able to repeal Obamacare anytime soon.

Sen. Mitch McConnell has already mapped out a confrontational budget strategy with no end game: Jam spending bills, which are necessary for funding the government, with a bunch of right-wing riders unpalatable to President Obama. What if Obama vetoes your bills, POLITICO recently asked him? “Yeah, he could,” shrugged McConnell. He skirts what would happen next: the proverbial hot potato would get tossed back to him and Boehner, and the simmering GOP civil war between the cautious and the revolutionary would be on full boil.

The inconvenient truth for the Republican Party is that it’s not ready for prime time, yet it’s on the verge of fully sharing with the president the responsibility of running the country."

When they fail to repeal the big ticket items we'll return to the culture wars, and debates about marriage, abortion and "religious liberty" are going to start all over again, they won't be able to help themselves.  We're playing chess, not checkers.  We'll be back on line full steam ahead in 2016 with a united Democratic Party.  We're far more united than the Republicans are, Christie's and Paul's circular firing squad is a perfect example:

"Well, that was a splendid little war.

Over the past week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took the GOP’s intraparty bickering to a new level, openly savaging each other on issues of national security, privacy and government spending. When Christie wasn’t challenging Paul to explain himself to the families of Sept. 11 victims, Paul was accusing Christie of demanding federal handouts for hurricane relief and, in an obvious double entendre, labeling the Garden Stater the “king of bacon.”

Keep your heads up, just remember what Gust said in Charlie Wilson's War about the 'Zen Master'!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Elizabeth Jensen is Coming to Your House to Steal Your Coal and Children (with Obummer!)

Lock your doors people in the KY 6th, put some pants on and hide grandma.  Because Elizabeth Jensen (donate money to her here) is personally coming to your door to steal your coal, coal mining jobs and your children while partying her ass off with Barack Hussein Obama.

Super informative mailers are coming your way to warn you of the black menace that's upon us! 


Pay zero attention that the 6th congressional district has "zero" coal mines in it... 


Cheap, abundant natural gas has killed the coal industry, that's a fact.  Let's dig at the mailer's "facts"/citations:

The Republican Party of Kentucky (RPK) has cited, CNS News "The Right News, Right Now",  Town Hall - "Townhall.com is the leading source for conservative news and political commentary and analysis." and The Heritage Foundation who stated goal is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense"

Someone should call the Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robinson and tell him to fire their mailing director for wasting mailers on an urban Millennial who thinks Barr, (a man who once said George W. Bush was going to be known as one of the greatest presidents) is a huge helping hand to the criminality that occurs on Wall Street.

Then again, $1 spend on the wrong person is a dollar not spend on the right person.

Hopefully Wall Street's congressman gets the boot very soon, if we're lucky his friends on Wall Street too.  I mean, it's not like they're living large while the rest of us are begging for scraps with record debt levels, right?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Senate (advances) to overturn Citizen United 79-18

Let's hope this works...

"Republicans are likely to vote against the amendment when it comes up for a final vote, but by allowing it to proceed, ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week.

More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats in the 79-18 vote advancing the amendment, well over the 60 votes that were needed."
Elizabeth Warren on the Senate vote:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Interview with Jake Gibbs

Jake Gibbs is running for 3rd district city council in Lexington.  He secured frontrunner status after beating out Daniels and Ellinger in the primary, he'll face Ellinger in the fall.

Like him on Facebook here, I've had the pleasure of helping Jake on his race and interviewed him:

LIK: Do you have plans to help the homeless here in the city?

Jake: Lexington has recently allocated 3.5 million dollars to aid the homeless and create more affordable housing. The city created an Office of Affordable Housing and recently hired a director.  These are important steps.  I will work to secure continued funding in the future.

The homeless problem is difficult. That population is comprised of several different types of people. There are people and families who have some income but barely make ends meet, and one financial disaster can land them on the streets. These folks can be aided by vouchers to get them in affordable housing. Such a program has the added benefit that any landlord accepting the government issued vouchers would have to maintain their property well.

There’s also the chronically homeless, a large percentage of whom have mental health issues. I would like to see permanent housing built for them that includes periodic visits from health care professionals. The evidence shows that such housing cuts down on police calls and emergency room visits to the point that it’s cheaper for the community to house people than to have them on the street.

I think such humane treatment of the homeless is the moral thing to do. But it is also cost-effective and will improve the quality of life for everyone in the community .

LIK: What can we do to provide and help to create affordable housing in Lexington?

Jake: A definition of affordable housing may be helpful here. Housing is considered affordable if it consumes 30% or less of a household’s income. Say you work a minimum wage job and rent an apartment by yourself. Your income is $1160 per month (assuming you don’t get sick or otherwise miss work). 30% of that is $348. If your rent is more than $348 your housing is not affordable.

As mentioned already, some money has been allocated and it is likely to be used for vouchers to subsidize the rent of qualified renters. These people would be less burdened financially, less likely to fall into homelessness and more likely able to move into better quality housing.

We could also mandate that new developments in the urban core designate a portion of the housing units as affordable for low-income people.

Another thing that would help people seeking affordable housing is an increase in the minimum wage.  Hopefully the federal government will take care of that but if they don’t I would like to see state and even local options explored.

LIK: Centrepointe. What's your take on the project?

Jake: Centrepointe highlights a governmental failing. The buildings on the block should never have been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that many were beyond hope. I wish we could have kept many of those building and done small and mid-size infill projects. I liked the mix of businesses. The Dame, Mad Hatter, Mia’s Restaurant and the drug store are the sort of business I patronize. I would like to have seen more of that sort of thing with residential above. Of course, that didn't happen.

I’m not excited about the design but it’s better than what was originally proposed, which looked like something from suburban Atlanta. It’s too bad Jeanne Gang’s employ was so short.

I hear some people say they’d rather have the green space back than the finished Webb product. I disagree. We need density, jobs and tax revenue. As much as I’m disturbed by the 6+ year ordeal, I hope it gets built, fully occupied and contributes jobs and tax revenue for the city. Hopefully we've learned the lessons. We need Code Enforcement to protect our older structures.

LIK: What's your opinion on density in the downtown and student areas?

Jake: Of course there are potential drawbacks to density, e.g., increased noise, but in most cases I think dense is good. We've allowed too much sprawl and now we reap the “rewards” in the form of traffic congestion, air pollution, and over-reliance on the car. More density in the downtown/university area will lead to more people walking and biking with the health and environmental benefits that come from these activities. Also, density will lead to more retail development allowing many people to cut back on trips to the mall. With more people walking there are more, what Jane Jacobs called, “eyes on the street,” making the area safer.

That said, we need to be sure that new projects are well-designed and that Code Enforcement has the tools to make sure owners keep properties clean and safe.

LIK: In regards to the Urban Service Boundary, should we examine developing some of that area?

Jake: I don’t see a need for an expansion of the Urban Service Boundary. At this point there is considerable opportunity for rehab of existing structures and new development within the current boundary. As mentioned above, I believe the negatives of density are more than outweighed by the benefits.

LIK: How do we ensure Lexington will continue to draw talent in and retain it?

Jake: The trend in America is for young professionals to desire living environments that are walkable and bikeable. Also, homeownership is a priority for fewer of them than in the past. So, we need rental units near the city center. I think Lexington is on the cusp of having a great downtown. If we can get more housing built in the area the increased population density will lead to increased retail. We will have a city that is very attractive to the workforce and that’s where companies want to locate.

LIK: One could criticize Lexington for a lackluster public transit, or a poor one. What do you think needs to be done to increase mass transit or streamline it?

Jake: I’d characterize LexTran as “lackluster” but it’s not from lack of trying. I ride the bus two days a week. I work at BCTC and the easiest way to get from Cooper Campus to the Newtown Campus is the bus. The buses are generally on time and the drivers friendly.

The Colt Trolley has been a nice addition. I can take it from near my Bell Court home over to Jefferson St for dinner at Stella’s or County Club and then a beer at West 6th Brewery  or Blue Stallion. Sure beats driving. Residents of the 3rd District are especially well-served by the Colt.

My main complaint about LexTran is that the buses run infrequently. But when they do run, at least on the routes I ride, they are under-utilized. It’s hard to justify running more buses when the current runs are significantly less than full.

I think the key to a better bus system is to somehow convince a significant number of car drivers that they’d be better off riding the bus. I think that’s a hard sell. Appeals to environmental issues will affect few. But if the cost of gasoline and parking increase that may cause more interest.

LIK: Why do you think you are the best candidate to represent the 3rd District?

Jake: I know the district and its people very well. Most of my 36 years in Lexington have been spent in the 3rd. My kids went to Maxwell School. I owned a business here (Alfalfa).  I received two graduate degrees from UK and have worked at BCTC on Cooper Drive for 30 years.

My main mode of transportation is walking. From my Bell Court home I walk to the YMCA most mornings and then to work. I walk downtown for most of my entertainment. I see the district up close – the good stuff and the bad.

I teach history and have a strong interest in urban history. That, with my extensive travels to Europe and around the USA, have given me a sense of what works in cities and what doesn’t. I also teach logic so I know good reasoning from bad.

If elected I will cut back to part-time teaching so I have the time to devote myself to the needs of the labor-intensive 3rd. I love Lexington and I will devote myself to making it even better.

The fact that my yard signs appeared at so many homes that are owner occupied is testimony to my roots in the community.

My opponent has been on council for 12 years and has very little to show for it. His signs seem to show up mainly in the yards of rental properties. That should concern voters in a district where poorly maintained rental properties are a major problem.

BUSTED! McConnell Caught at Secret Koch Brother Meeting:

Uh oh Mitch!

Looks like McConnell is going for another government shutdown:

via The Nation:

"So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what's called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We're going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board (inaudible). All across the federal government, we're going to go after it…

And we're not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That's all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage (inaudible)—cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment—that's a great message for retirees; uh, the student loan package the other day, that's just going to make things worse, uh. These people believe in all the wrong things.

On Citizens United and money in politics: “So all Citizens United did was to level the playing field for corporate speech….We now have, I think, the most free and open system we’ve had in modern times. The Supreme Court allowed all of you to participate in the process in a variety of different ways. You can give to the candidate of your choice. You can give to Americans for Prosperity, or something else, a variety of different ways to push back against the party of government.”
On McCain-Feingold:  “The worst day of my political life was when President George W. Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law in the early part of his first Administration.”
To put that in perspective, Mitch McConnell’s 35-year career in the Senate saw the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans, the 2008 housing meltdown that threatened the entire economy and Barack Obama’s election, to cite a conservative bête noire. But it was McCain-Feingold, the bill that banned soft money and unlimited donations to party committees, that constitutes the worst day of his political life."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why your job isn't safe, a bot is coming for it, and I mean "you".

"Take the automation of production for an example. The same technology that is used to deskill workers and enslave them can be used to eliminate the stupid boring work that nobody wants to do. We already know where we could go from here in transforming capitalism without leading to centralized state control."
-Noam Chomsky

 An integrating video on how robots are literally taking "all" of the work that humans do.  More now than ever we need to rethink our concepts of work, wealth and benchmarks to obtain food, shelter and housing.  Robots are literally taking over everything we do due to no fault of people.

They're coming, and they're going to "take r jerbs!"

A perfect example of this in North Carolina where those jobs returned from China:

"Take Parkdale: The mill here produces 2.5 million pounds of yarn a week with about 140 workers. In 1980, that production level would have required more than 2,000 people...

...In 1991, American-made apparel accounted for 56.2 percent of all the clothing bought domestically, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association. By 2012, it accounted for 2.5 percent. Over all, the American manufacturing sector lost 32 percent of its jobs, 5.8 million of them, between 1990 and 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The textile and apparel subsectors were hit even harder, losing 76.5 percent of their jobs, or 1.2 million."

We just hope they're nice... And their fusion reactors don't run on old people's medicine...And for the love of God, I hope they don't pitch 1000 movie ideas that star Adam Sandler...

And one of my favorite songs from Battlestar Gallactica, called "The Shape of Things to Come".

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Reason Poll Goes against "Every Other" Poll on Millennials [UPDATE]

If you haven't seen it yet, Reason Magazine released a poll about a week ago convinced Millennials were soon going to flock to their small government, private tyranny ideology.  They've run over 10 stories related to this poll, conducted and overseen by Emily Ekins, here's her twitter account, and here's her bio on Reason:

"Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Emily's research focuses on public attitudes toward government, public policy, and how individuals make trade-offs with an emphasis on quantitative analysis. She is an active member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the American Political Science Association (APSA). Emily is also working on her PhD thesis in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Emily's professional experience includes quantitative analyses of the Tea Party movement for the Cato Institute, and conducting survey analyses and case writing for Dr. Peter Tufano at the Harvard Business School. She has discussed her research on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, The Blaze, and her research has appeared in The Washington PostPoliticoThe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Times."

Here's an appearance on Fox a couple of days ago touting the poll findings.

Just a few thoughts on that... And by a few thoughts, I mean let me lay out just about every other poll that hasn't been conducted by a Libertarian run magazine that says the opposite.  

Why they cut off the age of those polled to 29?  I have no idea.  But I'd bet it has something to do with the fact that those of us old enough to suffer our early 20s through the Bush Administration might tilt this poll in a direction Reason didn't care for.  Harvard did the same thing with a recent poll, there was a small split amongst 18-24 and 25-29:

[UPDATE] I messaged Trey Grayson asking him "why" they cut off was at 29 years of age.  He said that's a standard polling age cut off.

Here's a poll covered by the Atlantic and conducted by the Pew Research Center released around March 2014 - here's Millennials on government involvement in the economy -- a generation that gave Barack Obama a 2-1 advantage in 2012:

Here's the portion on the 'role of government':

"The poll results show Millennials to be overwhelmingly supportive of progressive policies that promote opportunity and economic security:"

A "not" insignificant pattern here...  It literally flies in the face of just about everything the Reason poll is alleging.

Reason has dropped story after story related to this one poll.  And even non-Libertarians publications took the bait, commenting on the poll:

"Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They're for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they've heard of. They'd like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn't run anything."

In contrast here's a piece just released from the Brooking' paper in May:

"Millennials’ attitudes as consumers, as workers, and as investors are unique enough for Winograd and Hais to conclude that Wall Street may well be in for a “millennial reckoning.” For example, one of the studies the authors cite found that almost two-thirds of millennials "would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring." Not only do millennials focus on corporate social responsibility, but their lack of trust in the financial sector does not indicate good things for the current governing philosophy on Wall Street. As the paper points out, organizational cultures “that lose touch with the changes taking place in a society pose a clear danger to the future of those organizations.” This does not “bode well for the survival of America’s current corporate governance practices."

Some takeways from the paper/polling:

"Key Millennial values shaping the future of the American economy include:
  • -Interest in daily work being a reflection of and part of larger societal concerns.
  • -Emphasis on corporate social responsibility, ethical causes, and stronger brand loyalty for companies offering solutions to specific social problems.
  • -A greater reverence for the environment, even in the absence of major environmental disaster.
  • -Higher worth placed on experiences over acquisition of material things.
  • -Ability to build communities around shared interests rather than geographical proximity, bridging otherwise disparate groups."
Here's the WSJ fretting in 2012 about Millennials and their Socialist tendencies fresh off the heels of the Occupy movement:

"According to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of millennials (age 18-29) view socialism in a favorable light, compared to 43 percent who view it unfavorably.
Moreover, millennials like the sound of socialism better than capitalism. 46 percent of millennials have positive views of capitalism, and 47 percent have negative views.
This is different from the country’s population overall: 60 percent say they have a negative view of socialism, versus 31 percent who say they have a positive view. Young people are the only age group whose support for socialism outweighs that of capitalism."
Here's some whining analysis:  
"But I think my innate cynicism leaves me with this as the most likely answer. Given the increasing infantilization of our society, the way in which few are gainfully employed until their mid- to late 20s, the young are of course in favour of a system which passes all sorts of things on to them for free. The old are less enamoured of such a system as they have the experience of paying the tax bills for all of it."

The biggest takeaway?  They couldn't hide the fact through all of this that Millennials "still" favor the Democrats.

In conclusion?  If the neo-right thinks Millennials, a generation who has survived an economic collapse and horrid job market second only to the Great Depression is going to flock to their ranks when they offer nothing but corporate, free market ideas that favor the rich they have a reckoning coming in 2016 and thereon after, even "if" someone like Rand Paul happens to survive the GOP primary.  

We're Elizabeth Warren Democrats for lack of a better term, and we're tired of playing nice with corporate/Wall Street giants and masses of concentrated capital which isn't even earned anymore, but inherited:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Elizabeth Warren touting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at UK

Here's Elizabeth Warren at the University of Kentucky in 2011 touting the CFPB.
I posted this years earlier, but with Warren's election to the senate and her rise to populist stardom I recut the video from several into one:


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Establishment R's are Losing Primaries -- and the Death of the Mainstream on the Right

Tick tock...

If you would have told me back in November of 2008 when I was working against Mitch McConnell the country would change but I would have to wait longer for radical change I wanted to see I would have told you that you were nuts.  The country as I saw it as a brash, green 25 year old was ready to usher in a new left leaning country, but I would have to wait.

And wait I have...  In the summer of 2009 I sat through the great recession like most of the rest of the country.  Absorbing an electoral advantage neither mainstream American party had since since the Democrat's supermajority during Lyndon Johnson's Presidency.  And in 2009 I don't think anyone on the left was foreseeing the Republican wave in 2010 that would pull us into current state we're in.

Eric Cantor got knocked off the evening of Tuesday June 10th 2014, the first time a majority leader in the house that has been toppled in a primary in 115 years.  But the Republicans are taking the wrong message from this win, and while they've won a few battles recently, they're certainly losing the war.

Whites quite simply are going to lose majority status by 2043, they're already the majority in California.  But poor John Boehner can't keep the GOP alive because of a radical low tax, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, pro-rich base, and after Tuesday they sure as hell aren't going to touch immigration reform now.

You won't have to wait till 2043 to see the Dems route the R's over and over again in statewide elections.  If 2012 was any indication -- the Dems have a solid political coalition made up of non-whites, women, white liberals and a giant percentage of Millennials.  Millennials -- literally, the most pro-democracy, liberal generation of any generation.  Look at the polling, it's simply staggering.

And contrary to the old expression conservatives love to throw around convinced those on the left eventually go to the right, "Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains."  Yeah, well, turns out that's total bullshit.

And the re-branding known as Libertarianism won't save them either.  94% of them are white males.  But the GOP/Tea Party won't understand any of this, or can't.  All they'll hear is something along the lines of, "the country loves our message, we just have to get a little louder!"

Friday, June 6, 2014

David Simon (The Wire, Treme, Generation Kill) sums up American life

This is one of the most amazing pieces I've seen in a long time, transcript below the video:

The Guardian: There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show

"America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It's astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.

There's no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know. But there might as well be. We've somehow managed to march on to two separate futures and I think you're seeing this more and more in the west. I don't think it's unique to America.

I think we've perfected a lot of the tragedy and we're getting there faster than a lot of other places that may be a little more reasoned, but my dangerous idea kind of involves this fellow who got left by the wayside in the 20th century and seemed to be almost the butt end of the joke of the 20th century; a fellow named Karl Marx.

I'm not a Marxist in the sense that I don't think Marxism has a very specific clinical answer to what ails us economically. I think Marx was a much better diagnostician than he was a clinician. He was good at figuring out what was wrong or what could be wrong with capitalism if it wasn't attended to and much less credible when it comes to how you might solve that.

You know if you've read Capital or if you've got the Cliff Notes, you know that his imaginings of how classical Marxism – of how his logic would work when applied – kind of devolve into such nonsense as the withering away of the state and platitudes like that. But he was really sharp about what goes wrong when capital wins unequivocally, when it gets everything it asks for.

That may be the ultimate tragedy of capitalism in our time, that it has achieved its dominance without regard to a social compact, without being connected to any other metric for human progress.

We understand profit. In my country we measure things by profit. We listen to the Wall Street analysts. They tell us what we're supposed to do every quarter. The quarterly report is God. Turn to face God. Turn to face Mecca, you know. Did you make your number? Did you not make your number? Do you want your bonus? Do you not want your bonus?

And that notion that capital is the metric, that profit is the metric by which we're going to measure the health of our society is one of the fundamental mistakes of the last 30 years. I would date it in my country to about 1980 exactly, and it has triumphed.

Capitalism stomped the hell out of Marxism by the end of the 20th century and was predominant in all respects, but the great irony of it is that the only thing that actually works is not ideological, it is impure, has elements of both arguments and never actually achieves any kind of partisan or philosophical perfection.

It's pragmatic, it includes the best aspects of socialistic thought and of free-market capitalism and it works because we don't let it work entirely. And that's a hard idea to think – that there isn't one single silver bullet that gets us out of the mess we've dug for ourselves. But man, we've dug a mess.

After the second world war, the west emerged with the American economy coming out of its wartime extravagance, emerging as the best product. It was the best product. It worked the best. It was demonstrating its might not only in terms of what it did during the war but in terms of just how facile it was in creating mass wealth.

Plus, it provided a lot more freedom and was doing the one thing that guaranteed that the 20th century was going to be – and forgive the jingoistic sound of this – the American century.

It took a working class that had no discretionary income at the beginning of the century, which was working on subsistence wages. It turned it into a consumer class that not only had money to buy all the stuff that they needed to live but enough to buy a bunch of shit that they wanted but didn't need, and that was the engine that drove us.

It wasn't just that we could supply stuff, or that we had the factories or know-how or capital, it was that we created our own demand and started exporting that demand throughout the west. And the standard of living made it possible to manufacture stuff at an incredible rate and sell it.

And how did we do that? We did that by not giving in to either side. That was the new deal. That was the great society. That was all of that argument about collective bargaining and union wages and it was an argument that meant neither side gets to win.

Labour doesn't get to win all its arguments, capital doesn't get to. But it's in the tension, it's in the actual fight between the two, that capitalism actually becomes functional, that it becomes something that every stratum in society has a stake in, that they all share.

The unions actually mattered. The unions were part of the equation. It didn't matter that they won all the time, it didn't matter that they lost all the time, it just mattered that they had to win some of the time and they had to put up a fight and they had to argue for the demand and the equation and for the idea that workers were not worth less, they were worth more.

Ultimately we abandoned that and believed in the idea of trickle-down and the idea of the market economy and the market knows best, to the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought. It's astonishing to me. But it is. People are saying I don't need anything but my own ability to earn a profit. I'm not connected to society. I don't care how the road got built, I don't care where the firefighter comes from, I don't care who educates the kids other than my kids. I am me. It's the triumph of the self. I am me, hear me roar.

That we've gotten to this point is astonishing to me because basically in winning its victory, in seeing that Wall come down and seeing the former Stalinist state's journey towards our way of thinking in terms of markets or being vulnerable, you would have thought that we would have learned what works. Instead we've descended into what can only be described as greed. This is just greed. This is an inability to see that we're all connected, that the idea of two Americas is implausible, or two Australias, or two Spains or two Frances.

Societies are exactly what they sound like. If everybody is invested and if everyone just believes that they have "some", it doesn't mean that everybody's going to get the same amount. It doesn't mean there aren't going to be people who are the venture capitalists who stand to make the most. It's not each according to their needs or anything that is purely Marxist, but it is that everybody feels as if, if the society succeeds, I succeed, I don't get left behind. And there isn't a society in the west now, right now, that is able to sustain that for all of its population.

And so in my country you're seeing a horror show. You're seeing a retrenchment in terms of family income, you're seeing the abandonment of basic services, such as public education, functional public education. You're seeing the underclass hunted through an alleged war on dangerous drugs that is in fact merely a war on the poor and has turned us into the most incarcerative state in the history of mankind, in terms of the sheer numbers of people we've put in American prisons and the percentage of Americans we put into prisons. No other country on the face of the Earth jails people at the number and rate that we are.

We have become something other than what we claim for the American dream and all because of our inability to basically share, to even contemplate a socialist impulse.

Socialism is a dirty word in my country. I have to give that disclaimer at the beginning of every speech, "Oh by the way I'm not a Marxist you know". I lived through the 20th century. I don't believe that a state-run economy can be as viable as market capitalism in producing mass wealth. I don't.

I'm utterly committed to the idea that capitalism has to be the way we generate mass wealth in the coming century. That argument's over. But the idea that it's not going to be married to a social compact, that how you distribute the benefits of capitalism isn't going to include everyone in the society to a reasonable extent, that's astonishing to me.

And so capitalism is about to seize defeat from the jaws of victory all by its own hand. That's the astonishing end of this story, unless we reverse course. Unless we take into consideration, if not the remedies of Marx then the diagnosis, because he saw what would happen if capital triumphed unequivocally, if it got everything it wanted.

And one of the things that capital would want unequivocally and for certain is the diminishment of labour. They would want labour to be diminished because labour's a cost. And if labour is diminished, let's translate that: in human terms, it means human beings are worth less.

From this moment forward unless we reverse course, the average human being is worth less on planet Earth. Unless we take stock of the fact that maybe socialism and the socialist impulse has to be addressed again; it has to be married as it was married in the 1930s, the 1940s and even into the 1950s, to the engine that is capitalism.

Mistaking capitalism for a blueprint as to how to build a society strikes me as a really dangerous idea in a bad way. Capitalism is a remarkable engine again for producing wealth. It's a great tool to have in your toolbox if you're trying to build a society and have that society advance. You wouldn't want to go forward at this point without it. But it's not a blueprint for how to build the just society. There are other metrics besides that quarterly profit report.

The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile. It's a juvenile notion and it's still being argued in my country passionately and we're going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I'm astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?

If you watched the debacle that was, and is, the fight over something as basic as public health policy in my country over the last couple of years, imagine the ineffectiveness that Americans are going to offer the world when it comes to something really complicated like global warming. We can't even get healthcare for our citizens on a basic level. And the argument comes down to: "Goddamn this socialist president. Does he think I'm going to pay to keep other people healthy? It's socialism, motherfucker."

What do you think group health insurance is? You know you ask these guys, "Do you have group health insurance where you …?" "Oh yeah, I get …" you know, "my law firm …" So when you get sick you're able to afford the treatment.

The treatment comes because you have enough people in your law firm so you're able to get health insurance enough for them to stay healthy. So the actuarial tables work and all of you, when you do get sick, are able to have the resources there to get better because you're relying on the idea of the group. Yeah. And they nod their heads, and you go "Brother, that's socialism. You know it is."

And ... you know when you say, OK, we're going to do what we're doing for your law firm but we're going to do it for 300 million Americans and we're going to make it affordable for everybody that way. And yes, it means that you're going to be paying for the other guys in the society, the same way you pay for the other guys in the law firm … Their eyes glaze. You know they don't want to hear it. It's too much. Too much to contemplate the idea that the whole country might be actually connected.

So I'm astonished that at this late date I'm standing here and saying we might want to go back for this guy Marx that we were laughing at, if not for his prescriptions, then at least for his depiction of what is possible if you don't mitigate the authority of capitalism, if you don't embrace some other values for human endeavour.

And that's what The Wire was about basically, it was about people who were worth less and who were no longer necessary, as maybe 10 or 15% of my country is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy. It was about them trying to solve, for lack of a better term, an existential crisis. In their irrelevance, their economic irrelevance, they were nonetheless still on the ground occupying this place called Baltimore and they were going to have to endure somehow.

That's the great horror show. What are we going to do with all these people that we've managed to marginalise? It was kind of interesting when it was only race, when you could do this on the basis of people's racial fears and it was just the black and brown people in American cities who had the higher rates of unemployment and the higher rates of addiction and were marginalised and had the shitty school systems and the lack of opportunity.

And kind of interesting in this last recession to see the economy shrug and start to throw white middle-class people into the same boat, so that they became vulnerable to the drug war, say from methamphetamine, or they became unable to qualify for college loans. And all of a sudden a certain faith in the economic engine and the economic authority of Wall Street and market logic started to fall away from people. And they realised it's not just about race, it's about something even more terrifying. It's about class. Are you at the top of the wave or are you at the bottom?

So how does it get better? In 1932, it got better because they dealt the cards again and there was a communal logic that said nobody's going to get left behind. We're going to figure this out. We're going to get the banks open. From the depths of that depression a social compact was made between worker, between labour and capital that actually allowed people to have some hope.

We're either going to do that in some practical way when things get bad enough or we're going to keep going the way we're going, at which point there's going to be enough people standing on the outside of this mess that somebody's going to pick up a brick, because you know when people get to the end there's always the brick. I hope we go for the first option but I'm losing faith.

The other thing that was there in 1932 that isn't there now is that some element of the popular will could be expressed through the electoral process in my country.

The last job of capitalism – having won all the battles against labour, having acquired the ultimate authority, almost the ultimate moral authority over what's a good idea or what's not, or what's valued and what's not – the last journey for capital in my country has been to buy the electoral process, the one venue for reform that remained to Americans.

Right now capital has effectively purchased the government, and you witnessed it again with the healthcare debacle in terms of the $450m that was heaved into Congress, the most broken part of my government, in order that the popular will never actually emerged in any of that legislative process.

So I don't know what we do if we can't actually control the representative government that we claim will manifest the popular will. Even if we all start having the same sentiments that I'm arguing for now, I'm not sure we can effect them any more in the same way that we could at the rise of the Great Depression, so maybe it will be the brick. But I hope not."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Jack Conway to announce for KY Governor tomorrow

You know him as your AG who supported gay marriage

He ran against Rand Paul in 2010.

He's running for Governor in 2015.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Who are the Libertarianians anyways?

White males.

"Compared to the general population, libertarians are significantly more likely to be non-Hispanic white, male, and young. Nearly all libertarians are non-Hispanic whites (94%), more than two-thirds (68%) are men, and more than 6-in-10 (62%) are under the age of 50."

Stick a fork in the conservative movement, it's done.

There just aren't that many white people to make a difference anymore:

End of story.

The Onion might just be the best news source of our time

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Oh look another polls saying the Republicans are irrevlavent to Millennials


Tick tock... I think that's the sound of the Regan coalition's pace maker:

A major reason young adults are increasingly likely to prefer the Democratic Party is that today's young adults are more racially and ethnically diverse than young adults of the past. U.S. political preferences are sharply divided by race, with nonwhite Americans of all ages overwhelmingly identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic.

Gallup estimates that 54% of 18- to 29-year-olds are non-Hispanic white and 45% nonwhite, compared with 71% non-Hispanic white and 29% nonwhite in 1995, the first full year Gallup measured Hispanic ethnicity.

In 2013, 62% of nonwhite Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were Democrats or Democratic leaners, while 25% were Republicans or Republican leaners. That 37-point Democratic advantage, though sizable, is slightly lower than the average 42-point advantage from 1995 through 2013.

But young adults are not more Democratic solely because they are more racially diverse. In recent years, young white adults, who previously aligned more with the Republican Party, have shifted Democratic. From 1995 to 2005, young whites consistently identified as or leaned Republican rather than Democratic, by an average of eight points. Since 2006, whites aged 18 to 29 have shown at least a slight Democratic preference in all but one year, with an average advantage of three points.

Our hero Elizabeth Warren goes after Sallie Mae and the student loan crisis

Go Liz go!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Elizabeth Warren's new ad on corporate tax rates and out of control student loan debt:

Go Liz go!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Defining Capitalism and Socialism

Monday, March 24, 2014

Destroy Democracy in our system but why Republicans? A quickly changing majority that's why.

What's up with the right trying to kill the 17th Amendment and diminish Democracy in our system you ask?  Weren't they begging to give the entire world Democracy at the point of a bayonet during Bush?

Well if you believe what the Tea Party crowd tells you, it's something along the lines of leaving the power to the states to balance against the Federal Government.  This dirty commie, radical, librul doesn't buy that for a second.

The telling story behind this advocacy lies in some pretty basic numbers, mainly that this country ain't the same old cracker-whiteville it was even just 10 years ago.  America has changed, and in very drastic ways demographically.

Mitt Romney would have won with the American electorate that existed just 10 years ago, Bill O'Reilly hit it on the money election night 2012 in his very own asshole way:

"[I]t's a changing country, the demographics are changing, it's not a traditional America anymore. And there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it and he ran on it.

And, whereby, 20 years ago President Obama would have been roundly defeated by an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney. The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff.

You're going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama and women will probably break President Obama's way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?"

Let's remember, as far as the voters go-- Romney actually outperformed Bush in 2004 as far as the white vote, in fact, 88% of Romney voters were white compared to 58% Bush somehow managed to get in 2004. Though as questionable as 2000 and 2004 were-- ahem voter suppression, cough, cough, 2000 and 2004 were close, very close, but 2008 and 2012 were more or less blowouts, making the scenario seen in Dade County Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004 almost impossible.  It's easier to cheat when it's close.

Think about those numbers for just a second, that's a 30 point jump in white voters for the Republican and Obama "still" crushed Romney at the polls.  That is possible the biggest game changer as far as the history of the American electorate goes, and the right side of the American electorate knows something is very different about the country they grew up in.

The smart ones on the right know what's happening, and the even smarter ones are trying to do something about it--  

Rand Paul to his credit; has been smart enough to hit this situation head on, advocating for an expanded Republican base, and speaking to non-traditional audiences.

Others have gone the opposite route in trying to outright reduce democracy--

In the form of a reorganization of our system to allow states to outright nullify laws they don't care for allowing special status that would eliminate the 'supremacy clause' in the constitution.  There have been calls for a proportionate awarding of electoral votes vs. the general 'winner takes all' and there have been calls to repeal the 17th Amendment, allowing state legislators to vote for their states federal senator instead of a state's citizens.

When Tea Partiers rant about things like 'mob rule' listen for the dog whistle that says-- "Let's change the institutions of government so the new majority can't threaten the wealth of and influence of the minority, Bush failed to give us what we wanted, we tried to change our label, it didn't work and now the country is leaving us and our message behind".

Since Obama's election there's been a loud, concerted effort to try and shift the power from the federal government back to the states, to the last refuge of the radical right.  Mark Levin has been a poster child for this.  Little surprise, the elites hate Democracy for a good reason, people like Levin act on behalf of elite masters believing their interests are tied to his own.  With a 30 year decline in real wages, what do the Republicans really have to lose at this point?  Their policies have crushed our Middle/Working class.

And it's not like the policies of the right are hurting just those on the left, the right's policies suck really bad even for Republicans.  The obsession with minimally regulated markets is almost religious, like, comet coming to take you to heaven religious...

Tea Party people have been railing against the ACA and Medicaid expansion Governor Beshear signed into law by executive order despite it's popularity amongst even people who vote for them (this is headed in a good direction overall by the way).  The healthcare reform law and Medicaid expansion overwhelmingly benefits the very poorest parts of Kentucky which ironically enough votes heavily Republican.  But again, in this game that's a marathon, not a sprint the coming demographics are weighing heavily against the American right.

The bigger states and simple math are running in the left's favor-- Millennials who will compose an estimated 24% of the 2016 election don't care much for the right or their ideas about anything really. "Especially when it comes to the role of government", Millennials want Democracy.

And the bigger states of California and New York, with their bloated budget surpluses, multiculturalism and wonderful example of public transportation are shining like beacons to the rest of the country.  These states are forcing change on the rest of the country by sheer market forces: 

Que 'The Shape of Things to Come', get ready America, this country is going to be more awesome than you can possible imagine, stay tuned:

P.S. COUGH COUGH, There is a ton of evidence that says Millennials would love candidates in 2014 and beyond who would spearhead efforts on student loan relief:

Maybe reinstate the pre-2005 bankruptcy protections?  IBR status for private loans?  Even the private loan industry seems open to it, at least they say they are.