March 13th, 2013
Why you shouldn’t take Rand Paul’s anti-drone filibuster seriously:
In short, a lot of commentators appear to have fallen for the old “Serious People are bipartisan” appeal again. Paul’s schtick was about bunker-dwellers’ fears that the government plans to hunt them down, kill them, and steal their stash of freeze-dried shelter foods / impressive collection of Anime porn. If a president wanted to do that – and again, god only knows why they would – the ability to use a drone would be irrelevant.
So Rand Paul is basically just being the typical Paultard, inveighing against the government’s plans to kill us all and round us up into camps and whatever else Alex Jones sees when he closes his eyes at night. No, we should not cheer him on for that.
Categories: US politics, War on Terror
March 6th, 2013
Dean Baker on Obama’s quest to sound serious and how it harms ordinary people:
In societies across the globe, men demonstrate their manhood in different ways. There are many wonderful tracts on the topic. However, in the culture of Washington DC, the best way to demonstrate your manhood is to express your willingness to cut Medicare and Social Security. There is no better way to be admitted into the club of the Very Serious People.
This is the reason that we saw White House spokesman Jay Carney tell a press conference. He told the reporters that President Obama is still willing to cut Social Security benefits by using the chained CPI as the basis for the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). This willingness to cut the benefits of retirees establishes President Obama as a serious person in elite Washington circles.
Categories: Poverty, US politics
March 4th, 2013
What they teach you in England if you have to go on one of those mandatory re-education classes for the unemployed: how to wipe your bum.
Categories: Crisis? What Crisis?, Life under Capitalism, Tories, UK politics
February 6th, 2013
Eleven years of non-stop war later and the US political establishment is as moronic as ever:
Instead of doing penance every single day for the rest of their natural lives for the deaths of 4,422 Americans and, according to a survey from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the deaths of at least 650,000 Iraqis, the architects and principal advocates of the Iraq war angrily brayed for more: more aggression, bigger military, more wars. And the non-neo conservatives, the ones who’ve been proven definitively right by history, seemed to just meekly nod along. The DNC didn’t even issue a press release all day. And so all the lessons that could have been learned are unlearned.
Categories: Anti-war, US Foreign Policy, US politics, War on Afghanistan, War on Iran, War on Iraq
February 5th, 2013
The crybaby party whinges about not getting enough respect from the president they despise:
So, let me get this straight. Republicans spent Obama’s first term on a scorched-earth campaign, hoping to destroy his presidency and nearly everything he proposed. GOP leaders met privately exactly four years ago yesterday to plot their comeback by obstructing the president wherever possible, and refusing to compromise with Obama on literally anything, even when he embraced Republican ideas — and then they executed that plot without hesitation or shame.
After Obama received another endorsement from the American electorate, members of the shrinking Senate minority heard the president offer a robust defense of his governing vision, and their first reaction is … it lacked “outreach” to the other side?
Categories: '08/12 Election, Grand Old Paedophilia Party, US politics
January 17th, 2013
Teenagers with no prospects, no money, no job, education or place to go to other than the night buses, but they’re the lucky ones:
Official statistics on bussing don’t seem to exist, despite a lot of research. However, I did speak to two children’s charities that were very aware of the extreme measures exiled teenagers were taking to stay off the street, particularly at night. “There are so many teenagers in peril,” said one charity worker, “that the ones who have an Oyster card, a jacket, even a place to go for a few hours in the day to change or sleep won’t be seen as a priority by the government, social workers or indeed charities.”
That’s the Britain that New Labour, the LibDems and Tories have build.
Categories: Poverty, UK politics
January 4th, 2013
Sadly, No is frustrated about the ongoing failure to curb gun violence:
And on that note, what the fuck is up with that goddamn impulse. Every fucking time there’s one of these shootings, we inevitably circle around to only talking about how to make life more miserable, regulated, and abusive for the victims. How there need to be armed security guards, locked and barred doors, mandatory metal detectors, armed teachers, 12-year-olds hiding in sniper nests… All the things that don’t actually make the kids safer, but do disproportionately get used to punish non-conformity.
All because it is simply inconceivable that we could in any slight, minor, infinitesimal way inconvenience the people who ACTUALLY COMMIT THESE MURDERS.
Categories: Civil liberties, US politics
January 2nd, 2013
David Atkins articulates Obama’s core dilemma:
But no one should delude themselves into believing that if he were, the Republicans would be intimidated and stand down. Quite the contrary. We are in uncharted waters, an era unprecedented since the Civil War in which one side is willing to let the country burn down in order to achieve its goals. Californians already know this well, having been forced into perpetual fiscal crises by a bare 1/3 Republican remnant in each chamber. Even as Republicans continued to slowly lose ground and seats, the vast majority of the caucus remained entrenched, fearing only opposition from the right. They were more than happy to let the Democratic-controlled state slip into chaos in order to get their way. California Democrats were left in the ugly position of making a series of Sophie’s Choices, determining only which children to shoot to appease the tiny Republican minority. In an era of perpetual and consequence-free hostage taking, the only calculation that matters is which hostages to save and which ones to shoot.
Categories: US politics, Wingnuts
January 2nd, 2013
Mark Fisher argues that mental health cannot be considered in isolation from our society as a whole and how the economic depression helps cause and worsen mental depression:
It would be facile to argue that every single case of depression can be attributed to economic or political causes; but it is equally facile to maintain – as the dominant approaches to depression do – that the roots of all depression must always lie either in individual brain chemistry or in early childhood experiences. Most psychiatrists assume that mental illnesses such as depression are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, which can be treated by drugs. But most psychotherapy doesn’t address the social causation of mental illness either.
The radical therapist David Smail argues that Margaret Thatcher’s view that there’s no such thing as society, only individuals and their families, finds “an unacknowledged echo in almost all approaches to therapy”. Therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy combine a focus on early life with the self-help doctrine that individuals can become masters of their own destiny. The idea is “with the expert help of your therapist or counsellor, you can change the world you are in the last analysis responsible for, so that it no longer cause you distress” – Smail calls this view “magical voluntarism”.
Categories: Health, Life under Capitalism
January 2nd, 2013
Here’s Tom Brokaw making an argument about being rich that drives me nuts, courtesy of The Atlantic Wire:
I think this deal will probably get done around the middle class tax cut. It’s at what level. Is it $400,000 or $250,000 or some other number, which is going to be critically important? A lot of people don’t realize in the large urban and suburban areas of America, $250,000 doesn’t make you rich. You’ve got two kids in college at $60,000. If you’re a boomer, you may have a dependent parent of some kind you’re spending another $20-25,000 on. So we have to have the definition of what is the middle class.
You can’t calm you’re not rich or affluent, just because you chose to spent your money. That you can afford to live in an expensive area actually means you’re richer than most other people, not that you’re just as poor just because you’re spending so much on your house. Similarly, being able to afford sending two kids to college out of your own pocket? That’s what being wealthy gets you. Just because you made “virtuous” choices about how to spent your money you don’t become poor or middle class. If you’re poor or middle class you don’t have that choice.
Categories: Life under Capitalism