December 31, 2007 § Leave a comment
Krugman on differences between parties.
Aside from the logical problem here — if tax cuts increase revenue, why do they need to be offset? — even a cursory look at what Mr. McCain said at the time shows that he’s trying to rewrite history: he actually attacked the Bush tax cuts from the left, not the right. But he has clearly decided that it’s better to fib about his record than admit that he wasn’t always a rock-solid economic conservative.
So what does the conversion of Mr. McCain into an avowed believer in voodoo economics — and the comparable conversions of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani — tell us? That bitter partisanship and political polarization aren’t going away anytime soon.
There’s a fantasy, widely held inside the Beltway, that men and women of good will from both parties can be brought together to hammer out bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems.
If such a thing were possible, Mr. McCain, Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani — a self-proclaimed maverick, the former governor of a liberal state and the former mayor of an equally liberal city — would seem like the kind of men Democrats could deal with. (O.K., maybe not Mr. Giuliani.) In fact, however, it’s not possible, not given the nature of today’s Republican Party, which has turned men like Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney into hard-line ideologues. On economics, and on much else, there is no common ground between the parties.
As outlines in GardenWorld, yes, but this is the leadership. The voters are much more similar. Party dynamics and the press focus on differences, not similarities, deal with little issues, not big ones.
Is this a resource for the next president, or a problem?
WaPo – In the Pentagon’s newly expanded Special Operations office, a suite of sterile gray cubicles on the “C” ring of the third floor, Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael G. Vickers is working to implement the U.S. military’s highest-priority plan: a global campaign against terrorism that reaches far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Defense officials once jokingly described Michael Vickers as being in charge of the “take-over-the-world plan.”
December 31, 2007 § 1 Comment
Corporations have long insisted that globalization delivers prosperity. But a report commissioned by the Financial Services Forum, an association of CEOs of 20 major financial firms, admits that most benefits have gone to a select few. International operations increasingly account for most sales and business conducted by multinational firms, writes David Wessel for the Wall Street Journal. But workers in developed nations have increasing job insecurity. If benefits bypass ordinary workers, resentment could prompt US legislators to restrict international trade. A huge income gap is unnecessary for the US: The report recommends higher taxes for those gaining the most from globalization, protecting the tax base in communities facing factory closures, and a guarantee of health care and training opportunities for all workers. The association warns that growing inequality threatens overall US prosperity and released the report to candidates for the 2008 US presidential election. But the warning may be too late, with politicians chasing after votes and surveys reporting that more than two-thirds of Americans anticipate that their children’s lives will be worse off than their own. – YaleGlobal
December 31, 2007 § Leave a comment
When questioned about the date of the end of the world, Jesus Christ said it was a well guarded secret that God the Father kept to Himself (Mt. 24:36).
From Scott Horton No Comment (Harper’s Magazine)
What the Jamie Leigh Jones Case Teaches Us
Prepared remarks delivered before a hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary on December 19, 2007.
Is America establishing a culture of impunity among its contractors operating in areas of armed conflict? This is the question which a proliferation of reports out of Iraq invites. When I addressed this committee on June 25, I noted that there was a troubling potential that certain categories of contractors would escape accountability altogether because of some issues that exist with the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. I also noted concern that the Department of Justice might not be giving sufficient resources and priority to its enforcement responsibilities over contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately all those concerns have been borne out.
December 30, 2007 § Leave a comment
Money. what is it? From moneta, lain rome for memosyne, memory, mother of the muses, in Greek.
Money as both managed and community memory. “Money is many things.”
Thinking of Bhutto and how hard she worked at networking.
From Kevin Drum
December 29, 2007 § Leave a comment
Participation and democracy on one side
Governance and response to issues on the other
Representation and the nation state. Sovereignty. the peoState of the World 2008ple. Money. Land.
The role of money power in holding it all together.
We are becoming conscious of this whole process, perhaps the way early humans reacted to ice age.
By Elisabeth Rosenthal
Monday, December 17, 2007
ROME: In an “unforeseen and unprecedented” shift, the world food supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring to historic levels, the top food and agriculture official of the United Nations warned Monday.
The changes created “a very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food,” particularly in the developing world, said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
The agency’s food price index rose by more than 40 percent this year, compared with 9 percent the year before – a rate that was already unacceptable, he said. New figures show that the total cost of foodstuffs imported by the neediest countries rose 25 percent, to $107 million, in the last year.
At the same time, reserves of cereals are severely depleted, FAO records show. World wheat stores declined 11 percent this year, to the lowest level since 1980. That corresponds to 12 weeks of the world’s total consumption – much less than the average of 18 weeks consumption in storage during the period 2000-2005. There are only 8 weeks of corn left, down from 11 weeks in the earlier period.
Prices of wheat and oilseeds are at record highs, Diouf said Monday. Wheat prices have risen by $130 per ton, or 52 percent, since a year ago. U.S. wheat futures broke $10 a bushel for the first time Monday, the agricultural equivalent of $100 a barrel
from a friend
Maharaji had given Ram Dass two instructions: love everyone, and tell the truth. If Ram Dass felt hate for someone and told the truth, that was not acceptable. “Tell the truth and love everyone,” the guru said. What I felt in Maui was how far Ram Dass has moved in developing the capacity to love every soul.
This interview is first rate. More progress on language for Iraq State of the World 2008
When I say the Americans cannot succeed, I am not saying that this can be done without the Americans. It has to be done with the Americans. You cannot ignore a party to this mess which has 150,000 soldiers. They [the Americans] used to tell me–when I told them to get the neighbors together and talk–We ask them, we are begging them, but they refuse. I told them why they are refusing is that you are telling them, Come and help us implement our policy. They are too polite to say, Your policy is rotten. So they just say, No, No, No. But if you tell them, Let’s sit down and work out a policy together, because we accept that our policy has failed, then it’s a different proposition.
December 28, 2007 § Leave a comment
Corporations are organized for profit despite their wider impacts. they want to draw in complex sources they don’t pay for (educated workers, national infrastructure, environment, governance, and wars) and spit simplified out profit and product. Corporations are simplification machines. Corporations, instead of meeting social needs, develop products that meet needs of isolated individuals and other corporations. The problem was the dropping of the charter provisions and the emergence of “corporate persons”.
Some want, as I am hearing it so far, to minimize the importance of these. (Note the final figures on Christmas spending.)
I would escalate, not minimalize, the importance of what we are discussing: The impact of GE on weapons markets and war policy. The impact of energy companies of national infrastructure decisions. the impact of the federal reserve (not a government agency but owned by the banks) on wealth distribution. The impact of Boeing on politics by making sure they have production facilities in most congressional districts (hey congressperson, Jobs), the impact of the car companies on energy policy (recent visits to Cheney. they can get in but I can’t).
The result is that the corporate/ financial/ wealth holding constituency is taking the country in a direction that serves them but not history. The country is being trashed and moved towards fear and ultimately war with China, Russia, or at least Venezuela. We are really facing the full power of the military industrial complex (I would add government).
Along the way we have had torture, and unbelievable demonstrations of stupidity and lack of education, from soldiers in the field, through congress, to the white house. The lack of simple knowledge in the ME, the impossible support for Israel, ignorance of the British history in the area, or the Crimean war or…
This is unacceptable.
Talk of social security? All the funds have been “borrowed” with no way to pay them back. Social security is a good idea.
If I pay interest to a bank and the bank pays a dividend, how is that showing up as interest earned? Isn’t it dividend income?
How far will the Bhutto assassination be used to argue for a militant policy? Those who know about the ME, with the exception of the ones arguing for a US-Israel siamese twin connection) are against militarization.
There may be a larger strategic game to play, but we haven’t the diplomatic and country knowledge to pursue such a strategy.
The future looms large and we have become too stupid to meet it without a paroxysm of fear and I fear a final tantrum of militarism. The corporations (large, for the most part) are the keystone of this development. Unfortunately.
Perhaps we need to blame the enlightenment with its emphasis on a “rational” logic that features the fate of things rather than people. Perhaps the rise of the nation state as an instrument of investment and control of labor movement. Perhaps technology is the driver towards a world we regret, like bacteria in an agar dish, reproducing and eating till it runs to the edge and the population collapses.
We can do better. We need a vision of a developing humanity and how to be confident we are getting there.
On impact on the third world. Clearly average income can be going up and the percentage in poverty going down, (hey, cheer, vote globalization) while for those left still below the poverty line conditions are deteriorating. The question is, what happens to them and how many are there? And what is happening to the cost of living as it actually is experienced for those who are moving “up” in dollar income but down in things like land possession?
December 26, 2007 § Leave a comment
from a friend
In his context, the net consequence of a major biofuel agenda comes down to intentional genocide. In order to provide marginally more fuel to the over-consuming industrialized nations, untold millions will starve in the third world, in addition to those untold millions that are already starving. The marginal energy gain is so small by comparison, that we must accept that the biofuels agenda is PRIMARILY about genocide. However when we begin reading about new famines breaking out, perhaps in Brazil where biofuels are now going into massive production, the headlines will blame it on droughts, or crop failures, or some other excuse, as they always do. We will meanwhile feel a ‘green glow’ every time we fill up our Prius with biofuels, unaware of what damage we are doing. And perhaps we’ll donate to Oxfam, or adopt some third world child and send them letters.