Saturday, April 16, 2011

Intra-party Kabuki: Exercises in feigned anger or anger displacement?

LOL at D legacy party conflict kabuki.

“I have been very disappointed in the administration to the point where I’m embarrassed that I endorsed him,” one senior Democratic lawmaker said. “It’s so bad that some of us are thinking, is there some way we can replace him? How do you get rid of this guy?” The member, who would discuss the strategy only on the condition of anonymity, called the discontent with Obama among the caucus “widespread,” adding: “Nobody is saying [they want him out] publicly, but a lot of people wish it could be so. Never say never.” 
A serious challenge still seems unlikely. One Democrat who has repeatedly criticized Obama but won’t oppose him next year is Dennis Kucinich, the liberal Democrat from Ohio who ran for president in 2008 and reiterated Thursday that he won’t be making another run in 2012.

Kucinich typifies the "left," known as the Progressive Caucus, or pwogs - an elaborate role that currently involves whining about how everyone around the president should "let Obama be Obama" and "ZOMG! We can't let Bachmann win!" These pwogs have the same policy agenda as the rest of the Ds, and in turn the Rs and TPs. In short:
TP: Rs :: Pwogs : Ds.
So when we're talking about intra-party squabbling - surely b/c the illusion of choice b/w the two legacy parties has frayed (hence the proliferation of primaries of incumbents in both legacy parties) - we're not talking about intra-party differences in policy objectives. After all, aren't pwogs going around bragging about RomneyCare?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Shared" Sacrifice, "Deficit Doves," and "Deficit Hawks": MMT for Me, Not for Thee

Via Corrente:

[Pres. Lightbringer:] It's an approach that puts [1] every kind of spending on the table -- but [2] one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future.
Krugman's thin gruelBoth statement #1 and statement #2 cannot be true. If "everything is on the table," then everybody cannot be "protected"; the protection is the outcome of Obama's mad negotiation skillz, and nothing more. And what kind of protection is that? This isn't "balanced" (the new buzzword). It's self-contradictory....
Gotta go, but so far as I can tell, the speech is no more than rhetorical cover for a neo-liberal assault on the bottom 99%. But then, it is an Obama speech...
NOTE * Notice how the 9 word platform is better in every respect:
1. Medicare for All
2. End the Wars
3. Tax the rich
#1 Medicare for all, for example, would save $350 billion a year, so that's a trillion in four years, with better outcomes. And #2 End the wars will save a heck of a lot more money than whatever timid tinkering the Ds will do (which will not include #3Tax the rich, no matter the kabuki that's lavished on it.)
And that's before we get to a Jobs Guarantee (that should be #4, an 11 word platform) that will put America back to work and solve our fiscal problems, such as they are, the American way....
Booman thinks it's a great speech ("Wow"), especially for the way it "took progressives to task."The Obama 527 Formerly Known As Daily Kos has a roundup; you'll notice it runs the gamut from A to B: That is, from deficit hawk to deficit dove. Not a deficit owl(MMTer) in sight. Meaning the Ds are still in firmly in the neo-liberal mindset that's killing us all. And Susie called her shot. Shocker.
The 4-plank platform [Medicare for All, Dismantle the Empire, Soak the Rich, Jobs Guarantee] rocks. Therefore, don't hold your breath on the Ds adopting it. Look, bro! Sarah Palin!
On to the bolded nugget: One can already identify the parameters of this "debate." "Deficit hawks" - those mean-meanies in the TP [call the whaaa-mbulance!] and "moderates" from both legacy parties - will argue that b/c we have a "deficit" of ZOMG! eleventy quadzillion dollarz, so we must privatize SS/Medicare NOW NOW NOW. The "deficit doves" - as human resources dept. for "deficit hawks," incl. our "friends" from MoveOn [sign this petition!] and the pwog D caucus ["stand with" Alan Grayson/Russ Feingold...whoops!] - will argue that "Hey, bro, just trust us! Deficits are alright ... for now," though they won't say when it won't be ok or what they'll "cave"[/"capitulate"/become "weak"/defer to their superior "judgement"] on when aforementioned accounting identity/financial ratio exceeds some unspecified threshold. But, duuude! - "everything's on the table" [queue the open-mindedness parade w/ our bro, Jon Stewart!].
One must understand that "both sides" purport to believe that the US isn't sovereign in its own currency, though their actions on bailouts (and future guaranteed bailouts), limitless subsidies to the health-industrial complex, and no-bid contracts to mercenaries for "humanitarian" wars/arms dealing seem contradictory. The federal government *did"print" money for these rentiers, and they did so with no public hand-wringing about inflation. MMT doesn't posit unconstrained "printing" money, as the straw-man argument goes; there's an operational constraint of full-employment (however ultimately operationalized).
If politicians - from the most Amurr'kin TP to the pwoggiest Obot - really believed govt. spending was constrained by revenues/bonds, and their objectives were congruent w/ the General Welfare clause - and not upwardly redistributing wealth in a shock-and-awe heist - they'd simply cap (accumulated) wealth as Huey Long proposed [what a "bitter" "clinger," duuude! bet he'd have voted for wannabe-assassin Hillary Clinton!]. But, of course, we aren't constrained by revenues; instead of "paying" for "spending," taxes function to (1) stave off inflation that might arise for "printing" money (takes heat out of an overheated system), (2) prevent accumulation of wealth that'd otherwise depress demand, and (3) legitimizes the currency (b/c its necessary to pay one's taxes in $, demand for currency doesn't diminish).
But, whatever!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

You don't bat 1.000 (or 0.000) for the season w/o a plan

On D outrage over govt. shut-down kabuki:
In short, since 2006, the Ds have done everything in their power to split their base, adopt R-friendly policies, and relegitimize the R brand. And in 2010, the voters did at least three things: (1) the under-the-bus Ds stayed home; (2) other voters punished the Ds for non-performance; and (3) other Ds voted for the real Rs instead of the faux ones.

In short, the legacy parties have nobody to blame for the shutdown than themselves, but the Ds are more culpable than the Rs. The Rs were and are a known quantity, but and so the Ds worked very hard to make sure they regained as much power as possible.

If you can keep your head when all around you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you....

It's not about Ds being "weak" or "caving," a dangerous assumption if ever there was; you don't bat 1.000 (or 0.000) for the season w/o a plan. If Ds had used their overwhelming mandate to pass a WPA, Medicare for All, reined in the empire, let "too big to fail" banks fail (and their executives do the perp walk) - all overwhelmingly popular - the Rs would've been relegated to something below third party status. Rather, since both legacy parties have the same, exact, identical agenda - funding the rentier class by dispossessing the bottom 99.9% - overwhelmingly unpopular, especially when detached from a partisan context - each party needs the other to perpetuate an illusion of choice amid such policy outcomes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fourteen Months Later...

We've seen more bailouts to the financial rentiers, the health insurance rentiers, the telco rentiers (and the symbiosis that results), the merc rentiers (and consequences thereof), and so on.  We've suffered through the kabuki presentations of Dennis Kucinich, Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold, and Bernie Sanders.  And what did we get?  10% nominal unemployment (25% disemployment)?  TBTF banksters charging us to maintain vanilla checking accounts?  Foreclosure fraud?  Privatization of Social Security and mandates to buy private retirement plans are definitely on the horizon.  Hey, but at least we got DADT, bro!  Pwogs continue to use extortive tactics, status inflation, and niche marketing to complementary cultural niche tribes.

We've got a lot to discuss...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Howdy, y'all! & The Non-Explanation

Welcome to Left In Dixie.  I hope to integrate news, political commentary, extra-political interests, and debate into one accessible site.  Of primary interest, I will be exploring what I believe to be the last stages in takeover of the Democratic Party by corporate interests.

As Arianna Huffington has described the bank bailouts, Democrats and Republicans--in the sort of bipartisan spirit for which the corporate media longs--socialized the risk and privatized the profits--amounting to lemon socialism.  Obama™ and Congressional Democrats took single-payer, or at least the notion of a public option leading toward single-payer, off of the table from the beginning so as to weaken their bargaining position.

One can look at the bank bailouts, the stimulus package, the climate change legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act, and health care reform as evidence of political ineptitude or weakness on the part of Democratic politicians.  Such explanations don't strike me as being true.  However, there are numerous counterexamples of Democratic tenacity.  The Obama™ campaign had no problem portraying Hillary Clinton and her supporters as racists.  And despite their protestations on the contrary, the administration, its congressional allies, much of the party apparatus, and those "liberal" stalwarts in the media (like Chris Matthews) have taken part in a campaign to disparage the South as uniformly parochial.  These members of the "creative class" wring their hands at their supposedly helpless state of electoral dominance and an enormously patient public, having to contend with the joke that is their partisan opposition, but jump ship when it comes to actual leftist policy outcomes--even those supposed "progressives" (this word will be the subject of a later entry) we thought we could count on.  Fists come out swinging and the "creative class" opens its wallets (I guess they have more now that they're not shopping at Whole Foods!) as formidable opponents like Joe Wilson and Glenn Beck make fools of themselves.  The "progressives" aren't afraid to fight in such instances.  They do so with a political savvy embodied in pressuring companies to cease sponsorship of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, ActBlue pages to raise millions for a conservative Democratic opponent to Joe Wilson, and health care rallies where no ultimatums are made and no insurance/pharmaceutical companies are designated as the enemy.

In short, we have reasons to suspect that policy outcomes and rhetoric coming from the Democratic Congress and Obama™ administration are NOT the result of weak knees or lack of political savvy.  We will explore an alternative explanation in a future posts.