Thursday, March 22, 2012 Monday, February 27, 2012

On Populism


Populism is afoot in the land.

Populism, taken simply, is a political ideology grounded in the belief that some elite somewhere runs things for their own good, inevitably screwing the deserving groups of society. Populist movements occur when groups of people band together seeking to overthrow this elite in the name of the “people.”

But it turns out the story is more complicated than that. Populism comes in at least two varieties: left-wing populism and right-wing populism. They share important features in common, but differ in politically significant ways.

Left-wing populists believe that society is unjustly run by an elite of corporate and wealthy persons in cooperation with their enablers in government. This cabal of “bad guys” systematically screws over the mass of people—poor, working and middle class people just trying to make a living, build good lives through access to things like public schools and affordable higher education, and enjoy the fruits of labor over the whole course of their lives.

Sound familiar? It should: I’ve just summarized the populist part of the Occupy movement.

Right-wing populism shares a skepticism of government with left-wing populism, but holds a very different group of people accountable for society’s ills. In right-wing populism, the bad guys are society’s unproductive, undeserving groups (the poor, public employees, and others who live on the public dole) along with their enablers in government. This cabal of bad people works to take money from deserving, productive people (the employed and yes, even corporations and the wealthy) to give it to people who have demonstrated their failure as people in the fact of their needing or asking for help.

Welcome to tea party America.

So it turns out that leftists and rightists share a lot in common in American politics. They both sense the good people of society are being screwed over by the bad people of society. They just define each group differently.

Need final proof? Check out the picture at the bottom of this post: it is a mashup of signs from tea party rallies and anarchist rallies against the G-20 and globalization.They say politics makes strange bedlfellows … and this time, they’re right.


Friday, February 17, 2012

It’s over for the Tea Party.


It’s over for the Tea Party.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How the GOP Tries to Transform America into a Selfish, Souless Place
In the spirit of their self-centered mentor Ayn Rand, Republicans are trying to disfigure America so she resembles Pottersville, the ‘bankers town’ in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” READ MORE 


How the GOP Tries to Transform America into a Selfish, Souless Place

In the spirit of their self-centered mentor Ayn Rand, Republicans are trying to disfigure America so she resembles Pottersville, the ‘bankers town’ in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” READ MORE


Wednesday, October 12, 2011
One of the two major American political parties has been taken over by its most vicious and reckless element. The Southern racists of the old Democratic Party, defenders of lynch mobs, were a nasty bunch to be sure, but they didn’t run the national Party, nor could they win its presidential nomination for one of their own. The first Southerner nominated by Democrats since the Civil War was a champion of civil rights and of government aid to the poor. He was so hated by the Southern conservatives that they left the Democratic Party and joined the Republican, where they acquired instant influence. Their descendants are the backbone of the Tea Bagger movement. The Baggers’ rise is not due solely to their own aggressiveness, though they have plenty of that. They’ve formed an alliance with the corporations, who need footsoldiers for the class warfare they wage relentlessly. The corporations pay the Baggers to fight against their own best economic interests – fairer taxation, better health care, higher wages – and the Baggers are willing as long as they’re also allowed to harass people of the wrong race or religion or nationality or sexual inclination. They’re happily hateful.

Arkansas Times (via azspot)

All of this. The old Dixiecrats have reared their ugly heads again.

(via timekiller-s)

Honestly I think this is overly simplistic and it ignores how educational disenfranchisement goes hand in hand with classism in the U.S. I’m not suggesting that education makes people less racist, sexist, heterosexist, etc. But generally speaking, I do feel like there is an issue of class that people often ignore when it comes to the Tea Party. I feel it is less that the “Baggers” of poorer backgrounds are willing to hate in exchange for being paid for by corporations — I really and honestly believe many of them have been taught internalised classism. American values encourage classism. It encourages the idea that poor people are poor because they haven’t worked hard enough. Poor whites without access to education that could help them not only overcome their issues with class but expand their horizons and challenge the racism that they have been brought up with are exploited by these corporations who use their ignorance as a means for getting them to ignore the economic policies they hold. After all, if you’re a poor person who’s working your ass off in a shit job for 40 hours a week, you’re not given the educational tools to deconstruct your oppression, you don’t know why you’re working so hard for so little, and a nice man in a suit comes along and says, “It’s cause those other welfar-ing poor people are taking your money”, I feel like you’re apt to believe that because you don’t know WHY ELSE you’re stuck. Now don’t get me wrong, classism does not excuse racism and heterosexism, but to simplify that Baggers as just hateful, ignorant bands of white racists without addressing the issue of class and the exploitation that is going on… I feel that’s a classist disservice.

(via mirkwood)

Sunday, September 25, 2011 Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Quoth Bender: “Well, we’re boned.”

Watch Mitt Romney try TRY to pander to the Tea Party and you tell me that the Republicans still have the Republican Party. 



Quoth Bender: “Well, we’re boned.”

Watch Mitt Romney try TRY to pander to the Tea Party and you tell me that the Republicans still have the Republican Party. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


Rep. John Fleming’s “By the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over” quote is running around the Internet faster than Tea Partiers applaud executions and curse freedom-hating uninsured folk.

The quote wasn’t quite that straight-forward, which was pointed out by Tumblr user fochaux.

While people are quick to disregard this quote as out of context - though not as quick to Political Wire was to pull this statement out of context - I have yet to see anyone actually provide the full context. So here you go.

Chris Jansing: Is there a real disconnect with most of America that’s really hurting, Congressman, and we’re seeing through loopholes… through funny accounting… through all the ways that people have money to hire accountants - spend a fraction percentage-wise… give the government a fraction of their income… compare to what middle America does?

Rep. John Fleming: Again, if you go after the higher income earner, you’re also going after the job creators.

Jansing: Okay, explain this to me, because I’m truly trying to figure this out. I’m not an economist, I don’t own businesses and I know that you do. But aren’t we talking about taxing people who are making personally - their personal wealth - a million dollars and more a year? How does that hurt them from their business which is successful… and we know that businesses are making more money than they have been in a very long time when you look at the corporate earnings - 

Fleming: Yes, right.

Jansing: How does that stop them from hiring people?

Fleming: The answer is no for two reasons. Number one: this actually raises taxes on those making $200,000 and more, and then an additional tax on those making $1 million and more. Most small businesses in this country today are taxed at the individual level - S corporation, LLC. So whatever is cut out of those earnings is money taken out of capital for re-investment for creating more jobs, opening up more locations. So the more you tap that down, the less jobs are going to be created - 

Jansing: But that’s still separate from their own personal income.

Fleming: No, no, it’s all mixed together.

Jansing: Well you can’t use - you still have to file a personal income tax. If you’re taking a salary from a business you own, those taxes are separate from your own personal income taxes.

Fleming: No that really isn’t how it works, Chris. What happens is, in my own case - I own LLCs - the income flows to my personal tax return and whatever is left over after taxes are paid, I feed my family on the one hand and on the other hand I re-invest in my business.

Jansing: Well, with all due respect Congressman, the Wall Street Journal estimated that your business - which I believe are Subway sandwich shops and UPS stores, very successful - brought you last year over $6 million.

Fleming: Yeah, that’s before you pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment and food. The actual net income of that was only a mere fraction of that amount. 

Jansing: So you’re saying that if you have to pay more in taxes, you would get rid of soem of those employees? Those are not as successful business as we indicated?

Fleming: I would say that since my net income - and again that is the individual rate that I told you about - the amount that I have to re-invest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million. And so by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment, all of that.

Jansing: You do understand Congressman that the average person out there who’s making 40, 50, 60 thousand dollars a year… when they hear that you only have $400,000 left over… it’s not exactly a sympathetic position. You understand that?

Fleming: Well again, class warfare has never created a job. That’s people that will not get jobs. This is all about creating jobs, Chris. This is not about attacking people who make certain incomes. In this country, most people feel that being successful in their business is a virtue, not a vice. And once we begin to identify it as a vice, this country is going down.

The most interesting revelation to come out of this clip is that it apparently takes costs the Congressman $200,000 to feed his family. Even if he more broadly meant it costs him $200,000 to generally support his family, let’s face it: the man is still very, very well off compared to his 46 million neighbors. On the business side - as much as I love to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong - I can’t comment on his $400,000 income because I have no idea what his operational costs are or what his typical expense sheet looks like.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Today, “free to choose” has become “free to die.”

I’m referring, as you might guess, to what happened during Monday’s G.O.P. presidential debate. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”

And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”

The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.

Now, there are two things you should know about the Blitzer-Paul exchange. The first is that after the crowd weighed in, Mr. Paul basically tried to evade the question, asserting that warm-hearted doctors and charitable individuals would always make sure that people received the care they needed — or at least they would if they hadn’t been corrupted by the welfare state. Sorry, but that’s a fantasy. People who can’t afford essential medical care often fail to get it, and always have — and sometimes they die as a result.

The second is that very few of those who die from lack of medical care look like Mr. Blitzer’s hypothetical individual who could and should have bought insurance. In reality, most uninsured Americans either have low incomes and cannot afford insurance, or are rejected by insurers because they have chronic conditions.

So would people on the right be willing to let those who are uninsured through no fault of their own die from lack of care? The answer, based on recent history, is a resounding “Yeah!”

Paul Krugman, writing in today’s New York Times.


(via inothernews)

All of this.

(via cambiaron)