Weekend Update 06-09-2012

Posted: June 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Weekend Update | Comments Off on Weekend Update 06-09-2012

Florida vs. Spain. Just a few tidbits but really lays out the stark contrast and why the Eurozone is fundamentally flawed.

The second chart, in particular, clearly illustrates our current, misguided approach.

We already have the Republican economy they all describe and it’s failing miserably. Well, actually, they want to make it worse by cutting even more essential federal programs and running even larger deficits in order to give larger tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans than they’ve already received — roughly doubling them in fact. All funded by vastly increasing our current deficits (once you remove the magic asterisks and do the actual math) and dismantling medicare, social security, and medicaid. If you vote Republican and your wealth is not measured in the hundreds of millions range, then frankly you’re the mark in their con job. If your wealth does run in the hundreds of millions or you stand to gain from those in that group and you are not standing against recent GOP actions, then you are helping run the con and the health of our country be damned.

Julie Clawson is starting a series on feminism. I certainly like the first post. (I will admit I’m unsure at this point how the descriptor “Christian” relates specifically to feminism. I don’t see any conflict between the two and many points of commonality, but I’m not sure how “Christian” would modify feminism in a particularly unique way.) I have observed the demonization of the word and been bemused by it. Any time anyone has raised the topic, I’ve always said that of course I was a feminist. I want my wife and daughters to have the right to vote, to own property, to have full rights as human beings and not in some sense be the property of their father or husband, to have the right to hold political office (though I would never recommend that path as a career choice personally), to have equal rights to employment, freedom from discrimination, and a whole long list of similar things. And, in truth, I believe many Americans hold similar values and thus are, by any definition, feminists — even if they don’t like the word itself. What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

The Price of Inequality. At the moment, whatever we might call the “American Dream” is effectively dead. It’s still possible to restore it and return to at least something like our classic American values (not counting the previous seriously distorted period in our history — the Gilded Age). But that will not happen if a significant portion of our citizens continue to mentally inhabit what is essentially a fantasy world with little or no connection to our reality. If stagnating income, declining assets, increasing poverty, plummeting health and everything else that inequality is inflicting on us are not able to reconnect people with that reality, then I don’t know what will.  That’s my take, anyway. And I particularly liked this line in the article. “It might not be so bad if there were even a grain of truth to trickle-down economics – the quaint notion that everyone benefits from enriching those at the top.

It’s really sad that the party which championed and established free, universal public primary education and which created the system of land grants and public funding that helped establish our network of public universities and affordable higher education has so utterly abandoned its founding principles. But they’ve done it on race, on education, and on virtually everything the Republican party stood for when it began. I outline in very brief summary some of those Civil War era changes in a little undergraduate paper I once did on the topic. (It’s nothing special, but I’m often surprised how little so many people seem to know about our history.) And frankly, anyone who believes that Abraham Lincoln would be anything but utterly disgusted by the modern GOP has never actually read Lincoln. I would support the party he helped found in a heartbeat if it actually still existed anywhere.

A coup d’etat? Possibly. Propaganda is a powerful tool. We know that from history. Democrats may be betting that conceding 2012 and allowing the GOP to continue their regressive and oppressive policies unabated will fuel a popular revolt. I’m not so sure. Once the iron boot is firmly in place, it can be difficult to lift. Even Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive efforts against the barons of the gilded age took decades to truly take root and flower. It may already be too late. I hope it’s not. I would like my children and grandchildren to have the opportunities that were once a core value of America. But I’m not at all sure they will. Plutocracy used to be a term to describe us churned out by propaganda machines. Unfortunately, we are poised on the precipice of turning that pejorative into our reality. At least, I hope we’re merely poised and have not already done so.

Think of the Children. Yep. I have kids who have been coming into adulthood in this mess. Fortunately, I have developed soon privilege since my poverty-stricken teen parent years and have managed to change quintiles and the current state of American class mobility (virtually none) indicates that may help them. And they are all smart people who have had and will have the opportunity for higher education if that’s the path they choose. Nevertheless, I’m worried about them. And a lot of their friends? Not so fortunate. At all.

The Truth about Taxes. Not that facts seem to matter much today.

Jay Smooth on the Michelle Obama/Beyonce “controversy”. Seriously. It was one. But his response is fantastic.

Peter Weyland — TED2023: I will change the world! Everyone has probably seen this, but if not enjoy! If you have no idea what this is about, then who are you and why are you reading my blog? Just kidding. Maybe. 😉


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