Maureen Dowd, King Kevin vs. Queen Cersei, Nov. 26.
This is an annual holiday tradition for the center-left Dowd, as she relinquishes her entire valuable column space to her ignorant right-wing brother. As we are constantly being informed by Democratic Party-leaning blogs and pundits, no family Thanksgiving dinner is complete without the presence of at least one ignorant right-wing jerk to give us agita. Except mine, of course. My right-wing relatives are either dead and in their graves, or they're permanently banished from my sight. Maureen is game though, and this year Kevin comments as non-factually as humanly possible on all the presidential candidates.)
You seem to be getting your disinformation on Bernie from the Wall Street Journal. You obviously missed the response by economist Gerald Friedman, who's used actual math to prove that HR 676 (Medicare for All) would save $5 trillion over 10 years, because it would get rid of private insurers and also enable lower drug and device prices through the process of negotiation. This is money that would go back into people's pockets until they spend it to stimulate the economy. It would help stop the great carve-out of the middle class! It would be good for businesses, allowing them to invest the ton of money saved from the clutches of a greedy private insurance system back into salaries for a loyal workforce and to expanding their businesses. More here:
Economist Joe Firestone, in his book "Fiscal Myths of the 2016 Campaign" estimates the savings from Medicare for All at as much as $11 trillion over 10 years, when you factor in how it would limit the rise in our current out-of-control health care costs to the level of inflation. His figures are based on the efficiency of Canada's own single payer program.
HR 676 - covering medical, dental, drug therapy, and mental health - is not only humane. It is fiscally responsible.
Health care is a basic human right in every other advanced country.
You don't want America to be unexceptional, do you, Kevin?
Feel the Bern!
Paul Krugman, Inequality and the City, Nov. 30.
In another in a continuing series of increasingly tone-deaf columns, Krugman this go-round summons up his shallow inner Carrie Bradshaw to kvetch how cool and hip, but expensive, New York City is getting to be. But the Mayor is aware of income disparity, by golly, and Krugman himself vows to return to the lesser people's housing difficulties in another column, someday. Today, though, it's all about gentrification being a glass half-full (of Dom Perignon, presumably.)
While Mayor de Blasio "understands" that the less well off are being driven out by high rents, and housing policy is a subject that Prof. Krugman says he "has to return to another day," the people affected certainly aren't twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the elites to do something or say something on their behalf.
The Movement for Justice in El Barrio, a grassroots coalition, has been fighting against gentrification and the expulsive forces of global capitalism for years now. And the mayor's plan to build luxury housing in East Harlem would force people out of neighborhoods they've called home for generations.
"Affordable" as defined by the mayor is an income between $46,620 and $62,150 for a family of three. Yet, the median income for a family of three in East Harlem is only $33,600. Since families and small businesses would be driven out by his plan, they're demanding that existing housing and small businesses be left intact.
They've presented a 10-point plan to "prevent El Barrio from becoming a gold mine for large corporations and a paradise for the rich."
So far, their proposal has fallen on deaf official ears. But the protests will continue. The civil rights song "We Shall Not Be Moved" is both a blast from the past, and a blast of fresh air overcoming the stench of an oligarchy gone wild.
David Brooks, The Green Tech Solution, Dec. 1.
Without mentioning Bill Gates by name, Brooks dutifully echoes the green energy marketing ploy of America's godzillionaire and self-anointed policy guru. (see yesterday's post.) Instead, Brooks pretends to be inspired by Alexander Hamilton, the founding father of American banking and now a resurrected hip-hop musical sensation on Broadway. Brooks says the Republicans are pretend-stoopid for not believing in climate change, when there is so much money to be made in pretend-climate amelioration!
At the Paris summit, world leaders are spending at least as much time strategizing over wars in Syria and elsewhere as they are over climate change amelioration. While they're all preening for their photo-ops and spouting their platitudes, another group of global bigwigs is gathering in Brussels to plot the secretive Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP).
According to documents obtained by the Guardian, climate change cover-up artist Exxon Mobil has been given "unique access" to the sessions. The company is providing input on how to circumvent/repeal US law, establish ties with cooperative US government officials, and hoodwink the public and environmental groups so as to grease the skids for the now-banned export of US fossil fuels to Europe.
Should the TTIP pass, the ensuing liberalization of oil and gas trade would dramatically spike global emissions and feed Big Oil's profits to even more grotesque proportions. Some of these profits, as we well know, go into the campaign coffers of the American congress critters who do industry's bidding and vote against legislation and treaties attempting to halt climate change.
He wasn't a founding father, but I'll go with Abraham Lincoln:
"The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity."
Parul Sehgal, The Profound Emptiness of 'Resilience,' Dec. 1. I loved this magazine piece about neoliberal buzzwords and class/racial privilege. Readers know that I have long mocked President Obama's obsession with this exact dog-whistling propaganda phraseology in order to justify war, austerity, the New Economy, and crapification in general. Thanks to the hard work, sacrifice, grit and determination of the American people, we are able to oppress a whole nation full of docile sheep and greatly reward and expand an unprecedented oligarchic ruling class to make America Great Again has been the subliminal theme-song of many a campaign speech and Saturday address by Big Guy.
This was a joy to read, because Resilience and its mawkish cousin, Grit, have been my pet peeves for years.
They are neoliberal-speak for "Get used to it, plebs, because you are so, so screwed."
Last week it was moralizing pundit David Brooks who applauded survivors of war and terror as having that certain resilience that enables them to bounce back stronger than ever. If perchance you can't bounce back, then there must be something wrong with you.
Last year, President Obama announced a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. May the best Apocalypse with the most smiley-face emojis win!
And from his second Inaugural:
is generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. (Applause.) An economic recovery has begun. (Applause.) America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together. (Applause.)"
Whenever I feel that dread Resilience gremlin approaching, I immediately seize it before it gets the chance to attack me.
Resilience is the civic passivity that lulls us into voting for a pre-vetted candidate every four years while pretending that we still live in a democracy.
Embrace your rage, and live to tell the tale.