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letsgetitdone's picture

Is the MSM Blackout on Inequality, Plutocracy, and Oligarchy Ending?

All of a sudden MSNBC cable commentators are talking about plutocracy and oligarchy. Surprisingly, the first occurrence of this I'm aware of was Chuck Todd, reacting on his Daily Rundown show to the spectacle of Republican candidates traveling to Vegas to seek funding from Sheldon Adelson and his group of hugely wealthy Jewish Republican donors. Todd began to explore the implications of that event. He seemed exercised, and more than the slightest bit upset, about its meaning for Democracy and used the words plutocracy and oligarchy. Andrea Mitchell also discussed it later and she, too, registered apparent dismay, while using the “p” and “o” words.

Chris Hayes has been on leave during this period, so we haven't heard from him about this. But Chris Matthews, the “oh so very slightly left-of-center insider” has been making very unfriendly noises about Adelson, the Kochs, and the Supremes, culminating today (April 3rd) with nasty references to plutocrats, oligarchs, and candidates, kissing oligarchs somewhere or other, on both his program and Al Sharpton's. Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: NEJM: ObamaCare delays "appear to exceed the traditional scope of the President's enforcement discretion"

Shorter: They're illegal.* The New England Journal of Medicine, the gold standard:

The Legality of Delaying Key Elements of the ACA
In the administration's view, the delays are a routine exercise of the executive branch's traditional discretion to choose when and how to enforce the law. As the Supreme Court noted in its 1985 decision in Heckler v. Chaney, 1 an executive agency “generally cannot act against each technical violation of the statute it is charged with enforcing.”

Read below the fold...

Start practicing this phrase: "Legitimacy crisis"

Here's an interesting Op-Ed from (of all places) the Providence Journal. Let me start at the end, with the author's qualifications:

David Carlin, a former majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate, is a professor of philosophy and sociology at Community College of Rhode Island.

So, not some goateed hipster doing posters at RISD (not that there's anything wrong with that) before going on to a career in design. This is the kind of guy who gives talks at Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. Here's what he had to say that's key: Read below the fold...

The 0.01% are even screwing the 1%

"Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl"

The Economist's view of 21st century statecraft. The context is the idea that what we see is the "resolution" of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: The vicious boot of the suburban-scale, two-bit, penny-ante Israeli empire on the neck of the suffering Palestinian people and their corrupt, comprador authorities, forever. This is it. This is as good as it gets.

Heck, the world is seeing more and more long-term low-level conflicts between rich, technologically advanced societies and poor, uneducated ones, all along the global borders between north and south. In a few decades, the watchtowers along the West Bank's separation wall may merge with the helicopters hovering over the US-Mexican border, the rubber bullets knocking African refugees off the barbed-wire fences in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, the South African police picking up Zimbabwean migrants and the Australian Navy ships dragging Indonesian boats back towards Sumatra. It will all look like one endless string of flashpoints, up and down the line.

Well, maybe. Read below the fold...

James Galbraith's incredibly lucid review of Piketty's book, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

There are the nut graphs IMSHO:

What is “capital”? To Karl Marx, it was a social, political, and legal category—the means of control of the means of production by the dominant class. Capital could be money, it could be machines; it could be fixed and it could be variable. But the essence of capital was neither physical nor financial. It was the power that capital gave to capitalists, namely the authority to make decisions and to extract surplus from the worker.

Read below the fold...
mellon's picture

My Cautionary Tale about Free Trade Agreements, Healthcare, Presidents, Parties and Lying. Is Everything We've Been Told, Wrong?


[Stickying this because it's important! --lambert]

I'm going to try to write a short piece about a really horrible disconnection that has occurred between the politicians who run the country and its people. The conflict of interest between free trade agreements and the special interests and politicians that enable them, and affordable healthcare. It threatens our country's future and democracy.

Over the last week in several comment threads I've pointed folks to the Nick Skala paper "The potential impact of the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services on health system reform and regulation in the United States" which I think explains a lot that needs to be known in the US about the goals and amoral value system of the so called "free trade agreements". Read below the fold...

Sunset at Pattaya

Went to Pattaya for dinner with another expatriate blogger friend. The sun sets:

And then is set:

Today is my next to the last day in Thailand.... Read below the fold...

Young Owners of Low-Budget GM Cars Weren’t Worth Saving


Michael Moore compellingly writes in “The Price Of Human Life, According To GM”:

The executives at GM knew for 13 years that their cars had a defective ignition switch that would, well, kill people. But they did a "cost-benefit analysis" and concluded that paying off the deceased's relatives was going to be cheaper than having to install a $10 part per car. They then covered up their findings and continued to let millions drive around with the defective part in their cars.

Read below the fold...

I wish!

mellon's picture

SCOTUS Strikes Down Aggregate Limits on Federal Campaign Contributions - This is horrible news.

What the hell is going on in this country?

Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Limits on Federal Campaign Contributions "The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will change and most likely increase the already large role money plays in American politics." Read below the fold...

V. Arnold's picture

Finding Buddha...

Lambert, my wife, and myself went to see a relatively unknown reclining Buddha in Ratchaburi Province, Thailand. Not unusually, we were the only visitors.

The Buddha, and surrounding artifacts, is dated at 521 years old. The length is more than 30 wah ( a wah is an ancient unit of measure, slightly longer than 1 meter).

As is apparent, the reclining Buddha was restored about 3 years ago. A genuine hidden gem, about 40 miles from where we live. Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Premature triumphalism on ObamaCare signup numbers

Apologies for light posting; my flight back to the states is late Friday and I have places to go, people to see, things to do.

That said, I don't see any reason to think the sign-up numbers are any less soft than they have been before; the whole story, with the March 31 (non-)deadline, reeks of constructed narrative. Consider: Read below the fold...

More food pr0n

I always promise myself I'll take a picture when the food comes and then it does, and I forget, and just start eating! Oh well!

Read below the fold...


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