Friday, May 30, 2014
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Daniel Little asks: "Why a War on Poor People?" Why indeed?
American conservatives for the past several decades have shown a remarkable hostility to poor people in our country. The recent effort to slash the SNAP food stamp program in the House (link); the astounding refusal of 26 Republican governors to expand Medicaid coverage in their states -- depriving millions of poor people from access to Medicaid health coverage (link); and the general legislative indifference to a rising poverty rate in the United States -- all this suggests something beyond ideology or neglect.
Monday, September 30, 2013
For 2016, however, it also seems to me that Hillary's time has passed. Not only will she be too old, but she is too compromised with the establishment. Besides, I wonder if she is really progressive enough. So, even if she eventually does find a decent hairdresser, the Democrats would do best to pass her by.
That leaves us the lovely Elizabeth. In the Progressive caucus, I would have preferred Bernie Sanders, but he's obviously perceived as too ideological–I don't know if he's still a fellow member of the Democratic Socialists of America, but he used to be. Besides, he's too old, and we idealists have to realize that purists such as he are rarely effective on the national scene.
That leaves Senator Elizabeth Warren as my current favorite. If she so chooses, she can obviously mobilize the necessary support. Read the whole article:
Populist Left Makes Warren Its Hot Ticket - NYTimes.comMs. Warren’s fiery speech at the national A.F.L.-C.I.O. convention this month set off even more excitement, with some union members standing on their chairs applauding and shouting out to her. And when she joined a MoveOn.org conference call this summer to promote her student loan legislation, 10,000 people got on the line — the liberal group’s biggest audience on any conference call in four years.I don't know where the Times gets off implying that she is a populist. Neither can one characterize her as an ideologue. Rather, she comes across as a pragmatic, down home, ex-Republican, Oklahoma girl, ready to speak truth to power. Perhaps short on ideology, she has at least chosen the right steps on the Progressive path.
Until someone better comes along, let's think seriously about drafting Elizabeth.
Monday, September 23, 2013
At least one world leader is sending the right message. If an agnostic like me can be drawn toward Rome, the Catholic church is starting to have a future again.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Today, thanks to this post in Yves Smith's excellent blog, Naked Capitalism, I remembered a better example: the former Democratic Republic of Germany, when East Germany was still a nominally independent country. Their intelligence agency, the Stasi, developed the most detailed big data base on its citizens that the world has ever known. The Oscar winning German film, "The Lives of Others" shows just how nasty the former East German Government could be in using their big data against their own citizens. It is chilling to read in Smith's usually reliable blog that agents of the US government have allegedly made menaces reminiscent of Stasi tactics against citizens of the United States who have dared question the legality of big data operations.
Additionally, it appears that the whole project is just as futile as it is potentially dangerous to individual freedoms, as the title of this post indicates:
Top National Security Experts: Spying Program Doesn't Make Us Safer, and Spying Leaks Don't Harm America.
By the way, If you haven't seen that film, please buy, rent or download it as soon as possible.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The Price of the Panopticon - NYTimes.com: THE revelation that the federal government has been secretly gathering records on the phone calls and online activities of millions of Americans and foreigners seems not to have alarmed most Americans. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center over the four days immediately after the news first broke found that just 41 percent of Americans deemed it unacceptable that the National Security Agency “has been getting secret court orders to track telephone calls of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism.”So most people aren't very concerned about this yet. But just imagine if such big data capabilities came under the control of an authoritarian government such as Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany. Can't happen in my country? Hopefully not.
Now, think back to the circumstances surrounding Hitler's and Mussolini's rise to power:
- Deep economic depression.
- Resurgent extreme nationalism.
- Strong alliances between big business and government.
- Convergent interests between big business and a professional military establishment.
Does any of this look familiar?