Thursday, January 10, 2013

SAR #13010

Perhaps more technology is not the solution for problems caused by technology.

Fairness Doctrine: The Republicans keep claiming they will not raise the debt ceiling because they have to rein in the President. But the debt, every penny of it,- exists because the Congress - which, much to our chagrin, has had a goodly number of Republican members for a long while - keeps telling the Executive Branch to spend more money than they see fit to raise. In the American system, the different branches of government are designed to act as a check on one another. In this case, Congress (or at least the Republican contingent) are abusing its power by trying to force the country into default. The Executive Branch would be well within its Constitutionally mandated responsibilities if it could find a way to stop this irresponsible behavior. If it takes a platinum $1 trillion coin, so be it.

Wordsmithery: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is getting "off the very fast track for a little while," and that she plans to rest and then serve as an advocate for women and children. The White House would be a good platform for that, no?

Over There: German unions, saying that letting more and more employed people become poor despite being employed is not an option, wants to increase wages “by a significant amount.” The working poor in the US should take notes.

Peer Pressure: The Obama administration reportedly told London that if the British public votes to curtail UK membership in the EU, their usefulness to the US would be severely limited. Actually they said the UK would be “sidelined in the international community.”

Don't Touch That Dial: The American Petroleum Institute insists that it cannot promise a rosy and oily future if the government raises taxes on the oil industry, or imposes new regulations, or takes away any of the billions in subsidies. Do any of those things and they will... do what? Not produce oil and skip those billions in profits? Ha.

Flash Bang: The Administration is considering actually withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in 2014 , instead of just announcing victory and pretending to withdraw the troops. Pakistan certainly hopes so.

When You're Right... Ezra Klein points out that the US does not have a spending problem so much as it has a military spending problem. He's got data and charts and all that.

Worser: Mathematically challenged failed VP candidate Paul Ryan (Troglodyte-WI), warming up for 2014, has reintroduced a draconian bill aimed at curtailing women’s reproductive freedom by designated a fertilized human egg “a person”, with all the rights and privileges thereunto pertaining. It won't pass, but the base will be enthused.

The Wonderful World of Disney, Incorporated: Disney has figured out a way to extract even more money from its hapless visitors. Each will be given a wireless-tracking wristband which will collect the names, ages, spending patterns (and not just at Walt Disney World, for it will be tied to the family credit card and all that implies), the rides and attractions visited and - of course - where they are at all times. Oh, and it will also be their room keys, park pass and payment method. What's not to like?

Sad But True: The Post Office is not actually losing money – it is being strangled to death by unreasonable Republican demands. It is a wholly manufactured crisis as part of their drive to privatize the postal system, one that could easily be resolved by a competently functioning Congress.

The Parting Shot:

130110

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is getting "off the very fast track for a little while,"

That should be a relief to all her victims around the world.

Blissex said...

«more employed people become poor despite being employed is not an option, wants to increase wages “by a significant amount.” The working poor in the US should take notes.»

There is a vast difference in surveys between USA and Germany.

In the USA the poor are labeled as losers, in Germany they are considered unfortunates.

Even more tellingly, the USA attitude that the poor are losers is held mostly by the poor themselves, who either consider all the other poor as losers, and themselves as soon to be rich, or who are consider themselves self-loathing poor.

Even more important is I think the attitude of elites. In the USA elites consider the poor as disposable and obnoxious livestock, in Germany they are considered lower income Germans (the resident Turkish immigrants not so much...).

Also the German elites tend to be loyal to their country and their people, while the USA elites tend to be loyal to their class and church, if at all.

These are very powerful cultural differences, ultimately based on theological differences.

Blissex said...

«In this case, Congress (or at least the Republican contingent) are abusing its power by trying to force the country into default.»

This is extremely unfair.

The House, which is where Republicans were resoundingly elected to a majority, is where fiscal policy is supposed to be made, and if the Republicans who control the House want to play an obstructionist game, the voter can throw them out at the next election.

However they obviously calculate that just like the invasion of Afghanistan, TARP, PATRIOT act, etc. their current policies are popular with a majority of voters and help them win elections.

There is a popular myth that attributes magical powers to the President as to fiscal policy, but the Presidency is about carrying out the policy legislated by the House and endorsed by the Senate.

The myth has happened largely because the President is also in effect the leader of his party and if the House is controlled by his party it follows the President's direction as leader of the party, but that is not part of the powers of the Presidency.

However the myth that the President is responsible for fiscal policy is so powerful that the Republicans have realized that if they run popular but damaging fiscal policies they can win both ways: they get more votes because the policies on paper are popular, but when they turn out to be damaging the voters blame the President, not the majority they have voted to power in the House.

Now, this is sneaky, but it is entirely legitimate, and it is really, as usual, the voters' fault for being unengaged and letting themselves be fooled by cheap tactics.