Saturday, September 28, 2013

Electing Neoliberals to office leads to Dictatorship.

"In the end somebody's views will have to decide whose interests are more important; and these views must become part of the law of the land, a new distinction of rank which the coercive apparatus of government imposes upon people.... Planning leads to dictatorship, because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and the enforcement of ideals and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scare is to be possible."

That is a Hayek quote via John Cassidy's excellent How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities.

So obviously I'm taking him a bit out of context.  But lets read this text very carefully.

In the end somebodies views will have to decide the collective action quandaries we face as a society--we call it governance.  But when we impose market liberalism on people via central planning mandates and trade deals--very subtly labelled "free trade" even though they are full of protectionism's for the 1% that redistribute wealth upwards--we are on the pathway to dictatorship by the 1%.

I noted yesterday in my post The mechanism for selecting competent leaders is broken that the radical wing of Congressional Republicans and the small but powerful  group of deficit fixated Wall Street Democrats are nothing short of  a Sturmabteilung for the 1%.

This falls right in line with what Hayek predicted in these lines.  As I noted recently over at The Nation magazine a specter is haunting America, that of our citizens’ inability to see, understand, or act—as autonomous individuals in a collective manner—to challenge their own decline.  The 1% have utilized the central planners to create an economy that works for them only.

Its up to us to take it back from them.  You can start by reading Cassy's book which I highly recommend.  Remember, knowledge is power, and fighting back against the 1% won't be easy unless you know what you are talking about!

Unemployment Catastrophe--Why the GOP focus 100% on Obamacare

Part of the reason for the GOP lock-step focus on Obamacare is that it draws attention away from the single biggest problem we face.

We have a long-term unemployment catastrophe on our hands and the GOP don't want to do anything about it.

The reason they don't want to do anything about it is because it keeps wages low for their base--employers--because they rest of us stay desperate for any job at any wage.

Keeping wages low and workers desperate is a power dynamic required for Capitalism to thrive for the 1%.

The first step in fixing the economy? Stop redistributing wealth upwards...

This isn't rocket science.  We have a Government that subsidizes inequality.  We should stop doing that.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The mechanism for selecting competent leaders is broken.

Jon Stewart did a great breakdown of the right wing's efforts to stop the ability of the Government to function.

The GOP can't win enough political power on their ideas alone so they are going to try to force the rest of us to blink.

Economist Mark Thoma went a little more in-depth on the crux of the issue over at The Fiscal Times. The Real Reason for the Fight over the Debt Limit
This political dispute over the debt limit is, plainly and simply, about the size and role of government. In particular, it’s an attempt by Republicans to use undue fear about the debt to scale back or eliminate spending on social insurance programs such as Medicare, Social Security, Obamacare, food stamps, and unemployment compensation. And it’s no accident that this attack on social insurance coincides with growing income inequality. 
So when I saw this tweet from the AJC's political reporter today I could only cringe.
Michelle Nunn, the big "name" running for US Senate in the Democratic Primary here in Georgia has, by my take, been pretty solidly backed by all the insider players within the Democratic party apparatus. As much fun as it is to make fun of the GOP wingnuts this tweet is a fundamental reminder that the crisis of governance we face in the US right now is systemic and has spread into both parties.  Its not the fault of some Tea Party fringe, as Democrats try to spin it in the media.

Now, I presume Nunn is a pretty smart lady (who just needs some better economic advisers) and will do a fantastic job as a center-right Democratic US Senator.  I'm certainly likely to vote for her after she gets out of the primary, since voting is about preferences and every single GOP candidate is promising us they aspire to be the next Ted Cruz.

But Nunn, who appears to be trying to keep a low profile is running a campaign that looks to be 100% poll tested for November 2014, if one is to judge by her public comments.

That's a major problem.  We don't need leaders who can just acquire power; we need leaders who can acquire power and then get some really important, complex stuff, done.  We need to do something to end this unemployment crisis, do something to end the war on workers, do something about the environmental crisis we are currently feeding.

In my recent essay over at The Nation magazine I noted that my campaign experience running for State Senate back in 2010 made me realize we face a systemic crisis that has eroded the capacities of our citizens to fight back
a specter is haunting America, that of our citizens’ inability to see, understand, or act—as autonomous individuals in a collective manner—to challenge their own decline. Now is the time to nurture independence, self-respect and self-reliance within the ranks of American citizens. 
Having the big name Democratic candidate for US Senate running on propaganda churned out by the 1%, deep in the heart of Red America, is just as horrid and dangerous as the likes of Ted Cruz (who as Juan Cole noted needs to just sit down and just shut up).  

Chris Hedges rightly noted this phenomena as Death of the Liberal Class. Those running Nunn's campaign, as well intentioned as they may be, don't see what dangerous ideas they are playing with.

Market liberalism is nothing short of an agenda to destroy fundamental bonds that tie us together as humans and Democrats don't need to be running candidates pushing such propaganda--they need to be working to rebuild those bonds within our society.  This win at any cost campaign style speaks to how we got in to this mess to begin with.  Democrats have spent the past 30 years running poll-tested leaders who have bombarded the public with TV ads re-affirming the agenda of the 1%.

Just because the average voter believes, after 30 years of Wall Street funded ad wars, that it is imperative to address our growing national debt doesn't mean we need to be running candidates on that agenda.

We need to be running competent leaders who understand how to address the issues facing our society.  We need to be running candidates who are committed to protecting and empowering our citizens.  And we need to be developing the political infrastructure to get those leaders elected to office.

A "big name" who pushes bad policy is not empowering people.  Its spreading Koch Brother disinformation; which just makes the ability to govern, once in office, even harder since citizens are concerned about non-issues and ideological priorities of anti-social sociopaths who could care less about creating a sustainable economy that works for everyone.

It is far far better to lose an election or two pushing the correct policy.  This isn't a fashion contest; where if we lose an election it means we must be wrong on policy.  This is fundamentally about getting the right leaders in to office.  If we lose, it just means we have to develop the political capacity--the power--needed to win.  Using each loss as a way to learn how to get more and more organized and articulate thereby building up the capacity to win elected office up and down the ballot.

New leaders, new activists, stronger communities can be won in an election campaign--even when the candidate loses the vote count.

Democrats and progressives jumping all over the easy to mock Tea Party antics of Congressional Republicans, whose goal is to make us a Banana-Republic, doesn't give me confidence that most Democrats understand that their own house is in disarray as well.

The systemic crisis that faces our economy is brought to us by members of both parties.  The radical wing of Congressional Republicans and the small but powerful  group of deficit fixated Wall Street Democrats are nothing short of  a Sturmabteilung for the 1%.

The mechanism for electing competent leaders is broken; we won't fix it by continuing the cycle in 2014.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I have an essay over at The Nation magazine

So for my Facebook friends and twitter followers you already know about it but I haven't yet posted to the blog.

I won a student essay contest over at The Nation magazine for an essay from my final semester at Georgia State this past spring.

Go check it out, I think it turned out quite nicely.

It captures, quite succinctly, both sides of the coin in terms of "who is to blame" for the economic crisis we face.  The systemic culprit for the current state of affairs, which in a broad brush stroke, very un-nuanced fashion, can be reduced to neoliberalism.  But the essay also captures my Nietzsche-ian driven elitism, my conservative streak, if you will.  My refusal to let working class people off the hook for not being better educated, better organized, and more engaged in the decisions that impact their lives.

A major thank you to twitter buddy, the blogger David Kaib, who thoughtfully took the time to read over two early drafts and provide excellent feedback.

Go check out the essay over at The Nation and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Everybody is becoming a Foreign Policy expert all of a sudden.

For those of you who may realize you need some quick background on broader context/framework of U.S. policy around the globe you should consider picking up Michael Parenti's short book The Face of Imperialism.

In under 150 pages you will get a readable history of US policy that will help you decipher much of the spin and propaganda that suffocates rational discussion of Foreign Policy questions in this country.