Pretty much what I’ve been saying, only with a lot more words:
Louis XIV, the Franklin Roosevelt of his day, took a great deal of wealth and privilege from the French aristocracy and imposed a flurry of restrictions they found burdensome. After his time, it became a central goal of the nobility to restore their position at the king’s expense. Their strategy is one with which modern Americans ought to be familiar: they insisted on a massive military buildup and an aggressive foreign policy that landed France in expensive wars, while at the same time demanding tax cuts. The goal was simply to bankrupt the French government, so that—no, not so that they could drown it in a bathtub; instead, they wanted to force the king to call the États-Général—roughly, the equivalent of a US constitutional convention—which alone could create entirely new tax structures. Once that happened, they hoped to bully the king into restoring their former privileges as the price of acquiescing in a new tax regime.
The result was a high-stakes game of chicken between the party of the aristocracy, and the party of the civil servants, bureaucrats and officials whose authority and wealth was guaranteed by the power of the king. (If you want to describe these two parties as “Republicans” and “Democrats,” I’m not going to argue.) What neither side noticed was that their struggles imposed severe burdens on the rest of the population, the peasants, laborers, and small-scale businesspeople on whose passive acquiescence the entire structure of power and prestige ultimately rested. As the struggle went on, the aristocracy did their best to delegitimize the king and the central government, while the civil service and its supporters did their best to delegitimize the aristocracy; both sides succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and managed to strip the last traces of popular legitimacy from the French political system as a whole.
So when the aristocrats finally got their way and the États-Général were summoned, all it took was a few speeches by radicals and a bit of violence on the part of the Paris mob, and the entire structure of the ancien régime disintegrated in a matter of weeks. The aristocrats, who were chiefly to blame for the mess, were also the last to figure out what had happened. It’s tempting to imagine one of them, stepping aboard the tumbril that will take him to the guillotine, saying to another, “So, Henri, how’s that political strategy working for you?”—but there’s no evidence that any of them managed that degree of insight even when the consequences of their failure were staring them in the face.
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Teabagger congressman refuses to answer Vietnam vet’s question about minimum wage. Boy, they really hate it when anyone who isn’t a lobbyist dares approach them!
Of course you’ll want to read the entire thing. Bill Moyers:
Once upon a time conservatives supported the full disclosure of campaign contributors. Now they oppose it with their might — and magic, especially when it comes to unlimited cash from corporations. My goodness, they say, with a semantic wave of the wand, what’s the big deal?: nary a single Fortune 500 company had given a dime to the super PACs. (Even that’s not entirely true, by the way.)
Meanwhile the other hand is poking around for loopholes, stuffing millions of secret corporate dollars into non-profit, tax-exempt organizations called 501(c)s that funnel the money into advertising on behalf of candidates or causes. Legally, in part because the Federal Election Commission does not consider them political committees, they can keep it all nice and anonymous, never revealing who’s really behind the donations or the political ads they buy. This is especially handy for corporations — why risk offending customers by revealing your politics or letting them know how much you’re willing to shell out for a permanent piece of an obliging politician?
That’s why passing a piece of legislation called the DISCLOSE Act is so important and that’s why on Monday, Republicans in the Senate killed it. Again.
Why? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Perhaps Republicans want to shield the handful of billionaires willing to contribute nine figures to sway a close presidential election.” The election, he said, may be bought by “17 angry, old, white men.”
The DISCLOSE Act is meant to pull back the curtain and reveal who’s donating $10,000 or more not only to super PACs but also to trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and these so-called “social welfare” non-profits that can spend limitless cash on campaigns as long as it’s less than half the organization’s total budget.
Stopping the Affordable Care Act. Expect another round of legal battles.
The only people who tolerate crap like this are the kind of people who were already going to vote for Romney – bitter-end Republicans.
In a brutal campaign conference call Tuesday organized by Mitt Romney’s campaign, several of the candidate’s surrogates went after President Obama with fiery attacks accusing him of socialism, and being un-American.
“I wish this president would learn how to be an American,” said former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said toward the beginning of the call. Asked later to explain his comment, Sununu said he was referring to Obama’s economic philosophy, and apologized for not being clearer.
Sununu also said that by asserting Romney had committed a felony, the Obama campaign was inviting an investigation into its own “Chicago-style” politics. He concluded the call by calling Obama’s campaign “clearly and unequivocally liars.”
Among the other jabs at Obama were Kyle Koehler, an Ohio tool manufacturer, accusing the president of supporting socialism, and Renee Amoore, a Pennsylvania small business advocate, delivering a passionate diatribe about how her shared race with the president wouldn’t win her support.
“Well, I’ve been black for a long time and he won’t get my vote,” Amoore said.
Hah. Renee Amoore is the deputy chairman of the state GOP, and performs weekly as their token black person on a local politics talk show. You’re goddamned right Obama won’t get her vote — not when her willingness to lie down with GOP dogs is so very lucrative to her many businesses.
I saw this guy interviewed on the news last night and he was just crying with relief. God bless ‘im!
As to the kid, well, one of my closest friends has two kids with autism and if you turn your back for a second, chaos can ensue. Don’t assume you know what kind of parent this mother is.
It’s very important that we all buy into the extreme sense of urgency around all this “fiscal cliff” hysteria, so that when they spring the Grand Bargain that solves everything, we understand that there was Simply Nothing Else To Be Done. Now that you have your marching orders, start laying in the cat food for your retirement years:
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats — holding firm against extending tax cuts for the rich — are proposing a novel way to circumvent the Republican pledge not to vote for any tax increase: Allow all the tax cuts to expire Jan. 1, then vote on a tax cut for the middle class shortly thereafter.
The proposal illustrates the lengths lawmakers are going to try to include new federal revenues in a fix for the “fiscal cliff,” the reckoning in January that would come when all Bush-era tax cuts expire and automatic spending cuts to military and domestic programs kick in.
Virtually every Republican in Congress has taken the pledge, pushed by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, never to vote for a tax increase — a pledge both parties see as a serious impediment to a tax compromise. But if tax rates snap back to the levels of the Clinton presidency on Jan. 1, any legislation to reinstate some of those tax cuts — but not all of them — would be considered a tax cut.
[…] Lawmakers on both sides are now lamenting the fiscal train wreck that many of them voted to create, a confluence of spending cuts and tax increases that the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said Tuesday could send the economy into recession.
At the same time, former Vice President Dick Cheney was meeting with Senate and House Republicans, in part to warn them of the dire consequences he sees in $500 billion in automatic military cuts that will begin to hit on Jan. 2. Off Capitol Hill, a broad bipartisan coalition of fiscal hawks, led by the co-chairman of President Obama’s 2010 fiscal commission, Erskine B. Bowles, restarted efforts to pressure Washington to reach a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction.
Fiscal cliff, Grover Norquist, tax pledge, deficit reduction, blah blah blah. Grand Bargain!
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