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The gaping class divide

Go read Taibbi.

If you think your local Andy Griffith is a greedy pig because he retired in his forties and built an addition to his garage with your tax money, try hanging out with a guy who eats $400 crabs, throws himself $5 million parties where he is serenaded by Rod Stewart and Patti Labelle (who sang “Happy Birthday”), and then compares the president to Hitler when word leaks out that he might have to pay taxes at the same rate as a firefighter or a kindergarten teacher.

But America never gets to meet that guy, because all of those parties are invite-only, and the only reporters that go tend to do so with kneepads on — like the extraordinary Andrew Ross Sorkin, who as Sirota notes, predictably wrote a slurpilicious “In Defense of Schwarzman” piece after the event (his thesis, to the extent that I could make it out, seemed to be that there are even bigger assholes than Schwarzman). As a result, the popular outrage gets steered toward state employees greedily living off their own pensions, not toward the truly deserving targets hiding in the Hamptons and Gstaad and St. Tropez.

Hawk nation

Jamie Galbraith on debt ceiling theater:

Instead of this, what do we have, from a President who claims to be a member of the Democratic Party? First, there is the claim that we face a fiscal crisis, which is a big untruth. Second, a concession in principle that we should deal with that crisis by enacting massive cuts in public services on one hand and in vital social insurance programs on the other. This is an arbitrary cruelty. Third, a refusal to stand on the strong ground of the Constitution, against those whose open and declared purpose is tear that document and the public credit to shreds.

In the Daily Beast on Sunday, Howard Kurtz wrote in optimistic terms of the prospects for a deficit bargain: “But away from the cameras, even sharp-tongued politicians recognize the imperative of avoiding the fate of Greece. It is a sign of the times that the Kabuki players of Washington may take a bow simply for averting catastrophe.”

Kurtz did not say that the big Kabuki here was his own notion that somehow the United States might face the fate of Greece – a small and overmatched member of a currency zone it cannot control. He did not say that the catastrophe he fears – a default on US government obligations – was entirely the product of treacherous politics, abetted by an irresolute President who seems not to grasp the danger of allowing the Constitution to fail.

And he did not say, that the deal he would applaud, with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and all the legitimate and necessary functions of government — would be for millions of Americans the catastrophe itself.

Also, Dean Baker.


First day the thermometer has dipped below 90 degrees. I’m getting very tired of air conditioning.

Smart ALEC

In you ever wondered where all these horrible state laws come from.

Now there’s a tool that lets you track the origin of those laws from the lobbyist, right to your state. Empower yourselves!

Because they’re making our lives miserable. And they’re funded by the Koch boys.

Quote of the day


Governing by crisis is an undemocratic way for our overlords to try to avoid accountability.


Protest against Rupert Murdoch and his phone hacking at 12:30 tomorrow in front of Murdoch’s home at 834 5th Avenue. This protest will take place across the street.

Good news, bad news

Good news: Chooch is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Bad news: Chooch is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

And here’s your lovely parting gift

From Joe Lieberman, handmaiden to the insurance industry.

Stupid Democrats, stupid Republicans

David Michael Green:

In short, Democratic support and defense of Barack Obama is a sad joke. This guy is no liberal. He is, in fact, using liberal votes to join the Gingriches and Cheneys and Palins of this world in the project of destroying liberalism and its great achievement of massively widening the middle class and sharing national prosperity. Hey, not a bad gig, if you don’t mind the whole cynicism part, and the whole spending eternity in Hell thing.

Republican haters of Obama are every bit as guilty of negligent laziness, of course, but for them there is an added element of sickness. They could never admit it, but one simply cannot dismiss all the rhetoric of foreignness and other forms of fundamental illegitimacy they revel in when it comes to Obama. You know… He wasn’t really born here. He’s a secret Muslim. He’s a socialist. He’s going to take away our guns. He’s not really an American. He bows to foreign princes. He hates America and its core values. He goes around the world apologizing for his country. He’s actually really dumb, and can only sound intelligent because he uses a teleprompter. His health care bill is a nefarious plot to kill off grannies.

This shit is so stupid it’s embarrassing. Or, it would be, if the folks trading in these tropes were capable of embarrassment. Beyond the fact that they, like Democrats, are unable to decipher Obama’s obvious political commitments with the slightest degree of accuracy, despite the plainness of these for all the see, Republicans add to the mix their equally transparent personal insecurities when it comes to Obama. It’s not just that he’s black and sitting in their White House (though, now that you mention it, that’s not right!), or that he’s a Democrat that bothers them. What makes them go ballistic is that he is so clearly more mature and responsible in his mien. That undermines their license to be reckless and irresponsible – and to favor national policies that are the same – with impunity. That’s what they loved so much about Bush, and what the codes words of “the politician you’d most like to have a beer with” really meant. It’s the guy who doesn’t threaten your greed and laziness and prejudice and stupidity, as Obama kinda does. It’s the guy who doesn’t make you think, the guy who provides political cover for your worst instincts.

I think that’s the real reason why regressives hate Obama so, despite the fact that his politics are exactly their politics – yes, even including the extravagant spending, where Obama is merely replicating the crimes of Reagan and Bush, though for slightly more defensible reasons.
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Last night

Very interesting show with Matt Stoller, who says it’s too late to count on electoral politics. What to do? Well, you’ll have to listen.

Also, in the beginning of the show, a chat with the famous Spocko, the brilliant blogger who so effectively stripped Glenn Beck of his corporate advertisers.

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