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Medicare

Isn’t it about time you started taking care of yourself instead of expecting the government to do it for you?

White privilege etc.

I found this illustrative of the power dynamics in many so-called “liberal” organizations. I have often felt like I was talking to a brick wall, and this is pretty much how it goes.

Also, see “A White Women’s Tears.”

Thought for the day

I totally stole this from K.:

Human scum

Actually, I’m not so sure about the “human” part.

First rule of disaster capitalism: Never let a perfectly good disaster go to waste! You can tell the shameless Eric Cantor’s been studying up. Decent people should refuse to speak to these lowlifes:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) … said that before Congress approved federal funds for disaster relief, it had to offset the spending with cuts to other programs. The Washington Times reports:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri’s tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.

If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.

In 2005, Republicans criticized then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) for his willingness to fund relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by adding to the deficit. “It is right to borrow to pay for it,” he said at the time, explaining that cuts could “attack” the economy.

Meanwhile, as Climate Progress reports, the government’s tornado forecasting service faces cuts in the GOP Congress, including cuts to NOAA weather satellite that “could halve the accuracy of precipitation forecasts.” Accurate and early forecasting is tremendously important, as “tornado deaths in the United States have gone from 8 per 1 million people in 1925 to 0.11 per 1 million people today — a trend largely attributed to early-warning systems fed by advanced meteorology and the introduction of Doppler radar.”

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Well! That worked out well, don’t you think? Progress!

Seven publicly traded U.S. corporations represented on President Barack Obama’s advisory council for jobs and competitiveness — including General Electric Co. (GE) and Intel Corp. (INTC) — have devoted a growing pool of their non-U.S. earnings to investments in other countries.

As a group, multinational companies with current or former chief executive officers on Obama’s jobs council have, over the past four years, almost doubled the cumulative amounts they’ve reinvested overseas, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

By doing so, companies may be able to take advantage of faster-growing markets or lower production costs, and they can defer U.S. income taxes on profits from overseas sales. Underscoring the difference between corporate interests and the national interest, they’re also investing money elsewhere that could be helping the U.S. economy, said former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

“That’s a signal that they are betting less on America,” Reich said. “We’ve got to understand there’s a fundamental difference between the competitiveness of these companies and the competitiveness of America and American workers.”

The evil of two lessers

Ted Rall:

Politics is not what happens on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Real politics is the process of arguing about how we want to live. In America that happens over dinner with our families, over drinks with our friends, over the water cooler at work (if you still have a job).

What happens on Election Day is a circus, a farcical distraction meant to siphon away the vitality of real politics.

Real politics is dangerous. Real politics, as we saw in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, can actually change things.

The two-party system is a twisted con based on fear. If you don’t vote for Party A then Party B, which is slightly more evil, will win. If “your” Party A wins, all you get is the dubious, incremental pseudo-victory of somewhat less suckiness. But Party A gets something infinitely more valuable: political legitimacy and the right to claim a mandate for policies that you mostly dislike.

“Hey, you elected them.”

“You got the government you deserve.”

Not at all.

It’s a terrible, lopsided bargain. You get little to nothing. They use your vote to justify their policies:

No jobs.

One war after another.

Wasting your tax dollars.

Corruption.

More pollution.

(Notice: I didn’t specify which party. Compared to the vast spectrum of possible politics from left to right, which encompasses such ideologies as communism, socialism, left libertarianism, right libertarianism, fascism, etc., the Dems and Reps are more similar than different.)

Until there’s a revolution we’re stuck with these jokers. But that doesn’t mean we have to pay attention.

Catholic vs. Protestants

This is pretty funny!

Forever young

Happy 70th birthday, Bob! Neil and Grateful Dead:

Amtrak

As we know, Amtrak has been underfunded for a long, long time. SEPTA, our local transporation authority, uses Amtrak corridors for many of its commuter routes and often has delays because of Amtrak’s poor maintenance.

It happened again this morning, and I thought back with fondness to a time when I was commuting from the Hellmouth to downtown Philadelphia. After we sat for 40 minutes in the cold, our train finally started up and we got to the station. As commuters milled out into the crowd, I said very loudly, “I’d like to thank all the people who voted Republican for the cuts in Amtrak subsidies, contributing to this morning’s delay. Thanks, everyone!”

A lot of people laughed; some looked baffled. You mean, there’s a connection between your vote and the condition of public utilities? Imagine!

Stimulus?

They meant “tax cuts”, right? Because why would they push stimulus for one recession and not… oh, never mind:

TOKYO (Leika Kihara) – Japan’s return to recession and a bigger-than-expected slump in first-quarter economic growth are negative for its credit rating, Moody’s Investors Service said, warning that a delay in recovery could warrant additional fiscal and monetary stimulus.

The triple blow of the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis has nudged Japan into recession and led to a surprisingly deep 0.9 percent contraction in January-March, which Moody’s said was negative for Japan’s rating and made it increasingly urgent for Prime Minister Naoto Kan to compile a second extra budget.

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