The only way I can think of to stay sane about the November elections is to find some real liberals and do write-in campaigns. Put up or shut up, mes amis.
Because putting in enough liberal independents (like Bernie Sanders) is the only way I can think of to reign in the excesses of power from both parties. They’d have to make concessions to win their votes — in other words, we have to build our own version of a parlimentary system.
FDL has been doing great work on covering this, with Alan Lawson from Social Security Works waiting outside the meeting room with a camera (be sure to read his entire exchange with Alan “Grandpa” Simpson).
And after you’ve read it, notice that the same people who are complaining about not enough money coming in to pay for Social Security are the same ones voting against jobs programs — you know, where people pay Social Security taxes? Funny, huh?
They signed industry-backed letters telling the FCC to abandon efforts to protect Internet users by prohibiting big companies from blocking Internet traffic.
Not only is this letter an attack on net neutrality, but by signing the industry letter, they are attempting to drastically undercut the FCC’s ability to make a fast, affordable and open Internet available to everyone in America. They are actually taking a position against the interests of rural and low-income communities.
This is unacceptable.
We need to make sure these members of Congress know that their constituents are paying attention and will hold them accountable when they undermine net neutrality protections.
I just got off the phone with Allyson Schwartz’s office (second day in a row) and told the staffer I remember Allyson “back from when she used to be a liberal” and that if she didn’t stop acting like a Blue Dog, I’d not only give money to a primary challenger, I’d work for them, too.
The staffer: “Yeah, I hear you.” Yeah, honey, I’ll bet you did.
The key point is that while the advocates of austerity pose as hardheaded realists, doing what has to be done, they can’t and won’t justify their stance with actual numbers — because the numbers do not, in fact, support their position. Nor can they claim that markets are demanding austerity. On the contrary, the German government remains able to borrow at rock-bottom interest rates.
So the real motivations for their obsession with austerity lie somewhere else.
In America, many self-described deficit hawks are hypocrites, pure and simple: They’re eager to slash benefits for those in need, but their concerns about red ink vanish when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthy. Thus, Senator Ben Nelson, who sanctimoniously declared that we can’t afford $77 billion in aid to the unemployed, was instrumental in passing the first Bush tax cut, which cost a cool $1.3 trillion.
German deficit hawkery seems more sincere. But it still has nothing to do with fiscal realism. Instead, it’s about moralizing and posturing. Germans tend to think of running deficits as being morally wrong, while balancing budgets is considered virtuous, never mind the circumstances or economic logic. “The last few hours were a singular show of strength,” declared Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, after a special cabinet meeting agreed on the austerity plan. And showing strength — or what is perceived as strength — is what it’s all about.
There will, of course, be a price for this posturing. Only part of that price will fall on Germany: German austerity will worsen the crisis in the euro area, making it that much harder for Spain and other troubled economies to recover. Europe’s troubles are also leading to a weak euro, which perversely helps German manufacturing, but also exports the consequences of German austerity to the rest of the world, including the United States.
But German politicians seem determined to prove their strength by imposing suffering — and politicians around the world are following their lead.
How bad will it be? Will it really be 1937 all over again? I don’t know. What I do know is that economic policy around the world has taken a major wrong turn, and that the odds of a prolonged slump are rising by the day.
An association of German Jews planning to send a boat with humanitarian aid to break the Gaza blockade is searching for a second vessel, given the high number of requests to travel with the group.
The group, Jewish Voices for a Just Peace, had originally planned to send one small vessel from an unnamed Mediterranean port in mid-July, with the intention of getting aid past the Israeli-imposed blockade of Gaza.
However, spokeswoman Edith Lutz told dpa that “our preparations have been held back somewhat because we have been inundated with requests to travel.”