seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy


The last time I felt this bad after an election was 2004 and the Republicans proceeded to destroy the economy by draining the life from the middle class and enriching the top 2% of Americans.

Now they are back to finish the job.

Actually having an understanding of economics, how (and why) the housing market bubble happened, and the policies involved make it very difficult to even talk to the "casual" voter who has no understanding of any of this but thinks government should "tighten its belt" just as we households have done. Well, you know what? When the government fails to engage in counter-cyclical deficit spending, we all have to tighten our belts for a very much longer time. So congratulations, we have lengthened the impact of the recession. And we reelected the party that created the massive deficients (unfunded Medicare expansion, unfunded wars, trickle-down economics via tax cuts for the richest 2% that have unceasingly failed to stimulate the economy despite 30 years of BS claims from Republican economists).

Obama may prove to be a better President in the next two years with the new Congress but he sure was the wrong man for the job over the past 2. Most Americans have no idea what was done over the two years, why more needed to be done, and they have embraced morons with catchy sound bites. How frustrating.


Failed government

Americans don't want serious government. 2 years ago, Obama said he was going to change the way government focused on problems. Rather than playing political games and ignoring the underlying problems, Obama said he was going to actually address those underlying problems. Rather than just try to inflate another in a long line of bubbles, he was going to try to build a stable economy by fixing the long-term policies.

Problem: energy. He tried to guide through cap and trade, a tried and true fix to the use of fossil fuels by exposing the real costs of FFs and investing in alternative energy. I see this morning, after the election, he has canceled this.

Problem: health care. I did not agree with the way he bought off the hospitals, drug companies, and insurance companies with bribes, but he made a start on this where it had been ignored for the last 15 years. Perhaps, politically he did what had to be done to get any bill.

Problem: recession and economic collapse: he tried a stimulus that worked, but did not go far enough. It as underfunded by at least 500 billion dollars. If you don't think the stimulus worked, then you might read Krugman to get an understanding of the underlying economics. The stimulus, as was, was too much of a compromise trying to buy some repugnant backing with far too many ineffective tax cuts rather than new spending.

A major problem over the last 2 years was that Obama did not claim credit for the partial successes that he had. He started a process of reality-based policies that will have taken 6-8 years to really stoke growth based on alternate fuels and green technology. But Americans want it all now. We have been inculcated with the idea that we deserve it all right now, that we can get it all right now because we are fuckin' Americans, damnit.

From day 1 the Repugnants lied about pretty much everything. They focused on everything negative (birthers, being a muslim, death panels, etc.) When one side is screaming lies, and the other side is seriously working away without taking credit for the advances, it is small wonder that low information, badly educated Americans developed a really bad attitude towards the left. Then add serious, unregulated money amplifying the right's lies, and Tuesday could not have come as a surprise. As usual, Americans bought the lies that there is a quick fix; slogans will work! And, you know, they might. The next big bubble will start, making it look like things are getting better. Right up until the point when it bursts, this time likely causing the worst depression ever.

I really wish, Chris and Kim, that you would seriously consider emigrating to ... elsewhere. To a place where religion is a personal choice, where science is respected and reality-based solutions are practiced. The US is a dying giant and the death throes, at this point, I believe are irreversible. With the new congress coming in, Citizen's United has zero chance of being modified; instead the Roberts court is going to continue changing established law to favor corporations over individuals and increase the power of the security state. I expect to die before the total collapse, but you and your kids are going to catch the brunt of the coming dark ages.

I'm just saying...


I assume that your comment was directed as a rant in general and not suggesting I disagree with it because I fully agree with your enumerated points.

As for moving, well, if Michelle and I find a place we like better than Minnesota, it would be possible. However, I rather like Minnesota and I like living in the U.S. I'm not sure where one can go without trading problems and frankly, I don't think this is yet the worst of times.

I believe in what might be called pendulum politics. There was a time in America when workers got screwed over considerably more and children were working in factories. Enough people wised up that they made some changes. After so many decades of government doing a good job at things like preventing recessions, it became invisible and Republicans have been able to chip away at government enough that it does a poor job now of serving the public. By controlling the media, both by ownership and intimidation, Republicans have fooled most of the people most of the time. But don't think they will pull it off forever.

Also, as greedy-ass baby boomers die, it may be easier to turn this country around and put it back on solid footing. Much harder given the state of education, but certainly possible.

One more thing...

I just read an article about how Harry Reid won. He was hugely unpopular after 2 years of Repugnant lying, despite shepherding more important bills through congress than any senate majority leader in 50 years. I don't particularly like him; I think he allowed others to make attacks on the democratic agenda and the senate without responding. But he won. How? He started early with ads that exposed Sharon Angle for the crazy fuck that she was. In ad after ad, he used her own crazy words against her. Every lie, every crazy uttering, every stupid thing she said, he hit her with. He brings to mind an old Harry Truman quote. When someone said to Truman to "give'em hell harry", he said that he would "just tell the truth and they would think it was hell." A lesson for all of those sniveling democrats who ran away from their record. It was not a guarantee of winning; Grayson in Florida was a strong advocate of democratic principles and he still lost. But running away and being a bitch about what you should have been proud of was not effective.

One good thing came out of the election. More than 1/2 of the blue dog coalition lost. FUCK THEM. I would rather see true repugnants in those seats than have faux democrats who vote with the repugnants all the time. Blanche Lincoln and many of the blue-dog pukes like her have been deposited on the shit-heap of history. It's an ill wind that blows no good!


It should be instructive that Dems made some terrible policy choices. Blanche Lincoln is gone (booo hoo) but in a vain attempt to help her, the Dems gave us shitty financial reform that will be a drain on the economy for decades. Such a deal!

Pendulum politics

Over 200 years, there have indeed been great swings in policy like a pendulum. However, consider that positive swings were always based on some fundamental bases. For most of the 19th century, unlimited land and westward expansion fueled the positive swings. As long as corporations and greed heads could get cheap land, they were willing to share a bit of the wealth with the newly emerging middle class. I think we can agree that fundamental is dead.

For the last part of the 19th and the entire 20th century, cheap carbon fuels and other cheap natural resources funded expansion. As long as it was cheap to build dirty power plants and inefficient cars, better razor blades and smaller electronics, corporations and greed heads were willing to share a bit of their wealth. I think we can agree that fundamental is now dead.

For a good part of the 20th century, unions helped the middle class by solidarity; they forced the corporations and greed heads to share a bit more of the pie. I think we can agree that fundamental is on life support.

So what is left to fuel expansion? Since 1980, I would argue there has been no fundamental basis for growth. Instead, there has been a number of bubbles. Savings and Loans used as piggy-banks for the rich. Hi tech and web-driven bubbles. Housing prices. Financial pyramid schemes with 50-60 to 1 leverage. Each bubble expands, giving the illusion of growth. But the popping of each successive bubble shows that it was but an illusion.

Meanwhile, look at what has happened to the middle class. Their share of taxes has expanded while the rich and corporations pay ever less. Wages since 1980 have essentially stagnated with most growth in the middle class fueled by adding wage earners. Wives working is now a required part of the middle class dream. Lower class requires both dual wage earners and 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) jobs just to stay poor. Home equity loans drove the illusion during the 'oughts because "housing never goes down!"

There has not been a fundamental underpining to American growth in the last 30 years. Indeed, we are just getting to the point where what remains is rapidly disappearing. Cheap water? Fuggedaboudit! Educated work force? Don't make me laugh! Higher education? hehehehehehehehe - Try Liberty college and the rapid growth of science-haters.

So tell me, "What is going to fuel the next pendulum swing?" Forget alternative energy! That dies with the death of cap and trade. Where do you see any light at the end of this tunnel? As the water rises in the next century, all efforts for growth will give way to trying to put out the fire of 1.5 billion people losing their land to the oceans. And that's the optimistic forecast; we don't want to think about the more dire possibilities. Any increases will go to the military as Americans demand that we stop the rising tide of homeless from intruding into our borders.

Ask not for whom the pendulum swings. We can all swing on it!

Future it Opaque

So we are just the most recent generation to believe we are living at the end of times. Every previous generation has been proven wrong (minus perhaps some prehistoric cultures that just disappeared) so I'm guessing these are not the end times either. Prior to our massive growth fueled by industralism, who could have predicted it?

Forget alternative energy? You have too much a US centric view - the US has been a blip on the radar of alternative energy, the Germans and Dutch have figured out good policies and the SE Asian countries are doing far more to increase production of green energy items. The same thing is happening in medical fields... I continue to hope for announcements in Korea or Europe for breakthroughs on stem cells that will eventually allow me to walk without pain for the first time in over half a decade.

If there is something that history teaches us, it is that things change quickly and in unpredictable ways.

Not end of times

I did not mention an "end of times" in a biblical way. I am talking about the loss of the next few decades. If you look at the long term, we all die. In the short term, there are no answers coming, short of a miracle in nano-technology capable of transmogrifying shit into gold. If you go to Albania, Siberia, Sudan, or a whole bunch of other places, their pendulum swung a whole lot of centuries ago and has never swung back. In the US, we climbed a long way which gives us a long way to fall back. Like I said, I expect to be dead before the worst of that fall. Your kids, however, will get to take the long ride down if you don't do something.

At least they'll have great video games.