Wednesday, August 31, 2011

31 August 2011

Cenk Uygur,th' Young Turks: Banks Got Free Money From Fed

Uygur's argument about bonuses is a bit silly, although by now it's conventional wisdom for many. The federal government should not have forbade big bonuses for CEOS but rather substantially increased the taxes on such payouts, including a hike ( say, to 45% or higher) in the tax on incomes over 5 million for those CEOs, and all other incomes in that region, bankers and others. Also, they could have taken over some real estate holdings from the banks in exchange for the bailout dollars, and sold them to sounder, smaller banks. Wealthy Americans are undertaxed in general, not just bankers, and Obama (and the 2009-2010 democrats in general) decided to be part of that ongoing problem, at precisely the time when they had the most favorable conditions to overhaul the tax code and make it more progressive.

Rakesh Raman, Why You Must Not Compare Anna Hazare with Gandhi

I don't know if Raman is right in asserting that Gandhi was unconditionally against violence, as opposed to preferring nonviolence when it was possible, but recognizing that there might be circumstances where it was not.

BDR pondered who the dems would run in 2016 if Obama loses. I commented:

I say Russ Feingold '16, if he's willing to hug enough bankers. Feingold would be valuable as a measure of co-opting optics. Just like converting Kucinich's 'no' vote on the Healthcare Reform Will Get You Act of 2010 was valuable, lest some normals furrow their brows and try to figure out why a lefty would oppose it. They needed Dennis K's vote, if not mathematically, then thematically.

Additional thoughts: I wrote that because I couldn't help but note that if anybody could have usefully challenged Obama from the left in the primaries it was Feingold. At this point Kucinich is probably regarded as too old, and as a two-time loser.

Ted Kennedy challenged Carter in 1980 and actually made it a race for a while, but today as our politics become increasingly tribal something like that seems impossible. Whatever you think of Kennedy, if anybody tells you that he cost Carter re-election, recall what happened to a certain military operation in the Iranian desert on April 24th, 1980.

Duncan Mitchel, "The Trouble With Privilege Is That Everybody Doesn't Have It"

2 pajama-clad girls take stolen goat for walk
"Everything went according to plan for two pajama-clad stepsisters who took a goat they'd freed from a Minnesota zoo for a late-night walk..."

I may have linked to a different site discussing this same study before:

Upper-class people less empathetic than lower-class people: study | The Raw Story

People from different economic classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world, according to research recently published in Current Directions in Psychological Science. [...] “One clear policy implication is, the idea of nobless oblige or trickle-down economics, certain versions of it, is bull," Keltner added.

Slate, "People Always Say You Should Invest Like Warren Buffett. Here's Why You Can't"

Adam Kessler | Cognitive dissonance, the Global Financial Crisis and the discipline of economics [note: pdf link]

I consider the social-psychological concept cognitive dissonance as the best explanatory framework for understanding this response. Cognitive dissonance theory predicts that when real-world events “disconfirm” deeply-held beliefs this creates psychological discomfort in persons...

Or, denial is a river, with flowcharts n' copious statistics.

What Caused the Financial Crisis? Don’t Ask an Economist

Business Insider, "Here's The Bomb That Might Blow A Hole In Bank Of America"

CNN: "U.S. ranks low for newborn survival"

The GOP War on Voting | Rolling Stone Politics

Norway killer tied to drugs, the Tea Party and the libertarian conspiracy:

Peter Dale Scott -- poet, U.C. Berkeley professor and former Canadian diplomat -- has written a fascinating analysis of the mass killings committed by Anders Breivik, which he views as a "deep" event. "Deep" is Scott-speak for "conspiratorial," although he operates on a wavelength very different from that of the conspira-cranks who gravitate toward Alex Jones. "Ayn Rand took government assistance while decrying others who did the same"

Sibel Edmonds, "Politicians aren’t as Incompetent as They Seem"

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