My Thoughts Exactly

Alan Grayson's simple proposition

Well, Democrats, what say you?

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Whether Obama Will Fight For Public Option Is Irrelevant. The Question Is, Will We?

Chris Bowers, as usual, hits it dead on in this piece on OpenLeft. While we may despair of the Democrats lack of spine, the question is whether we are willing to stand up and fight for our principles.

Opponents of the public option are willing to make angry calls, attend rallies, spend money like water to make their point. Why shouldn’t a rational member of Congress assume that they carry the majority if we cannot muster a tenth of the enthusiasm to fight for our principles?

Donna Edwards (D-MD) spoke at America’s Future Now in June. As the audience pressed their demands she responded “Look, I’ve been to a whole bunch of Progressive retreats. I know what the demands are. The question is whether any of you will actually make calls to members of Congress to try to make this happen.”

And now we find that the Obama Administration has taken the silence of the Progressive movement as a willingness to compromise. Why are we surprised? But the question is not whether Obama is a good or bad person, a traitor, a realist, a disappointment, or anything having to do with Obama. The question is, what are we going to do. As the Bible tells us:

It is not in Heaven, that you shall say: “Who shall ascend into Heaven and bring down the Word to us that we may hear it and obey.” Nor is it over the sea, that you shall say: “Who shall go over the sea and bring back the Word that we may hear it and obey.” For the Word is near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for YOU TO DO. (Deut. 30:12-14 )

As always, we must rely upon ourselves, not some imagined political party. How can we be betrayed if we will not even get up off our ass to fight?

Stay tuned . . . .

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Inventing the Future

Negative Interest Loans?

Hey, suppose we had a rational way to evaluate business and home loan risk. I don’t think we can truly solve our financial/social crisis without fixing the underlying risk-valuation issue.1

However it’s done, let’s imagine for moment that we had such a thing. Furthermore, let’s imagine that we had some way of assessing that risk relative to benefit for those doing the loaning. If the government is loaning, that means public benefit (under some political process).

If we did have such a thing, wouldn’t the most efficient way of stimulating the economy be to provide business and public loans at an interest rate based on that assessment? In particular, worthy projects might get zero or even negative interest, depending on how much we turned up the dial on desired stimulus. It’s not a blind hand-out, as borrowers have to justify their projects and make regular payments. The loan can be called in the usual way if payments aren’t made. The stimulus is in adjusting the balance-point of go/no-go.

Would Republicans support such a plan? Would Democrats? If labeled as a banking system, then I suppose neither. But what about defining it as a rational way of conducting the stimulus? With a side-benefit of kick-starting a more efficient and maybe less corruptible system of risk evaluation?


1.. Maybe something involving public peer review ala all that yummy mesh, P2P, and social network stuff?

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update: Cable Cos Respond, FCC Reviewing.

To update on the question of whether cable companies think they are above the law. According to this piece by Ted Hearn in Multichannel News, all 13 cable cos responded to the FCC’s letter of inquiries (LOIs) issued in response to the consumer complaints. The FCC is apparently now reviewing the adequacy of the response.

Mind you, according to the article, we are still likely to find that the cable cos responded in a less than thorough way, and will necessitate the FCC coming back with another request. But this is merely the usual fun and games by which large companies avoid obeying the law, rather than an outright statement of defiance that the law simply doesn’t apply to them.

I suspect the cable cos will do their best to run out the clock, in the hopes that the next FCC will be more tolerant of their exercise of market power. Whether that is true or not (and it will certainly NOT be true if either Adelstein or Copps is chair), I would hope that all the FCC Commissioners, but especially the two Democrats, back Martin on this investigation and make it clear to the cable cos they will not tolerate any efforts to run out the clock.

As President-elect Obama observed at his first press conference: “The United States only has one President at a time.” Similarly, the FCC has only one Chairman at a time. Certainly when it comes to investigating consumer complaints, all FCC Commissioners need to stand united in making it clear to industry that a time of transition is not a time when you can get away with screwing consumers.

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

“Jesus Was A Community Organizer, Pontious Pilate Was A Governor.”

I wish I could claim credit for what is so far my favorite campaign slogan, but it comes from this Daily Kos post. I’d like to get it on an internet button and have everyone involved in community organization display it.

In the meantime, however, I recommend this excellent piece by Joe Klien on what Barak Obama actually did as a community organizer. Then tell me again how those elitist Democrats can’t possibly understand your pain in the way that the crowd of Republican delegates and lobbyist who think that being a “community organizer” is funny.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Democratic People's Republic of Massachusettsistan

From yesterday’s Boston Globe, this depressing story about how the Massachusetts legislature does everything behind closed doors & under control of the Party Leaders. This is the way things inevitably turn out in a one-party state.

It’s almost enough to make one think of voting Republican (and maybe that’s why we seem to elect Republican governors like Romney pretty regularly). But the Republicans who run for state office here are generally even more abhorent than the Democratic hacks who run the show now, so we’ll probably stick with what we have. The Democrats may practice machine politics, but at least they’re not obsessively homophobic & insanely jingoistic warmongering anticonstitutionalists, which is the Republican trope here in Massachusetts as it is elsewhere across this great nation of ours.

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My Thoughts Exactly

The endorsement Barack's been waiting for!

Today in the Senate, where we were disgraced as a nation, Obama voted with the good guys. Clinton was absent. The bad guys, who included 17 Democrats, won.

In recognition whereof, John of Wetmachine hereby endorses Barack Obama for president. Hillary, don’t bother calling. This decision is final.

For the gory details on the eclipse of the concept of the rule of law and the full embrace of the public-private, all seeing panopticon of the transnational corporate-military-industrial-infotainment-prison class by our disgusting rulers, see the vote tally here.

Read it and weep.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Which one's Kramer?

This little bloglette posting by M.J. Rosenberg in TPM Cafe asks whether the Democrats are, like Seinfeld, “about nothing.” He asks,

With the exception of the fringe candidates in both parties (Kucinich, Gravel and Ron Paul), is anyone running for any other reason than that they would like very much to be President?

As far as I can tell, the answer that question is “no”. You should read the article that Rosenberg links to, in the Politico. It’s accurate and depressing. I’ll vote for the Democratic nominee, but unless it’s Al Gore, I won’t be happy about it.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Satellite Radio Has Good Political Sense, NOT

Normally I like XM and Sirius just fine. But this rather sad attempt to claim they complied with the terms of their license by designing interoperable radios, but not producing them, makes me laugh.

Normally, I wouldn’t care (much) if XM and Sirius want to go all anticompetitive against each other or if the FCC lets them. But with a Senate bill pending to cut off satellite radio’s traffic and weather service, I’m not sure I’d pick this moment to look like I’m flouting the law. But hey, what do I know?

Read More »

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

TotSF: A modest fling of Theses

Just got back from Adam’s event at DNC. Not a bad beginning, but if this is gonna move to a real movement within the DNC it needs to energize itself ASAP.

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