maxomai: dog (dog)
(Kareem Abdul Jabbar is better known for his basketball skills than his social thought, but he nails it below. --maxomai)

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] fengi at Wow.
Time has posted an essay by Kareem Abdul Jabbar titled "The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race". It's fascinating whether you agree with all of his points. Unlike many others who discuss race, gender and class, he doesn't dismiss the other struggles in order to concentrate on class war. He handles intersectionality as deftly as a skyhook:
...on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University...On May 14th, 10 days after Kent State ignited the nation, at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Mississippi, police killed two black students...with shotguns and wounded twelve others...That heartless leviathan we call History swallowed that event whole, erasing it from the national memory.

...unless we want the Ferguson atrocity to also be swallowed and become nothing more than an intestinal irritant to history, we have to address the situation not just as another act of systemic racism, but as what else it is: class warfare.

...the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.

And that’s how the status quo wants it.

The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized...So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control...we fall into the trap of turning against each other, expending our energy battling our allies instead of our enemies. This isn’t just inclusive of race and political parties, it’s also about gender. In her book Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution, Laurie Penny suggests that the decreased career opportunities for young men in society makes them feel less valuable to females; as a result they deflect their rage from those who caused the problem to those who also suffer the consequences: females.

...The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.

...I hope John Steinbeck is proven right when he wrote in Grapes of Wrath, “Repression works only to strengthen and knit the oppressed.” But I’m more inclined to echo Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” written the year after the Kent State/Jackson State shootings:

Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
maxomai: dog (dog)
John Kerry issued a statement today:

The United States expresses its disgust with the decision of Ukrainian authorities to meet the peaceful protest in Kyiv’s Maidan Square with riot police, bulldozers, and batons, rather than with respect for democratic rights and human dignity. This response is neither acceptable nor does it befit a democracy.


Indeed. A democratic, human-rights-respecting nation should never see this:

84yrolddorli-rainey-retired-teacher-pepper-sprayed-by-cop-seattle1111811-national-occupy-wall-street-police-beatting-brutality
133129074133136487
liz-nichols-occupy-portland-pepper-spraymore-wounds-from-rubber-bullets-at-Occupy-Denver-225x300
occupy-wall-street-13occupy-wall-street-arrest-007
OccupyWallSt protester-choked-by-police-officer-at-Occupy-Denver-300x200
riot-police-using-rubber-bullets-and-mace-at-Occupy-Denver-300x168riot-police-using-rubber-bullets-and-mace-at-Occupy-Denver

EDIT Whoops.......I'm sorry. I meant to include images of the Ukranian state's police brutality, and instead included images of American police crackdowns on Occupy Wall Street protesters. I apologize to John Kerry and to our Corporate Overlords for the oversight.
maxomai: dog (Default)

The Huffington Post reports what should be obvious to anyone who’s paying attention:


President Barack Obama’s top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.


That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week’s electoral defeat.


Like a lot of other stuff that comes from the Huffington Post, this needs to be taken with a salt lick. Still, I think it’s largely correct. In this political environment, some kind of deal that extends tax cuts across the board is pretty much inevitable, and the extension is almost certainly going to be temporary. It’s only a matter of how many years they are extended. Follow along with my reasoning (and BTW, feel free to tell me where I’m wrong here.)



  • The GOP want to extend all of the Bush tax cuts permanently; most of them genuinely believe that this is good policy, and besides, that’s what their corporate masters paid for.

  • Obama wants to extend most of the Bush tax cuts — all those but the estate tax cut and the tax cut on those earning over $250k/year — permanently. He genuinely believes that this is good policy, and besides, this was one of his signature campaign promises. However, Obama believes that extending the tax cuts for the wealthy is bad policy, because it creates a huge hole in the budget and contributes to the growing disparity between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.

  • The GOP cannot force Obama to extend tax cuts for the wealthy permanently; Obama can veto the bill, and the GOP don’t have the votes to override the veto.

  • On the other hand, the GOP cannot allow Obama to extend the tax cuts for everyone else permanently without also extending tax cuts for the wealthy permanently. Tax cuts for the wealthy are enormously unpopular, and any legislation that decouples tax cuts for the wealthy from tax cuts for everyone else is a death sentence for tax cuts for the wealthy.


That basically leaves one viable option, which is to extend all the tax cuts for a period of two to ten years. That is, in fact, exactly what I think will happen between now and the end of the year.


Another option, not as viable but definitely more entertaining, is for both sides to let the tax cuts expire and then fight it out to see who can blame the other side more. Such a move would have a lot of upside for the GOP, since it becomes very easy for them to win that battle: they can just harp on that stupid meme of the Tax And Spend Liberal that they’ve been drilling into people’s heads for generations now. The downsides for them, however, include that it would really piss off their wealthy supporters, and that it would present the Democrats with a huge opportunity to blow away that meme forever (“Look, we voted for tax cuts, they voted against tax cuts.”) and mess with the rest of the GOP’s base for 2012. In any case, I don’t think the GOP have the votes to pull something like this off.


I will note that I do not like this deal. Even two more years of extended tax cuts for the wealthy represents a loss of $1.4 trillion ($1,400,000,000,000.00) from the Federal till. If the Blue Dogs had an ounce of sense and any guts whatsoever, they would have considered these tax cuts as two separate bills before the election and forced the GOP to either vote against tax cuts for the middle class or vote for a mere temporary reprieve for tax cuts for the wealthy. Either way, the election results might have been much different. One hopes that they will learn from this the same lesson that they should have learned all through the last 30 years: when you act like proud progressives, you win elections, but when you act like mealy-mouthed GOP Lite third way Clintonites, you almost always get your asses kicked.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

The Huffington Post reports what should be obvious to anyone who’s paying attention:


President Barack Obama’s top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.


That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week’s electoral defeat.


Like a lot of other stuff that comes from the Huffington Post, this needs to be taken with a salt lick. Still, I think it’s largely correct. In this political environment, some kind of deal that extends tax cuts across the board is pretty much inevitable, and the extension is almost certainly going to be temporary. It’s only a matter of how many years they are extended. Follow along with my reasoning (and BTW, feel free to tell me where I’m wrong here.)



  • The GOP want to extend all of the Bush tax cuts permanently; most of them genuinely believe that this is good policy, and besides, that’s what their corporate masters paid for.

  • Obama wants to extend most of the Bush tax cuts — all those but the estate tax cut and the tax cut on those earning over $250k/year — permanently. He genuinely believes that this is good policy, and besides, this was one of his signature campaign promises. However, Obama believes that extending the tax cuts for the wealthy is bad policy, because it creates a huge hole in the budget and contributes to the growing disparity between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.

  • The GOP cannot force Obama to extend tax cuts for the wealthy permanently; Obama can veto the bill, and the GOP don’t have the votes to override the veto.

  • On the other hand, the GOP cannot allow Obama to extend the tax cuts for everyone else permanently without also extending tax cuts for the wealthy permanently. Tax cuts for the wealthy are enormously unpopular, and any legislation that decouples tax cuts for the wealthy from tax cuts for everyone else is a death sentence for tax cuts for the wealthy.


That basically leaves one viable option, which is to extend all the tax cuts for a period of two to ten years. That is, in fact, exactly what I think will happen between now and the end of the year.


Another option, not as viable but definitely more entertaining, is for both sides to let the tax cuts expire and then fight it out to see who can blame the other side more. Such a move would have a lot of upside for the GOP, since it becomes very easy for them to win that battle: they can just harp on that stupid meme of the Tax And Spend Liberal that they’ve been drilling into people’s heads for generations now. The downsides for them, however, include that it would really piss off their wealthy supporters, and that it would present the Democrats with a huge opportunity to blow away that meme forever (“Look, we voted for tax cuts, they voted against tax cuts.”) and mess with the rest of the GOP’s base for 2012. In any case, I don’t think the GOP have the votes to pull something like this off.


I will note that I do not like this deal. Even two more years of extended tax cuts for the wealthy represents a loss of $1.4 trillion ($1,400,000,000,000.00) from the Federal till. If the Blue Dogs had an ounce of sense and any guts whatsoever, they would have considered these tax cuts as two separate bills before the election and forced the GOP to either vote against tax cuts for the middle class or vote for a mere temporary reprieve for tax cuts for the wealthy. Either way, the election results might have been much different. One hopes that they will learn from this the same lesson that they should have learned all through the last 30 years: when you act like proud progressives, you win elections, but when you act like mealy-mouthed GOP Lite third way Clintonites, you almost always get your asses kicked.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

March On Washington, 10/2.


This President has demanded that we hold him accountable, and now it’s time to do exactly that. Lately he’s been straying from his promise to focus on jobs, green technology and infrastructure; in fact, there’s now talk of a “second stimulus” consisting almost entirely of tax cuts. We cannot afford to let him do this: the economy is incontrovertibly in better shape now because of stimulus spending, and cutting back on that means that the economy will just get worse. Just holding back on unemployment benefits has been damaging enough. Furthermore, cutting back on green investment means that the United States will continue its slide into a technological backwater. We cannot afford to let that happen.


“But,” I hear you saying, “what about the deficit?” Look: right now, the deficit is huge. But it’s also cheap, and cheaper now than it’s been in decades, because interest rates are so low. And people are buying them like mad. This situation is temporary, don’t get me wrong, but its not going to change as long as the economy is hovering on the brink of another depression.


If you can’t make it in person (and I can’t), please consider a donation. And if you’re too broke to do either, then please consider writing a letter to the White House and your Congresscritters, every day, from now until election day, demanding that they fight for what they ran on in 2008.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

March On Washington, 10/2.


This President has demanded that we hold him accountable, and now it’s time to do exactly that. Lately he’s been straying from his promise to focus on jobs, green technology and infrastructure; in fact, there’s now talk of a “second stimulus” consisting almost entirely of tax cuts. We cannot afford to let him do this: the economy is incontrovertibly in better shape now because of stimulus spending, and cutting back on that means that the economy will just get worse. Just holding back on unemployment benefits has been damaging enough. Furthermore, cutting back on green investment means that the United States will continue its slide into a technological backwater. We cannot afford to let that happen.


“But,” I hear you saying, “what about the deficit?” Look: right now, the deficit is huge. But it’s also cheap, and cheaper now than it’s been in decades, because interest rates are so low. And people are buying them like mad. This situation is temporary, don’t get me wrong, but its not going to change as long as the economy is hovering on the brink of another depression.


If you can’t make it in person (and I can’t), please consider a donation. And if you’re too broke to do either, then please consider writing a letter to the White House and your Congresscritters, every day, from now until election day, demanding that they fight for what they ran on in 2008.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

The Republican Party has always prided itself as being the party of the small business entrepreneur. Which is, naturally, why today they filibustered a Senate bill intended to help small businesses stay afloat.


Olympia Snowe was especially embarrassing this morning. Her argument was that the Senate needs to act quickly to help small businesses — which is why she’s supporting the filibuster to prevent a vote on helping small businesses.


GOP complaints that Harry Reid didn’t provide enough time for amendments are plain and simple BS — the real agenda here is to run out the clock before the August recess to imperil the cap-and-trade bill.


And if they can put another bullet in the economy’s guts, well, that might just suit their agenda as well.








maxomai: dog (Default)

The Republican Party has always prided itself as being the party of the small business entrepreneur. Which is, naturally, why today they filibustered a Senate bill intended to help small businesses stay afloat.


Olympia Snowe was especially embarrassing this morning. Her argument was that the Senate needs to act quickly to help small businesses — which is why she’s supporting the filibuster to prevent a vote on helping small businesses.


GOP complaints that Harry Reid didn’t provide enough time for amendments are plain and simple BS — the real agenda here is to run out the clock before the August recess to imperil the cap-and-trade bill.


And if they can put another bullet in the economy’s guts, well, that might just suit their agenda as well.








maxomai: dog (Default)

Unemployment extensions are very likely to pass today, with Snowe and Collins (both R-ME) joining the Democrats to vote for this bill and Ben Nelson (D-NE) voting against. This move will spare a few million people from a very dim future (thanks in no small part to a totally destroyed safety net) for a while longer. It also, by the way, might spare the rest of the economy from going down the toilet — and given the very immanent threat of cyclical deflation, none too soon.


The Republicans, for their parts, have shifted their rhetoric, probably after realizing that calling the unemployed lazy bums wasn’t going to sit well with the public. They are back to their old saw that their opposition is about bringing the deficit under control. As an answer to that, let me point out that there’s plenty of evidence that cutting UI will end up making the deficit worse by shrinking the economy and thus shrinking tax revenues. It’s also worth mentioning that the current Republican emphasis on the deficit, after two wars and tax cuts for the rich, is deeply hypocritical.


As for the Democrats? They started charging hard against the GOP .. pretty much as soon as victory was inevitable, thus minimizing the political gain from extending UI. It does make me wonder when these guys are going to get some Ballz again.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Unemployment extensions are very likely to pass today, with Snowe and Collins (both R-ME) joining the Democrats to vote for this bill and Ben Nelson (D-NE) voting against. This move will spare a few million people from a very dim future (thanks in no small part to a totally destroyed safety net) for a while longer. It also, by the way, might spare the rest of the economy from going down the toilet — and given the very immanent threat of cyclical deflation, none too soon.


The Republicans, for their parts, have shifted their rhetoric, probably after realizing that calling the unemployed lazy bums wasn’t going to sit well with the public. They are back to their old saw that their opposition is about bringing the deficit under control. As an answer to that, let me point out that there’s plenty of evidence that cutting UI will end up making the deficit worse by shrinking the economy and thus shrinking tax revenues. It’s also worth mentioning that the current Republican emphasis on the deficit, after two wars and tax cuts for the rich, is deeply hypocritical.


As for the Democrats? They started charging hard against the GOP .. pretty much as soon as victory was inevitable, thus minimizing the political gain from extending UI. It does make me wonder when these guys are going to get some Ballz again.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

It’s Friday, and it’s a scorcher! What better time to sit indoors with the AC and the weekly miscellany?



  • I wasn’t following the Mehserle case until last night, when I heard about the involuntary manslaughter verdict. Frankly, I’m surprised that he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. There’s ample evidence to support that charge, but it’s incredibly rare for a police officer to be convicted for killing someone “in the line of duty.”

  • As far as the post-verdict rioting goes? Nick Mamatas sums it up nicely here.

  • Is Carly Fiorina manufacturing dissent? Duh.

  • BP says the spill could be contained next week. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Antibodies have been found that kill 91% of HIV strains. This is a huge breakthrough that could lead to a highly effective vaccine.

  • The biggest defaulters on their mortgages are the rich. Remember that next time some flaming assholes (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) try to blame the economic mess on the Community Reinvestment Act, ACORN, minorities, and the poor.

  • A word to the wise EVE player: Hulkageddon III is here. I’ve stowed my Retriever in my hangar until it’s over. On the bright side, mineral prices should be going up!








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

It’s Friday, and it’s a scorcher! What better time to sit indoors with the AC and the weekly miscellany?



  • I wasn’t following the Mehserle case until last night, when I heard about the involuntary manslaughter verdict. Frankly, I’m surprised that he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. There’s ample evidence to support that charge, but it’s incredibly rare for a police officer to be convicted for killing someone “in the line of duty.”

  • As far as the post-verdict rioting goes? Nick Mamatas sums it up nicely here.

  • Is Carly Fiorina manufacturing dissent? Duh.

  • BP says the spill could be contained next week. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Antibodies have been found that kill 91% of HIV strains. This is a huge breakthrough that could lead to a highly effective vaccine.

  • The biggest defaulters on their mortgages are the rich. Remember that next time some flaming assholes (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) try to blame the economic mess on the Community Reinvestment Act, ACORN, minorities, and the poor.

  • A word to the wise EVE player: Hulkageddon III is here. I’ve stowed my Retriever in my hangar until it’s over. On the bright side, mineral prices should be going up!








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Check out this video clip. Here, conservative economist Stephen Moore, the former head of Club for Growth, emeritus of both the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and public shill for Koch Industries, argues that instead of letting the tax cuts for the rich lapse next year, we should raise the lowest marginal tax rate from 10% to 15%. That basically raises taxes for everyone, of course, with the poor getting the biggest tax increase (50%).


This guy is a crackpot, of course. But the conservative movement considers him a serious thinker. That should tell you the whole story, kids. These people are not on your side.









Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Check out this video clip. Here, conservative economist Stephen Moore, the former head of Club for Growth, emeritus of both the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and public shill for Koch Industries, argues that instead of letting the tax cuts for the rich lapse next year, we should raise the lowest marginal tax rate from 10% to 15%. That basically raises taxes for everyone, of course, with the poor getting the biggest tax increase (50%).


This guy is a crackpot, of course. But the conservative movement considers him a serious thinker. That should tell you the whole story, kids. These people are not on your side.









Originally published at maxomai.org

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