Category Archives: Politics and the economy

The tragic tale of oppressed billionaires

Glenn Greenwald has a must-read piece on Continetti’s apologia thingy to the Koch brothers in the Weekly Standard regarding how influential billionaires are being cruelly victimized by bloggers and the like. It’s a tragic tale.

And Benen quotes Charles Koch and comments…

“”His father was a hard core economic socialist in Kenya… So he had sort of antibusiness, anti-free enterprise influences affecting him almost all his life. It just shows you what a person with a silver tongue can achieve.” 

Now, Koch’s vast wealth proves that one need not be intelligent to get rich, but remarks like these are still just embarrassing.”

Not merely embarrassing in getting details wrong, I’d point out. Consider the stunning lack of self-awareness here. Obama is profoundly influenced by a father who was absent and played almost zero part in Obama’s life. On the other hand, the Koch boys who were raised by and gained their millionaire to billionaire fortunes from a co-founder of the John Birch Society, that’s invisible to the dork.


Big fucking surprise

President Richard M. Nixon discussed with Brazil’s president a cooperative effort to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende of Chile, according to recently declassified documents that reveal deep collaboration between the United States and Brazil in trying to root out leftists in Latin America during the cold war.


Medical insurance PR exec turns whistleblower

If you haven’t seen this, attend.  An insider lays out how the medical insurance industry operates its PR divisions in order to paint a benevolent and caring picture of themselves while covertly spending multi-millions to obstruct and thwart any change to the status quo which might do damage to their bottom line.

And Potter on CNN… watch here

Income inequality trend – what matches it?

Paul Krugman (and others) have noted recent income inequality figures from  Emmanuel Saez at Berkeley.    Here is the historical perspective graphed…

Two major trends are immediately evident – downwards from the 20s and then upwards from the the mid-70s.  We know what brought the trend down from “the guilded age” but what brought it back up?

I’ve previously noted here Lewis Lapham’s essay “The Tentacles of Rage”. What Lapham describes in this essay matches yjod rise and does so far better than any particular individual or party holding the Presidency or the inititation of any particular policy or the establishment of or dismantling of any particular institution related to governance in the US.

Further, one can see quite clearly how what Lapham describes is presently in full bloom in the broad campaign underway to kill healthcare reform in the US and to bring down a President who likely will, if he is able, move the country back towards the sorts of regulations and perspectives which caused or facilitated the downward trend mentioned above.

I encourage everyone to read the essay with care and with attention to the correspondences between the timeline demonstrated in the graph and the correspondences between the thesis Lapham advances with what we have all experienced since the mid 70s and are still experiencing now.

Medical insurance company exec turns against the American system he was a part of

Wendell Potter, former head of Public Relations for Cigna, speaks out against his industry…

interview here (I caught it two nights ago…it’s very good

Krugman asks the question

July 3, 2009, 9:00 AM

Secrets of the WSJ

This morning’s Wall Street Journal opinion section contains a lot of what one expects to see. There’s an opinion piece making a big fuss over the fake scandal at the EPA. There’s an editorial claiming that the latest job figures prove the failure of Obama’s economic plan — something I dealt with in the Times. All of this follows on yesterday’s editorial asserting that the Minnesota senatorial election was stolen.

All of this is par for the course; the WSJ editorial page has been like this for 35 years. Nonetheless, it got me wondering: what do these people really believe?

I mean, they’re not stupid — life would be a lot easier if they were. So they know they’re not telling the truth. But they obviously believe that their dishonesty serves a higher truth — one that is, in effect, told only to Inner Party members, while the Outer Party makes do with prolefeed.

The question is, what is that higher truth? What do these people really believe in?

US economy and militarism

from Matt Yglesias