Sara Robinson has a couple of very interesting posts that delve into the major differences between conservative and liberal philosophies. Her first post goes into how differently conservatives and liberals view discipline, accountability, responsibility and punishment.
Thirty years of conservative misrule have muddled Americans' understanding of words like responsibility, accountability, discipline, and punishment to the point where nobody knows what they mean any more—and don't seem to want to know, either. The social conservatives go on and on about the evils of postmodern morality and situational ethics; and on this score, I can't quite summon myself to disagree. It's been as though nobody on Planet Washington ever had a parent who was able to explain right from wrong, or demonstrate the role cause-and-effect plays in the ethical universe. It's like a moral-gravity-free zone.
With rising unemployment and comsumer timidity, everyone seems to agree the economy could use a swift kick to get it going again. I like this idea: 100% write-offs for all capital goods purchased in 2009 by small businesses, and comparable benefits for owners of rental and commercial property. That means immediate tax credits, not protracted depreciation schedules.
What is obvious is that we need an immediate and powerful jolt to the economy. We need action that will restore consumer and business confidence, put people to work, and lift the feeling of gloom that's hanging over the country. We need a true small business stimulus.[...]
We need a 100% write-off that will create immediate economic demand, generating manufacturing and construction jobs across the country. And with more jobs will come stronger consumer confidence, with greater ability and willingness to spend.
In any social movement, public opinion has to be won – not once, not twice, but three separate times. First, the public must be convinced that there is a problem. Second, they need to recognize that the current powerholders and their policies are part of the problem, and reject them. Finally, the public has to buy in to the alternative vision and solutions offered by the movement. Each of these steps requires its own process of awareness raising and grassroots organizing, and each of them is punctuated by a trigger event, a watershed moment that seizes public attention and sympathy – the Montgomery bus boycott, for example, or Three Mile Island.
The latest revelation about voting machines is that, since the outset, infamous Diebold (which now calls itself Premier Election Systems) has had a profound defect in the GEMS software it uses in both direct-recording electronic (DRE, touch-screen) voting machines and in optical scan machines. This defect makes it possible for election officials or others to alter the audit log, which is the purported backup that is supposed to guarantee that, in case of possible vote fraud, one could go back to see whether any votes might have been lost by mistake or through tampering.
According to a leading election organization, Verified Voting, Premier Election Systems equipment is used in over 1400 voting districts, representing over 43,000,000 voters.
Why are recipients of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) – better known as the Banking Bailout – allowed to continue to lobby? Taxpayer dollars should not be used to influence our government. We, the People should be telling them what to do, not the other way around.
TARP recipients spent $114 million on lobbying last year as the financial crisis emerged. In just the last quarter of the year eighteen bailout recipients spent $14.8 million to influence the government, as the TARP funds were distributed.
The lobbying has paid off. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “The companies' political activities have, in part, yielded them $295.2 billion from TARP, an extraordinary return of 258,449 percent.”
The never-ending progressive identity crisis rages on, this time in an interesting conversation happening at OpenLeft.
Yesterday, Commonweal Institute Fellow Chris Bowers sounded off on the tendency within the left-leaning community to question one another's ideological purity, using phrases like "So-Called Progressives":
Our economic crisis has called into question our current form of capitalism. Since the days of Reagan, the orthodox belief has been the market always worked better than government. Even more pernicious was the belief that the society worked best when the best were given free reign to accumulate more wealth. In fact, the bottomline for how our society was doing was based on how many billionaires we had because they were the cream of the society. So even while the United States was touted as the richest country in the world, for the bottom 50% of Americans, their lives were becoming harder as they paid more for everything that mattered: their housing, their food, their healthcare, their education, and their time. And for most Americans, if they were unlucky, they could lose everything if someone in the family got sick. But you know, we don't have to worship the false god of wealth trumping all other values.
Now that Thomas Friedman is saying:
Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.” [...]
We can’t do this anymore.
...maybe the country will wake up. The global economy is on a collision course with the reality that we live on a finite planet.
Economist Herman Daly has long been one of my heroes, as he has been talking about the need for a steady-state economy (neither growing nor shrinking) for decades. Here is what Daly said recently, in April, 2008:
Former Bush political advisor Karl Rove is seeking President Obama's support for his claim of executive privilege to avoid testifying to Congress.
I consider it a grave mistake to support any aspect of executive privilege for members of the Bush administration, or to try to come to any compromise regarding congressional testimony. The Bush Administration went far beyond any previous administration in claiming executive privilege, hiding what they were doing when in office and concealing the records of previous administrations. This sort of secrecy is profoundly undemocratic.