"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Train Wreck

Apologies to overseas readers, but it's going to be hard for Americans to focus on the usual core issues around here for the next while, as the Tea Party Republicans seem determined to further substantially weaken the United States, by making the continuation of the budget contingent on unacceptably extreme and unconditional demands at the federal level, even though they only control one of the three branches. This comes to a head in the next two weeks but it's very hard to imagine the current configuration in DC avoiding a massive fustercluck and very hard to see what comes after.

Meanwhile the attack on unions at the state level is absolutely unconscionable. I don't think I've ever had as much sympathy for unions in my life as I do right now. Many professionals and academics are feeling that way right now, but that is not enough.

Do you suppose the deep red staters will wake up to who is really causing their misery? I suppose that is wishful thinking. Failing that it is very difficult to see how we avoid a horrible mess in the very near future.


Oale said...

Noted, followed and forwarded some of US news since media here isn't reporting on the current events there

some lighter reading, hopefully:

Paul Daniel Ash said...

Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, here's two thousand to help explain things to our international brethren and sistren.

Nick Dearth said...

Sadly I think the Republicans and Tea Party types in Congress are just crazy enough to force a government shutdown over funding for the EPA and public broadcasting, among other things. Of course as someone who has become reliant on my social security survivor's benefits to keep my house since my wife died, they can be assured that I will never, ever, ever vote Republican for any single office for the rest of my life.

Michael Tobis said...

Oale, no need to apologize for your media. It is hardly better over here.

For most people this will be a bolt from the blue, and (mark my words if you want, this isn't a very high risk prediction) the dominant media will be very careful to play it so that it will be easy to construe it as Obama's fault.

manuel moe g said...

A government shutdown will raise borrowing costs for government - federal and state, etc. The pain will be felt everywhere.

I would love to blame the Republicans, but immaturity and vacuity have become American virtues.

Nassim Taleb (Black Swan) believes we will go back to gold-based currencies and city-states.


City-states might be nice - if you have a pot-hole that never gets filled, your highest elected official is never more than a single cow-pat throw away.

Very small solace to people who currently rely on the government for their standard of living, which is a prerequisite for human dignity. Depressing.

Michael Tobis said...

Moe, I'd love to pass the blame around, but I think this one rests squarely with the Republicans.

manuel moe g said...

Yeah, the Republicans' stupidity here will eventually get them a rolled-up newspaper swat on the nose from their corporate masters. I agree.

Michael Tobis said...

Harvey Taylor, via email:

Here are a couple fo semi-related points.

One aspect of Wisconsin [which preserves a climate/energy relevance] is the sale of state owned energy assets to privateers.

See for details:

2011/02/23: TreeHugger: Wisconsin Governor Selling State Power Plants to the Kochs?

2011/02/22: CCP: The Koch Brothers' End Game in Wisconsin: take over state-owned power plants for pennies

2011/02/22: NakedCapitalism: Wisconsin’s Walker Joins Government Asset Giveaway Club (and is Rahm Soon to Follow?)

With the history of the Roberts Supreme Court, it is questionable whether Tea Partiers [or more generically the radical right] controls only "one branch".


A possibly related analysis:
2011/02/22: BerkeleyBlog: What conservatives really want by George Lakoff

Which ties to the earlier work of Altemeyer and Adorno:

Bob Altemeyer's - The Authoritarians

Wiki: The Authoritarian Personality

Anonymous said...

From Ezra Klein, WaPo:

In it, Walker proposes that the right to collectively bargain be taken away from most -- but not all -- state and local workers. Who's left out? "Local law enforcement and fire employees, and state troopers and inspectors would be exempt from these changes." As Harold Meyerson notes, these are also the unions that happened to be more supportive of Walker in the last election. Funny, that.


Oale said...

So, do you think Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch will condemn the anti-union laws pushed at the state level?