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Unintentional Humor

By Al Schumann on Friday July 8, 2011 03:50 PM

The Democrats want Koch money.

And why not? They're gotten plenty of it before. The inducement is joining senior Democrats on a resort retreat. But if that's the inducement, what's the punishment? Two retreats? More gassy, sanctimonious denunciations, followed by more pleas for money?

Comments (12)


dino on the lil abner of corporate financed Democracy

"According to legend, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocked over a latern in her barn setting it on fire. While Mrs. O'Leary certainly didn't set the fire on purpose, she is probably not the person we would consult on fire control. In the same vein, it is reasonable to ask why anyone would consult Bill Clinton about the country's current economic problems.

While the economy performed well during the second half of the Clinton administration, it was building up the imbalances that laid the basis for the current crisis. The late 90s growth was driven by a stock bubble which led a consumption boom. When the bubble burst, the economy went into a prolonged downturn. It did not create any jobs from March of 2001 to September of 2003. The jobs lost in the downturn were not gained back until the beginning of 2005, at the time the longest period without job growth since the Great Depression.

Furthermore, when the economy finally did begin creating jobs it was driven by the housing bubble. While the bubble itself cannot be blamed on the Clinton administration, it is responsible for the imbalances that laid its basis. Robert Rubin, Clinton's treasury secretary, consciously pursued a high dollar policy. He used the U.S. control over the IMF to bring it about.

A high dollar makes U.S. goods less competitive in world markets. If the dollar rises by 20 percent it has roughly the same impact as putting a 20 percent tariff on all our exports and giving a 20 percent subsidy on all our imports. This sort of increase in the value of the dollar has way more impact on trade flow than any trade agreement possibly could.

Rubin's high dollar policy meant that the U.S. would run a large trade deficit. If the country has a trade deficit, then it absolutely must have negative national savings. (This is an accounting identity, it has to be true.) Negative national savings means that we must have either large government budget deficits or very low private savings, as was the case at the peak of the housing bubble, when the savings rate hit zero.

It is likely that President Clinton does not understand this basic economics. He recently lectured the public on how to create manufacturing jobs through trade, apparently not realizing the country was losing manufacturing jobs due to the soaring trade deficit during the last three years of his administration. This means that he may not know that he is giving bad advice, but that still doesn't mean that there is any reason for the media to want to seek it out "

i love the dean when he hits
his calmly mordant stride



If you're an adivasi [tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation.

Why don't these people apply for one of 600 jobs here?

Her critics label her a Maoist sympathiser. Is she? "I am a Maoist sympathiser," she says. "I'm not a Maoist ideologue, because the communist movements in history have been just as destructive as capitalism. But right now, when the assault is on, I feel they are very much part of the resistance that I support."
As a purely factual matter, one may question whether communist movements really have been as destructive as capitalism. For one thing, capitalism has been at it longer, and over a much larger territory.

But apart from this quibble, I like her thinking here a lot. It's pretty much the way I think about these matters too.


The odometer changing it's most significant digit--once per 1000 years--also resulted in "a chorus of self-adulation, somber ruminations about the incomprehensible evil of our enemies, and the usual recourse to selective amnesia to smooth the way.":

[Amartya Sen] observes that India and China had "similarities that were quite striking" when development planning began 50 years ago, including death rates. "But there is little doubt that as far as morbidity, mortality and longevity are concerned, China has a large and decisive lead over India" (in education and other social indicators as well). He estimates the excess of mortality in India over China to be close to 4 million a year: "India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame," 1958-1961.

MJS, aren't you enjoying your nautical odyssey? Just don't forget the hatch covers!


Naaah, no wind, ran out of time, too much to do here. Summer got very crowded.

That was a very very scary animation about the Derbyshire. A lot of those big bulk carriers sank aroun d then, didn't they? Similar scenarios, I wonder?


Apparently, it's a common occurrence. Ships weighing twice as much as the Titanic going under in a couple of minutes:

The 1980s and 1990s were a very unsafe time for bulk carriers. Many bulkers sank during this time, 99 were lost between 1990 and 1997 alone. Most of these sinkings were sudden and quick, making it impossible for the crew to escape: more than 650 sailors were lost during this same period.

Happens with big cargo planes too, even the newer ones such as MD11, a significant percentage of which ended up their landing gear pointing skyward. Certainly an interesting research topic for those who bring a "conflict approach" to workings of Society as to why disasters whose victims tend to be deep pocketed are covered--and mourned--widely, whereas those in which the victims tend to be less august are not.

"Here's fine revolution and we had the trick to see 't."

I have a preternatural fear of boats sinking in the ocean. Nothing puts the fear in my soul more than old black and white films of boats sinking in the Pacific during WWII. One of my earliest memories is of the boat sinking in The Black Stallion and being totally freaked out.

What I'm trying to say is that watching that recreation of the boat sinking made me feel more terrified than when I caught my brother making out with my mom.


Me too. Scares the bejesus out of me. So why do I go pottering around on the Gulf of Maine in a 26-foot boat? Ah, the unfathomable mysteries of the human heart.

I think it's the same concept as when you're driving with someone. They're always going to fast and are too close to the edge, but when you have the wheel the fear magically disappears. You're in control!


"The more ya drive, the less intelligent ya are."
Miller to Otto, from Repo Man

I need to let my girlfriend drive more often then. No wonder she's been getting the upper hand lately.

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