clean up the swamp

The rich pay on avg around 19% of income in fed income taxes. Plenty left over! Worry for yourself, not them !

:::click the pics:::

Boston Globe says make room for Buddy Roemer.

Roemer is capable of bringing fresh energy to the long-running GOP show.

It’s even possible to imagine him catching fire for at least a moment…

This is a necessary task, but the unusual roster of candidates this year has made it especially difficult – some heavily credentialed but inert, others capable of juicing up a crowd but poorly prepared to be president.

the money is ours

Public Money for Public Purpose !


Toward the End of Plutocracy and the Triumph of Democracy – Part V

In the end, we are dependent and social creatures, built by nature for social and community life, and for relationships based on love, fellowship and friendship.

The cravings for ever more personal freedom, and for ever more liberation from the responsibilities of democratic government, will only lead to the eventual dissolution of democratic government and the triumph of authoritarianism.

Dan Kervick:

The cause of genuine democracy will, of course, require steps that go well beyond reform of the monetary system.

If we seek a more democratic society, one in which decision-making power over our everyday lives and common futures is more evenly distributed among all of our people, it will be necessary for all of us to embrace the demanding responsibilities of democratic governance.

This can be hard to do in the face of so many decades of governmental failure, where government itself has sometimes seemed to have become nothing but a tool of the plutocracy.

Get some facts. Start here. Guideposts on the Road Back to Factville

not paying fair share

Pew Research.

Nearly six-in-ten (57%) people believe the wealthy do not pay their fair share.

About three-quarters (73%) of Democrats say that what bothers them most is that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share; this compares to just 38% of Republicans who say the same. Independents side with the Democrats — 57% say the wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes.

However, Republicans are internally divided. About four-in-ten (43%) say that the complexity of the tax system is their biggest gripe, while 38% are bothered most by their perception that the wealthy don’t bear their fair share of the tax burden.

Just 14% of Republicans point to the amount of taxes they pay as what bothers them most.

There is unanimity among Tea party Republicans: 57% of this group point to the complexity of the tax system as the factor that bothers them most, compared to 22% who say the wealthy don’t pay their fair share.

Oh. One more thing: Voters believe that most members of Congress are corrupt (48%).

we elect deal brokers

Jack Abramoff interviewed via Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig.

horse trading

“…merits are interesting but they don’t usually win.

“Contributions to parties with an interest in the political system are nothing but bribes.”


“Most members of Congress are very subtle. They’ll agree to support your bill …and you better come up with some money.

“It’s extortion. They’re soliciting bribes. Unfortunately it’s spread throughout the system.”

“To stop the corruption, we’ve got to remove the money.”

premature austerity

Steve Keen:

It’s a nonsense neoclassical fantasy to blame this crisis on government debt, when its underlying cause has always been a private sector debt bubble that has now burst.

The last thing we need is for the public sector to also be pulling money out of circulation.

Paul Krugman:

Slashing government spending in a depressed economy depresses the economy further; austerity should wait until a strong recovery is well under way.

Bill Gross, founder Pimco:

…debt is not the disease — it is a symptom. Lack of aggregate demand or, to put it simply, insufficient consumption and investment is the disease.

conservatives or selfservatives?

1) The rhetoric of the 2012 Republicans suggests they want to go far beyond where Reagan or Bush ever went.

2) Paul, Santorum, Gingrich, Bachmann, Romney and Perry stump for the elimination of departments and programs.

3) Republicans seek to dismantle much of the federal government, to leave us with states and cities fighting amongst themselves in a race to the bottom.

A superb plutocratic strategy, ey wot !

Clearly, neither sincerity nor integrity drive these candidates. Merely pandering.

Get this:

Perry officially retired in January so he could start collecting his lucrative pension benefits early, but he still gets to collect his salary — and has in turn dramatically boosted his take-home pay.

Perry has called for sweeping changes to Social Security for average workers and has railed against special “perks”

Perry makes a $150,000 annual gross salary as Texas governor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross annual salary to more than $240,000.

On a swing through Cherokee, Iowa, Perry was asked why the Employee Retirement System should be paying his retirement while he’s still collecting a salary.

“That’s been in place for decades. … I don’t find that to be out of the ordinary,” Perry said.

Is it conservatives or selfservatives we’re encountering these days?

no sorrow is doom

Let’s step way-y-y-y back to Friar Giovanni da Fiesole (1387-1455)

Take peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach is joy.

There is radiance and courage in the darkness could we but see; and to see, we have only to look.

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their coverings, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard.

Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, and wisdom, and power.

The day breaks and the shadows flee away.

Why isn’t peace on anyone’s platform?

Remarkably, the goal of peace does not appear.

IS THE word “peace’’ disappearing from our national conversation?

Armies of talking heads, bloggers, and op-ed opinionators assault us daily on every subject . . . but rarely on peace.

When was the last time we heard a national leader of either party, especially one running for president, put the goal of peace at the center of a political platform or place it among our highest national aspirations?

(Oh, for a long long while, we do know what to do… beterian… to improve.)

merry xmyth

The Massachusetts Congress declared Christmas illegal from 1659-1681.

Another fact: The early Christian church did not celebrate Jesus’ birth at all.

In other words, there were no Christmas Eve services and no pageants and no ministers trying to make sense of it all! Only over centuries, and only after solstice feasts turned really wild and really out of control did Christians seek to offer an alternative, calling it “Christ’s Mass,” or Christmas.

Another fact: Nobody was as hard on Christmas as the Puritans.

Christmas wasn’t biblical. And Jesus wouldn’t have approved of celebrations. Puritans ordered shops to stay open on Christmas. They banned holiday cakes and candles.

There’s more.

Ahh, forget it. Wingnuts don’t use facts !

For the rest of us, love is on our minds during the holidays.

But we can correct our history thought by thought, image by image.

For example, instead of a rowboat on Christmas Day in 1776, George Washington crossed the Delaware on a ferry pulled by a cable and crowded with troops.

kindness high-n-low

Guy Davis.

We all need more kindness in this world
we all need more kindness in this world
You may look high and low, but there’s no
place else to go–we all need more kindness in this world.

We all need more hugging in this world
we all need more hugging in this world
You may look high and low, but there’s no
place else to go–we all need more hugging in this world

We all need more laughing in this world
we all need more laughing in this world
You may look high and low, but there’s no
place else to go–we all need more laughing in this world

We all need more sunshine in this world
we all need more sunshine in this world
You may look high and low, but there’s no
place else to go–we all need more sunshine in this world

We all need more peace-times in this world
we all need more peace-times in this world
You may look high and low, but there’s no
place else to go–we all need more peace-times in this world

We all need more friendship in this world
we all need more friendship in this world
You may look high and low, but there’s no
place else to go–we all need more friendship in this world

cold achiever


He drew a chart called a growth-share matrix with little circles to represent various pursuits: work, family, church. Investing time in work delivered tangible returns like raises and profits.

“Your children don’t pay any evidence of achievement for 20 years,” Mr. Romney said.

yesteryear priorities

Excuse me while we ponder Jefferson’s warning that we must relocate the Capitol each generation or so…

In the Valley, they think of themselves as visionaries. Tomorrow is theirs; and their confidence in innovative products and services depends in no small measure on their belief that the future is not simply influencing their thinking (we are, as it were, all futurists now, at least in these zip codes – if friends in DC will now forgive me a Keynesian allusion) but it will in turn be shaped by their personal and corporate vision.

The future is both their study and their creature.

They have the kind of symbiosis with tomorrow that the District has with yesterday. So creativity, risk, and a long entrepreneurial arc, are their stock in trade.

In the District, a community of generally smart and committed persons, the “corporate culture” could hardly be more different. Pretty much whatever our politics, our client (sorry) lies in the past.

whether we appreciate

National Press Club asks:

Do you get a lot of complaints about your weather forecasts?

Let’s put it this way:

“I’ve never gotten a Thank You letter for nailing a forecast,” reports Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel, “And that’s after 25 years.”

Cantore adds:

“I used to get the Farmers’ Almanac as a kid…

and then I became a scientist.” !

shock the economy

Conservatives and liberals alike should step back from conventional thinking in the face of our current conditions.

This is not an esoteric line of inquiry.

The United States is not broke.

We should laugh at the delusion that we are.

The potential for abundance is everywhere around us, but it stagnates for sheer lack of funding.

For Hire: Lobbyists or the 99 percent

Corporations have vast resources to pour into Congress.

Low or no taxes are paid thanks to rules they lobbied into law.

Some of the biggest companies in the United States have been firing workers and in some cases lobbying for rules that depress wages at the very time that jobs are needed, pay is low, and the federal budget suffers from a lack of revenue.

30 brand-name companies paid a federal income tax rate of minus 6.7 percent on $160 billion of profit from 2008 through 2010 compared to a going corporate tax rate of 35 percent. All but one of those 30 companies reported lobbying expenses in Washington.

A Christmas Message From America’s Rich

“It seems America’s bankers are tired of all the abuse. They’ve decided to speak out.

“True, they’re doing it from behind the ropeline, in front of friendly crowds at industry conferences and country clubs, meaning they don’t have to look the rest of America in the eye when they call us all imbeciles and complain that they shouldn’t have to apologize for being so successful.”

The New Propaganda All Over Again.

“Let them eat cake.

“I want a reality show where the Billionaires come on every day and talk about their troubles.

“It could be like the old TV show ‘Queen for a Day’. The 1 Percenter with the biggest sob story wins a brand new dishwasher.” —Jon Taplin

Neal Stephenson warns about ‘Innovation Starvation’

“You’re the ones who’ve been slacking off!”

The imperative to develop new technologies and implement them on a heroic scale no longer seems like the childish preoccupation of a few nerds with slide rules.

It’s the only way for the human race to escape from its current predicaments.

Too bad we’ve forgotten how to do it.

“Hey, everybody, that’s our tree, not theirs.”

pulled by vowels

OK, here’s the weird part.

Vowels pull on our brains.

“I”s pull us differently than “O”s.

A curious pattern shows up.

Ice cream companies mix lots of “O”s and “A”s

Rocky Road, Jamoca Almond Fudge, Chocolate, Caramel, Cookie Dough, Coconut

But the cracker brands stick pretty much to “E”s and “I”s.

Cheez It, Wheat Thins, Pretzel, Ritz, Krispy, Triscuit, Chips, Biskit

But Why?

exploration, or exploitation

Destroying the Common Wealth is easy, abundant and cheap.  It is what the vast majority of organizations do.  Enhancing it, in contrast is the scarcest, rarest, and single most disruptive capability an organization can possess. –Umair Haque

The place to start is America’s executive suites, which should be cleared of mercenaries in order to encourage real leadership.

Contrast this with the America of bailouts, where the fat are considered “too big to fail.” In fact, many are too big – or at least too mismanaged – to succeed.

Public support should be shifted from protecting large established corporations to encouraging the growth of newer enterprises.

Armies of MBAs who have been trained to manage everything in general but nothing in particular are part of the problem, not the solution.

So are economists who study clouds without ever getting wet.

all of us in the headlights

When Google Street View becomes peer to peer,
we should push for that,
there won’t be the world we know.

explaining the decision:

We never run this type of image without discussions at the highest levels in the newsroom.

We understand that it is a tough image to look at, but we felt the news value of the photo made it worth publishing. We feel that we cannot hide important news from our readers, even when it is unpleasant.

The war in Afghanistan is an important and complicated story, and the violence seems to never end. In these attacks, the fact that it was sectarian violence adds yet another layer to the complexity of the situation.

The photo, while gut-wrenching, shows just how many innocents are being killed. The bodies of dead, maimed and wounded children breaks your heart but also lets you know how indiscriminate the killing has become.

peddling a pudgy pugilist

Reporters, listen up: Stop calling Newt Gingrich a “scholar.” In fact, spend some time learning about his real history.

Myra MacPherson has profiled Newt Gingrich for the Washington Post since 1989.

Reporters should examine candidate Newt’s so-called brilliant solutions, often vague or recycled from the 1994 Contract With America, which Gingrich co-authored. Detractors at the time nicknamed it Contract On America.

And his former pastor Rev. Bretley Harwell, was so disillusioned at Newt’s famous dumping of wife number one — bringing her divorce papers instead of flowers while she recuperated from a cancer operation — that he was willing to be quoted.

You’re looking at an amoral person, that’s what you’re looking at.

Seth Godin calls it the new lazy journalism

We don’t need paid professionals to do retweeting for us. They’re slicing up the attention pie thinner and thinner, giving us retreaded rehashes of warmed over news, all hoping for a bit of attention because the issue is trending. We can leave that to the unpaid, I think.

The hard part of professional journalism going forward is writing about what hasn’t been written about, directing attention where it hasn’t been, and saying something new.