The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for November 30th through December 5th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for November 30th through December 5th:

  • Time for a Wall Street ‘Perp Walk’? | Consortiumnews

    "Critics of Occupy Wall Street want the movement to grow up, be more focused and “pragmatic” as in engaging in policy debates defined by others. In a specious denunciation of “The Decadent Left,” Russ Douthat, one of the New York Times’ Op-Ed wags, snipes that the “movement was dreamed up in part by flakes, and populated in part by fantasists.”

    To him, being political means moving from the outside to the inside and losing the very qualities that built the Movement. It means not aligning with unions or building coalitions. It means playing the Game.

    In contrast, I believe the Movement has to stay true to itself, while making all of these issues more personal to the American people who are suffering because of Wall Street’s manipulations. The people have to be told who is really responsible for their terrible distress: the loss of jobs, pensions and homes."

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  • Political Animal – The nature of GOP tax-cut demands

    "The political world has come to accept a basic truism: the Republican Party is, above all else, an anti-tax party. GOP officials always want to cut taxes, regardless of merit or circumstances.

    The maxim is incomplete — Republicans love tax cuts, but their affection is limited to cuts for the very wealthy. An extension of the payroll break largely benefits the middle class, and that immediately gives the GOP pause.

    Indeed, the very debate has tied Republicans in knots. They want to cut taxes, except for these taxes. They don’t believe tax cuts should be paid for, except these tax cuts must be paid for. They believe tax breaks always work to benefit the economy, except these tax breaks don’t do much of anything, no matter what economists say. They believe letting tax cuts expire counts as a tax increase, except these tax cuts, which don’t."

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  • OWS and Inequality: How “expenditure cascades” are squeezing the American middle class. – Slate Magazine

    "Republicans have never wanted to talk about inequality, and many Democrats now seem afraid to…

    The remarkable achievement of the Occupy Wall Street movement has been to make continuing silence about inequality politically unacceptable. Some have criticized the movement for not pressing specific demands. Yet most protesters wouldn’t pretend to have a sophisticated understanding of the forces that have been causing growing income disparities, or the policy experience to prescribe what might be done about them. But now that the movement has forced inequality onto the agenda, the time is ripe to focus on these issues."

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  • Tomgram: Steve Fraser, "De-Fault Is Ours" | TomDispatch

    " In 1729, when Ireland had fallen into a state of utter destitution at the hands of its British landlords, Jonathan Swift published a famous essay, “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public.”

    His idea was simple: the starving Irish should sell their own children to the rich as food.

    …Inspired in turn by Swift, I want to suggest that we put in motion a similar undertaking: on January 16th, Martin Luther King Day, citizens from around the country should gather at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. Let’s call this macabre gathering — with luck and even worse times, it should be mammoth — “We Surrender” or “Restore Debtor’s Prisons” or “De-Fault Is Ours” or “Collateralize Us.” And plan on a mirthful day of mourning.

    The basic idea is that we offer ourselves up, 99% of us anyway, on the altar of high finance as a sacrifice to the bond markets. It was Karl Marx who first observed that high finance is “the Vatican of capitalism.” How right he turned out to be — right with a vengeance! "

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  • Political Animal – What Gingrich doesn’t want us to talk about

    "Over the last three decades, wealth has become increasingly concentrated at the top. The middle class is struggling with stagnant wages and a growing class gap; poverty rates are soaring; the jobs crisis seems never-ending; and a growing number of Americans are suggesting it’s time for a larger conversation about economic inequalities and tax fairness.

    Newt Gingrich believes that conversation must not occur. In fact, the Republican presidential candidate questions the patriotism of those who choose to draw attention to the problem.

    …Even for a candidate who says truly ridiculous things on a daily basis, this is extraordinary."

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  • The Sunlight Foundation: Six Banks That Benefited Most From Fed’s Sweetheart Lending Were Big Political Players

    "On Sunday, Bloomberg News reported on an estimated $13 billion worth of income that banks gained by taking advantage of the Federal Reserve's below-market interest rates, which were sometimes as low as 0.01 percent.

    The six banks that benefited the most from this "subsidy" – Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo – reaped a combined $4.8 billion of estimated extra income from the below-market loans.

    It's worth pointing out that all six of these banks were major political players."

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  • Supercommittee failure: The surest sign that Republicans killed it is their continued insistence that they didn’t – Slate Magazine

    "If you think that political leaders can’t link arms and get things done, you haven’t been watching the aftermath of the supercommittee. Sure, the 12-member team of rivals never came up with a deficit-shrinking plan. Its existence cheapened the prefix “super” more than anything since Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. But when the Gang of 12 died, the six Republicans who killed it formed a new pact: They would tell the history of the superfailure and the debt crisis the way it should be remembered. Oh, that embarrassing slapstick collapse? It was the other side’s fault.

    Democrats absorbed the collapse and moved right along. After issuing a statement and giving a punchy press conference, respectively, Sens. Patty Murray and John Kerry basically stopped talking about it. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, co-chairman of the committee, signed off on the statement immediately before the Wall Street Journal published his woe-is-us op-ed."

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  • If You Aren’t in the 1%, Kiss Your Dreams Goodbye: An Occupy Wall Street Anatomy of America | Economy | AlterNet

    "Here’s the financial overview: the top 1% of Americans now take in more than 25% of the nation’s income and control at least 40% of its wealth. (A quarter of a century ago, the figures were 12% and 33%.) To make it into that top 1%, according to economist Emmanuel Saez, your family needs to make a minimum of $368,238 a year (based on 2008 income figures); for the 15,000 families that make up the top .01%, average annual income is $27,342,212.

    In other words, if you aren’t in the top 1% right now, it’s all what is, and never what if — no dreams allowed. "

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  • The Enshrined Entitlements of America’s Wealthy » New Deal 2.0

    "The super committee on deficit reduction has now disbanded without even having managed to agree on scaling back tax expenditures. These social welfare policies that are hidden in the tax code bestow their greatest benefits on high-income taxpayers, as I have shown elsewhere. They amount to over 7 percent of GDP, more than what we spend on either defense, Social Security, or Medicare and Medicaid combined, not to mention domestic discretionary programs, which cost far less than any of these.

    Its inaction means that regular spending priorities — with the exception of those that policymakers explicitly agreed in advance to shelter — will now be made subject to automatic, draconian cuts. But tax expenditures, which no one has even mentioned, will remain completely immune to such reductions. This is because these policies enjoy a protected status granted to no other entitlement programs. Unlike other forms of direct spending, they are not subject to the annual budget process; they grow undeterred and lawmakers do not take account of their costs."

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  • Hilary Rosen: Barney Frank — the Man, the Quips, the Impact

    "Some of my favorites:

    "Gay people have a different role than other minority groups… Very few black kids have ever had to worry about telling their parents that they were black"

    "They're (congressional opponents) saying that my ability to marry another man somehow jeopardizes heterosexual marriage. Then they go out and cheat on their wives."

    "The problem with the war in Iraq is not so much the intelligence as the stupidity."

    "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" (in response to a critic at a healthcare town hall meeting)"

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