Daily Archive: 06/29/2014

Jun 29 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Laissez Fairyland – making the intangible less tangential by Annieli

Here we present a simple solution to see that a fad is the result of the same type of behavior that causes any other good to be purchased. It is the characteristic of the good, and the interaction of the various agents with their neighbors that causes the peculiar pattern of behavior that is called fad.

Is Reaganism such a good and as a commodity is its commodity fetishism available for analysis beyond its intangible assets. Yet Reaganism is tangible and attempts to memorialize the commodity extend materially far beyond the cinematic and the televisual nature of the Great Communicator. The fad of VooDoo(sic) Economics is a useful example of how to discuss intangible assets as forms of virtual capital. The production and reproduction of the Reaganist myth is its own market. Its production of character/reputation and trust/reciprocity is of course legendary and its diffusion to the North American form of teabaggery continues with the institutional support of right-wing venture capital like the Kochs.

In the United States, commentators frequently equate supply-side economics with Reaganomics. The fiscal policies of Ronald Reagan were largely based on supply-side economics. During Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, the key economic concern was double digit inflation, which Reagan described as “Too many dollars chasing too few goods”, but rather than the usual dose of tight money, recession and layoffs, with their consequent loss of production and wealth, he promised a gradual and painless way to fight inflation by “producing our way out of it”.

An example of fad economics occurred in 1980, when a small group of economists advised Presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan, that an across-the-board cut in income tax rates would raise tax revenue. They argued that if people could keep a higher fraction of their income, people would work harder to earn more income. Even though tax rates would be lower, income would rise by so much, they claimed, that tax revenues would rise. Almost all professional economists, including most of those who supported Reagan’s proposal to cut taxes, viewed this outcome as far too optimistic. Lower tax rates might encourage people to work harder and this extra effort would offset the direct effects of lower tax rates to some extent, but there was no credible evidence that work effort would rise by enough to cause tax revenues to rise in the face of lower tax rates. … People on fad diets put their health at risk but rarely achieve the permanent weight loss they desire. Similarly, when politicians rely on the advice of charlatans and cranks, they rarely get the desirable results they anticipate. After Reagan’s election, Congress passed the cut in tax rates that Reagan advocated, but the tax cut did not cause tax revenues to rise.

As against this, the commodity-form, and the value-relation of the products of labour within which it appears, have absolutely no connection with the physical nature of the commodity and the material relations arising out of this. It is nothing but the definite social relation between men themselves which assumes here, for them, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy we must take flight into the misty realm of religion. There the products of the human brain appear as autonomous figures endowed with a life of their own, which enter into relations both with each other and with the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men’s hands. I call this the fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labour as soon as they are produced as commodities, and is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities.

– Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I

As one can perhaps see, the transgressive role of the State in the struggle among classes will become the key problem for making this critique work as will the impending institutional arrangements making that State ubiquitous and global.

“”In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

-Ronald Reagan

Reaganism was a political perspective in the United States based on a friendly-seeming, grandfatherly-type ex-actor telling us that government could do no good, and then proceeding to become the head of the executive branch of the United States government, drastically expanding the public debt as he saw fit. Why anyone believed it is beyond us.

Prominent lies promoted by Mr. Reagan include:

The “free market” is always more efficient than the government at providing solutions to problems. (See universal health care)

The “government” is incapable of solving a country’s problems (See Hurricane Katrina)

Some woman somewhere on welfare had a Cadillac and a color TV. (He made this up).

Hardworking blue collar Americans should hate suffering poor Americans for eating their tax dollars instead of working their asses off for giant corporations themselves. (See trade union)

The “rich” are a beleaguered and overtaxed suffering demographic. (Who pay well for political campaigns!)

In Britain, there was a very similar political movement referred to as “Thatcherism,” named for the Iron Lady who advocated the same principles. The impact of this was slightly less than that of the States.

In Marxist philosophy, however, the term Cultural Hegemony describes the domination of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class, who manipulate the culture of the society – the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores – so that their ruling-class worldview becomes the worldview that is imposed and accepted as the cultural norm; as the universally valid dominant ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural, inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24, 2012:  Carlene Cahill of Petersburg, Virginia, holds up a set of signs she made during a Tea Party Patriots'

                    We live in a Tea (Party) service economy

The embodiment of those social constructs in the past decade are our pseudo-revolutionary objects of derision and humor, the teabaggers (aka Tea Party patriots and its libertarian factions). Cultural work has been often times difficult for many since its socially embodied labor derives from a multitude of divisions as well as a variety of controversies often dialectically dichotomous and intellectually challenging: for example cultural studies versus political economy approaches to critical theory. This is too small a space to solve the problem (it can be solved) but to point to some rudimentary examples like the personality Cult of Reagan to show the need for ecumenical approaches to critical analysis.

Come below the fold to see if we can’t disentangle the whole mess:

OCTOBER 27, 1980 More than two dozen papers drop Trudeau’s comic strip Doonesbury “The Mysterious World of Reagan’s Brain,” a week-long sequence that runs on the eve of the 1980 election. One of those papers, The Indianapolis Star, receives 850 calls of protest before it agrees to reinstate the strip.

Jun 29 2014

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – Mess O’Potamia 300

Jon Stewart – Mess O’Potamia 300 and Dick Cheney Has a Sad

Jun 29 2014

On This Day In History June 29

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 29 is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 185 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1928, The Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge in Staten Island, New York are both opened.

The Outerbridge Crossing is a cantilever bridge which spans the Arthur Kill. The “Outerbridge”, as it is commonly known, connects Perth Amboy, New Jersey, with the New York City borough of Staten Island and carries NY-440 and NJ-440, each road ending at the respective state border.

The bridge was named for Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge (sometimes pronounced “ooterbridge”) the first chairman of the then-Port of New York Authority and a resident of Staten Island. Rather than call it the “Outerbridge Bridge” the span was labeled a “crossing”, but many New Yorkers and others mistakenly assume the name comes from the fact that it is the most remote bridge in New York City and the southernmost crossing in New York state.

It is a steel cantilever construction, designed by John Alexander Low Waddell and built under the auspices of the Port of New York Authority, now the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which currently operates it.

It opened simultaneously with the Goethals Bridge on June 29, 1928. Both spans have similar designs. Neither bridge saw high traffic counts until the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964. Traffic counts on both bridges were also depressed due to the effects of the Great Depression and World War II.

The Outerbridge Crossing carried 32,438,000 vehicles (both directions) in 2006, or approximately 90,000 each day. Tolls are collected in the eastbound direction only. In early 2009, the cash toll was $8 for passenger vehicles. Users of E-ZPass pay a toll of $6 during off-peak hours (outside of 6-9 am and 4-7 pm).

In 2003, the Port Authority raised the speed limit for the three inner E-ZPass lanes at the toll plaza from 15 mph to 25 mph, separating these lanes from the rest of the eight-lane toll plaza by a barrier. Two years later, the tollbooths adjacent to the 25 mph E-ZPass lanes were removed and overhead gantries were installed with electronic tag readers to permit E-ZPass vehicles to travel at 45 mph in special high-speed lanes.[9] Motorists using the high-speed E-ZPass lanes cannot use the Page Avenue exit, which is located immediately after the toll plaza.

In recent years, the bridge has undergone numerous repair jobs as a result of the high volume of traffic that crosses the bridge each day.

The Goethals Bridge connects Elizabeth, New Jersey to Staten Island (New York City), near the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, Staten Island, New York over the Arthur Kill. Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the span was one of the first structures built by the authority. On the New Jersey side it is located 2 exits south of the terminus for the New Jersey Turnpike-Newark Bay Extension. The primary use for this bridge is a connection for New York City to Newark Airport. The bridge has been grandfathered into Interstate 278, and named for Major General George Washington Goethals, who supervised construction of the Panama Canal and was the first consulting engineer of the Port Authority.

A steel truss cantilever design by John Alexander Low Waddell ], who also designed the [Outerbridge Crossing. The bridge is 672 ft (205 m) long central span, 7,109 feet (2,168 m) long in total, 62 feet (19 m) wide, has a clearance of 135 feet (41.1 m) and has four lanes for traffic. The Port Authority had $3 million of state money and raised $14 million in bonds to build the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing; the Goethals bridge construction began on September 1, 1925 and cost $7.2 million. It and the Outerbridge Crossing opened on June 29, 1928. The Goethals Bridge replaced three ferries and is the immediate neighbor of the Arthur Kill Rail Bridge. Its unusual mid-span height was a requirement of the New Jersey ports.

Connecting onto the New Jersey Turnpike, it is one of the main routes for traffic between there and Brooklyn via the Staten Island Expressway and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Until the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed in 1964 the Goethals Bridge never turned a profit. The same happened to the Outerbridge Crossing. The total traffic in 2002 was 15.68 million vehicles.

Jun 29 2014

The Breakfast Club (Make Your Own Fun Sunday)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

The Breakfast Club Logo photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps5485351c.png

Below the fold may be a bit abbreviated or, quite possibly, this may be the WISYWIG Edition of TBC. I’m unexpectedly on the road this weekend, so blogging is spotty at best. Have fun.

This Day in History

Breakfast Tunes

Jun 29 2014

The Necessary War

A contrarian view of British involvement in the Great War.

Jun 29 2014

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on SundY’S “This Week” are: Pres. Barack Obama; Rep. Peter King (R-NY); and  documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson.

At the roundtable are: Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol; editor and publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel; ABC News’ Terry Moran; Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick; and the Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY); former US ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey; CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan and TIME Magazine‘s Michael Crowley.

His panel guests are Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal; Michael Gerson of The Washington Post; former Clinton White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers; and Todd Purdum of Politico.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: The guests on MTP are: Former President Bill Clinton; and Reince Priebus, Chair, Republican National Committee.

The roundtable guests are: Kathy Ruemmler, former White House Counsel; Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI); Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent; and Nia-Malika Henderson, National Political Reporter, The Washington Post.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darell Issa (R-CA); Lois Lerner’s attorney William Taylor; and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).

Her panel guests are attorney Stephanie Cutter, Neera Tanden, Liz Mair, and Mattie Duppler.

Jun 29 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Iraq receives Russian fighter jets to fight rebels

 29 June 2014 Last updated at 07:13

 BBC

Iraq says it has received the first batch of fighter jets it ordered from Russia to help it as it fights an offensive by Sunni rebels.

The defence ministry said five Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft would enter service in “three to four days”.

The insurgents control large swathes of the north and west after a string of attacks over the past three weeks.

On Saturday, the government said it had retaken the northern city of Tikrit, but rebels dispute this.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Syria charity blames red tape for closure of Aleppo hospital

If King Canute had a roads policy… North Carolina’s Highway 12 is at the centre of a ferocious and politically charged dispute

India’s uranium mines expose villages to radiation

‘She had too much ABCD’: the tale of one divorced Nigerian girl

History divides Bosnia once again, this time over World War I centenary