The Expressway to Serfdom

In case you were wondering why the American economy (well OK, the entire world economic system) seems to be sliding into FUBAR territory, here's an answer:

How the neoliberals stitched up the wealth of nations for themselves

So the question is this: given that the crises [...] are predictable effects of the dismantling of public services and the deregulation of business and financial markets, given that it damages the interests of nearly everyone, how has neoliberalism come to dominate public life?


The first great advantage the neoliberals possessed was an unceasing fountain of money. US oligarchs and their foundations - Coors, Olin, Scaife, Pew and others - have poured hundreds of millions into setting up thinktanks, founding business schools and transforming university economics departments into bastions of almost totalitarian neoliberal thinking. The Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and many others in the US, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute in the UK, were all established to promote this project. Their purpose was to develop the ideas and the language which would mask the real intent of the programme - the restoration of the power of the elite - and package it as a proposal for the betterment of humankind.

But there's so much more: the media, political bullying, the groves of academe. Read on and learn how futile "democracy" and "populism" really are in the face of this neoliberal virus. David Harvey'sBrief History of Neoliberalism now seems to be the essential text about this stark parasitic ideology.

So. How do we get rid of it? Encourage global citizens to study up on the inspiring plutocrat-liberation theology of the Mont Pelerin Society? Or better yet: plaster the world with inspiring quotations from neoliberal prophet Friedrich Hayek! Such as this paleo-Darwinist doozy which probably doesn't play too well in Hibbing: Capitalism created the proletariat, but not by making anybody worse off; rather by enabling many to survive who would not otherwise have done so. Thank heavens the proletariat can breed too, otherwise there wouldn't be these hands typing this post!

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The War in Focus

May I simply say that The War as We Saw It is the most clear-eyed essay on the American position in Iraq that I have read to date. It was written by seven active-duty sergeants who write of the complexity and utter futility of pursuing the administration's policies in Iraq.

In light of the administration's apparent intent to expand the conflict - isn't it past time to put aside partisan triangulation and talk about how to get out? Upon reading such a dismaying, if unsurprising, account of our prospects in Iraq and witnessing Cheney's unsavory salivation at the prospect of dropping bombs on Iran, one wonders why the voice of Congress is not heard more loudly. Silence at this juncture is not acceptable, not with a White House that is ethically and strategically bankrupt.

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Cheney 's continued contempt

It looks like Cheney told the Senate Judiciary committee that it isn't allowed to issue subpoenas. In a letter to Sen Leahy, Cheney also asserts, again, that his office is not part of the Executive Branch.

Now, as the Presidential spinners say, I am not a lawyer, just an average joe citizen. Nonetheless, I am left wondering just when the constant rain of piss falling from the Vice President's office will cause balls to sprout on the Chairman of the committee charged by the constitution with holding our elected leaders accountable to the law.


Time is reporting that the administration is hell bent on attacking Iran.


Speech. It's free doncha know...

It completely escapes me why a reasonable police officer would arrest anyone for wearing an anti-bush t-shirt at a Bush rally, or, for that matter, an anti-anything t-shirt anywhere at all. But it happened.

And then, we discover that though the wheels of justice turn slowly, they do turn.


Idiot America

May I suggest embarking on a search for yourself in this excellent essay:

Greetings From Idiot America

Just sayin'

So somebody named Michael kindly pointed out that I misspelled a headline (which I have subsequently corrected) and the following comment exchange ensued:

Michael said...That would be "cries". We're all human, even liberals. 1:42 AM

Chris Dykstra said...awww...thanks for the heads up and for the nod to my humanity. I'm not really a liberal, though. 12:51 AM

Michael said...Oh no, not a (deluded) libertarian?!? 11:02 AM

Well! What do you say to that? I started to compose a short comment back, but decided to do it here.

I don't really consider myself a Libertarian. Libertarians value civil liberties properly but I don't resonate with the "Market will provide everything" take on the world. I think there are many things that are too important to be handed off to the market, as I get into a little bit below. I will never, ever support the GOP or anyone who supports the GOP in it's current incarnation under George Bush, Cheney, Rove and the cast of charlatans that have driven the country in the ditch. Pick any one of the beliefs I articulate below, and this administration and many of the gaggle of state and local republicans articulate and act in exactly the opposite manner. What is commonly referred to as the "culture war," is, in reality, the conflict created by the rise to power of a political party actively reinterpreting our constitutional republic to be less free, less transparent, less accessible, and more capable of transferring the money of its citizens to the coffers of corporations.

And the Democrats...sigh. They are complicit in our situation, guilty of navel gazing in the face of the specter of a stolen republic, architects of unbelievably poor campaigns, concubines of special interests, masters of meaningless outrage. I land in the Democratic Party by default, not necessarily because it stands for what I believe all the time. There is no question though, the Democrats (and individual Democrats I might add) are more consistently in line with my list of core beliefs than any other party.

So, Michael, I am not a deluded libertarian at all, not a Repbulican, not a Conservative, not a Democrat, not a liberal per se. If anything, the word progressive fits, but really, I am more like a nuts and bolts capitalist, husband, father and entrepreneur that believes:

a) There are some goods, services or features of the human condition that are best delivered and protected through collective effort and organization because every person has an equal stake in the outcome regardless of their financial position.

Practically speaking, that means that some things in society shouldn't be put up for sale - liberty, for instance, or clean water, or the nation's system of highways, or the ability to get a basic education, or the protection of property, or national security, or the mechanisms and processes through which votes are counted.....

Government is how society collectively addresses things that shouldn't be put up for sale. In light of that, It seems obvious that Government needs to exist. For all intents and purposes, good government is the best market solution for delivery of goods and services and attributes of life that society owns collectively.

b) Government should be small, effective and financially responsible.

c) Transparency in government, rule of law, and separation of church and state are fundamental American values and are supported by all of the founding documents.

d) Personal freedom is the most valuable civil asset the American citizen has.

e) Government should be funded by citizens to the degree necessary to provide shared goods and services. When citizens contribute to government, it's called taxes. Taxes are necessary.


Rove resigns. Chuck Cries.

With regards to the Rove resignation, I might spout off later. In the mean time, let us all bow done before Chuck.


Which Cheney is the real Dick?

Let's hear it for the greatest whore of the military-industrial complex the world has ever known -- Dick Cheney. Here's the man himself, talking about how it jes' wouldn't be a good idea to invade Iraq. Cuz after all, "...if you get rid of Saddam, then what?"


Human Rights Campaign Pres. Forum Tonite!

The Human Rights Campaign is hosting the first ever presidential candidates forum to deal exclusively with GLBT issues. Confirmed participants include Clinton, Edwards, Kucinich, Obama, and Richardson. Unfortunately, the forum is airing on the "Logo" network, so you'll either have to watch it online or find a watch party near you. However, HRC will keep us up to speed on their blog. Should be fun.


Baghdad out of water

This is a tragedy in the making. It's pretty tough to not hold the US accountable for that one. Four years after our "victory" and there isn't enough electricity to run the water pumps.

"Politicians cannot afford to cocoon themselves in the inner world of their own imaginings. . . ."

Laugh until it hurts: David Rees fisks Michael Ignatieff.

"Daring leaders can be trusted as long as they give some inkling of knowing what it is to fail. They must be men of sorrow acquainted with grief, as the prophet Isaiah says. . . ."

I think it's reaching to call Isiah Thomas a "prophet," though the New York Knicks are definitely "men of sorrow acquainted with grief." Surely Ignatieff doesn't think America would be better off if the New York Knicks were president? How would that even work? Also, he misspelled "Isiah." In conclusion, this part of Ignatieff's essay should have been called "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten-- But It Didn't Actually Sink in Until Thousands and Thousands of Iraqis Went to Heaven."

Video of Yearly Kos

Chuck Olsen covered the Yeary Kos for The Uptake.

He has some great videos up.


Senate Votes To Expand Warrantless Surveillance

It took me a while to wrap my head around the Democrat's disgraceful cave in on warrantless wiretapping.

Listen to Reid:

Democratic leaders expressed disappointment about the result, but they pointed to language that would require lawmakers to reconsider the key provisions in six months.

"My Republican colleagues chose to rubber-stamp a flawed administration proposal that fails to provide the accountability needed in the light of the administration's past mismanagement of key tools in the war on terror," said Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

Not exactly, Harry, and you can quit lying. Plenty of Democracts in the House voted "yes", including Minnesota reps Colin Petersen and Tim Walz. And in the Senate, 16 Democrats voted for it, including Amy Klobuchar.

I have no idea what they are thinking.

Gingrich calls War on Terror "Phony"

Newt tells it like it is:

The potential GOP presidential candidate told attendees of the National Conservative Student Conference that "We’re about to enter the seventh year of this phony war…and we’re losing."

Gingrich added, "None of you should believe we are winning this war. There is no evidence that we are winning this war."


If you really wanted to support the troops, you'd get one of these

So you are cruising to church in your hummer, thinking about all those gol durn dirty liberals an' how they hate America so much they just can't wait till we lose in Iraq, and you think, wait a minute, something's missing. But what? It's a perfect day, the mega-church will be jumping, the new flag is snapping nicely in the breeze. Oh, hang on, you could be missing this.


Gonzales's Truthfulness Long Disputed

The Washington Post examines Alberto Gonzales' strange relationship with the truth. Seems he has a long history of jumping in front of trains for George. He helped Jr. cover up a drunk driving arrest back down Texas way in 1996. Now, he's just smirking and lying and smirking and lying.

Here comes a question I only wish was rhetorical: Is it really too much to ask that the Attorney General be a little less craven?

The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness

The Nation has put together a marvelous archive of interviews with Iraq war veterans. It brings into focus the nature of our occupation there in a way that only the voices of those carrying out "the mission" can. Suffice it to say that it is a little different than the usual propaganda one reads.

It's tough reading though.


The UpTake

A bunch of us have started a new project called The UpTake. We are going to recruit Citizen Journalists to shoot stories the community tells us are important.

The City Pages did a little blurb on it the other day.