"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

This Is What Modern Class Warfare Looks Like

Since I'm over in London, I pick up on local news, which has been full of fallout from various austerity programs designed to roll back pensions, housing subsidies, etc. Firefighters, Tube workers, and BBC journalists are all threatening strikes. There's also been a lot of coverage of the widespread strikes/shutdowns in France.

At the same time, executive pay is up 55%!

Incomes Data Services, who conducted the research, said bonuses paid to directors of FTSE 100 companies increased by 34%, while basic pay rose by 3.6%. The amount of money waiting to be disgorged from long-term incentive schemes soared by 73%, to a total of £259m, and share option gains leapt by 90%.

The FTSE 100 rose by less than a fifth over the same period.

Steve Tatton of IDS said the report suggested that companies returned to "business as usual" once the recession ended.

This is an economics article, so it's important to note that the phrase "once the recession ended" refers to the technical end to contracting GDP. As we've increasingly seen by most other measures, the real impact of the "Great Recession" is likely to persist. Incomes for normal people remain depressed (or are falling) and unemployment is high. It is a "jobless recovery," and cold comfort indeed to anyone feeling the pain right now.

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Politics Is The Art Of Controlling Your Environment; Participate!

Re-registered and voted in person at city hall this morning. It was easy and fun. I got to vote for legalized weed and Nancy Pelosi, and the people down at the Election Office were really nice too. Big win.

In unrelated news, I love this latest OK Trends Post about gay vs straight sex. Thanks for busting myths with math, yo. I really love what those kids are doing with all their data. Feels like the future. Suck it, e-harmony.

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Brace Yourself

It's about to get ugly.

Because of a recent Supreme Court decision, Corporate interests are now able to spend freely and without transparency running political advertisements. They're going with it.

At the same time, weirdo billionaires have been bankrolling the "tea party".

Obama is not doing so well, and congressional Democrats are polling very poorly. The economy sucks, and nobody cares about campaign promises (kept or broken) when they don't have jobs. The fact that this is in large part due to malpractice from banks is a forbidden subject among the Elite.

I think it's looking pretty grim for politics this election. The reactionary tide is running strong, and absent some game-changing shift (certainly possible, but not likely to come from the main players at this late date) we're set for more Bread and Circus while inequality continues to widen. Terrible way to run a country.

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Here's How To Do It

Back in Mighty Oregon's race for Governor, the consensus is that my man Kitzhaber housed his basketballing opponent in their debate. Kitz is behind in the polls, so let's hope people were watching. This is a good close:

I particularly like the "I'm asking for your vote" line. G-Dubs did it and it was savvy. Be direct; it works. Even more important is the way in which he addresses the fundamental reality that things are bad and we need to do something.

This is in stark and disappointing contrast to the President, who still seems to think that he'll be judged on his campaign promises, all of which were made before the biggest financial collapse in 70 years, and that what he needs to do is defend his past two years. If Obama is going to be a net asset in this midterm election, he needs to communicate to people that there's a lot more to be done, and he's the man for the job.

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Good Idea

This is a good idea, White House:

Keep practicing this, work it, and have the President go all Ross Perot on mofos. Throw this up against Glenn Beck's blackboard, and you have a chance of winning.

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Noblesse Oblige

Paul Krugman, my dog:

So: I support tax increases that will reduce my own after-tax income; I worry greatly about unemployment, even though my own living is secure; I warn about growing inequality, even though I’m of the class that has gained from rising disparities; I’m upset about the direction this country is going, even though my own life is comfortable. And this is supposed to cast doubt on my motives?

This is what I jokingly refer to as being a "class traitor." But it's not all patriotism or Noblesse Oblige, it's also the proverbial enlightened self interest. To wit, none of my prosperity is possible in a world without a vibrant, literate, educated middle class. As a creative/enrepreneur, I have no desire to end up as a toady to some 21st Century DiMedici. However, without a rich economic infrastructure to draw, on, it's that or back to the land for me.

Also, as people much more well off than I have pointed out, being Brazil kinda sucks for them. Helicoptering everywhere sounds like fun, until you remember you're doing it to avoid being kidnapped for ransom. That's no way to live even for a rich person.

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Politics 101: How To Throw A Punch

As will surprise no-one, I'm perennially upset with the Democratic party for it's weak and waffling nature. I think a fair amount of this is just plain mediocrity, and certainly a non-trivial portion is a way of covering establishment ass without overtly stabbing your alleged "constituencies" in the back; but fundamentally it really feels to me like most of these people don't know how to (rhetorically) throw a punch.

Here's a hint:

Effective ads have been run that morphed a triple-amputee vietnam veteran (Max Cleland) into the face of Osama, without actually having the thematic tie of religious extremism or dominion over women. The "Taliban" moniker is provocative, but that's not a bad thing. Let's talk about this issue, and how scuzzo's "Submit to Me" mentality is really very different from that of the erstwhile rulers of Afghanistan.

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Atrios Summarizes My Experience in Politics

Quite pithy, that Duncan Black:

I'm someone who used to have a bit of respect and deference for The People In Charge. You know, Senators and such. Now I think most of them truly suck and worry that elites are going to destroy the country.

That's pretty much my story too. I don't like/respect authority figures, but when it all got started I sort of assumed that most of the People In Charge (or "P.I.C."'s as we used to call them back at Oasis Natural Food Store) were probably smart, decent and hardworking. I don't believe that anymore. It really is an aristocracy, and it sucks wind on both style and substance.

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In Which I Personally Respond To Republican Legislative Leaders

I am a small business owner, and (so far) a successful one at that. I'm rather proud of that fact. I look forward to the day when my prosperity is cemented and I can be a new kind of class traitor.

Anyway, the entrepreneur tip is what I'm on right now, and I heard this on NPR and it got me mad enough to yell at the radio. I want to give a big, personal "I Lived Through 9/11 And You Didn't" Scranton-style dick-punch to both John Bohner and Mitch McConnel — and really anyone parroting the GOP party line — for turning people like me ("small businesses") into some GOP hump-fetish to defend the notion that we really need now are tax cuts for the top bracket of earners, those pocketing more than $250k a year.

Let's be clear. It is not many small businesses, or even good ones, that will be affected by these cuts. And those that are, that means the owners are making $250,000 or more, which regardless of your perception, makes you a wealthy individual here in Estados Unidos. Count your blessings. I do.

I'll break it down for you in bare brass tack terms. You only pay taxes on profits, not revenue. This is basic accounting, which I know they don't teach in the Senate, but it's something you learn if you stay in business more than a year: gross is not net, and you need to learn to tell the difference. A small business with six or ten employees may turn over around a million dollars in a year, but most of that is spent before year end.

This is how you roll in real life as you stack that cheese. Here's what I know:

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There's a War Goin' on That the Poor Can't Win

It's been this way for a while, but finally we're seeing the massive obviousness of it all:

When it comes to cutting benefits for poor and middle-class seniors, or cutting the pay of our military personnel while forcing our veterans to pay more of their own health care costs — much of which likely resulted from illness due to their service in two long wars — what we hear from Washington elites is the great need for “shared sacrifice” to bring down the deficit. Yet, when debating the idea of allowing taxes on millionaires (and here it might be good to remember that two-thirds of the members of Congress are themselves millionaires) to return to what they were under Bill Clinton, it is all “damn the deficit we can’t let the wealthy suffer during this economic downturn!”

To be fair, this isn't the precise position of "all our political leaders", but it is in fact the pervading cultural norm among the power elite: the concerns of the wealthy are given much more attention than those of the middle class, and forget the poor. It is also the principle philosophy of a non-trivial number of individual elected officials who will go to the mat specifically to protect elite interests (Joementum, I'm lookin' at your jowls; Liebermania is just another word for being a sold-out hack).

It isn't this way all over the world. As we become more and more "like Brazil" in massive inequity and increasingly entrenched social underclass, the Brazillians are making steady progress in the opposite direction: decreasing inequality, lifting up more and more people into literacy and nurturing a small but growing middle class of entrepreneurs and social stake-holders. Estados Unidos is still a better place to live, sure, but if these trends continue...

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