NRA: Obama’s ‘Political Correctness’ Let Orlando Shooting Happen

Draw your own conclusions: seems truly odd. ~fls

NRA: Obama’s ‘Political Correctness’ Let Orlando Shooting Happen

Tjha9l6esbovjlw2qis5

AP Photo / Mark Humphrey

“The terrorist in Orlando had been investigated multiple times by the FBI. He had a government-approved security guard license with a contractor for the Department of Homeland Security. Yet his former co-workers reported violent and racist comments,” Cox continued. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s political correctness prevented anything from being done about it.”

Cox wrote that gun laws didn’t stop attacks in San Bernardino, Brussels or Paris.

“Repeating the same thing but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Law-abiding gun owners are tired of being blamed for the acts of madmen and terrorists,” he said.

The FBI interviewed Mateen for two separate investigations, but both probes were closed when he purchased the guns use in the attack at an Orlando gay club that killed 49.

Gun Industry Describes Mass Shootings Like Orlando as a “Big Opportunity”

June 13 2016, 11:05 a.m.

IN RECENT CORPORATE PRESENTATIONS, leading gun makers celebrated the fact that consumers bought more firearms because of the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino. And, prior to the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Saturday night, executives were telling investors to expect another big bump — because of the upcoming elections.

The surge in sales after mass shootings, as we’ve reported, is nothing new: Mass shootings lead to talk of gun control; the National Rifle Association — the gun advocacy group funded significantly by gun and ammunition manufacturers — uses its influence in Congress to block any legislative action; but gun owners, irrationally terrified that the government will restrict or ban firearms, rush out to buy more guns and ammo.

Sturm, Ruger & Co. Chief Executive Michael Fifer, speaking at his company’s annual meeting in May, noted that his company — the largest handgun manufacturer in the U.S. — saw a spike in demand that “was strongly correlated to the tragic terrorist activities in Paris and San Bernardino.” Sales eventually slowed down, but Fifer called that a “big opportunity for the distributors to step up and take on inventory” to be ready for election-related sales.

In February, on an investor conference call, Fifer had predicted that “we’ll see a step up of demand if a Democrat wins” the presidency. And if Democrats win control of the Senate, he added, gun sales will increase dramatically based on fears that a more liberal Supreme Court might restrict gun rights.

Stephen Nolan, executive vice president of Vista Outdoors, a gun distributor, said the election cycle might drive a “mini surge” in sales. Nolan, speaking at the RBC Capital Markets conference earlier this month, noted that “political reaction to the tragedy in San Bernardino” and the talk of “further gun control” appeared to drive recent sales.

Smith & Wesson Chief Executive P. James Debney, speaking at the UBS Global Consumer Conference in March, explained that recent terrorist attacks had pushed firearms “back into the world of politics, talking about increasing legislation in gun control,” which “no doubt” encouraged “a very strong buying period.” He speculated that the election cycle might be having an effect as well.

Following the mass killing on Saturday evening, a number of legislators stepped up calls for gun control legislation. “Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in a statement.

But there is little hope for meaningful gun control legislation this year.

Meanwhile, as CNBC reports, “Shares of gunmakers Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger rose 9.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, in premarket trading Monday following the massacre in Orlando, Florida.”

Related:

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Lee Fanglee.fang@theintercept.com@lhfang

PREDICTIONS FOR AMERICAN POLITICS 2030

2030logoPREDICTIONS FOR AMERICAN POLITICS 2030

 

It is dangerous to make predictions about American politics a few years in advance, about American society and economy and culture, as well. It is doubly dangerous to do it 15 years in advance. Yet, we will attempt to picture in bullet form, some broad trends we see coming by 2030 (note that one of the blog’s major projects is to construct a book which forecasts a gradual but inevitable return to progressive politics in America: 2013-2040, or, if you like, starting with the Clinton period, 1990-2040.

Even the Republican Bush interlude at least began with and featured fairly progressive (my recent republican standards) programs in some areas: an expensive prescription entitlement for Medicare, extensive foreign aid increases to combat AIDS, etc. “Compassionate Conservatism.” The theme came undone almost as soon as Bush took office, in no small part because of the 9/11 Catastrophe, but it is true that no Far Right Conservative has been or is likely to be elected President of the United States. Even a relatively moderate conservative Republican like Romney was soundly beaten in 2012, as had a Relative moderate, McCain, been trounced in 2008.

 

On the risks of prediction: Anyone who in 1965—the midst of the Civil Rights and Great Society movements, Medicare etc.– had predicted that in 15 years, a doctrinaire far right (for that time!, not by today’s standards), Ronald Reagan, would be elected would have been seriously questioned. That such a movement to the right would be seismic, and Lasting (at least until Clinton in 1993), would have been even more remarkable. The closest serious writer predicting such a movement, or at least the best known one, would have been Kevin Phillips, with his Emerging Republican Majority. But this book was not actually published until 1969, after the Democrats were defeated, in effect, by a conservative 1968 presidential vote that gave Richard Nixon a narrow victory, but a Truly conservative third party candidate, George Wallace, over 12% of the vote.

First we will lay out some landmark changes that will have occurred in American politics and society, by 2030, with only a brief, and mostly undocumented rationale fore these changes. (one of the nice things about ‘forecasting the future” is that you do not have to cite and footnote as meticulously!). In the following predictions, which we will expand and enlarge in subsequent articles, the basic “reform” is italicized in the first sentence, and developed a bit further after that.

 

PREDICTION ONE:  Healthcare will have been folded in the national political psyche for long enough (15+ years) that people will wonder what the controversy was about. Costs will have been brought down and benefits enjoyed by Democrats and Republicans alike. The still and always potent conservative money machines will have moved on to other issues, (slightly) less immediate ones, such as climate change. Odds are even that a single payer system will have been introduced or that a form of Medicare will be extended to the entire population. A certain segment of the population will be able to pay for healthcare out of pocket, but a small segment indeed. These will be catered to by boutique physicians with excellent, personalized and overpriced care, not unlike today. A valid question is: where will the money come from (?) for care expanded not only for more medical services, and more people, but more people because a larger percentage of the population will be “gray”—in the 65 yr. and older bracket. Some of the potential “dis”-economies discussed, e.g., in the Time Magazine March 12, 2013 issue (e.g. vastly overpriced in-hospital items like simple bandages and aspirin) will be modified and preventative medicine will begin to foster a healthier population through a variety of incentives. Economies in national defense will yield more funds, even if the U.S. “world mission” has not been substantially reduced. Energy and food waste costs will also begin to drop.

 

PREDICTION TWOStemming from the above, foreign policy doctrines like American exceptionalism and humanitarian in intervention are hard to predict, but it is safe to assume that in the next 15 years the fraying national infrastructure, urban decay, especially affecting the quality of public schools, income in equality leading to a “dual economy”, will be modified by incremental measures to produce a leaner, “meaner” military. As with prediction number one, this will only represent and acceleration of trends now in their infancy but underway.

 

PREDICTION THREETaxation will never reach 1950s-1960s levels, but taxes will cease to be a dirty word, the American tradition of pay as you go will come back in to style, modestly at first, and the Grover Norquists and Americans for Tax Reform will be less influential, more marginalized.  This simply equals moderately higher taxes. The simple and often asked poll question variants of “would you be willing to pay a small amount more in taxes for certain improved public services?” will be answered more in the affirmative.

 

PREDICTION FOUR: Supreme Court-  The morbid reality is that Justices Scalia and Kennedy will be 92 in 2030. If they have not died or retired, and our predictions about presidential and national more progressive politics come true, they will be very close to leaving the scene. They will be replaced by more liberal (especially in the case of Scalia) people more on the model of Sotomajor than some others. The equally important downside is that Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, moderates, will be 95 and 90, respectively, and will probably be replaced by people of similar views. Summing up, the court should move modestly to the left, all told, but this depends on a one or two term Conservative NOT being elected president in 2016, 2020, and 2024. Trends point in that direction.

7 PROBLEMS WORTH PONDERING

blackbuildernumber-7-md7 PROBLEMS WORTH PONDERING

  1. Do we      want a society where income      inequality is increasing exponentially and the purchasing power      and strength of the middle and working classes in shrinking? Keep in mind      the mantra of numbers “20-45-13”. Those are the percentages of wealth held      by the top 1%, the top 10%, and the bottom 50% of the US      population. Maybe for some this is good and healthy or “natural      selection”—but for others it Is Not. So, What Is To Be Done? If not social      engineering, tax reform, or government action: what? Who will fix this?      Almost everyone agrees that Congress has become dysfunctional; more and      more are agreeing that aspects of the US economy are increasingly      dysfunctional.

 

  1. Closely      related—and many of these points are just summaries of our previous      posts—the rich are “devouring their own children—and themselves.” By the      same, documented, reduced consumption power of the “bottom 75% of the      population, their standard of living and, eventually, that of all but the      most insulated of the super-rich are in jeopardy.

 

  1. Objections      have been raised that some of this kind of talk is pushing “class warfare.” But class      warfare is already a reality. Just not the kind that alarms conservatives      and wealthy folks: that is, the demands of the weaker 50% for changes in      the system from the top 1% or 10%. The class war that is The Reality:      weakening regulations corporate/banks/environment/workplace, tax structure      and loopholes, ability to shelter money overseas, demonization of      government, attempts to disenfranchise or block registration of poorer and      not-likely-Republican voters, the War on Labor, the War on Teachers, the      corporatization and neutering of the media—These amount to class warfare      of a kind not talked about, the Real War.

 

  1. “The      American Society of Civil Engineers estimates it would take $1.6 trillion      over 5 years to bring the nations bridges, dams, sewer systems, and other infrastructure up to good      [not excellent] condition” (L. Mishel and L. Cleeland in Lardner and      Lowenthal, Thinking Big, 2009, p. 11 That is a conservative estimates      and represent a Lot of Jobs and a national project far more worthy than      the Iraq and Vietnam Wars, probably most of Afghanistan, and arguably even      the Apollo Moon missions. Lots of jobs here. It is certain that government      and the private sector could work out an arrangement to create these jobs      and rationally pull this off. The pathetic thing is that the political      willpower and ideologizing has gotten in the way.

 

  1. The      same could be said of education,      where all of the big talking has been on teacher productivity and school      responsibility and not putting money Into schools and teachers and teacher      training. A lot of jobs here too. What is wrong with this picture: advanced      European societies, with per capita incomes higher than the U.S.’s (mean)      and Median incomes considerably higher, put far higher proportions of      their national GDP and government budgets into education than does the US.      The US      is falling farther behind European and some Asian countries in this      econo-educational indicators. And, again the wealth disparity, related to      education equity, in the US      has led to resemble the Russian and Latin American patterns [Brazil is      actually catching up here] than to the European]. (Mishel and Cleeland,      p.8) These authors also estimate, along with others, that revamping the      physical plant of schools themselves is a minimum $20 billion project, the      addressing of which would generate At Least 250,000 jobs. If this is      socialism, bring it on.

 

  1. Health care- It is time to      get off of the defensive in bringing 50 million Americans, especially in      2013-14, under national health care—of a sort. And the many other benefits      of the Affordable Health Care Act. This blog makes no apologies for these      benefits and urges the democrats to develop some more backbone and issue      fewer disclaimers about flaws in the reforms, many of which were caused by      concessions to the republicans in Congress, their far right constituencies,      the “bought” (e.g. Fox) media.

 

7.         National defense- Speaking of reordering priorities, The defense budget is still designed to protect a Cold War World (to say nothing of “Homeland Security” reality. The $700 billion currently spent (not including massive—and usually deserved veterans benefits, which arte, after all part of defense as well as being merited rewards for those who do the heavy lifting. Ex-defense officials turned policy scholars, such as Lawrence Korb of Brookings, have estimated, along with the Center for Defense Information, that easily 10-20% of defense costs could be trimmed with no impairment to the US world mission or any rational semblance thereof. More detail will follow in future columns, but the argument for sometime has focused on eliminating waste redundancy, duplication, mission creep and other dysfunctions, which, logically, must effect Defense bureaucracies as much as they effect all of the other public and private bureaucracies that we love to take aim at! (Excuse the pun).

repost! PLAYBOOK FOR PROGRESSIVES: 2013-2020

royalty-free-repair-man-clipart-illustration-1111492PLAYBOOK FOR PROGRESSIVES: 2013-2020

One overarching idea: The Democratic Party showed what it could do in 2008 and 2012. It projected a more successful image campaigning than governing (cf early Reagan or Nixon—domestically). The Democrats need to forget about gloating and antagonizing the Republicans and aim for “holding the center while moving the whole operation ever so slowly and incrementally to the left” (the Europeans are good at it in both directions, we can do the same while avoiding what seems to be the epithet “European”).

 

 Sure there will be clashes with the Republicans; Obama needs experts in working with Congress (Daschle types) without the hemming and hawing of 2009-11. Of Course some questions just don’t have ready answers, and the Republicans may just try a “post Appomattox rearguard action”..but I don’t think the Bobby Jindals and Marco Rubios are going to settle for the Party of No. The idea would be for the Democrats to reify a Progressive movement with a call to centrists and “moderate”, Chaffee-Snow-Specter-even Christie Republican followers to join up. Perhaps this is too idealistic, but some Democrats need to get off their high horse and leave the vilifying of Republican troglodytes alone. Let some Keith Doberman’s bloom, but as free lance provokers

 

 Let the Republicans, the Fox News Crowd, use that playbook. Of course MSNBC and an energized liberal radio can be tried again (maybe use “Progressive” for now—invite moderate independents like Ron Reagan and Charlie Christ to come on air and have their say). Paradigms are not shifted over-night. The worst of the World Recession seems to be over, this is still a center right country, the election was only a snapshot. Reform will have to come by stealth. If stealth and moderation does not work, the democrats should seek evidence that a donnybrook will fall their way. The Affordable Healthcare act should have been something Obama could have campaigned on in 2012. a point of consistent pride. As it kicks in we will hope that it, and comparable, smaller programs will go the same way, that is be better “promoted.”

 

Race: Head of black dalliances with Republicans at the pass; let them call themselves indeprendent, but make sure they vote Progressive Democratic; Obama lost 2% of the black vote 95-93 this time. Black success stories should be wooed assiduously by Democrats and convinced that you do not have to become a Republican just because you have made millions selling Pizza, or—whatever

Gender: Continue to offer women incentives to stick with the Democratic Party (PDP—Progressive Democratic Party); get more of them to run for office and appoint more to the bench and bureaucratic positions—seamlessly—not that much different from current practice; the republicans will try to take some women away, the PDP must be vigilant; they must not be antagonistic or dismissive about abortion: they must follow Obama’s tack of discouraging it socially/psychologically while not interfering with it politically-legally: no mean feat

 

I am talking about doing the doable right now. Obamacare was a tremendous accomplishment. The next big push should be energy independence but, More, climate change; those republicans who are scientifically sane, should be nurtured and encouraged to speak out—they can do so as Republicans without really hurting the PDP, which will have the advantage on this issue for the foreseeable future; the PDP must nibble fringes of the Green Republicans and Independents

 

Youth- As specified above, the PDP MUST rpt MUST get every expert, social media guru, and Financial angel available to make sure that the youth vote never falls below 60-40, and aims for 70-30; the Republicans will Always capture at least 30% of the college and 20-something vote. They did this even in the late 1960’s and early 1970s when I was a young republican, when I believed that the Liberal wing of the Republican party had a future, with the Javits-Scott-Percy-Romney(1)-Hart wing of the party could draw on the domestic impulses of the Lincolns and T-Roosevelt’s… 1st you have coalitions, then your coalitions—you try to “Brand them” as pragmatic progressives… The goal by 2020 and more by 2030, is to have debates Not about things like Creationism v. Evolution or abortion v. choice, or taxation v. privatization, but rather How do you improve schools, How do you reduce fossil fuels (the Tobacco industry model might have something to teach us here.

 

Military Spending- Here is some ripe fruit for both deficit reduction and fiscal prudence; it will take a slow education process, preferably led by ex-Military and defense think tank experts, NOT the traditional Left Peace Shock Troops (they come in later; they can chatter to the faithful for now in their own bubble, the Revolution is not coming for the next 10-12 years)… almost every military expert will tell you that the $800 billion defense budget (incl some veteran costs) can be cut by 20% (arms, not veteran rehabilitation) without even feeling it; military bases (and later prisons) must ever so gently and incrementally be phase out: think what we could do with a lean, smart military 500-600 $billion per/year now as the goal, $200 billion less than currently; deficit spending and national debt reduction through military sanity Must become Cool, an Art form… Look, food stamps are great, but the savings from military spending cannot be seen to be going to Entitlements for Now, a better target should be Education, education that stresses competitive components, for now, but phases out mindless testing and gradually encourages a more Finnish model… this will not be easy… now on to..

 

EDUCATION- Here is a real battleground, so many sub issues, but some more ripe fruit for progressives, if they play their cards right; the Scott Walkers need to be stopped and discredited, without necessarily turning the clock back to the status quo ex ante Walker, Ohio, Benno Schmidt, Charter-ists… All voices will have to be heard, but money and smart social media-ing should be put in the service of pragmatic reform that does not trash teachers, schools, tenure, liberal arts… maybe some pilot programs of job retraining and “trade” schools for displaced workers and smart high school students that simply aren’t cut out for Plato and Milton (sorry)

-________________________________________________________________

 

Immigration– Not my area, but I do know that the de-whitening process must seem non-scary, gradual, constructive or the backlash will continue.. certainly the Democrats/PDP should not let the Republicans get ahead of them on high profile

Hispanic personalities… they need to nurture strong electoral candidates, always, and now use their momentum in 2012 to make bureaucratic and judicial appointments of moderate progressives who are just centrist enough to make Republican senate filibusterers think carefully before saying NO

 

Gun Control– Another third rail in American politics.. this is not going to be a quick fix process… when a Columbine or Tucson happens, alas, you seize the opportunity to zero in on assault weapons, gun shows, strengthening the Brady legislation; you have to gradually discredit the nutcase-interpretation of the Second amendment; the NRA is not going away nor will it be “humanized and reformed.”.. but we can give respect to sport and target use of weapons

 

The economy– Surely the Big Enchilada… again not really my area, so central and multi-faceted… the short term strategy must be search for common ground, but no capitulation to the Far Right—those people want respect but they also do not respect namby-pamby-ism.. god help us, but at least until 2016, we need some Avuncular Reagan types (Volker? Let’s get him to cut back on cigars)… after 2016, if Hillary wins or a talent hunt for a new Clinton with a chastity lock on his zipper turns up someone appealing and substantial, then we unleash the Robert Reich’s and Elizabeth Warren’s.. Until we can say that the electorate is Not Center-Right, but rather Center-Center (2016) moving Center Left (2020 or after—at best), we need to keep polarizing figures in Massachusetts and California, and try them out on the National stage… A dirty not so little secret is that when Obama finishes up, should a white candidate be the best PDP person, then the certifiably insane right will cool down like a reddened infection… but we cannot and will not turn the clock back.. the Zeitgeist rules, an in this USA place only 3 things can generate real change: 1. Truly charismatic leadership, 2. A looming catastrophe (maybe global warming), 3. Education and likeable, smart incrementalist reformers—Clinton/Obama types…TAXES also tough, but there are signs that sanity is widening http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-door-to-compromise-on-the-budget/2012/11/14/af4b75b8-2e97-11e2-beb2-4b4cf5087636_story.html

MEET ROBERT REICH (and below him, Arthur Lerman!)

ROBERT REICHBEYOND OUTRAGEBook Recommendation: BEYOND OUTRAGE: What Has Gone Wrong with Our Economy, and Our Democracy, and How to Fix It

Vintage Books, 2012

As with the Thomas Frank book below, Occasionally we will be posting book recommendations that are designed to provoke debate, that are related to the political future(s) of the USA, and that may show why progressives are angry at the dysfunction in Washington as—to be sure—conservatives are as well. We welcome enlightened conservative readers’ recommendations of books that have insights.

Robert Reich, Professor of public policy at the University of California Berkeley Reich as many will know was a Brandeis professor and is now at U. Cal. Berkeley as a professor of public policy. He was Pres. Clinton’s Secretary of Labor and has advised President Obama. He has appeared on public TV and radio—notably “Marketplace”– and honored for his progressive, liberal, but highly informed writing. He is no radical.

We are posting some of Reich’s introductory big ideas about what is wrong with the American economy in outline form. This will be followed by discussions of Reich and Frank (see post below) and more detail on the very important things they have to say. While Frank offers an analysis of WHY the system has been rigged against the middle, working, and poor “classes,” especially since the Reagan 1980s, Reich talks more about the HOW of fixing what’s broken in this system in spite of his forceful title. But the two books complement each other nicely and  Reich’s has the advantage of having been published 3 years later (2012).

As many of the commentators on this blog to date have been conservative, it is important to note that Thinking conservatives will disagree with much that is in the book, but that they are important reading about what “ the opposition” is thinking. Much they same as we would want to read enlightened conservative material by writers such as David Brooks, Thomas Sowell, and Charles Krauthamer.

Here are the first set of a series of excerpts we will be quoting from, from this and other Reich books. Readers are urged to pause and simply consider the statements on their merits, without pigeonholing Reich into pre-formed mental images of “leftist” or “American socialist/”. After all, WALL STREET JOURNAL, has named him one of the ten most influential business thought leaders.

  • …Increasingly, the rewards have gone      to the top, while risks have been borne by middle and lower income people.      At the same time, the very wealthy are getting a greater share of total      income than they did at any time in the last eight years. Their tax rates      are lower than they’ve been in a generation. Republicans want      us to believe that the central issue is the size of government, but the      real issue is whom government is for. Public institutions are      deteriorating. We’re saddled [2011] with the most anemic recovery from the      worst economy since World War II, while the basic bargain lining pay to      productivity comes apart.  (p.4)

 

  • The Congressional Budget Office has      issued a report on the widening disparities. The issue has become front      page news. For the first time since the 1930s, a broad cross section of      the American public is talking about the concentration of wealth and      income at the top. (p.5)

 

  • As recently as a decade ago, the      prevailing view was also that great wealth trickled downward, that the      rich made investment in jobs and growth that benefited all of us. So even      if we doubted that we ourselves would be wealthy, we felt we’d still      benefit from the fortunes made by a few. But that view too has lost its      sheen. Americans see that nothing has trickled down. The rich have become      far richer over the last 3 decades, but the rest of us haven’t benefitted.      In fact median incomes are dropping.        (p. 7)

 

  • …The American economy is in trouble      because so much wealth and income have been going to the top that the rest of us no longer have the      purchasing power to keep the economy going… [italics mine] (p. 8)

 

  • Some apologists for this extraordinary      accumulation of income and wealth have been going to the top attribute it      to “risk taking” by courageous entrepreneurs… The president of the Chamber      of Commerce, explains that this economy is about risk. “If you don’t take      risk, you can’t have success.” But in fact, the higher you go in today’s      economy, the easier it is to make a pile of money without taking any      personal financial risk. The lower you go, the bigger the risks and the      smaller the rewards. (pp. 8-9)

 

  • In 2012, the Wall Street Journal      looked at the pay of executives at twenty one of the largest companies      that had recently gone through bankruptcy. The median income of those CEOs      was $8.7 million, not much less than the $9.1 median compensation of all      CEO’s of big companies. The reason CEO’s get giant pay packages for lousy      performance is that the stack their boards of directors’ compensation      committee’s with cronies who make sure they do. (p.11)

To be continued! Your thoughts??

GUEST COLUMN BY PROF. ART LERMAN: Paying the Workers to Become Customers

The Original Reason for Economic Liberalism/Progressivism

 

This book is presaged on prediction—the next wave of U.S. politics will be liberal/progressive.

But it also has an advocacy element: That’s a good thing.

Why?

Because the challenges we face are not to be engaged by current conservative policies:

  1. a.           Simply depending on free markets—laissez-faire. Indeed, the whole role of liberal/progressive policy came into being in reaction to the early industrial revolution resulting from free markets. Left to itself the free market produced great numbers of products, but provided no way for the producers to access these products. Their pay was too low to buy them.

The result was impoverished workers who could not afford to buy anything, well stocked warehouses with no demand to meet, and businesses with no sales going bankrupt.  (Classical Marxian analysis.)

It took liberal policy to impose wage standards, so that business paid its workers enough to buy its products.

It was necessary for government to do this for all society.  If only one business paid its workers enough, other businesses would sell their products at lower rates, and the well-paying business would fail. So all businesses had to be compelled to pay the minimum, saving businesses from themselves. (Yes.  The issue is who has the authority to do this in today’s globalized marketplace?)

  1. b.                    The more nefarious conservative policy—gardez-nous: big government, but for the rich–welfare for the rich—skewing policies so that the rich benefit more than others. This, of course, makes the above worse. The rich are protected from not paying enough by government subsidizing them. They don’t have to worry about their workers not being able to buy their products. They can fill up warehouses, have low sales, and still get rich from government largess.

What are the challenges? Newspaper headlines give us the list: lack of opportunity and inadequate outcomes —in education, employment, healthcare, retirement, access to resources—water/air/fuel/food/safety.

Outsourcing: A New Example

Outsourcing has been a long term problem. It has been seen nationally and internationally.

Nationally we see firms and governments getting around union rules and legal contracts for workers by hiring outside firms for their work.

Typically they will outsource cleaning services and security—hiring low paying firms to do the job for less money than their contracts say they must pay their own workers.  Governments (and the voters) have followed private employers in these practices. First it was private business that outsourced, but now, governments (backed by taxpayer ballots) are doing the same.

And it went international.  If the work can be done by even lower paid workers outside of the country, that’s where the jobs were sent—even cleaning and security are being done this way—by siting whole factories/business offices abroad.

This has given rise to two problems and a boon.

  1. a.               First problem: Lower pay to U.S. workers again makes it hard for workers to buy their own products—restricting the market and making it hard for businesses to sell products.

  1. b.                    Second problem: Low payment of workers outside of the U.S. makes it next to impossible for U.S. workers to buy anything—they’re unemployed. And the foreign workers are paid too little to take up the slack.

The boon? The businesses are making money. Yes, they’ve insured that a large population of underpaid and unemployed workers cannot buy their products. But there are enough employed people who can buy–especially in positions that cannot (yet) be outsourced—especially services, many governmental. (Though, recently, with the fiscal challenges to state/local governments, we’ve been thinning their ranks too.)

And, there is always government to buy—and give them subsidies—to help.

So we have the development of great wealth–some very rich businessmen, including major stockholders. This has been noted (2012-13) in terms of high U.S. business profits.

Robosourcing: The Next Step

But now, we may be going further. The trend is the development of robots, to replace even low paid foreign workers. It’s not outsourcing, it’s robosourcing.

So now we have the possibility of making products with few wages paid at all. Businesses can make large amounts of products at low cost. The point is, who will be out there to buy them— since so many will be unemployed?

Yes, there will always be enough customers to keep some factories going—though perhaps in declining numbers—since there are a minimum of people who society cannot do without—even as robots take over more and more employment positions.

This possibility continues, with a vengeance, the current trend toward more income inequality—a few people, managers and stockholders, making a fortune, and everyone else struggling.

This is not just the possibility of massive unemployment. It also raises the issue of who is to fund public services and those jobs not yet robotized—doctors, nurses, classroom teachers, scientific researchers, police and firefighters.   

Solution?

Yes, there are solutions—it’s again a (democratic) Marxian analysis. Society has great wealth. But that wealth is bottled up in the back accounts of the few employed and owning class. The resources are there if applied to society as a whole, to fund all the positions that are not subjected to robotization, as well as making for early , well-funded, retirement for everyone else.

The key is to transfer the wealth from the few to the rest of society.  One answer would be taxation, leaving the wealthy with plenty, but taking enough for the rest of us.

Another: the rest of society becoming a/the stockholder—i.e., like pension funds writ large.

Unfair? After all, it’s the wealthy that produced the wealth.  No? Here we go to Obama’s “You did not build that.” How much do the wealthy depend on the broad backing of society—police, fire, hospitals, subsidies?

And how much do they have to lose if their wealth is not reinvested in the rest of society? For one, sales would go up if the rest of us could buy their goods. And investments in schooling, scientific research, community development, would give them a more supportive environment to prosper even further.

The idea is that with robots, great wealth can be produced for everyone, and society can move forward for all. But the robot owners must share the wealth—or end up living in fortified mansions, surrounded by electrified barbed wire and robot guards. They also may need their own oxygen masks to access breathable air and have their own robotized water purifiers.

Remember Marx’s ultimate vision. Most people will be materially supported by factories, turning out what everyone needs, in more than enough quantities. These factories would be tended by everyone on a part-time basis, since they wouldn’t need that much oversight.

What most people would do most of the time is work on self-development—tending to their poetry (see poetry by Frederick Shiels, for example), their art work, cultivating their minds and other talents.

Meet Thomas Frank

THOMAS FRANKThomas_frank_2012wrecking-ball

Book Recommendation: THE WRECKING CREW By Thomas Frank, Henry Holt publishers, 2009

Occasionally we will be posting book recommendations that are designed to provoke debate, that are related to the political future(s) of the USA, and that may show why progressives are angry at the dysfunction in Washington as—to be sure—conservatives are as well. We welcome enlightened conservative readers’ recommendations of books that have insights.

Frank, author of WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?, a book which asked by so many Americans in Heartland rural states voted against their own economic self interest (so we recommend that book too) gets tough in this book, with a no prisoners approach to Reagan/Bush policies that led to the economic collapse of 2008 and the weakening of federal regulatory agencies. We are furnishing an excerpt from the final chapter, “Gotterdammerung,” without comment in this post, to be followed by a post after we get some reader reactions or at least people have time to read this. It essentially lays the blame for the 2008 economic collapse on conservative Reagan Bush policies, but perhaps is too optimistic that such policies are completely off the radar, even in the Age of Obama:

What the wrecking crew ultimately wrecked was the economy itself. In 2008 the wealth of the world collapsed in a cloud of bad debt— debt that had been issued by unregulated institutions, sold on exchanges that lobbyists had made sure were unsupervised and held by banks overseen by an economy that was so hapless and so industry friendly that it dozed through every alarm.

 

Now it is probably unfair to lay the blame the financial disaster at the feet of any single federal policy or even one of the two national parties. It is entirely fitting, however, to describe it as a sort of judgment day for the conservative philosophy, shared as it was by leaders in both political parties and by players all across the economy.

 

Before the fall of 2008, the most acute consequences of rule by an elite dedicated to “inefficiency in government” had mainly befallen limited and distinct groups of people: citizens of New Orleans, union members, Iraqis, people who happened to eat tainted food. moreover, the conservative state’s screw-up’s could each be crowded with an inky squirt of culture war populism or dismissed with the usual rhetoric: See? Government can’t do anything right.

 

The economic collapse of 2008 was different. It was an effect of the same strategies of misgovernment that had wrecked the EPA and labor department, yes but the consequences now were so vast that virtually no one escaped. Nor could then ruination be brushed off although thousands of conservatives tried. This time the public’s fury would not be diverted: Americans pinned the blame squarely on those who had deserved it and on the individuals who had pushed those ideas along. And so the final casualty of conservatism’s Samson like effort to know down the pillars of the state was the movement itself. By the end of 2008 the economic theories had been and its political fortunes lay in ruins.

 

The policies that [in 2008] eventually flattened the nation’s banks, insurance companies and investment houses had originally been out in place of course at those very institutions’ request. These industries got what they wanted from Washington, and what they wanted ended up killing them.

SOME SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR PREVIOUS POST

cutcaster-photo-100821309-Medieva-monk-writing-at-desk

NB The last post is repeated here, so if you have read it, you can scroll down to some lively and extensive supporting material

WE would like to thank folks who have spent time responding to this progressive blog, whether they agree with what they read or not. There seem to be two general categories of reaction: 1. people who actually read the content, respond to what is actually written, whether they agree or have differences, 2. those who just see words like “capitalism” “poor people” , social responsibility, and immediately see “Socialism” or “do-gooder taking my money or some generous rich person’s money and giving to the government.”

If you really read what we have to say, it breaks down into 3 easy to digest bullet points:

1. . So, let’s be clear: There are no simple solutions and there is not a good political party and an evil one, nor is there a contempt for wealth, getting rich, initiative, hard work. The are various groups and political forces that want to demonize government (remember: the people whom the country put in charge of freeing the slaves, educating our children –except for our wealthiest children–they of course go to private schools– clean up the messes made by Big Business and Bankers in 1929, 2008 and points in between).

A. Had Obama not pushed through the stimulus package and, necessary evil, saved the banker’s and big business like GM and AIG’s behinds following Bush’s TARP desperate attempt to undo some of the damage, we would probably have 15% unemployment today, not the modest—no, increasingly robust recovery we are experiencing.

B. Had Obama not pushed through the Affordable Care Act, 40 million Americans would not be on their way to healthcare coverage, people with preexisting medical conditions would be selling their homes and retirement pensions for coverage (a country that has people going to the emergency rooms of hospitals for healthcare (I mean 50 million of those), is and should be a laughing stock, in effect a third world country (those countries may not be able to afford the healthcare for all, this country Can). You folks with 21-25 year olds not in the workforce with their own insurance would be paying for there care out of your pockets. 

C. There are other things that would have seemed loony 40 years ago, but are accepted today, like busting teacher’s unions, demonizing school teachers, union busting, tax ceilings for the very rich (we middle class folk pay for that), lower corporate tax rates (and we wonder why the deficit is so bad– IT’S NOT JUST SPENDING, not EVEN JUST SPENDING FOR DEFENSE AT A HIGHER LEVEL THAN THE NEXT 31 COUNTRIES COMBINED)**.

D. Yes, we Do plead guilty to believing that snowballing income inequality is bleeding this country white (not to mention the 2003-12 Iraq war-on a-credit card). We do wanted to see public schools supported and more and better teachers in the classroom. We are healthy that in spite of all the Progressive-bashers, Obama-bashers, the deficit is already beginning to slow a bit and healthcare costs, rising for decades at an alarming rate, are now, already beginning to rise more slowly, this even Before the major 2014 reforms kick in.  

OK, WE SAID WE BE BRIEF HERE, SO LET’S MAKE CATEGORIES 2 AND 3 AS PROMISED!!

2. We have been clear that there are some Republicans and PLENTY of “Independents” who support some progressive ideas: healthcare reform, support for public education, an end to anti-labor policies, and we not only welcome them, they are beginning what will be a 3 decade coalition that will only get stronger.George W. Bush did not win the election of 2000 (yes he did become president, he simply did not win either the popular or–except for Supreme Court intervention– the electoral vote). He won very narrowly in 2004, then Obama trounced the Republicans in 2008 and 2012. McCain–veteran, hero, bi-partisan– was Not a weak candidate, nor was Romney. Obama and his ideas and political operation, by no means flawless, were simply better. 

We may seem like cheerleaders for some sort of Democratic Renaissance– but not quite so. We are saying that some Republicans are retrenching, the Tea-Party isn’t going anywhere–just getting smaller as a % of the national vote.1 Other Republicans are coming around to supporting some of the practical solutions outlined above. They see what the future looks like, and it does not look like Bush-Reagan-Romney.

Just the facts m’am: 1. the Hispanic vote, including Cubans, went overwhelmingly for the Democrats in 2012 (in the middle of a recession following the catastrophic polices of 2001-2008!), 2. the female vote will only be increasing, and women tend to vote more progressively, as a whole, then men, 3. the black and Asian votes, pretty robust, Not Shrinking, and Not overall conservative. Sorry, we are just the messengers and you do not have to read this blog to know which way the wind is blowing. What we HAVE DONE, that is a bit unusual for “left-progressive” analysts, is call for, at least for now, a coalition of progressives of all political parties, PROBLEM SOLVERS, to end the disgrace that is Washington today (listen up, Mr. McConnell).

No room to argue this here, but let’s throw out some red meat: we will argue that in, say 2030, if the Republican party campaigned for the White House or most of Congress, on the climate change-denying, teacher bashing, Rich over Middle Class policies they have been running on for 20 or so years, they would lose elections not by the current 5-6%/  332-206 Electoral Vote of 2012. They would lose by 15% for the White House and be very lucky to elect 40 senators or 45% of the House. Rest easy, Republicans and Conservatives: there is no chance of this. The “head on straight– for the most part– Republicans of the Bobby Jindall, Michael Bloomberg, Susan Collins, Chris Christy variety, see that survival will ultimately depend on moving to the center.

3. The WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS guy (author Thomas Frank), asked why do many working people vote against their own economic self interest puzzle is reflected in some of the responses to our outrageous call for balancing the budget by taxes as well as spending cuts, people whose kids are probably in public schools struggling to educate their kids, people who are supporting a defense budget above $700 billion (do the math on how much of your tax revenues are going for that), people who most Need healthcare (and if they don’t want it, the rest of us should not be subsidizing their visits to high priced emergencies rooms).

We will be interested in why many in the Red States– farmers, workers, low-mid income folks, really the backbone of this country and certainly the backbone of our armed forces– repeatedly defend the interests of the wealthy (Guys like Warren Buffett, who says he Should be paying more in taxes). One common theme seems to be that luck, the kind of luck not pointed in the direction of the single working mom kid referred to in our June story, plays no role in how well people do. Those who work hard prosper economically and those who prosper economically all work hard. This Tends to be true, but not nearly as true as some of our readers seem to believe. The lower middle class, working guy or woman and family, have little chance to do as well as those who get all of that expensive coaching for their SAT tests. It is a tribute to Karl Rove, FoxNews, and Rush Limbaugh, that so many people actually believe that the majority of the working poor or even the “poor poor”, are that way because they do not work their tails off. If my fellow “next paycheck” readers want to elect leaders and pay the taxes for the folks in gated communities, with lots of expensive toys, Hey that’s your privilege! But not for Me and the 52-53% of the population who elected and re-elected Obama in 2008-12.

Fear not. if you stick with us (and some of you won’t, though we get more readers every day) we will be offering lots of evidence, data, information to back up the points that we are simply asking you to listen to here. And thanks for listening and reading. Also WE NEED TO ANNOUNCE A CHANGE IN OUR READER POSTING POLICY: thoughtful readers who take their valuable time to offer arguments against our positions, Will be posted for all to see (the debates are already underway). We will Not be posting knee jerk, profanity laced, uniformed right wing stuff. There is too much good stuff coming in to give an audience to trash talk: sorry.

**Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 27.3%
2010 . . . 8.9%

Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of GDP
1955 . . . 4.3%
2010 . . . 1.3%

Individual Income/Payrolls as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 58.0%
2010 . . . 81.5%

Anyone who is serious about closing the US deficit should consider the changes in what corporations pay in taxes and the rise of the deficit. Source:Loophole Land: Time to Reform Corporate Taxes
Demos, APRIL 12, 2011

as cited in blog THE BIG PICTURE– http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/04/corporate-tax-rates-then-and-now/ —  Barry Ritholtz

SOME SOURCES

1) tea party support numbers: Just 8% Now Say They Are Tea Party Members

in Politics

Email thisShareThis

Related Articles

·                    Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

·                    Generic Congressional Ballot: Republicans 41%, Democrats 38%

·                    Tea Party, Liberal Are Still Most Negative Political Labels

·                    53% of Republicans See Tea Party As Political Plus; 32% of Democrats Say Same of Occupy

·                    Who Are The Tea Partiers Now?

·                    Just 37% Now Call Themselves Fiscal Conservatives

Bottom of Form

Monday, January 07, 2013

Views of the Tea Party movement are at their lowest point ever, with voters for the first time evenly divided when asked to match the views of the average Tea Party member against those of the average member of Congress.  Only eight percent (8%) now say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24% in April 2010 just after passage of the national health care law. 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Half (49%) of voters have an unfavorable view of the movement. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 3-4, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

2)  Hispanic Vote


The Hispanic vote in 2012 and beyond

By Guest columnistPolitics

Hispanic Voters

Hispanics take their civic duties seriously, reliably voting at a high percentage. (Photo/ us2012)

The growing Hispanic vote played an unmistakable role in Tuesday’s election, presenting obvious challenges for conservatives moving forward. Hispanic’s national share of vote, exponentially rising eligible voters, and key-state vote differentials all lead to a clear point: Hispanics are an ever-important part of the electorate that can’t be ignored.  The scope of the challenge is broad but there is opportunity ahead for conservatives to engage Hispanics.

Please click here to see HLN’s latest infographic.

Hispanic vote growing

For years, Hispanic activists in the conservative movement have underscored the importance of engaging Hispanics. This past Tuesday more than 11 million Hispanics voted in the presidential election — 10 percent of the national electorate. Just as the white share of vote is declining each election, Hispanics’ share is growing.

Share of the Hispanic Vote

 

2012

2008

2004

National

10%

9%

8%

Sources: The New York Time and the Pew Hispanic Center/ Hispanic vote

Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the U.S., estimated to grow to 132 million-strong by 2050, making up 30 percent of the country’s population. There are currently 23.7 million Hispanics eligible to vote, a 7.6 million-person increase since just 2004, with 50,000 Hispanics turning 18 every month.

That helps explain why 1.3 million more Hispanics votedon Tuesday than in 2008 while national overall turnout declined significantly. Moreover, from 2004 to 2008, the number of Hispanics who voted increased by 21.65 percent. From 2008 to 2012 the number of Hispanics who voted increased by 11 percent.

Additionally, Hispanics take their civic duties seriously, reliably voting at a high percentage. Between 46.4 – 49.7 percent of eligible Hispanics voted in the last three elections.

Eligible Hispanic Voters

 

2012

2008

2004

Number of eligible voters

23.7 million

19.5 million

16.1 million

Number of votes cast

11 million

9.7 million

7.6 million

%Voted Increase From Previous Election

11%

21.65%

Percentage of Eligible That Voted

46.4%

49.7%

47.2%

Source: The Pew Hispanic Center/ Hispanic vote

The swing state problem
Just eight years ago President Bush received nearly half of the national Hispanic vote and 56 percent of it in Florida. Yet on Tuesday, Hispanics voted for President Obama over Gov. Romney 71 percent to 27 percent nationally, with disturbing differentials in key swing states. In Florida, Romney garnered just 38 percent of the vote, compared to McCain’s 42 percent and Bush’s 56 percent. That’s an 18-point drop over 8 years in a state he lost by just 100,000 votes this year. Similar perilous swings exist in the mountain west states of New Mexico and Nevada.

A future red state problem
Conservatives will face an even larger future problem if they don’t engage the Hispanic community, in currently non-competitive presidential states like Texas and Arizona that Romney lost Hispanics by over 40 points in. Just eight years ago, President Bush lost Arizona Hispanics by just 13 points and came within 1-point of winning Texas Hispanics, 50-49. What’s more, since 2004, Arizona’s Hispanic share of the vote has increased from 12 percent to 19 percent and Texas’ has risen from 20 percent to 26 percent since 2004, according to The Pew Hispanic Center and The New York Times. On this current trajectory, how many years until both are presidential swing states?

Breakdown of the Hispanic vote by presidential candidate

 

2012

2012

2008

2008

2004

2004

 

Obama

Romney

Obama

McCain

Kerry

Bush

National

71%

27%

67%

31%

53%

44%

Arizona

77%

22%

56%

41%

56%

43%

California

72%

27%

74%

23%

63%

32%

Colorado

74%

25%

61%

38%

68%

30%

Florida

60%

38%

57%

42%

44%

56%

Nevada

69%

24%

76%

22%

60%

39%

New Mexico

64%

29%

69%

30%

56%

44%

North Carolina

65%

34%

Texas

70%

29%

63%

35%

50%

49%

Virginia

64%

33%

65%

34%

Sources: Latino Decisions/ImpreMedia, The New York Time and the Pew Hispanic Center/ Hispanic vote chart

A Hispanic opportunity
The Hispanic community is not a monolithic group and they care about many issues. While they may have broken for Obama, there is opportunity for conservatives to engage the community if they want to win in future presidential races. For example, in a Latino Decisions/ImpreMedia poll of Hispanic voters on the eve of election night, when asked, “Thinking about the 2012 election, what are the most important issues facing the Latino/Hispanic community that our politicians should address?”

  • 53% said Economy/Jobs
  • 35% said Immigration
  • 20% said Education.

Inviting Hispanic business owners to the movement

Moreover, conservatives must leverage the Hispanic community’s entrepreneurial spirit. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2007, there are upwards of 2.3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. – up 44 percent from 2002. As the fastest growing minority business group in the country, Hispanic business owners understand first-hand the need for less burdensome regulations and lower taxes to expand, grow, and hire more workers.

Abandoning myths

On immigration, the myth that all Hispanics want amnesty for undocumented immigrants is just that – a myth. In fact, many Hispanics support sensible immigration reform, but as Americans, they too express concerns about proposals that do not include securing the border. The movement must also ensure that more conservative Hispanics are involved in immigration reform discussions, and put forth proposals that include a guest worker program and overhauling our current visa system. Interestingly, an HLN poll showed that American voters support “allowing children of undocumented immigrants who have been here for years to obtain legal residency status after their honorable discharge from service in the U.S. military” by 83 percent while and 67 percent support “allowing children of undocumented immigrants who have been here for years to obtain legal residency if they graduate from college.”

The last mile – How do you do it?

Candidates must increase their understanding of their constituencies, as well as demographic shifts.  Increased understanding should be partnered with strong coalition building efforts at the local level, and among leading Hispanic groups nationally. The movement’s objectives must include long-term, sustainable efforts to engage the Hispanic community on issues affecting them and that concern them the most.

At the Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN), we are putting into action what we advise, by engaging Hispanics on center-right issues that will restore prosperity and opportunity to America. Through communications, grassroots, policy development and interaction with our elected officials at the local and national level, we are well on our way to building the largest network of Hispanic advocates in the country.

Hispanic Vote

Hispanic vote chart by HLN.

 

Read more: http://www.voxxi.com/hispanic-vote-2012-beyond/#ixzz2bcCDarbX

Moving Democratic

November 9, 2012 10:24 AM

Share on email 5

View Comments

US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

Tim Kephart

Reporting Tim Kephart

Filed under

Local, News, Politics

Related tags

2012 Campaign, Barack Obama, campaign, Cuba, Cuban, Cuban Vote, Cuban-American, Cuban-American Vote, Florida, Florida Election, Obama, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Obama

Election Returns

CAMPAIGN 2012

Get Answers

1.                   how do I vote on line Iam outside tht US.

2.                  Why do people in wheel chairs get to go to the front of the line, when the rest of us needn to wait over 2 hrs ??

3.                  When will the electoral college vote

4.                  If I am in line by 6:45pm and the wait time is 1 hour, will I still be able to vote even though the polls close at 7pm?

5.                  What time will the polls be open tomorrow November 6th? I am in the City of South Miami. Precinct 606.

Ask a Question

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While Florida still hasn’t finished counting all the ballots from Tuesday’s election, the exit polling from Tuesday’s presidential election is suggesting a major shift in the voting pattern of the Hispanic vote in Florida.

Exit polls of the Cuban-American community in Florida showed a split between Cuba-Americans who were born in Cuba and those born in the United States. Historically, Cuban-American voters have heavily favored the Republican Party since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Cuban-born voters broke for Mitt Romney by a 55-45 percent margin. However, among Cuban-Americans born in the United States, President Barack Obama carried the group by a 60-40 percent margin.

The Pew Hispanic Center reported Cuban-Americans favored Obama by a 49-47 percent margin. And a Latino Decisions national poll released the day before the election pegged Latino support for Obama at roughly 71 percent.

While 2012 may be an anomaly, Latino voters have been gravitating towards the Democratic Party over the past few elections and if the Democrats keep them on their side, it could begin a fundamental shift in the way campaigns try to capture the Hispanic vote

 

 

 

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

3) Defense spending numbers: although the following data is for defense spending for the top 15, not 32, countries, it is really even more dramatic than the text of the post abover, BECAUSE: it indicates that of the 1.7 trillion $ spent worldwide for defense spending (196 nations), the U.S. spend nearly 700 billion (data from world gold standard in defense statistics, SIPRI, used by Wikipedia and many others), this is almost 40% of the total global expenditures for defense.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2013 which includes a list on the world’s top 15 military spenders in 2012, based on current market exchange rates. The second list is based on the SIPRI military expenditure database for the year 2012, again based on current market exchange rates.. Contents

 [hide

SIPRI Yearbook 2013 – World’s top 15 military spenders[edit source | edit]

The world’s top 5 military spenders in 2012.
Figures sourced from the SIPRI Yearbook 2013.

 

Rank

Country

Spending ($ Bn.)[3]

% of GDP

World share (%)

Spending ($ Bn. PPP)[3]

World total

1,753

2.5

100

1562.3

1

United StatesUnited States

682.0

4.4

39

682

2

ChinaChinax

166.0

2.0

9.5

249

3

RussiaRussiax

90.7

4.4

5.2

116

4

United KingdomUnited Kingdom

60.8

2.5

3.5

57.5

5

JapanJapan

59.3

1.0

3.4

46.0

6

FranceFrance

58.9

2.3

3.4

50.7

7

Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabiay

56.7

8.9

3.2

63.9

8

IndiaIndia

46.1

2.5

2.6

119

9

GermanyGermanyx

45.8

1.4

2.6

42.8

10

ItalyItalyx

34.0

1.7

1.9

31.0

11

BrazilBrazil

33.1

1.5

1.9

34.4

12

South KoreaSouth Korea

31.7

2.7

1.8

44.2

13

AustraliaAustralia

26.2

1.7

1.5

16.3

14

CanadaCanadax

22.5

1.3

1.3

18.3

15

TurkeyTurkeyxz

18.2

2.3

1.0

25.9

^ SIPRI estimate.

^ The figures for Saudi Arabia include expenditure for public order and safety and might be slightly overestimated.

^ It is possible that the

4) 2000 election statistics (Florida gave Bush a slight technical edge in the electoral college; the recount in Florida was stopped by a 5-4 decision of the US Supreme Court. The decision was termed by the senior minority justice in the decision at the time, John Paul Stevens, graceful in the court’s history. Stevens was a moderately conservative appointee by Republican Pres. Gerald Ford. As the country moved right, he stayed center, then “left center,” as hard right justices were appointed by Republican presidents.

 

Presidential
Candidate

Vice Presidential
Candidate

Political
Party

Popular Vote

Electoral Vote

George W. Bush

Richard Cheney

Republican

50,460,110

47.87%

271

50.4%

Albert Gore Jr.

Joseph Lieberman

Democratic

51,003,926

48.38%

266

49.4%

Ralph Nader

Winona LaDuke

Green

2,883,105

2.73%

0

0.0%

Patrick Buchanan

Ezola Foster

Reform

449,225

0.43%

0

0.0%

Harry Browne

Art Olivier

Libertarian

384,516

0.36%

0

0.0%

Y

Other (+)

236,593

0.22%

0

0.0%

Seal

Map Key

 > 40%

 > 50%

 > 60%

 > 70%

 > 80%

Turnout

 

 

 

 

Quick summary of key goals and thanks to even critical blog readers!

thanks-digital-calligraphy-hiI would like to thank folks who have spent time responding to this progressive blog, whether they agree with what they read or not. There seem to be two general categories of reaction: 1. people who actually read the content, respond to what is actually written, whether they agree or have differences, 2. those who just see words like “capitalism” “poor people” , social responsibility, and immediately see “Socialism” or “do-gooder taking my money or some generous rich person’s money and giving to the government.”

If you really read what we have to say, it breaks down into 3 easy to digest bullet points:

1. . So, let’s be clear: There are no simple solutions and there is not a good political party and an evil one, nor is there a contempt for wealth, getting rich, initiative, hard work. The are various groups and political forces that want to demonize government (remember: the people whom the country put in charge of freeing the slaves, educating our children –except for our wealthiest children–they of course go to private schools– clean up the messes made by Big Business and Bankers in 1929, 2008 and points in between.

A. Had Obama not pushed through the stimulus package and, necessary evil, saved the banker’s and big business like GM and AIG’s behinds following Bush’s TARP desperate attempt to undo some of the damage, we would probably have 15% unemployment today, not the modest recovery we are experiencing.

B. Had Obama not pushed through the Affordable Care Act, 40 million Americans would not be on their way to healthcare coverage, people with preexisting medical conditions would be selling their homes and retirement pensions for coverage (a country that has people going to the emergency rooms of hospitals for healthcare (I mean 50 million of those), is and should be a laughing stock, in effect a third world country (those countries may not be able to afford the healthcare for all, this country Can). You folks with 21-25 year olds not in the workforce with their own insurance would be paying for there care out of your pockets. 

C. There are other things that would have seemed loony 40 years ago, but are accepted today, like busting teacher’s unions, demonizing school teachers, union busting, tax ceilings for the very rich (we middle class folk pay for that), lower corporate tax rates (and we wonder why the deficit is so bad– IT’S NOT JUST SPENDING, not EVEN JUST SPENDING FOR DEFENSE AT A HIGHER LEVEL THAN THE NEXT 31 COUNTRIES COMBINED)**.

D. Yes, we Do plead guilty to believing that snowballing income inequality is bleeding this country white (not to mention the 2003-12 Iraq war-on a-credit card). We do wanted to see public schools supported and more and better teachers in the classroom. We are healthy that in spite of all the Progressive-bashers, Obama-bashers, the deficit is already beginning to slow a bit and healthcare costs, rising for decades at an alarming rate, are now, already beginning to rise more slowly, this even Before the major 2014 reforms kick in.  

OK, WE SAID WE BE BRIEF HERE, SO LET’S MAKE CATEGORIES 2 AND 3 AS PROMISED!!

2. We have been clear that there are some Republicans and PLENTY of “Independents” who support some progressive ideas: healthcare reform, support for public education, an end to anti-labor policies, and we not only welcome them, they are beginning what will be a 3 decade coalition that will only get stronger. George W. Bush did not win the election of 2000 (yes he did become president, he simply did not win either the popular or–except for Supreme Court intervention– the electoral vote). He won very narrowly in 2004, then Obama trounced the Republicans in 2008 and 2012. McCain–veteran, hero, bi-partisan– was Not a weak candidate, nor was Romney. Obama and his ideas and political operation, by no means flawless, were simply better. 

We may seem like cheerleaders for some sort of Democratic Renaissance– but not quite so. We are saying that some Republicans are retrenching, the Tea-Party isn’t going anywhere–just getting smaller as a % of the national vote. Other Republicans are coming around to supporting some of the practical solutions outlined above. They see what the future looks like, and it does not look like Bush-Reagan-Romney.

Just the facts m’am: 1. the Hispanic vote, including Cubans, went overwhelmingly for the Democrats in 2012 (in the middle of a recession following the catastrophic polices of 2001-2008!), 2. the female vote will only be increasing, and women tend to vote more progressively, as a whole, then men, 3. the black and Asian votes, pretty robust, Not Shrinking, and Not overall conservative. Sorry, we are just the messengers and you do not have to read this blog to know which way the wind is blowing. What we HAVE DONE, that is a bit unusual for “left-progressive” analysts, is call for, at least for now, a coalition of progressives of all political parties, PROBLEM SOLVERS, to end the disgrace that is Washington today (listen up, Mr. McConnell).

No room to argue this here, but let’s throw out some red meat: we will argue that in, say 2030, if the Republican party campaigned for the White House or most of Congress, on the climate change-denying, teacher bashing, Rich over Middle Class policies they have been running on for 20 or so years, they would lose elections not by the current 5-6%/  332-206 Electoral Vote of 2012. They would lose by 15% for the White House and be very lucky to elect 40 senators or 45% of the House. Rest easy, Republicans and Conservatives: there is no chance of this. The “head on straight– for the most part– Republicans of the Bobby Jindall, Michael Bloomberg, Susan Collins, Chris Christy variety, see that survival will ultimately depend on moving to the center.

3. The What’s the Matter with Kansas (Thomas Frank), why do many working people vote against their own economic self interest puzzle is reflected in some of the responses to our outrageous call for balancing the budget by taxes as well as spending cuts, people whose kids are probably in public schools struggling to educate their kids, people who are supporting a defense budget above $700 billion (do the math on how much of your tax revenues are going for that), people who most Need healthcare (and if they don’t want it, the rest of us should not be subsidizing their visits to high priced emergencies rooms).

We will be interested in why many in the Red States– farmers, workers, low-mid income folks, really the backbone of this country and certainly the backbone of our armed forces– repeatedly defend the interests of the wealthy (Guys like Warren Buffett, who says he Should be paying more in taxes). One common theme seems to be that luck, the kind of luck not pointed in the direction of the single working mom kid referred to in our June story, plays no role in how well people do. Those who work hard prosper economically and those who prosper economically all work hard. This Tends to be true, but not nearly as true as some of our readers seem to believe. The lower middle class, working guy or woman and family, have little chance to do as well as those who get all of that expensive coaching for their SAT tests. It is a tribute to Karl Rove, FoxNews, and Rush Limbaugh, that so many people actually believe that the majority of the working poor or even the “poor poor”, are that way because they do not work their tails off. If my fellow “next paycheck” readers want to elect leaders and pay the taxes for the folks in gated communities, with lots of expensive toys, Hey that’s your privilege! But not for Me and the 52-53% of the population who elected and re-elected Obama in 2008-12.

Fear not. if you stick with us (and some of you won’t, though we get more readers every day) we will be offering lots of evidence, data, information to back up the points that we are simply asking you to listen to here. And thanks for listening and reading. Also WE NEED TO ANNOUNCE A CHANGE IN OUR READER POSTING POLICY: thoughtful readers who take their valuable time to offer arguments against our positions, Will be posted for all to see (the debates are already underway). We will Not be posting knee jerk, profanity laced, uniformed right wing stuff. There is too much good stuff coming in to give an audience to trash talk: sorry.

**Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 27.3%
2010 . . . 8.9%

Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of GDP
1955 . . . 4.3%
2010 . . . 1.3%

Individual Income/Payrolls as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 58.0%
2010 . . . 81.5%

Anyone who is serious about closing the US deficit should consider the changes in what corporations pay in taxes and the rise of the deficit. Source:Loophole Land: Time to Reform Corporate Taxes
Demos, APRIL 12, 2011

as cited in blog THE BIG PICTURE– http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/04/corporate-tax-rates-then-and-now/ —  Barry Ritholtz

Windows of Opportunity for Progressives: Includes CORPORATIONS! [draft]

bill_gates1THOMAS FRANK

One of the themes of this book is going to be: areas where what might be called Obama Clinton Democrats can pick some ripe fruit from places in the American polity and electorate thus far not fully accomplished. We offer first a draft list of both obvious and less obvious supporters whose help should be easy to get, at least at the margins, and I whose self interest backing  the progressive agenda should be clear:

 

  1. Corporations/Business– already a source of some      support for Democrats, this largest and most amorphous interest group has      traditionally been the core of Republican financial and voting support;      the GOP has been seen as the party of business, yet Business is so      diverse, ranging from Silicon Valley internet giants to huge retailers      like Wal-Mart to the main street pizza parlor owner to Big Oil, etc., that      the Democrats should always be looking for a bigger piece of the more      progressive “winnable” elements of these groups…

 

This would probably include corporations with highly educated and more socially conscious executives thinking past the bottom line and  (exclusively) shareholder concerns, to Image—like Novartis’s free pharmaceuticals for selected unable-pay-patients, useful for advertising, but also generated, very likely, by some genuine human concerns… it would be useful to scan literature on mixed motives of businesses, which stress the do-good impulses that move many of us and probe into a less mechanistic more nuanced view of corporate behavior

 

  1. The non voter– Comb the literature for      studies on why people do not vote (multiple reasons: apathy, busy-ness,      disillusionment with the system, lack of interest in politics, feeling      their single vote will not make a difference)—these voters may well yield      more progressive votes that reactionary… Obama did well with bringing the      votes of his established base, but he also reached for some adults,      perhaps especially in 2008, who did not normally go to the polls… these      voters are, again, “ripe fruit,” and changing their behavior has in all      likelihood been studied and with some conclusions
  2. Older voters– these will become more      numerous and will increasingly be made up of baby boomers and eventually      post baby boom people.. Note that the last birth year for Boomers is 1964,      and that in 2014, people born after that year will be entering their 50s,      and in 2024 their 60’s etc.  Obama’s      performance among, especially, white above-55 voters could have been      stronger, given the 1960’s-70’s influences on such voters… Right-wing      scare tactics on threats to Medicare from Obama-care may have worked      (check lit.) but in many ways, it is in the interest of these voters to      consider the advantages of progressivism: attention to the needs of the      elders in the electorate: medical care, continuing education, public      services (say libraries)  for the      large group of ‘living on a fixed, lowered budget’ Americans

 

  1. Not quite parallel, but a      central almost haunting question is why voters (sounds like Thomas Frank      here) who are middle class, seeing their standard of living stagnate or      decline or flatline, so much more numerous than the  wealthiest 1-percenters or even 5      percenters, do not come out in droves for Obama-Clinton progressives,      should be answered—maybe in this book, especially voters from more      struggling heartland states such as Frank’s Kansas, Nebraska, south      Dakota, states that are theoretically winnable, but whose gun use, church      affiliation, and rural values make them reflexively republican in most      instances: we      need to find out why Tom Harkin, George McGovern and Frank Church won      elections in such states and the potential for this type re-emerging      (probably by building a support base in Wichita, Lincoln, Boise,      university towns, and bringing home acceptable amounts of “legitimate pork      to their constituents…We now turn to a consideration of how an alliance of      progressives with some more of Business/Corporate America might work:

 

CAN A CORPORATE-PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE HAPPEN?

 

The dominant wisdom about corporate capitalism is that its lifeblood is ultimately the return on investment to the shareholders. As corporations multiplied and increased in complexity in the 20th C., it  is a commonplace that they have moved from manufacturing and transportation to finance to finance, retailing and information. It is true that manufacturing, especially in the area of transpiration  in the USA have remained strong to some extent in the aircraft and automotive industries.

 

Both major parties of received corporate largesse and money from individuals enriched by corporate leadership and investment. But the Republican party clearly stands as the corporate, private sector favoring party and has done so for decades. As Noam Chomsky noted—not far off from the Left and center, the Democrats have depended on “everybody else”, while certainly getting substantial, though less, corporate support.  Chomsky, in the same interview, November, 1988, noted that in fact the United States could be said to have only one party, The Business Party, with two wings, Republican and Democrat. Overall the Republicans are much purer in there support of and benefits from corporations, and the Democrats must compensate for lesser corporate support, but appealing to “all of the other groups.” Democrats do get reliably more support from most other groups, but Chomsky’s point is that the resources of the business sector are vaster than those of almost all of the others combined. These statements, of course, refer to gross aggregates and are hard to measure quantitatively….

 

Historically, whether one sees the party system as 2 sides of a corporate coin, or as 2 evolving discreet “brands”, there is broad agreement that about every 30-40 years, there is a national election that shifts the political geology dramatically than is normally the case. What are called critical or realigning elections occurred, moving back in time, in 1932, 1896, 1860, 1828 and 1800. A snapshot description of each of these elections would go something like this, referring only to the winner and his party: 1932, F. Roosevelt (Dem.) Great Depression; 1896, W. McKinley, Urban, industrial, Gold Standard; 1860, A. Lincoln (Rep.), Union and end of any expansion of Southern slavery; 1828,

Andrew Jackson (Dem.) , anti-elite, anti-Federal government, pro-Southern and Western interests; 1800, T. Jefferson, (Dem.-Republican) anti-Federalist agenda. The p[icture blurs after 1932 as independent voters became more numerous, and the parties became more competitive in electing presidents.

 

Some would cite either 1968, or more often, 1980, with Nixon and Reagan coming into power with increasingly conservative coalitions as roughly “critical,” and perhaps Obama’s two victories after almost 30 years of more Republican strength in the White House as a “harbionger election. But the old models of long fairly dtable periods of one party dominance do not hold up well after 1950. If one measures presidential party years in power since Truman in 1948 and move to the present 2013, we see 25 years of Democratic presidents and 29 years of Republicans, a remarkable balance when you consider A. that Democrats were in power for 24 of the 32 years between Jackson and Lincoln, 1829-1861 and the Republicans occupied the White House for 58 of the 72 years between 1861 and 1933 (Lincoln to F. Roosevelt) and B. If you add the remaining 3 years of Obama’s 2nd term the party Balance in the White House becomes almost exactly even from 1949 to 2017.

%d bloggers like this: