"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen


"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister


"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont


"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister


"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Krugman on DBCFT

A Party Not Ready to Govern by Krugman
Then there’s corporate tax reform — an issue where the plan being advanced by Paul Ryan, the House speaker, is actually not too bad, at least in principle. Even someDemocratic-leaning economistssupport a shift to a “destination-based cash flow tax,” which is best thought of as a sales tax plus a payroll subsidy. (Trust me.)
But Mr. Ryan has failed spectacularly to make his case either to colleagues or to powerful interest groups. Why? As best I can tell, it’s because he himself doesn’t understand the point of the reform.
The case for the cash flow tax is quite technical; among other things, it would remove the incentives the current tax system creates for corporations to load up on debt and to engage in certain kinds of tax avoidance. But that’s not the kind of thing Republicans talk about — if anything, they’re in favor of tax avoidance, hence the Trump proposal to slash funding for the I.R.S.
No, in G.O.P. world, tax ideas always have to be presented as ways to remove the shackles from oppressed job creators. So Mr. Ryan has framed his proposal, basically falsely, as a measure to make American industry more competitive, focusing on the “border tax adjustment” which is part of the sales-tax component of the reform.
This misrepresentation seems, however, to be backfiring: it sounds like a Trumpist tariff, and has both conservatives and retailers like WalMart up in arms.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

DNC chair Perez

Progressives Slam Tom Perez’s New DNC Transition Team


center-left and Zack Beauchamp

Any answer to right-wing populism requires left-wing economics

by eshhou

Why Zack Beauchamp’s piece arguing otherwise is wrong

Zack Beauchamp of Vox has written an article entitled “No easy answers: why left-wing economics is not the answer to right-wing populism.” In this piece, he argues that “tacking to the left on economics won’t give Democrats a silver bullet to use against the racial resentment powering Trump’s success [and] could actually wind up [making] Trump [stronger.]” Matt Bruenighas written about the piece’s odd moral implications; I want to discuss some of the evidence Beauchamp provides, and why I don’t find it all that convincing.

...

Bottom line

Assuming the Democratic party does not totally abandon redistributive politics, racism will always pose a problem. The question then is: what redistributive programs and policies are most capable of overcoming this and generating cross-racial coalitions? There is little reason to believe that the means-tested programs favored by the Democratic mainstream are more capable of doing this than the more universal programs favored by those on the Left.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lisa Hannigan cover of Bowie on Legion


Oh you Pretty Things
Don't you know you're driving your
Mamas and Papas insane

JW Mason: misc thoughts including on health care

JW Mason:
The health policy tightrope. The Republican plan health care plan, the CBO says, would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million. I don’t know any reason to question this number. By some estimates, this will result in 40,000 additional deaths a year. By the same estimate, the Democratic status quo leaves 28 million people uninsured, implying a similar body count. Paul Ryan’s idea that health care should be a commodity to be bought in the market is cruel and absurd but the Democrats’ idea that heath insurance should be a commodity bought in the market is not obviously less so. Personally, I’m struggling to find the right balance between these two sets of facts. I suppose the first should get more weight right now, but I can’t let go of the second. Adam Gaffney does an admirable job managing this tightrope act in his assessment of the Obama health care legacy inJacobin. (But I think he’s absolutely right, strategically, to focus on the Republicans for the Guardian’s different readership .)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Krugman and the center-left

Populism and the Politics of Health by Krugman

"This ties in with an important recent piece by Zack Beauchamp on the striking degree to which left-wing economics fails, in practice, to counter right-wing populism; basically, Sandersism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Why?

The answer, presumably, is that what we call populism is really in large degree white identity politics, which can’t be addressed by promising universal benefits. Among other things, these “populist” voters now live in a media bubble, getting their news from sources that play to their identity-politics desires, which means that even if you offer them a better deal, they won’t hear about it or believe it if told. For sure many if not most of those who gained health coverage thanks to Obamacare have no idea that’s what happened.

That said, taking the benefits away would probably get their attention, and maybe even open their eyes to the extent to which they are suffering to provide tax cuts to the rich.

In Europe, right-wing parties probably don’t face the same dilemma; they’re preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open."

Sunday, March 05, 2017

SNL on Democrats

SNL on Democrats

at about 3:50