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Another Family Values Republican

[ 60 ] April 7, 2014 |

If there’s one thing we know to be true about Republicans, it’s that they are never hypocritical on sexual issues. They always live up to their Christian faith and they value their own marriages just as much as they value pressing their views on marriage to the society at large.

Congressman Vance McAllister issued a statement Monday afternoon “asking for forgiveness” after The Ouachita Citizen first reported McAllister was captured in a video recording passionately kissing and embracing a member of his congressional staff.

“There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking for forgiveness,” McAllister said in a statement. “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve. Trust is something I know has to be earned whether your a husband, a father, or a congressman. I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed.”

Throughout last fall’s congressional campaign, McAllister, a Republican from Swartz, touted his Christian faith and in one television commercial, he asked voters to pray for him. At least two other campaign television commercials featured McAllister walking hand in hand with his wife, Kelly, while their five children walked along. One television commercial captured the McAllister family in the kitchen of their home preparing breakfast before attending church.

McAllister and his wife have been married for 16 years.

McAllister told The Ouachita Citizen during last fall’s campaign that he would not shy from stressing his Christian faith. McAllister and his family are members at North Monroe Baptist Church. That faith prepared him for public service, he said during an interview.

McAllister’s campaign benefited from support from the Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty” fame. Phil Robertson publicly supported McAllister while Willie Robertson endorsed McAllister in a YouTube video. Also, Willie Robertson recorded “robo” calls on behalf of McAllister’s campaign.

In January, Willie Robertson attended President Obama’s State of the Union address in Washington as McAllister’s guest.

Of course, like David Vitter, he’ll be forgiven because he’s a white evangelical Republican. If he was a black politician doing the same thing, all we’d hear is slightly veiled snickering about uncontrollable black sexuality, Chicago-style politics, and talk about the immorality of Democrats.

Capital Mobility and the Death of Steady Work

[ 103 ] April 7, 2014 |

Once again, capital mobility is the biggest threat to modern labor.* Companies already outsourced much work from the United States, contributing to the decline of unions, the split between labor and environmentalists, the end of steady work, the corporate domination over American politics, Gilded Age levels of income inequality, and the rapid decline of working-class voices in American debates.

Well, it’s no better for Indian workers since companies will dump those workers to in order to fight ever cheaper labor, making the conditions necessary for a permanent middle class nigh well impossible.

NEW DELHI: Struggling to diversify the delivery footprint to take advantage of low-cost centres, India’s BPO industry is currently losing 70 per cent of all incremental voice and call centre business to competitors like Philippines and countries in Eastern Europe, says a report.

“It is estimated that in the ongoing decade India might lose $ 30 billion in terms of foreign exchange earnings to Philippines, which has become the top destination for Indian investors,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said. Thus there is a need to reduce costs and make operations leaner across the BPO industry,” he added.

BPO companies could reduce the total operating costs by 20-30 per cent by moving to a low-cost city within India, with a cost differential of around 10-15 per cent for non-voice processes and upwards of 20 per cent for voice processes, the report pointed out.

Several Indian firms have set up substantial operations in Philippines which has a large pool of well-educated, English-speaking, talented and employable graduates. Almost 30 per cent graduates in Philippines are employable unlike 10 per cent in India where the training consumes considerable amount of time, according to the report.

David Atkins on the importance of this.

The labor arbitrage game continues worldwide as corporations shift from country to country looking for highly trained workers to sell their labor for next to nothing on the global marketplace. These corporations are like parasites, putting jobs in one country for a decade or two, only to destabilize them and move the jobs elsewhere the moment something cheaper and better trained comes along.

Combined with increased capital mobility, labor arbitrage is giving corporations the upper hand in the battle with governments worldwide. The fate of the world’s economy–and, given the realities of climate change perhaps even the human race itself–will depend largely on whether the governments of the world can cooperate to neutralize the parasitic, plutocratic threat of global corporations.

I agree entirely. Fighting capital mobility needs to be at the very highest level of the progressive agenda. It is not today.

*One can make an argument for automation here as well.

If We Start Enough Wars, Surely One Will Work Out

[ 87 ] April 7, 2014 |

Reihan Salam provides of somewhat less than compelling defense of why he is still a neo-con and why America needs his point of view. He fully admits that Iraq was a total disaster. But it’s justified because maybe, just maybe, involving the United States in regime change in countries where it has no vested interest might have worked some other times:

The neocon impulse proved badly misguided in Iraq, where it contributed to a moral calamity. But there are other cases, in South Asia in 1971 and in Bosnia in the early 1990s, to name two examples among many, where it might very well have prevented one.

Note he can’t name any cases where it actually did prevent one. But maybe these other times would have gone better. So let’s get the gang back together and do this all over again. I’m sure it’ll work great the next time. And if not then, one of the other times.

A Cultural Politics That Might Make Even Republicans Blanch

[ 396 ] April 6, 2014 |

Well, maybe not. But anyway, this is pretty gross:

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday it would prevent schools from offering special lunches to Muslim pupils in the 11 towns it won in local elections, saying such arrangements were contrary to France’s secular values.

France’s republic has a strict secular tradition enforceable by law, but faith-related demands have risen in recent years, especially from the country’s five-million-strong Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.

“We will not accept any religious demands in school menus,” Le Pen told RTL radio. “There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that’s the law.”

The anti-immigrant National Front has consistently bemoaned the rising influence of Islam in French public life.

France has seen periodic controversies over schools that substitute beef or chicken for pork from menus to cater to Muslim children. Some of the FN’s new mayors have complained there are too many halal shops in their towns.

Nothing freaks me out like Muslims eating meat butchered in a fashion that affects me in no demonstrative way. I haven’t been that scared since I noted the lack of bacon at my town’s Jewish deli. What’s the deal with that? My entire identity is no more. I’m now voting for the most racist politicians I can find.

Also, I’m glad the French are so much more culturally and socially advanced than we Americans. I’m sure I won’t mention this the next time someone from France talks to me about how screwed up the U.S. is.

VD is for Everybody

[ 28 ] April 5, 2014 |

In 1969, the Ad Council provided a very important message about venereal disease with a tune as catchy as the clap. Remember friends, VD is for everybody.

It’s Hard Out There for Confederate Apologists

[ 134 ] April 5, 2014 |

Poor Natchez. It turns out that people in 2014 may not be so interested in Confederate nostalgia tourism. It has no idea what to do, like you

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know, talking honestly about slavery.

Smooth Jazz Fridays

[ 42 ] April 4, 2014 |

Because I like soulless music I don’t have to think about, I love smooth jazz. Those relaxing vapid sounds really sum up a Friday night. And nothing screams relaxing

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and smooth like Charles Gayle.

Gilded Age Food Poetry

[ 23 ] April 4, 2014 |

In Gilded Age cities, people were separated from meat production for the first time in American history. Even in early 19th century American cities, meat was produced nearby. Pork could be something of an exception (they didn’t call Cincinnati “Porkopolis” for nothing), but it salted so well that people were comfortable with it. Beef, chicken, lamb, etc.,–these were a lot more sketchy traveling long distances.

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Local butcheries could handle most of this but the explosively growing cities of the Gilded Age made this no longer possible for many. Packaged meats replaced fresh meat for millions. And that quality of that packaged meat, well, allow me to quote the New York Evening Post (although I do not have a date):

Mary had a little lamb
And when she saw it sicken
She shipped it off to Packingtown
And now it’s labeled chicken.

This reference is from Jeffrey Pilcher, Food in World History, p. 59

A Cruel and Unusual Nation

[ 223 ] April 4, 2014 |

The United

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States’ commitment to solitary confinement as a standard operating procedure in our prison system is a horrible, horrible thing. That it remains so common today speaks very poorly for this nation. How this is constitutional under the Eighth Amendment is impossible for me to understand, outside of the bloodthirsty nature of far too many Americans.

Tax ‘Em!

[ 158 ] April 4, 2014 |

Alex Pareene makes a lot of sense on progressives giving up on campaign donations as an issue and instead focuing on a much better idea that will also help solve the campaign issue. Expropriate the wealth of rich people:

If the super-rich had less money, they would have less money to spend on campaigns and lobbying. And unlike speech, the government is very clearly allowed to take away people’s money. It’s in the Constitution and everything. I know it wasn’t that long ago that it also seemed obvious that the government could regulate political spending, but in this case the relevant constitutional authority is pretty clear and there is no room for a so-called originalist to justify a politically conservative reading of the text. Congress can tax income any way it pleases.

There is one glaring problem with my plan, of course, which is that Congress is already captured by wealthy interests, and is not inclined to tax them. But all I’m saying is that would-be campaign finance reformers ought to give up on their lost cause and shift their energies toward confiscation and redistribution.

I don’t think this would totally solve the campaign finance issue unless the tax rates were set very high; after all, Sheldon Adelson is a very rich man. But it would help. Also higher taxation on the rich would do a lot more to solve the much more important social problems in this country.

Should we start at 70% taxation on everything, including capital gains and all investments, for all money over $1 million a year, 90% on everything over $10 million? Seems a good place to start. We can always raise it if we want more of their money. Also, massive punishments for using offshore tax havens. Perhaps property confiscation.

…..It’s also worth reviewing the history of the income tax as a popular economic justice movement.

The Founding Fathers Were Also Very Involved in Slavery

[ 178 ] April 4, 2014 |

It may be that the latest crop of Tea Party challengers to Republican incumbents are even stupider than previous crops:

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin continued to address his presence at a rally for supporters of legalizing cockfighting by saying America’s Founding Fathers were very involved in the cockfighting world too.

“But it’s interesting when you look at cockfighting and dogfighting as well,” Bevin said in an interview on the Terry Meiners Show on Louisville’s WHAS on Thursday. “This isn’t something new, it wasn’t invented in Kentucky for example. I mean the Founding Fathers were all many of them very involved in this and always have been [sic.]“

Evidently, we are recreating Revolutionary society. Perhaps some of these morons can be bled to death by 18th century style doctors. If there’s one thing

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about Tea Partiers, it’s that their humours are majorly out of whack.

(Almost) Dead Horses in American History (X)

[ 66 ] April 3, 2014 |

It’s about time I got back to this and finished it up.

“City Enormities–Every Brute Can Beat His Beast,” New York, 1874

OK, this is not technically yet a dead horse. But it’s probably going to be pretty soon, as this image showing the horrible treatment urban horses received demonstrates. The dead horse problem was huge in American cities. In 1880, New York carted away 15,000 dead horses off the streets, weighing an average of 1300 lbs. This was a huge health and disposal problem in a society woefully

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underprepared for the growth of American cities. As late as 1912, Chicago still had 10,000 dead horses to deal with in a society transitioning to the automobile. This didn’t even begin to get to the problem of horse manure in cities without any mandates to horse owners on the collection of the stuff. Each horse created 15-30 lbs of manure a day. In Milwaukee during these years, that was 133 tons of horse manure every day.

So the horse in the American city was a major problem that would not be solved until the 1910s.

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