Subscribe via RSS Feed

Author Page for Erik Loomis

rss feed

Visit Erik Loomis's Website

Psychiatry in Russia

[ 3 ] March 11, 2014 |

I am no expert on psychiatry. I do however have a great interest in American visions of the Soviet Union. Albert Maysles’ 1955 film “Psychiatry in Russia” is a pretty interesting entry in that category.

)

A Message to Rahm

[ 33 ] March 11, 2014 |

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan of spoken word performance art. I am however a fan of grassroots protests against Rahm Emanuel and his policies of making the poor poorer and the rich richer.

All-Nighter

[ 23 ] March 10, 2014 |

I suppose tonight’s all-nighter pulled by Senate Democrats on climate change is a good thing but it also shows the limits of political theater because really, who cares. Which is a good argument as well against spoken filibusters. Everyone just waits for them to be done, forgets about it, and moves on.

New American Manufacturing and the Crushing of the American Working Class

[ 106 ] March 10, 2014 |

Lydia DePillis has a typically great story on conditions within the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Nissan now subcontracts a majority of its employees. Those employees make half as much money as Nissan employees doing the same work and do not qualify for benefits. Workers are forced to toil seven days a week during periods of peak production and are so tired they crash their cars on the way home.

What’s really happened here is that decades of capital mobility has undermined American unions to the point of inability to resist these problems. The methods companies use in their factories in the world’s poor nations to maximize profit and minimize liability are imported back to the United States, bringing working conditions in the United States down towards those of Mexico, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. Even the talk of unionism brings out the specter of capital mobility as a threat. Says Mike Sparks, who represents Smyrna in the Tennessee legislature, “If UAW gets a foothold, they’ll go to Alabama, they’ll go to Georgia, they’ll go to Mississippi.”

Once again, capital mobility is the single biggest factor in the undermining of the American working class because not only does it lead to jobs disappearing, but what jobs are left (or return) are worse because capital mobility also sabotages the institutions American workers created to fight for equity and a fair slice of the capitalist pie. Without some restriction on capital mobility, becomes nearly impossible for industrial workers to unionize and without those unions, it becomes nearly impossible to enact legislation that would improve the lives of the American working class. It’s a terrible situation and it isn’t getting better.

More Primaries

[ 45 ] March 10, 2014 |

Allow me to recommend this excellent new site on which Democrats in Congress should be challenged in a primary for performing below what we should expect of someone from that district. You can search by district. Color codes should be more stark, but that’s a minor complaint.

National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

[ 14 ] March 10, 2014 |

Today, the 21st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. David Gunn by anti-choice terrorists, is National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. Remember these heroes for women’s rights on this day.

Primaries

[ 179 ] March 9, 2014 |

Jon Geeting speaks smartly about the pointlessness of registering as an independent:

You don’t have to be thrilled about it, but this is the only way your vote counts in these places because the real election is the primary. Unless your state has open primaries where registered independents can vote, you don’t get to vote in the only election that counts. Treat yourself to all the democracy. Pick the party that’s closest to your views and vote in every primary for the least bad person.

Indeed. Registering as an independent is another sign of how we have turned politics into a consumer choice that reflects upon you. By doing so, you might be asserting your very real position that neither party satisfies you, but you are also reducing your own political power for no good reason. In states with open primaries this might not apply, but generally, it makes no sense.

Darrell Issa and the Gag Rule

[ 75 ] March 9, 2014 |

As many of you no doubt are aware, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair and general idiot Darrell Issa shut of Elijah Cummings’ microphone last week during a session about the idiotic IRS “scandal” of supposedly investigating right-wing money groups. Jarret Ruminski compares Issa’s actions to the antebellum Gag Rule to shut off discussions of slavery in Congress:

Among the most vociferous opponents of the Gag Rule was former president John Quincy Adams, who undermined the rule at every turn by defending abolitionists’ constitutional rights to petition Congress. Adams – who also coined the term “Gag” in reference to the banning of anti-slavery discussion – read petitions at the beginning of congressional sessions before the rules could be adopted, then forced a vote on the right to implement the Gag. Adams also made congressional committees do their jobs and thoroughly examine anti-slavery petitions in order to determine if the language therein qualified as Gag-worthy, thereby forcing discussion on a topic the Gag was supposed to silence entirely.

The efforts of Adams – and thousands of anti-slavery petitioners – brought plenty of heat down on the congressional Slave Power, drawing boatloads of attention to the abolitionist cause. Much to southern Democrats’ dismay, the controversy over the Gag Rule brought extra attention to an issue that was supposed to be gagged, as more anti-slavery petitions bearing tens-of-thousands of signatures poured into Congress.* Indeed, the entire Gag Rule brouhaha reinforced a by-now old rule in American politics: when you try to suppress legitimate grievances in the name of political gain, you run the risk of empowering the very people you want to marginalize.

And thus we come back full-circle to Darrell Issa. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman not only tried to gag Elijah Cummings from speaking, he’s also tried to gag any and all information that might undermine his quest to tar the Obama Administration with scandal after scandal. Through his bone-headed actions, Issa is invoking an ugly authoritarian aspect of the Congressional past. By silencing Cummings, who is, of course, African-American, Issa provided the uncomfortable image of a white speaker silencing a black colleague in a manner that evoked a rule once used by white supremacists to silence discussion about ending black slavery in America. Having endured far-worse attempts to block black political participation, Cummings called out Issa’s shenanigans until the Republican chairman finally apologized.

Truck Production Returning to Ohio

[ 17 ] March 9, 2014 |

While I’m pretty skeptical of UAW president Bob King’s love affair with employee-management cooperation as the keystone of his union’s approach, at least one point in his favor is Ford moving the production of two truck lines from Mexico back to Ohio, supposedly because of the good relationship the company has with the union. Of course, I assume that this good relationship means terrible two-tiered contracts. But still, American manufacturing jobs are all too rare these days, so this is good news for the UAW. It’s also a slap in the face to Bob Corker and Tennessee Republicans, or it would be if they weren’t all about ideology and actually cared about jobs.

Might as well also note the death of William Clay Ford, Henry Ford’s last living grandson and the owner of the Detroit Lions, a man who brought the same quality leadership and innovation to running a professional football team as he and his family did to producing fine automobiles in the 1970s and 1980s.

Drill Baby Drill

[ 53 ] March 9, 2014 |

Decimating the American environment in order to challenge Putin by drilling for fossil fuels is now a Republican thing. Lover of freedom and the only progressive candidate in 2016, Rand Paul:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the situation in Ukraine should be an impetus to ramp up oil and gas drilling in the United States and clear the path for exports.

“I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas,” said Paul in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I would begin drilling in every possible, conceivable place within our territories in order to have production that we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.”

Smog Drones

[ 63 ] March 8, 2014 |

I’m sure that dumping more chemicals in the air is the answer to the problem of Chinese smog:

Government agencies are to test a new design of aerial drone to see whether it might help tackle the air pollution that often blankets much of the mainland, state media reported.

The vehicle will spray chemicals that freeze pollutants, allowing them to fall to the ground.

The tests would be led by the China Meteorological Administration and carried out later this month at airports and ports, Xinhua said.

The drone has been developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China and has a paragliding wing, which allows it to carry three times more weight than the fixed-wing version, making it more efficient and cost-effective.

Premier Li Keqiang said in his speech at the National People’s Congress in Beijing yesterday the government would “declare war” on pollution. It would focus, in part, on reducing PM2.5, the fine particles of pollutants thought to be most harmful to people’s health.

I’m sure that the impact of these chemicals on health have been very carefully tested and that this project will 1) show that technology can solve all our problems, 2) have no unintended consequences because technological interventions in the environment never have unintended consequences and human control of nature has no problems, 3) work.

Willpower

[ 88 ] March 8, 2014 |

If Obama had any willpower and was a real leader, he’d use some of these cat rockets against Moscow. That would totally cower Putin and peace would come to Crimea. John McCain would use cat rockets. That’s why he should be president.

Page 110 of 314« First...102030...108109110111112...120130140...Last »