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Archive for the ‘Your Government’ Category

From noon to dusk on November 22, 1963, history went dark, locked inside the closed and crowded cabin of Air Force One. Fifty years later, what happened after JFK died has fully come to light.

President John F. Kennedy

Esquire‘s Chris Jones tells the story of President Kennedy’s last flight from Dallas to Washington, DC.

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Make a contribution to National Association of Free Clinics today.

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Hypnotist directing a group of people to do unusual things: men pretending to race while seated on man suspended between two chairs and audience volunteering for military duty with brooms as rifles.  Cincinnati ; New York : U.S. Printing Co., c1900

Hypnotist directing a group of people to do unusual things: men pretending to race while seated on man suspended between two chairs and audience "volunteering" for military duty with brooms as rifles. Cincinnati ; New York : U.S. Printing Co., c1900

Every night I go to bed thinking, “No, tomorrow can’t be worse than today,” knowing that it will be but hoping that I’m wrong.

Today I didn’t really get out of bed, I postponed today’s bad news and got back in bed with my coffee. I spent the day reading Starlight 1, an anthology of short stories edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden and published in 1996.

The collection is labeled “science fiction” but few involve anything remotely tied to outer space.

One story reminded me why I declined to get out of bed today. “Erase/Record/Play: A Drama For Print,” by John M. Ford.

I didn’t understand a lot of Ford’s story, but one paragraph in particular shook me, like a solid punch to the gut. It describes our current political shenanigans with nauseating accuracy:

Suppose you were creating a false diary. A blanket claim of innocence will never stand, and might hang you even higher. You must create what a court would call “reasonable doubt.” You name persons, and say they are guilty of crimes. And indeed, most of them are. But here and there, perhaps whenever lucky seven hits (he pretends to roll dice), you name an innocent: A victim in a marked grave, someone who had nothing to o with the camps at all. So when your lies are found out, they will discredit your truth by association. Isn’t that a lovely paradox?

When I finally got out of bed and read today’s posts by Hilzoy and Steve Benen, their words and Ford’s mixed like a vomitous concoction.

I haven’t yet read Robert Draper’s article — I’m not sure i have the stomach to read more than snippets posted here and elsewhere. I hope that it will be only one of many smoke-clearing fans. The air it blows has a putrid stench that makes me flinch, but it’s important to have these fans to sweep away the smoke and mirrors of the Bush criminals, or at least render them less effective.

Publicly documenting what was done by individuals who made up the criminal enterprise known as the Bush administration are absolutely essential to not only bringing those individuals to justice but stopping the next group before they do this kind of harm to the United States again.

The tragedy didn’t come suddenly on September 11, 2001. It was born in 1974 and came to ripening in November 1999. Eleven months later we had the first taste of the poisonous fruit. Despite the foul stench in 2003, 2004, 2005, we continued to delude ourselves that it was coming from outside, caused by someone else, we just needed to close the window.

Those who have served up this foul cuisine came out of the criminal Nixon administration, the Ford cover-up administration and the criminal Bush I and Reagan administrations. George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, “Dick” Cheney and the rest of the criminal enterprise (I’m including you, MSM) cannot be allowed to get away with their crimes against this country and humanity. Next time will be worse if they do.

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Detroit, Michigan. Chrysler girls shopping for pocketbooks following a style show presented by the Chrysler Girls Club of the Chrysler Corporation at Saks Fifth Avenue store.  Fall 1942

Detroit, Michigan. Chrysler girls shopping for pocketbooks following a style show presented by the Chrysler Girls' Club of the Chrysler Corporation at Saks Fifth Avenue store. Fall 1942

(TPMCafe) The media coverage of the auto bailouts has focused on the need for union autoworkers to take big pay cuts, causing them to once again miss the real story. The Fiat-Chrysler deal shows that the pay problem is at the top, not the bottom. At the end of the day, the new Chrysler is still likely to be producing most of its cars in the United States. What the new company will be getting from abroad is technology and top management.

This big story was so easily missed because it runs against one of the main myths that our elites have cultivated about the US economy: that the country has a “comparative advantage” in highly skilled labor. In this story, the United States will continue to lose manufacturing and other “less-skilled” jobs as its economy becomes more concentrated in highly skilled sectors. This story was convenient for our elites because it meant that the decline of manufacturing was a necessary, if sometimes painful, part of a natural economic progression.

It also justified the growing inequality in US society that benefited not just Wall Street bankers and CEOs, but also millions of doctors, lawyers, economists, and other highly educated workers. These people took their six-figure salaries as a birthright, even as the pay of less educated workers stagnated or declined.

Not only is the current way of operating unfair but, lest we forget, “workers” are “consumers” and “consumers drive the economy.”

Go read the whole thing here. It’s not long.

And while you are at it, take a look at this brief paper by David E. Bloom and David Canning of the Harvard School of Public Health:

Group of federal employees waiting for treatment at the Public Health Service Dispensary #32, which has recently been opened for the exclusive benefit of government workers (between 1909 and 1932)

Group of federal employees waiting for treatment at the Public Health Service Dispensary #32, which has recently been opened for the exclusive benefit of government workers (between 1909 and 1932)

A great deal of the literature on economic growth has been devoted to studying the impact of education on aggregate economic performance and comparing the results with the rate
of return to education identified by the Mincer (1974) log wage equation. We believe that ours is the first study to compare the estimates of the macroeconomic effect of health on output with the
microeconomic estimates of the effect of health on wages now available.

We estimate that a one percentage point increase in adult survival rates increases labor productivity by about 2.8 percent, with a 95 percent confidence interval of 1.2 to 4.3 percent.

All emphasis mine.

(Cross-posted at Know Your Government)

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Pirate (Theodor Horydczak, photographer)

"Pirate" (Theodor Horydczak, photographer)

The brilliant thinkers morans over at The Corner have put on their thinking caps and come up with a brilliant moranic solution to the problem of piracy on the high seas:

Establishing private property rights where they don’t currently exist is the solution to about 90 percent of world’s economic problems. Piracy is no exception.

The “thinking” is that “if these waters were privately owned, the owner would have a strong incentive to maximize the waters’ value since he would profit by doing so. That would mean suppressing and preventing pirates.”

N.Y. : H.C. Miner Litho. Co., c1897.

N.Y. : H.C. Miner Litho. Co., c1897.

Corporate owned and operated warships?

It strikes me that they have not thought this proposal through very carefully.

But when you are desperate to appear as though you have any ideas, their quality is not an important consideration.

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Mark Twain and Dorothy Quick c. 1907

Mark Twain and Dorothy Quick c. 1907

And the fact that he lives in a house once owned by Mark Twain … well, it makes me want to shove a spoon handle up my nose.

UPDATE (4/14/09): Poor Jason Desantis has changed his mind and will continue working at AIG after all. It can’t be cheap to support importunate friends maintain that lifestyle. I guess his principles will just have to wait for a more convenient time.

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