Daily Archives: August 1, 2011

Quote of the Day: “The Democrats Take a Dive”


Matt Taibbi lands a haymaker.

A sample:

So the debt deal has finally been reached. As expected, the agreement arrives in a form that right-thinking people everywhere can feel terrible about with great confidence.

The general consensus is that for the second time in three years, a gang of financial terrorists has successfully extorted the congress and the White House, threatening to blow up the planet if they didn’t get what they wanted.

Back in 2008, the congress and George Bush rewarded Hank Paulson and Wall Street for pulling the Cleavon-Little-“the-next-man-makes-a-move-the-n—er-gets-it” routine by tossing trillions of bailout dollars at the same people who had wrecked the economy.

Now, Barack Obama has surrendered control of the budget to the Tea Party, whose operatives in congress used the same suicide-bomber tactic, threatening a catastrophic default unless the Democrats committed to a regime of steep spending cuts without any tax increases on the wealthy.


The Democrats aren’t failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there’s political hay to be made moving to the right. They’re doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I’ve said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television.

For evidence, all you have to do is look at this latest fiasco.

The Republicans in this debt debate fought like wolves or alley thugs, biting and scratching and using blades and rocks and shards of glass and every weapon they could reach.

The Democrats, despite sitting in the White House, the most awesome repository of political power on the planet, didn’t fight at all. They made a show of a tussle for a good long time — as fixed fights go, you don’t see many that last into the 11th and 12th rounds, like this one did — but at the final hour, they let out a whimper and took a dive.

Nihilists, Cont’d

Frye once observed that “democracy should work as a force for the underprivileged.”

So much for that.

With the “deal” on the U.S. debt ceiling finally laid out, it can now be recognized as a disaster from every angle. It cuts government spending in a depressed economy, which may depress it further. Worse yet, the cuts are borne by those who can least afford it, and, scandalously, there is no provision for tax increases for those who can most afford it. The twisted, know-nothing Tea Party principle of non-creative destruction is now national policy (non-creative in the sense that too-big-to-fail privilege has replaced the sink-or-swim drive of competition). It provides still more proof that the only constituents the Republicans serve are corporations and the richest 1% of the population, whose effective income tax rate is already lower than that of the people who work for them. More than that, as corporate profits soar, job creation is stagnant and can’t even begin to address the millions who lost their jobs thanks to the criminal irresponsibility of Wall Street three years ago. Like a black comedy still in the early stages of laying out the dimensions of its blasted landscape, the Republicans have rebranded the super-rich as “job creators” who should not be expected to face the disincentive of tax increases. Job creators?

Obama might have invoked the 14th Amendment, which does not allow the United States to forfeit on its debts, in order to preempt this calamity. He didn’t. Why he didn’t is for him to explain. That he didn’t may cost him. For the first time he looks defeated and vulnerable as a new election cycle is about to begin in earnest. In any event, not invoking it has set a dangerous precedent that effectively promotes the Republican brand of crazy as the only thing the market will allow.



The first ten minutes: although it helped to define youth culture and shape popular music for a solid twenty years, these opening moments are as primitive as ham radio.

MTV launched on this date in 1981 at 12.01 am. The first video was The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” which, even though it’s not a great song, captured the expectant mood of the early 80s when anything seemed possible in popular music. Well, maybe that’s an overstatement. After the jump is the playlist for the first day, and there’s still a lot of the musky recent past hanging in there, such as the crushingly depressing Rod Stewart of the late 70s — and REO Speedwagon; more REO Speedwagon, in fact, than you’d likely want in an entire lifetime.

However, there’s some good stuff in there that made the whole thing seem very new and very promising: Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, David Bowie, The Specials, Kate Bush, Talking Heads, and, uh . . . okay, just those six (sorry, Pat Benetar fans). Sadly, devastatingly, the first appearance by a Canadian band was April Wine. Bryan Adams hadn’t been invented yet.

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