Links, and some warm music for these chilly times

January 19th, 2018 at 3:53 pm

–Ask not for whom the shutdown tolls. It tolls for thee. IE, it does if you’re someone who recognizes the need for functional gov’t. Over at WaPo.

To be clear, this is not a critique of the D senators that are blocking the deal. As a friend puts it, “They are forcing governance in the face of total bad faith and incompetence from the other side, and shouldn’t be shy in saying that.”

Or doing it. Trump and much of the R caucus have put every partisan priority before DACA and CHIP, programs that have bipartisan support (despite McConnell’s nonsense  claim that DACA is preference of the D’s “far-left base.” As the minority, they’re using the tools at their disposal to fight for permanent solutions to problems that both sides claim to want to address.

Still, here’s my bottom line:

But abstracting from this latest episode, the broader dysfunction is strategic. It is not politically neutral. “A pox on both their houses” doesn’t capture its essence. It is driven by too many policymakers who, in so many words, argue that Washington is broken, and they will make sure it stays that way.

While political pundits are actively debating which party will get blamed for the current mess, at the end of the day, the real losers are those of us who firmly believe that a functioning, representative, amply funded public sector is essential to the well-being of the people, especially the majority without the resources to offset market failures with their wealth holdings.

Instead, the majority party under a completely feckless leader is busy transferring the nation’s wealth from the Treasury to the top few percent, adding to the debt while arguing that this higher debt requires cuts in spending on behalf of moderate and low-income households. At the same time, by refusing to compromise with those whose votes they need to keep the government open, they’re turning up the dysfunction dial to further undermine the notion that the government can help meet the challenges we face, those that the private sector will not meet, including rising inequality, climate change, health and retirement insecurity, deteriorating public infrastructure and more.

Again, this hurts all of us who don’t have the wealth to insulate ourselves from the hurt, and when it comes to climate change, even your massive wealth portfolio won’t protect you.

–Vox has a piece challenging any Trumpian credit for the historically low black unemployment rate. Obviously. I made this figure to underscore the point that Trump’s riding a trend he inherited.

Source: BLS, HP Trend

–Finally, I see that where Steve ‘Grizzly’ Nisbett, the drummer of the great reggae band Steel Pulse, who’s music I’ve featured here before. His beautiful spirit, along with his smooth riddim’s–here’s a great example–will be sorely missed.

Speaking of Jah’s soundtrack, I can’t stop listening to the great, young artist Chronixx. Here are a couple of crucial eg’s.

“I’m pleased
To be chillin’ in the West Indies
Jah provides all my wants and needs
I got the sunshine and rivers and trees.”


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