Am I worrying about nothing?

Yes, it's all in your imagination. Go to bed   2 votes - 66 %
No, it is worse than I ever imagined   1 vote - 33 %
Silly small-L liberals, seeing a conspiracy in every corner   1 vote - 33 %
I nearly shat myself too when I saw that picture   0 votes - 0 %
Don't worry, everyone in New Hampshire wears a firearm on their leg to protests, and carries signs threatening their president with death   1 vote - 33 %
3 Total Votes
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 03:09:31 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

They exist by marvin (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 09:06:55 PM EST
The questions are, are there more of them than before, are they starting to work in a coordinated fashion, and will a leader arise who can wield them to their own ends?

[ Parent ]
I saw that guy on a French news show this morning by ks1178 (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:16:47 AM EST
The amusing thing to me (as an american) was that right before the cut to the clip of the guy's leg, they made a comment along the lines of, and many of the protesters were carrying guns. Because as we all know, all American's own and carry guns regularly.

Ssshhh! by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:24:48 PM EST
The belief that all Americans are heavily armed is the only thing preventing them from invading us!

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
Do you live near New York state? by marvin (4.00 / 1) #23 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 08:50:31 PM EST
France already has a fifth column north of the border in Quebec. They are waiting, ready to restore the Fleur de Lis all the way  south to the Louisiana territory, renaming restaurant menus from Freedom Fries back to French Fries as they go.

[ Parent ]
Robinson lost me early on and never got me back by lm (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 07:10:38 AM EST
``Jonah Goldberg aside, that's a basic definition most legitimate scholars in the field can agree''

Uhm. No.

I'd concede that most scholars in the field would agree that fascism usually contains those elements. But whether those elements alone are sufficient to consider a movement to be fascist or even if they are necessary to fascism is a matter of no little dispute.

I also have trouble swallowing a few belligerent folks at town meeting and an almost insignificantly sized underground militia movement to be the equivalents of brownshirts and goon squads.

And, seriously, you could probably interpret quite a few of the events that led up to the US War of Independence as a Fascist movement along the lines of what is presented.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
Beer hall putsch by marvin (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 09:36:50 AM EST
Only 600 brownshirts required. Didn't work out, but it could have. Sadly, I lack enough knowledge on the detailed interwar period history to say what role it might have played in the subsequent events.

I'm interested in hearing more of your thoughts on the topic, because (as is the case in many areas), you are far better read in the subject than I am. That aside, if it isn't a textbook definition of fascism, but still has the potential to lead to an outbreak of violence and repressive rule by unpleasant people, at what point should we start to get concerned?

I'm not confident that Paxton is absolutely correct, or that Robinson is interpreting Paxton correctly. It would be comforting to look back in a decade and see that she was incorrect, but the type of belligerence and protest under Obama feels different than it did under Bush.

[ Parent ]
600 you say? by lm (2.50 / 2) #29 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 09:59:59 PM EST
The Tea Baggers can't even get 600 supporters with signs on the white house lawn on tax day.

Where are they going to get 600 hooligans willing to face real violence?

No to mention that security forces around the white house and capitol buildings are a might bit more alert, professional, and well armed than the security forces in interwar Germany.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
For now by marvin (2.00 / 0) #31 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 10:55:09 PM EST
So when the scope of the complete bankruptcy of the US can no longer be hidden from the general public, will the limited resources remaining to the federal government still permit them to maintain that level of expenditure?

The beer hall putsch took place in 1923, after four years of hyperinflation. Are we seeing false hope or true recovery in the US financial markets right now? My money is on the former, because the federal debt and deficit are staggering, but are dwarfed by effects of the stock market bubble bursting. Japan still hasn't gotten over their bubble, ten years on. I don't see any evidence that your government plans to get out of the financial hole they are continuing to dig faster every year, and I haven't heard any real options apart from running the treasury printing presses at double speed.

Desperation due to declining economic conditions is a factor in many revolutions. It wasn't raised in the article, but around here, there are a bunch of 20-30 year olds accustomed to making lots of money during the construction bubble. These guys all have fancy trucks, have no post-secondary education, few marketable skills, and diminishing job prospects. A few years from now, how many of them would be willing to be one of the 600?

The Economist has a bunch of articles that relate to the above: quantitative easing and the French revolution, comparison of US bubble to Japans (2008), more bad news to come from commercial property bubble.

[ Parent ]
complete bankruptcy? hyperinflation? by lm (2.00 / 0) #32 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 11:05:20 PM EST
Sure. If those things come up, the US is fucked and it is fucked regardless of whether or not there is a viable fascist movement.

But, seriously, no one has started talking about the US Treasury running the printing presses at double speed. There is no indication that inflation in the US will even amount to the painful double digits of the Carter era of the US anytime soon, let alone to hyperinflation.

Also, the ratio of national debt to GDP for the US doesn't come anywhere close to suggesting a need for bankruptcy. Granted, it's not as low as I'd like. But its certainly nowhere close to being a catastrophic problem.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
ORLY? by marvin (2.00 / 0) #33 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 11:24:44 PM EST
So the $300 billion planned in March was a figment of my imagination? The US has already committed to running the printing presses for 15% of GDP. It's not going to happen overnight, but when the debt projections out to 2019 show an increase to 100% of GDP, just who on earth do you think is going to lend you money? When that day comes, there's not a lot of other options other than more "quantitative easing". Perhaps even some hyperquantitative easing.

That old maxim about when you're in a hole, stop digging would be applicable. Of course, raising taxes in the US has been political suicide for decades, and in a recession, it could be another form of economic suicide as well.

[ Parent ]
And what is a sustainable debt to GDP ratio? by lm (2.00 / 0) #39 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 06:44:37 PM EST
So let's put this all into perspective
  • if the US does not allow the Bush tax cuts to sunset and
  • if the US continues the present rate of expenditure on two wars and
  • if the US continues the present measures taken to stimulate the economy
  • then, ten years from now the US will be at a debt to GDP ration that, while not desirable, is generally conceded to be sustainable
In the forties, the US debt to gdp peaked at well over 120%. Hyper inflation did not follow. Although inflation did get up into the teens.

And the 300 billion? I find it rather humorous that you think that equivalent to the Weimar Republic printing enough marks to theoretically pay off its reparations. 300 billion is a fraction of the outstanding debt.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Zero by marvin (2.00 / 0) #41 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 10:16:43 PM EST
Your bullet points fail to note that digging out of the hole would require the following:
  • increase in federal taxation
  • reductions in spending
  • even more tax increases and spending cuts to deal with upcoming unfunded liabilities with baby boomer retirements that start happening real soon now
  • reductions to the size of your military
  • successfully getting out of Iraq (unlikely) and Afghanistan (very unlikely) without finding yourselves in another conflict elsewhere
The numbers in the Wikipedia article are from the OMB, updated May 2009 by Obama's administration. According to his (staff) projections, that is where he expects the debt load to go.

And no, your bullets are incorrect. Table S4 of the OMB document makes clear that the Obama budget will see Defense spending go from $612 billion in 2008 to $707 billion in 2010, and reaching a minimum of $629 billion in 2012 before resuming its climb.Social security, medicaid, and medicare more than make up for that. The budget shows the deficit going from $1,800 billion this year, to $1,200 billion in 2010 and still at $779 billion in 2019. The recovery act spending is projected to drop substantially in 2011, trickling down to almost nothing by 2015.

In reviewing the historical tables, one can see that the only way Obama can pull off even the huge deficits he is projecting is by taxing you at unprecedented levels. US personal income taxes will go from a recent low of $778 billion in 2003 to $1,100 billion in 2008, $952 billion in 2009, and ramp up to $1,613 billion by 2014, and $2,147 billion by 2019. Overall government receipts will go from $2,157 billion in 2009 to $4,429 billion by 2019. Net interest on the federal debt alone (not consumer, state, or corporate debt) will go from 1% of GDP today to 3% of GDP in 2019. In 2019, your deficit will still be 3.4% of GDP, even with the doubling of personal tax income and more than doubling of overall government receipts. Table S6 adjusts for expected population increases and inflation, and even then, your personal taxes will still go up by 60% over the next decade.

The Obama budget also assumes rather rosy projections. Compared to the Congressional Budget Office and Blue Chip Consensus (Table S13 of the budget), it is generally higher on GDP growth and employment growth. If the OMB projections are wrong, your situation gets even worse.

In response to your comment on managing that kind of debt load, I don't think 100% debt:GDP is sustainable, particularly when your budgets show that annual deficits will remain in the 3% range. That is hardly a recipe for sustainability.

When you look at how the US managed high debt:GDP ratios in the post WWII era, don't forget that in the 1950's, you had high growth in productivity. That helped you pay down debt while still allowing the standard of living and other spending (such as the Interstate program and space program) to increase. In the 1970's, the US inflated its way out of the debt built up from the Vietnam war and the recession caused by oil price increases (an astute reader might be drawing some parallels to the current situation here). You'll be doing it again, which is why I'll probably pull all of my investments out of US dollars sometime this year.

While the $300 billion of freshly printed fiat money is a fraction of the debt, it is a big enough fraction of your money supply that the announcement led to an immediate drop in the value of your dollar. Until you have a plan to end your deficits and start tackling your debt, you remain at risk of inflation and further economic chaos.

The Weimar Republic didn't start out with hyperinflation of a zillion percent a day, and neither will the US. I know that you are capable of creating a better argument than that final appeal to absurdity that you made.

[ Parent ]
Let's settle this the sensible way by lm (2.00 / 1) #42 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 10:54:18 PM EST
How much are you willing to wager that the US will experience hyper-inflation within 10 years time?

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Pistols, duel at dawn? by marvin (2.00 / 0) #43 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 11:32:06 PM EST
Oh, you want a bet instead? Well, as long as it is in US dollars, then we'll both be able to afford an arbitrary amount, I suppose.

One bazillion dollars.

More seriously, if I lived in the same town, knew you personally, and expected to be able to find you to pay you in cash at the end of the bet, I'd happily put $20 up. That is the same amount that I lost in my most recent bet,  over an election result back in 2007. Alas, I don't live anywhere near DC, I've never met you in person, and who knows if 10 years from now we'll even frequent this site.

[ Parent ]
Also, Warren Buffett kind of agrees with you by lm (2.00 / 0) #53 Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 06:54:06 PM EST
His Op/Ed in the NY Times

I mostly agree with Buffett's weaker version of your argument. It isn't that I don't think the US national debt is likely to be inflationary. I just don't think it's likely to be hyper-inflationary. But even then, Buffett intentionally excludes war time from his analysis and, well, the US is presently at war.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Hm by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #36 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 03:40:27 AM EST
Not meaning to be rude about the Germans, but they do seem to respond positively to powerful central authority in a way that the US most definitely does not. I don't see such a bierhall putsch having a similar impact in the US, even if it actually occurred.

Also, the level of hyperinflation had people paid twice a day and wheelbarrowing money around before it devalued even more. Only Zimbabwe at the moment approaches that.

[ Parent ]
You haven't been paying attention by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #38 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 10:33:48 AM EST
Not on the white house lawn by lm (2.00 / 0) #40 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 06:46:26 PM EST
Nationwide maybe, but that's besides the point. We're talking about the numbers requisite to installing a new head of state. It doesn't matter how many thousands you gather in Cincinnati and Idaho. The white house still houses the commander in chief of the US Armed Forces that number over a million troops.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
I'm glad he mentioned Goldberg by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 11:39:12 AM EST
and someday I'll meet a conservative who read and agreed with "Liberal Fascism", and we can discuss it.

Until then, I'm waiting.

[ Parent ]
I encountered someone on reddit yesterday by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #17 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:27:26 PM EST
who insisted, repeatedly, that all dictators were fascist and that fascism is inherently right-wing. When I pointed out Mao, Pol Pot and so on, he asserted that they were just right-wing fanatics disguised as communists.

Very difficult to have an intelligent political debate with people like that.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
Did you read Liberal Fascism? by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #20 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:40:25 PM EST
Goldberg's logic is terrible.

Nazi's are left wing because they have the word Socialist in their name. Which must mean the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was Republican, right?

Hitler was a vegetarian. Vegetarianism is associated  with left wing sorts. Hitler was a left winger! Just like non-smoking, non-drinking vegetarian Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists are really liberals.

They grew organic veggies at Dachau. Organic foods are associated with left wing sorts. OMFG! Walmart is Fascist!

I've ranted about this before.

[ Parent ]
Nah. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #21 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:44:26 PM EST
I'm not sweating arguments about whether the Nazis were right- or left- wing; I'm just vastly amused at claims that the excesses of the various communist regimes were because they were actually fascist. If that's true, then "fascism" is such a broad term it has no meaning whatsoever.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
Repressive is a better term by marvin (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 08:52:14 PM EST
Fits a wider variety of labels.

[ Parent ]
at this point by garlic (2.00 / 0) #51 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:05:36 PM EST
I'm not sure it does mean anything, any more than socialist really means anything. It's just what one side calls the otherside to rile them up.

[ Parent ]
Fucker by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #34 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 12:15:01 AM EST
Laughed so hard I dropped my phone.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
It would be hilarious by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #37 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 09:33:16 AM EST
if Goldberg and so many other conservatives didn't believe it.

[ Parent ]
The gun pic by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #4 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 07:19:37 AM EST
I think it would be more worrying if he was trying to conceal it.
But then the internet tells me all americans walk around with guns all the time;)

Yes by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 11:29:50 AM EST
I am much more concerned about the guy the secret service found who had a small, concealable handgun he "forgot about".

This guy is a very typical libertarian type and I highly doubt he was an actual threat to anybody other than himself (in only an idiot would bring a loaded gun near the president without expecting negative attention regardless of legalities.)
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
it does sorta seem like a threat. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #52 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:07:42 PM EST
the sign plus the gun. But better for the secret service for someone to announce themselves than for the guys with the sniper rifles.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 08:47:18 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

Your intent? by marvin (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 09:27:04 AM EST
Honestly, I cannot. I have issues with the limited sample size in the journal article, and putting something forwards as a unstoppable societal trend on the basis of two democracies that turned into fascist states is a stretch. You'd never get away with making sweeping conclusions like that in science on the basis of the data available.

However, in science, you do have to use the precautionary principle. Does history show that there was a tipping point, beyond which the fascists gained enough influence to continue their consolidation of power unchecked, and beyond which point, their removal from power becomes unlikely? If so, then assuming that the US is taking steps in the same direction, at what point could it become too late to halt the juggernaut?

I wasn't alive in the 60's, but the general mood of the nation concerns me. When protest becomes the norm, and threats become routine as is the case today, the risk of violence seems more imminent. There's a different type of protester out there.

The anti-war rallies under Bush didn't worry me, as the risk of escalation of those protests into a riot or revolution was low. It is a different type of person who is protesting today - someone who sees violence as a tool, ignorance as a shield, and who may not hesitate to wield either of them.

[ Parent ]
I think yicky has a good point by lm (4.00 / 1) #30 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 10:03:56 PM EST
History is fraught with movements that could be considered proto-fascist by the methodology of that article. The overwhelming majority of them peter out with out ever even making a splash.

So it seems to me that there is a need for those who would assert that fascism is a real threat in the US at this time to suggest under what conditions that a tipping point is necessary, or at least highly likely.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
#7 by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 10:05:25 AM EST
and he orders every UFC match on Pay-per-view.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Nah by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #10 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 11:37:17 AM EST
We're very far from that.  The movement is hugely disjointed and disorganized, and there really is no charismatic leader.  The whole "group" dynamic isn't there.  What you see is a lot of disjoint fringe groups all coming together on one issue because of the attention given the broader protests coming from a minority but mainstream political group.

In other words, the right-wing is mobilizing a lot of "normal" people to fight health care reform, and the wacko libertarians, wacko racists and wacko god-knows-what are tagging along because  of the cameras.  This is very much instigated by people, both in politics and business, that are primarily interested in torpedoing any change to the current system.  As such, this random set of wackos serves them very well.  They aren't particularly interested in putting forth a viewpoint so much as destroying the credibility of change.

Once this ends (probably when "Health care reform" is watered down to nothing) the wackos will go home to wait for the next attention opportunity.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Is Britain on the tipping point of communism? by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 12:39:36 PM EST
Judging by the vitriol about our National Health Service (by no means perfect but does a reasonable job) by various right-wing yanks, you'd think the UK was undegoing the forced collectivisation of the Ukraine in the 1930s.

When you're losing 1/3rd of every dollar by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 2) #13 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:26:41 PM EST

to government inefficiency, losing 49/100ths of every dollar to an even larger, more inept government does not sound like an improvement. Obviously, I picked that up from the Talking Points Manual issued by the Insurance/Republican-Industrial Complex, though, as what sane person would oppose a bill that no one has read one, much less all five, drafts of.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
That's what liberals can't seem to grasp. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 2) #18 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:36:20 PM EST
They think I oppose health care reform because I'm either heartless or stupid. Both ideas are false. I oppose federal health care reform because I know the kind of idiots we get in Congress. The fact that the actual bill on the table is over 1000 pages long when all they had to do was say "We're changing the rules for eligibility to Medicaid. From now on it's going to be a sliding scale where the poor get it for free, and people who earn more will have to pay a bit" just reinforces that point. When the CBO says that this bill won't save money and still won't provide health care for 17 million people, you know it's just Congress doing its usual job of fucking things up.

(BTW - despite claims that there are "many bills on the table" the truth is that only one of those bills was coming out of committee to be voted on before the blue-dogs put a stop to it.)

Rather than letting Congress ruin my life any farther, I'd much rather see individual states adopt public health insurance schemes of various kinds.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
Are you working towards that? T'would be good by marvin (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 08:58:21 PM EST
That sounds more like the Canadian model - the feds set some delivery standards and principles, while the provinces do the delivery and set service levels based on affordability.

Our system still sucks, but it sucks in different ways. Given the choice between government inefficiency and heartless bloodsucking insurance companies that are run by MBAs, is kind of like choosing between a shit sandwich and a vomit soup.

[ Parent ]
Not sure government is inept by marvin (4.00 / 1) #27 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 09:39:15 PM EST
Most of the people I know in the civil service (municipal and provincial governments, mostly in the fields of environment, planning, engineering and infrastructure) are fairly committed, and some of them are exceptional, matching anyone I worked with in the private sector. Most of the managers put in similar hours to the managers at engineering consulting firms that I used to work at. The staff have similar ratios of people who care about their jobs and work diligently, as well as those who are only there for the paycheque, and do as little as possible to get it.

When you look at the wasted costs incurred by a company in areas like advertising and business development, I'm not sure that companies always turn out to be more efficient than the public sector. I'd rather have a public monopoly (my water utility) than a private sector monopoly (the old Ma Bell, or Microsoft).

Your health insurance industry wastes huge amounts of money on administration and review of claims / billing - your overhead costs are far higher in your private / corporate health care system partly because corporate profits can be maximized by spending time finding reasons to deny claims, instead of putting money towards delivering an adequate standard of care, or making it more affordable.

On this site, I find it interesting to read the comments relating to health care delivery from people in different countries. In the past week, I've read about a young couple in Texas who are almost bankrupt due to their health care costs. We have an example of an Englishman who got decent albeit not immediate service, with yesterdays example of a visit to an ambulatory clinic for a nail through the foot. 90 minutes isn't a long time for a non-critical injury. Based on this past week as well as the many complaints I've read in the past about the US and the UK health care systems, I'll take the current socialized ones any day.

YMMV if you're rich (upper quarter or better), as the US system might works better for you.

[ Parent ]
Another thing by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #35 Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 01:29:42 AM EST
You can still pay for private treatment in the UK if you can't face the waiting lists and the hoi-polloi. Or even pay for a nicer room in an NHS hospital.

[ Parent ]
Our health insurance industry is fucked beyond by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #45 Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 02:50:31 PM EST

belief, as our entire health care system is. That it should change goes without question from me; it is the specifics of how it should change that I differ with the bill currently being contemplated. Depending on your perspective (in or out of US media domination), this has become either an abstract discussion of health care, as a whole, or a propaganda war between two sides in which neither side is genuinely addressing the other side's concerns. I'd be pleased to live in a society where our legal representatives read what they vote on, and even better would be an informed populace, who read it as well. Unfortunately, that's not the society we have.

I don't disagree that a number of civil servants are dedicated to doing their job to the best of their abilities, and know plenty of people in positions who do just that. The real problem with government, as with private sector businesses, as well, are the layers of self-interested, ladder-climbing, risk-averse douchenozzles we refer to as "middle management". Given the government provides no clear direction for them to achieve goals, they spend their time building sub-organizations and methodology to prevent anything from getting done, and to preserve their own limited power bases.

In this case, what I don't have faith in, specifically, is the plan presented, and that the people voting on that plan are smart enough to have read and understood that plan. Both sides seem more dedicated to accusing the other side of sock-puppetry, and it's annoying, considering how I pay these motherfuckers' wages.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Hunnerd percent by marvin (2.00 / 0) #50 Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 03:24:39 PM EST
I feel the same dismay in the abilities of many of our elected officials at all levels, as well as the public's lack of attention to the electoral process. I'll be spending tomorrow afternoon schmoozing with a bunch of legislators from the governing provincial party, including several cabinet ministers. A lot of them are nice, down to earth people, but they utterly depend on their staff. One of the MLAs who I expect to see there is a Rhodes scholar, working on his PhD in health care planning, so I look forward to talking with him. I have to be careful about what I say though, as I'm there on behalf of my employer.

While you also have issues with middle management in both government and business, don't forget that there are as many problems in the executive suite as there are lower down the line (Goldman Sachs, I'm looking at you). Politicians have no stranglehold on executive ineptness, and many business leaders don't belong in the corner office on the top floor either (Bernie Madoff, Dennis Kozlowski).

Interesting article on BBC today about health care around the world.

[ Parent ]
Sara Robinson is unqualified in *any* subject. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:31:11 PM EST

"One of the few trained social futurists"? Seriously? So that's what we're calling "unemployable bullshit liberal arts majors" these days? I refuse. I will continue to call them "baristas".

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
How do you get trained to be a social futurist? by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #19 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:37:31 PM EST
I bet it involves smoking a whole lot of weed.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
Years of studying the way things should be by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #22 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 06:33:27 PM EST

and years of avoiding the way they are.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Sounds like your roommates would adore her (nt) by marvin (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 09:41:28 PM EST

[ Parent ]
They've already 'adored' her a couple of times by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #44 Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 02:42:54 PM EST

Though they say the novelty's worn off, she somehow still got invited to Roommate Camping Trip next weekend. In a National Forest. In which I get to carry weapons. Accidents happen.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Whoa there by marvin (2.00 / 0) #46 Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 02:55:53 PM EST
Don't be damaging your deniability. Accidents happen, but you wouldn't want anyone to start guessing that they were anything less than accidental.

[ Parent ]
Sometimes I predict accidents by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #47 Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 02:58:11 PM EST

In order to prevent them. Having suggested something might gives me the self-control to make sure it doesn't.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
s/might /might happen/ by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #48 Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 02:59:00 PM EST

I really should finish the entire coffee before I start posting comments online.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Sunlight girl visits psychics by marvin (2.00 / 0) #49 Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 03:18:15 PM EST
Maybe you could pay her a visit, and give her a demonstration of your abilities in this area?

I'll chip in $5 if that would help you to predict a short future for her, and a case of scotch to deal with that pesky self-control problem.

[ Parent ]
Fascism in America by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 05:18:17 PM EST

The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.

Which large group in the US possesses that quality? Certainly not the Republicans.

The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.

The problem with that point is that while the politics of victimization are well established in the US, there is no single group of victims large enough and the little ones will never unify because they can't  agree on the enemy list - except for the top entry, "rich white men".

Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.

You mean, like a union? Again, the Republicans lack any such unity and claims that Christians are some sort of monolithic bloc can only be made by people who know nothing about actual Christians - most of my congregation, for example, are dyed-in-the-wool lefties, including the preacher who spends his Fridays helping out at Planned Parenthood.

An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.

Again, no such sense exists in the US.

Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.

What, you mean like Obama? I mean, he's the closest thing we've had to a "natural leader" since Reagan and, to a lesser extent, Clinton.

The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Lacking a group identity, this point is as meaningless as all the others.

The crap about Kostnic was incredibly funny. He deliberately trolled the press, hoping to make a splash, and he did. Hell, he wasn't even on the same block as the town hall meeting!

Unfortunately, what he failed to understand was that he gave the press another chance to spin the protesters as hate-filled racists while completely ignoring the fact that the only actual injuries at any of these events have been protesters getting beaten up by health-care supporters.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals