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Understanding Conservatism

Call it an insurrection if you want, but it's not the GOP who is besieged. It's the entire federal government (and, therefore, the country) that is under assault. The post-war consensus was never agreed to by conservatives. And they're coming to try to uproot eighty years of legislating history. That they won't succeed doesn't mean that we want to witness them try.

BooMan, Booman Tribune

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski


E.J. Dionne says that the Republicans are experiencing an 'insurrection.' At least metaphorically, maybe they are. Most people are understandably viewing this as a kind cyclical right-wing reaction to both a Democratic president (who happens to be black) and a severe economic downturn, but Dionne makes an important additional point.

The agitation among Republicans is not surprising, given the trauma of the final years of George W. Bush's presidency. After heavy losses in 2006 and 2008, it was natural that GOP loyalists would seek a new direction.

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Related:

Primaries Show GOP Extremism, E.J. Dionne, RealClearPolitics
Republicans are in the midst of an insurrection. Democrats are not. This vast gulf between the situations of the two parties -- not some grand revolt against "the establishment" or "incumbents" -- explains the year's primary results, including Tuesday's jarring outcomes in Florida and Alaska.

Deregulation, Market Concentration at the Root of Egg Recall

  • And this is how we get the circumstance that the FDA cannot even recall foods, and has to hope that corporations do it on a voluntary basis.
  • Proper levels of funding for the agency have languished
  • Please ask your senators to make recalling unsafe food mandatory.

David Dayen, FireDogLake

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Jon Cohn explores the egg recall in greater detail, and comes to a similar conclusion as I did: that it just shows a continuation of e.coli conservatism, particularly the fervor for deregulation that goes back 30 years:

This is not a story that begins with the administration of George W. Bush. It begins, instead, with the administration of Ronald Reagan. Convinced that excessive regulation was stifling American innovation and imposing unnecessary costs on the public, Reagan’s team changed the way government makes rules.
Prior to the 1980s, agencies like the FDA had authority to finalize regulations on their own. Reagan changed that, forcing agencies to submit all regulations to the Office of Management and Budget, which cast a more skeptical eye on anything that would require the government or business to spend more money. The regulatory process slowed down and, in many cases, the people in charge of it became more skittish.

There are new egg regulations in place now, implemented this year, but the food safety bill, which would give the FDA authority over recalls, has languished. So has proper levels of funding for the agency.

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Related:

Rotten Eggs, Andre Delattre, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG)
Please ask your senators to make recalling unsafe food mandatory.

Tell the deficit commission: Cut military spending, not Social Security

We need real solutions, not a manufactured crisis
Deficit commission almost done deciding to slash Social Security
Top 5 Social Security Myths

Matt Lockshin, CREDO Action

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

At a time when the country desperately needs more jobs, a powerful commission appointed by President Obama is meeting in secret to make recommendations to lower the federal budget deficit.

And, unfortunately, the commission has been stacked with people who have obsessed for decades over cutting Social Security benefits or transforming it from a broad-based program into a privatized retirement program.

From the public statements of commission members and leaks of the secret meetings, it is clear that the commission is avoiding serious discussion of the real causes of our deficit in order to create a sense of panic around Social Security.

Click here to automatically sign our petition to the members of the deficit commission telling them to make recommendations that significantly lower military spending, allow the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% to expire, and modify health care reform to include a robust public option to lower costs.

Today, we should not be cutting the deficit but instead investing in critical public goods that create jobs. After we strengthen our economy, it is appropriate to focus on lowering the deficit. The Commission would enhance public discourse by focusing on three critical drivers of long term deficits:

  1. Burgeoning military spending — much higher than any other country — and magnified by two wars of choice.
  2. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, and
  3. Rapidly rising health care costs driven by an inefficient private insurance market.

Instead of productively focusing the nation's and Congressional attention on these factors, some in the deficit commission are focused on privatizing Social Security and cutting benefits.

Click here to automatically sign our petition to the members of the deficit commission telling them to make recommendations that significantly lower military spending, allow the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% to expire, and modify health care reform to include a robust public option to lower costs.

Thank you for standing up for Social Security.

Related:

Deficit commission almost done deciding to slash Social Security, Alex Pareene, Salon
The commission's report is not yet finished, but it is a foregone conclusion that what to do about the deficit will probably turn out to be "severely scale back the social safety net."

Top 5 Social Security Myths, Nita Chaudhary, MoveOn.org Political Action
We've put together a list of the top five myths about Social Security, along with the real story.

Cannibalism or Disinfectant? Missing the Plot in Arizona

Are Arizona’s Political Leaders Deliberately Blocking Electronic Voting Machine Transparency?

Denis G. Campbell, UK Progressive

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Marsha Aronson

Sunlight is a great disinfectant, but it’s cloudy and raining over the Arizona election desert. In the few hours since t r u t h o u t ran my articleon transparency and hacking problems with vote scanning machines in Arizona, two events occurred demonstrating a continued preference to attack accusers rather than the problem.

Having watched past Arizona vote machine election official fiascos for three years from abroad, UK Progressive recommends that since the Arizona election system seems to be so badly broken:

1. Federal observers, led by US Attorney General Eric Holder be dispatched to Arizona county tabulation and polling centres from the moment ‘vote by mail’ balloting begins until a final count is determined.
2. Judge Oberbillig order Maricopa County immediately to scrap machine tabulating and order a openly witnessed hand-count of all ballots in the general election for these two behemoth counties (Maricopa and Pima) that account for 75% of all votes cast and
3. Governor Jan Brewer and state Attorney General Terry Goddard should support and order all counties across the state to scrap these electronic systems and get the vote count right, even if the final outcome is not known until the next day or even later.

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Attacking Social Security

  • Social Security’s attackers claim that they’re concerned about the program’s financial future. But their math doesn’t add up, and their hostility isn’t really about dollars and cents. Instead, it’s about ideology and posturing. And underneath it all is ignorance of or indifference to the realities of life for many Americans.
  • Defense spending far outpaces spending on Social Security
  • DC Politicians Beware: If You Mess with Social Security, You're Toast

Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

Social Security turned 75 last week (Aug 8-14). It should have been a joyous occasion, a time to celebrate a program that has brought dignity and decency to the lives of older Americans.

But the program is under attack, with some Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans joining the assault. Rumor has it that President Obama’s deficit commission may call for deep benefit cuts, in particular a sharp rise in the retirement age.

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Related:

DC Politicians Beware: Voters Want the Employment Crisis Fixed -- If You Mess with Social Security or Deficits, You're Toast, Joshua Holland, AlterNet
A new survey finds a huge majority of Americans are in agreement about our biggest problem. Obama and the Dems better listen up.

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