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Matt Stoller
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I agree with +david dayen, this is a huge, under-reported story about the 2012 elections. Dayen does a great job changing that.

And thanks to my old Assemblymember for this:
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said that DHS misrepresented the program to electeds, and that the members of the task force should resign, and call to “end this fatally flawed program today.”

Go read the whole thing.

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Iowa to All Politicians: I Will Rob You of Your Dignity!

(Rick Perry Edition)

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That Weimar Feeling

There is a disturbing subtext, not so much to the S&P downgrade, as to the embrace of the S&P downgrade by our political elites. The London riots aren't the last civil unrest the core is going to witness.

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Obama's Pursuit: Money or Fame

This is from the Audacity of Hope, published in late 2006. It's a discussion of how he was bored as a state legislator, and was trying to figure out what to do with his life as he watched other politicians pass him by.

"And it was this acceptance, I think, that allowed me to come up with the thoroughly cockeyed idea of running for the United States Senate. An up-or-out strategy was how I described it to my wife, one last shot to test out my ideas before I settled into a calmer, more stable, and better-paying existence."

So the choice was politics, or a staid profession of sorts, like corporate law. Now that's dedication to social justice.

Abraham Lincoln Supported an Audit of the then-Federal Reserve

This is from a speech he gave in the IL legislature in 1838:

"I am by no means the special advocate of the Bank. I have long thought that it would be well for it to report its condition to the General Assembly, and that cases might occur, when it might be proper to make an examination of its affairs by a committee. Accordingly, during the last session, while a bill supplemental to the Bank charter was pending before the House, I offered an amendment to the same, in these words: "The said corporation shall, at the next session of the General Assembly, and at each subsequent General Session, during the existence of its charter, report to the same the amount of debts due from said corporation; the amount of debts due to the same; the amount of specie in its vaults, and an account of all lands then owned by the same, and the amount for which such lands have been taken; and moreover, if said corporation shall at any time neglect or refuse to submit its books, papers, and all and everything necessary for a full and fair examination of its affairs, to any person or persons appointed by the General Assembly, for the purpose of making such examination, the said corporation shall forfeit its charter."

He's talking about the Second Bank of the United States, but at the time it was the equivalent of the Federal Reserve.

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Outsourcing Has Created a Serious Risk of Cultural Collapse

When a single factory in England went offline in 2004, America lost half its flu vaccine. Earlier this year, Hollywood scrambed for videotapes. The auto industry hit a massive slowdown because of a loss of certain key microchips.

These kinds of disruptions are becoming more and more common. One of the dark secrets of outsourcing is that we've increasingly made ourselves reliant on incredibly fragile supply chains, often single-sourced. And it's not just luxuries - it's things we need to run our society - food, medicine, electronics.

Supply disruptions of these essential goods are very bad, and increasingly probable. This is my piece on the problem of industrial supply shocks.

Obama's Biggest Fear in Politics, in His Own Words: "Total Complete Humiliation"

This is from Audacity of Hope, talking about his one loss (to Bobby Rush in a primary) in 2000 and how it "still burns".

"Neither ambition nor single-mindedness fully accounts for the behavior of politicians, however. There is a companion emotion, perhaps more pervasive and certainly more destructive, an emotion that, after the giddiness of your official announcement as a candidate, rapidly locks you in its grip and doesn’t release you until after Election Day. That emotion is fear. Not just fear of losing—although that is bad enough—but fear of total, complete humiliation....

...No matter how much you tell yourself differently—no matter how convincingly you attribute the loss to bad timing or bad luck or lack of money—it’s impossible not to feel at some level as if you have been personally repudiated by the entire community, that you don’t quite have what it takes, and that everywhere you go the word “loser” is flashing through people’s minds.*

They’re the sorts of feelings that most people haven’t experienced since high school, when the girl you’d been pining over dismissed you with a joke in front of her friends, or you missed a pair of free throws with the big game on the line—the kinds of feelings that most adults wisely organize their lives to avoid."

In Obama's world, one element of wisdom is organizing your life to avoid embarrassment. A lot of people think that PR is simply a useful political management tool for the administration, but the roots of the aggressive use of PR are actually somewhat personal.

Barack Obama, On the Obligations of Those Who Are Struggling

This is from The Audacity of Hope.

"But that does not mean that those who are struggling—or those of us who claim to speak for those who are struggling—are thereby freed from trying to understand the perspectives of those who are better off. Black leaders need to appreciate the legitimate fears that may cause some whites to resist affirmative action. Union representatives can’t afford not to understand the competitive pressures their employers may be under. I am obligated to try to see the world through George Bush’s eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him. That’s what empathy does—it calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor. We are all shaken out of our complacency. We are all forced beyond our limited vision.

No one is exempt from the call to find common ground."
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