Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Iowa Open Thread: I know you got opinions, predictions

I knew what was going to happen on Monday three days ago. My argumentation was solid and based on data. Even data-based. But now I don’t. At all. Because ‘reasons’.

But I am sure all you do and will fill me in while we wait for actual results about 26 hours from right now. Let the Games Begin! And unlike Hunger Games I am not sure the prediction odds are with anyone. You all can prove me wrong, trump me if you will. Or cruise to victory or whatever horrible pun play you like.

Trump vs Cruz: Transactional Inside-Outsiderism

What fresh hell/word salad is this?!! Bear with me a second and then treat this as a political open thread.

Trump and Cruz are each in their ways walking talking self contradictory oxymorons. Each purports to be the outsider speaking for the common man yet each came straight to the top through insider channels. Trump manages to be a nouveau riche guy born to money, itself a contradiction, who brags how that money allowed him to outright buy politicians in both parties. Cruz is a guy actually born to the working class who managed to punch every ticket through Ivy League to Harvard Law to Supreme Court Clerk to Texas Solicitor General to U.S. Senator by his early 40’s. And married a Wall Street banker to boot.

Yet though both on any conventional metric are consummate insiders by CV they have convincingly sold themselves as outsiders. How? Because each man is fundamentally, deeply, at basis, bedrock (how low can Bruce go?) transactional in ways that cross cut their undoubted establishment ties and path. Cruz by all evidence convinced himself or was convinced by his evangelical father that he was destined to be Leader of the Free World. Except maybe without the “Free” part. As such you can see every single career decision. however seemingly at the heart of the establishmen.t as actually being inside-out. He has punched every inside ticket on his way to being the outside leader, the path being subordinate to the goal.

And of course Trump as a person and a politician cannot be separated from his book The Art of the Deal, for him it is transactional turtles all the way down, except that unlike Cruz’s desire to be King of the World, and a world that has some relation to the one we live in, Trump seems to dream of being the High Trump of Trumpistan, “First, Last and Penultimate of His Name”

Transactional. Taking the Inside path to Outsiderism to the Mountain Top. Same shit different day.

(Some people would apply this same analysis to Hilary. Well the shoe fits too closely for this Yellow Dog Dem’s comfort, but run free my Droogs)

Wolverines/Militia vs the U.S. Army/Federal Marshals

It is still early hours in the confrontation between the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupiers and the ‘jack booted thugs’ but one thing has always been clear. When it comes to a armed confrontation between ‘patriots’ and the forces of government the ‘Patriotic Wolverines’ will lose. Until or unless they subvert the military and the federal police forces over to their side. Which to their ‘credit’ is the premise of the Oathkeepers.

But otherwise this is a dream punctured by Ike in 1957, the year of my birth. The President doesn’t even need to federalize the National Guard. Though Ike did to integrate schools in 1957. The fact is that no amount of appeal to ‘Posse Comitatus’ is going to prevent the President of the U.S from suppressing armed sedition. I don’t care how many rounds you have in your basement gun safe, unless you have the U.S. Army and Marines on your side you are going to get (in a technical term often utilized by professional soldiers) fucked sideways and backwards. This isn’t 1776 and those are not Red Coats trying to reload muskets.

It may be true that The Tree of Liberty Must be Refreshed from Time to Time with the Blood of Patriots and Tyrants. But these days it is the self professed ‘patriots’ who are likely to do the watering. Because you got Play Soldiers and real Soldiers. And it take a LOT to get real Soldiers to go against lawful orders issude by their superiors.

And occupying a bird sanctuary isn’t going to trigger Lexington and Concord against the frigging U.S. Army and Marines. Or for that matter the SWAT teams of the FBI and the U.S. Marshals. Life isn’t a video game. Some folks in Oregon just learned that lesson.

Is the Overton Window Wide Enough for the Insane Clown Posse to Deliver Us Unto Bernie?

And they say only Sarah can toss word salad? Au contraire mes freres! Et Souers! Et comarades!

Six months ago only morons believed the ‘morans’ would put this country in a position where there was even a tiny crack for a ‘democratic socialist’ or even a full out ‘social democrat’ to squeeze through a window of acceptable discourse into the White House. Maybe YOU “Felt the Bern!” but if you had a glimmer of political awareness at all you put that alongside your Dean 2004 “Sleepless Summer Tour” (and I was wearing mine just yesterday) and sighed “Well not this year, unless the Contradictions Heighten Themselves”.

Then this happened. Trump at 41%. Challenged FROM THE RIGHT! With Cruz at 20% or so. You don’t know what to say. It is like Jeremy Corbyn woke up some morning and found that the Conservatives had been taken over by the Official Monster Raving Loony Party being challenged by UKIP

Surely the 1% would not let this happen. Or their paymasters the 0.1%. Even a libtard like me had to put aside the warm glow and mild comfort of the Bernie Bern. Because THAT wasn’t going to happen! You could ask Joke Line or any other Village Idiot Pundit in good standing, the R Establishment would not and could not allow the choice to be between Trump and Cruz. After all memories of the Other Barry in 1964 hadn’t died.

Unless they did. I would still bet big money on Hillary pulling out both the nomination and the election. But it is no longer crazy to think a head on head contest between Trump and Sanders. And what might be the totally unpredictable results of that. All I can say is that if you had a bet on this with British bookie Ladbrokes then God Bless.

And if like most of the world are asking “What the bleedin’ hell was THAT about!?” Treat this as an Open Thread for all things political and not.

Birther Schadenfreude: Backdoor Historical Vindication for Obama

Back in 2008, after he was elected but before he took office, I wrote a piece countering what I thought was the strongest attack on Obama’s Natural Born Citizen status. Even then I dismissed out of hand the ‘Kenyan Birth’ version since it required a rift in space-time plus a magical infusion of gold to enable young Stanley Ann Dunham Obama to travel back and forth to Kenya. But there was a reasonably sound case around the ‘Barry Soetoro’ narrative that only totally failed once you ran it through the screen of this little thing I call “U.S. Statutes”. And so was born a post with a laughingly naive subtitle: Nationality Act of 1940: Nipping wingnut memes in the bud

Well it didn’t nip wingnut memes, which in fact propagated even in the forms that were not passing factual laugh tests. But there actually was a reasonable case that Obama, even if you granted the fact that he was born in Hawaii to an American citizen had in fact had that citizenship abrogated by subsequent actions by his mother and step-father. And there is indirect evidence to this in that there is an honest-to-God authenticated school document that identifies a certain Barack Soetoro as being “Indonesian” in nationality and “Muslim” by religion. That is unlike the fever swamp/opium fueled dreams that actually had him born in Kenya (a physical and fiscal impossibility) there was a real document placing a six year old Obama in a place and status that made Birthers howl with triumph. But as it turns out none of that mattered, just as none of it probably matters for Ted Cruz. If you are born a naturalized American citizen exactly nothing your parents or even you can do will permanently void your citizenship. As long as you are back on American soil by the age of 23. Which both Obama and Cruz were. Period. End of Story. Just like I put ‘Paid’ to this back in 2008. Well if everyone had read Angry Bear like they are supposed to and paid attention to an unemployed blogger in Everett Washington. And why wouldn’t they? (Sigh)
Nationality Act of 1940

Sec 401: A person who is a national of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by: (a) Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state, either upon his own application or through the naturalization of a parent having legal custody of such person: Provided, however, That nationality not be lost as the result of the naturalization of a parent unless and until the child shall have attained the age of twenty-three years without acquiring permanent residence in the United States:

This language was made even MORE liberal by the Nationality Act of 1952

From and after the effective date of this Act a person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by — (1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application, upon an application filed in his behalf by a parent, or duly authorized agent, or through the naturalization of a parent having legal custody of such person: Provided, That nationality shall not be lost by any person under this section as the result of the naturalization of a parent or parents while such person is under the age of twenty-one years, or as the result of naturalization obtained on behalf of a person under twenty-one years of age by a parent, guardian, or duly authorized agent, unless such person shall fail to enter the United States to establish a permanent residence prior to his twenty-fifth birthday:

Cruz’s mother could have voted in every Canadian election for the last 40 years and Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro could have sworn allegience to Indonesia on behalf of herself and her first grade son. AND IT WOULDN’T MATTER.

Was despicable slimeball Ted Cruz a U.S. citizen at birth? If his mother was he was. Was he back on U.S. soil as a permanent resident by the age of 25? Then he regained or better retained his citizenship. Because you don’t lose that by some action by your parents or yourself as a minor. And the beauty of this for me is that every defense of Cruz is a backdoor vindication for Obama. Because every one of those defenses works double for him. And Birthers can suck on that.

Dead Men Walking: a Handy Post Republican Debate Metric

I didn’t watch the debate but still managed to develop a resulting measure to divide the live and the dead. Take if for what it is worth or treat this as an Open Thread on all things Political.

If after last night you are still polling behind Hibernating Ben Carson you are more the Limping Dead than Walking Dead. Meaning Kasich, Bush and maybe Christie need to get out of this before their decaying flesh starts stinking out the joint.

As to the JV Table. Huckabee and Santorum need at least a third place in Iowa to avoid being laughed out of anything but a future Fox Gig. Fiorina needs at least a fourth place somewhere to avoid immediate relegation to the Veepstakes. I don’t see any of that happening. There are maybe four tickets out of New Hampshire with the fourth one being for a seat in the Second Class coach. And Bush, Kasich and Christie will be scrapping for that one.

What does all this mean for Dozing Dr. Carson? Who knows? Don’t wake him up and spoil the dream.

Did I say Open Thread? Meant to.

Republican Policy Response to Increasing Income Inequality

“Labor Share is decreasing so lets cut tax on capital to zero”.

That is it. Literally. When you parse out Paul Ryan’s ‘Path to Prosperity’ or the net effects of Rubio’s tax plan that is what Republicans are pushing as the solution to everything. And pretty much always has been since “Rising Tide”.

Forget the rhetoric and labels about “Flat Tax” and “Fair Tax” and focus on the mechanism and it ALWAYS reduces to “Cut tax on capital”.

Period. End of story. (Unless of course someone wants to treat this as an Open Thread. Because Comments are Open.)

The Anglo-Saxon Hide, Adam Smith, Karl Marx and the 35 Hour Work Week

Too wide a scope for a blog post? You betcha. But this was going to be the core of my PhD Dissertation back when I was in such a program and had delusions of adequacy. So those who wonder “WTF does any of this have to do with labor hours?” Well bear with me. Or scroll away. Because much tedium and obscurity is found under the fold. A pure dose of ‘tl/dr’ which doesn’t even get to either Smith or Marx. Yet.

Dean Baker: “An Aging Society Is No Problem When Wages Rise”

The argument behind MJ.ABW in relation to Social Security (More Jobs. At Better Wages) by real economist and mentor Dean Baker of CEPR. Also an implicit underpinning of the Northwest Plan for a Real Social Security Fix. The whole thing is short if you want to read through: An Aging Society Is No Problem When Wages Rise

The past increases in the Social Security tax have generally not imposed a large burden on workers because real wages rose. The Social Security trustees project average wages to rise by more than 50 percent over the next three decades. If most workers share in this wage growth, then the two or three percentage point tax increase that might be needed to keep the program fully funded would be a small fraction of the wage growth workers see over this period. Of course, if income gains continue to be redistributed upward, then any increase in the Social Security tax will be a large burden.

CBO’s 2015 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information

CBO’s 2015 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information

The Social Security Policy Options, 2015 was not the only report released by CBO yesterday. You have this one filling out the details in the Long-Term Budget Outlook

Haven’t read this one either. So you all get first shot at framing the debate! Go get ’em Tigers!