Authoritarian Republicans and libertarian Republicans fight it out (The Neocon Battle of the Bulge)

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There is a civil war in the GOP. This is not news. But it has again flared up in light of the recent budget deal, other domestic developments, and the new neocon Battle of the Bulge, the counter offensive by the big government wing of the GOP to reassert its authority and to secure an establishment candidate for president.

The neocons know that they are on the edge being relegated perhaps permanently to the political margins, and like the Germans in the frozen Belgian forests the neocons are going to go down fighting.

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Utah comes after insurance startup

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Pretty blatant stuff. As a former insurance underwriter (and sometimes agent) I can tell you first hand that brokers and agents loathe competition. Which is understandable. Competition means having to lower prices on a highly commoditized product. That’s not good for commissions.

This is one of the reasons why insurance is such a “highly regulated industry.”  It’s not just about looking out for the consumer that’s for sure.

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More Crony Media: Democratic Party Launches ‘Colbert Week’ To Thank Stephen Colbert

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I think Stephen Colbert is very funny. I’ve watched him for over a decade. But he is a partisan and a statist. Though his critique is often dead on when it comes to conservatives, he willfully turns a blind eye toward the the failure of government and to the general failure of the current president. He buys into the old way of looking at American politics, and has furthered an outdated narrative.

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The war on drugs began 100 years ago today: Let’s hope it doesn’t last another century

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Woodrow Wilson was a flat out terrible president. Maybe the worst we ever had. The Federal Reserve Act. The Income Tax. World War 1. The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. All were on his watch and all were radical reworks of American life. All were “progressive” dreams. (So was alcohol prohibition which would come 5 years later.)

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President Obama Rewards former head of propaganda mill with a political nomination

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Let’s be totally clear. Media Matters is a propaganda outfit. That’s all that it is. Create a narrative. Disseminate to MSNBC and fellow travelers. Attack the the attackers of said propaganda. Repeat. This is the Media Matters MO.

David Brock, the founder of Media Matters had (has?) de facto cabinet level access in the Obama White House. He was (is?) essentially the “Minster of Information.”

And now the president has nominated Matthew Butler, former CEO of Media Matters to a position at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which is charged with helping facilitate elections? An agency which is supposed to be basically devoid of partisanship?

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The Cuba Deal: Coexisting And Profiting With Tyrants

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I am very much for free trade and the exchange of goods and services between states. It helps to ensure peace between peoples and often brings higher quality and lower cost products to market, thereby raising the quality of life for the average person. But it’s hard to see what advantage opening things up with Cuba gives us right now. We certainly shouldn’t be legitimizing the regime. At the very least we should have waited until Castro died.

Also why are we saving Cuba’s lunch? Venezuela is dying thanks to the bottom falling out of oil prices. Venezuela finances much of the Cuban economy. Now would be a time where we should be dictating very strident terms to the island nation. Cuba is running out of money. And we are about to give these guys, and they are communists, a new infusion? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong, though I am for free trade I am not for intervening in the affairs of other nations, which we did quite a lot in Cuba. But this regime should be hung out to dry, not rewarded.

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Afghanistan has cost taxpayers $1 trillion, 80% spent under Peace Prize winning president

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I care about the 1 trillion dollars but I care about the human cost much more. What are we still doing in the West Virginia of Asia? (No offense to wild and wonderful West Virginia.) How many men and women are dead who didn’t need to die? How many children? Why is the opium/heroin crop bigger this year than ever before? Why are palaces being erected throughout Kabul with US taxpayer dollars? Why are bases being built by contractors only to be abandoned months later?  Why did the US military allow Al-Qaeda linked groups to bid for, and get contracts?

Lots of “whys.”

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Progressives, supporters of American corporatism?

Art by Nyte Walka.

Art by Nyte Walka.

Veroniqe de Rugy in the attached article observes that progressives, for the most part are not enemies of corporatism. In fact to a large degree they are enablers of corporatism. With the expansion of the state comes the expansion of corporate power. And “progressives” it seems are always for expanding the state. As noted in a recent post it is terribly frustrating that progressives don’t see what they are doing. If they do they have no business saying they stand for anything like “progress.”

With each new government endeavor, with each new effort at social engineering, there is a new source of revenue for somebody. Sometimes it’s the corporations. Sometimes it’s the unions, Sometimes it’s players within the government itself. Sometimes it’s interest groups of other sorts. The aggregation of taxpayer dollars is like carrion on the plain, the jackals will always come.

In many respects I consider modern American “progressives” to be similar to progressives of another place and era, think Italy pre-World War 2. I dare say that many of the scarf and tattoo sleeve set would have happily fallen in line behind that pioneer of crony capitalism, Mussolini.

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