Posts tagged ‘Republican National Committee’

Republicans rake leader for stalling on US storm aid

Republicans rake leader for stalling on US storm aid (via AFP)

US President Barack Obama urged Congress Wednesday to approve emergency relief for victims of superstorm Sandy, as Republicans savaged their House leader for playing politics with disaster aid. The Senate has already passed a $60.4 billion aid package put forward by the White House to help northeast…

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Maher says Republicans have same problem as the Beach Boys: ‘Their fans are dying’

Maher says Republicans have same problem as the Beach Boys: ‘Their fans are dying’ (via Raw Story )

Friday night on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher addressed the Republican Party’s staggering electoral losses in this week’s elections and mused that the party may be facing virtual extinction. Maher began the segment talking about Fox News’s alert early on election day that a…

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More on the spurious victory claims of MMT



Led by Randy Wray (see this and this), supporters of so-called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) are declaring that they were the first to identify the problems of the euro and that MMT has now proved itself to be the correct approach to monetary theory.

As regards these two claims, permit me to quote the following:

“5.3 Will capital still be able to veto policy?
…First, financial capital may still be able to discipline governments through the bond market. Thus, if financial capital dislikes the stance of national fiscal policy, there could be a sell-off of government bonds and a shift into bonds of other countries. This would drive up the cost of government borrowing, thereby putting a break on fiscal policy (Palley, 1997, p.155-156).” Read the rest of this entry »

From Financial Crisis to Stagnation: The Destruction of Shared Prosperity and the Role of Economics

May 9th, 2012

Many countries are now debating the causes of the global economic crisis and what should be done. That debate is critical for how we explain the crisis will influence what we do.

Broadly speaking, there exist three different perspectives. Perspective # 1 is the hardcore neoliberal position, which can be labeled the “government failure hypothesis”. In the U.S. it is identified with the Republican Party and the Chicago school of economics. Perspective # 2 is the softcore neoliberal position, which can be labeled the “market failure hypothesis”. It is identified with the Obama administration, half of the Democratic Party, and the MIT economics departments. In Europe it is identified with Third Way politics. Perspective # 3 is the progressive position which can be labeled the “destruction of shared prosperity hypothesis”. It is identified with the other half of the Democratic Party and the labor movement, but it has no standing within major economics departments owing to their suppression of alternatives to orthodox theory. Read the rest of this entry »

From Financial Crisis to Stagnation: An Interview with Thomas Palley

April 18th, 2012

Conducted by Philip Pilkington and posted on Naked Capitalism on April 18, 2012.

His latest book, From Financial Crisis to Stagnation, was recently published by Cambridge University Press, 2012.

A 20% discount is available when you purchase using this discount code.

[Select country location & enter code “palley2012” at checkout to get the discount]

Philip Pilkington: At the beginning of your book From Financial Crisis to Stagnation you refer to the 2008 crisis as a ‘crisis of bad ideas’. Could you please briefly explain why you refer to the crisis in this way?

Thomas Palley: A central and critical element of my book is its emphasis on the role of economic ideas in generating the crisis. This feature fundamentally distinguishes it from mainstream explanations that tend to represent the crisis in terms of surprise events and economic shocks (e.g. black swans).

My book starts with the fundamental idea that economies are made, not found. The way economies are organized and function is significantly the product of social choices, not the product of nature. Over the past thirty years we (society) have embraced a set of economic ideas that shaped economic arrangements – including the pattern of income distribution, the power of corporations and finance relative to labor, and the way in which the economy generates demand.
Read the rest of this entry »

The euro lacks a government banker, not a lender of last resort

December 19th, 2011

In his novel, The Jungle, the American muckraking author Upton Sinclair wrote about the horrendous work and sanitary conditions in the Chicago meat packing industry of the early 20th century. It is sometimes said Sinclair aimed for the heart but hit the stomach. That is because he aimed for progressive social and economic change but instead prompted the founding of the Food and Drug Administration. Read the rest of this entry »

Euro Bonds Are Not Enough: Eurozone Countries Need a Government Banker

September 6th, 2011

The eurozone’s public finance crisis continues to fester, reflecting both political and intellectual failure. The intellectual failure is the crisis has been interpreted exclusively as a debt crisis when it is also a central bank design crisis resulting from the euro’s flawed architecture. The flaw is the inability of eurozone governments to harness the central bank’s power to assist government finances. This systemic weakness explains why U.S. and U.K. government bonds are weathering the storm, whereas Spain confronts default rumors despite having roughly similar debt and deficit profiles. Read the rest of this entry »

A Global Minimum Wage System [1]

July 18th, 2011

Published in the FT Economists’ Forum, July 18, 2011

The global economy is suffering from severe shortage of demand. In developed economies that shortfall is explicit in high unemployment rates and large output gaps. In emerging market economies it is implicit in their reliance on export-led growth. In part this shortfall reflects the lingering disruptive effects of the financial crisis and Great Recession, but it also reflects globalization’s undermining of the income generation process. One mechanism that can help rebuild this process is a global minimum wage system. That does not mean imposing U.S. or European minimum wages in developing countries. It does mean establishing a global set of rules for setting country minimum wages. Read the rest of this entry »

Deaf to History’s Rhyme: Why President Obama is Failing

December 2nd, 2010

The great American novelist Mark Twain observed “history does not repeat itself but it rhymes.” Today the rhyme is with the 1930s, and if you don’t hear it read FDR’s great Madison Square Garden speech of October 1936:

“For twelve years this nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing government. The nation looked to government but the government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years with the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that government is best which is most indifferent.”

Despite this clarity, the Obama administration insists on hearing a rhyme with the 1990s. That tone deafness has its roots in political choices made at the administration’s outset and explains why the administration has stumbled so badly in its first years. If continued, the economic and social consequences will be grave. Read the rest of this entry »

Plan B for Obama on the economy

September 8th, 2010

TO: President Obama
FROM: Thomas I. Palley
RE: How to avoid stagnation and restore shared prosperity
DATE: Labor Day, 2010

Mr. President,

With hopes of a V- or U-shaped recovery fading, there is the increasing prospect of an L-shaped future of long stagnation, or even a W-shaped future in which W stands for something worse.

The reason for this dismal outlook is economic policy is trapped by failed conventional thinking that can only deliver wage stagnation and prolonged mass unemployment. Read the rest of this entry »

The Federal Reserve Should Raise Rates and Lower Them Too

August 30th, 2010

There is much debate over whether the Federal Reserve should tighten or further ease monetary policy. This dichotomous framing overlooks another possibility, which is whether the Fed should change the mix of its stance, tightening in some areas and further easing in others. Read the rest of this entry »

Europe’s debt crisis and Keynes’ green cheese solution

May 26th, 2010

The great German physicist Max Planck remarked that “Science advances one funeral at a time.” The situation is worse in economics which is subject to regress, as happened when the valuable but imperfect insights of Keynesianism were supplanted by the ideological blinkers of neoliberalism. Read the rest of this entry »

More on the spurious victory claims of MMT.

Top music lobbyist urges corporations to voluntarily censor the Internet | The Raw Story


Topics: Cary Shermanrecording industry association of americaRIAA

In prepared remarks delivered to Congress (PDF) on Wednesday, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) CEO Cary Sherman said that the movie and music industries are working behind the scenes to encourage major Internet companies to voluntarily censor the Internet in an effort to better protect intellectual property rights.

Sherman’s testimony came amid a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “The Future of Audio,” during which members of Congress were considering allowing FM receivers be inserted into next generation smartphones, which would see radio stations paying more in performance rights. Sherman, however, decided to talk about piracy, saying that despite the growing popularity of legitimate online music streaming services, illegal downloading is still essentially killing the industry and more must be done to fight it.

“We hope other intermediaries like search engines will… [negotiate] voluntary marketplace best practices to prevent directing users to sites that are dedicated to violating property rights,” he told the committee.

Despite Sherman’s hopes, that’s not likely to happen.

Search giant Google has been an ardent defender of the same cloud-based storage websites the RIAA calls “rogue,” and even filed an amicus brief on behalf of one so-called “cyber locker” website earlier this year in a prosecution brought by the movie and music industries, accusing the site of a copyright infringement conspiracy. Their attorneys argued that the movie and music industries fundamentally misunderstand the law and are trying to use it in an abusive manner, to the point where they are actually threatening the very existence of the social Internet.

The same groups were behind an enforcement action carried out against user-upload site, which Sherman hailed as a landmark achievement for the industry. “The indictment of MegaUpload has had a tremendous impact on other such rogue cyberlocker sites,” he said. “The government’s action sends a signal that the UnitedStates will not tolerate the use of the Internet for criminal activity that violates our laws.”

But where they cannot achieve their goals through government action, the RIAA and counterparts at the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) have sought to achieve voluntary compliance. One of their most recent successes in this arena will see America’s largest Internet service providers launching a copyright spying scheme on July 1 of this year that will monitor Internet users’ traffic and interrupt them with messages of possible legal sanctions if infringing activities are detected.

“Just last year, we announced a voluntary program with ISPs that will be implemented later this year to address illegal downloads on P2P networks,” Sherman told members of Congress. “We also helped craft an agreement with major credit card companies and payment processors on voluntary best practices to reduce sales of counterfeit and pirated goods. And just last month, major advertisers and ad agencies announced a series of voluntary best practices so that their valuable brands are not associated with rogue Internet sites that offerillegal goods, and advertisers don’t inadvertently enrich rogue website operators.”

One example of a voluntary industry “best practice” formulated in recent years are the shared blacklists used by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other major Internet corporations to track sites that are known to host malicious software. While these companies usually just insert a warning page cautioning users that a given site may be harmful, they do not completely block users from accessing them.

Microsoft, however, inadvertently demonstrated earlier this year what a more advanced “best practice” might look like, when it began censoring links to The Promo Bay, a legal media sharing website spun off by the creators of The Pirate Bay, one of the Internet’s leading hubs for illegal downloaders.

Despite that site’s purported legitimacy, it landed on the “SmartScreen” blacklist used by Microsoft, likely due to a report by a copyright holder, and the company suddenly began actively preventing users of its Windows Live Messenger program from sharing links to it. Other sites that were offering identical content could be shared through the service, but Microsoft’s chat client simply explained to users that The Promo Bay “was blocked because it was reported as unsafe,” with users on the other end left unaware the communication ever took place.

“These voluntary programs are not a panacea. No program ever will be,” Sherman told Congress. “And sometimes, the Congress must step in to assure that our property rights, and U.S. economic interests, are being protected. Especially against sites overseas whose business model is the theft of U.S. works. But collectively, we think these collaborative efforts will make a difference. They are the product of outreach, and a lot of conversation over several years — not only with these intermediaries, but also with public interest groups who want to figure out how to address online problems while ensuring the reasonable preservation of a free and open Internet.

“We need to engage in the same sort of outreach directly with the tech and Internet communities, and I am committed to doing that — because, in the end, we all have an interest in an Internet that is open and accessible, but not lawless.”

Photo:, all rights reserved.

Top music lobbyist urges corporations to voluntarily censor the Internet | The Raw Story

The Insanity Of Texas Gov. Rich Perry That Social Security And Medicare Violate The 10th Amendment Of US Constitution

“Governor of Texas Rick Perry writing new legislation to amend the 10th Amendment of the Constitution to end Social Security, and Medicare as we know it for none other than Newt Gingrich; Rick Perry beliefs that it violates the US CONSTITUTION. That how deranged these REPUBLICANS are. This is an insurance policy to protect workers from a serious illness, a serious accident, that can disable you for the rest of your life, or retirement due to old age. Without this protection you would live in poverty, in misery, and very ill until your death unless you were very rich.” Life without Social Security was extremely difficult for the disabled and seniors to survive and especially for those who were seriously ill that, that they often committed suicide.

Corporate Front Group Airs Misleading Anti-Union Ad During Super Bowl

By Travis Waldron on Feb 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

While Super Bowl XLVI will be remembered for its dramatic ending, the issue of workers’ rights and union representation also surrounded the National Football League’s biggest game. A labor dispute nearly cost the NFL its 2011-12 season, and in the days before the game, Indiana passed an anti-union “right to work” law that led to union and Occupy protests at Indianapolis’ Super Bowl festivities throughout the week.

But despite fears from sports columnists and right-wing blogs that the protesters would “ruin the Super Bowl,” the only visible advocacy for some of the game’s viewers came in the form of a misleading anti-union attack ad from a corporate front group. The Center For Union Facts, an organization that has run newspaper ads comparing unions to Kim Jong-il’s authoritarian North Korean regime and endorsed an editorial comparing unions to Nazis, produced and paid for the 40-second ad, which ran in the Washington DC television market just before halftime ended. Watch it:

The ad’s claim that just 10 percent of current union members voted to form the union may be true, but it is incredibly misleading. Federal law mandates that more than 50 percent of a company’s workforce must vote in favor of the formation of a union. Most current union members, however, join unions that were formed years before and know that the union exists when they take the job.

The ad’s implication that the Employee Rights Act would put money in workers’ pockets is also misleading. According to the Economic Policy Institute, right-to-work laws cost workers up to $1,500 a year and also lead to reduced pensions and health care coverage.

Super Bowl broadcasters have traditionally banned ads that advocate for political causes. Year after year, though, it seems that ban doesn’t extend to misleading anti-union ads paid for by corporate front-groups that don’t disclose their donors.

Lee Fang at reports that Rick Berman, president and executive director of the Center For Union Facts, was one of the actors in the misleading ad, a report Berman’s company confirmed.

Berman, a multimillionaire lobbyist, owns Berman and Company, a prominent Washington lobbying shop that has crafted “grassroots” campaigns for big corporations. According to its 990 tax form, the Center For Union Facts paid Berman and Company $591,315 for “management services” in 2009.

Meet Governor Scott Walker’s New Political Hit Women

The embattled Wisconsin governor hires two young Republicans who are veterans of no-holds-barred campaigns and propaganda efforts.

February 5, 2012  |  


Jocelyn Webster, left, and Ciara Matthews, right, were hired as spokes women by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Late last year, the governor’s office announced it had hired 28-year-old Jocelyn Webster to serve as communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA). The department manages the state buildings where most of the anti-Walker protests have been held, and its duties include setting rules for protests. Webster started her career with Rove’s notorious Office of Political Affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

A congressional investigation of the activities of that office yielded allegations — including specific allegations against Webster – that Rove’s team was involved in partisan campaigning on the public dime, a claim also leveled at aides of her newest boss during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive.

As activists gathered signatures to recall the governor in late 2011, Walker also hired new campaign staff, including Ciara Matthews as campaign communication director. Matthews, a 20-something Nevada native, has worked as spokesperson for an anti-abortion group as well as Angle’s 2010 senate campaign, where she defended Angle’s racially tinged ads and banned reporters from a candidate event for asking questions without permission.

Webster’s Eye-Rolling Leads to Discovery of Her Karl Rove Roots

Jocelyn Webster, the new DOA communications director, first caught the eye of citizens attending a public “information session” about restrictions on rallies in the capitol.

On December 1, Walker’s DOA released a 23-page policy announcing new limits on demonstrations in and around the state capitol, the site of massive protests in early 2011. Most observers viewed the new rules as an effort to suppress dissent. Webster’s name was at the top of the December 1 press release announcing the new restrictions, and she was quoted in the press claiming that the “updated policy is meant to remove confusion and create consistency” for law enforcement officers and the public.

DOA announced a two-week “educational period” to help the public understand the new restrictions before they took effect. During the contentious public information sessions, Webster hovered in the background, but her eye-rolling in response to citizens expressing concerns about restrictions on their freedom of speech led some to take a closer look at her experience and her background.

From Washington to Wisconsin

Webster is no cheesehead. She was most recently in Dallas, Texas, working government relations for the global convenience store chain 7-Eleven. Previously, she worked four months for New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s PR shop. For nine months before that she pushed press inside the Beltway on education policy in the 2008 election year. She also worked PR for New Yorker Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign.

But before those experiences, Webster worked for the federal government in Washington DC, and was cited in a major congressional investigation.

After graduating from college in California, Webster got a gig at the new Department of Homeland Security as a liaison to the George W. Bush White House. After six months, she moved to the White House and became a staffer in the Office of Political Affairs (OPA) in February 2006. OPA was overseen by Karl Rove and was reportedly tasked with tracking the political environment. A three-year investigation into OPA concluded in January 2011 with a report showing the office routinely violated the Hatch Act, a federal law prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for partisan political activities. 

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