Re: I'm totally politics 24-sev, so, whatever, step off.

1

try to think up some colorful analogy to hide your lack of expertise.

You think expertise is necessary to blog about politics?

N00b.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:01 PM
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Just trying to lower everyone's expectations! I also break the dishes when I try to wash them, and poured the split-pea soup in my loafers instead of telling Matilda I didn't like it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:03 PM
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Mmm, soup loafers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:06 PM
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So, uh, should I come up with something to say about the article or the post, here?

Nobody seems to be around.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:09 PM
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It does seem like the room has cleared out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:11 PM
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Oh man, that's hilarious.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:11 PM
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Nobody seems to be around

Oh, come off it. Go right ahead.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:11 PM
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Just us night owls here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:12 PM
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If I knew what to say about it, don't you think I'd post at my own blog, Stanley? Two posts since Friday, and you think we don't feel anything? Huh? Monster. The dude kind.

Soak the rich, obvs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:13 PM
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Teo answer your gmail, brah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:13 PM
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9: If you comment here long enough into the wee hours, it wakes up the Scots, and then things get exciting.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:15 PM
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Holy crap, if Ogged saw this swimming post, I guarantee that he would start blogging again. Check those abs.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:15 PM
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11: I'll try; HAGGIS IS GROSS KILTS ARE FOR GIRLS 'AGLEY' DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING WHY DEEP FRY SOCCER IS OVERRATED SATRIANI COULDN'T SOLO HIS WAY OUT OF A TWINKIE WRAPPER.

And: we wait.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:17 PM
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12: dude's pretty hot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:17 PM
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Teo answer your gmail, brah.

Done.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:18 PM
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You know what I was just thinking, if there was a Jewish character on Mr. Rogers it could be a kangaroo 'cuz Heeb Roo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:19 PM
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Not on Winnie-the-Pooh?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:21 PM
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Unfortunately Mr. Rogers was teh most Protestant show evar.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:21 PM
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Actually, a distant relative - but still Jewish! (I assume. Mabye not.) - played Lady Aberlin.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:22 PM
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Maybe.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:22 PM
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Still, though. The dude was a Presbyterian minister.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:24 PM
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Everyone just assumes that Heebie is Jewish 'cause of her name, but actually she's Greek.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:24 PM
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Mr. Rogers was teh most Protestant show evar.

I always had Mr. McFeely pegged as a Catholic, but I guess Ulster Irish is possible.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:25 PM
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I'm Jewish, but not especially so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:28 PM
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I'm Jew-adjacent.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:33 PM
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Adjewcent?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:35 PM
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Gesundheit.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:35 PM
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27: she heebie-sneezied.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:36 PM
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I never knew the political threads were so silly. I shouldn't have shied away.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:38 PM
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29: yeah I've signed off to watch some late night AFV. Ain't my fault! Look at the adorable children and their adorable Omnibot (version 1)! Yessss. Politics: who cares!

I think, heebie, that you need to figure out how to piss off stras. I'd tell you the secret if I could, but it's one of those things that you can only manage when you don't mean to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:41 PM
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It is probably time for little heebie-weebies to pad themselves off to bed, anyway. Night all!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:43 PM
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Fuck, I really need to go to bed. Staying up this late is killing me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:43 PM
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Goodnight, heebie!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:43 PM
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Teo if you're staying up this late you can totally manage a midweek meetup. We'll talk urban planning the whole time, if that's your druthers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:45 PM
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BMW Direct is the greatest company in American history.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:49 PM
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33-34: I'm coming to Boston some time next week. You may both want to go out of town for a couple of days so as to avoid me.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:55 PM
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36: we'll take you to a nice fucking bar, shithead. E-mail me, loser.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-08 11:57 PM
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37: A nice fahkin bah? And yeah, I'll e-mail you. We just decided that we're heading your way about an hour ago.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:00 AM
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#22: Everyone just assumes that Heebie is Jewish 'cause of her name, but actually she's Greek.

No, actually "she" is me, operating under a not-very-secret alias. (get it? "He be GB". Ha!)


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 2:54 AM
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This is not a completely new development, however, it appears that the principal at this firm had been at Bruce Eberle's place which was one of the most notorious of these type of companies. In the early 90s Eberle ran fundraising campaign for a POW rescue operation supposedly involving a boat off the coast of Vietnam. Of the $2.2M raised 88% went to his firm. (They also had links to GOPUSA, the outfit that sponsored Jeff Gannon.)

If you go to BMW Direct's website, the main items they are advertising are the donor lists from these various campaigns (some were serious campaigns, some not).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 5:02 AM
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I'm coming to Boston some time next week.

Sifu totally must have sent my Germany schedule to everyone to plan their Boston trips. I leave town this Thursday, and it's all meetups galore.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 5:43 AM
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I never knew the Heebinator was such a devoted reader of Talking Points Memo!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:08 AM
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actually "she" is me, operating
delusions of grandeur of course , but i read another forum before
some people whose jokes i liked for example tended to disappear when i'd address them or maybe they just changed their handles and i wouldn't recognise them
i remember even asking the moderator guy like are you that jealous to block them out something
then i just stopped reading it everyday, it's like as if your interests go somewhere else
but i read it sometimes without participating for example yesterday and mentioned some of them are back
i mean it must be me that people go disappearing
if not, abracadabra, they should reappear, now!
i mean ogged for example
good thing people announce their hiatuses with respectable causes, like Apo or Blume, enjoy your vacations, guys!


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:09 AM
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I for one rejoice over parasitic GOP direct mail firms squandering direct mail donations on overhead and administrative salaries. (You have to feel a little sorry for the grannies who are sending their Social Security money to the College Republicans and what-not, but when Joe Republican highway contractor or car dealership owner, after four Jack & Cokes, writes a check to one of these outfits, what's not to like?

Tangentially: The proceeds from direct mail solicitation, like a lot of consumer marketing, follow something like a pareto curve: you make most of your revenue, and nearly all of your net return, from frequent contributors. If you make a one-time contribution, it is nearly certain that your entire contribution and more will be consumed by subsequent efforts to get you to contribute again. As Michael Kinsley once observed, the best way to stick it to conservative interest groups is to write a series of $20 checks to a whole bunch of them, and sit back as they waste hundreds of dollars buying and selling your name and sending you expensive fundraising solicitations. You can also give an extra twist of the shiv by returning their postage paid envelopes empty. I invariably do this when I get direct mail solicitations from Republican organizations (except, that is, for the most egregiously deceptive ones, which I send to the Postal Inspector along with mail fraud complaint).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:10 AM
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41: When are you back? Our schedule is semi-flexible; we might be able to work around your trip.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:17 AM
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44: And it would seem that the more lost the cause or marginal the candidate, the more valuable that donor is since it reveals them as a true believer with poor check-writing impulse control. I noticed on the "ads" for their lists that among what looks to be some other industry jargon they prominently display "Competitive Base Rate $XXX/M" ($120 is one I remember). I assume that this is some metric of expected (or previously observed) donation amounts per thousand names.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:21 AM
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How did I miss that he was the blog's only source of news and politics threads?

Because he was the source for most of the threads.

Private corporations are claiming to fundraise for token Republican candidates against hated famous Democrats, and then pocketing 90% of the donations.

I'm pretty sure people have been doing this since time immemorial. (Such as the 'police associations' and the like.) That said, I bet with the down economy, various grifters small business owners have been hard-pressed to find ways to work the usual cons to find new investment opportunities, so they're striking out in new directions.

It is very nice that that particular chicken has decided to roost in the R's fund-raising.

It is both gross and entertaining.

Speaking of which: VIRGIN NO MORE! Woo hoo!

So, did anybody see this?

You find the loose thread in the coalition. Then you pull, pull, pull on it until it unravels. Think of this next time you hear about PUMA PAC, the "grassroots" organization still fighting for Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination over Barack Obama, but was chartered by a Republican.

max
['Fun!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:24 AM
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re: 13

Don't think I didn't see that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:27 AM
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And it would seem that the more lost the cause or marginal the candidate, the more valuable that donor is since it reveals them as a true believer with poor check-writing impulse control.

That's an astute observation. It's like the "sucker lists" (e.g. people who respond to ads for commemorative plates and the like), which sell at a premium in the direct marketing world.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:28 AM
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47.last: I expect that we will see something similar with evangelicals for Obama. The PUMA founder was silly not to cover her tracks more carefully. Hopefully the Dems will be a little more covert in fomenting evangelical discontent with McCain.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:31 AM
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If you make a one-time contribution, it is nearly certain that your entire contribution and more will be consumed by subsequent efforts to get you to contribute again.

I am sorry to report that the ACLU has been doing this with me. It's very offputting. Also, liberal charities? Stop sending me personalised address stickers and notepads! The March of Dimes should not be sending out real dimes to cold-calls! You are simply demonstrating that your organisation spends a stupid percentage of its money on administration and advertising, and fuck that.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:51 AM
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This one's for Emerson and stras: is DeLong offering a bit of a mea culpa for Clintonian globalization strategy? Seems that way:

The problem is that for poor economies, raising the capital needed to relax binding growth constraints is difficult. That's why the world took the neo-liberal bet in the 1990's: international capital mobility would come to the rescue by relaxing capital constraints where they were binding, and by reducing the scope for corruption and rent-seeking, which was often a more significant binding growth constraint.

The hope was that, like the pre-1913 era of British overseas investment, which financed a huge amount of industrialization in the resource-rich, temperate periphery of the world economy, net capital outflows from the industrial core would finance much late twentieth and twenty-first century industrialization.
But we all know the outcome: while international capital flows soared, the large net flow of capital from rich to poor countries simply never materialized. In fact, the principal outcome was an enormous flow of capital from the periphery to the rich core. For most of the past generation, and looking into the future, the message of the market is that the benefits of international capital mobility do not include a relaxation of the capital constraint, and thus an acceleration of growth in the global periphery.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:25 AM
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Stop sending me personalised address stickers and notepads!

Direct marketers are not stupid; they know what works. In particular, they are well acquainted with the psychological and cognitive biases that influence people's behavior. One of these is reciprocity: if I give you something, you feel obliged to give me something back, whether or not I wanted that thing to begin with. This book is the locus classicus of marketing psych tricks.

It's interesting to mentally reverse engineer the direct mail pieces to identify all the cognitive switches they are attempting to hack. In most cases, there will be...
-a hate figure or two (Hillary Clinton, Dick Cheney) to trigger the "us versus them" mentality;
- a threat to personal safety (Islamofascism, water pollution) to trigger the defensive response;
- a burning platform ("Don't miss out! This offer expires in three days") to appeal to loss aversion;
- an outrageous demand, to make the actual contribution seem small by comparison ("Check one: $1,000, $500, $300, $100, $50, other amount");
- a flattering compliment, to appeal to vanity and self-image ("We know you are a committed supporter who has risen to the challenge of defending America/the Environment in the past...");
- an invocation of other contributors, to appeal to your sense of community identity ("Won't you join Laura Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sen. Elizabeth Dole in supporting...")

It's important to remember that the target audience for these solicitations has little or no overlap with the readership of unfogged. You or I look at the computer generated "handwriting" at the bottom purporting to be from Nancy Pelosi and think "bogus!"; the target audience looks at it and thinks, "If Nancy Pelosi took the time out of her busy schedule to write a personal note to me, the least I can do is send her $50."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:27 AM
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re: 52

In fact, the principal outcome was an enormous flow of capital from the periphery to the rich core.

David Harvey's writing, at least in the couple of books I've read, makes the point that this was, of course, the whole point.* As the cliché has it, it's not a bug, it's a feature.

* hardly unique to him either, but his has been the nicest presentation of the argument that I've read recently ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:33 AM
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The March of Dimes sending *me* unsolicited dimes seems especially perverse.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:36 AM
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54: well, DeLong was one of the people actually making the policy, arguably it wasn't the whole point to him.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:38 AM
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I wish this kind of scam was limited to the GOP. Sadly the Dems have their own collection of maggots feeding off gullible candidates and donors. Mark Penn springs to mind.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:39 AM
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C'mon with all the shock and disappointment. Politics has unethical people who are just in it to make money? They'll associate with whichever party seems like it'll get them the most gravy? Say it ain't so!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:42 AM
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re: 56

Well, yes, but that's often the way. A lot of those guys in pith helmets swanning about India pwning shit for the British in the 19th century thought they were engaged in 'civilizing' and bettering the lot of the ordinary Punjabi, and the like. Nevertheless, the end result was still that the British got rich off it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:42 AM
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If you make a one-time contribution, it is nearly certain that your entire contribution and more will be consumed by subsequent efforts to get you to contribute again. As Michael Kinsley once observed, the best way to stick it to conservative interest groups is to write a series of $20 checks to a whole bunch of them, and sit back as they waste hundreds of dollars buying and selling your name and sending you expensive fundraising solicitations.

I had no idea. My general pattern of action is to give something like $30 to a cause I support, and hope I never hear from them again more than once a year to remind me they exist, but then they spend lots of time and effort sending me things in the mail that instantly go in the garbage, and I become disenchanted and conclude that they waste all their money on solicitations, so I never send them anything again even though I know logically that they can't have spent very much money specifically on me.

But maybe I was right!


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:42 AM
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59: oh, for sure. I suspect the end recipients of the capital in this country were perfectly pleased to have things running that way. I just don't think it was the actual impetus behind the neoliberal program, at least not universally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:45 AM
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Related to Knecht's point, if you want to soak Microsoft (and who doesn't!) buy an XBox and then immediately hack it without ever buying a game (I dunno what the hacking options are for the 360 but, you know, I bet there's some). The consoles are huge loss leaders.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:47 AM
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60. Me too. On the strength of this, I'm thinking of changing to picking one or two organisations, giving them a direct debit and telling all the rest to foad, be they ever so worthy.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:47 AM
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I think it was the New Yorker that sold my name to the Great List of Hungry Leftie Charities.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:49 AM
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64: yeah they do that with some abandon. Subscribe to the New Yorker in an expensive zip code and you might as well change your name to ATM Bleedinheart.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:51 AM
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Sadly the Dems have their own collection of maggots feeding off gullible candidates and donors. Mark Penn springs to mind.

Not to defend Mark Penn or his ilk, but the Dem maggots are typically making their money in a somewhat different scam, namely advertising commission revenue, one of the most blatant perverse incentives known to man (and kudos to HRC for rejecting it).

For better or for worse, the Dems have never been able to hold a candle to conservatives at direct mail solicitation (although a number of liberal interest groups derive most of their contributions that way). One of the most exciting implications of the Netroots and Obama phenomena is the possibility of leapfrogging the Republican direct mail juggernaut with a more cost-effective medium that is less reliant on (though far from free of) dubious direct marketing psycho-tricks.

I suspect that there is a large pool of money in the hands of Dem-leaning individuals who are too insignificant to merit full-on individualized fundraising, but who recoil from tawdry direct marketing solicitations like jackmormon did. This money can be moved by good faith appeals from trusted on-line figures (e.g. bloggers). The question is whether the motivation to contribute will persist when the memory of this administration fades.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:51 AM
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I'm thinking of changing to picking one or two organisations, giving them a direct debit and telling all the rest to foad, be they ever so worthy.

Fleur did this with one (very worthy) liberal do-gooder organization, but it only makes matters worse. It's like feeding pigeons in the park. Now she's marked as a soft-touch, and gets more direct mail solicitations than ever. Moreover, the very organization that she makes a monthly contribution to bombards her with even more letters urging her to increase her pledge or even make an extra bonus donation.

I think the only solution is to drop off an envelope of cash anonymously at the headquarters.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:55 AM
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66: the conservative direct mail revolution is a relatively recent thing, though (early 80s?); there's no guarantee it'll be long-lived, either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:56 AM
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I totally don't understand how all of the overwrought formatting - all that boldface and dramatic underlining! - is supposed to appeal to the prospective donor. This is probably some kind of terrible taste/class issue.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:59 AM
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45: I'm back in Boston July 20th, but leaving for Germany again a little over a week later. (Yes, two transatlantic flights in less than 4 weeks. It just happened that way! At least one of them is paid for by that bank known as the DAAD.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:00 AM
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re: 61

I'm much more cynical and also have a fair bit of sympathy for (quasi- or whatever) Marxist* takes on some of these issues where the motivation of individuals just doesn't feature that heavily in the analysis.

* wrong word, but you know what I mean.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:05 AM
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I think the only solution is to drop off an envelope of cash anonymously at the headquarters.

"Do good by stealth, or you'll never hear the end of it", seems a strange slogan for many reasons.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:07 AM
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Ralph Reed got caught a few years ago collecting money from casinos to recruit Christians into an anti-gambling crusade which would prevent competing casinos from springing up. It didn't get a lot of mainstream publicity because that's not the kind of (Democratic) scandal they like, and AFAIK there were not a lot of loud denunciations within the Christian media because, you know, glass houses. But I think the word got around somewhat.

Stupid, uninformed people tend to flip between absolute personal trust and paranoid suspicion because they don't have the tools. There's something else too -- I think that a lot of the Christian Right is fairly bright, educated, prosperous people who want their political leaders to make the world go away so they can live comfortably in their cocoons. Since they're ignorant of the greater world and condemn it, they'll accept almost any level of cynicism and savagery from their leaders, as long as they feel protected.

Keeping government honest requires a lot of watchdogs, in the media, the opposing party, and among informed citizens, but that kind of thing is demoralizing and angering for people who want the government to take care of them so they don't have to think about things. It's funny because Christians will preach about how the world is fallen and all men are sinners, but they tend to give blind trust to their leaders, and to resent critics and watchdogs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:09 AM
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a relatively recent thing, though (early 80s?)

Yep. Pretty much Richard Viguerie's baby.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:09 AM
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Mark Penn is a triangulation Democrat who collects money wherever he can find it. He's a lot like Dick Morris, who has become a Clinton-hating scum operative in the media. One of the wonderful things about Obama, even though he'll betray us, is that he may have got Penn and Lanny Davis out of the Democratic Party. I wish that McAulliffe and Carville would leave too, but their brand has been damaged at least.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:15 AM
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73: wait, wasn't that one of the triggering Abramoff scandals? I'd say it got a bunch of press, as far as these things go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:18 AM
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.. it also pretty much sunk Ralph Reed's political career.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:18 AM
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I think the only solution is to drop off an envelope of cash anonymously at the headquarters.

I have in the past sent money orders anonymously. The annoying thing is that now the IRS requires receipts for much smaller donations. Grrr.

In related news, I was all resolved about where to donate my Economic Stimulus (TM) check...and it hasn't arrived. Good thing I'm not a conspiracy theorist.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:20 AM
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iOne of the wonderful things about Obama, even though he'll betrayis betraying us, is that he may have got Penn and Lanny Davis out of the Democratic Party.

There's an op-ed in the Financial Times suggesting that the real danger is that he'll turn into Jimmy Carter. Zbiggy come home!


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:21 AM
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78: it is, allegedly, ordered by SS #. Post yours here, and we can puzzle it out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:24 AM
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80: Yeah, an informal survey of my officemates reveals that that's not true. Or if it is, it's certainly not ordered numerically by last two digits, as the media reports claimed it was.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:26 AM
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Perhaps someone could develop a bundling maildrop address which would, for a fee, receive and recycle all direct mail solicitations. You'd pay $20-$50 a year for the right to use the return address "John Emerson, Box 111, Yourtown, USA", and you could ask not to be contacted. Possibly at the end of the year all the mail could be made into the world's largest paper-mache sculpture.

They'd have to keep records so it wouldn't be used as a front for fraud. But these records could be public knowledge, obvs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:27 AM
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Direct mail advertising just makes me depressed about the world. Similar to JM, I believe subscribing the The Atlantic in my zipcode ended up producing the torrent of bleeding-heart direct mail for crappy charities.

I think Nature Conservancy is pretty good though, I've only seen them do those big mailings a couple times a year to give you a calendar and ask for money. None of this tiny-envelope-each-month crap.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:30 AM
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In honor of Sifu's war on intellectual property, I'm stealing this quote from another person at another blog and posting it here, because it's that awesome:

The entire class of Democratic political consultants from the last three decades are TOXIC, and need to be swept from the party. They came of age during the Reagan administration, but Reagan's dead and it's time we pulled his statue down from the square and stopped genuflecting in front of his mausoleum, urging caution and timidity so we don't wake his ghost.

Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:38 AM
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81: It isn't media reports that claim that, it's the IRS. However, their Where's My Stimulus Payment tool doesn't work for me right now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:38 AM
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In Witt's neighborhood there are undoubtedly storefront financial services organizations that would be happy to extend a loan on generous terms in anticipation of the stimulus check. Be sure to speak clearly so that the guy/girl behind the bulletproof plexiglass wall can hear you.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:40 AM
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I must echo Jackmormon about the address labels. Stop sending them to me. I almost never mail anything anymore. They are instantly trashed. Also, the stickers annoy me since they stop me from ripping the entire envelope in half at one go.

It is this kind of deeply personal issue that one day will inspire me to get my own blog, so that my voice will be all the stronger.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:44 AM
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Upon reflection, 86 conveys an unintended tone of snideness and condescension that Witt, of all people, did nothing to deserve. I hearby retract it.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:46 AM
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stickers annoy me since they stop me from ripping the entire envelope in half at one go.

Here's the answer, Mo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:48 AM
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Is the fact that I haven't done my 2007 taxes yet a suitable explanation for not receiving my stimulus check?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:48 AM
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83: I've had the opposite experience with the Nature Conservancy. Not only do I get an envelope every month, but I get two since I'm in their system under both my full first name and my short one. I've got a regular monthly payment automatically sent from my bank, and still get this crap.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:50 AM
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fallen world, but trust our leader

73 was good. John, have you considered self-publishing your more focussed musings? What with the blogging revolution of the long tail, fame and fortune will seek you out.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:50 AM
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John, have you considered self-publishing your more focussed musings?

I believe he has considered it, yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:52 AM
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90: Yes.

85: Aha! It IS the evil media, because the report I saw only listed the times for the direct-deposit people, and didn't mention that the timeline was different for paper checks.

86: No worries. I am sure that I have mentioned here before that it was a nearby payday lending place that led me into the exact thought process of an abortion clinic protester.

Talk about your moments of uncomfortable empathy -- in three steps I thought myself through from "Those places are morally reprehensible and if people just had accurate information about their options, they wouldn't patronize them" to "Oh my God" dawning realization.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:53 AM
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Yeah, yeah. It's the curse of the barrel-chested: I have a gut and yet my ribs stick out as well.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:53 AM
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Tyson Homosexual sets 100 meter records


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:53 AM
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86: No worries. I am sure that I have mentioned here before that it was a nearby payday lending place that led me into the exact thought process of an abortion clinic protester.

"They're killing babies"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:53 AM
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If you comment here long enough into the wee hours, it wakes up the Scots, and then things get exciting.

We don't sleep. Occasionally we may close our eyes, but that's only to conceal the eternal red glow of incandescent rage that burns in them.

A lot of those guys in pith helmets swanning about India pwning shit for the British in the 19th century thought they were engaged in 'civilizing' and bettering the lot of the ordinary Punjabi, and the like. Nevertheless, the end result was still that the British got rich off it.

I thought that the Empire was a net cash loser for Britain? Adam Smith and Lenin both thought so. (It carried on because it was profitable for a small subset of the British population - eg arms manufacturers and other exporters).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:53 AM
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95: hah! I feel you, man. Need big staves to hold all them laffs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:55 AM
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didn't mention that the timeline was different for paper checks

And now you know... the rest of the story.


Posted by: Paul Harvey | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:56 AM
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Paul Harvey triggers anger in me when he comes on the radio.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:58 AM
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92 was me, and apo maybe meant to link here


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:58 AM
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101: that's pretty gross. He should come on his own radio.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:59 AM
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In other news, I just realized that I've been walking around all morning with a large paperclip attached to my shirt. My co-workers claim not to have noticed it. Thanks a lot, guys.

Back to work.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:04 AM
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103: Totally. Semen, semen, semen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:07 AM
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105 to 104.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:07 AM
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all the mail could be made into the world's largest paper-mache sculpture

A long time ago (must have been during the 1970s energy crisis), one of the TV news shows did a segment on a guy who heated his house with junkmail. He had some kind of wood burning furnace, and some kind of baler that compressed the paper into tight bricks. Then he sent away for every catalog and got on every mailing list he could find, after which he received 40-50 pounds of junk mail per day (in a specially constructed mailbox, natch) and fed it into his heating system.

Of course, this is about the most ecologically nonsensical home heating solution imaginable, but there was some charm in his ingenuity at sticking it to The Man.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:07 AM
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the more valuable that donor is since it reveals them as a true believer with poor check-writing impulse control.

Very good comments about solicitation.

Hey, here is a brain teaser. Who am I describing?

Generous. Hard working. Cheerful. Completely gullible. Lack of critical reasoning skills. Fearful. Very self-righteous. Defensive.

Extra credit: Who's wet dream are these people?

Extra extra credit: What happens to our country when their 'leaders' get elected?


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:10 AM
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98:I thought that the Empire was a net cash loser for Britain?

Reserve currency? Canada vs Mexico?

Politics! Wes Clark = more betrayal. Uhh, nothing else.

I'm much more cynical and also have a fair bit of sympathy for (quasi- or whatever) Marxist* takes on some of these issues where the motivation of individuals just doesn't feature that heavily in the analysis.

We are all victims & tools of the Capitalist Hegemony. Don't worry, be happy. The depression and wars will force Obama's hand, and it is at least twice as likely he will become FDR as that he will become Franco. Good odds. Or he could be Carter, and we are so fucked, but I doubt it. In my heart, I think Barry is a State of Exception kinda guy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:11 AM
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Generous. Hard working. Cheerful. Completely gullible. Lack of critical reasoning skills. Fearful. Very self-righteous. Defensive.

Smurfs?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:11 AM
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107.---Wow.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:11 AM
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Generous. Hard working. Cheerful. Completely gullible. Lack of critical reasoning skills. Fearful. Very self-righteous. Defensive.

Mormons! Commenters at Firedoglake!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:12 AM
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Smurfs?

Oompah-Loompahs.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:13 AM
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Empire net cash loser for Britain?

No external accounting controls on how internal transfers between corporate divisions are recorded, so a reported loss for the crown may not be so bad for aggregated Brits. The opium war and East India corporation for example. Niall Ferguson has written a lot about this,
here. I don't know how to read him properly-- he's energetic and clever, but produces books so quickly that I don't know how skeptical to be of the facts he reports.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:13 AM
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105: Semen, semen, masturbate, more semen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:14 AM
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and it is at least twice as likely he will become FDR as that he will become Franco.

Yeah, the worst case scenario is Salazar, and after Bush you'd hardly notice.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:14 AM
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107: Best adaptive re-use of white supremacist literature?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:17 AM
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109:

I pretty much agree with your predictions but I think your timeline is a bit off. Well, maybe in Obama's second term. Late. Maybe. But I think the big revolution will probably come after that. I think Obama will be good enough to forestall the inevitable.

McCain, on the other hand, would hasten it big time.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:18 AM
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Generous. Hard working. Cheerful. Completely gullible. Lack of critical reasoning skills. Fearful. Very self-righteous. Defensive

Great article from Lenin's Tomb on the Nazi's efforts to seduce & transform pretty Socialist German Labour during the 30's.

On #6 I never saw most of the Reagan Republicans as especially prudish or socially conservative; that was just a lie told to one of the interest groups attending the party. Revolution in the Head -- which is oddly enough a social history of the Beatles -- is especially good on the connection between 1960s morals and the Reagan Revolution.

Tyler Cowen commenting on a Brad DeLong analysis. Fuck the glibertarians.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:19 AM
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112:

Where is this Fired Og Lake you speak of?


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:21 AM
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I thought that the Empire was a net cash loser for Britain?

I don't know, generally, whether that holds or not. As an 'I am genuinely ignorant of' rather than 'I am sceptical of'...

I'm not sure if Smith was writing at a time to be in much of a position to judge. Certainly he was writing at a time of relative set-back: the US war of independence, etc.

My own, possibly wrong, take has always been that the real income from the Empire came later, once the Industrial Revolution had really got going.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:22 AM
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118:Well, Newberry said this is the least important election of our lifetimes, that Obama and Bernanke & the PTB will be able to postpone the inevitable, and that McCain wouldn't really be able to do much worse. And the shit will hit the fan so hard the 2012-16 will be the Revolution, one way or the other.

I think China pulls the dollar cord after the Olympics. Other than that, I really can't predict when the crash happens.

Gonna take a while for Americans to get radicalized. Took 4+ years after 1929.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:25 AM
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after Bush you'd hardly notice

The frog-boiling of the last seven years has heightened my appreciation for how normal life continued under actual, factual police states (totalitarian states are another matter; there's a step change somewhere that renders the experience incomparable to lesser forms of authoritarianism, and no I'm not agreeing with any of Jeanne Kirkpatrick's other conclusions on that score).

Before GWB, it always seemed remarkable to me how blasé the citizens of authoritarian states could be about the restraints on political freedom. To the extent that political repression didn't cause them to ignore politics entirely, the attitude mostly seemed to be "Keep your mouth shut, go about your business, don't associate with the wrong people, and be careful about who you share your real sentiments with."

I realize now that we, as a country, have slipped, largely unconsciously, into a mild form of that mentality. Is there a Red Line that GWB could not have crossed, where the press and the public would have stood up and cried "no more!"? I used to think so, now I'm not so sure.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:28 AM
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Obama is such a luxurious candidate., as in "Hey, we can afford a symbolic warm fuzzy, things aren't all that bad"

And with that I walk the dogs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:28 AM
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Is there a Red Line that GWB could not have crossed, where the press and the public would have stood up and cried "no more!"?

Executing Oprah Winfrey on live television.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:33 AM
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125: the BTKWB Limit by any other name...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:34 AM
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121: Did Britain ever really have a good method for squeezing revenue out of the most economically successful colonies like Hong Kong? Or were local tax revenues just plowed back into local infrastructure?

Can't really think of any major paths through which British territory's greater post-colonial success was particularly helpful either...

It might have been kinda handy to have a place to stick a bunch of convicts and allow them to live their lives and be productive again, instead of imprisoning them at great expense. Shame that it always seems to end up in genocide and centuries as an underclass for the indiginous people though.


91 makes me very sad. Nature Conservancy should at least limit itself to ceaseless emails with an online donation site. Save the trees, bastards!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:34 AM
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Fired Og Lake

This rare dye-pigment is produced by burning the raw og at high temperature and mixing the result with a mordant like alum in a liquid and collecting the colored precipitate, which is sometimes then suspended in an oil medium for painting.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:36 AM
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122:

I agree with most of that. The timing is the hardest to predict. I strongly agree that it will take awhile to get Americans radicalized. I think longer than four years.

We've had it pretty good for a long time and we are nowhere even close to rock bottom yet. We are just starting to feel some discomfort.

Also we've got complete generations who were raised with the idea that "we are all powerless and giving in to authority is the only way to be." For God's sake, rock music of all things is being used to sell cars and nobody notices the cognitive dissonance!

Yeah, it will take awhile to undo all that BS.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:37 AM
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squeezing revenue out of the most economically successful colonies

This very point was why the opium war was fought. Opium grown cheaply in India was sold by Brits cheaply to Chinese. When the Emperor objected, gunships came to help the Chinese see the British free-trade point of view. Since more than just government transfers are relevant, and since much of what was transferred were goods owned by British merchants, accounting is complicated.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:39 AM
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128: Ah. So that is where he got off too. May I ask what hue he produces?


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:39 AM
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123: Huh, I guess I've taken that for granted because I spent a lot of time in Vietnam between 1993 and 2000 and many of my friends in high school were either recent immigrants from China or still living between the two countries. Talking politics with my high school friends, and seeing how the doctors and professors in Vietnam were just living their lives, really made it clear that politics just doesn't matter to most people. Freedom of speech doesn't feel all that important if the only limited speech is that directly against the government or select policies. So long as people had a lot of social liberties, the streets were safe, and everyone's lot was improving, people were pretty happy. And I can't really fault that perspective too much. Certainly the comparison with India's democratic experiment next door makes plenty of Chinese feel pretty good about the path of the last 20 years.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:40 AM
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Virulent orange, of course.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:43 AM
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re: 127

I think that tax revenue is exactly the wrong way to thing about imperialism.

Colonialism and imperialism provide outlets for surplus investment and/or labour capital [Harvey argues that this sort of thing is key to avoid 'crises of over-accumulation'], access to natural resources, captive markets for manufactured goods, opportunities for just plain theft/appropriation, and so on, among many others.

Imperialism has never been primarily about extracting taxation from territories under the control of the imperial centre.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:43 AM
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Executing Oprah Winfrey on live television.

BILL KRISTOL: Either we're serious about defending civilization against Islamic terror or we're not. George W. Bush is serious about it, and history shows that the American people are going to support him in that endeavor, even if it means executing a popular television personality.

FRED BARNES: I feel sorry for the President for the race-baiting he is going to have to endure when the crazed Left starts inferring a racial motive for Ms. Al-Winfrey's execution.

JONAH GOLDBERG: I'm going to have to disagree with you guys, here. The decision to garotte Oprah was right on the merits. But the conservative movement is on the wrong side of the public on this one. The battle over Oprah was lost long ago, and we ought to be fighting on more hospitable terrain, like executing Jerry Springer.

Sen. JAY ROCKEFELLER: I am deeply concerned about the administration's legal corner-cutting in the execution of Ms. Winfrey. I intend to send a sharply worded letter to the Attorney General outlining my concerns.

Sen. HARRY REID: Once again the President has run roughshod over the will of Congress and the people by executing Oprah Winfrey on live television. The leadership of the Congress made a good faith attempt to negotiate a solid statutory framework for dealing with Ms. Winfrey's treason. I co-sponsored, and the majority of the caucus supported, an amendment that would have provided for Ms. Winfrey being tarred and feathered on a tape-delayed pay-per-view broadcast, but the President was determined to get his way at any price.

WSJ EDITORIAL PAGE: Ms. Winfrey's heirs--her rumoured to be homosexual paramour and her undoubtedly homosexual personal trainer--ought to write a thank you note to the White House for saving them almost 2.5 billion dollars in inheritance taxes.

NYT: Some Democrats are calling the decision a grave miscarriage of justice and an outrage. Administration spokesperson Dana Perino countered that "the United States Government, acting on the best advice of our intelligence agencies and military government, carried out the operation to neutralize the threat from the Chicago firebrand under authority of law."

CNN HEADLINE NEWS: Inside Oprah Winfrey's secret empire: the FBI reveals the schocking truth about the executed billionaire.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:50 AM
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Is there a Red Line that GWB could not have crossed, where the press and the public would have stood up and cried "no more!"?

Well for the press maybe it would be getting rid of a semi-corrupt outfit running the White House travel office whose manager had been helping journalists avoid custom duties for years, and then magically a lot of Red Lines would have been presented to the public.

WSJ EDITORIAL PAGE: ... ought to write a thank you note to the White House for saving them almost 2.5 billion dollars in inheritance taxes.

They're the luckiest duckies in the whole wide world!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:59 AM
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WEEKLY WORLD NEWS: CIA prototypes Zombie Oprah Warrior.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:00 AM
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134: Also true, but a lot of those forms of imperialism are pretty expensive to maintain (standing armies, etc.) and the benefits for British colonies tended to go to private and semi-private trading companies as lw pointed out in 130. That's why I thought of taxation vs. running costs for a colony that modernized like Hong Kong, since it seemed like the easiest and cleanest way to actually see if any of the colonies "ran a surplus".

In terms of sheer exploitation and expropriation to benefit the colonizing power, Britain was a pretty pansy overlord. Hence the reason their colonies are in way better shape (the power of relativity!). I don't think anyone has much over the Belgian Congo on that tack.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:01 AM
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Link?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:08 AM
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the benefits for British colonies tended to go to private and semi-private trading companies

Yeah, but again, that's the point. It's not the actual coffers of the British state that are really at issue. Rather, it's British interests more broadly conceived. Interests which, probably, also turn out to be fairly narrow class/business interests when closely examined, but, nevertheless, it's not tax revenue into the treasury that's the primary issue.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:10 AM
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Britain was a pretty pansy overlord

Britain has done the greatest retrospective PR job of any major imperialist power ever. The extent of the whitewash is remarkable -- the famines under Stalin and Mao make them worse than Hitler, while the famines in India and Ireland are just unfortunate background events in "Masterpiece Theatre".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:10 AM
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If you're looking for political topics, I'd love to have a thread about Zimbabwe and what the hell the African Union, the UN, and the U.S. should do now.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:11 AM
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Hence the reason their colonies are in way better shape
i remember i read Somerset Maugham's short story about a colonial officer who was responsible for building a road
he's described very that, ascetic, strict but just, not-emotional, able to abandon everything in order to achieve his goal etc
i thought, what a grand empire builder, how admirable, it's like ant's instincts maybe, that, irrepressible, the urge to build, to leave something behind, to have a reason to exist something


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:12 AM
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Wow, 135 is classic. Knecht does it again. I suggest a career change to writing for the Daily Show.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:13 AM
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Hence the reason their colonies are in way better shape

Not sure I really buy this one either. India has done comparatively well, but do we credit this to Britain? I'm not sure I buy the cross-country regression analyses purporting to show that British common law colonies do better than others -- plenty of questions have been raised.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:20 AM
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today i'm so lucky, two times to hit 43!
without my notice even
it's like as if some great luck is waiting me around
great


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:22 AM
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My own, possibly wrong, take has always been that the real income from the Empire came later, once the Industrial Revolution had really got going.

Ah, but I think the argument is that Britain would still have had the Industrial Revolution without the Empire - it's not as though all those steam engines and steel furnaces and things were invented by Indians, after all - and would have been even richer (and still had the world's reserve currency) without the need to pour lots of capital into, say, a fleet and army that could defend colonies around the world.
But I am not an economic historian and am willing to be corrected on this one. It may even be an unanswerable question - too much of a counterfactual.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:23 AM
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144: I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I am not Daily Show caliber. At best Andy Borowitz caliber, which is to say, mildly funny to narrow segments of the population when they're in the right mood, but hard to endure over long stretches even for his fans.

the BTKWB Limit by any other name...
If memory serves, the BTKWB Limit would require George Bush to not only kill Wilfred Brimley with his bare hands on live TV during the Superbowl halftime show, but to decapitate and skullfuck the corpse (the implication being that the senseless murder itself is insufficient; it would take sexual perversion and/or interrupting a major sporting event to wean some people off of him).


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:25 AM
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Britain has done the greatest retrospective PR job of any major imperialist power ever.

Oh, I don't know. The US did a pretty good job. You'll find a lot of British people willing to believe that Indian independence was a good thing. There are not so many Americans who want to hand back the Plains States to their original owners.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:28 AM
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re: 147

Could be right, it's hard to say. It certainly looks like, looking around at the current state of the world, that it's perfectly possible to have many of the benefits of empire without actually invading. Economic muscle proving sufficient.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:29 AM
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I'm willing to hand back the plains states. They bring us nothing but heartache.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:32 AM
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There are not so many Americans who want to hand back the Plains States to their original owners

Why just the plains states? We screwed them out of the coasts too.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:32 AM
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141, 145: I'm not saying that the British empire was a benevolent overlord or anything, and I've barely even looked at the economic literature you mention in 145. What I'm speaking from is a lot of time spent in places like Kenya, Malaysia, and Hong Kong versus the surrounding regions, and there is a very substantial qualitative difference. Now, there are exceptions, and I've seen mostly the success stories, but the other major colonial powers don't even have success stories.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:33 AM
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I'm sorry, PMP, you can't cite to "personal experience" here. That would open the door to all sorts of people to make all sorts of absurd claims on this blog. I'll be awaiting your cite to an academic study regressing something on something else, at which point I will post a cite to another academic study quarreling with the first.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 11:17 AM
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you can't cite to "personal experience" here

...except in buttsex threads, in which case it is encouraged.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 11:41 AM
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154: Fair enough.

If there were enough countries that were former colonies for statistical significance (and more importantly, if I had a lot of time I really wanted to kill at the office), I'd probably look into something as simple as taking the list of former British colonies, compiling a list of former colonies for France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Germany, then looking at the following:

GDP per capita
UN Human Development Index
Transparency International Corruption Index
Freedom House's Freedom Score

Probably adjust each statistic to a z-score relative to other countries in its continent or region, and finally run a simple t-test to see if the means are significantly different across these various statistics. Probably someone has done it, and it seems like that would capture much of what I mean when I say the British colonies seem better off relative to other countries that were under European yoke.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:04 PM
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155, cont'd:

As in, "In my experience, buttsex was a net positive for the British Empire. Beyond the well-known contribution of consensual sodomy to the maintenance of an adequately manned bluewater navy, we must consider the role of non-consensual boarding school buttsex for the cultural replication of imperial social hierarchies, which were indispensible to the preservation of the imperial idea well into the age of democracy, nationalism, and liberalism. Indeed, it can be argued that the Empire brought buttsex to peoples that otherwise would never have known it (whether because of religious taboos, lack of available lubricants, or other reasons)."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:05 PM
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lack of available lubricants

Why Malaysia was actually colonized: palm oil and an overly-literal interpretation of "rubber".


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:11 PM
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Probably someone has done it, and it seems like that would capture much of what I mean when I say the British colonies seem better off relative to other countries that were under European yoke.

I recall hearing about research that purports to show this during the Anglosphere boomlet of 2001-2003, but the empirical exceptions are so important (e.g. Zimbabwe, Kenya, Burma, Egypt, Sierra Leone, and Pakistan) that the whole theoretical edifice starts to crumble.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:14 PM
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In terms of sheer exploitation and expropriation to benefit the colonizing power, Britain was a pretty pansy overlord.

Ignoring the ban against citing personal experience I will say that to this day - well, not this day but a day less than a year ago some Kenyans were still blaming Britain for the crappy Kenyan constitution and the sorry state of Kenyan politics and how they wouldn't be so messed up if Britain had just stayed home.

I'm just saying. I don't really know how true that is and I did think (but kept to myself) at the time that continuing the victim role, even when it is earned, is very un-empowering, which I know is easy to say when my country has (for the time being) most of the world's wealth and the world's biggest military and I myself am free to indulge in run-on sentences with no consequences but still.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:25 PM
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Hey Tripp, I tried to email you this morning at the address linked in your handle but it bounced. Could you drop me a line at bave at the domain linked in my handle?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:28 PM
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159: Yeah. I was thinking about those, which is why I thought about normalizing by region in particular. I'd say Zimbabwe and Burma really are the atrocious outliers no matter how you fluff the numbers, with perhaps Bangladesh thrown in there as well.

Otherwise...
Kenya: compared to Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, etc., even if its political freedoms have suffered slightly, it's certainly in better economic shape

Egypt: compare it to Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Chad, Eritrea, Tunisia, perhaps Saudi Arabia, Jordan (another former British territory)

Sierra Leone ain't looking too awful compared to Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, or Senegal (unless you're comparing by quality of soccer team)

As for Pakistan, it's almost too easy to look good with its former Soviet satellite surroundings. Bangladesh would look far rougher compared to its neighborhood, I bet.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:33 PM
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Any "development paths" attempt at comparison between the former colonies of the European powers also has to take into account (a) that the late 19th C British Empire was substantially larger and more diverse than that of any other colonial power, including France; (b) that you have to carefully distinguish between the late 19th C "Victorian" empire of Britain and its rivals and older colonies, the nature of the empire and the lingering effects were really very different; (c) different British colonies had very different levels of control by actual Britains; (d) a powerful legacy of the British empire was the ability to speak English, which is a big economic plus these days but not really what people are thinking of when they're thinking of the civilizing blessings of British liberties, (e) some of the greatest success stories in the former empire (Singapore, Hong Kong) essentially had no independent existence prior to the Empire but were created as financial hubs by the empire, and (f) the Empire included Canada, which is rich but which we all know sucks balls.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:43 PM
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Re 162: To be a contrary dick, Uganda was a British colony, and a pretty rich one. So was Tanzania, at least after 1918 when most relevant development happened, and the Sudan, and part of Somalia. Ivory Coast and Senegal have had a bit of a rough time recently, but through the 1980s and I think most of the 1990s were considered the star countries of Africa. And surely the most relevant comparison for Pakistan is India, which is also a British colony which had literally exactly the same administration, but which is doing a lot better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:50 PM
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Way to totally insult LB and Apo, Stras.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 12:56 PM
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the plains states [...] bring us nothing but heartache

And corn.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 1:02 PM
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154: Fair enough.

No, not fair, joke! People should totally cite personal experience. The juiciest stories possible, please. Especially, as KR points out, in sex threads, but foreign policy and politics are also fair game. Certainly far better than a regression -- you can call it a case study analysis if you like.

And there have been numerous studies along the lines of 156, BTW, there's a big academic debate. As KR mentioned in 159. There's a lot of controversy about the findings -- my link in 145 discusses some of it. I have a lot of doubts about these cross-country regression studies in general, and also about the assumption that colonies are somehow "randomly assigned" to countries. The Brits, being most powerful, may well have gotten the richest colonies.

164: it's hardly being a "contrary dick" to point out that Uganda was a British colony, since it certainly was.



Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 1:03 PM
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Hey Tripp, I tried to email you this morning at the address linked in your handle but it bounced. Could you drop me a line at bave at the domain linked in my handle?

Well son of a. trippd@charter.net is a sub-account that Charter must have closed. Bummer. Granted I no longer have cable service from them and I was leeching off them but they still left the primary account active.

So I don't dare call customer service or they'll close the primary account, too.

OK internet-savvy people. Where is a good place to get a classy, free email account to use?


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 1:05 PM
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Um, google?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 1:05 PM
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167:
No, not fair, joke! People should totally cite personal experience.

What?! Now I take back my 160. I will only do things when they are forbidden.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 1:08 PM
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Uganda was a British colony, and a pretty rich one.

Yeah, Idi Amin did a good job of tearing the country a new one. Museveni's even doing a pretty alright job there at the moment, but there are some reasons for nervousness. I knew that it was a British colony, but my main surprise was that Kenya would be singled out as a failed British colony, given its surroundings.

I had forgotten that the Sudan was a colony for a good while. That's much worse. Just looking at various statistics on sub-Saharan African as a refresher has been utterly depressing.

167: Thanks. I may yet look into those studies, but it'll be a while before I get to spend a lot of time in the development community again, so I just don't read as much as I should on the subject.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 1:27 PM
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Ok, so's I run down to get a cold drink and flip on NPR and here is somebody "Daniel Cho?" talking about Obama & the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives so I foist upon thee four links, maybe closer to the post topic than colonialism.

Obama

Marvin Olasky

Jane Addams at Wiki

Jane Addams at Stanford

hmmm... Salvation Army ...had to check

1875-1925 was a time, huh?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 2:12 PM
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wooooo, Obama's Muslim Third-Way economics...

What pisses me off is Yggles saying Socialism is dead (I suppose anarchism has been buried for a century) and we now live in a victorious liberal totalitarianism where the free market rules, dudes.

We barely had gotten started when the world went up in flames and all those ideas of the turn of the century need re-exploration.

Oh yeah, Sunday I spent a couple hours studying the Bahai Faith. Same period.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 2:20 PM
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Tripp, In your position I set up a hotmail account and used it to set up a gmail account. IIRC you need to have an account already to get gmail.

I hated hotmail when I very briefly used it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 2:24 PM
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174 - yeah, thanks. I don't want to touch hotmail any more than I need to.

Remember when one could set up a daisy chain of anonymous remailers around the world? Ah, those were the good old days.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 3:04 PM
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Obama">Obama">Obama">http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080701/pl_nm/usa_politics_obama_dc_1">Obama link.

Emerson asked about the "Schmitt Cult" recently. Marty Lederman linked to a New Blog of Bernie Meyler today. Top post discusses Scalia's opinions in Boumediene & Heller in the light of 17th century concepts of sovereignty.

Not much further down, Meyler discusses the concept of sovereignty in Schmitt as interpreted by Agamben. I am avidly following Kotsko's liveblogging of Agamben's latest work about oekonomia(sp). This just so fucking directly relates to the stuff in #172,173. If you can't connect Jane Addams, Iraq/Gitmo, and Social Security to Spinoza & Agamben you are not paying attention.

The Enlightenment was the means to perserve privilege in a secular world. Process is not the People.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 3:16 PM
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I tried reading Newberry for six months on your recommendation, bob, and I wasn't impressed. (This was a while ago, though.) His predictions are either a) obvious if you pay attention to the economy or b) cockeyed. The US is headed for a repeat of the 70s or Japan's 90s, not the 30s. China is in much greater danger than the US -- they are looking at their first serious recession since the transition to whatever-they-have-now, and its not clear if their institutions can survive it. Bernanke has done an okay job. If he were doing a bad job, he would be raising rates to combat inflation


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 4:25 PM
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.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 4:32 PM
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177:The US is headed for a repeat of the 70s or Japan's 90s, not the 30s

Deflationary Hurricane ...Mish's Global Economic Analysis. Mish is an Austrian kinda guy, so grain of salt, but massive deflation makes more sense to me than inflation. Who is gonna buy or borrow?

Newberry is just one source among many. He helps me to connect the oil economy to money/credit/RE, and is one of the very few econbloggers doing any kind of deterministic superstructure/base analysis.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 5:05 PM
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Obvious?

Newberry says the War in Iraq was about the housing bubble, but it failed. Idea, oversimplified, being that cheap oil was needed to sustain the asset inflation/sprawl after dotcom died. That may be paranoid crazy, although exactly why the coincidence of loose suburban standards with an oil war?

Yeah, DeLong, Thoma, & Krugman been saying that trivial stuff for years.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 5:11 PM
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Starbucks to close 600 stores, layoff 12,000 but stock up 6%

I keep meaning to read up on 90s Japan. 10-15 years of flat GDP may be the best we can do. I don't think we can do it. See above.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 5:42 PM
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Starbucks was overexpanded several years ago when my brother still worked for them. Shouldn't be taken as an indicator.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 5:44 PM
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Starbucks was overexpanded several years ago when my brother still worked for them. Shouldn't be taken as an indicator.

Spoken like a true capitalist. "Liquidate everything" said Mellon.

Yeah, and Detroit made too many SUV's, and we built too many McMansions, and all those fancy financial instruments...and tens of thouands have lost their jobs, and nobody's hiring, and the gov'ts are broke.

I take it is an indicator.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:15 PM
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Starbucks to close 600 stores, layoff 12,000 but; predictably, stock up 6%


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:20 PM
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Bob, you really live for people to say "Fuck you, Bob", don't you? If I were your friend, that's what I'd say just to warm your little heart, but you've explained to me that you've not.

Starbucks was on an infinite-expansion track that had to stop sometime. They just closed 4% of their outlets. Get a grip.

I'm not saying that there isn't a downturn ahead. I'm just saying that the Starbucks anecdatum isn't worth a dime. They've saturated their market and they're getting increasing competition from copycats and boutique coffee shops.

And yes, I hate the working class and revel in the wails of their starving children.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:30 PM
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"I'm not"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:30 PM
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185:John, your first apparent reaction, about corporate efficiency, did not help the solidarity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:46 PM
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Events were obvious from the newspaper and from the awareness of the underlying trends. I'm not comparing Newberry's track record to DeLong, Thoma, or Krugman. (I would say that in general that bearish commenters are usually right, just wrong about the timing, since things go on just a little bit longer than you think they can. I'm not familiar with Mish in particular.)

It was obvious that there was a housing bubble. If meant literally, then it's cockeyed to say that the Iraq War was about the housing bubble, in that it's not literally true that we invaded Iraq to prevent the housing bubble from popping. (I can imagine defensible statements that would link the two; I don't know exactly what Newberry meant.)

If you think deflation is a serious possibility, then Bernanke has been doing exactly the right thing. He's like the anti-Mellon.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:50 PM
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bob, noting that Starbucks' contraction and the stockholders' response are entirely predictable isn't betraying the solidarity, ffs.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:50 PM
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As I remember, you declared that there hadn't been any solidarity for years.

My brother managed a Starbucks 5 years or so ago, and his big problem was that he was mostly competing with two other Starbucks a couple blocks away. It was just unsustainable.

I think that it's reasonable to consider this as a blip in the coffee industry. My brother quit Starbucks to start a competing coffee shop in a different location, and he's doing very well. (Though, relevant to this argument, the credit crunch will make it hard to refinance the bad loans he has, even though the store is a proven success.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:54 PM
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In any case, I also suspect you are not understanding the strategy, which does involve oversaturation of markets with underperforming assets. Walgreen's and many banks have also followed it.

Many less people will drive or walk an extra mile to get a $5 coffee, unless they already have developed a strong Starbucks habit.

Starbucks sales are way down, so they are cutting costs. They can no longer afford the old strategic oversaturation. Expect Starbucks sales & profits to continue to decline.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 6:56 PM
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to start a competing coffee shop in a different location

Another purpose of the Starbucks strategy. What are we talking, Portland? Home of boutique coffee? Or was that Seattle.

Anyway, ain't no boutique coffee shops in Dallas but Starbucks. AFAIK, which ain't much, having never patronized or paid attention.

It was just data about layoffs and declining consumption randomly grabbed from Yahoo Headlines, not about Starbucks. Could have been any other industry.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:01 PM
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Bob, I still do not accept Starbucks' problems as a key piece of evidence about an economic downturn or the decline of Western civilization. It could mean anything or nothing.

Same with the SUV plant closing down. As gas prices go up, people buy fewer SUVs and buy different cars instead. That's the way it should be. (It's more evidence of the worthlessness of American auto industry management, of course.) If they don't buy different cars either, there's the problem.

When you try to turn every market adjustment into the end of the world it just looks stupid.

And I don't appreciate being attacked as a vicious capitalist every time I dissent from one of your pronouncements. Is that mysterious?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:04 PM
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Same with the SUV plant closing down. As gas prices go up, people buy fewer SUVs and buy different cars instead

Not the people who worked in the SUV plant or worked at Starbucks.

You are still doing it, John, still watching layoffs and assuming constant aggregate demand. And constant or increasing wages, for that matter.

You want I should link to something like BLS numbers? Not trustworthy.

Starbucks is particularly important, I think, because it is a leading indicator of discretionary spending and business confidence. If Netflix goes down next...


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:18 PM
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I'm not assuming anything. I'm just discounting anecdata.

And yes, every time there's a business adjustment, someone gets hurt. I've been there (1973, gas prices). But that's a different thing than a depression. It's a constant of the last two centuries or so.

I'm not even saying there's not going to be a depression. I just disputed those two things, which both have other explanations.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:33 PM
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As gas prices go up, people buy fewer SUVs and buy different cars instead>/i>

And that is where the Mellon quote comes in, that as businesses close and workers are laid off, capital is freed to move to more efficient uses and workers get new jobs. Say's law, disproved by Keynes.

It doesn't always work that way, and in general, it is a bad perspective to have on economics. Consumer & business confidence are not important, they are everything, and layoffs are always bad news.

Now yes, thin film solar cells was good news this week, but without consumer & business confidence, it isn't gonna help.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:43 PM
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Bob, you were using those two anecdata as evidence that things were overall bad. They don't have that weight. There are alternative explanations of both. In the case of the SUV factory, the fuel price rise made its closure very likely and reasonable. In a healthy economy, people would buy different cars. But the closure is not evidence that the economy isn't healthy.

As I understand, in Sweden businesses are free to hire and lay off according to their needs, but they pay high taxes which fund high unemployment benefits. They don't have to keep SUV factories open to make unwanted SUVs just so that the workers have jobs.

That's not our system, but it should be. Until it is, we're always going to be talking about keeping useless factories open for humanitarian reasons. But that's an argument we can't win.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:56 PM
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All data is anecdata. I have been watching Starbucks in particular, for reasons partly explained above.

More anecdata?:Increased sales in generic and house-labelled brands at grocery stores.

Why do I think depression? Because of fucking $545 trillion dollars in derivatives and other financial ghosties floating around out there, living off the vapor fumes of sputtering business confidence. Maybe it is all bullshit, but the guy who had a billion dollars in bullshit and now has nothing is less likely to bet his mortgage on the next idea, nor is the bank as willing to cover his bet.

Starbucks in a contractionary cost-cutting mood is bad fucking news.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 7:58 PM
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Well, I'm a true capitalist who delights in layoffs, so why should I care.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:00 PM
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Kobe shorts Starbucks. Twice.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:03 PM
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That's not our system, but it should be. Until it is, we're always going to be talking about keeping useless factories open for humanitarian reasons. But that's an argument we can't win.

Obama went to that factory in Wisconsin, to encourage the workers.

It is not about "humanitarian reasons", it is about consumer confidence and aggregate demand. Keynes wanted the huge safety net, and preferred inflation to layoffs, not merely to keep people from starving, but to keep people from getting scared.

Depressions are psycho/sociological events. To get real, the laid-off worker or insecure worker ain't gonna vote for increased taxes or bet his life on light rail. A lot of Starbucks customers may now be taking a second look at Obama.

More fucking anecdata

Even before the latest flooding, a group representing engineers said the United States needed to spend about $1 trillion more than it does now to bring infrastructure up to par with modern needs and standards.

"The patch-and-pray approach simply won't succeed," said David Mongan, head of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
...
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has proposed creating a $60 billion fund for infrastructure projects, funded by money saved by a promised withdrawal from the war in Iraq.
...
The state of Illinois is weighing its first capital improvement project in a decade, hoping to back $31 billion in bonds by leasing the lottery and building a casino in Chicago.

Makes me wanna kill.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 8:13 PM
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Barry Rittholz makes the 10 Best Gloom & Doom Sites but not Roubini. A travesty, an injustice. I read most of them daily.

My favourite is of course Kunstler at Clusterfuck Nation who makes the apocalypse a laughing matter, thru sheer amount of vitriol.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:57 PM
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I think Kunstler is completely wrong, but boy, can that motherfucker write.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:01 PM
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