The Morning Grumpy – 8/6/12

6 Aug

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. Thinking about buying and rehabbing a house in the City of Buffalo that is scheduled for demolition? Not sure how the process works or where to start? Follow the blog “Unbreak My House” for details on how maddening/rewarding the process can be.

We’re K and A, and we’re trying to buy a house from the City that was slated for demolition.  Why are we trying to do this?  Well, it’s a very cool house: it’s big, it’s old, it’s retained some nice historic touches and is largely structurally sound.  It’s also next to a few vacant plots of land.  K does historic preservation and contracting work and between him, my less impressive skills, the funds we have scraped together, and our handy friends, we will be able to pull off a renovation/rehab.  We like the area and we like the idea of saving another of Buffalo’s old houses from being reduced to an empty plot of barren land.

You’ll be able to observe these two potential rehabbers fight City Hall, navigate red tape, and take on the challenge of renovating a beautiful old home in Buffalo. This should be fascinating.

2. The Brookings Institution adds itself to the list of every major economic think tank, individual economist, non-partisan budget office, and three toed sloth with basic math skills to proclaim Mitt Romney’s proposed tax plan as horrible for everyone except for people like Mitt Romney.

Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.

Let’s make Romney’s plan as simple as we can make it.


3.  Nice job, Rochester! The Raging Grannies of Rochester inspired a great story from Bill Moyers this past weekend. The story of how Medicare came to be enacted as legislation under President Johnson and how we should continue to strive for “Medicare For All”

4. How about an entertaining takedown of libertarian politics to start our Monday off on the right foot?

Libertarianism isn’t some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional “left to right” spectrum. It’s a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

While in college, I spent more time arguing with libertarians than I care to remember. I probably won’t engage you in the comments section, I’ve long grown bored with boxing you about the ideological ears.

5. I’ve written about this before, but it deserves to be written about again.Why isn’t HSBC Bank being held accountable for their actions? Why have criminal investigations not yet been announced?

Last month a Senate panel held a hearing on the U.K. bank HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and its ties to drug lords, money laundering, al- Qaeda and rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea.

Here’s a bank with $2.7 trillion of assets that flouted U.S. laws for a decade, according to the July 17 report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. HSBC turned a blind eye to organized crime, Mexican drug cartels and overseas terrorism financiers, and gave them access to the U.S. banking system. HSBC’s main U.S. regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, for years tolerated its violations of anti-money laundering laws.

For this, HSBC and the OCC apologized. Justice Department fines are likely. It’s an outrage HSBC hasn’t had its U.S. banking licenses revoked, assuming the Senate panel’s report is accurate — and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t.

Just because banks are “too big to fail”, it shouldn’t mean that they are above the law.

Fact Of The Day: The Dancing Plague of 1518 was a case of widespread dancing mania. Numerous people took to dancing for days without rest, and, over the period of about one month, some of the people died from heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion. The Pope was heard to have remarked, “Sorry for party rockin’, y’all“.

Quote Of The Day: “Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.” – Descartes

Video Of The Day: Here’s another woman lighting her tap water on fire. This time, in the Marcellus Shale region. She also responds to Chesapeake Energy’s explanation that methane is “naturally occurring” in local water wells.

Song Of The Day: “The E Street Shuffle” – Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band Live in Denmark (With The Roots). Earn your audience every night, kids.

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

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One Response to “The Morning Grumpy – 8/6/12”

  1. Jesse Griffis August 6, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Two interesting articles from liberals who hate libertarians makes for some good morning grist, but they’re well off the mark.

    Alternet first: claiming that libertarians are just old white guys who don’t want to vote for the Democrat is woefully mistaken. Younger voters are trending in libertarian (adjective not capitalized) ways in every walk of life. There’s already plenty of polling data out there that says the voters who have, for example, created the swell of support for Ron Paul will just stay home rather than vote for Romney.

    Alternet’s originating premise is that national libertarian writers are just a-holes trying to look cool. That’s insightful analysis right there! The endless digs in every paragraph (haw haw they wants to privatize the air!!!) turn what might be useful insight into blather.

    The guy even missed the entire fucking point: “79% of Millennials don’t consider themselves politically-engaged at all so, uh, keep that in mind”.

    That pretty well defines the “win” of libertarian thought in the 2010s.

    Your Alternet guy cries that libertarianism is just conservatism but then realizes that Millenials, who DO NOT identify as liberals either, hate conservatism.

    So, in short: not insightful, bursting with straw(men), claiming to know what libertarians will say when you ask them something… and then back to claiming it’s all radical right wing conservatism… when it ain’t.

    On to “The Nation”.

    Point 1: Cato claimed to be against Bush but was for him. Really? The Cato Institute does not impose doctrine on its employees. The fact that some of them backed some parts of the Bush nonsense? Good for them! They were wrong, and there were even battles within the organization between members. Your guy here doesn’t note any of the “Bush is an idiot” papers, articles, books and so on that were coming out starting in Jan 2001. Doesn’t fit the story he’s trying to sell.

    Point 2: Cato fights the left and right. Cherry picking again. Ignore all evidence that goes against your version of the ‘truth’ and you can tell any story you want.

    Point 3: Koch’s won’t change what’s already a Repub organization. Again, ignoring all evidence, apparently those members listed are the ONLY members of the organization. Or something.

    Point 4: Cato people aren’t really independent: “a serial deleter of inconvenient facts”. Indeed.

    A more charitable (realistic) reading of Cato’s work over the last 15 years leads me to believe that the organization is like any other large group: People’s views inhabit the full spectrum. Their output is varied in both quality and political leaning. There are more differences in policy recommendations from Cato scholars than from any similarly-sized liberal group that claims “open-mindedness”.

    And then your Nation guy descends to strawmen, cherry-picked quotes, and ad hominems, with a great guilt-by-association at the bottom.

    But really, in the end, I’m going to vote for Gary Johnson, you guys are going to vote for Obama. You are just as “open-minded” as me, politically. You’ll go about brushing any concerns you have about your guy under the rug as you pull the lever.

    Thanks for the opportunity to read what the haters believe.

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