The U.S. Congress on Friday appeared to be headed toward approving a three-week-long stopgap funding bill for the domestic security agency that postpones the threat of a partial shutdown, but moves lawmakers no closer to a permanent solution.
With only hours remaining before Department of Homeland Security funding expires at midnight, the House of Representatives was pursuing a short-term funding extension. It would give Republicans more time to agree on a way to keep the agency open over the long term, while still fighting Democratic President Barack Obama over his immigration order lifting the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented residents.
The House voted 240-183 along strict party lines to approve a procedural rule that will allow a vote on the short-term extension later in the day. The measure would then go to the Senate for expected approval on Friday afternoon.
The conditions of the idealized market model do describe ordinary retail markets, where there are plenty of restaurants, supermarkets, dry cleaners, and hardware stores, and consumers are competent to shop around for price and quality. They don’t accurately characterize the markets in health, education, labor, finance, or technological innovation, to name just five. (What is efficient about a hedge fund mogul taking home $2 billion, or a life-saving pill that retails for $5,000 a dose?)
To produce an economy that is more equitable as well as more efficient, government uses a variety of tools. It regulates to counteract market failure. It taxes to provide revenues to pay for public goods that markets under-provide at affordable prices—everything from education to health to research and development. Sometimes government passes laws to sustain other elements of a social contract, such as the laws protecting workers’ rights to form unions and to collectively bargain.
There is another, more fundamental point ignored by libertarians: The market itself is a creature of government. As Karl Polanyi famously wrote in a seeming oxymoron, “laissez-faire was planned.” Markets could not exist without states defining the terms of property ownership and commerce, creating money, enforcing contracts, protecting patents and trademarks, and providing basic public institutions. A Robinson Crusoe world never existed. So the real issue is not whether government “intrudes” on the market—the capitalist system is impossible without government. The practical question is whose interests the state serves.
A number of social scientists and journalists, such as Tom Frank (who is both) in his book, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, keep wondering why working-class voters, especially whites, fail to vote their economic self-interest. In surprisingly large numbers, they support Republicans, who would remove the weakened social protections that remain, cut back Social Security and Medicare, make the tax code even more regressive, and make American workers even more vulnerable to low-wage competition from overseas. Frank blames the cultural conservatism of much of the white working class.
But there is a more disconcerting explanation. It has been a long time since government effectively did its job of tempering the market in the interest of ordinary people. A further problem of this blurring between the public and the private is that it adds great complexity. That makes regulations and government programs harder to administer, and diffuses blame when citizens find themselves frustrated with the result. Ultimately, the government tends to take the fall more than the market.
So if we are to win the argument with the libertarians, we need to take back effective government. Friedman was wrong to argue that the cure for market failure is more market. However, the cure for weak or corrupted democracy has to be more democracy. The only way to redeem public confidence in government as a necessary check on the market is to repair faith in democracy itself. It is not difficult to prove that the claim of market efficiency is delusional. Reclaiming our democracy will be harder—but it must be done.
More: The Libertarian Delusion
If you had to choose today… Feel free to name someone from your wish list in your comments.
Ultra-Nationalist Israeli Seminary Students and/or Settlers Burn Christian School in West Jerusalem Revenge Attacks
So…. After trumping up ISIS’ anti-Christian violence for weeks, how long do you think it’ll be before we hear about ongoing anti-Christian violence in Israel from Pat Robertson (CBN) or the usual crew at Fox?
In dozens of attacks over the past seven years they call “price tags,” super-extremist Kook-fans called “Hilltop Youths” from around Mt. Zion have desecrated Christian and Muslim religious sites and assaulted clergy in the name of revenge with little fear for the justice system. While no Christians have been killed that we know about, the most recent attacks happened this Wednesday and Thursday, one of which burned a Greek Orthodox school building.
I support Judaism and Israel, but definitely not this stuff. Fair is fair, Fox News.
From Haaretz, Thursday:
Christian center set on fire, vandalized in Jerusalem hate crime attack
By Nir Hasson
A building belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem was set on fire and vandalized early on Thursday in a hate crime attack.
Firefighters arrived at the scene and extinguished the flames, and classified the fire as arson after an investigation into whether the fire was deliberately set. The forces also found hate graffiti denigrating Jesus sprayed on one of the walls…..[they also burned down a mosque the day before]
Mount Zion, the area where the suspected attack occurred, is one of the more vulnerable areas concerning price tag attacks. In the past two years, there have been dozens of various hate crimes, including the assault of Christian clergymen, graffiti, punctured tired, desecrated grave-sites, smashed gravestones and more.
In May 2014, a nearby church was set aflame shortly after Pope Francis’ visit. In 2013, vandals smashed Ottoman ceramic tiles at King David’s Tomb, thus destroying the last traces to the compound’s Muslim past. Later that year, vandals smashed gravestones of prominent historical figures at a Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion.
Church leaders have often expressed concern about monks and clergy’s fears of walking around Mount Zion in uniform due to spitting and harassment.
“In Mount Zion, might makes right, where a bully can do what he wants. There isn’t a monk here who doesn’t get spat upon - it’s part of the job description,” a senior official of one of the local churches told Haaretz months ago.
Church leaders have often blamed students at local Yeshivas, visiting from the Diaspora, for the attacks. In recent years, the visiting Yeshiva students have been identified with the “hilltop youth,” some of whom have been expelled from the territories. The head of the Yeshiva denied the allegations.
From World Bulletin:
Israel settlers torch W. Jerusalem Christian school
by World Bulletin, News Desk
Israeli settlers on Thursday torched one of the rooms of a Christian religious school in West Jerusalem and inscribed phrases offending to Jesus Christ on its walls.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement that unidentified people had committed a crime of “national proportions.”
She added that fire was set to the school room and a toilet used by priests and students of Christianity inside the school.
Samri noted that the attackers also wrote phrases offending to Jesus Christ on walls near the room.
“Firefighters had put off the fire, which caused material damage in the place,” Samri said, noting that the fire had not caused any human casualties.
More at Haaretz (Google around the pay wall if need be)
News just hitting the wires that Leonard Nimoy has died. Very sad but at least he died knowing his talent and personal character were loved by young and old everywhere.
Most people remember his iconic Spock character but one other talent of his got me through college. I found this LP in a local Goodwill Store and it spent much time on my turntable making me laugh and annoying roommates. Good times. Thank you, Mr. Nimoy.
I clipped in the last paragraph. It’s pretty frightening. Ten to one? Or worse? Look at this exact point the only check against this imbalance is the middle and the left raise about the same amount of money. Long term we must have legislative relief on this. That means a President steps up and presses hard. Probably not Pres. Obama but the next one. Link I said above think 2016.
The Democratic operative guessed that at this point, Republicans may be taking in 100 corporate dollars for every one that reaches Democrats. “We don’t really know — it’s at least 10-to-1.” She added, “The truth is Democrats don’t get much [501(c)(4)] corporate money, and that’s because their interests often aren’t aligned. I’d gladly have c4s shut down — that would be a huge boon for us.”
Yet another study among several decade’s worth of other studies that once more proves the link between carbon dioxide and warming.
A new study has confirmed what it was already proved through lab experiments that the greenhouse effect is real and it is happening in the United States. A new study showed that pumping carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere is causing the surface of our plant to warm up. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature.
Scientists at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in California, led by scientist Dan Feldman have measured carbon dioxide concentrations and have obtained proof that the rising levels of CO2 are leading to the greenhouse effect.
Ever since the early ’60s scientists have noticed that the levels of carbon dioxide as well as other greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are increasing. Lab tests and various other experiments have shown how these gases absorb some of the infrared radiation that our planet emits into the outer space and when that happens, the planet’s temperature rises. The entire process is similar to the way a greenhouse works and that is why scientists named this process the greenhouse effect.
Cuban and U.S. officials meet in Washington on Friday for a second round of talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations, amid friction over Cuba’s place on a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The one-day talks, led by senior diplomats, stem from the decision announced by the two Cold War era foes on Dec. 17 to work to normalize relations, including opening embassies in each other’s countries, and to exchange prisoners. Washington severed diplomatic relations with Cuba 54 years ago.
Big news for fans of Open Source tools for cloud virtualization.
The open-source Docker container application virtualization technology is moving forward today with the availability of three new orchestration tools—Machine, Swarm and Compose—that were first announced at the DockerCon EU conference in December.
Docker Machine is a technology that enables the Docker Engine—the application virtualization piece of Docker—to be quickly deployed on any server. Docker Swarm provides Docker container clustering capabilities, and Docker Compose enables multiple containers to be pulled together to run a single logical application.
“These are the first versions that a broad set of users could get their hands on to download to use in their environments,” David Messina, vice president of enterprise marketing at Docker Inc., told eWEEK.
It is about one of our august state representatives, a gentlelady by the name of Sheila Butt, who once said there would be no global warming if we used more hairspray, but this is not about that. This is about the fact that Sheila is Not Racist. Everybody is being mean to her and saying she is racist, though, because she went on the Facebook recently to comment on a nice note from the Council on American-Islamic Relations encouraging Republicans to stop hating Muslims so much. Butt said what we REALLY NEED is a “Council on Christian Relations” and a “NAAWP,” which some dumb liberal media types are dumbly and liberally assuming might stand for National Association For The Advancement Of White People, but they are wrong.
NOT RACIST, Rep. Butt can explain.
The Republican floor leader posted the comment on Jan. 27 on the Facebook page of Cathy Hinners, who operates Daily Roll Call, a website critical of Muslims in America and specifically in Tennessee. The comment, obtained by Pith, was deleted and later replaced with, “We need groups that will stand for Christians and our Western culture. We don’t have groups dedicated to speaking on our behalf.”