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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

• • America’s CEO, Scott Walker: CPAC and the Rebranding of America as a Company Town 
Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  |Paul Ryan  | Scott Walker marched onto the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) stage as the event's only rock star. He then delivered a postmodern vision for America's future president by cobbling together pieces of Frank Capra's and Ayn Rand's vision for a people's hero from central casting. The result: Scott Walker as CEO of a company town hitherto known as the United States of America. [....] Unlike Paul Ryan’s more rigid adherence to the true (read: frat-boy mean) Galt character, Walker morphs him into a 21st-century compassionate conservative who, in pursuing his own self-interest, is really helping everyone shed the chains of the New Deal.

Monday, March 25, 2013

• • Free Market Mythologies and the Future of Public Ownership 
Capitalism  |Individualism  | The free market utopia is in fact a banana republic, an individualistic Randian society in which a small group of extremely wealthy individuals, hidden away in gated communities and protected by their disproportionate influence of key functions of the state (the courts, political parties, and so on), control the vast majority of productive wealth and property while the rest of the population is forced to fight for an ever shrinking share of whatever scraps are left on the table. We are well on our way to this dystopia.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

• • Mad Stories and the Politics of Disposability in Paul Ryan's World 
Capitalism  | Stories that provided a sense of history, social responsibility, and respect for the public good were once told by our parents, churches, synagogues, schools and community leaders. Today, the stories that define who we are as individuals and as a nation are told by a right-wing and liberal media who largely channel the narratives of celebrities, billionaires and ethically frozen politicians who preach the mutually related virtues of the free market and a permanent war economy. Burying alive the conditions of their own making, these stories enshrine both greed and massive disparities in wealth and income and also reproduce the workings of the market as a type of political theology that inscribes a sense of destiny - a tribute to Ayn Rand savagery and Margaret Thatcher's notion that there is nothing beyond individual gain and the values of the corporate order.

Monday, February 18, 2013

 Charging Through the Archway of History: Immigrants and African-Americans Unite to Transform the Fac 
[E]lections decide nothing. The zombie-like grip that policies implemented by cohorts of Reagan/Ayn Rand acolytes will only be broken by collective action.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

 The CBO Report: Six Things You Can't Talk About in Washington 
Alan Greenspan  | It’s gotten so severe that the United States has a more unequal distribution of income than Egypt. Nobody saw that coming – not even Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan, who chaired the commission that adjusted Social Security benefits and revenues in the 1980s.

• • You Should Be Outraged by What Is Being Done to Our Postal Service 
Paul Ryan  | Most Americans recognize the threats to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as pieces of the austerity plan advanced by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and the rest of the Ayn Rand–reading wrecking crew that has taken over the Republican Party. But it is important to recognize that the austerity agenda extends in every direction: from threats to Food Stamps and Pell Grants, to education cuts, to the squeezing of transportation funding.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

• • • Ayn Rand: Queen of the Universe 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Image  | Thirty years after her death, Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness and billionaire empowerment rules the world. It’s a remarkable achievement for an ideology that was pushed to the fringes for most of her life, and ridiculed on national television in a notorious interview with Mike Wallace. But, it’s happened. And today, the United States and other independent governments around the world are crumbling while Ayn Rand’s billionaires are taking over.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

• • Top Five Lines From Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address 
1. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative. They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.

This, finally, is a direct challenge to the Randian philosophy of the right. There are not moochers and looters, says Obama. There are just Americans. And if we as a society choose to help those who need help, that does not diminish us. It strengthens us.

Monday, January 28, 2013

• • The Demise of the GOP? Don't Get Your Hopes Up 
Capitalism  | And then came the Koch/Armey Teabaggers, some of whom have gotten folks like [Joe] Scarborough all upset. But why? Are they really against basic GOP policies that have been GOP policies since the 19th century? Why no. They are all for them. The problem is that they just don’t treat the cover issues in the “right way.” They are in fact too honest. They are really right up-front in their racism, in their misogyny, in their religious authoritarianism, in their anti-trade unionism, in their denial of science and their concomitant promotion of creationism, in their “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” Randian social philosophy (that was actually strongly promoted by Reagan but with “polite” language). They are just plain embarrassing on the one hand and much too honest on the other.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

• • Fox News Takes on the No Billionaires Campaign 
Atlas Shrugged  | [T]his idea that our economy rests on the shoulders of benevolent billionaires is a total fabrication. To the shock of Ayn Rand and the employees of billionaire Rupert Murdoch, if the billionaires one day finally shrugged and left town…nothing would happen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

 How the “Fiscal Cliff” Is Making Us All Indebted Servants to Wall Street 
Capitalism  | [Richard] Wolff points out that with the general stagnation of wages (adjusted for inflation) over many years, buying power of the working class consumer, as a trend, is only advanced through increased debt. It is a money-squeeze by the oligarchy, an exquisitely perverse strategy. Indeed, it has been an Alice in Wonderland version of Ayn Randian destruction of the asset value of the public commons.

• • On the News With Thom Hartmann: Civil Liberties Were Once Again Defeated in the Senate on Thursday,  
Video  | Sounds to me like a newly discovered Earth-clone is the perfect place for Libertarians to try to start up their Ayn Rand paradise far, far away from the rest of us who actually care for one another. When do the first space ships leave??

Thursday, January 10, 2013

 A View From Washington: The President's Quest for the Unholy Grail 
So, what happens if Boehner and Obama get into a death tussle and go over the Reichenbach Falls of the Fiscal Cliff like Holmes and Moriarty in a partisan death hug? The Sequester – or, “government by meat cleaver wielded by people with more teeth than brain cells” – kicks in and cuts spending in drastic, almost random ways, shrinking government in ways that would make Ayn Rand dance a jig with Von Hayek. Revenues would also increase as taxes return to higher than our historically low rates.

Friday, December 21, 2012

• • A Former Republican Insider Begs for Sanity 
Atlas Shrugged  | [Bruce] Bartlett [...] jumped on Mitt Romney’s now infamous 47% comments. “Somehow they believe, as Ayn Rand did, the rich are like John Galt…they’re the only ones who are productive. All the rest of us are just lazy bums and moochers and they carry us on their backs,” he said. “And somehow this propaganda has penetrated millions and millions of ignorant fools in the Tea Party, who are the shock troops of this revolution.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

 The Battle for Democracy Is Year-Round 
The post-election belittling of Democratic voters as "moochers" (to use the words of Ayn Rand) has nothing on the pre-election efforts to stop Democratic voters from voting.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

• • Paul Ryan's Misconceived Rugged Individualism 
The Fountainhead  |Egoism  |Individual Rights  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | In The Fountainhead, novelist Ayn Rand - Ryan’s inspiration - extolled unbridled individualism by depicting an ambitious architect vying to succeed on his own. But could a real-world architect fulfill his aspirations if beset by health problems and exorbitant bills? Medical expenses are a leading cause behind the majority of US bankruptcies. Most of the bankrupted are not even poor, but middle-class. Further, approximately 45,000 Americans die every year due to inadequate health insurance. In other words, access to health care empowers people to live their lives.

Friday, November 30, 2012

 Why the Obscenely Wealthy Whine When They Have It So Good 
Capitalism  | And speaking of whiners,  isn’t Mitt Romney an Ayn Rand Hall-of-Famer for honestly expressing the victimization of the rich at the hands of the moochers?  Didn’t he basically say,  “Isn’t it clear that they have rigged the election against us!  And yet for only $50,000 from each of you my brothers and sisters I will soldier on against these moocher barbarians!” 

• • Romney’s “47 Percent” Blunder Reveals the Hidden Heart of His Agenda 
Paul Ryan  | The moocher discourse regained prominence in the 1950s and 1960s, in the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater and the immensely popular novels of Ayn Rand, who explicitly wrote about the war between "productives" and "moochers." Rand became a hero to the new generation of young conservatives that included Paul Ryan, who helped lead the "New Right" to build a base among white workers, especially in the South.

Friday, November 09, 2012

• • • The Antidote to Ayn Rand 
Alan Greenspan  |Altruism  |Atheism  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  | [T]he choice between Rand and Dewey is not one between individualism and collectivism, as the right would have us believe the current election is. It is a choice between competing visions of a free society - of how to balance individual self-interest and the collective good. On the one hand, we have an atavistic utopian fantasy that celebrates radical dissociation, unrestrained capitalism, and the virtue of selfishness, and on the other hand, we have an open, democratic and public-minded philosophy, firmly grounded in the world as it is. If the ultimate worth of an idea is indeed how it works in practice, the era of progress and growth in which Dewey played an active role speaks volumes over the era of decline and economic injustice we brought on ourselves by listening to Rand.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

• • On the News With Thom Hartmann: CISPA Might Be Another Example of Bought and Paid-For Legislation, a 
Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  |Video  | [M]ulti-millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan – author of one of the most radical hard-right budgets to ever pass the House of Representatives – has a little Ayn Rand problem on his hands. After catching flak from the Catholic Bishops, who said his budget is more in line with his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand than Jesus Christ, millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan has tried to distance himself from previous remarks he’s made supporting Ayn Rand. But the Ayn Rand think tank The Atlas Society is applauding the Ryan budget as being, “very much in line with the direction that we stand for and would like to see the government go.” The Atlas Society also released a 2005 speech by Paul Ryan in which Ryan brags that the one person who most inspired him to seize power over our government was Ayn Rand. Now that explains a lot.