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Monday, July 28, 2014

Bill Maher closed this week's "Real Time" by poking a stick at the notion that the free market is always right. Pointing out the hypocrisy of the right's adherence to that belief, he insisted, "Big business is the new big government. It is the massive, unwieldy bureaucracy that just doesn't work."

Using the lack of real costumer service in big business as a jumping off point, Maher explained that the absence of choice due to any real government pushback on mergers has left our economy at the whim of people whose policy is to annoy you out of your money.

There's a name for this strategy, and it doesn't come from the Heritage Foundation (although the individual mandate did). It comes from Soviet Communism: "heighten the contradictions." The idea is to root for, and even enable, bad outcomes of your ideological opponents' power, in the hopes that these bad outcomes will convince people to rise up against your opponents. It's a grim way to look at the world, but here we are.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The United States does not have ambassadors in more than a quarter of the countries in the world, hindering U.S. efforts on issues ranging from counterterrorism work in Africa to the flood of children fleeing Central America for the U.S. border. The vacancies are driven by the Senate, where President Barack Obama's nominations for ambassadors are caught in a partisan feud. "We're going without our strongest voice on the ground every day in more than 25 percent of the world," Secretary of State John Kerry said last week, noting that a fourth of the 169 nations where the U.S. has embassies are without ambassadors. "We cannot lead if we are not there and we can't be there if the Senate won't confirm our best and brightest."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Russian president's spokesman Dmitry Peskov famously said last November: "There's a lot of rumors. But we never did not talk about the family of Vladimir Putin and will not do this."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Corporations are social organizations, the theater in which men and women realize or fail to realize purposeful and productive lives.

Lester Bangs


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