erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Thursday December 05, 2013

Dibs on the Heist Movie

From The Economist, Nov. 23:

The world’s rich are increasingly investing in expensive stuff, and “freeports” such as Luxembourg’s are becoming their repositories of choice. Their attractions are similar to those offered by offshore financial centres: security and confidentiality, not much scrutiny, the ability for owners to hide behind nominees, and an array of tax advantages. This special treatment is possible because goods in freeports are technically in transit, even if in reality the ports are used more and more as permanent homes for accumulated wealth. If anyone knows how to game the rules, it is the super-rich and their advisers. ...

The goods they stash in the freeports range from paintings, fine wine and precious metals to tapestries and even classic cars. (Data storage is offered, too.) Clients include museums, galleries and art investment funds as well as private collectors. Storage fees vary, but are typically around $1,000 a year for a medium-sized painting and $5,000-12,000 to fill a small room.

Posted at 06:52 AM on Dec 05, 2013 in category Politics
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Monday November 04, 2013

How to Win Political Arguments in Your Sleep

Stupid political arguments have invaded my unconscious.

Last night I dreamed I was at work, but not my work, where me and a colleague were schmoozing a couple of loudmouths from the South. They were big, brash types who acted as if they knew it all; as if they had secret information we weren’t privy to. At one point I asked them where they were from. “Texas,” said the more heavyset man. Where in Texas? I asked. “You know Texas?” he asked. “Florida, Texas. Near Dallas.”

My dream self thought the place sounded familiar but I couldn’t quite place it.

“Did they make a movie set there or something?” I asked.

The heavyset man cocked his head knowingly. “Movie? No, not a movie. History. You watch the news? You pay attention to what’s going on in the world?”

“A bit.”

He began to go on about in Texas this and in Texas that, and I was nodding politely; then he launched into an anti-Obama argument. He claimed Obama was an illegitimate leader, a usurper, etc. etc., and my colleague was stunned but silent, so I looked over at the man and laid my cards on the table.

“Yeah, I know about Obama. I volunteered for his campaign in 2012. I donated $3,000 to his campaign.”

The dude came back with in Texas this and in Texas that, and the conversation quickly devolved, and the main thing I remember was being on top of the dude, my finger in his face, and saying the following:

“You may be from Texas, and they may do things a certain way there, but now you’re in Seattle. And in Seattle? I’m the conservative.”

When I woke up I thought it wasn’t a bad line for a dream, if a bit cheesey. I’m sure I’ve heard it in a similar context before.

Interpretations welcome. Particularly “Florida, Texas.”

Posted at 06:51 AM on Nov 04, 2013 in category Politics
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Thursday October 31, 2013

Drowning Rousseau

Here's your info graphic of the day courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov:

Deficit reduction under Obama

Feel free to use it when talking to various right-wingers and Tea Partiers and FOX News watchers who complain about how out-of-control spending has gotten under Pres. Obama. Just don't expect them to listen. From Salman Rushdie's memoir of his fatwa years, “Joseph Anton,” pp. 70-71:

In February 1983 thirty-eight Shia Muslims, followers of a man named Sayyad Willayat Hussain Shah, were convinced by him that God would part the waters of the Arabian Sea at his request, so that they could make a pilgrimmage across the ocean floor to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq. They followed him into the waters and many of them were drowned. The most extraordinary part of the incident was that some of those who survived claimed, in spit of all evidence to the contrary, to have witnessed the miracle.

Posted at 07:26 AM on Oct 31, 2013 in category Politics
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Monday October 21, 2013

A Conservative Theology Becoming a Revolutionary Idea by Attracting the Non-Urban and Marginalized: A Quiz

Quick quiz about the following quote:

Here was a fascinating paradox: that an essentially conservative theology, looking backward with affection toward a vanishing culture, became a revolutionary idea, because the people whom it attracted most strongly were those who had been marginalized by urbanization—the disaffected poor, the street mob.

Who said it about whom? Was it:

  • A: Andrew Sullivan on the Tea-Party-wing of the GOP
  • B: Gore Vidal on the '64 Goldwater campaign
  • C: Salman Rushdie on the birth of Islam

Answer in the comments section.

Posted at 06:09 AM on Oct 21, 2013 in category Politics
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Wednesday October 16, 2013

Moyers: It's Not a Shutdown; It's Sabotage of the Democratic Process

Here's Bill Moyers on the Tea Party-led and GOP-led and credibility-destroying government shutdown. Moyers doesn't like the term 'shutdown':

At least let's name this for what it is: sabotage of the democratic process; secession by another means. And let's be clear about where such reckless ambition leads: as surely as night must follow day, the alternative to democracy is worse.

See the whole video essay here.

Confederate flag at the White House

American idiot celebrating secession by another means.

Posted at 07:57 AM on Oct 16, 2013 in category Politics
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