Open Thread (with a bit of trade deficit)

February's trade deficit widened to 42.3 billion, with about half due to trade with China.


Dean Baker, economic prognosticator extraordinaire at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, identifies the US trade deficit as the biggest obstacle to full employment. 


If so, America exporting demand and jobs abroad is a good candidate for most under-reported story.


Baker claims that even though many multi-nationals are comfortable shifting America's manufacturing base abroad, there are a variety of tactics the federal government might take to stop the job and demand drain associated with the trade deficit:


First, the US could pass legislation that gave the government the right to treat currency management as a violation of international trading rules, leading to offsetting tariffs. Second, we could also tax foreign holdings of United States Treasuries, making the usual tactic of currency managers more expensive. Third, we could institute reciprocity into the process of currency management: If a country wants to buy our Treasuries, we must be able to buy theirs.

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Paging the mods

mmghosh's picture

has the site's comment pages changed?  Or is it my Nokia Lumia mobile that has disallowed viewing an entire diary with comments in one scrollable list rather than as pages?


I prefer to scroll down than having to flip pages.

*bashes in demon's skull with flail, notes post*

M Scott Eiland's picture

Looks normal to me.

*shrugs, goes back to killing demons on Sanctuary*

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

On a loosely related note

brutusettu's picture

Xbox One likes to routinely and repeatedly pretend that Xbox One games were never put in the drive.


CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, all work fine* but physical Xbox One disc must be some sort of transdimensional object to the console.


*except for the time I didn't log in for a while and the console acted like it didn't know what to do with the DVDs until the moment I logged in.  Plus the super awesome Kinect Spyware that Microsoft is trying to push on its customers.



Everything looks fine with chrome

You rang?

Jay C's picture

No changes here, at least to my knowledge. Like Jordan, I was, ummm, diligently on duty - and as far as I see, the site is displaying normally on my (Dell/Windows) notebooks, my backup MacBook, and my tablet (iPad). My guess is it's something to do with the (browser) setting(s) on your device, especially if the comments were scrolling OK previously: but again, I'd have to have you annoy refer you to HankP for confirmation.




My pager went off right in the middle of an important


state dinner golf game phone call movie video game I was just browsing the internet. Wasting time before bed. The answer is this is really a Hank/Wetherman question. We mods have nearly unlimited powers, and by unlimited I mean there are corks on the tines of our forks and by powers I mean we have no idea what we're doing.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

It Happens Every Year

M Scott Eiland's picture

One side gets a headstart at the beginning of the MLB season. This year, the f***ing treacherous douchebags seem to be ahead of the pitchers. Hopefully, this will end soon.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The US needs public internet infrastructure structure


like its roads and electricity infrastructure. Vox media has the conversation



By their logic,

Bird Dog's picture

or your logic, the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland need public Internet infrastructure even more. But what Vox didn't tell you is the Internet penetration rates. Despite these paltry public investments, the US, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland are respectively ranked 27th (78.3%), 14th (84.1%), 8th (89.5%) and 13th (84.2%). The Portuguese should be asking what they're getting for their tax money. They're not even in the top 50.

Logic fail.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I agree our Internet is substandard


But most of the electricity infrastructure is privately owned.   The wires are on public easements,  and are "public carriers" that are required to make themselves available according to neutral rules,  but they are often privately owned and operated for profit.  Most generating plants are just flat private.

Wha, am I supposed to be some damn expert on the law?


LUFKIN, Texas (AP) — Police in East Texas have arrested a woman after she called them to complain about the quality of the marijuana she had purchased from a dealer.

Lufkin police Sgt. David Casper said Monday that an officer went to the home of 37-year-old Evelyn Hamilton to hear her complaint that the dealer refused to return her money after she objected that the drug was substandard.

Casper says she pulled the small amount of marijuana from her bra when the officer asked if she still had it.

She was arrested Friday on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hamilton said Monday she spent $40 on "seeds and residue." She says she called police when she got no satisfaction from the dealer's family.

US Navy fueled model plane on fuel made from saltwater

brutusettu's picture

Rand Paul and Dick Cheney



But, you know, a couple hundred million dollars later Dick Cheney earns from Halliburton, he comes back into government. Now Halliburton's got a billion-dollar no-bid contract in Iraq. You know, you hate to be so cynical that you think some of these corporations are able to influence policy, but I think sometimes they are. Most of the people on these [congressional] committees have a million dollars in their bank account all from different military-industrial contractors. We don't want our defense to be defined by people who make money off of the weapons.


2016 is going to be an EPIC gop primary.



Well, you can't claim he's trying to play to both sides on this one.   He's writing off the majority of existing Republican primary voters.  I'd guess his strategy is that the pro-war side will have 4 to 6 candidates splitting up the vote.    


Either that, or the same speechwriter that was plagiarizing earlier slipped this one in without him knowing in advance.



Yikes-and-a-half !

Jay C's picture

We don't want our defense to be defined by people who make money off of the weapons.

So when is someone going to inform Sen. Paul that that horse has not only left the barn, but left town, scammed an insurance policy on the barn, and came back and burned it down to collect even more.....?


SRSLY, he's just figuring this out NOW????

Paul/Huntsman 2016

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Hey Republicans--f*** you and the horses you rode in on! Now vote for us so we can win the general election, you f***ing sheep!"

What could go wrong?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I think they'll get by fine after not lying through their teeth

brutusettu's picture

on those 2 respective issues.



Huntsman landed a job at a think tank and Paul can probably make some change on the side in the Senate or at a future think tank job.



more GOP politicians in charge and triple the war profiteering!


GOP 2016: We Invade For Profit

Has Talkingpointsmemo turned to evil?


Intrusive pop-up ads with sound and video on every page, sneaky rich media ads designed to evade adblockers, endless pushiness to join the "TPM Prime" subscription service... if the site becomes even slightly more obnoxious I'm going to have to find some other reasonably good news aggregator. 


In related news, Google's account services blow (especially in regard to youtube accounts), the new Google Maps is stupidly broken (good luck finding how to turn on mass transit), and the main Google search engine is so warped by people trying to game (or buy) the search algorithm, plus the Amazon-style effort to divine what you're really searching for that results have gone from 85% disappointing to 98% disappointing in just the past few years.


The internet as we once knew it is fast disappearing, my friends, eaten alive by venture capital lions and packs of hyenas-at-law. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Try Feedly (nt)



"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Alternative to Talking Points Memo


Ezra Klein's new adventure is up, Vox media


I'm personally training myself away from TPM (which also had some troubling PhRMA-sponsored articles recently, and focuses too much on pt.less little DC spats) to Vox and The Intercept (Glenn Greenwald's new outfit).

I've been looking in on Vox. I've got no use for Greenwald


except as a bellwether for nasty crap the gov't is up to. His critical reasoning skills leave much to be desired. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I think Greenwald is about as off to the left as Marshall


is to the center.


But the INtercept is more than Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher and Jeremy Scahill are solid reporters.

It's not the leftism that bothers me, it's about the inability


to write cant-free analysis or to weigh conflicting viewpoints in an objective manner.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The graphic design at is horrid.


As twee, vapid and self-absorbed as the reporting.  Hypoxic.

Agreed. It appears to be a "mobile-friendly" modular design,


the same approach that has made Facebook all but unusable in the past year or so. Type is too big, images & screens fit poorly in browser windows, the whole thing requires far more scrolling than classic web design. The color palette (of the type at least) is pretty low-contrast and therefore easy on the eyes, so that at least is good.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



Eye of the beholder and all that, but I think it looks really sharp. Love the browser-wide image, the block cutouts for the text. Very optimized for mobile, too.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Please. That vomitrocious yellow belongs on nuclear waste


barrels.   No coherence across the site:  Looks like some Wild West wanted poster - sans serif here, serif there, italics here, bold, the colour scheme from Hell.  The CSS is po-thetic. 

Not much upside in these kinds of discussions


to paraphrase Elvis Costello, writing about design is like dancing about architecture.


But to defend... mixing serif with sans serif, italics with roman is a standard of the newspaper style. Just look at the NYT, in print or online.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I think Eric Gill once said


There are about as many different varieties of type as there are different kinds of idiots.   Or something like that.

Mixing serif & sanserif isn't necessarily a sin.


Engaging in unadulterated (or rather, I'd guess, very adulterated) font peRv behavior, however, is


Edit: oops, well, turns out editing removed all the font settings. I'm not going to re-typeset the whole thing.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Shoulda seen me trying to get that Courageous Endeavors diary


to post.  Think I must have reset that wretched table at least eight times:  fixing anything destroys half the table parms.  I hate tables anyway.  Still don't like how it turned out.  The post went over like a lead balloon anyway. 


There's an argument for both serif and sans serif on the same page.  There is none for sans and italic serif fonts on the same page.  I don't like more than four fonts on the same page.  Again, times may have changed but basic design principles haven't.  There's always going to be a certain amount of faddish-ness at all times.  Doesn't mean I have to like it. 


Seems some old woman from Surrey went to Switzerland to check out.  She hated what the world had become.  Can't be bothered to look up the reference.  Anyway, having never thrown out a necktie and seen them all come back into fashion (I never succumbed to the bigfatwide necktie phenomenon back in the day) , I think I understand how she felt.  Web design has not improved much over the years.  A few sites are fairly well designed, fewer work well out of the box.  Recently recommended to a stylist friend who wanted to do her own site. 


My own stuff has been more restrained, guided by better graphic designers than myself.  My websites all intercept the browser info and push to either a web or mobile version of the site.  Easy enough to do right, if you design it properly up front.  Trying to do both creates a lousy web experience and a lousy mobile/tablet experience.  One always suffers for the cause of the other.  Different interfaces entirely.  Form must follow function:  they're used differently.  Been at this too long to be buffaloed by some pony-tailed jackass with pretentions of design grandeur. 

I always liked the French Air.


Stuff never gets old.  Sitting here, most of the day, doing verified file backups onto a new drive.   Tired, bored and fretful, in the headphones, watching top and cp crawling through the wasteland.


In response to Radio #1, Metronomy's new thing, Monstrous


Today's old guy tunes include  the following, in no particular order

Mallard Winged Tuskadero

Edgar Winter, How do You Like Your Love



I think it's a promising start design-wise


tho if that's the final product I wouldn't be satisfied

Why The Past Tense? :-P

M Scott Eiland's picture


The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Hey, there's destroying western civilization evil,


and then there's seriously-inconvenciencing-my-browsing-experience evil. I think we all know which tactic Satan has his chips on.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

If you think


torture in un-American or brutal,  you're too emotional and not being objective.

A decade of


institutionalizing torture to be as American as apple pie is all in the past my friend!




M Scott Eiland's picture

I really don't want to hear a barrage of complaints from Amanda Marcotte, et al, about casual sexism from government officials, but in this case they'd have a point, so I'll wander off rolling my eyes in irritation at the beating by engraved invitation that will follow.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

What's really disturbing is when representatives


from one of the world's premiere intelligence agencies appear to expect the public to buy into special pleading & convenient character assassination your average 2nd grade teacher would see through before the first 3 words were out of the malcreant's mouth. The conclusion comes in the form of a choice: either they think we're stupider than we are, are they think they're smarter than they are. Neither option instills much confidence in their "intelligence."


There is a special thrill in seeing Sen. Feinstein knee this kind of thinwit garbage in the nuts. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Maybe He's Ready To Retire

M Scott Eiland's picture

Insulting a sitting US Senator in a way that will probably have even her colleagues across the aisle bristling is a pretty good way for an appointed official to take the express route to permanent unemployment.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Mickey Rooney: 1920-2014

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Andy Hardy Takes His Final Bow."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Fascinating article on trading.

mmghosh's picture

But it turns out that the speed of light is of great practical interest to some people. One group of them have shelled out $300m to lay a fibreoptic cable in a straight line from Chicago to New York. This involves, among other things, drilling through mountains and under urban areas. And for what? So that the time taken to send a signal between New York and Chicago could be reduced from 17 milliseconds to 13. For that apparently infinitesimal improvement, stock market traders were willing to pay $14m a year, plus a substantial upfront payment, to use the cable.


For it turns out that for people armed with the right kit, software and networking skills, an advantage of a few milliseconds is enough to let them turn a $14m annual subscription into annual profits of $20bn.

These people are called high-frequency traders – "high-frequency" because they are incredibly active (they submit almost 99% of the orders on US stock markets) and buy and sell shares in milliseconds. They are not really "traders" in any normal sense of the term, but software algorithms, and they now dominate the most important stock markets in the capitalist world.


How, one wonders, can it be legal for a handful of insiders to operate at faster speeds than the rest of the market and, in effect, steal from investors?

But it is legal, and for an interesting reason. In 2004 the US Securities and Exchange Commission discovered that some traders in the old New York stock exchange were exploiting the discretion then allowed to them in choosing the time to execute a deal. The following year the SEC passed a new regulation, known as Reg NMS, which obliged traders to seek "the best price" for a security.

What the SEC did not anticipate was that in the new fragmented system of a dozen virtual exchanges, this provided the opportunity for high-frequency traders to outrun the market while staying within the law.

Its a good time to be rich.

mmghosh's picture

85 people own as much wealth as the poorest 1/2 of the world's population.


At the same time, raising taxes on the wealthy is not to be thought of, or at least not here.  

"If you define Thatcherism as less government, free enterprise, then there is no difference between Modi-nomics and Thatcherism," said Deepak Kanth, a London-based banker now collecting funds as a volunteer for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Kanth, who says he is on the economic right, is one of several hundred volunteers with a similar philosophy working for Modi in campaign war-rooms across the country. Among them are alumni of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan trading floors.

"What Thatcher did with financial market reforms, you can expect a similar thing with infrastructure in India under Modi," he said, referring to Thatcher's trademark "Big Bang" of sudden financial deregulation in 1986.

Modi's inner circle also includes prominent economists and industrialists who share a desire to see his BJP draw a line under India's socialist past, cut welfare and reduce the role of government in business.

Revolutions are brewing nowhere.  The poor have few to speak on their behalf, and no one to organise them.  The Ukrainian revolution was to join an IMF-sponsored austerity zone.  

It Usually Is


Really, if you think about it, we've been returning to the mean. In hindsight the 20th century was an outlier, not a permanent step towards a fair society. Reactionary forces reacted, and have clawed back considerable gains. Only the inheritance of direct political power (royalty) is still out of style. But inheritance of indirect political power, through extreme wealth, rules the day. We have kings again. They simply need to act through proxies, their employed politicians, but they are kings all the same.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Sadly, You Seem to be Correct With 20th Cen being an Outlier...


...I don't have anything to say on this at the moment, but now that you have articulated this...I will think on it, (for all the good that will



Election watch! I'll be posting updates.

mmghosh's picture

We're having our big election tamasha from this week.  Elections are great fun here - a few murders nothwithstanding.  


We will probably have a Nazi sympathiser as Prime Minister to add to the fun and games, and to the extreme annoyance of the liberal left.


OTOH, where in the world could you see this (next state to ours)?  

Sah roams the streets seeking alms and surprises pedestrians with his pet line: "Khuda ke vastey (for God's sake), give me a note (money) and your vote."


In his nomination papers, Sah, 51, declares 'bhikshatan (begging)' as his profession. He rustled up Rs 25,000 needed to file his papers setting aside portions from his earnings since 2012. That was when he made up his mind to contest. "I went around telling people I needed money to fi ght elections. Many laughed, but more than 100 appreciated my conviction and contributed," he says.


Promising to remain honest always, Sah says: "I've been true to my profession. I may be a beggar, but never cheated anyone." He hasn't let his ambition affect his income.

"Begging is the only way I can earn a livelihood. I campaign and beg at the same time. There is not much difference between the two," he says.

That's fairly normal for politics anywhere

Jay C's picture

After all, we have a whole class of professional beggars running for office in this country, too: we call them "Republican Presidential Candidates"

And Democratic Presidential Candidates

M Scott Eiland's picture

No incumbent this time, and HRC is noticeably without a job at the moment. Joe Biden, at the risk of oxymoron, is employed as Vice President of the United States, which is only as busy a job as the incumbent wants it to be, unless a lot of foreign dignitaries are croaking at once.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Candidates. Heh.

Jay C's picture

Actually, in my #316247 I was trying to be snarky.


I don't know whether to be amused or depressed to find out that I was right all along....!

Was going to say that's not fair


I was going to say that Huckabee had a day job with regular hours,  but I checked Wikipedia and it says he quit that in December.  So you're right: every major contender is either a full time politician or a pseudo-employed "consultant".

Well, it looks like election day went about as good


as could be expected in Afghanistan.  The weather sucked but the violence was way less than expected.  It was a big milestone for the ANSF, having their sh*t together well enough to pull this off only 9 months after taking the lead for security.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Great news


It's nice to get some from that part of the world



Hope it's not one of those elections where the anger starts when the results come out.


So I know that Pat Buchanan is well outside of the GOP


mainstream (mainly because he's anti-Israel), but his totally heterosexual man-love for Vladimir Putin together with the comments paint an interesting picture of why people here in the USA might like ol' Vlad.

This speech recalls last December's address where the former KGB chief spoke of Russia as standing against a decadent West:

"Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation."

Heard any Western leader, say, Barack Obama, talk like that lately?

Indicting the "Bolsheviks" who gave away Crimea to Ukraine, Putin declared, "May God judge them."

What is going on here?

With Marxism-Leninism a dead faith, Putin is saying the new ideological struggle is between a debauched West led by the United States and a traditionalist world Russia would be proud to lead.

In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God's side. The West is Gomorrah.

Seventy years ago, America's extreme left looked to the USSR as a sort of magical land where everything was great because they were supposed to be building a classless workers' state. Today, America's extreme right looks to Russia as a sort of magical land where everything is great because the state punishes blasphemy and people regularly beat the s**t out of gays who try to agitate for more rights.

Could part of this be the


"bargaining" phase of conservative grief over gays getting the right to marry each other? Anger is a given with these folks.

The physiological basis of political ideology


A brief Mother Jones article on some research here.

When looking* at different units of the same old product/device

brutusettu's picture

One group taken out of the box to be studied.

Another group that was used extensively. 



We find that the 1st is pristine and the 2nd is worn in some places showing signs of use.  


The case for an innate physical property for whether something is to be used or not is strong.



So maybe the same can happen for politics. "We have this silly and naive hope, maybe it's more than that," says Hibbing, "that if we could get people to see politics in the same light [as left-handedness], then maybe we would be a little bit more tolerant, and there will be a greater opportunity for





And when you combine Hibbing's research on the physiology of ideology with waves of other studies showing that liberals and conservatives appear to differ when it comes to genetics, hormones, moral emotions, personalities, and even brain structures, the case for politics being tied to biology seems pretty strong indeed.



Corporate Director's Watch


I love Dean Baker's outfit's "Director's Watch" series, which points out that:


There is nothing like a normal market for CEOs. The pay of CEOs is determined by the corporate board of directors. In most companies, the members of this board largely owe their positions to the CEO. The directors themselves tend to be very well-paid for their work, typically getting several hundred thousand dollars a year for attending 4-10 meetings. This basically means that the directors are paid off by the CEOs to look the other way as they pilfer the company. 


These people deserve the public’s scrutiny however accomplished they may be in other areas. Director Watch is an effort to provide this scrutiny.


Latest entry:

Lisa Caputo: Total director compensation, 2008-2012: $632,208


Caputo served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Press Secretary to the First Lady from 1993-1996, and she held the same job during the 1992 presidential campaign. She had previously run Al Gore’s media team at the 1992 Democratic National Convention and was National Issues Press Secretary for Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign. More recently, while still an executive at Citigroup, Caputo was a Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton’s losing bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.


Lisa Caputo joined the Best Buy board of directors in December 2009. In the firm’s fiscal year ending on February 26, 2011, the first full year during which Caputo was a director, Best Buy shareholders paid just over $5 million for their CEO. During that 12-month period, the company’s performance was uneven at best. The next year, during which the company’s stock dipped far below the S&P average, CEO pay rose to $8.2 million, a 63% increase. The following year, during which incumbent, interim and incoming CEOs took turns in the company’s driver’s seat, Best Buy shareholders paid $26.6 million for their chief executives. Best Buy’s stock performed even worse than it had in the previous year.

There's related things going to on in other high $ fields

brutusettu's picture

1st time or previously average big time sports coaches at prestigious colleges generally get paid near top dollar. 


Sports programs don't seem to want to admit they may have selected subprime candidates.


The overpayment, it's secondarily, pride messing with them.

Turn the sentiment around and it sounds like American

mmghosh's picture

businessmen's desires to increase their personal wealth are helping to lift millions of Chinese workers out of poverty.  Trade not Aid.  The Invisible Hand.  And so forth.

A fair point


Some points in return:


* It's a particularly bad time to be running a trade deficit with China, when the US labor market is so weak the average US worker is losing money 


* This threatens China too by undermining US consumer demand for Chinese goods


* Many millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty not because of the trade deficit, but because trade can lead to growth w/out being zero sum. Currency manipulation during a weak labor market is not necessary for China and the US to mutually prosper. 


* Allowing multinationals and a developing country to conspire to depress a richer country's wages is a bad precedent for when China itself becomes a richer country.

Rich Chinese are increasingly fleeing to the US

mmghosh's picture

so the money is coming back.


Its a fascinating phenomenon, the rich Chinese fleeing their increasingly polluted environment, where they make their money - a little like the emptying of inner cities for healthier suburbs.  Our upper classes agree.  It is interesting that the USA is the go to place for rich emigres.

A new report shows that 64 percent of Chinese millionaires have either emigrated or plan to emigrate—taking their spending and fortunes with them. The United States is their favorite destination.

The report from Hurun, a wealth research firm that focuses on China, said that one-third of China's super rich—or those worth $16 million or more—have already emigrated.

The data offer the latest snapshot of China's worrying wealth flight, with massive numbers of rich Chinese taking their families and fortunes overseas. Previous studies show the main reasons rich Chinese are leaving is to pursue better educations for their kids, and to escape the pollution and overcrowding in urban China.

Cuts Down On The Risk. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .of being randomly scapegoated and liquidated should the true believer communists take over there yet again, too. Of course, there are those here in the States who undoubtedly would prefer to play Senator James Mason for the Butchers of Beijing by sending all those wicked capitalist Chinese and their dirty money back to the People's Republic in the name of social justice.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Indeed, some of the alleged corrupt in China have been indicted

mmghosh's picture

by the Butchers of Beijing.  This poor chap has just had $14 billion stolen from him by the State.  No doubt others will have taken the message of moving their assets, early and often, to the USA to heart.


The episode reflects well upon the Chinese regime's vindictiveness against allegedly corrupt people and the USA's traditional culture of tolerance and giving asylum to such people.

If This Guy Was As Corrupt As The Butchers Are Claiming He Is. .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .I would expect him to have a network of paid spies and assassins ready to exterminate the Butchers at the first sign they were getting antsy--I'd certainly feel morally as well as pragmatically justified in doing so given Chinese history of random political purges if it was me. Money is a tool, and if a totalitarian state is dumb enough to let you have access to it, plan for the moment when the scorpion lives up to its nature and tries to loot and end you--take as many of them as you can with you, if nothing else.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Let's hope that's not


his plan,  justified or not.   I don't have any particular liking for the Chinese leadership,  but someone wiping them out with no backup plan would cause us some serious economic disruption.

We Should Have Done Better

M Scott Eiland's picture

For one, we should have openly offered asylum to all Chinese students who wanted to stay in the States after the massacre in 1989, even knowing that most would turn it down either out of conviction or to protect family. I still hold the failure to do that against Bush the Elder, and resent Clinton for lying about his intentions to behave differently (which caused me to stay more or less neutral in the election of 1992 in spite of my distaste for Slick Willie's ascended used car dealer act).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Imagine where the US would be today


if the government had just held its employment steady during the downturn.


Another chart!



Sure, if America had launched a level of peacetime (-ish) Keynesian spending and stimulus unprecedented in any nation ever then the recovery could have been even better. But if no legislature--okay, apart from Iceland--is able to muster the will to do that, we should probably look at what the Congress of 2009-10 and Bernanke Fed did within the constraints that central banks and national legislatures operate under.


And under those terms, Bernanke comes off as a wizard. 

They post graphs, don't they?


I'm not sure comparing US '07 to the big 5 financial crises is the best comparison class. Where does US '07 rank, and how does it compare to other crises closer to its rank?


Even among the big 5, the US is roughly in the middle re: its unemployment rate.


You can say the US looks roughly in the middle partially b/c it started higher, and that's true, but that initial unemployment rate was also Bernanke's responsibility.


As for his "wizardry" post-crisis, Bernanke set a very modest 2% inflation target, which was too low, and then treated it instead as a ceiling:

We're supposed to view failing to meet a 2% inflation target as "wizardry"? Nah. 

So using your first graph


America of 2007 does better than everyone except for Japan and Norway. And Japanese unemployment stayed low-ish for a lot of deeply ingrained cultural notions of institutional loyalty that aren't really changeable via public policy (at least not short-term). If we subtract Japan (because again, the notion that you Do Not Fire a Loyal Employee comes out of culture more than policy), then you still have America doing better than everyone but Norway.


And bearing in mind that Bernanke was working against an opposition claiming that Milton Friedman's monetarism was dangerous socialism and given that BHO was up against an opposition that believes in Nonsense Macroeconomics and also held Congress for most of his term, I'd say that what BB and BHO accomplished was close to miraculous.

Japan is not that simple


The government engaged in much more fiscal stimulus than the US, running much higher deficits, and spending much more heavily on things like infrastructure.


Japan's policies post '90 were arguably better than the US's post '07, not merely its work culture. Obama blithely presided over the firing of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers while he had large majorities in Congress. The opposite happened in Japan.


You can run the "structural constraints" argument to support Bernanke and Obama, and there's something there, but another read is that the people in charge were also too conservative, and America's mediocre performance --better than 3, worse than 2 among the big 5-- was the result.


... and I'm still wondering about the comparison class -- e.g. why is Argentina '01 not a comparison point?

Charles Krauthammer on the pushed-out Mozilla CEO

Bird Dog's picture

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

What? Krauthammer didn't write that? It was Andrew Sullivan?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Andrew Sullivan is so dumb


I haven't thought about whether the incident was overkill, but "Free speech or we're just like them!!" is about how far Sullivan got.


He doesn't address the most obvious objection that the ideal of tolerance doesn't include tolerating intolerance.  


If MScott or BD wants to pick this up, the position is that someone who tried to force his discriminatory religious views on tens of millions is unsuitable for the privilege of heading a major corporation that services tens of millions.


Sullivan tried to respond with -- "imagine if the CEO was a critic of prop 8 and was fired ... now we're just like them!!"


But that doesn't address the objection, because the critic of prop 8 was not trying to intolerantly force discriminatory religious views on the entire population of CA, and therefore the critic's views should obviously be tolerated.


Gah he is so dumb.



trying to intolerantly force discriminatory religious views on the entire population of CA

Prop 8 was passed, Catchy. Getting the majority of the electorate to back his view is not "forcing". If this was a sin it was also one committed by 52% of the electorate... 7 million Californians.


I agree with Sullivan, though I wouldn't state it so strongly as he does. Mozilla did the right thing in firing him, from a business point of view... but I have to admit this does turn my stomach a little.


And I know you'll support firing people who's position isn't discriminatory (Maria Conchita Alonso) and brim with outrage about firing people for their political beliefs if you agree with them (David Guth.)  So I just wish you would simplify your principle to the easier to explain and remember: it's okay if my side does it.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Roll over


Getting the majority of the electorate to back his view is not "forcing"


Uh, sometimes majorities force their views on minorities and intolerantly deprive them of equal protection under the law. See California 2008, Prop 8.


If this was a sin it was also one committed by 52% of the electorate... 7 million Californians.


So? Whats the number got to do with it? 


it's okay if my side does it.


This false equivalence kills me. 


* Representing a major corporation as CEO whose revenues are in the 100s of millions is a rare privilege. This is not like pressuring out some average professor or singer. I'm entirely comfortable entertaining the supposedly absurd view that 7 million people disqualified themselves from being Mozilla's CEO. I've done things already which probably disqualify me, and I've never supported an intolerant law to curb the civil rights of millions of Americans.

* There's no equivalence between prop 8 supporters and detractors. Only supporters attempted to intolerantly curb the civil rights of a minority. If prop 8 supporters were now to turn around and ostracize anti-prop 8 voters, they would be doubly intolerant


I'm open to discussion that pushing out Mozilla's CEO isn't an appropriate level of ostracizing, that it's counter-productive, etc. But not based on some brain-dead equivalence claim.


Prop 8 supporters are only facing mild consequences (no more big-time tech CEO). Arguably they should've thought twice about intolerantly curbing the civil rights of a minority lest it come back to bite them a little.



Can you tell me that if an everyday schlub loses his job because he tweets something anti-gay marriage that would not be cool with you?

I kind of doubt it. There will always be an opportunistic distinction you'll back able to find.

And of course, the other side can make pleadings for principles just as impressive sounding as opposing discrimination. Freedom of religion, for instance, (though I don't for a moment buy it) or in the case of abortion, life or death.

I'd rather have these argument with ideas rather than life-destroying bombs.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Of course I can


Can you tell me that if an everyday schlub loses his job because he tweets something anti-gay marriage that would not be cool with you?


That guy shouldn't lose his job, that's not a borderline case (as long as the tweet doesn't contain *fa66ot* or whatever). The public face of a major corporation as CEO is a borderline case, tho, at least IMO. I honestly am open to persuasion that it puts too much of a chill on reasonable political disagreement, but it's not obvious to me.


the other side can make pleadings for principles just as impressive sounding as opposing discrimination. ...or in the case of abortion ... I'd rather have these arguments with ideas rather than life-destroying bombs.


So ... there shouldn't be any consequences for ever violating civil rights because someone can always come up with a (poor) rationalization in support of it or because they might turn violent. 


On the contrary I think there reasons to boycott a company based on political or social concerns. And I think it's valid in some cases to demote leaders who bet wrongly that there won't be any consequences for trying to deprive a minority of rights they themselves enjoy.


The only question is whether this is such a circumstance, and it doesn't speak well of anyone who can't engage with the issue.

I dunno Catchy. Somebody here, I won't say who...


...felt it was wrong for an academic to get ill-treated by his employer when a civil rights group took issue with some of the academic's stance on certain civil rights. Ok, it's two somebodies, I've come to believe the response was excessive though I agreed with the initial reaction.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I dunno Darth


I seem to recall a certain someone who didn't very much appreciate the unique position of a University professor and the academic freedoms associated with it. 


I would have zero problem with that professor being denied the position of CEO of a major corporation. He's not fit to be the public face of large company seeking the business of tens of millions. Luckily, 99.99% of all jobs might still be open to him. 


You know, some university professors pursue their job precisely because they're allowed more freedom to speak their minds in public without repercussions. If anybody seeks to represent large businesses as CEO with that in mind, they're idiots.

As I explained, I don't appreciate that unique position.


That's house rules for your profession, not mine.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

thats silly but ultimately irrelevant


Hes a low level employee and thus obviously not a candidate for firing

Private employers


like Mozilla,  IMO,  ought to be able to hire or fire anyone they want for any reason,  except for race (given our history).   If Mozilla thought the guy would be bad publicity,  or just thought he was icky, that's more than enough for me.


However,  people like me don't make the law.  CA has these two on the books:



No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy:

(a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office.

(b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.

(Enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90.)



No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.

The guy at Mozilla resigned,  and I don't know whether he was explicitly threatened with termination.  But regardless, it's pretty clear you don't think CEOs should get these protections,  OTOH, I assume you wouldn't want Walmart firing cashiers based on $20 donations to a political candidate or ballot initiative.  So the question is,  how high up should the protection go?  Is there some salary level that places one outside employment anti-discrimination laws?


CEOs can get fired (or forced to resign) for any behavior


that brings negative publicity to a company and threatens its bottom line. The same is true for regular employees as well, although unless they are officially speaking as representatives of the company, their personal beliefs are far less likely to be connected to the company's brand, business or share prices. 


A Mozilla payroll accountant who happens to be a secessionist, for example, is unlikely to even be mentioned in the media, and if he/she is, they're unlikely to be associated with the company. Even if they are, Mozilla shareholders aren't going to say "wait a minute, that company has a secessionist in their payroll department, I'm dumping my shares!" 


By comparison, everything a CEO does gets connected to the company, so there's a much higher standard. There's no way in hell, for example, that Mozilla would hire a secessionist as CEO.


Point being, "damage to the company" is a legitimate cause for termination, and it need not run afoul of CA's political affiliations law.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

That's a pretty good


line of reasoning.  I'd buy it if I were on the jury,  but then I'm predisposed to letting employers do what they want.


But (speculating on your opinion here) you wouldn't want a company in 1960's Alabama firing a CEO for being an anti-segregationist,  even though it would have threatened the bottom line.

No I definitely wouldn't, but


the same reasoning would apply: companies must act to protect their markets & revenues. Still I'd support legislation that would punish companies for enforcing segregation, regardless of whether it was in their business interests. The equivalence you guys are postulating breaks down for me in a very simple way: behavior that tends to reinforce discrimination or inequality (in the 14th amendment sense) is bad and should be punished. Behavior that tends to reduce inequality (like firing revanchist CEOs) is good and should be encouraged. The idea that firing someone for being a segregationist and firing someone for being an abolitionist are equivalent acts seems silly when considered this way.  


In other words, moral judgments may be subjective and therefore equivalent, but legal & sociopolitical judgments like "discriminates against a class of people" or "does not discriminate against a class of people" are not the same as moral judgments. They can be factually examined, measured, compared, verified, etc.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I think you have it reversed


The moral judgment part is easy:  firing the segregationist is justifiable and firing the abolitionist is not.


What is much trickier is setting up legal and sociopolitical judgments,  where ex post facto judgments are considered bad form.   You want a rule that says it is OK to fire a person who advocates discriminating against a class of people,  at least if they are in a position of prominence.   I don't disagree, but for me it's merely an included part of a larger rule that's it's OK to fire people just because you want to.


The problem is, a rule like yours rule doesn't give people much guidance on how to behave, because "discrimination" isn't about the law treating different people differently.  One could claim that every law that bans X discriminates against people who want to X.   Every law that compels Y discriminates against people who abhor doing Y.    What makes it "really" discrimination is a legal/social judgment that the people who want to X or abstain from Y deserve our protection and sympathy,  and it's not that easy to know in advance who will win that contest.


I don't normally have much respect for Andrew Sullivan,  but it was interesting that he recalled a time when some gay activists were against marriage,  seeing it as an attempt to force them into traditionalist ideas about monogamy, delay of gratification,  etc.   Should those activists get the axe now also?  I'm guessing you would say no,  because they themselves are part of the protected class.  But it shows that you need another embellishment on your rule;  it's not just about discrimination, it's about the person and our guesses about their motivations.


Suppose someone asked you to make the following decision:  Two years from now,  we will have an election to decide whether plural marriage should be allowed.  Decide right now, publicly, which side you are on.  After the election,  the losers will be removed from any job that is perceived to be too nice or too prominent for (anti-feminist partriachal types) or (repressive monogamist prudes).



I don't think your equivalences are really equivalent.


One could claim that every law that bans X discriminates against people who want to X.   Every law that compels Y discriminates against people who abhor doing Y.

Catchy pointed out the holes in this argument a few weeks ago: for one thing, discriminating against discrimination is not discrimination, any more than prohibiting homicide infringes the rights of people who like to use other people for target practice. That people who would prefer not to hire women because maternity leave is expensive, or who hate Canadians, etc. might be inconvenienced by the EEOC is entirely their problem. We aren't a society of Guerreristes, judging events with amoral self-interested pragmatism: the US is a government dedicated to genuine equality before the law for all citizens.

What makes it "really" discrimination is a legal/social judgment that the people who want to X or abstain from Y deserve our protection and sympathy,  and it's not that easy to know in advance who will win that contest.

But of course it is. Like I was saying before, it's fairly simple to determine when a rule or a practice systematically discriminates against a class of people, making them unequal before the law. It's also fairly simple to determine what the consequences of a ban on that kind of discrimination will be, and so long as the consequences are mostly limited to inconveniencing those who want to discriminate by preventing them from doing so, there's no need to pretend there's some kind of false symmetry between them and their erstwhile victims. 

Suppose someone asked you to make the following decision:  Two years from now,  we will have an election to decide whether plural marriage should be allowed.  Decide right now, publicly, which side you are on.  After the election,  the losers will be removed from any job that is perceived to be too nice or too prominent for (anti-feminist partriachal types) or (repressive monogamist prudes).

That's an easy one: plural marriage wins. The state shouldn't be in the business of regulating consensual marriages, other than helping enforce the contractual rights of the parties to it. I'm not sure the polygamists are going to like my feelings about marital equality in terms of property & inheritance (i.e. patriarchal control of estates ain't gonna fly -- in other words, it would be feminist polygamy or none at all), but otherwise I'm on their side. 


As far as the losers getting fired, I wouldn't be the first martyr who got out a little too far ahead of the progressive mainstream's comfort zone, but, assuming you aren't talking about a post facto legal penalty, I like my chances. A conservative anti-feminist patriarchal type who openly endorsed polygamy would be in a lot more trouble than I would be, because you see he or she would be endorsing repression. I'm trying to convince you that there's a difference between taking a progressive, pro-equality stance that makes the country a "more perfect union" vs. taking a regressive, hidebound stance that would tend to reduce the equality of entire classes of citizens, and this is a pretty good example.


"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Drifting off the point here


but how would you propose to distinguish (as a matter of law) men who support plural marriage because they believe consenting adults should be able to do what they want,  from those that derive their beliefs from biblical tradition.  The beards?  Their religion?   Having marriage police do periodic household audits?


You and I don't think we're being repressive by supporting plural marriage,  but there are certainly feminists who would think so.  As a practical matter I doubt they'll win in the long run,  but in the short term I could imagine a male getting tossed from the board of a leftish company for expressing too much support for Mormon polygamists. 


In addition to polygamists, some other groups that have some members who think they are being discriminated against:  Evangelical Christians,  Scientologists, overweight people,  gun owners.   The last already seem to be "winning" in that support for outright prohibition is becoming rare,  maybe punishable by firing in a few years.


Anyway....we actually don't disagree on anything substantial.  Eich wasn't a good fit for the image Mozilla wants to present,  and that's the end of it.  

The law doesn't have to make that distinction:


biblical polygamists are likely to be in violation of the laws demanding equality in terms of inheritance, divorce, custody, etc. Not to mention consent. Their private motives for the arrangement don't matter, so long as they comply. Plus they aren't going to be crazy about the implications of the kind of polygamy law I have in mind: polyamorous couples, polyandry, three or more women together, three or more men together, three or more women together with three or more men. The IRS is going to need new forms.

in the short term I could imagine a male getting tossed from the board of a leftish company for expressing too much support for Mormon polygamists.

That's exactly what I was suggesting. A person advocating classical Mormon polygamy would be effectively advocating the infringement of the legal rights of women, which is a very different thing. 

In addition to polygamists, some other groups that have some members who think they are being discriminated against:  Evangelical Christians,  Scientologists, overweight people, gun owners. The last already seem to be "winning" in that support for outright prohibition is becoming rare,  maybe punishable by firing in a few years.

I can't for the life of me imagine how Evangelical Christians can be discriminated against. They are free to do everything except impose their beliefs on others. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I don't see it either


but they seem to think it's real enough.  And of course your denial of the reality they face every day is,  in itself, an additional act of repression.  Briefly put, they believe the public schools are creating a hostile atmosphere for their children.  The children are being told their belief system is delusional,  and forced to give answers they don't believe on tests.  And truth be told, it probably isn't very pleasant.   Is it as hurtful as a gay child being told some people think he's a deviant?   I don't think so and probably neither do you, but we have to factor in our inherent bias against people we don't agree with.


Back to the Mormons.  It appears your definition of "consensual" is pretty narrow.  Apparently people can't consent to divide property anyway other than 50-50,  voluntarily yield custody of children,  live according to biblical ideas about gender roles, etc.   It appears that by "consenting adults" maybe you mean people who aren't suffering from a bit of false consciousness or under some economic pressure.  In which case you're against most marriages,  traditional, gay, plural, or whatever.

The same is true for Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Zorastrian,


Satanist, Theosophist and Wiccan children as well: public schools are no place for any dogma or doctrine. In that regard, Christians may feel their evangelical impulses repressed, but they aren't discriminated against. All schools enjoy a negative liberty from having to propagate their particular beliefs. 

It appears your definition of "consensual" is pretty narrow.  Apparently people can't consent to divide property anyway other than 50-50,  voluntarily yield custody of children,  live according to biblical ideas about gender roles, etc. It appears that by "consenting adults" maybe you mean people who aren't suffering from a bit of false consciousness or under some economic pressure.  In which case you're against most marriages,  traditional, gay, plural, or whatever.

Not at all. The principle is: you can't consent to surrender consent. Regardless of false consciousness or economic pressure, people cannot surrender their legal rights & obligations. Much as Congress can't give its enumerated powers away to another branch of government, just as the State Dept. and Senate can't turn over treaty powers to one of the states, so citizens can't surrender their duties and privileges as citizens. You can't legally bind yourself into peonage, or agree to be made destitute by divorce (that would be unconscionable), live under the presumption that all property and inheritance pertains to the father, or (I don't believe) surrender custody of children while living with them or generally without a court order unless abandoning a child at a designated shelter. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

At some point in your life


you probably signed an apartment lease - no doubt you read it.  In any contract you agree to do (or not do) certain things that by default you had a right to not do (or do).  Otherwise there would be no need for a contract.    And while you can get out it or just walk on it,  you'll be liable for a monetary judgment.


It appears you have a problem with people signing prenuptial agreements.  What penalties would place on such couples?  Merely refuse to have courts enforce the agreements, or actually have the cops go in and tase the bride until she takes her full 50% of the property?

He Could Have Fought It. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .but it would have damaged the company, of which he is a big stockholder (presumably). Time will tell if this will discourage investment in areas where the culture is politically charged in a way that might lead to witch hunts against people who took a mainstream position in the last decade or not.*

*-- I saw a link elsewhere that indicated that the straw that broke the camel's back here might have been that CEO guy was a Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul fan. Speculation, but Mozilla *definitely* doesn't want Paul's crowd obsessively targeting them. It'd be f***ing annoying, if nothing else.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I don't think you should be able to fire based on gender


or sexual orientation either. Along with racial minorities those are protected classes in my book.


I didn't know about that CA law. Interesting. 


So the question is,  how high up should the protection go?  Is there some salary level that places one outside employment anti-discrimination laws?


Yeah, I have no idea where the boundary should be. Luckily, just because a boundary is fuzzy doesn't mean there shouldn't be one.




down here on the ground far below the rarified air atop Mount Olympus, ordinary people get fired for being gay, old, female, Jewish, etc. For untold years before, someone outed as gay at a typical office would be fired or at the very least forced to resign, no hubbub one way or another.


These CEOs function primarily as symbols or figureheads, the face of the corporation. This was all about branding, marketing and money. Do they want the cover of Time Magazine with a CEO who's pro-Palestine? Anti-gay? A white nationalist? For f**k's sake most companies wouldn't accept an atheist.


All this hand-wringing now that the shoe is kinda-sorta on the other foot, especially concerning a bunch of millionaires is beyond repulsive.There was no lefty-queer mafia action here. This was a minor dispute amongst our American Corporate Gods, and I'm hoping we will take this bit of drama as a lesson, even for little people. Times change. The definition of "bigot" now officially includes being anti gay marriage... the Gods have shown it to be so.

He thinks mostly in reaction


to things he says. In public. He's an intellectual danger junkie. It's like watching a man try to build a car while running down the road with a tire and an armload of tools. I used to be fascinated by the spectacle, but then I realized that no matter how entertaining it was to watch, the car was still going to be a Torymobile.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



a but more detail here:


Mozilla, if you don't know it, is a much-respected nonprofit with a business nestled inside it that, among other things, makes Firefox. They elevated Brendan Eich, one of their cofounders, to CEO. Eich was a Prop 8 donor; people objected. Three board members resigned when he was given the job, including two who were former CEOs. (The organization says those board members were planning on leaving, but their departure leaves the Mozilla Corporation board with three whole members.) Employees asked Eich to step down. Eich made a commitment to help Mozilla ensure its place as an ally to the gays. And then Eich resigned, and resigned from the board of the foundation itself, which now has just five members.



One minute Eich was blogging about how he'd show everyone that he could deal with a complicated situation, celebrate diversity and the company, and ensure that everyone could trust in his leadership. Eight days later, his willingness to see that process through had apparently evaporated. Mozilla politicized Mozilla. And the gays didn't make Eich quit. He didn't want to do the actual work. He flounced.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Will this Godly man


ever recover from this incident? His loss of livelihood?





Back. Just fainted there for a couple minutes.

Why not walk the streets in shame?


Whilst the Moral Majority was busily demonising Teh Gayz and some of us were saying it was all terribly nasty business -  oh to have recordings of the vitriol and screaming about the Sin of Homersexuality I endured all that long while.   Excitable Andy was always a contrarian.  If he's up to defending the people who fought the Prop 8 battle, let him also defend every other sort of intolerance.  I'm sick of him.  If the Prop 8 people are entitled to their First Amendment rights, then so am I in calling out the bigots - and Andrew Sullivan, that skim-milk defender of the indefensible. 

And this is why I'm not a Democrat

Bird Dog's picture

Because certain wings of the party are as illiberal as hidebound Redstaters. And hypocritical.

Does anyone doubt that had a business fired a CEO six years ago for making a political donation against Prop 8, liberals silent during this controversy (or supportive of the resignation) would've argued that contributions have nothing to do with a CEO's ability to do his job? They'd have called that firing an illiberal outrage, but today they're averse to vocally disagreeing with allies.

Most vexing of all is Mozilla's attempt to present this forced resignation as if it is consistent with an embrace of diversity and openness. Its public statements have been an embarrassment of illogic, as I suspect the authors of those statements well know. "Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech," the company wrote. "Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."

This is a mess.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

This is why you're not a Democrat?


I get hyperbole for effect, but wow. 

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

What? I hope you're not giving money to Prop 8-ish causes.


Is it hypocritical of me to say the opponents of civil rights for homosexuals were bigots back in the 70s and not maintain my same position today?  Were I to say, "oh well, we won, time to defend the rights of these bigots now that they're on the wrong side of public sentiment" - now that would be hypocrisy.  Marriage is a civil right.  Those who deny it to homosexuals are attempting to deny someone their rights and those who attempt to make that denial the law of the state of California, are no different than the bigots who made miscegenation a crime. 


And don't howl about how they aren't the same problem.  That's the problem with Conservatives these days.  They're supposed to be taking the long view of things, returning us to basic principles, pounding the pulpit about our basic principles.  They've completely and conveniently forgotten the civil rights struggle - and the fact that they were on the wrong side of that battle too - and that they lost it.  Now butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, oh we're not racist, we're not bigots.  Well, folks, if you're against same sex marriage, you are in fact a bigot because I and tens of thousands of people like me are saying so.  Y'all might not like it, any more than the old-line race bigots didn't like it.  But times have changed and the Prop 8 folks have not.  They got beaten.  Their viewpoint is not the law of the state of California and despite all the yammering and bleating and po-mouthing about it, they are wrong.  If they want sympathy, let them huddle up in some dark corner and have a little onanistic Pity Party.  They're disgusting.


Times have changed, all right.  Things have come full circle.  It's now the Liberals who must remind the Conservatives of the past, of the basic principles of the rights of man.  It is disgraceful to see things come to this sorry pass.  

More Like. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .are we going to apply the "everyone who publicly opposed gay marriage in 2006 needs to be purged?" standard? I can think of a lot of Democrats who will be looking at angry mobs if we go there. Including the guy in the Oval Office (though, in his defense, everyone knows he was lying anyway, so no harm, no foul).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Gay marriage, or Prop 8? 2006, or 2014?


Who said what when? 


"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized"


"I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them."


"At a certain point I've just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."


"I hadn't thought about that. It seems that's a dead issue. I don't want to answer hypotheticals. Separating personal beliefs here is the real key here. [...] I prefer not to talk about my beliefs."


Anyway, if you voted against Obama because you were disappointed he was insufficiently supportive of gay rights, good for you for exercising your democratic rights! You also may have felt inspired to exercise your free speech rights to let Mozilla know how you felt about their choice of CEO, and how that choice might or might not influence your future spending or business. Mozilla, as a private company, is in turn free to choose or discard ("resign") a CEO based on whether or not said CEO is projected to help or hurt the company, the assessment of which can change quite quickly. So the purging kind of takes care of itself, I suppose, as society sees fit. 


FWIW, though, I think LZ@CNN is basically right with "Still, the company's leadership, not Eich, is to blame for this PR nightmare. They're the ones who thought what happened in 2008 stays in 2008."

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

Dating site doesn't like CEO's personal meddling in industry?

brutusettu's picture

Obama says he changed, Eich, not so much.



At least OKCupid appears to have at the very least an appearance of a link to be interested in a CEO donating $ to an outlawing some marriages cause.  Even if it might not hurt OKCupids bottom line.


Could AllTypesofWoolSweaters LLC call for the boycott of a company headed by someone that donated money to the outlawing of the manufacture of shoes with mixed fabric?  Even if AToWS LLC not be directly impacted, they might be concerned about sweaters w/mixed fabric being next.  

Or they might not like the idea of a CEO supporting stupid laws in their industry.



As for Barack Obama's spinelessness


I do believe someone must have given him some physical therapy, perhaps some calcium supplements, or shoved a large-ish spinal support structure up his nether parts to stiffen his civil rights stance.  Or, more likely, his progressive advisors took him aside and gave him the ol' Florsheim Shoe Treatment.   At any rate, his evolution on this subject was remarkably swift, as I'm sure that Florsheim shoe was, too. 

Oh Please

M Scott Eiland's picture

He was for it all along, lied about it when he had a shot at the big chair, then waited for the wind to shift before letting ol'Joe's (apparently) unrehearsed quasi-Kinsley Type II gaffe to let himself be pushed over the line into "evolving." In terms of malfeasance, that's arguably worse than one guy writing a check in support of a ballot proposition that got a majority in bleeping California in 2006.

I'm not particularly unhappy at how things have turned out, though I think it would have been better and lower-risk (in terms of a possible constitutional amendment that would have to be expunged later) if the state legislatures had done more of the heavy lifting, but let's not make this another strike for The Chosen One--he pandered mightily to all comers on this one, then played bandleader once the outcome was clear.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

"obama lied, eich cried!"


has a nice ring to it. 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

You are preaching to the choir, Scott


I've already said Obama's spinelessness reflects his constantly-wet finger, testing the political winds.  Eich's thousand dollar fart, anyone can be forgiven that sort of mistake, if only they'd admit it.  I know plenty of racists, homophobes, hell, I used to be one, told from Earliest Yoot it was a Turrible Sin.  That is, until I met an actual homosexual, who explained things to me, how it couldn't be helped, that it was plenty enough confusing to go through adolescence but piling being-gay on top of it only made it even more confusing.  How he hated himself for the longest time, this is the guy who would eventually sing at my wedding, Scott.  We were friends for a long time.  Set my teeth on edge, to realise how society mistreated this man. 


Obama is feckless.  On that we agree.  My point is this:  the Prop 8 people lost big.  Elsewhere, same-sex marriage civil rights struggles have lost.  But Eich wouldn't back down, well, I suppose we should all say that's great, that he sticks to his principles.  Once heard a black man say he'd rather confront an honest racist than a fair-weather ally.   Which, if I read your point correctly, is what Barack Obama is, a fair-weather ally.   A Pander Bear.   I was sick of it, back when he was against civil rights for homosexuals, then, too. 

Scott, when I was on the "wrong" side of public sentiment


I came in for a good deal of purging, especially from within the church.  There will be no cheap talk about Hypocrisy on this topic:  here I was, here I remain.  Andrew Sullivan can kiss my ass.  We're not angry mobs.  There were mobs around to beat on the queers back in the day and the niggers, too, especially ones who gave white girls The Look.  When homosexuals were routinely sacked from their jobs, hounded out of their families and their home towns, furtively attempting to organise themselves into the Mattachine Society, there were mobs enough then, ready to lynch them - and don't say that was then and this is now.  The only difference is people of conscience aren't afraid of the bigots any more.  Money can't buy us and money has proven useless to attack us and Eich's money nor the Mormons nor anyone else's money kept the progress of civil rights from advancing.


Purged is such a silly word.  You're acting as if we can't call people bigots, Scott.  Now for all the world, I wouldn't put you in the camp of those who would deny people their civil rights.  Just don't get upset with us for calling such people for what they really are.  Really, we're liberals.  We're not going to roll over any more.  The enemies of civil rights could simply back away from their positions, say they were misguided back then, lots of racists have done so, become a bit more tolerant and enlightened.  But those are liberal virtues.  A conservative is a liberal who hasn't met up with institutionalised discrimination - yet.  Nothing cures a bigot of his bigotry quite so fast as to realise he's alone in the crowd.  He was brave enough when he was feared.  Let him stand up for his bigotry, that two-bit bully, now that it's his ethics being called into question, especially when he gives money to deny his own rights to others.

Understand the sentiment, but please self-censor


the n-word (for auto-flagging concerns if nothing else). 

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

This comment makes my point rather better


than twenty paragraphs of Ol' Blaise pounding the pulpit.  If the Q word has been adopted as a respectable cognomen by self-identifying people, the N epithet has been adopted by black people too, in a wry, spiteful sort of way, rather like a stick snatched from the hand of a vicious bully.  Our word, now. 


Considering the topic at hand, both words seem horribly applicable in their original, hateful, mean-spirited usages.  I would hope nobody would take them as my own positions.  But nothing is gained or lost by their usage:  as surely as those who defend Prop 8 have the First Amendment on their side, launching terms like Illiberal and Hidebound like so many clay pigeons from a skeet thrower, I believe I'm going to just fire directly at the thrower.  Saves time.  That's where the trouble begins.  Liberals are sposta be Nice.  Effeminate.  Very circumspect in the words they use.  Like the N word.  Or the Q word.  We must self-censor.  Think of the Children!


Well, I'm all done with that sort of approach.  The Conservatives know Krauthammer is a vicious, ignorant old turd, much incensed by Academic Bigotry and who now calls for a counter-boycott of Mozilla.  He's made a career of loudly harrumphing about Society in Decline.  I've got a larger vocabulary than The Hammer, replete with words and phrases once much beloved by The Hammer's type in years gone by.  For I have a longer memory, of an era when the N and Q words were in common usage and both groups Knew Their Place.


From The Kraut I would expect such nonsense. He's old and useless, leaking acid like a car battery in the back of the garage - and dangerous for the same reasons.  But from Excitable Andy?  This is becoming par for the course.  Clouseau sums this up nicely


Prop 8 and its supporters are attempting to deny others civil rights they want only for themselves, the benefits of marriage.   Simple fact. And Krauthammer is an idiot.  Also a fact. But Excitable Andy is just a ninny.  Somewhat worse than useless but basically harmless.  Nobody would confuse him with a man who meant what he said.

I don't think you understand what illiberal means.


It certainly doesn't mean mounting a public campaign against a very public figure who is committed to using the full power of the state to enforce bigotry, not to mention Christian dogma.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



It's simple. The definition of "bigot" has changed for enough of the population that businesses are now running away from anyone with an anti-gay agenda. Including this guy.


Doesn't matter how religious you are. In today's America, being anti-gay marriage means you will likely be judged as a bigot. Money talks, and this was an example. 


Anyone is still free to be a homophobe, or racist, or anti-semite. But now, for your own financial and social well being, you'd better keep it in the closet.



regularly posts interesting links on his blog, but he's personally full of sh!t, and has been his entire career.


This move was based on smart business sense. Tech sector doesn't want to support bigots. Mozilla wants to look good in the eyes of the tech sector. Times have changed, and smart business doesn't get involved in White Nationalism, or anti-Gay rights movement.



yeah, i don't get it.


Sullivan took a personal interest in running Alec Baldwin out on a rail, now he's complaining about someone else leaving their job (who left voluntarily by the way).


And rightwingers are only too happy to see people lose their jobs for saying things they don't like (Martin Bashir), except when they don't like it (Duck Dynasty, Paula Deen).


i'm finding it difficult to figure out who is really sincere in their feelings about these purges*.



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Andy must have thought people would wanna watch Bigots on TV?

brutusettu's picture

Andy seems to know that bigots get fired.

Andy made it a point to call Baldwin a bigot 

Andy didn't call for Baldwin to get fired.


If we unpack Andy's writings the way he unpacked Baldwin's, "because it's important" I think we can safely assume that:



  • Andy didn't join the mob to call for Baldwin to get fired, he just told the mob where to find pitchforks, torches, firewood, and rope all the while knowing what would likely happen and without feeling the need to point out that Baldwin shouldn't loose his job over the issue.

what if he


had donated to the Palestinians?


Thing is, the religious right are In Favor of something the majority of the country either doesn't care about or has already rejected. They're in the denial or anger stage of grief right now. Battle's over. White christians with bibles won't always be the dominant force in the country. The definition of what is and isn't widely accepted bigotry has changed. As it will continue to do.


And I don't care how many people have the largest sad that has ever been had, or how persecuted they feel. Anti-gay is now bigotry. There's a thousand pieces of biblical crap that are completely ignored. Now this is one more. We've been moving in a positive direction here for the last couple hundred years, so cheers to another step.

There's an old hymn my father once loved


Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?


I do not expect, nor do I want, to receive any praise and thanks for my vocal opposition to institutionalised bigotry against homosexuals.  I thought I was right and time was on my side.  Enough of us fought the good fight to win that battle.  Sullivan is such a wretch, to now accuse us of the same sort of bigotry.


Andrew Sullivan was six years old on June 28, 1969, the day of the Stonewall Riots.  If ever there was a flowery bed of ease upon which that silly little man was carried to the skies, or a bloody sea through which he never sailed, it was the fight for civil rights for homosexuals.  How dare he now prissily inform us we're now no better than the Religious Fanatics.