Banner Archive

Marvel Comics Timeline
Godzilla Timeline



« Liberal Outrage: May 2018 | Main

Liberal Outrage

It takes a villain

I'm really hopeful about the activism that's been happening against Trump's ICE. Considering that Trump's ICE is only worse than Obama's by a matter of degree (a large degree, perhaps, but it's not a difference in kind), i wonder if having a bogeyman like Trump to unite against is at least a silver lining to his getting elected. Trump is revealing not just what the Republican party looks like with the mask off, but what the entire system really is. On the other hand, considering that everyone hated Bush's drone program and then forgot about it when Obama got elected, it may be that this is only temporary. What gives me hope is that the left nowadays has a larger infrastructure; e.g., the direct action against ICE has been led by groups like the DSA (see here, here) and is already more separated from the Democratic party than, say, the 2003 era blogosphere, which turned out to be largely partisan. But i don't think the left should become too separated from the Democratic party. Contra some in the DSA, i think it helps to have members challenging incumbent Democrats electorally (Donate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!) because that's the only kind of pressure they care about.

But anyway, thanks to Trump for being so cartoonishly evil that we can all unite against you for now.

By fnord12 | June 21, 2018, 9:47 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Democrats love endless occupation

Democrats attacking Trump from the right regarding Trump's (really Moon Jae-in's) negotiations with Kim Jong-un. But now they're going a step further and actually proposing a bill:

The new legislation, from Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., would prevent Trump from withdrawing troops from South Korea unless...

Luckily, they are characteristically toothless in their legislation:

...unless the secretary of defense says it's in the interest of national security and that it would not undermine the security of allies in the region.

So unless Trump's secretary of defense opposes what Trump is doing, he can still do it.

By fnord12 | June 14, 2018, 11:53 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Publicly fund the research

I've long agreed with this type of thinking, but i like the way Dean Baker phrases things here:

In her Washington Post column Megan McArdle tells readers that we are making great progress in developing cures for cancer, but then she warns these cures can be very expensive...

The part missing from this story is that the reason these cures would be expensive is because of the government-granted patent monopolies that make them expensive. Without these monopolies, these therapies almost certainly would be cheap.

We do have to pay for the research, but at the point people are receiving these therapies the research has already been done. We are trying to recover these costs from people facing a potentially fatal disease. This situation is made even more perverse from an economic perspective since most often there are third party payers, either insurers or the government. So we will expect these people and/or their families to be spending time lobbying insurers or the government to pay for incredibly expensive treatments, which may or may not be helpful.

What a brilliant system!

The alternative is to pay for the research upfront. The government currently spends more than $30 billion a year on bio-medical research through the National Institutes of Health. We could triple this amount to replace the research that is now patent-supported. It can still be done through the private sector, even by the same companies. They would just be working under long-term contracts -- think of defense contractors...

In addition to having the benefit of all new therapies available at their free market price, which would almost always be cheap, this system would have the advantage that all the research results would be immediately available to other researchers (a requirement of funding) so that research could progress more quickly. In addition, this system would remove the incentive that patent monopolies give companies to lie about the safety and effectiveness of their drugs.

By fnord12 | June 6, 2018, 9:44 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Whatever's fair, pal

I'm not on the side of the Jackson estate here (i'm for as broad an interpretation of "fair use" as possible), but i do like them turning the table on Disney.

The complaint stresses that Disney is known for its strict copyright enforcement actions and a narrow view of copyright law's "fair use" doctrine.

"For example, just a few years ago, [Disney] sent DMCA takedown notices to Twitter, Facebook, and other websites and webhosts, when consumers posted pictures of new Star Wars toys that the consumers had legally purchased.

"Apparently, Disney claimed that simple amateur photographs of Star Wars characters in toy form infringed Disney's copyrights in the characters and were not a fair use," the state writes.

However, when the Estate urged Disney not to use any of its copyrighted works without permission, Disney's attorney used fair use as a defense. The company argued that it could legally use Jackson's copyrighted material since the broadcast was labeled as a documentary.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2018, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

« Liberal Outrage: May 2018 | Main