Today: The set of GOP candidates amazingly enough is even worse than three years ago. They don't even have a Huntsman.
Today: The set of GOP candidates amazingly enough is even worse than three years ago. They don't even have a Huntsman.
The largest audience cheers in the Republican presidential debate came when Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul whether he wanted an uninsured 30 year old with a treatable disease to die because he didn't have health insurance. You can hear the crowd shout, "let him die."
It's based upon the delusional mythology of Rugged [White] Individualism building America. It makes a lot of noise about The Pioneers 'doing it themselves' and ignores any facts that run counter to that notion, like the railroads being both Corporate Entities and Federally funded. Or the need for the US Army in dealing with the Plains Indians, the finest light cavalry in the world. Without the former most of those Rugged [White] Individualists would have wound up as bones bleaching upon The Great Grass Plain. Plus it's traditional heroes tend to be violent, alcoholic, gambling addicted, whore mongering sociopaths.
And this is not even getting into how much of American's economic foundations were built upon the scarred black back of slavery.
So fuck that Libertarian bullshit...and you can quote me on that shit, baby!" *raises clenched fist*
Reason TV has been looking into some very strange and heavy handed tactics being used to drive people off desert land in the Antelope Valley, LA County.
For people who prefer to read, LA Weekly has an article on the situation.
Mark Frauenfelder over at Boing Boing is as puzzled by this piece as I am. Why would the local government be trying to drive people off their land when there is nobody else living in the area. More important, why won't the county supervisor, Michael Antonovich answer any questions on the matter?
The local residents being bullied think that there is some kind of development plan behind the moves. If I was in that situation I would probably come to the same conclusion.
From a political perspective, Republican Antonovich has to go. Whatever his motives, whatever his reasons, there should be no place in public office for officials who won't explain or be accountable for their actions.
I have be saying for a while that no matter how badly Obama fucks up, whomever emerges from the GOP primaries will be so fucking batshit they'll terrify the electorate into re-electing him.
This rant is getting a lot of play, and it deserves to. This is the long version. Note that the Dem and Repub spokes-folks both illustrate his point that the party focus muddies the waters — by muddying the waters.
By the way, Dylan Ratigan has a background as a business-press reporter and analyst for Bloomberg News and CNBC. This stuff, he knows cold.
Whatever else you think of the non-partisan Ratigan and the rest of his ideas, there are three important take-ways here, three themes and phrases to hold firmly in memory:
■ "Extraction" — "Tens of trillions of dollars are being extracted from the U.S.A." Memorize that word; it's excellent framing. "Extraction" = looting. And it nicely mirrors what oil and gas companies do; they're properly described as the "energy extraction" industry.
■ "Bought Congress" — That should be the branding, first, last, and always. "Bought Congress" is exactly right, and again, it's perfect framing.
■ Mindless party focus as distraction — Ratigan says Republicans want to "burn the place to the ground" to get power, and Obama / Dems want to kick the can down the road to protect their 2012 power-maintenance opportunity. In other words, both parties are corrupted by power; neither wants to solve the nation's problems. And the inter-party fight obscures the problem — in my view, on purpose.
Think about it. If we the peasants are made to care if the 2nd son of the duke, or the 4th son, is the one to inherit the reins of our servitude, and we get hooked into rooting for one against the other — what are we not noticing? (Hint: Our servitude.)
This doesn't mean that party activity is meaningless; but it's best to understand what we're dealing with. Obama's not about Hope; Republicans aren't about Freedom; and the Tea Party is just populist enough to make them tempting coalition partners, in my opinion. (For what its worth, my own thoughts on political parties in America are summarized here. )
Whatever your thoughts, it's great to see this stuff. Ratigan here is not much different from Ed Schultz, as Schultz calls out Barack Obama for lack of involvement in the war raging in the states, Wisconsin and Ohio in particular.
It's the start of the next phase, I think, as thinking people react to their losses in the last one.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Anyone who characterizes the deal between the President, Democratic, and Republican leaders as a victory for the American people over partisanship understands neither economics nor politics.
The deal does not raise taxes on America’s wealthy and most fortunate — who are now taking home a larger share of total income and wealth, and whose tax rates are already lower than they have been, in eighty years. Yet it puts the nation’s most important safety nets and public investments on the chopping block.
It also hobbles the capacity of the government to respond to the jobs and growth crisis. Added to the cuts already underway by state and local governments, the deal’s spending cuts increase the odds of a double-dip recession. And the deal strengthens the political hand of the radical right.
Yes, the deal is preferable to the unfolding economic catastrophe of a default on the debt of the U.S. government. The outrage and the shame is it has come to this choice.
More than a year ago, the President could have conditioned his agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts beyond 2010 on Republicans’ agreement not to link a vote on the debt ceiling to the budget deficit. But he did not.
Many months ago, when Republicans first demanded spending cuts and no tax increases as a condition for raising the debt ceiling, the President could have blown their cover. He could have shown the American people why this demand had nothing to do with deficit reduction but everything to do with the GOP’s ideological fixation on shrinking the size of the government — thereby imperiling Medicare, Social Security, education, infrastructure, and everything else Americans depend on. But he did not.
And through it all the President could have explained to Americans that the biggest economic challenge we face is restoring jobs and wages and economic growth, that spending cuts in the next few years will slow the economy even further, and therefore that the Republicans’ demands threaten us all. Again, he did not.
The radical right has now won a huge tactical and strategic victory. Democrats and the White House have proven they have little by way of tactics or strategy.
By putting Medicare and Social Security on the block, they have made it more difficult for Democrats in the upcoming 2012 election cycle to blame Republicans for doing so.
By embracing deficit reduction as their apparent goal – claiming only that they’d seek to do it differently than the GOP – Democrats and the White House now seemingly agree with the GOP that the budget deficit is the biggest obstacle to the nation’s future prosperity.
The budget deficit is not the biggest obstacle to our prosperity. Lack of jobs and growth is. And the largest threat to our democracy is the emergence of a radical right capable of getting most of the ransom it demands.
It's criminal the way politicians in Washington are ignoring the very real possibility that this budget deal could plunge us into another recession (just in time for Obama to lose re-election and Democrats to lose the Senate). From Bloomberg:
Congressional agreement on budget cuts could cause troubles of its own. Less spending by the Federal government would be “a real problem” for the economy, Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, said in a July 29 interview on Bloomberg Television.Here's some pretty direct evidence that the stimulus did help the economy grow, and cut backs in federal spending helped the economy shrink (or at least grow at a smaller rate).
“We could see a growing risk of recession in the fourth quarter, early 2012, if in fact the federal government gets it together and makes aggressive budget cuts,” LeBas said.
No one, and I mean no one, on the Hill, at the White House, anywhere is talking about what these grand bargains are going to do to the economy next year. I don't mean this as a personal shot, but it's easy to tell people to eat their spinach when you make a government guaranteed salary of $400,000 a year, or even a congressman's guaranteed salary of $174,000 a year. It doesn't mean you don't care, but it does mean that the concern isn't personal, like it is for the rest of us.
If you're actually worried about how you're going to pay your mortgage, or feed your family, or stop your car from being repossessed, all this hysteria about cutting the deficit - and not just ignoring the economy, but actually proposing policies that may send us into another recession (a direction we're already heading) - doesn't sound all that grand at all.
Mark my words: No one, not Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi or Obama is willing to answer the simple question of what these grand bargains are going to do to the economy next year, and in the years to come. And sadly, the media doesn't seem terribly interested either.
Carl Hulse and Robert Pear, The New York Times News Service: "After a 24-hour delay and concessions to conservatives, the House on Friday narrowly approved a Republican fiscal plan that the Senate quickly rejected in a standoff over the federal debt ceiling that was keeping the government on a path to potential default. Despite a day of frenzied legislative maneuvering... the two parties made no visible progress in finding common ground, leaving Washington, Wall Street and much of the nation watching the clock toward a deadline of midnight Tuesday."
Mainstream Reporters: Too Close to the Field and Teams to Get the Debt Story
Jeff Cohen, Truthout: "If you were a spectator in a sky box seat looking directly down on the Washington debt debate, you’d be seeing a contest both narrow and off to one edge of the field - like watching a football game being played entirely between the 10-yard line and the goal line. The big items that added trillions to the debt are not even on the field of debate. Because the two teams are not contesting them."
World Reacts to Debt Ceiling Debacle: "Irresponsible," "Worst Kind of Absurd Theatrics"
Ken Sofer, ThinkProgress: "From France and Germany to China and India, countries around the world are angry that American politicians play with the possibility of a U.S. default like a yo-yo with little regard for the international economic system that depends on American solvency... Even if Congress manages to forge a deal against the wishes of the Tea Party and deliver a bill to President Obama's desk raising the debt ceiling before default, the damage to our international standing has already been done."
Economists: Now is Wrong Time for Congress to Cut Spending
Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers: "Despite the weak growth, politicians aren't arguing about stimulating the economy; rather they're debating how quickly and how much to cut spending, thus shaving economic growth in the process... The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 1.3 percent rate from April to June, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It also revised downward the growth rate over the first three months of 2011 to just 0.4 percent."
Large Mortgage Service Filed False Documents in Foreclosure Bid
Paul Kiel, ProPublica: "GMAC, one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers... wanted to foreclose on a New York City homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork needed to seize the property... Three months later, GMAC had an answer. Itfiled a document with New York City authorities that said the delinquent Ameriquest loan had been assigned to it 'effective of' August 2005. The documentwas dated July 7, 2010, three years after Ameriquest had ceased to exist... In New York, it's a felony to file a public record with 'intent to deceive.'"
I like to think that such will get them murdered at the polls next year, but the American Electorate can be pretty fucking stupid.”