Friday Reads

Good Morning!!

It’s hard not to be be completely discouraged these days.  Our Washington deal-makers are permanently stuck in opposites day.  No amount of reality is going to bring the lot of them out of whatever place they strategically reside.  This Reuters piece stands as a hallmark to the current lunacy.  We shouldn’t have any financial problems.  Social Security is solvent and it’s not part of the federal budget are deficit problem.  Why am I reading this then?

If Treasury were to decide to delay some payments, one option could be to postpone a disbursement of more than $49 billion to Social Security recipients that is due on August 3.

It would be a politically explosive step but one that could allow the government to temporarily pay bondholders to try to avoid foreign investors dumping U.S. Treasuries and the dollar.

The administration has warned that any missed payments, including those to retirees, veterans and contractors, would be default by another name, and the Treasury team still has concerns that any contingency plan would prove unworkable.

Steve McMillin, a former deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget under Bush, said Treasury has options but most of them are “pretty ugly.”

If Treasury were to decide to delay payments, it would need to re-program government computers that generate automatic payments as they fall due — a massive and difficult undertaking. Treasury makes about 3 million payments each day.

Do they figure that seniors aren’t going to riot in the streets effectively like that episodede of South Park called Grey Dawn? I can pretty well imagine that they won’t stop payments to their corporate bosses.  After all, that option would soothe the bond vigilantes.

Here’s the issues under study now according to that same Reuter’s article.

– Whether the administration can delay payments to try to manage cash flows after August 2

– If the U.S. Constitution allows President Barack Obama to ignore Congress and the government to continue to issue debt

– Whether a 1985 finding by a government watchdog gives the government legal authority to prioritize payments.

The Treasury team has also spoken to the Federal Reserve about how the central bank — specifically the New York Federal Reserve Bank — would operate as Treasury’s broker in the markets if a deal to raise the United States’ $14.3 trillion borrowing cap is not reached on time.

I’m teaching an MBA Corporate Finance seminar this summer.  Every single asset pricing model that prices securities, bonds, loans,options or whatever basically uses the US treasury bond as the risk-free asset.  I feel like I have to asterisk everything I’m teaching right now which is basically the same thing that was taught to me back in the 1980s.  It’s like these folks are purposefully trying to tank the financial markets and bring on another crisis.  If they manage to raise the debt ceiling, then it appears likely to be done by ‘austerity’ measure like $4 trillion dollars in cuts.  Start your backyard gardens now.  The next depression is bound to be a big one. I have just have no idea why they’re trying to blow up our economy.  It’s just frigging unbelievable. Of course, Orrin Hatch wants us all to suffer more, because after all, people that aren’t filthy rich are obviously defective in gawd’s eyes.

So, tell me, who is the real practicioner of voodoo economics?

So, here’s a nifty graph on the left from Ezra Klein showing the mix of spending cuts vs. tax increases the last few times we’ve had these debt and deficit discussions.  Looks like the real practitioner of voodoo economics wasn’t Ronald Reagan but is Barrack Obama.  Just more of the alternate reality forced on us by media and politicians that make up news, history, and economic theory.

As you can see on the graph, in each case, taxes were at least a third of the total, and in Reagan’s case, his massive tax cuts were followed by deficit-reduction deals that actually relied on tax increases. Today, tea party conservatives would be begging Sen. Jim DeMint to primary the Gipper.

Bush also included taxes in his deal, and Clinton relied heavily on taxes in his first deficit-reduction bill, which passed without Republican votes. In 1997, when he was working with Republicans, he actually cut taxes slightly while passing spending cuts. But of course the economy was in much better shape then, and Clinton had already increased revenues substantially.

The one-third rule doesn’t break down until you get to the deal Obama reportedly offered Republicans in the first round of debt-ceiling talks: $2 trillion in spending cuts for $400 billion in taxes, or an 83:17 split. And that, if anything, understates how good of a deal Republicans are getting. Tax revenues and rates are much, much lower than they were under Reagan, Bush or Clinton. And next year, Obama is pledging to extend most of the Bush tax cuts, which amounts to a $3 trillion-plus tax cut against current law.

Meanwhile, the polls–like this one from Pew Research–show that people overwhelmingly want to maintain social security, medicaid and medicare and would support tax increases to do so.  So much for government of, for, and by the people.

As policymakers at the state and national level struggle with rising entitlement costs, overwhelming numbers of Americans agree that, over the years, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have been good for the country.

But these cherished programs receive negative marks for current performance, and their finances are widely viewed as troubled. Reflecting these concerns, most Americans say all three programs either need to be completely rebuilt or undergo major changes. However, smaller majorities express this view than did so five years ago.

The public’s desire for fundamental change does not mean it supports reductions in the benefits provided by Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Relatively few are willing to see benefit cuts as part of the solution, regardless of whether the problem being addressed is the federal budget deficit, state budget shortfalls or the financial viability of the entitlement programs.

Jim DeMint is one of the people that should be the first in line to be charged with treason and gross stupidity. Where was Senator DeMint when all the votes were taken to spend all this money to start out with? Plus, all those irresponsible revenue cuts back in the early 2000s when we basically had a balanced budget?  He was a congressman from 1999-2005 so certainly he must’ve tried to stop Dubya Bush from all that spending!

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Wednesday night that Republicans should maintain their hardline position in the debt-ceiling debate even if it results in “serious disruptions” to the economy.

“What I’m advocating here is, let’s use this as a point of leverage, give the president an increase, but don’t come away without real cuts from real caps and spending, and without a balanced budget,” DeMint said on FOX Business Network.

“We’re at the point where there would have to be some, you know, some serious disruptions in order not to raise [the debt ceiling],” he said. “I’m willing to do that.”

The president pushed the economy into “crisis” mode, according to DeMint. He said the president has been “burning time” with the deficit negotiations led by Vice President Biden, when the looming debt ceiling and budget deficit could have been addressed last year.

DeMint, well-known for speaking out in favor of limited government and balancing the budget, told host Andrew Napolitano that if Republicans and Democrats couldn’t vote in “something permanent” that would limit government spending, “we’re going to continue to spend [until] the total country collapses.”

Warren Buffet says  the GOP is Threatening To ‘Blow Your Brains Out’ Over Debt Ceiling

Republicans are playing a dangerous game by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, according to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

“We raised the debt ceiling seven times during the Bush Administration,” Buffett told CNBC on Thursday. Now, the Republican-controlled Congress is “trying to use the incentive now that we’re going to blow your brains out, America, in terms of your debt worthiness over time.”

If Congress fails to raise the borrowing limit of the federal government by August 2, the date when the U.S. will reach the limit of its borrowing abilities, it will likely begin defaulting on its loans.

Buffett, who according to the Washington Post has helped raise money for Democratic candidates like Hilary Clinton in the past, has been highly critical of the actions of the Republican-controlled Congress. In May, Buffett stated at a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting that if the Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, it would constitute “the most asinine act” in the nation’s history, reports Reuters.

Other political news is equally disheartening.  Most of the governments in the states are as crazy–if not crazier–than the US Congress.  Planned Parenthood in North Carolina is suing the state over budget cuts designed to cut access to much used and cost saving preventive health care.

One of North Carolina’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to invalidate part of the new state budget that cuts it off from federal or state funds for family planning.

The budget, written by Republicans in control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than a century, states that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are forbidden from receiving any contracts or grants from the state health agency. The lawsuit filed in Greensboro’s federal court by Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina contends the group is being punished for its abortion-rights advocacy, saying that violates its free-speech protections.

The organization is barred by law from using public money to perform abortions and uses the government contracts to provide family planning or teen pregnancy prevention services, yet is being singled out because Planned Parenthood supports abortion rights, the lawsuit said. Efforts to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood affiliates in North Carolina are similar to those in Kansas and Indiana, which were also met with federal lawsuits, the group’s attorneys said.

“Their sole purpose is to single out, vilify, and punish Planned Parenthood as a particularly visible provider and advocate — even though, ironically, the eliminated funds have nothing to do with abortion, but will only deprive low-income people of desperately needed health services and teen pregnancy prevention programs,” the lawsuit said.

Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina received $287,000 in federal, state and matching local funds in the year that ended last week for teen pregnancy prevention and family planning programs that provided contraceptives to poor women, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. The non-profit operates from locations in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Fayetteville.

Some of the most extremist pastors are signing on to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Pray-a polooza.  Talk about a hater-thon.  Remember, Perry is supposed to be the ‘electable’ Republican.

And we already knew Perry didn’t care much about including, or even not offending, non-Christians: his personal letter announcing the event calls on the entire nation to pray to Jesus Christ. But the news, reported by Right Wing Watch, that a radical pastor named C. Peter Wagner has signed on as an official endorser of The Response deserves more attention.

The Colorado-based Wagner, who is featured on the website of The Response, is the head of Global Harvest Ministries.

His brand of evangelicalism, known as the New Apostolic Reformation, is characterized by extreme hostility to other religions. In this passage from his book “Hard-Core Idolatry: Facing the Facts,” Wagner praises the burning of Catholic saints, copies of the Book of Mormon, voodoo dolls, and other “idols”

Yup, welcome to the new surreality.  All we need is Rod Serling introducing the morning reads today and I’d say that would be about right.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

51 Comments on “Friday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Commonsense has given way to radical political mentality, corporate favoritsim, and sheer stupidity. The GOP is standing firm in the face of public needs with an agenda squarely designed around making the current president a one termer while he sits on the sidelines making it easier for them to achieve that goal.

    Most running for that office in 2012 are dumber than a box of rocks, brandishing their religious beliefs minus any true solutions to problems that infect the nation. The current occupant of the WH prefers to “referee” the proceedings for fear of getting his hands dirty pushing back the garbage that is being proposed in hopes that nobody will notice his lack of leadership, content in believing that the nation will reject the “nutjobs” presented by the GOP while the rest of us wallow in the muck.

    Ideology trumps the common good, hatred infests the dialogue, while power hungry sleazebuckets vie for position. The nation is exhausted by the never ending battles that produce nothing in the end but leaves most of us holding the short stick.

    I am a point where even I am sick to death of listening to my own whine since it seems that I can do nothing about the choices placed in front of me.

  2. fiscalliberal says:

    We need to reframe the discussion about throwing grandma over the cliff. In reality she will have to go live with the kids. Can you imagine your mother in law comming to live with you in your house?

    I think that framing will refocus the middle age people to the discussion.

    • Beata says:

      Many middle-aged people are already taking care of “grandma”. I took care of my elderly mother in my home for almost a decade after she became ill. But there came a time when she was too ill for me to care for her and she had to be put in a nursing home. It was impossible to keep her at home. She was just too sick. She has been in a nursing home for several years now. In a perfect world, she would have died peacefully in her own bed. In reality, that seldom happens anymore. Most of our parents will eventually end up in nursing homes, as will we when we grow old. And many, if they live long enough, will depend on Medicaid to pay for their care, no matter how well they “plan”. Their savings will run out because nursing homes are extremely expensive. Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term nursing home care. That is reality, too.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I took care of my mother-in-law for 18 years until she died. If it hadn’t been for me, she would have been in a nursing home all those years. My labor saved the government millions. Even for people who have a home and quite a bit of savings, it doesn’t take long to spend down everything if you are paying up front for nursing home care. Then it’s Medicaid and the government puts a lien on your home.

        There will no long be Medicaid to pay for nursing homes after the cuts. The nursing home industry is panicking right now, but it may be too late for them to stop this. Cuts in Medicare and Medicaid are going to lead to huge job losses in the health care industry–which is just about the only industry that is creating jobs right now. We are going to have elderly people dying in the their homes or starving in the streets. Not every elderly person has family members to turn to.

    • bostonboomer says:

      My mother is in pretty good financial shape. It’s my generation (baby boomers) that is going to get hit hard right now. I’m more likely to have to move in with my mom.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I think most Baby Boomers not only have their mom’s living with them…but they have their kids and grandkids living with them as well.

  3. dakinikat says:

    The unemployment rate is up again. Job creation is still way off.

    U.S. economy added only 18,000 jobs in June, much worse than expected. Jobless rate up to 9.2%.

    Employment in “local government education” down 180K from a year ago. Lots of teachers losing jobs. Among worst-affected sectors.

    • dakinikat says:

      we’re in a recoveryless recovery … this is just depressing. The economic policy response to a lack of aggregate demand is a no brainer. It’s not like stagflation where you’re damned no matter what you do. I can’t believe we’re talking austerity in the face of this … we’re slipping back into a recession.

    • dakinikat says:

      Nouriel Nouriel Roubini

      Sharp fiscal drag ahead, even worse if agreement on deficit leads to early fiscal austerity. Risk that economy will stall by 2012

    • cwaltz says:

      Worse then expected for who? I’m not an economist but when you look at the states and their attempts at balancing their budgets by cutting jobs and you have to realize that it’s going to affect the federal employment numbers. The same thing is going to happen when the government cuts funding for programs to “balance their budget.” I have to wonder if these same economists will be dumbfounded.

      We’re going in the wrong direction if we want growth. But you know that already dak and I’m preaching to the choir with you. It’s the Wall Street journal economists that are clueless about the “real” economy.

  4. dakinikat says:

    crampell Catherine Rampell
    Average length of workweek for private payroll employees ALSO fell, another very bad sign. Geez. Is there anything good in this report??

  5. dakinikat says:

    FinancialTimes Financial Times
    US adds just 18,000 jobs in June #FinancialTimes

  6. paper doll says:

    Thanks for the post and the chart .

    Glad Planned Parenthood in NC isn’t going down without a fight

    The next depression is bound to be a big one.

    They are bad when they just happen…one that is done on purpose , will be really bad.
    It will be society changing …that’s already started. Because the owners are sinking many institutions of recourse before hand …like Planned Parenthood, for exsample ,among many, many others the institution of a two part system…that’s gone already .

    I have just have no idea why they’re trying to blow up our economy

    to steal the pieces…it’s like blowing up a safe in a bank ….how else to steal the
    accumulated wealth of 300 + years ? Greece is the what they want here as well….
    But a place has to be broken apart frist

  7. dakinikat says:

    President Obama’s plan for recovery was largely based on placating the gods of the markets that he, apparently, didn’t fully understand either. Poorly counseled by chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Obama gambled that a huge, no-questions-asked bailout of Wall Street would be enough. He resisted almost every structural change to Wall Street in the belief that a swiftly restored financial sector would just as swiftly restore the economy. For the same reason, the administration offered up a timid, Street-friendly plan for confronting banks and mortgage servicers so as to get underwater mortgage holders out of trouble, and it did almost nothing about documentation fraud. Obama so completely saved Wall Street’s bacon in early 2009 that he was stunned, his advisers say, when bankers paid themselves record compensation packages by the end of that awful year—without lending out much of that bacon to others.

    Now the results of all this presidential appeasement are in. This week we learned that since the recovery started, banks have done not more but even less lending, reducing it by 4.1 percent in the first 21 months after the Great Recession, The Wall Street Journal reported on July 5, citing data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Money that banks make available through credit lines has dropped from $3.04 trillion to $2.69 trillion, and they have cut home-equity credit lines from $1.33 trillion to $1.15 trillion.

    The latest data indicate that the government’s other efforts to appease American business, such as the many goodies from an $800 billion stimulus plan, don’t seem to be working either. Corporate profits are soaring, up 47 percent in the first 21 months of the “recovery,” according to The Journal, and yet total jobs were down 0.4 percent, and unemployment remained stuck above 9 percent through the same period. Those corporate profits are being reinvested, but apparently not enough of them in this country. All in all, economists say, it may be the worst recovery on record.

    All of which suggests that the unappeasable entity we should be worrying about is not so much the “economy”—which we used to think was made up mainly of us Americans, some 300 million strong—but American business. Except that “American business” just isn’t anymore—very American, that is. The plot of countless “big-is-bad” Hollywood melodramas has come largely true. The decades-long process by which U.S. companies have become detached from the communities and cities that spawned them is almost complete. Multinational corporations, grown gigantic from decades of mergers and acquisitions, simply use their transnational production networks to shift direction effortlessly, like giant flocks of birds on the wing, into faster-growing economies and away from local tax authorities.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Our only hope is that Mitt Romney gets elected and, because he really doesn’t have an ideology, he gets pragmatic and does the right thing. That’s a pretty pathetic hope, I know, but what else is there? It’s way too late to run someone against Obama. Thanks Obots. Thanks Democratic “leadership.”

      • paper doll says:

        Mitt Romney is like the new McCain…he’ll get no real support from the party and most likely will be told to take Palin 2.0 ( otherwise known as Bachmann ) for his VP…since the GOP is meant to lose so Obama can continue his work…but even Mitt might be seen as too good and endangering to Barry . So I’m thinking they will put the lulu on top of the ticket to really seal it for Barry…he very much needs the help of the GOP wackadoodle wing to ” win” …, even with all the King horses and all the King’s men constantly pulling for him

  8. bostonboomer says:

    I just went over and read Ian Welsh’s bragging about having predicted Obama gutting social security and Medicare–“way back” in 2010. But in 2008, Ian Welsh wouldn’t listen to Dakinikat’s warnings.

    I predicted it after I heard Obama talk about Social Security before the Iowa primary (2007). I was even more sure after I heard Obama praise Reagan in a interview before the Iowa primary. I knew I was right after I read “The Audacity of Hope.” I tried to tell people about this and they either laughed at me or screamed at me. I was run off Daily Kos for saying what I could see as clear as day.

    Now we’re reaping the whirlwhind and we–who actually saw this coming–are being lectured to by people who supported Barack Obama and shouted us down in 2008.

    I know I shouldn’t bring up ancient history, but I’m just plain spitting mad this morning.

    • paper doll says:

      I know I shouldn’t bring up ancient history, but I’m just plain spitting mad this morning.

      Bring it up!! Why not ? They are rewriting it . So saying he was a Repug in 2010 is thought to be a big deal and far seeing ?


      • bostonboomer says:

        I find myself emitting bitter laughter frequently these days–especially when I read Firedoglake. Those FDL’ers have just about reached the point where we were in 2009.

      • paper doll says:

        all part of the left blogashere’s chant ” we have to vote for Obama” kabuki BB…nothing has changed in that regard …they are doing their paid for job , as they did in 08. Really they have not change an iota…they are just whining more as they jack boot . But he’s still the One to them, at least in effect

      • WomanVoter says:

        Our protests of him not having a ‘progressive’ / Democratic record fell on deaf ears and we were called, well you know… I doubt that people hearing that their Social Security and Medicare insurance plans will are on the chopping block (that they and their employer paid for) will feel comforted by speeches and empty promises. More shocking was the revelation by the Democrats admitting that when Biden met with the GOP that both Social Security and Medicare were always on the chopping block.

        Every month when I see the health insurance bill I remember it was Obama and his lack of leadership, lack of foresight that let the insurance companies fleece us, while putting more people into the uninsured rolls and more employers laying people off because they can’t handle the skyrocketing insurance increases.

        Sad, but The Ed Show is going to help promote Free Health Clinics, but won’t take Obama to task for this growing disaster (sure it was there under Bush, but no it is worse). How can we claim to be the ‘greatest country’ with close to 50 million uninsured Americans:” Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes”-Reuters/2009

      • cwaltz says:

        BB, the FDL crowd is there but they seem to be stuck on outrage. They’ve got a petition but what they really need is someone to primary Obama. I’m writing in Sanders if my choice is Romney or Obama. I’m done with bad or worse. 2008 was my last cycle.

    • Peggy Sue says:

      I agree, BB. For those of us who saw through the Obama sham, it was clear as day. Empty suit, empty brand. So, reading the ‘oh, nos, tell me ain’t true, joe’ articles from the previously “O” smitten quarter is hard to take without gagging. The Frank Rich and Matt Taibbi types, now have their panties in a twist, were the same people beating the drum in 2007-2008 about Obama, the ‘transformational’ leader.

      Well, he’s transforming things all right. He’s managed to destroy the Democratic Party and now he’s working with the GOP to destroy the frigging country.

      More and more, I’m beginning to agree with Dak’s assessment: this is not a mistake or stupidity or sheer coincidence. Rather a march into some ideological nightmare where free market fairies rule the day because in addition to providing unicorns, the market will set you free [if you’re filthy rich];innovation and prosperity rely on prayer-a-thons [Christian only, of course]; war becomes our major export; women are dragged back to their proper place in the kitchen; and the elderly, disadvantaged or poor are thrown over the side or transported into orbit [whatever is the most cost effective determined by private enterprise].

      Sound ridiculous? When I hear heads of state [Greece in this instance] say:

      “The financial system is more powerful than the will of the people.”

      I can’t help but think that this whole shift is deliberate and that the political devotees to this neoliberal disaster are fully in charge.

      They won’t be satisfied until we’re all on our knees. The choke collars will be optional depending on our behavior.

      We’ve been sold. Lock, stock and barrel. And that’s about as depressing as it gets.

    • Ian Welsh says:

      Wow. Actually, during the primaries, I was for Edwards. After he dropped out, I was for Clinton. This can be confirmed by looking at my archives at the Agonist or at Huffpo (not FDL, which did not allow primary endorsements from any of its writers.) I was the only a-list blogger to defend Clinton against the absurd assassination smears on Huffpo. I said that Obama was the rightmost of the major candidates more than once.

      In 2006 I wrote that Obama should not be president:

      And in the post you talk about, there is a link from February 2009 in which I note that he intends to do entitlement reform, and that it will suck. Not 2010.

      There is no level of purity that will satisfy some folks, I guess.

      But you’re simply wrong: I was never an Obama supporter in the primaries. I admit, Obama has sucked even worse than I expected, but I expected him to suck and I said so, long before 2009 or 2010.

      If you want to be hostile, you might wish to aim your guns somewhere else.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Hi Ian,

        Thanks for stopping by. You’re right, I was wrong. I assumed you supported Obama during the primaries because you never tried to stop the Obot rampage at FDL. I apologize for mischaracterizing your position. I happened to stop by your blog this morning and after reading your most recent posts (following on the horrible economic news of the past few days), I was about ready to slit my wrists. So I ranted a bit here and on Twitter.

        I’m definitely no purist. I would have been thrilled if Obama had acted like a Democrat. In fact I would have been thrilled if he acted like a Rockefeller Republican–or even a Nixon Republican! But I could see the writing on the wall back in 2007, and I just couldn’t believe all the people who bought his snake oil. I’m glad to know you saw it too.

        I think it would be great if the liberal blogs could work together to fight back, but those of us who were loudly speaking out about Obama’s conservatism back in 2008 are still being shunned. I don’t want to be hostile, and I hope you’ll accept my apology and work with us in the future.

      • Ian Welsh says:

        Answer to Boston’s answer (which I can’t seem to reply directly to):


        think of FDL as a low circulation newspaper.

        1) The moderating at the time was done by a moderation team. Folks used to blame authors for moderating comments on their posts all the time, but we virtually never had anything to do with it. Even as managing editor, it literally wasn’t my job or my department. I had the theoretical ability to do it, but I never ever did it myself and I think I may have asked the mod team to look at a comment all of twice in all my time there. This is not a criticism of the mod team. I know them, I like them, I think they mostly did a good job, but they moderated as they were told to moderate.

        2) FDL has a publisher. That publisher is Jane Hamsher. Editorial freedom, even at the very top of the heap, is limited by what Jane wants written. FDL has editorial positions, for example, during the health care debate FDL was for the public option. I don’t recall ever seeing, on the front page, a post trashing the public option. Likewise during the primaries the rule was “don’t endorse, don’t destroy.” Front page writers for FDL could not, at FDL, endorse a candidate, they could also not make any criticism of any of the major candidates (Edwards, Clinton, Obama) which would make it impossible for FDL to support them. FDL was going to support whoever the Democratic candidate was.

        No worries about things. I thought Obama would suck, I had no idea he’d suck as bad as he has. TARP and the stimulus made it clear how awful he’d be on economic issues (and I did say the stimulus wouldn’t work in Jan 2009, the day it was announced, at FDL). But you couldn’t out and out attack Obama in Jan/Feb of 2009. I tried to end run the problem by posting at Huffpo, but while they’d let the posts through, they wouldn’t put them on a vertical, meaning virtually no one read it. No one wanted to hear it,l anyway. Even today I come across people who are still mad at me for slagging Obama “too soon”. And to be fair, at the time we thought that however bad Obama was, and many of us knew he was going to suck, McCain would be worse. I just thought the left should pressure him hard, and once it became clear the Stimulus was inadequate (ie. Jan 2009) that we should go into opposition so we would not as tainted by his failure and to have maximum leverage (ie. like the gays get more by being oppositional than playing nice, as we discuss in the interview.)

        I now think it’s arguable that Obama is worse than McCain would have been (leaving aside the Palin issue). I don’t think McCain could have cut SS, for example. OTOH, McCain stood a good chance of going to war with Iran, and that would have been very very bad. So really, who knows.

        Again, no worries. I’m far from perfect, and Obama is worse than I expected. And I suppose I could have walked from FDL sooner than I did, but as I say, I agreed at the time that Obama, despite sucking, was still better than McCain. I didn’t, however, think he was better than Edwards or Clinton.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I appreciate that explanation, Ian. I supported Edwards at first also, but he dropped out before I had a chance to vote in the MA primary. I realized that, although she was far from perfect and not liberal enough for me, Clinton was a much better candidate than Obama for a number of reasons.

        Because I tried to argue that Obama didn’t have any core values and if anything was a conservative, I was driven off Daily Kos after being an active member there for more than four years. Many others were forced out of other liberal blogs, so we started our own.

        Much as I hated McCain, I thought he would be able to do much less damage than Obama. I still believe that. After Bush failed to privatize SS, Wall St. turned to Obama. They knew many Democrats would assume that a black candidate had to be liberal. Only a Democrat could finish the dismantling of the New Deal, so they supported a fake Democrat. It’s all so incredibly cyncal and it worked, thanks to millions of “progressives” who didn’t do their research.

        • dakinikat says:

          I left FDL when it became a free for all against commenters that supported other candidates. I even wrote to Jane asking her to ask people to be more civil. She said people should be able to defend themselves but every time you questioned anything about five people would gang up on you and it would get really ugly. I was told repeatedly by people to go to taylormarsh if I wanted to be so dumb. I got tired of it. There was no discussion of issues any more. There was no one protecting dissent. It was a miserable environment and hostile. Then moderators at huffpo wouldn’t let your comments through if they weren’t all pro obama all the time. The entire left side of the blogosphere was hostile to reasoned dissent. FDL did not come off as neutral at all because the let the Obama brigade usurp the discussions.

    • djmm says:

      I am with you, BostonBoomer!! Well said!!


  9. bostonboomer says:

    Boehner backs Obama’s plan to crash the economy. Surprise surprise.

    White House rules out Constitutional option on debt ceiling.

    Can someone please explain to me why the President is deciding these things instead of our elected “representatives?” Did the U.S. become a dictatorship while I wasn’t paying attention?

    • paper doll says:

      We are back to taxation without representation. But Obama’s not allowing the Dems to appear to be relevant is the only honest thing I’ve seen him do .

      The Dems don’t matter….while it was merely , we the Dem base, who no longer mattered, they were fine with that. But now they are in the left behind group….suddenly it’s panic mode. How are you gonna get a good lobbyist job to go along with your congressional pension if you don’t appear to be important on the hill?

      What? no one wants to see the Dem interpretive dance of caving ??No one wants to see the Dems wring their hands in distress while doing nothing? ah . BO Inc does not feel the need of the Dems “help” to put this over. They learned from Bush 2 ‘s 2004 disaster…you don’t ask the people to give up social programs…, you just end them…

    • Allison says:

      Yes – I’d like to know what our elected Dem representatives are doing…so far all I’ve seen is a report that they were “taken aback” or something like that when BHO cut them out of the negotiations with the Repugs. Didn’t Nancy say absolutely no way they’d agree to cuts in SSN, etc? So BHO basically gave her the finger bigtime.

      Have there been any responses from them today? Or is it just *crickets* as usual….

      • bostonboomer says:

        Nancy P met with Obama this morning. She was also in the meeting yesterday. She stated yesterday that Dems in the house will not vote for Social Security/Medicare cuts. Boehner does need Dem votes. Also, Boehner has said even Obama’s latest offer to give away the store isn’t good enough.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Oh, and also Boehner has to deal with the Tea Party types like Michele Bachmann who have vowed to vote against ANY increase in the debt limit.

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    You would think there was a measure of “fair play” at stake here but you would be mistaken.

    We are stuck with a mean, hateful, odious brand of GOP thieves against a dithering, spineless tool who would much prefer to remain on the sidelines as these vultures continue their quest to honor the rich at the expense of all others.

    Are we better off than we were 2 years ago? Hell no! Every decent principle and sense of fair play has been washed away along with common sense and the needs of the nation and all in the spirit of “politics”.

    We could very well in 2012 end up with another round of GOP leadership bracketed by the fundies and anti intellectuals we have been fighting against for decades only to see them become the reality as the current fool in the White House continues to concede.

    We are rapidly marching toward the idea of a “Christian nation” led by the greed of corporatios who have been granted the same rights of a citizen and the odds are favorable to that happening.

    I give up.

  11. joanelle says:

    We are back to taxation without representation absolutely paperdoll

    Revolution was the solution the last time that happened – do we have to take the route?

    These idiots have no notion of what they are doing to our nation. to the people who fought for it, rebuilt it and sustained it.

    I am heartsick

  12. Minkoff Minx says:

    Did you see this: Top Obama adviser says unemployment won’t be key in 2012 –

    President Obama’s senior political adviser David Plouffe said Wednesday that people won’t vote in 2012 based on the unemployment rate.

    And I thought Bush and his Administration lived in a bubble. WTF is wrong with these people.

    • Beata says:

      Yeah, the unemployed will be too busy dumpster-diving to vote.

      • cwaltz says:

        More like they won’t have a permanent residence that qualifies them for an ID card.

    • Allison says:

      I think BHO doesn’t want to be re-elected, but he does want to gut the New Deal because he’s basically a Chicago School Friedmanite. Certainly he’s neo-liberal?

      BHO wants to suck up to the uber-rich billionaires and Wall-Street crowd so he can rub elbows with them in his post-presidency. He wants to be part of their Club.

      I’m actually starting to think he’s sociopathic – incapable of empathy. Certainly he is amoral.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I agree. I think he plans to lose the 2012 election, take the campaign funds he’s collected and go on the lecture circuit and become a mega-millionaire. He’ll be rewarded with lots of seats on bank boards and will become a billionaire.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I must say, I like Romney’s response to this:

      Romney: Add Plouffe to the Unemployment Line – Washington Wire – WSJ

      “If David Plouffe were working for me, I would fire him and then he could experience firsthand the pain of unemployment,” Mr. Romney said in a statement, referring to President Barack Obama’s top political aide. “His comments are an insult to the more than 20 million people who are out of work, underemployed or who have simply stopped looking for jobs.”

  13. Peggy Sue says:

    I read that Plouffe’s statement last night. Are these people on drugs? Or just whistling past the graveyard?

    You would think that an Administration, presiding over unemployment numbers matching only the 1930s debacle, would be doing everything it could to relieve the situation, support real growth with infrastructure investment and use the bully pulpit to turn this thing around.

    Instead, they’re lying their socks off. Even when the June numbers are in the toilet. 18,000 net jobs created with 15 million out of work and God only knows how many underemployed or living under bridges! And yet, the Prez and his GOP cohorts are insisting on cutting more programs which means more unemployment and more suffering.

    I’m telling you, they want is on our knees. This cannot be raw stupidity.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Reagan actually saved Social Security, raised taxes and freaked out over unemployment. Obama is so far to the right of Reagan it isn’t even funny.

  14. dakinikat says:

    Religious Leader Shoots 4 Year Old Boy To Death Because He Might Be Gay

    • Branjor says:

      Just another day in a world teeming with defective human beings. It says he also shot a 28 year old woman to death. Somehow, I doubt the media will be all over this like they were over Casey Anthony.

      • Branjor says:

        Excuse me – the defective human being the killer, not the boy or the woman.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Oh geez…that is fucking sad…