Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!! I have a few interesting reads for you today, and they aren’t all about the idiotic debt ceiling debate. I’m going to lead off with a few excellent blog posts about that idiocy, and then I’ll move on to something else.

First up, Scarecrow compares the movie Cowboys and Aliens to the events in DC: In Cowboys and Aliens, Humans Win; In Washington’s Zombies Vs. Pods, They Lose. In the movie, Scarecrow writes:

humans of all types realize they have to join together to defeat the rapacious creatures who are looting the planet and turning humans into zombies and pod people. There’s hope for our species!

Back in Washington, D.C. there are no heroes and no upbeat ending. Instead, the looting, muggings and beatings will continue until morale improves.

In our “real” world, there is a radical extremist group driven by zombies and zombie beliefs who successfully blackmail the nation into strangling its own economy. The supposedly “sane” group that is supposed to stop this madness has become cowardly and turned into mindless pod people, who assure the nation that the gutting of American government and essential services and safety nets won’t occur in one step but in several, whose outcome is locked in by an undemocratic Super Congress and the next debt limit blackmail in 2013.

It’s a terrific post.

On a more serious note, Emptywheel asks, Is Mark Warner the Designated Social Security Killer? It’s all about what may happen if the so-called “Super Congress” comes to be. Read it and weep.

At the New Yorker, John Cassidy argues that the debt ceiling bill is all smoke and mirrors.

In removing the immediate threat of a debt default, the agreement…signals that the U.S. government still satisfies the minimum standard of financial functionality: it pays its bills on time. That should be enough to head off an immediate downgrade in the nation’s credit rating, and it explains why Wall Street bounced at Monday’s opening bell.

Beyond that it is hard to see anything very positive about a deal in which President Obama finally persuaded the Republicans to accept a Republican plan. Putting on my ethicist cap, I agree with Bernie Sanders that the deal is wrongheaded and immoral. To be sure, America has a long-term fiscal challenge that needs to be confronted. But at a time when fourteen million Americans are unemployed, and many millions more have been forced to work just part-time, the government should be focussing on job growth rather than cutting the budget….

As I’ve said before, headlines such as “Democrats and Republicans agree on $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years” are virtually meaningless. The United States, like every other country, budgets on an annual basis. What really matters for the economy, and for the unemployed, is how much cash the federal government will spend in the remaining months of the 2011 fiscal year and in fiscal 2012, which begins October 1st. A pledge to cut spending in 2016, say, is just that: a pledge. Between now and then, we will have another bipartisan spending review (that’s also part of the deal), a Presidential election, and who knows how many budget battles. The actual 2016 spending outcome will almost certainly bear little relation to the figures in this agreement.

Also at the New Yorker, Hendrick Hertzberg has a funny piece about Louie Gohmert, looney Texas Republican Congressman quoting Communist Leon Trotsky. I don’t want to ruin it for you by pulling out a quote. It’s not long, so go read the whole thing.

Susie Madrak has a great post at Crooks and Liars: This Year We’ve Broken Or Tied 2,676 Heat Records – So Far. Think We Could Talk About Climate Change Yet? Be sure to check it out.

Do you realize how many people go missing in the U.S.? A lot. And most of them seem to be women and children. Here is a slide show of 64 people from the FBI’s kidnapped and missing persons list.

The little girl whose photo comes first is 11-year-old Celina Cass, from West Stewartstown, NH. Her body was found today in a river near her family home. Sadly, when a child disappears, a family is often responsible. In this case, I have a feeling her stepfather had something to do with Celina’s death. I hope I’m wrong. At least she was found fairly quickly.

Many missing people aren’t found for years, if at all. Indiana University student Lauren Spierer disappeared from Bloomington, Indiana on June 3. Despite intense searches by hundreds of volunteers and a large reward offered by her parents and IU, she has not been found. It looks like people whom Lauren thought were “friends” may have had something to do with her disappearance, because just about everyone who was with her before she went missing has lawyered up and isn’t talking to police.

A Denver woman, Amy Ahonen, disappeared without a trace a few weeks ago. Her car was found parked unlocked along the highway with her purse, ids, cell phone, and keys inside. What happened to her? No one knows and the police have stopped looking. It so happens that a budding serial killer was on the loose in the area at the time of her disappearance, but the police don’t seem to be making that connection.

There are many more stories like this breaking every day in this country. Why do we accept that women and children will disappear daily and in most cases, they will be found murdered and often raped?

Speaking of missing people, a legendary missing person has resurfaced in the news. From the LA Times: D.B. Cooper hijacking mystery is revived with ‘promising lead’

D.B. Cooper, the infamous airplane hijacker who vaulted into urban mythology by parachuting out of a jetliner over the Pacific Northwest with a $200,000 ransom, is back on the FBI’s radar screen.

Cooper, whose case remains the only unsolved airline hijacking in U.S. history, became the stuff of legend on the night of Nov. 24, 1971, when he jumped from a Boeing 727 into the skies between Portland, Ore., and Seattle. He disappeared with the ransom he extorted — 10,000 $20 bills.

The case has remained open, but the trail has been cold despite hundreds of tips, thousands of theories and dozens of breakthroughs in scientific investigation. Now the FBI, which has previously said that Cooper is likely dead, is looking at fresh evidence, according to weekend reports in the media in Seattle, the epicenter of the story that seemingly can never die.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The man investigated as a suspect in the D.B. Cooper case – the nation’s only unsolved commercial airplane hijacking – has been dead for about 10 years, and a forensic check didn’t find fingerprints on an item that belonged him, an FBI spokesman told seattlepi.com Monday.

“There are also other leads we’re pursuing,” agent Fred Gutt said. “Some of the other names have been out in the public, some of the names have not come out.”

The name of a man not previously investigated was given to the FBI nearly a year ago by a law enforcement colleague, and an item that belongs to him was sent for fingerprint work at the agency’s Quantico, Va., forensic lab, agents told seattlepi.com.

“The nature of the material was not good for prints,” Gutt said.

He added agents are obtaining other items that may have the suspect’s fingerprints in hopes of matching them with prints taken from the Northwest Orient plane after Cooper jumped the night of Nov. 24, 1971.

The situation in Syria is escalating. There has been a great deal of violence there for some time, and it is not getting the same attention that Egypt, Iran, and Libya have gotten. But now the UN Security Council plans to take up the issue.

Reacting to new bloodshed in Syria, European powers relaunched a dormant draft U.N. resolution to condemn Damascus for its crackdown on protesters, circulating a revised text to the Security Council at a meeting on Monday.

Following the hour-long closed-door meeting, several diplomats said that after months of deadlock over Syria in the council, the fresh violence appeared to be pushing the divided members towards some form of reaction.

But envoys disagreed over whether the 15-nation body should adopt the Western-backed draft resolution or negotiate a less binding statement.

Germany requested the meeting after human rights groups said Syrian troops killed 80 people on Sunday when they stormed the city of Hama to crush protests amid a five-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 1600 people have been killed during the Syrian uprising.

From the Daily Beast:

You have to wonder if President Barack Obama ever rereads his speeches.

At the State Department last May, the president spoke at length of democratization in the Middle East. He chose his words carefully, dropping caveats and provisos. But Obama also bluntly declared that, “it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy.” He justified the intervention in Libya by recalling that “we saw the prospect of imminent massacre … Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed.”

Yet precisely such sordid outcomes have come to pass, not in Libya but during the four-month uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Around 1,600 people are believed to have been killed, not mentioning some 3,000 disappeared, many of them presumed dead. Massacres have proliferated, and on Sunday, the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, the Syrian army entered the city of Hama, which had effectively escaped from government writ weeks ago.

Throughout, the White House has painstakingly avoided demanding that Assad step down, saying only that he must lead a transition to democracy or get out of the way. The Syrian dictator has, of course, done neither.

I’ll end with just one more link on the debt deal that Dakinikat sent me.

Reuters analysis – Debt deal unlikely to boost investor confidence

Rather than a relief rally, U.S. stocks ended modestly lower on Monday as ugly economic data and some lingering concerns about whether the deal would get through Congress dominated trading. But even when the House of Representatives voted to pass the plan late in the day there was little reaction from U.S. stock index futures.

The deal agreed to by Republican and Democratic leaders will raise the government’s borrowing ceiling while cutting spending by at least $2.1 trillion over 10 years. All of the burden could fall on spending cuts with no guarantee of steps to lift tax revenues.

Rather than perceiving it as a meaningful effort at tackling the United States’ huge debt problem, investors worried about the impact of austerity on an economy already hit by souring business and consumer confidence.

Plans for such a significant fiscal retrenchment, even though most of the impact will be in the latter years of the program, come at a vulnerable time for the world economy. Recession risks are rising in the United States, the European economy remains entwined in its own debt crisis, and China’s supercharged economy could slow.

“Risk markets may rally temporarily, but until economic growth and job creation is addressed, there can be no sustained rally,” Bill Gross, the co-chief investment officer of PIMCO, which manages more than $1.2 trillion, said in an interview.

Will Washington ever wake up to reality? I’m afraid they (and we) will have to hit bottom first. They are like alcoholics, except they are drunk on greed and power. So on that note, what are you reading and blogging about today?

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33 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

    • bostonboomer says:

      Nancy Pelosi spoke against the bill at the same time she said she “had to” vote for it. Sheila Jackson Lee made pretty much the same speech, so that wasn’t a surprise.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Also keep in mind that a lot of those no votes came after it was already clear the bill would pass. That’s another trick the so-called “progressives” use.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m happy to say that my rep, Ed Markey voted no.

  1. fiscalliberal says:

    I do not know Tom Furgesen but Yves links to a video with him speaking: His points are that the curent bill is all cuts, comments on Health Care Oligopolies cutting costs (its unrealistic) and in the end he says Obama has to be primaried.

    It is interesting on how Lawerance O’Donnel is making comments showing how Obama is blowing smoke. Morning Joe – Ezara Klein is pointing out how the bill is ineffective. Joe S says it is jobs.

    I do not consider Joe S a sage, but he is also pointing out how this is ineffective blasting Republicans and Democrats. Paraphrasing – he intomates that the only thing this bill accomplishes is raising the Debt Limit.

    Who ever primaries Obama will probably not win. However they will insure the removal of Obama. Think about it. Gene McCarthy primaried Johnson and he resigned. Kennedy primaried Carter and he lost the election. At least a person who primaries Obama will get the national dicussion to a higher ground. I think the Democratic operatives are recognizing that they have the wrong solution.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Changing the national discussion was my point in my post last night about having Elizabeth Warren run against Obama. But most commenters thought it was a horrible idea. I don’t get it. What do we have to lose by trying? I don’t see how Obama can be elected at this point. Unemployment is only going to get worse and regardless of whether he wanted this result or not, he has made himself look like an ineffective loser.

      • madamab says:

        I still think he could easily be re-elected. The Republicans will do nothing but make themselves look worse between now and then. Remember, they are imploding too. Boehner is totally unable to control the House, and the freshmen will be more and more rambunctious as time goes on.

        If the Repub base stays home in 2012 (which they’ll do if Romney is nominated), and the Dem base does too (which they’ll do if Obama is nominated), then whoever musters the most turnout (and possibly commits enough election fraud) will win.

        I happen to fall into the “primarying Obama will only help him” category. But, I could be persuaded to change my mind, and I think deciding whether or not to do so is a very important conversation.

      • paper doll says:

        I don’t see how Obama can be elected at this point.

        Bachmann is the GOP canadate and a stolen election…= Barry part Two the Sequal

        if the upper crust wants him back. We don’t know that and won’t till we see the GOP ticket .

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t care which Republican gets the nomination. We are better off with anyone than Obama. I’m convinced of that after this mess. Obama wanted more cuts, including SS, Medicare, and Medicaid, than the Republicans did. He offered 4 Trillion with significant cuts to social programs. The only way the Dem leadership will fight back is if we have a Repub president.

        I will NOT vote for Obama. I won’t vote for a Republican either, but I will NOT cast a vote for the monster in the White House. NEVER.

      • paper doll says:

        The only way the Dem leadership will fight back is if we have a Repub president.

        All I can say is they haven’t really fought a Repug president. since the Tip O’Neil days..

        The Dems make a helluva lot more noise, under Repugs…. but for years now the Dems have been caving when ever the GOP says” boo” and with increasing speed …Obama is the perfect expression of that caving…he makes it into an art form. He crowds them out…one of the Dems biggest complaints these days is no one is letting them into the room to grandstand before their usual caving.

        As it stands now we are getting a GOP president in 2012 …..whether their name will be Obama, Bush , Bachmann, Huntsman etc. is the question.

    • Woman Voter says:

      AngryVoters John H Kennedy
      Progressive Caucus of Calif Democratic Party Wants Democratic Primary Challenge to President Obama #p2 #1u
      http://bit.ly/o802iY
      #COpols ==

      fiscalliberal,

      Maybe someone can do a post or ad the details from the PDC’s challenge to the Warren post, as it provides information which isn’t in the general news and it is also interesting to see who blocked it then retracted then tabled it to allow people to cool off until November. As if the cuts will look better in November…

    • paper doll says:

      His points are that the current bill is all cuts

      Exactly…, where’s the shared sacrifice? Somehow that was forgotten
      much like the public option during the heath bill crapola

      What I would like to see is a revolt within the elected Dem ranks now….we need to see the Dems in congress revolt NOW…we can’t wait for primary theater….that would be part 2

      We ought to demand elected Dems walk away from Obama now …as well as cast about for someone to primary him …somehow the solution is always down the road. I suggest it’s right here and now. Elected Dems reject Obama …or at least start to. It will be interesting to see who voted for this mess.

    • bostonboomer says:

      McConnell says the Republicans will do the same thing next time.

      While a deal has been struck to raise the debt ceiling for now, many progressives have worried that the damaged has been already been done in that Republicans learned that “raw extortion works and carries no political cost,” as the New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote today. “Irresponsible brinksmanship” is now “a proven effective negotiating tactic,” ThinkProgress’s Matt Yglesias noted.

      This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed this fear when he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that Republicans will hold the debt ceiling hostage in the future, saying this debate “set the template for the future”:

      MCCONNELL: It set the template for the future. In the future, Neil, no president — in the near future, maybe in the distant future — is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion of how do we cut spending and get America headed in the right direction. I expect the next president, whoever that is, is going to be asking us to raise the debt ceiling again in 2013, so we’ll be doing it all over.

      We can thank President Pushover for this.

      • paper doll says:

        McConnell says the Republicans will do the same thing next time.

        He’s letting Obie know not to put away the knee pads…

    • paper doll says:

      My sister says he looks like a cabbage patch doll…..

  2. Interesting headline and article in Huffingon

    Labor’s Discontent With Obama Surfaces Yet Again
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/01/debt-ceiling-obama-labor-unions_n_915454.html

    Labor mans the phones in a campaign – this could be significant

    • WomanVoter says:

      RawStory The Raw Story
      Somehow, the debt deal grew the Pentagon’s budget by $50 billion over the next decade. http://bit.ly/q065vW

      Share the PAIN my FOOT, Disabled, Seniors, orphans, and vets are fair game, but the WAR machine grows while Social Security and Medicare are the targets.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Add unemployed to that list WV: Once Again, The Long-Term Unemployed Get The Shaft – Because ‘It Wasn’t A Big Enough Deal’ To Include Them | Crooks and Liars

        Democrats couldn’t be bothered to lock a significant deal down when they still had control of both houses. Remember when I called all those congressional offices, and was told “there’s no political will for another tier of benefits”? I can’t tell you how much that still irks me. Despite being in the middle of a major economic meltdown, but the thought of demanding additional unemployment benefits terrified them and they curled up in the fetal position instead:

        WASHINGTON — The long-term unemployed have been left out of a deal between congressional negotiators and the White House to enact massive spending cuts and raise the nation’s debt ceiling before its borrowing limit is reached on Tuesday.

        Under the so-called grand bargain President Obama tried to strike with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), federal unemployment benefits would have been extended beyond January 2012, when they are set to expire.

        But those negotiations collapsed in July. On Sunday, congressional leaders and the administration crafted a not-so-grand bargain that will cut spending without raising taxes or preserving stimulus programs like federal unemployment insurance.
        Asked Sunday night why spending to help the unemployed had been left out of the deal, a White House official said, “because it had to be part of a bigger deal to be part of this.”

        In other words, Democrats need significant leverage to get Republicans to agree to additional spending on the unemployed. Federal unemployment insurance programs, which kick in for laid off workers who use up 26 weeks of state benefits, cost a lot of money: Keeping the programs through this year required an estimated $56 billion. In December, Democrats only managed to keep the programs alive for another 13 months by attaching them to a two-year reauthorization of tax cuts.

  3. madamab says:

    Rather than perceiving it as a meaningful effort at tackling the United States’ huge debt problem, investors worried about the impact of austerity on an economy already hit by souring business and consumer confidence.

    Plans for such a significant fiscal retrenchment, even though most of the impact will be in the latter years of the program, come at a vulnerable time for the world economy. Recession risks are rising in the United States, the European economy remains entwined in its own debt crisis, and China’s supercharged economy could slow.

    “Risk markets may rally temporarily, but until economic growth and job creation is addressed, there can be no sustained rally,” Bill Gross, the co-chief investment officer of PIMCO, which manages more than $1.2 trillion, said in an interview.

    Okay, so even Wall Street knows creating jobs is more important than cutting the deficit during a depression.

    Don’t these idiots in DC know that if they destroy the middle class entirely, the upper classes will be destroyed as well? Are they stupid enough to think they can hide in their gated communities and avoid the destruction of our society?

    They are not immune. No one is.

    • bostonboomer says:

      A lot of rich people probably are that shortsighted. They are so out of touch with what is happening to real people that they don’t understand that they could be vulnerable too.

      • madamab says:

        I totally agree…but this guy (the manager of the trillion-dollar fund) is a rich guy. He understands the consequences of continuing, rising, high unemployment in America.

        I can only conclude that our “elected” “representatives” are not just greedy and shortsighted, but really f*cking stupid as well.

      • paper doll says:

        Indeed. The rich think them just saying something, makes it so…that is the world they live in after all …but they should read history more and Ayn Rand less .

        As for our” leaders, they want a 3rd world work force here and won’t let us work till we are there …seems to be the plan

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    There is a “war” being waged in America right now and it is conducted by a handful of intransients that have little understanding of governance or economics. They want what they want when they want it. As absurd as it is they seem to be “winning”.

    These radicals want a government steeped in religion and minus any regulations they see as an impediment to business interests. They assume that merely by “praying” we will gain enlightenment and success along the way since “success” in their terms is embodied in wealth.

    If achieving that wealth means the obliteration of taxable social safety nets and the elimination of agencies who demand standards they are more than willing to make that “dream” a reality. They view government as the enemy and anyone forced to take advantage of government services as unproductive members. If this affects the sick, elderly, children, so be it. They see “welfare queens” lurking in every government program which drives their agenda to the extremes. Common sense has all but been replaced by an victimization mindset that they are being “ripped off” by services put in place to ease the suffering that interferes with their idea of what government should look like.

    Women were the first target. Followed by unions they consider as ripping off their employers through regulation. Seniors are next in line for the axe as they produce nothing after a certain age. Empathy is no longer required.

    For those who scoff at us who scoff at the ignorance of candidates who put themselves forward for consideration to lead, this is the major problem facing the nation today. People who have no understanding of history. Who make false statements to jibe with their “facts”. Who are unable to articulate in a sensible way are the very same people who are holding this nnation in a grip of stupidity or the basic understanding of what it takes to lead.

    It is going to take another generation to overcome this insanity. Another generation to come forward and correct these policies built around the bible and sheer ignorance as we tilt further backwards in our approach to lead.

    Sorry to say it will not happen in my lifetime but what we are up against now will be with us until we finally reach another “age of enlightenment”. But don’t look for that to happen anytime soon.

  5. The Heretik says:

    Good morning. Some links to some very dark views of The Not So Great Compromiser here.

    http://www.manarewescrewed.com/?p=2591

    I need a dark roast of coffee now.

  6. paper doll says:

    Thanks for highlighting the missing among us …it happens so easily …shockingly so

    Report paints devastating portrait of conditions of US children

    http://tinyurl.com/3lcgf3v

    The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) has released a report detailing the significant deterioration in the social conditions of children in the US since the onset of the recession. Focusing primarily on the years 2008-2010, “The State of America’s Children: 2011,” examines in depth the social calamity facing the youngest segment of society in all aspects of life…..

  7. JeanLouise says:

    The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

    Democrats need to primary Obama and take their chances.

  8. foxyladi14 says:

    Excellent post!!! 🙂