Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!

The Republicans continue to tear each other apart as the 2012 elections get closer.  Karl Rove considers Herman Cain “not up to the job”.   Bachmann’s former NH staff have released a letter that puts the candidate in a bad light.

“Team members were repeatedly ignored regarding simple requests, sometimes going weeks with little or no contact with the national team,” they wrote.

The former New Hampshire staffers said they maintained a sense of loyalty to Bachmann as a candidate and were willing to continue helping her despite lingering uncertainty about payment of wages.

“Sadly, they were deceived, constantly left out of the loop regarding key decisions, and relegated to second-class citizens within a campaign in which they were the original members,” the group said.

The ex-staffers laid out a timeline very different from the one put forth by the Bachmann campaign, claiming that the New Hampshire campaign manager, Jeff Chidester, resigned in an email 10 days ago. When nobody reached out to the other staffers to address their concerns, they called it quits.

Meanwhile, Cain and Gingrich are going rogue by trying to have their own debate in Texas with Tea Party activists.

Presidential rivals Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) will participate in a “Lincoln-Douglas” influenced debate hosted by Tea Party activists in Texas next month, National Review is reporting.

The debate will focus on fiscal issues and the economy, and will be moderated by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

“We initially wanted a forum with all of the candidates,” Bill O’Sullivan, treasurer for the Texas Tea Party Patriots, told National Review. “But when we heard Gingrich say he wanted a more serious debate, like the Lincoln–Douglas debates, we wanted to do that, especially since watching the recent superficial debates has been frustrating.”

Rick Perry has introduced his tax plan which is a flat tax plan of 20%.  As expected, it will give a huge tax break to the wealthy and to corporations.  It also would eliminate inheritance  and capital gains taxes.  Perry seems to think that middle class tax payers will  be able to appreciate those things too!  What a moron!  Here’s some of the plan’s major points.

  • “The plan starts with giving Americans a choice between a new, flat tax rate of 20% or their current income tax rate. The new flat tax preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and it increases the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.”
  • Elimination of the estate tax
  • Cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.
  • Temporarily lower corporate tax rate to 5.25 percent to encourage repatriation.
  • Transition to “territorial” tax system that only taxes in-country income.
  • Eliminates the tax on Social Security benefits
  • Eliminates the capital gains tax

I wanted to share the first of this Bloomberg series on bias and blindness by one of the father’s of behavioral finance Daniel Kahneman.  He explains some of the frames folks use that some times leads them to make bad decisions in the face of risk.  Optimism evidently leads to excessive risk taking.

The evidence suggests that an optimistic bias plays a role — sometimes the dominant role — whenever people or institutions voluntarily take on significant risks. More often than not, risk-takers underestimate the odds they face and, because they misread the risks, optimistic entrepreneurs often believe they are prudent, even when they are not. Their confidence sustains a positive mood that helps them obtain resources from others, raise the morale of their employees and enhance their prospects of prevailing. When action is needed, optimism, even of the mildly delusional variety, may be a good thing.

An optimistic temperament encourages persistence in the face of obstacles. But this persistence can be costly. A series of studies by Thomas Astebro shed light on what happens when optimists get bad news. (His data came from Canada’s Inventor’s Assistance Program — which provides inventors with objective assessments of the commercial prospects of their ideas. The forecasts of failure in this program are remarkably accurate.)

In Astebro’s studies, discouraging news led about half of the inventors to quit after receiving a grade that unequivocally predicted failure. However, 47 percent of them continued development efforts even after being told that their project was hopeless, and on average these individuals doubled their initial losses before giving up.

Many House Democrats don’t think the Obama plan to help homeowner’s with underwater mortgages goes far enough.

“It’s far too little, it’s just baby steps,” Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), a longtime critic of the administration’s housing policies, said in a phone interview. “They’re still not getting it.”

Cardoza, who announced last week he’ll retire at the end of 2012, noted that the housing collapse was a leading cause of the recession but among the last to be addressed.

“We need to excise the cancer that caused the illness before the patient can recover,” he said.

Rep. Lois Capps, another California Democrat critical of the administration’s foreclosure-prevention efforts, echoed that concern Monday, saying “much more is needed” to stabilize the struggling housing market.

“Today’s announcement is an encouraging step forward, but it is only one of a number of steps needed to fully address the growing foreclosure crisis,” Capps said in an email.

Here’s some common sense from Bernie Sanders speaking on the Ed Show and a few comments on the President’s program.  Senator Sanders also thinks the plan does not go far enough

So, that should get us started today. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

24 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Woman Voter says:

    Bernie Sanders has been the voice of the people in these troubled times, because he isn’t beholding to any special interests and is there to serve all the American people. He sure makes my day, as it is nice to hear someone gets it on the housing crisis brought on by the bankers!

    Go Bernie Go!

  2. Ron4Hills says:

    I am sure this is what you meant to say, “Bachmann’s former NH staff have released a letter that paints (the putz)the candidate in a bad light.” 🙂

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Felix Salmon: Obama’s pathetic refinancing initiative.

    Sounds impressive, eh? It is, until you read the official FHFA press release. At which point you learn that

    •If you’re a homeowner whose mortgage isn’t owned or guaranteed by Frannie, you’re out of luck.
    •If your mortgage was sold to Frannie after May 31, 2009, you’re out of luck.
    •If you want to get out of negative-equity hell by doing a principal reduction, you’re out of luck.
    •If your bank doesn’t feel like participating, for whatever reason, you’re out of luck.
    All of which is likely to result in not-very-much, as the FHFA itself concedes:

    For many reasons it is very difficult to project the number of mortgages that may be refinanced under the enhancements to HARP, including the future path of interest rates, borrower willingness to undertake a refinance transaction and the number of lenders and servicers who choose to offer the program. Given current market interest rates, our best estimate is that by the end of 2013 HARP refinances may roughly double or more from their current amount but such forward-looking projections are inherently uncertain.

    First, by the end of 2013? Never mind mortgage relief now, we’ll try and get you mortgage relief in two years’ time?

    • dakinikat says:

      I think I qualify so I may try to check it out on that basis alone. If they still haven’t dealt with the negative equity, they’re still going to have people exercising a put on a bad investment, home or not.

      Hopefully, I’m together enough this afternoon to check this out a bit more.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Debating the Effectiveness of the Latest Administration Housing Initiative | FDL News Desk

        The Administration can brag about all the housing programs they’ve put in place. But the truth is that because of HAMP and the other failures on this front, the link between borrowers and their government has been severed. I’m sure there is a large and growing universe of people who won’t take up this program because they’ve been burned one too many times. Or they’ve heard about a friend or neighbor who was burned. The danger from HAMP to liberal notions of government operating as a helping hand hasn’t been fully understood by the technocrats in Washington.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I just saw this video and Cenk is saying the plan was to release the Banks from prosecution from several state AGs. This plan is really a plan to help them out of the mess (legal mess) and may only help out a very small group.
      Obama Plan Helps Bank Fraud at Taxpayer Expense

      I was beginning to get excited about the plan, but maybe not.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Eschaton: Euphemisms

        Just a reminder that “recapitalization” is the new preferred term for “bank bailout” otherwise known as “giving free money to rich overpaid assholes who keep trying to destroy the world.”
        by Atrios at 09:55

        I thought you would appreciate that quote WV…

      • Woman Voter says:

        I DO, many thanks…and yes I agree.

      • Woman Voter says:

        “giving free money to rich overpaid assholes who keep trying to destroy the world.”

        Imagine, not having to clean up their mess and giving them more money and a bonus for making the mess too. A poop person steals a slice of pizza and gets 25 to life, a Wall Street crook gets a bonus and keeps asking for more money???

  4. Boo Radly says:

    Somebody slept through yesterday – welcome back Dak! It’s Tuesday.

  5. Pilgrim says:

    Is today Monday, or Tuesday?

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Bernie Sanders is the only person in DC (I am sure there may be a few others) who speaks out agains the corruption. The rest are bound up by party loyalty and craven agendas.

    That so called debate between Cain and Gingrich should be a hoot. A condescending a’hole and a book selling motivational speaker discussing “apples and oranges”.

    And Steve King himself is a piece of work. Sheesshhh!

  7. Edward Shaw says:


    I echo the sentiments you expressed about when you finished your doctorate and with both of your amazing daughters off into their own adventures that you were DONE with the plantation politics and inquisition of intellect that is going on.

    Well, I know about the plantation politics. I’m from Louisiana…well, I was born here, and I’m your karmic twin brother. So, yes, I share this frustration. Now, the attack on intellect, yes, it’s happening, but it’s not just happening here.

    As you well know, “they” have found that the former prey animal is no longer a viable food source. So, they have moved to another source leaving without ANY sort of illusion that the great US beast has been fed upon…and left to die.

    Well, they didn’t check before they left…yeah, the metaphor extension is precarious, but bare with me…we’re NOT dead.

    Not really sure where I am going with this. I’ve said the same things in blogs, to friends and to myself when in the car, in the kitchen, in the shower and even while…errr, nm….

    I know that we are not DEAD, but I just do not get this continued MASS ignorance. I know that this sort of “thing” has been going on since we were sentient as a species. It’s been pulled in the US before, but the populace has always…well, international circumstance has usually caused some shift in popular perception. WWI, the twenties, the Great D…WWII…and that brief moment BEFORE the Cold War took hold of national consciousness…

    it’s always been something to BLUR attention. It’s always been something to continue the illusion that people are happy, that people lend credence to the controlling factors, that people approve of their status and that people give a shit.

    I want to bury my head in the sand like I wanted to do so just after that awful re-election of He Who Must Be Removed from Dallas on a FREE holiday to the most exclusive ski resort in the EU and then summarily detained when he arrives.

    I kept my head buried for far too long. Then came the great Black Hope…which after three years became like the hope that I will have a regular series of bowel movements for the rest of my post middle aged life.

    SO, what are we to do? The Populace is just too stupid thanks to the machinations of the Vampire media…another post…and the relentless BS of this GOP…The GOP

    which I do have to admire for their continued ruthlessness and pressure on the Black Guy who lives in the White House. They have been consistent for well over a decade…

    and NOW we think that Hillary Clinton was OUT of line by saying that there was a huge RIGHT wing conspiracy going after her husband? It’s so apparent.

    BUT…history shows that this is a cycle, and it WILL resolve itself. However, history in all its context is lost when placed upon the stage of the current WORLD. Never has there been such an extreme control over just about every aspect of human life. I’m an historian, and I’m boggled…and yes, I’m no idealist.

    I drank the Kool-Aid in the Eighties…I voted for the Gipper.

    So many have also fallen into the pit of national idealism, but usually there is room for people like me and many others to come to their senses. NOW, and yes, this has occurred before in other nation-state societies…people are under an illusion…well they have been as I said.

    The US has been under a veil of “okay” since the eighties. I don’t want to wax conspiratorial, but meh…there are studies coming out from the SWISS talking about the oh so secret “one percent” that have been out in the last week or so. I think that at this time, many bright people in the US…and abroad (and yeah abroad is another discussion) have been waking up.

    The illusion is no longer needed for the corporate All Thing to maintain its grip. It has removed it’s vampire bat saliva and placed it on the third world. They see us as a husk in opinion.

    That is their mistake. It is my hope that with the advent of the current “Occupy” movement that many others can be shown just what is going on.

    It is my MAIN hope that so many of those that are still under the spell of the Tea Party and all that come with it…ie those that simply hate anything liberal because they are told to hate it eventually realize that harpies, charlatans and cult members like the current GOP romper room are not doing anything in their favor…

    when THEY get pissed and want to OCCUPY, then things can change in this episode.

    Welcome to history.

  8. Peggy Sue says:

    Speaking of the Occupy Movement–just returned from Charleston where there was a small contingent and 4-day occupation of the local park. Saw a number of marchers winding through the streets of shoppers and tourists with signs and messaging focused on the TBTF’s. But far more interesting was reading that there are military support groups popping up. The first Occupy Marines was spurred into being by the You Tube vid of a Marine vet shouting down the NYPD. See here:

    And the even more startling report that local and State police in Albany refused to arrest OWS protesters:


    Also a new development in Iowa–the OWS participants marched on Obama campaign headquarters. Occupy Obama. Gotta love it!


    Now this is something I can believe in!

    • Woman Voter says:

      Thanks for info on IOWA and yes it would seem as if we have to picket the Democratic Party as they are supporting far right GOP ideals (Patriot Act trumps the Constitution) these days including limitations on the Freedom Of Information Act.

  9. dakinikat says:

    excerpts from Glenn Greenwald’s new book

    ggreenwald Glenn Greenwald
    Book excerpt in HuffPost: Too Big to Jail: the mentality that allows financial elites to commit crimes with impunity is.