Monday Morning Reads

Good Morning!

I actually think this headline from Dean Baker is true:  “Supercommittee Democrats Insist on Not Giving Republicans Everything”.  Of course, that’s why Republicans want the President to enter the fray.  The same cannot be said for him.   That’s why the John Chaffee/Bob Dole/Mitty Romney/American Heritage Institute health care proposal of 1993 now goes by the moniker Obamacare.

In much of the media it is the rule that both parties are equally to blame regardless of what the facts of the situation are. Hence the lead sentence in the Post’s article on the supercommittee’s deadlock tells readers:

“Congressional negotiators made a yet another push Friday to carve $1.2 trillion in savings from the federal debt, but remained stuck in their entrenched positions on tax policy even as the clock was running down on their efforts to reach a deal.”

It would be interesting to know how the Post decided that the Democrats have an entrenched position. They have offered dozens of plans, many of which would not involve having the rates return to their pre-Bush level, as is specified in current law. By contrast, the Republicans have consistently put forward proposals that would keep the taxes on the wealthy at their current level or lower them further.

Even though the Democrats have shown every willingness to cave, the Post refuses to give them credit for it.

Let’s just post this next one under the heady of tacky is as tacky does. 

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden were grand marshals at today’s NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, appearing as part of their charitable campaign to support military veterans and their families.

But their benign, bipartisan cause wasn’t enough to prevent public fallout from the nation’s polarized political climate as they were introduced before the crowd.

ESPN video from the event documented loud boos from some in the stands as the announcer named Obama and Biden, seconds before they delivered the “most famous words in motorsports,” telling drivers to start their engines.

What kind of people can’t shut up long enough to recognize the troops with a first and second lady for pity’s sake?  This sort’ve just played into those NASCAR fan stereotypes, didn’t it? There were also two children standing there receiving recognition as kids of a wounded veteran who volunteers time weekly at the local VA.  What kind of lesson does this teach them?  What has happened to manners in this country; not to mention common courtesy, decency and civility?  Fortunately, the pre-cermony reception with the drivers, crews, and NASCAR administration folks was polite and enthusiastic.

Here’s something interesting!  The National Lawyers Guild has filed a FOIA request asking for evidence of any federal role in the Occupy crackdowns. FBI or Homeland Security any one?

According to a statement by the NLG, each of the FOIA requests states, “This request specifically encompasses disclosure of any documents or information pertaining to federal coordination of, or advice or consultation regarding, the police response to the Occupy movement, protests or encampments.”

National Lawyers Guild leaders, including Executive Director Heidi Beghosian and NLG Mass Defense Committee co-chair and PCJ Executive Director Mara Veheyden-Hilliard both told TCBH! earlier this week that the rapid-fire assaults on occupation encampments in cities from Oakland to New York and Portland, Seattle and Atlanta, all within days of each other, the similar approach taken by police, which included overwhelming force in night-time attacks, mass arrests, use of such weaponry as pepper spray, sound cannons, tear gas, clubs and in some cases “non-lethal” projectiles like bean bags and rubber bullets, the removal and even arrest of reporters and camera-persons, and the justifications offered by municipal officials, who all cited “health” and “safety” concerns, all pointed to central direction and guidance.

Well, it looks like the WSJ is playing games again with us.

When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality—and he must reach the same conclusion.

He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Never before has there been such an obvious potential successor—one who has been a loyal and effective member of the president’s administration, who has the stature to take on the office, and who is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.

Well, that’s the WSJ.  Jonathan Chait writes on Liberal Disappointment with Obama and says it’s the fault of liberals.

The cultural enthusiasm sparked by Obama’s candidacy drained away almost immediately after his election. All the passion now lies with the critics, and it is hard to find a liberal willing to muster any stronger support than halfhearted murmuring about the tough situation Obama inherited, or vague hope that maybe in a second term he can really start doing things. (“I’m like everybody, I want more action,” an apologetic Chris Rock said earlier this month. “I believe wholeheartedly if he’s back in, he’s going to do some gangsta shit.”) Obama has already given up on any hope of running a positive reelection campaign and is girding up for a grim slog of lesser-of-two-evils-ism.

Why are liberals so desperately unhappy with the Obama presidency?

There are any number of arguments about things Obama did wrong. Some of them are completely misplaced, like blaming Obama for compromises that senators forced him to make. Many of them demand Obama do something he can’t do, like Maddow’s urging the administration to pass an energy bill through a special process called budget reconciliation—a great-sounding idea except for the fact that it’s against the rules of the Senate. Others castigate Obama for doing something he did not actually do at all (i.e., Drew Westen’s attention-grabbing, anguished New York Times essay assailing Obama for signing a budget deal with cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid that were not actually in the budget in question).

I spend a lot of time rebutting these arguments, and their proponents spend a lot of time calling me an Obama apologist.

Some of the complaints are right, and despite being an Obama apologist, I’ve made quite a few of them myself. (The debt-ceiling hostage negotiations drove me to distraction.) But I don’t think any of the complaints—right, wrong, or ­otherwise—really explain why liberals are so depressed.

Here is my explanation: Liberals are dissatisfied with Obama because liberals, on the whole, are incapable of feeling satisfied with a Democratic president. They can be happy with the idea of a Democratic president—indeed, dancing-in-the-streets delirious—but not with the real thing. The various theories of disconsolate liberals all suffer from a failure to compare Obama with any plausible baseline. Instead they compare Obama with an imaginary president—either an imaginary Obama or a fantasy version of a past president.

Okay then.  Suppose it has nothing to do with Democratic presidents that basically pass and support Republican insanity agendas.  One more and then it’s the end of the post!  Paul Krugman tells the FT that ‘No one’s safe” in this economic crisis. It’s mostly on where to hide your money in this turmoil.  My favorite part is Krugman’s description of financial innovations.

Do you have any doubt that innovative financial products have made people better off?

I have substantial doubt. There’s almost a joke but it’s a slightly serious question to ask which financial innovation of the past 30 years was clearly beneficial – and you are not allowed to use ATMs. And the rest is all ambiguous.

The case for believing these financial innovations have actually enhanced welfare as opposed to giving people a false sense of security is very dubious. Collateralised debt obligations were clearly destructive. It was to fool people that risk was less than it was. AIG created a false sense of security via credit default swaps that was as it turned out completely unjustified by reality. Those are specific examples and you might argue they are just misleading, but we are already talking about a pretty large part of what the industry has been doing these past 10 or 15 years.

That’s my suggestions for the day.  What’s on your reading and blogging list?

43 Comments on “Monday Morning Reads”

  1. dm says:

    Perhaps Democrats would be happier with Obama if he really was a Democrat…

  2. CinSC says:

    oh please, nascar fans are rabid supporters of the military. After all, it’s their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who are fighting these wars. While I admit, booing a first lady is rude, but politicizing (I think it’s a sure bet Michelle and Jill aren’t fans) a sporting event (especially the final championship event) is inappropriate as well. Everytime I attend a race, you can’t help but trip over military support programs, personnel, and volunteer groups.

    • janicen says:

      Oh yeah, NASCAR fans hate it when their sacred events are used by politicians. Like when GW Bush swooped in on Air Force One at Daytona during a 2004 campaign stop, they just hated it…oh wait.

      In many ways, Sunday’s Daytona 500 had a similar audience, plus the added bonus of taking place in Florida, where Bush will need every vote he can scrounge in November.
      On Sunday, Bush flew over the track in Air Force One before landing and mingling with drivers.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Good point.

        IMO, there’s simply no excuse for booing a group including young children, period. But some people will excuse anything that smacks of Obama hatred. I don’t like the guy, but thank goodness I’m not so vindictive I want to see his wife booed when she tries to help military families.

      • northwestrain says:

        Michelle is trying — and she is failing. I vote her the most useless and expensive first lader EVER.

      • Gregory says:

        Northwestrain, you may be right but you just don’t boo the 1st lady of the USA. That is a terrible, terrible thing to do and reflects very poorly on the citizens of our country.

      • northwestrain says:

        Number 1 — I’d never be in the same place as that racist woman. and number 2 — if I were I would turn my back on her — give her a shun — ignore her. That is far more powerful — boos are silly and childish. Give her the shun and turn your back on racism. Because she is a racist.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Well they were there (with young children whose parents were serving) to support military families. I don’t see how that is “politicizing.” Furthermore, Obama has pretty much given the military everything they’ve asked for except for planning to pull a few troops out of Iraq. I can’t believe that families, and especially children, don’t want their loved ones to come home.

    • Fannie says:

      Tell me something how many black women were present? I am sure this has backfired, and pumped Obama up, particularly after signing his job bill for veterans.

  3. In times of national crisis, and I suspect the debt counts as one, people have been called on to sacrifice for their country. Rolling the taxes back to the 90s, wouldn’t be THAT much of a sacrifice.

    I am thinking that our overarching problem with the economy is less with taxes, or spending as much as it is the fundamental reliability of governing policy. Half of business is waiting to too what government of going to do for them, and the other half is waiting to see what the government is going to do to them while everyone is doing nothing.

    • dakinikat says:

      The businesses I talk to would just like to see paying customers. They don’t have enough right now and they’re not going to expand until they see them. We’ve got excess capacity out the back side right now and most huge corporations are not going to invest here because there’s not enough income in the right places any more. Nordstrom’s and Tiffany is fine, however.

      This political standoff game is making us ungovernable. This started under Newt when Clinton was prez and Mitch McConnell has raised it to terrorist threat red. One party cannot just refuse to do anything simply because they lost a presidential election. It’s going to bring down the country. It’s already bringing down the economy. It’s immoral.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Jonathan Chait complains that liberals are comparing Obama with some “fantasy president.” Let’s see now …. I’ve heard Obama compared unfavorably with JFK, LBJ, Clinton, FDR, and Truman. I always believed those were real presidents. But according to Jonathan Chait, I guess they are fantasies.

    • Outis says:

      The cognitive dissonance of Opologists is stunning. In 2008, he was JFK, Lincoln and FDR all rolled into one. (with much better graphics) In 2011, it’s not really unfair and totally uncool to compare him to anyone let alone judge him on his own poor performance. Leave Barack alone!

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Let’s not forget “The New Face of Feminism”, “The One”, “The Transcender” that created a tickle up the leg of Chris Matthews.

      The fact is that he was none of these attributes but a lucky recipient of a salivating press out to prove its liberal creds by backing an unprepared candidate for the purpose of just feeling good about themselves.

      Only 3 yrs later and Matthews is letting us in on the fact that Obama has “few friends” amongst the congressional Dems, does not bother to stay in touch with them, and remains aloof from the process.

      Begging and pleading with him to rise up agains the opposition when it just is not in him is an exercise in futility. Does he deserve a second term? No, but based on the quality of the other side he may just pull it off.

      If this guy does not play the lottery he may just missing out on the opportunity to score a big one since I have never seen a “luckier” candidate than Barack Obama.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Jeffrey Sachs: The Super Committee’s Big Lie

    The big political lie of the Super Committee is that the deficit must be closed mainly by cutting government spending rather than by raising taxes on corporations and the super-rich. Both parties are complicit. The Republicans want to close the deficit entirely by cutting spending; Obama has brandished the formula of $3 of cuts for every $1 of tax revenues. On either approach, the poor and middle class would suffer grievously while the rich and powerful would win yet again (at least until the social pressures boil over).

    The key to understanding the U.S. economy is to understand that we have two economies, not one. The economy of rich Americans is booming. Salaries are high. Profits are soaring. Luxury brands and upscale restaurants are packed. There is no recession.

    The economy of the middle class and poor is in crisis. Poverty and near-poverty are spreading. Unemployment is rampant. Household incomes have been falling sharply. Millions of discouraged workers have dropped out of the labor force entirely. The poor work at minimum wages to provide services for the rich.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Why not just come right out with the truth and call this exercise of the “Super Committee” for what it is: a charade.

    Why not just admit that this nation is being held hostage by the GOP, Tea Party supporters, Grover Norquist, and the monies provided by special interests that has nothing to do with “democracy”.

    This way we can get the “spin” out of the headlines and face facts by cutting right to the chase.

    Obama is “owned” by Wall Street while the GOP is in bed with them and the oil and coal industries as well. This way we know who the real “enemy” is and we can stop wasting time.

    It is not the 99% who want to do away with entitlements, regulations, and healthcare but the 1% who are the only ones to benefit if these policies are eliminated.

    For any rational person left to consider a “choice” between Obama, Romney, or Gingrich, you know full well that the “fix is in”.

    This nation is firmly in the grip of an agenda that has been seeking an outlet for decades and their time has arrived. We are kidding ourselves if we think otherwise.

    Disheartening but true.

  7. janicen says:

    I’ve seen more than one article calling for or hinting at a possible Clinton candidacy in 2012. Hee hee! The GOP is getting desperate trying to motivate their base. Be afraid, right wingers, the Clinton bogey man is right around the corner!

    That’s the only hope they have to get their base motivated. Even their most loyal supporters can’t get excited about the current collection of candidates. All they can hope for is fear of Clinton to get their base moving.

  8. dakinikat says:

    damn it all! I paid money to turn the ads off and they said they were off and there’s yet another one!!!

    Still working on getting this done!!

  9. quixote says:

    Gawd. WSJ pushing Clinton. I’m sure their motives are pure. Not.

    I have a question for y’all. Am I crazy? I haven’t lost the anger at the 2008 primary shenanigans. I couldn’t vote for Obama no matter who the Repugs run. As Violet over at Reclusive Leftist has pointed out, if all of Congress and the Presidency is Republican, the consequences don’t bear thinking about. And yet, I *still* couldn’t vote for that misogynist Republican dressed up as a Democrat who lies with every breath he breathes.

    So that’s what I’m wondering: Is it unhinged to think that more Obama is the worst thing that could happen to this country? He’s so damn good at being the “most effective evil”, the fact that he might be the lesser evil is pretty much irrelevant. Full frontal Republicanism, if it happens, might actually be better because it may be the only thing that can jolt the country out of its talk radio-induced trance. Or is that just the anger talking?

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Just repeat the words “President Romney” or “President Gingrich” a few times and I am sure that you will at least reconsider “the worst”.

      Obama may be all things you have suggested – believe me, I am not arguing with that thesis – but it could be even more so under either one of these two.

      The choice in 2012 will be like asking which of the Kardashian Sisters is the smartest.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m probably going to leave the top slot blank unless it looks like Romney is going to carry MA. I’d stay home, except I want to vote for Elizabeth Warren.

        • dakinikat says:

          I’m going to have to think really hard about supporting Mary Landrieu. I almost always come out because New Orleans pulls her through barely. I’d hate to see the entire state go red which is what was planned by Bush Rove after Katrina. This place is dysfunctional now. Jindal’s the ultimate in banana republic governors. Obama won’t carry LA no matter what I do at this point. This state went for Clinton twice and always was considered purple. The concerted effort to keep black people from coming back after Katrina has just turned it over to the KKK. We’re beginning to look like Mississippi now. OUr Congress critter is one of the gerrymandered safe black seats so he’s safe. That’s the old Dollar Bill Jefferson seat. It’ll probably be the only democratic seat at the state level by this next election. I now live in a one party fascist state. The Democratic party can’t even field candidates any more they are so broken.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        She is the only reason for me to get off my butt to vote. That and Romney or Newt looking to carry the state.

        Other than that: blurgggg!

      • Fannie says:

        Well, President Gingrich will create a new law that all democrats must take a bath before they are hired.

      • quixote says:

        The choice in 2012 will be like asking which of the Kardashian Sisters is the smartest.

        Christ. Ain’t that the truth.

        Yeah. Top slot blank. Or maybe I’ll Vote Goat. As for my personal vote for Prez, as a practical point, it doesn’t matter. I’m in CA, and this state is so safe for the Dimmicrats, neither Obama nor the Repugs campaign here.

        I wish I could vote for Warren!

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    So this is what high speed is like…and it isn’t even high high speed! Just testing the new connection…Haven’t had a chance to read all I missed, but will try later on tonight!

  11. foxyladi14 says:

    I wish I could vote for Warren! sure would like her to win. 🙂

    • northwestrain says:

      I think I’ll write her in for Prez. I will Not vote for 0bowma. It doesn’t matter anyway since my state is bought and payed for to vote 0bowma.

      Which ever Republican candidate wins (considering that 0 is R) — this nation is screwed.

  12. northwestrain says:

    Watch this video starring “Mr. Tingle up his leg” about 0bowma’s second term. (hint — same as the first).