Monday ReadsPosted: December 12, 2011
We’ve had some cold gloomy weather down here in New Orleans. I hope all those bowl game tourists brought their coats. It’s made for a depressing weekend. It seems like most of the news I’ve been finding matches the weather too. Another presidential election year is upon us and we’re looking at the Grinch getting the Republican nomination. Soon, all poor children will be required to mine the coal so the Grinch can place them in every one’s stockings. Well, that’s the east coast poor children. Those poor children in the middle of the country will be fattening up turkeys for the 1 percent to eat. I’ll bet Mitch can make a $10,000 bet on which of the kids will have it worse!
First up is an interesting read from the Business Insider that once again shoots down the meme that the rich create jobs. There are so many economic fairy tales around these days it’s hard to know which one to shoot down next. The bottom line is pretty much something we’ve talked about for some time. If you build it and no one comes, you don’t create anything but one more bankruptcy. It’s the consumer demand that creates economic growth.
The most important reason the theory that “rich people create the jobs” is absurd, argues Nick Hanauer, the founder of online advertising company aQuantive, which Microsoft bought for $6.4 billion, is that rich people do not create jobs, even if they found and build companies that eventually employ thousands of people.
What creates the jobs, Hanauer astutely observes, is the company’s customers.
The company’s customers create demand for the company’s products, which, in turn, creates the need for the employees to produce, sell, and service those products. If those customers go broke, the demand for the company’s products will collapse. And the jobs will disappear, regardless of what the entrepreneur does.
That’s actually some good common sense but it’s backed up by economic theory. Supply without demand just rots in the fields and molds in the warehouse. Which brings me to Paul Krugman who says it’s time to call this economic situation a depression. That’s also something we’ve bandied about here. I’d say skydancers are pretty prescient, wouldn’t you?
It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it’s not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that’s cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege.
On that last point, I am not being alarmist. On the political as on the economic front it’s important not to fall into the “not as bad as” trap. High unemployment isn’t O.K. just because it hasn’t hit 1933 levels; ominous political trends shouldn’t be dismissed just because there’s no Hitler in sight.
Krugman takes the rest of the column outlining some of the abysmal politics and economics in Europe. I just keep checking the calendar to see if we some how time tripped back to the 1930s and some how forget what we learned the last time out. Looking at things from a war build-up point a view, there’s this link to “Obama Raises the Military Stakes: Confrontation on the Borders with China and Russia” from Global Research. This is how some leftwing thinkers see the latest in US outreach in Asia.
November 2011 is a moment of great historical import: Obama declared two major policy positions, both having tremendous strategic consequences affecting competing world powers.
Obama pronounced a policy of military encirclement of China based on stationing a maritime and aerial armada facing the Chinese coast – an overt policy designed to weaken and disrupt China ’s access to raw materials and commercial and financial ties in Asia . Obama’s declaration that Asia is the priority region for US military expansion, base-building and economic alliances was directed against China , challenging Beijing in its own backyard. Obama’s iron fist policy statement, addressed to the Australian Parliament, was crystal clear in defining US imperial goals.
“Our enduring interests in the region [Asia Pacific] demands our enduring presence in this region … The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay … As we end today’s wars [i.e. the defeats and retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan]… I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority … As a result, reduction in US defense spending will not … come at the expense of the Asia Pacific” (CNN.com, Nov. 16, 2011).
The precise nature of what Obama called our “presence and mission” was underlined by the new military agreement with Australia to dispatch warships, warplanes and 2500 marines to the northern most city of Australia ( Darwin ) directed at China . Secretary of State Clinton has spent the better part of 2011 making highly provocative overtures to Asian countries that have maritime border conflicts with China . Clinton has forcibly injected the US into these disputes, encouraging and exacerbating the demands of Vietnam , Philippines , and Brunei in the South China Sea . Even more seriously, Washington is bolstering its military ties and sales with Japan , Taiwan , Singapore and South Korea , as well as increasing the presence of battleships, nuclear submarines and over flights of war planes along China ’s coastal waters. In line with the policy of military encirclement and provocation, the Obama-Clinton regime is promoting Asian multi-lateral trade agreements that exclude China and privilege US multi-national corporations, bankers and exporters, dubbed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”. It currently includes mostly smaller countries, but Obama has hopes of enticing Japan and Canada to join …
Obama’s presence at the APEC meeting of East Asian leader and his visit to Indonesia in November 2011 all revolve around efforts to secure US hegemony. Obama-Clinton hope to counter the relative decline of US economic links in the face of the geometrical growth of trade and investment ties between East Asia and China .
Pakistan is threatening to shoot down all US drones. Tis the season to be jolly!!!
According to the new Pakistani defense policy, “Any object entering into our air space, including U.S. drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,” a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News.
The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all U.S. personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan
I wonder if people in North Dakota have the same option? Here’s the Daily Mail headline on your Daily Moment of Orwell: Local cops using Predator drones to spy on Americans in their own backyards.
One of the only confirmed uses of predator drones by local law enforcement came in June when a sheriff near Grand Forks, North Dakota, went looking for six stolen cattle.
When he arrived at the farm of Rodney Brossart, he was threatened by three men with guns and forced to retreat.
The Brossarts were known for being armed, anti-government separatists. So Sheriff Kelly Janke, who patrols a county of just 3,000 people, called in a Predator drone to look out over the 3,000-acre farm where the family was armed with rifles and shotguns.
With the help of a drone, summoned from nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base where it was patrolling the US-Candida border, the sheriff was able to watch the movements of everyone on the farm from a handheld device that picked up the aircraft’s video footage.
He and his deputies waited until they could see the Brossarts put down their weapons. Then they stormed the compound and arrested Rodney Brossart, his daughter and his three sons on a total of 11 felony charges. No shots were fired.
And he recovered the cattle, valued at $6,000.
The sheriff says that might not have been possible without the intelligence from the Predators.
‘We don’t have to go in guns blazing. We can take our time and methodically plan out what our approach should be,’ Sheriff Janke told the Times.
All of the surveillance occurred without a search warrant because the Supreme Court has long ruled that anything visible from the air, even if it’s on private property, can be subject to police spying.
The NBC News-Marist polls showed Gingrich leading Romney in South Carolina by 42 percent to 23 percent. An October poll by the same organizations showed Gingrich at 7 percent in the Palmetto State. In Florida, Gingrich leads Romney 44 percent to 29 percent. There Gingrich has gained 38 percentage points since October.
The rapid movement highlights the remarkable rise of Gingrich as the caucuses and primaries near. Republican voters have shifted allegiances repeatedly this year and a number of state polls have shown that they are not firmly locked in behind any candidate at this point.
In New Hampshire on Sunday, Romney picked up the endorsement of Manchester Mayor Ted Gastas. But he was the target of a scathing editorial in the Union Leader, which earlier endorsed Gingrich. The headline read “Romney’s desperate hours.”
January’s coming and sooner or later, some of these folks are going to run out of money. There seems to be quite a few irrelevant candidates in the race right now. Maybe super Jeb is waiting in the wings? So here’s a good way we now MIttens is tres desperate. Here’s the TPM headline: Romney Presses Ann Coulter Into Surrogate Duty.
Turn on the radio here and you’re going to get a taste of how hard Mitt Romney is working to stamp out Newt Gingrich’s support with conservatives.
In a new radio ad launched by the Romney campaign in Iowa last week, Romney turns to conservative fire-breather Ann Coulter to make the case that he’s the most electable candidate in the Republican race. Having made a living off saying things that no politician would likely wish to be closely associated with, it’s an interesting choice — and a sign that Romney is going all out to cast himself as the more pure conservative choice to Gingrich.
Here’s a ghost of nightmares past. Noriega has been extradited to Panama for trial. The link goes to a BBC TV report.
The former leader of Panama, General Manuel Noriega, has returned to his home country 22 years after being forcibly removed from power by the US.
The 77-year-old was extradited from France, where he had been in prison on money laundering charges.
He is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail after being convicted in absentia for murder, corruption and embezzlement while he was in power.
OOOH, baby it’s cold outside.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?