Archive | Just Plain Crazy

Let’s Pretend

Am I being insufficently supportive of Obama if I post this? Oh well! Leo Hindery:

Almost every day, Mr. Geithner gilds the economy’s lily in inappropriate attempts to delude American workers into believing that: business investment is in fine shape when in fact businesses are sitting on an unprecedented $2 trillion of cash precisely because of ‘uncertainty’; the “surge in imports” is “healthy” when in fact it is an ongoing nightmare (i.e., just in June the overall U.S. trade deficit in goods and services surged 19% to a 21-month high of $49.9 billion); income inequality is not so unequal when in fact it is at its highest level since 1928; the “auto industry is coming back” when in fact most of its vigor is coming from cutting domestic employment in favor of offshoring; and “8.5 million” jobs have been saved by the White House when just a few weeks ago Geithner himself used the figure of “3 million” for jobs created and saved.

These several assertions of Geithner’s aren’t just disingenuous and disrespectful — they’re also dangerous, especially his implicit suggestion that consumers should once again feel comfortable ‘borrowing and spending’. If they become commonly embraced by the American people before there are significant economic reforms and successful major job creation initiatives, then that double-dip recession that many of us fear may be coming will arrive in a very big way and it could turn into the second longest L-shaped recession in our country’s history.

Here are some additional truths about our economy, over and above the sad income inequality truths that now hang over our nation like a plague:

  • The real unemployment rate is 18.3%, not the 9.5% official rate the administration uses.
  • The number of real unemployed workers in all four categories of unemployment is 29.3 million, not the administration’s one-category-only figure of 14.6 million.
  • Since the start of the Obama administration, the number of real unemployed workers has increased by 4.6 million. By contrast, the economy needs to add around 150,000 new jobs each month simply to keep up with population growth.
  • In real terms the all-important “jobs gap” is 21.3 million new jobs.
  • The average number of weeks unemployed is at least 34.2, and the number of workers unemployed a half year or longer is at least 10.1 million.

Mr. Geithner’s rhetorical deceptions mask the ineffectiveness of the only two potentially meaningful job-creation initiatives — aid to the states and the bailout of Detroit — that he and Summers largely put together, while letting him ignore the several initiatives, including trade reform, which could actually create, relatively quickly, millions of jobs.

In early 2009, Geithner and his colleagues promised that the stimulus package would materially help turn around the states’ crushing budget woes, which is critical because the states remain the foundation of much of America’s job stability and significant job creation. Yet even with the $26 billion of emergency aid just approved by Congress, for the years 2009 to 2012 the states will have had to confront around $275 billion in budget deficits. For the fiscal year ending next June, 46 of them will have to close budget shortfalls aggregating $100 billion or so. Without significant further federal intervention, in the amounts originally contemplated, the states’ bleak fiscal and unemployment positions will “continue to erode and hurt the U.S. economy through 2060“, according to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

A much needed promise, yes, but actual, meaningful assistance, not so much.

Then there is Treasury’s bailout of Detroit. Or better said, its bailout of ‘Detroit-cum-Mexico’.

The bailout of the U.S. auto industry by Treasury was indisputably appropriate. But what was indisputably inappropriate was the almost complete absence of any meaningful “quid” for the massive financial “quo” we gave the industry. Despite the staggering $85 billion bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, U.S. automobile production will actually decline over the next decade because of further offshoring, mostly to Mexico, by the two rescued automakers and by Ford — even now, the three U.S. automakers and their associated parts manufacturers have a $46 billion trade deficit with the rest of the world.

What Do They Think They’re Doing?

Really good piece on the chasm between progressives and the White House from Open Left’s Mike Lux:

The Obama team forgets that once the primary was over in 2008, the folks in the blogosphere and all the progressive groups were pretty united on helping Obama win the election. A pretty sizable share of the 13 million people on the Obama e-mail list were also reading blogs, getting e-mails from MoveOn.org or phone/mail from unions and other groups. Everyone had the same goal of defeating McCain and other right-wing Republicans, and we were all reinforcing (for the most part) what the campaign was doing and saying.

That sense of teamwork is pretty well gone, blown apart not only because of some policy decisions many progressives disagreed with, and not just by the series of insulting comments I spelled out in the first paragraph, but by a serious lack of outreach as well. The result is that Obama gets a steady stream of criticism from Markos, Arianna, Rachel, and many of the rest of us, and when good things happen, they rarely get played up positively as well as they should. I think that is one of the big reasons why online giving has been fairly weak on the Obama list (a person with knowledge of the list told me that the fundraising trend off their email list was “extremely worrisome”), why volunteer recruitment has been down, and why Democratic voter enthusiasm in the polling as been so consistently weak (obviously the bad economy has a lot to do with that as well, but don’t discount the bad relationship with progressive media and institutions).

Here’s the thing that drives me most crazy, though: the only thing making the Obama White House take the huge gamble of not reaching out to the professional left is their own arrogance. Engaging the “professional left” would be easy to do if they cared about it at all, and had a strategy to do it. In the Clinton White House, that presidency of NAFTA, failed health care, the 1994 election fiasco, and “triangulation”, the progressive community- the professional left as well as progressive voters- progressives never deserted Clinton. Through his two elections, special prosecutors, the Lewinsky mess and impeachment, the Democratic base stayed loyal to and enthusiastic about Bill Clinton (even when he didn’t always deserve it). Why? Because Bill Clinton cared about having a good relationship with progressives, and because we had a strategy for working effectively with them. President Clinton frequently asked me about who was happy with us and who was disgruntled in the progressive world, and we made sure to bring in everyone in the latter category for meetings and social events at the White House. At the height of the NAFTA fight, we organized a dinner for labor leaders where the President hung out with them for a long, social evening, telling them in his remarks “I know we are in a fight right now, but I want you to know that my White House will always be your house too, that we always will be friends.” We made sure progressives always had chances to have serious input into policy development. Whenever we had bad news to deliver to progressive groups on any issue big or small, we reached out to them before the announcement, talked about how to make the damage hurt less, and talked about what we could do to help them on other issues. And whenever there was good news, we made sure the folks who cared about it were part of the celebration.
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Loved Him To Death

Thank heavens we have such caring men around to raise children right:

At approximately 8:25 p.m. last Sunday night, the New York State Police on Long Island logged a 911 call about a toddler in cardiac arrest. The boy, 17-month-old Roy Jones, was rushed from the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, N.Y. to Southampton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.

According to authorities, the toddler had endured a savage beating. His tiny body had been repeatedly punched with closed fists and grabbed by the neck. By the time 911 had been called at dusk, he was already in cardiac arrest from the sheer brutality of the assault and it was too late to save his life.

Charged with manslaughter in the first degree and held without bail is the toddler’s mother’s live-in boyfriend, 20-year-old Pedro Jones, who was babysitting. The pair lived together on Shinnecock Nation tribal land, though Jones himself was not a member of the tribe. They were reportedly to marry, and Jones called the toddler “my baby,” though Roy was not, in fact his baby.

“I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl,” Jones explained. “I never struck that kid that hard before. A one-time mistake, and I am going to do 20 years.”

He told troopers that the little boy had been too feminine and that he’d been trying to toughen Roy up by literally beating the life out of him.

“I’m sorry,” he said “That’s my baby. I loved him to death.”

An Oldie But Goodie

A day in the life of Joe Republican:

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it, too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation costs because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or an unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the country would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state-funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the taxpayer- funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans.

The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberals made sure Dad could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of himself, just like I have.”

Blowback

If true, this is really bad:

Hundreds of Afghan civilians who worked as informants for the U.S. military have been put at risk by WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 90,000 classified intelligence reports which name and in many cases locate the individuals, The Times newspaper reported Wednesday.
Click here to see The Times article, but note, it’s behind a subscription firewall.

The article says, in spite of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s claim that sensitive information had been removed from the leaked documents, that reporters scanning the reports for just a couple hours found hundreds of Afghan names mentioned as aiding the U.S.-led war effort.

One specific example cited by the paper is a report on an interview conducted by military officers of a potential Taliban defector. The militant is named, along with his father and the village in which they live.

“The leaks certainly have put in real risk and danger the lives and integrity of many Afghans,” a senior official at the Afghan foreign ministry told The Times on condition of anonymity. “The U.S. is both morally and legally responsible for any harm that the leaks might cause to the individuals, particularly those who have been named. It will further limit the U.S./international access to the uncensored views of Afghans.”

One former intelligence official told the paper that the Taliban could launch revenge attacks on “traitors” in the coming days.

President Obama first warned on Tuesday that operatives inside Afghanistan and Pakistan who have worked for the U.S. could be at risk following the disclosure, former and current U.S. officials told the Associated Press.

Quote of the Day

Big Tent Democrat:

From the inadequate stimulus of 2009, to the deficit “concerns” (see the catfood commission) of today (among many other issues), the flinching and cowering of the Obama Administration and the Dems has damaged the country and, ironically, the political fortunes of the Dems. The reflexive hippie punching, the constant refrain of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, the ever present concern of being labeled a gasp, liberal, has led to great suffering in the nation. Simply put, the Dems have not been up to the job. L’Affaire Sherrod has put a face to the cost of this attitude. I hope that the transcendence of this problem is recognized and addressed.

Gunning for Liberals

This is your mind on Fox News:

OAKLAND, CA (KGO) — The Tuolumne County man accused of shooting at CHP officers on Interstate 580 in Oakland over the weekend was headed to San Francisco to kill people at the ACLU and the Tides non-profit organization. He made his first court appearance Tuesday.

Byron Williams, 45, has a 2 p.m. arraignment in Oakland. Police say he will be charged with attempted murder for his role in the Sunday morning shootout that closed the freeway for most of the day.

Williams was shot multiple times by police, but was wearing a bullet proof vest and survived. He was recently released from a hospital and is expected to use a wheelchair to attend his court appearance, according to a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities say Williams was armed with a number of high-powered weapons and ammunition during the shootout, which lasted 15 minutes. He and officers fired more than 150 rounds at each other.

Williams’ mother told reporters the two-strike felon was angry with left-wing politicians.

Why Tides? Because of wingnut stories like this.

Handcuffing Recovery

This is long, but please, go read the entire article:

Today, a new band of Mayberry Machiavellis has gained control, counseling President Obama to ignore the advice of his economic team and press forward with deficit reduction ahead of job creation.

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod told the New York Times recently that “it’s my job to report what the public mood is.” The public mood, said Axelrod, is anti-spending and anti-deficit and so the smart politics is to alleviate those concerns. “I’ve made the point that as a matter of policy and a matter of politics that we need to focus on this, and the president certainly agrees with that,” said Axelrod of the deficit hawkery that the administration has engaged in over the last several months.

It’s an odd political strategy because Axelrod knows that if it succeeds, it will be both bad policy and bad politics. He said as much when asked about the pressure from economic advisers to focus on stimulus and job creation. “I’m very much allied with the economic group, because even as a political matter it would be very shortsighted to take steps that would send us backward,” he said.

But the Mayberries have already taken those steps: by using the bully pulpit to highlight deficit fears, by proposing an across-the-board spending freeze, by creating a commission to reduce the deficit and stacking it with hawks, by making it clear to progressive allies that the White House political team believes a deficit-reduction focus is important for the midterm elections. The one recent effort by the President to pressure Congress to move forward with jobs-related spending came in a letter sent on a Saturday evening that was met with derision on the Hill for its ham-handedness.

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