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Wrong lessons

About Bill Clinton and “triangulation.”

Isn’t it odd

That a Democratic president is chiding labor for “wasting time” on the enforcement of laws that protect workers’ jobs, or is it just me?

Tomorrow night

Matt Stoller is a very, very smart person (he predicted the mess we’re in three years ago) and he’ll be my guest tomorrow night on Virtually Speaking Susie. Tune in, it’ll be interesting.

I’m not alone

In my perception about Obama.

Your librul media

Bob Somerby on the social concerns of the Hamptons crowd.

Downward pressure

Bottom line: Do you believe Obama’s too stupid to know what he’s doing? I don’t. So I think this is, quite clearly, a policy. What else makes sense?

An extraordinary amount of personal income is coming directly from the government.

Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics. In states hit hard by the downturn, like Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Ohio, residents derived even more of their income from the government.

By the end of this year, however, many of those dollars are going to disappear, with the expiration of extended benefits intended to help people cope with the lingering effects of the recession. Moody’s Analytics estimates $37 billion will be drained from the nation’s pocketbooks this year.

In terms of economic impact, that is slightly less than the spending cuts Congress enacted to keep the government financed through September, averting a shutdown.

Unless hiring picks up sharply to compensate, economists fear that the lost income will further crimp consumer spending and act as a drag on a recovery that is still quite fragile. Among the other supports that are slipping away are federal aid to the states, the Federal Reserve’s program to pump money into the economy and the payroll tax cut, scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

Product of the system

So the choice is, do I avoid linking to stories that, at least to some people, make me look like a bit of a nut, or do I continue to point out stories like this?

For whatever reason, reporters didn’t look all that critically at Obama when he first became a candidate for the nomination. As I’ve said before, reporters in general are lazy and this is not unusual.

But from what I’ve looked into from Obama’s Chicago days, especially the shady deal by which he bought his house and the adjoining land, he’s at least mildly corrupt. Now, that’s not unusual in politics and at least to my pragmatic mind, doesn’t necessarily make you a bad politician (some of the best politicians I’ve ever seen were also famously crooked). The public tends to be a little more forgiving of these things if you’re also championing their interests.

Almost everything he did, though, seemed aimed only at climbing the ladder.

The only thing I can’t figure out is the two years spent as a community organizer. But that explanation might be as simple as, “Okay, I’m broke, I’m working with poor people and now I’m pretty sure I don’t ever want to be one of them.” Who knows? Again, this is all conjecture.

But most laymen have no idea just how corrupt things can get in the political world. (I sure as hell didn’t when I first started covering politics.)

The Republicans who controlled the county where I worked as a reporter were busily recruiting young, well-spoken guys (like the now-congressman Pat Meehan) with good-on-paper credentials into office because the old guys had gotten too obviously corrupt, were attracting the attention of federal prosecutors, and they needed shiny new faces for protective cover. Maybe that happened here.

Most people consider themselves a “good judge of character”, but they’re really not. Because in order to be an accurate judge of character, you have to be willing to look long and hard into the darkest corners of the human psyche, and your average person recoils at that. (Most people’s judgment is limited to how the person treated them. “Maybe he was rotten to you, but he seems like a nice guy to me.”)

Me? I like to look at what unconscious forces drive a person, how far he’s willing to go to get whatever it is that drives him, and why. (Hey, some people like word puzzles – I like this.)

Well, let’s look at the bare facts. We have this young guy from Illinois without much experience who’s suddenly catapulted into the national spotlight, seemingly out of nowhere. His chief of staff is the brother of Chicago’s former mayor, and his BFF Tim Geithner is a creature of Wall Street.

I’m thinking his moral compass might be just a little bit off.

Down by the river

Neil:

Love the one you’re with

Stephen Stills:

Where is my mind

The Pixies:

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