What you saw, I think, anyway, was the end product of the president’s consuming naivete as regards the American political process, as well as the end product of thirty years of a Democratic Party that has slid so far to the center-right that a Democratic president found himself arguing with a “severely conservative” Republican candidate over the issues of how much the Democratic president had cut out of the budget, how many regulations he’d trimmed, how much more devoted to the middle-class-kick-in-the-balls Simpson-Bowles “plan” he is, and how he would “reform” Social Security and Medicare — and, frankly, a Democratic president losing some of those arguments to his left. A Democratic president got through an entire debate and didn’t mention unions at all, even though the fact that our teachers are unionized here in Massachusetts is a big part of the reason why Romney got to brag on how good our education system is.
Seriously now, how much would you have bet going in that the president would spend as much time as he did on areas in which “Governor Romney and I agree” and not mention the famous 47-percent video at all? Of all of the night’s obvious surreality, that has to take the prize. By the time Willard got to his essential Tentherism — a severe form of wingnut crackpottery on which, of course, he was not called to account in any substantive way — I was sure that, somewhere, Al From, that greasy corporatist lackey, was smiling. He’s got the political process of his dreams. Of course, it is also the case that The Great Sellout is already under way, so what the hell does it matter.
Yes, the Internet is a jungle. A reminder from The Washington Post:
The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it has stopped six “massive” tech support scams that may have duped consumers out of millions of dollars.
According to an FTC release, telemarketers tricked people into buying a “service” to remove non-existent viruses and other malware. Users were also convinced to grant telemarketers remote access to their machines. The FTC called the scams “outrageous and disturbing.”
This should be a good one – Barofsky’s book was great!
Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd – 6pm pacific 9pm eastern
Jay and Neil Barofsky discuss Neil’s new book, Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street and the warring NYT reviews of Jackie Calmes and Gretchen Morgenson.
Currently a Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law, from Dec 2008 until Mar 2011, Neil served as Special Inspector General in charge of oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Before that he was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
I’ve read so many stories like this:
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Doris Spates was a baby when her father died inexplicably in 1955. She has watched four siblings die of cancer, and she survived cervical cancer.
After learning that the Army conducted secret chemical testing in her impoverished St. Louis neighborhood at the height of the Cold War, she wonders if her own government is to blame.
In the mid-1950s, and again a decade later, the Army used motorized blowers atop a low-income housing high-rise, at schools and from the backs of station wagons to send a potentially dangerous compound into the already-hazy air in predominantly black areas of St. Louis.
Local officials were told at the time that the government was testing a smoke screen that could shield St. Louis from aerial observation in case the Russians attacked.
The economist is as exasperated as the rest of us:
People tend to forget how close the 2008 presidential race looked as late as August, and the immense frustration many Democrats felt with Barack Obama at the time. He seemed weirdly unwilling to drive home his case against Bush/McCain economic policies; his instinct, as people said, was apparently to go for the capillaries.
The hard-hitting and effective campaign against Romney led many people to believe that this wasn’t going to happen again. But in the first debate, there was Capillary Man once again.
I really don’t know what this is about.
WASHINGTON — Billionaire private equity mogul Peter Peterson is investing millions of dollars in a new Washington-based campaign for austerity, planning to blanket the airwaves after the election to bolster the case for a “grand bargain” in Congress’ lame-duck session that would slash Medicare and Social Security spending in exchange for new tax revenue.
The new Campaign to Fix the Debt is chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, and former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican. It’s priming for lame-duck negotiations over the expirations of the payroll tax cut and the Bush tax cuts, as well as scheduled cuts to defense and non-defense spending.
Peterson’s allies aren’t waiting for the election, however. In New Hampshire, the co-chairmen of the 2010 Simpson-Bowles commission — former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House official Erskine Bowles — have endorsed incumbent Republican Rep. Charlie Bass, who supported a budget bill with many of their austerity recommendations, over progressive Democrat Annie Kuster. Bowles and Simpson have become fashionable politically, so Bass is taking full advantage of their endorsement, running full-page ads in newspapers across the state.
Kuster, who lost a squeaker to Bass in 2010, has hit back hard. “Let me be clear: I will never cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. My Tea Party opponent will,” she said in a statement.
But it will take more than Annie Kuster to stave off the coming campaign to cut federal spending. The two parties have been in budget talks for the better part of two years, and Bob Woodward’s new book, “The Price of Politics,” portrays a president obsessed with getting a “big deal.” President Barack Obama was ready before to agree to dramatic cuts, including to Social Security and Medicare, in exchange for new taxes, but Republicans ultimately refused to yield.