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The Great Recession, Part II

Nobel Prize winner Joe Stiglitz:

The remedies to the U.S. deficit follow immediately from this diagnosis: Put America back to work by stimulating the economy; end the mindless wars; rein in military and drug costs; and raise taxes, at least on the very rich. But the right will have none of this, and instead is pushing for even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, together with expenditure cuts in investments and social protection that put the future of the U.S. economy in peril and that shred what remains of the social contract. Meanwhile, the U.S. financial sector has been lobbying hard to free itself of regulations, so that it can return to its previous, disastrously carefree, ways.

But matters are little better in Europe. As Greece and other countries face crises, the medicine du jour is simply timeworn austerity packages and privatization, which will merely leave the countries that embrace them poorer and more vulnerable. This medicine failed in East Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere, and it will fail in Europe, too. Indeed, it has already failed in Ireland, Latvia, and Greece.

There is an alternative: an economic-growth strategy supported by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Growth would restore confidence that Greece could repay its debts, causing interest rates to fall and leaving more fiscal room for further growth-enhancing investments. Growth itself increases tax revenues and reduces the need for social expenditures, such as unemployment benefits. And the confidence that this engenders leads to still further growth.
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The Texas miracle

“Bolt your doors.”

Spirit

We can all use a little good news this morning!

The event – a foul-shooting contest for top academic students at Compton High School in Los Angeles – was created with a simple premise: Organizers wanted to show the kids at Compton how to create community spirit with college scholarship money as the incentive.

Allen Geui won in front of a packed house.
Following a tear-jerking gesture from the winner – it appears the true lessons learned were by the adults.

The kids in Compton are more than alright.

Three months after winning the $40,000 top prize, Allan Guei donated all of his winnings to the seven other finalists.

Guei, a star player on the basketball team who is headed to Cal-State Northridge on a full scholarship, said he felt the others could use the college cash more than he could. He wanted to give his classmates a chance to make their academic dreams come true, too.

“I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we’re living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates,” he said in a release from the school. “It was the right decision.”

One that stunned Court Crandall, the man behind the event.

“What he has done is exceptional, just like Allan,” he said. “Like any young people, whether it’s my kids or someone else’s, you hope they are given opportunities to show what they can do. These Compton High grads have a lot of talent. They have a lot of drive, and I wish them all the best.”

See, some people know instinctively that we’re put on earth to help each other. How nice to see it in someone so young.

Class war

Yes, “reasonable” Democrats are telling me to calm down. Good thing I don’t listen to “reasonable” Democrats, huh?

“The fiscal good has to outweigh the pain,” a nameless Democrat told the Washington Post regarding President Obama’s latest proposal to massively cut Social Security, against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, in order to fund a military 670% larger than the next largest in the world, keep in place tax cuts for billionaires, fail to tax corporations or estates or investments or carbon, and balance a budget that nobody gives a rat’s ass about balancing when Wall Street comes asking for handouts.
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Freedom of speech

Well, sometimes. In some places. Not this one:

So you thought you had the right to free speech, huh? Not in Quartzsite, Arizona you don’t. Citizen Jennifer Jones, attempting to air the City Council’s dirty laundry, got arrested for speaking at a public meeting in Quartzsite, Arizona. Police arrested her for speaking at the order of the City Council, specifically Councilman Joe Winslow, even after the Mayor defended her right to speak. Police chief Jeff Gilbert arrested Mrs Jones over Mayor Ed Foster’s objections.

Mrs Jones was exercising her right as a citizen to speak at a City Council meeting, and she had the floor. Councilman Winslow shut her down by passing a motion to have her shut down, which in and of itself is a violation as motions can’t be passed while a recognized speaker has the floor.

Jennifer Jones is given the floor at a city council meeting open to the public. While she is speaking the council realizes she’s about to air their dirty laundry and quickly beckons their henchman to cart her off.

Cry love

John Hiatt:

Why women earn less

No, it just makes us more likely to punch you in the face for saying stupid shit like that.

One in a series

Obama is a Republican.

How do you mend a broken heart

The Rev. Al Green:

These fucking pigs

What the fuck is wrong with these people?

President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.

At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.

In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts
Obama, Democrats not ready to play 14th Amendment card with debt ceiling
Republicans, Democrats spar over tax increases for debt deal
McCain opposes balanced-budget amendment in debt deal

As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.

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