Why Wingnuts And Their Centrist Enablers Are Scum

Krugman:

The lights are going out all over America — literally. Colorado Springs has made headlines with its desperate attempt to save money by turning off a third of its streetlights, but similar things are either happening or being contemplated across the nation, from Philadelphia to Fresno.

Meanwhile, a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel.

And a nation that once prized education — that was among the first to provide basic schooling to all its children — is now cutting back. Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled; in Hawaii, the school year itself is being drastically shortened. And all signs point to even more cuts ahead.

We’re told that we have no choice, that basic government functions — essential services that have been provided for generations — are no longer affordable. And it’s true that state and local governments, hit hard by the recession, are cash-strapped. But they wouldn’t be quite as cash-strapped if their politicians were willing to consider at least some tax increases.

And the federal government, which can sell inflation-protected long-term bonds at an interest rate of only 1.04 percent, isn’t cash-strapped at all. It could and should be offering aid to local governments, to protect the future of our infrastructure and our children.

But Washington is providing only a trickle of help, and even that grudgingly. We must place priority on reducing the deficit, say Republicans and “centrist” Democrats. And then, virtually in the next breath, they declare that we must preserve tax cuts for the very affluent, at a budget cost of $700 billion over the next decade.

In effect, a large part of our political class is showing its priorities: given the choice between asking the richest 2 percent or so of Americans to go back to paying the tax rates they paid during the Clinton-era boom, or allowing the nation’s foundations to crumble — literally in the case of roads, figuratively in the case of education — they’re choosing the latter.

Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with this:

I frequently listen to the opposition, from Fox News to Rush, because I have always felt it very important to stay abreast of just how they’re thinking. They don’t know it, but I’m also on the email list to receive some of the right-wing emails/messages they send to their fellow Repubs. I received one today from Dick Morris, the guy who talks out of the side of his mouth as a regular pundit on Fox News. Morris, a former Democrat, was part of the Clinton administration and has re-devoted his life to Dem/Obama bashing.

Today I received Morris’ latest email stating what he feels the Republican strategy should be if they were to regain control…his ‘answer’ to solving the economic problems created by the Bush Regime. To my amazement (I don’t know why I’m so surprised), based on Morris, the Republican strategy is to literally block much needed financial aid to struggling states with the ultimate goal being to force all of the states INTO BANKRUPTCY! They also plan to break ALL union agreements including wages, rules, pensions and more!

Not only does this explain why Repubs are voting against everything that could be helpful to The Recovery, but this email is absolutely, incredibly revealing and spells out exactly what we can expect should we allow the Repubs to regain power. Below are excerpts from the Morris email/newsletter. Truly dangerous stuff. Here’s what Morris wrote:

*As Congress reconvenes next week to pass a $26 billion bailout of state and local governments entombed in their own deficits, we witness a foretaste of the crisis that will be the central event of the first half of next year: the collapse of state governments.

*As long as the Democrats control Congress, they will continue to rubber-stamp Obama’s requests for bailouts of profligate states. But when the Republicans take control, they will be less than forthcoming. Republicans will ask the central question: Why should taxpayers from states that have cut their budgets and observed spending restraint, pay for the extravagances of the other states? Why should forty-seven states have to pay for California, New York, and Michigan?

*The Republican solution to state financial distress should be simple: The Party should insist on a change in the federal bankruptcy law providing for a procedure for state bankruptcy (none now exists). This process must call for abrogation (means=to end) of all state and local public employee union contracts as is usually done in private sector bankruptcies. By freeing states and local governments (including school boards) of their union obligations on wages, work rules, staffing, and pensions, they have a chance to survive and, indeed, to prosper. But merely subsidizing these massive expenditures just prolongs the misery of the states in question.

*The collapse of overspending state governments must trigger the diminution of the power unions hold over their budgets and their politics. Their coming bankruptcies offer an opportunity for reform and the Republican Congress – backed by newly elected Republican state governments – give us precisely the opportunity we need to effectuate it. (*=Excerpts from emailed Dick Morris.Com newsletter entitled “The Coming Catastrophe: State Governments”)

Bait and Switch

Bmaz is right:

Barack Obama was never a hard liberal nor progressive, whatever the supposed difference between the two really is. Those blinded by hope and change who thought otherwise were imprinting their own desires and beliefs on what was a relatively blank slate, which was probably easy enough to do in the despair resultant from the eight years of George Bush. By the same token, however, Mr. Obama cultivated and encouraged such beliefs; this he worked hard at, and it was critical to him being elected president.

Now if you listened to, and read Obama, and paid attention, you knew he was a centrist who worked by increment, compromise and seeking consensus as opposed to a liberal beacon that would take the country in a new and markedly different direction. Again, that said, the liberals and progressives who served as the ground force, heart and soul of Obama’s candidacy and election had every right to believe he would would at least include them at his table and utilize their talents in his Administration and appointments. There was an implicit deal made in this regard, and Obama purchased on it to his wild success. Now he has defaulted.

I first wrote significantly on the betrayal of the Obama White House toward liberal nominees in relation to the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to the critical post of head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. The scorn for, and abandonment of, the Johnsen nomination still stands out because of the fact it is clearly established that there were 60 votes cloture on a Senate floor vote for Johnsen’s nomination. It wasn’t that Johnsen could not be confirmed, she absolutely could have been and would have been; it was that Obama did not want her and would not call for a vote.

Johnsen was not only the best person for a critical job, she was a symbol to a critical part of Obama’s and the Democratic constituency. It is far more than Dawn Johnsen however, it is a pattern of abuse and scorn the Obama White House relentlessly exhibits to a major portion of the base. Currently the focus of progressives is on the potential nomination of Elizabeth Warren as head of the newly enacted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Despite some public platitudes, it is quite clear the Obama Administration does not want a competent crusader for citizens like Warren and, apparently, is working through the cut out of Chris Dodd to see Warren doesn’t get the nod.

Maybe the pressure will get to the Obama White House and Warren will get the post she deserves and would be perfect for; but don’t count on it because Obama, Geithner, Summers, Rahm and the boys on the Obama bus just do not want her. And they didn’t want Christine Romer either, so they let the misogynistic, consistently wrong about everything he touches, Larry Summers push her out. It is becoming a broken record with this White House.

Most distressing to me, because I practice law in the 9th Circuit, is the complete abandonment of two critical liberal judicial nominees, Goodwin Liu and Edward Chen; you may not be aware of because their nominations were tanked in the quiet of the night before those oh so hard working and diligent souls in the United States Senate jetted out of town for a 37 day vacation. Because Senate Rule XXXI specifies that all nominations not voted on and not held over by unanimous consent are extinguished and returned to the White House, the Liu and Chen nominations are toast.

Some of the still starry eyed Obama true believers who care about Liu and Chen (and both are incredibly excellent and worthy nominees) probably still think Obama will renominate them (and there is mention of that by, of course, an anonymous “White House official”). But even if he did, why in the world would anybody believe it to be anything other than a ruse to get their support leading up to the fall election? Obama renominated Dawn Johnsen and then hung her out to dry twisting in the wind until she finally ended the charade. It was a charade to sucker progressives, and there is no reason to believe he will not do it again. There is a track record with this White House, and it is not a good one; in fact, it is downright pathetic.

Thanks Again, Climate Change Deniers!

Via the Left Coaster:

The renowned meteorologist, Jeff Masters is struck by the extent of the heat wave in Russia, the soil aridity and massive fires afflicting that land. He writes that it is “One of the most remarkable weather events of my lifetime.”

As Joe Romm writes, the drying of the soil is one of the major predictions of global warming which he calls the “Dust-Bowl-ification” of major sections of the world. The result of the record heat wave in Russia is higher wheat costs throughout the world and possible radioactive contamination as the area around Chernobyl is burned. Along with the massive floods in Pakistan, the horrific fires in Russis are events which indicate we are well on our way to creating the inhospitable climate predicted by the climate scientists.

March on Washington, Oct. 2nd

For “The Change We Voted For.” Be there or be square!

August 5, 2010, WASHINGTON – The AFL-CIO executive committee voted unanimously this morning to join One Nation, Working Together, a new national coalition of labor and civil rights groups that has as its purpose to “reorder America’s priorities by investing in the nation’s most valuable resource – its people.”

The labor, civil rights, environmental, faith and other organizations that have formed the new coalition intend to replace unemployment and economic crisis faced by the country’s majority with “nothing less than a future of shared prosperity for all our people,” the AFL-CIO said in a statement after it voted to join One Nation.

“None of us alone have been able to achieve our priorities,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

One Nation’s first official act as a coalition will be a march on Washington on Oct. 2, which unions say will energize an army of tens of thousands who will return to their neighborhoods, churches, schools and voting booths to prevent a Republican takeover of Congress in November and begin building a new permanent coalition to fight for a progressive agenda.

Not Forgotten You

It’s such a drag that there are so few decent Kelly Willis videos around (and most of the ones that exist are from the days when Nashville was still trying to package her, at least 20 years old), and the audio on this is not as good as I would like. Still, I do love her “What I Deserve” album, and this is a great song:

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Stimulus

Bob Rubin told us so! Paul Krugman:

I’m saddened but not really surprised by Robert Rubin’s declaration that we don’t need more stimulus. It has seemed to me from early on in this crisis that Rubin and his disciples wanted to believe that this world crisis was something like the 1997-98 Asian crisis, and amenable to similar solutions.

For what the Committee to Save The World did in the Asian crisis was … not much. Some emergency loans to ease liquidity problems, some declarations that they were highly confident, a bit of interest-rate cutting; and once the panic was over, things recovered pretty much on their own.

Hence the view that fiscal stimulus was just an insurance policy, that the big thing was to stop the economy’s headlong descent, and then unemployment would come down mostly of its own accord.

I tried — Lord, how I tried — to get through the message that this wasn’t a safe bet, and that if the initial intervention wasn’t big enough it would be perceived as a failure, and there would be no second chance. Others made the same point. But we never did get through.

And Rubin is still insisting that plan A was right.

And why not? After all, his world hasn’t changed.

Sunday Night Jukebox

Liz Phair with “Shitloads of Money.” Liz was right.
Lowell George, “Long Distance Love.” Oh, yeah.
Hoyt Axton, “Lion in Winter.” A lovely duet with Linda Ronstadt.
Jill Sobule with “Bitter.” My anthem!
Jim Boggia’s perfect pop perfection, “Bubblegum 45s.”
Ben Folds Five, “Battle of Who Could Care Less.” (“Fine pewter portraits of General Apathy and/ Major Boredom…”)
Tracy Nelson covers Boz Scaggs’ “I’ll Be Long Gone.”
Patty Griffin said “Let Him Fly.” So I did.
Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” Nope.
Chrissie Hynde, “Bad Boys Get Spanked.”

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