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« Liberal Outrage: December 2007 | Main | Liberal Outrage: February 2008 »

Liberal Outrage

What's the goddamn difference?

Huffington Post:

Mitt Romney was caught on tape Sunday saying his GOP rival John McCain was "lying" about his position on the Iraq war, before quickly telling a reporter he regretted his words. The Arizona senator was merely "dishonest," Romney said.

Appearing on the campaign trail in Florida, Romney was asked about the criticism, launched by McCain, that he has a timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

"I don't have one, never had," Romney said.

"He says you do," chimed a reporter.

"Well, he's lying," replied the former governor, with a slight laugh. Within a second his tune changed. "He's dishonest [inaudible]. He's being dishonest about that. That's not accurate."

"Are you calling him a liar?" the reporter asked.

"No I'm not. I'm saying he made a dishonest comment. I misspoke."


By fnord12 | January 30, 2008, 4:00 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Looking behind the curtain

I hate "politics".

I like I'm interested in politics, but i hate "politics".


By fnord12 | January 25, 2008, 3:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (6)| Link



Classy

Citizens United Not Timid (hee-hee our acronym is naughty!). Losers.


By fnord12 | January 25, 2008, 2:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Grading Candidate's Stimulus Packages

I don't necessarily agree with this guy (he thinks that long term investments won't make a difference in time; i think this is going to be a big one and we need a combination of long and short term shots) but it's nice to see someone actually analyzing the candidate's policies and not just worrying about who said what about Reagan.


By fnord12 | January 24, 2008, 7:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



The military speaks

Interesting article that shows discrepancies between the White House and the Pentagon. My question is, will they continue to speak out when General Petraeus, who clearly holds the White House's line and not the Pentagons, runs for president in 2012? And will anybody listen?


By fnord12 | January 24, 2008, 7:39 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Harry Reid - fighter!

Check out these strong words from Senate Majority Leader Reid:

[I]f people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.

Whooo! Way to go Harry! That's the way to force these Republican obstructionists to... oh. Oh wait. Oh. Umm, it turns out that the bill Reid is referring to is the one that increases Bush's wiretapping powers and grants immunities to the telecom industry. And his comments are directed, not at Republicans, but at Democratic Senators Dodd and Feingold.

Seriously: what the fuck?

Here's Glenn Greenwald's post on this insanity, and also see the post on how the Dems are letting Josh Bolton and Harriet Miers get away with ignoring congressional subpoenas.


By fnord12 | January 23, 2008, 3:41 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Why does it have to be her?

Greg Saunders at This Modern World:

For starters, Clinton's biggest selling point has been her "experience", but as Timothy Noah wrote at Slate, Hillary's claim of experience is incredibly dishonest :
[D]uring her husband's two terms in office, Hillary Clinton did not hold a security clearance, did not attend meetings of the National Security Council, and was not given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing. During trips to Bosnia and Kosovo, she "acted as a spokeswoman for American interests rather than as a negotiator." On military affairs, most of her experience derives not from her White House years but from serving on the Senate armed services committee.

Even if she was able to claim Bill's experience as her own, what is there to brag about? NAFTA? Welfare reform? Don't Ask, Don't Tell? The Communications Decency Act? Easing media ownership laws? Defense of Marriage Act? If she wants to run on her husband's record, then it's worth pointing out that the Clinton Administration wasn't the progressive paradise that she's promising.

During the Clinton years, there was one big "accomplishment" that she can claim... her failure to enact universal healthcare. Considering that one of her biggest promises on the stump has been universal healthcare, I'd expect the "most experienced" candidate to have a better pitch in this regard than "second time’s the charm". If Hillary can learn from the mistakes she made in 1994, who's to say the other candidates can't also learn those lessons?

Of course, another point against Hillary is that I don't think she's truly taken the lessons of the Clinton years to heart. She came into Washington in 1992 and the GOP establishment destroyed her and her husband. She was seen as arrogant for trying to use her position as first lady to strive for universal healthcare, demonized as a corrupt witch for Whitewater, and had to sit idly by while the GOP leadership in Washington dragged the nation through impeachment. Yet though all of that, she and Bill are still naive enough to believe that they can triangulate their way towards legislative victories and trust people who have shown them nothing but contempt.

Yet once Hillary became a Senator, for all of her talk about the "vast right-wing conspiracy", she was foolish enough to give the benefit of the doubt to people who have proved themselves to be untrustworthy. She voted for the Iraq war, the bankruptcy bill, declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard a Terrorist organization, etc. She's obviously not as bad as the Republicans in this regard, but for somebody who's been through the bullshit she's been through, I'd expect a little more skepticism.

Check out the rest for an assessment of the other Democratic candidates.


By fnord12 | January 22, 2008, 12:53 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Democrats offer slightly better alternative.

When we face a recession, the government should increase spending in ways that will create jobs, even if it means deficit spending. Public works/infrastructure investment is the best way to go. The idea is that you are creating stability in the job market, increasing the number of people who have reliable jobs and cash on hand. People with money and the assurance that they will remain employed will pump that money back into the economy. This has the short term benefit of keeping people employed, the medium term benefit of stimulating the economy once the newly employed people start spending or investing their money, and the long term benefit of improving our country's infrastructure (forget just repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, which would be nice enough, and imagine a program to create a major public transportation system or install solar panels and greywater systems into all our public buildings).

Bush's solution to a recession is an income tax cut, favoring the wealthy. Actually, even calling it a solution is being generous and naive. Bush wants to use the excuse of a recession to call for a tax cut. He was just as happy to call for a tax cut when the economy was doing well and the government was running a surplus of revenue. The real purpose of his tax cuts are to reward the Republican party's true constituency and cripple the government so that it doesn't have the revenue to even respond to emegencies, let alone do anything to actually improve the country, thus increasing the perception that government is always inefficient.

But let's pretend to take Bush's 'solution' seriously. Where an increase in public spending results in the benefits listed above at the cost of running a decifit, a tax cut puts more money into the hands of individuals, and in Bush's proposal it puts most of that money in the hands of individuals who already have a plenty of money. Unlike the assurance of a stable job, a one time windfall or even a permanent decrease in tax rates is not going to encourage people to spend more. In the face of a recession, people are more likely to hang on to money for emergencies, or, for the wealthy, wait for a more stable time period to invest. This second part is important to emphasis, as proponets of Bush's tax cuts claim that if they have extra money on hand, business leaders will engage in private investments as a more efficient substitute for government's public investements. Business leaders do not invest during a recession. If the economy is looking bad, business leaders do not increase hiring, replace private infrastructure, or invest in new businesses. Even if you have money, if the economy is looking unreliable, it is not a wise time to be taking risks. This is worth constrasting with the public spending strategy, which makes long term investments specifically when private industries are pulling back on their investments.

So while a tax cut may put a little more money in people's pockets (unless they get laid off), it doesn't really provide any of the benefits that public spending promises. So even if we were to take Bush's motives at face value, there is no reason to take a tax cut proposal seriously.

The Democrats see things differently, of course. Chuck Schumer, in proposing an alternative to Bush's tax cut, has come up with a different tax cut, based the payroll tax instead of, or in addition to, the income tax. Make no mistake that this would be better than Bush's proposal. It will expand the scope of the tax cut to lower and middle income families that can really use the help. But it is still just a tax cut, which means it will have none of the benefits of public spending. Worse, it legitimizes the idea that a tax cut is a solution to a recession. Schumer's proposal accepts Bush's framing of the debate that a tax cut is the only legitimate response to a recession, leaving only the question of what kind.

There was a time when the public spending strategy would have been the mainstream response to a recession (It is based on Keynesian economics, not Socialism.). However, there has been a gradual rightward shift in the politics of this country based on Republicans making outrageous claims ("Tax cuts increase revenue.") and Democrats responding in befuddling ways that accept the basic premise ("Well, tax cuts do increase revenue but we need to ensure that they benefit everyone."). This is why the Democrats have been so frustrating. They are being dragged around by the Republicans, their attempts at resisting are in fact legitimizing right-wing economic ideology, and they are making no bold attempts to move in the other direction at all. The current front runners in the Democratic primaries have all exhibited this pattern.


By fnord12 | January 21, 2008, 8:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Workingest

Think Progress:

At a press conference today unveiling the stimulus proposal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) justified the conservative plan to give tax breaks to corporations - instead of working Americans - by arguing that people actually like working long hours:

I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We're the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs.

...
Bachmann may be taking her cues from her bosom buddy President Bush, who on Feb. 4, 2005, told a divorced mother of three: "You work three jobs?...Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that."

By fnord12 | January 17, 2008, 1:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



My favorite part is the word 'contemporary'

Mike Huckabee:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

By fnord12 | January 17, 2008, 1:09 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Recession?

  1. "When you are not buying name-brand cough syrup, something is going on."
  2. Dean Baker:
    The news articles today all report on how the country's leading economists now believe that we currently are in, or soon will be in, a recession. This is big news, in fact it's bigger news than the reports suggest. As I've written in the past, economists have an enormous bias against seeing recessions. Virtually no economist saw the recession coming in 2001, even after the stock bubble was already well on its way to deflating (okay, none of them saw the bubble either). This includes all the official forecasters, CBO and OMB both projected solid growth in 2001.

    Economists don't predict recession. Economists don't predict recessions. (I'm not in the fraternity.) Say it one thousand times until it sinks in. Economists, when we are lucky, recognize recessions after we are already in them. The fact that so many economists are now willing to say that we are facing recessions should be viewed as a lagging indicator of a recession. It is very reliable -- I am fairly certain that there has never been a period in which a sizable share of economists forecast a recession (the WSJ puts the aggregate probability at 43 percent) and we have not actually been in a recession.



  3. Paul Krugman:

    Monetary policy mainly exerts its influence through housing: high interest rates squeeze home construction, low rates encourage it. Interest rates have much less direct effect on business investment. The reason? Housing lasts much longer.

    Suppose you take out a loan to buy a machine whose economic life is only 5 years - which is highly likely, given both physical wear and tear and technological obsolescence. How much difference does it make whether the interest rate on the loan is 4 percent or 6 percent? Not much: the monthly payment on a 5-year loan at 4% is less than 5% lower than the monthly payment on a loan at 6%. So interest rates don't have much effect on business investment.

    On the other hand, suppose you buy a house with a 30-year mortgage. The monthly payment on a 4% mortgage is more than 20 percent lower than on a 6% mortgage. So interest rates make a lot of difference to housing.

    So here's what normally happens in a recession: the Fed cuts rates, housing demand picks up, and the economy recovers.

    But this time the source of the economy's problems is a bursting housing bubble.

    ...
    So: is it even possible for the Fed to cut interest rates enough to create a renewed housing boom? (The Fed can cut the overnight rate all the way to zero, but even large changes in the overnight rate can have only modest effects on mortgage interest rates, if the market perceives those changes as temporary.) If it can't, how much can the Fed really do to help the economy?

By fnord12 | January 14, 2008, 7:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



We have ways of making him talk

TPM:

With a full-blown criminal investigation in the works, Jose Rodriguez, the CIA official who ordered the destruction of the torture tapes, says, via his lawyer Bob Bennett, that he's not testifying about it to Congress without immunity. He'd been scheduled to speak to the House intelligence committee next week as part of their investigation.

If the committee did give him immunity, it could potentially compromise the criminal investigation. If they didn't, he'd probably spend most of his time pleading the Fifth.

So he won't talk, huh? Well, let's see if some sleep deprivation and simulated drowning won't loosen his tongue a little. Or maybe some thumbscrews.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 1:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Earth, the Living Planet

A new resolution passed in a county of Flordia:

[W]e are requesting that the State Board of Education direct the Florida Department of Education to revise/edit the new Sunshine State Standards for Science so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Yep, Darwin's theory that the Earth evolved from a platypus is just that: a theory.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2008, 9:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Why I Hate the Primaries

This is the headline on CBS News today.

Barack Obama Is On The Verge Of Becoming The Clear Democratic Frontrunner. How Did He Do It?

HELLO! We've had one - ONE - primary so far. Last i checked, there are 48 other states yet to weigh in on this (49 for the Republicans because they didn't refuse to run in Wyoming as a protest against that state for having the nerve to horn in on Iowa's "first" status - just another example of why the Democrats make me tired). I'm sure Iowans are very nice, but i think we can all agree that they are not exactly a representative cross-section of the population. And even if they were, I'd still really like to get my vote in before someone decides who's the "clear" frontrunner.

There's no reason to hang onto this archaic tradition of letting Iowa be first. It only serves to make the whole process completely unfair both to the people and to the candidates. As you can see, the media already thinks the whole process is done. Obama's the frontrunner. Clinton's bracing for a loss. (Course, this is the spin for the Democratic candidates only. While Clinton got 29% of the votes in Iowa, they talk about her campaign as dead in the water. McCain meanwhile only got 13% of the vote, but the media mouthpieces say he's making a comeback and he's going to make a strong showing at a later date. Don't you love the spin machine? I love it so much, i wish i could find it and punch it repeatedly in the balls.) It doesn't matter that logically, 1 win out of 50 shouldn't make or break a campaign. It does because that's how it's portrayed. Come Super Tuesday on February 5th, we may not have to bother with voting at all. The 6 states who got to vote first will prolly have already decided for us. All the other candidates will prolly have dropped out because they read it in the paper that they were done.

Votes can be counted in a day. With television and the internet, candidates no longer need to travel from state to state campaigning for each primary. Do it all at once like they do for the presidential election. Screw Iowa's ego. It's detrimental to the country. And while you're at it, get rid of the damned Electoral College because i would like my vote to actually count for something. I don't need someone screening my choice, thanks.


By min | January 8, 2008, 1:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



You have to admit it's impressive...

Daily Howler:

Yesterday, a C-SPAN caller from Scottsdale, Arizona posed this question to Rudy Giuliani. On Olympus, the gods rocked with laughter as this call occurred:
C-SPAN CALLER (1/6/08): First of all, regarding tax cuts, you'e 100 percent right. McCain doesn't understand economics - revenues and expenditures. If you're spending too much, that's an expenditure problem. If you're cutting taxes, you're increasing revenues. He somehow thinks that tax cuts are making the deficit worse. And it makes no sense. He doesn't understands it.

No, we didn't make that up. The question starts at roughly 9:20 of the tape, "Rudy Giuliani on the C-SPAN Campaign Bus." Just click here, then fast forward.

We've discussed this matter many times in the past. The caller sounds completely sincere. But he has been told, for decades now, that cutting tax rates increases revenue. The people who have told him this know that it's lunacy, but they're playing him for a rube - and the liberal world, and the mainstream press, have never really gotten around to telling such voters that they're being played for fools by a right-wing conspiracy. The caller believes what he has been told - in part, because no one contradicts it. Big newspapers lead more comfortable lives when they let such cant go unchallenged. And, of course, their owners and their journalistic stars gain from Republican tax cuts.



By fnord12 | January 8, 2008, 1:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Iowa Caucus

Thankfully, without cable, i didn't get sucked into watching C-SPAN for the entire evening. I just waited for the blogs to post the end result. So much less aggravating.

Apparently, it was a huge turnout for the Democrats. 218,000 to the Republicans' 115,000. That's pretty damned impressive. Unlike here in Jersey where you go into a polling location, cast your vote, and go home, these people had to basically give up a significant portion of their evening to sit at a caucus location and wrangle with other people to try to get them to vote for their candidate. I don't even like discussing politics with friends and family if we don't agree on most issues. Why the hell would i do it with strangers?

If having to sit in a room and argue with a bunch of strangers isn't a big enough deterrent, how about the weather? I don't know exactly what the weather in Iowa was yesterday, but i know damn well it was 20deg in Jersey with the sun out. 15 at night. And looking at their temps this morning (24degF), i'm willing to bet it was pretty damned cold in Iowa yesterday. So, for once, the Dems did something right. Yay, you.

Obama swept with 37.58%. Edwards squeaked past Clinton with 29.75% to her 29.47% (i stole the numbers from Kos). According to a co-worker, in the half hour he watched CNN this morning, they didn't once mention Edwards coming in second. Until i told him the results, he assumed Clinton had been second based on how CNN was reporting it. They have been putting alot of effort into portraying the primaries as a fight between Obama and Clinton alone, so i guess they didn't have a graphic of Edwards prepared. The one key issue CNN did make sure my coworker got loud and clear though was that Britney Spears had to be taken away in an ambulance after a fight with her ex and police. I can't wait til the Daily Show's back on so i can get real news again.

Surprise surprise, Kucinich pulled his dick move a second time. In 2004, knowing he had no chance in the Iowa caucus, he told his supporters to vote for Edwards. Not because he agreed most with Edwards' platform but because he was peeved that Dean was perceived as the "progressive" candidate instead of him. This time round, he was peeved at Edwards.

Dennis Kucinich has told his followers that if -- by some wild chance -- they find that they are not one of the most popular groups, they should switch to Barack Obama. Kucinich's positions on most issues actually seem closer to John Edwards's, but last summer Edwards was caught on tape whispering to Hillary Clinton that Dennis was really not a serious contender.

Now, it's not like the other candidates didn't tell their supports to vote for someone else if they weren't winning. But, for instance, in Clinton's case, feeling that Obama was her biggest opponent, she told her supporters to vote for Edwards if things went badly for her in attempt to bump Obama out of the win. If she can take out her strongest opponent by using the other opponents against him, that will leave the field clear for her once that main opponent's gone. That's strategy.

What Kucinich did was out of spite. He's so far down the list that his action would in no way "clear the field" for a Kucinich victory in the future. He gains nothing by having his supporters go to a candidate whose platform isn't closest to his own. In actuality, his petty behaviour does a disservice to the people he is supposedly representing. At the end of the day, instead of getting the guy who might be 75% what you want, you only get the 50% or 25% guy or less just so that Kucinich's bruised ego can feel he "stuck it" to the guy who affronted him.

John Edwards was right. Kucinich isn't a serious contender. He's a big baby. Someone please find his pacifier so that he can go back to sucking on it and leave the rest of us alone.


By min | January 4, 2008, 1:30 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Aw, Crap...

The damn primaries start tomorrow, don't they?

I was doing so well avoiding the whole "paying attention to the moron parade" thing up til now, too.


By min | January 2, 2008, 9:39 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



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