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« Liberal Outrage: April 2013 | Main | Liberal Outrage: June 2013 »

Liberal Outrage

Scariest Chart Ever still Scary

I've been doing my best to ignore the "scandals" and politics generally but it's time to check in on what really matters.

Chart created by Calculated Risk.

Compared to here and here, it looks like things are better, until you realize that where we are now is still worse than half of our post-WWII recessions, and that line is going up slowly, slowly, slowly. What's another two years for people to be out of work, right? It's not literally destroying the futures of an anyone who's graduated college in the past several years or creating a permanent class of the structurally unemployed. No need to do anything about. We'll just let it run its course and hope Europe doesn't implode.


By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 11:15 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



John McCain helps explain why we shouldn't get involved in Syria

You gotta love this:

Senator John McCain's office is pushing back against reports that while visiting Syria this week he posed in a photo with rebels who kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims.

The photo, released by McCain's office, shows McCain with a group of rebels. Among them are two men identified in the Lebanese press as Mohamed Nour and Abu Ibrahim, two of the kidnappers of the group from Lebanon.

A McCain spokesman said that no one who met with McCain identified themselves by either of those names.

I'm sure there's a way to work in a Madoff Schmitler joke into this but i'm having trouble.

And i know it's all kind of a cheap shot. But really. Doddering old man wandering Syria, hooking up with terrorists and demanding we go to war. As Kevin Drum and Joe Klein (Klein via Drum, for me) point out, what a metaphor.


By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 11:01 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Fakin' it

Sure, most people will just say Potemkin Village and move on, but what was that movie with Michael Keaton and Geena Davis where they bought a house near a small town except they didn't like the townees and the townees didn't like them so they convinced the townees to act like the old fashioned folks and then Keaton and Davis liked it so much they decided to stay there after all? My point is maybe the UK will decide that they actually like having nice towns and they'll drop austerity and commit some stimulus money to fixing their economy.


By fnord12 | May 31, 2013, 7:42 AM | Liberal Outrage & Movies & Ummm... Other? | Comments (1)| Link



Quick links

Matt Taibbi: The war on drugs doesn't apply to banks illegally working with drug cartels.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: The black vote helped Obama win the election. "Perhaps they cannot practically receive targeted policy. But surely they have earned something more than targeted scorn."

Paul Krugman: Latest CBO reports show that the deficit has been reduced. Where are the celebrations?

The Taibbi article is from December, but Atrios re-linked to it today in the context of this story.


By fnord12 | May 21, 2013, 10:04 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Going After the "Real" Media - Now the DOJ Has Gone Too Far

Glenn Greenwald has a post up about the media finally waking up to the danger the DOJ's targeting of Wikileaks poses to them. Duh.

Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment's guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ - that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for "soliciting" the disclosure of classified information - is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.

That same "solicitation" theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can "charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them." When that theory was first disclosed, I wrote that it would enable the criminalization of investigative journalism generally.

...

If even the most protected journalists - those who work for the largest media outlets - are being targeted in this way, and are saying over and over that the Obama DOJ is preventing basic news gathering from taking place without fear, imagine the effect this all has on independent journalists who are much more vulnerable.

Obviously, i don't like what the DOJ did in terms of getting the AP's phone records, but it's good that the media has finally woken up to the danger they are in. I wonder if it's too damn late, though. It's certainly too late for this poor guy:

New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ's attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News' chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests - something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist - something done every day in Washington - and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for "espionage".

By min | May 20, 2013, 12:25 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Doing the Work We Won't

Kevin Drum: "Most Americans just aren't willing to do backbreaking agricultural labor for a bit above minimum wage, and if the wage rate were much higher the farms would no longer be competitive."

Well... competitive with who? I'm absolutely pro-immigration reform, but i've always had a problem with this "they do the work we won't" argument, and you can see the sleight of hand between Drum's post title and his conclusion, which slips in the "for a bit above minimum wage". The real argument is "they allow our food prices to be cheaper than they should be" which is potentially still a good argument but now you're getting into a NAFTA style "Walmart's low prices vs. overseas sweatshops and American jobs" argument.


By fnord12 | May 16, 2013, 3:53 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Professional turf-defending and whatever?

Paul Krugman takes a look at a theory by Noah Smith saying that the real reason our politicians and Central Bankers won't do the obvious regarding our economic recovery because they want to use the crisis as an opportunity to push for unrelated structural reforms. And that's certainly what it all looks like to me (why else have we pivoted to deficit reduction and especially social security "reform"?). But my thinking here was always influenced by Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. And Krugman notes the similarities between Smith's theory and Klein's, but then says:

I have to admit that I was predisposed to dislike Klein's book when it came out, probably out of professional turf-defending and whatever -- but her thesis really helps explain a lot about what's going on in Europe in particular.

I wish he'd expand on that! This probably falls into The Radicalization of Paul Krugman category...

In his columns, Krugman is belligerently, obsessively political, but this aspect of his personality is actually a recent development. His parents were New Deal liberals, but they weren't especially interested in politics. In his academic work, Krugman focussed mostly on subjects with little political salience. During the eighties, he thought that supply-side economics was stupid, but he didn't think that much about it. Unlike Wells, who was so upset when Reagan was elected that she moved to England, Krugman found Reagan comical rather than evil. "I had very little sense of what was at stake in the tax issues," he says. "I was into career-building at that point and not that concerned." He worked for Reagan on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers for a year, but even that didn't get him thinking about politics. "I feel now like I was sleepwalking through the twenty years before 2000," he says. "I knew that there was a right-left division, I had a pretty good sense that people like Dick Armey were not good to have rational discussion with, but I didn't really have a sense of how deep the divide went."

...but i'd like to hear in a little more detail why he was dismissive of Klein. He seems to have come around, in any event.


By fnord12 | May 16, 2013, 3:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Scandalpalooza

Kevin Drum looks at the current set of "scandals", and concludes, as we saw yesterday, that Benghazi is not real but the IRS thing is. But about the new AP issue, he says:

This is a policy scandal, perhaps, but not an abuse of power or example of corruption. As near as I can tell, the Justice Department followed the law scrupulously here, obtaining a warrant for the records and then informing AP of the warrant afterwards. Lots of people, including me, happen to think the law that allows this is a bad one, but that's an argument about the PATRIOT Act and its followups. From a political point of view, Republicans are going to have a hard time making much hay with this because (a) most of them support the law that allows DOJ to do this, and (b) the American public doesn't think very highly of the press and probably isn't very outraged that they can have their phone records collected just like anyone else.

and then:

There's one wild card in all this: the media. They finally got personally annoyed over Benghazi when the spotlight turned to things that Jay Carney had told them personally, and the AP warrant also directly affects them. If this episode feeds into further media disenchantment with Obama, that could affect his press coverage going forward. In the end, that could end up being the worst fallout of all from this stuff.

Drum seems to be thinking about this from a "how does it hurt Obama?" perspective, but my hope is that this gets us and especially the media to reexamine the Patriot act.


By fnord12 | May 14, 2013, 1:21 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



The boy who cried outrage

Let me echo Kevin Drum in saying that if this IRS thing was happening during the Bush administration and they were targeting progressive groups, i would be flipping out. So consider this me flipping out. Low level bureaucrats? Overwhelmed by huge influx of new political groups? Doesn't matter. How do we make sure it doesn't happen again?

I still don't get Benghazi, though.


By fnord12 | May 13, 2013, 2:12 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

Or dies.

Remember A Christmas Story? All Ralphie wanted was a Red Ryder BB Gun and the adults in the film continually tell him no because it's dangerous? Ralphie should have grown up in Kentucky. Then he would have gotten that BB gun while he was still in diapers cause by the time you're five, you get real guns.

A 5-year-old boy accidentally shot his 2-year-old sister to death in rural southern Kentucky with a rifle he had received as a gift last year, authorities said.

The children's mother was home at the time of the shooting Tuesday afternoon but had stepped out to the front porch for a few minutes and "she heard the gun go off," Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said. He said the rifle was kept in a corner and the family didn't realize a bullet was left inside it.

The NRA and others will likely wring their hands over this latest gun killing story, crying foul when "progressives" use this as yet another example why we need stricter gun laws. In a world where guns can be manufactured and marketed specifically to children and be considered an acceptable gift for a five-year old, yes, we need stricter gun laws. We should have stricter parenting laws in that you can't be one if you're that much of an idiot, but that's a different post.

Why did they not make sure the gun wasn't loaded? Why didn't they keep it locked up while not in use?

Garen Wintemute is a doctor who does research on the effects of gun ownership. Because the NRA successfully lobbied Congress to prohibit the use of funding for research in gun control, he's had to get alot of his funding from private grants or fund his research personally. Based on what he was discovering, you can see why the NRA would want to prevent his research.

In June 1987, Wintemute published a paper called 'When children shoot children: 88 unintended deaths in California'. He reported that in 36% of these cases, the shooters didn't think that the gun was loaded or was real, or they were too young to tell the difference. Forty per cent of the childrens' fatal injuries were self-inflicted, including separate incidents in which a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy, using .38-caliber revolvers -- one found under a pillow, the other in his parents' bedroom -- each shot himself in the head.

No parallels can be drawn between the results of Wintemute's research and this latest incident in Kentucky, ofc.

Thanks, Senators, for failing to pass a bill on background checks (really?? people object to having background checks before we hand someone a weapon??) and thank you, Congress for helping the gun lobby stifle debate and research whenever they don't like the results. See? Government can accomplish the things they want.

You know, even during a zombie apocalypse, Rick was reluctant to let Carl have a gun. And they're from Georgia. Just saying...


By min | May 1, 2013, 2:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



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