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Liberal Outrage

Peak Oil Reminder

Just a reminder for myself to read this Kevin Drum post when i have time.

By fnord12 | August 27, 2011, 11:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The Captain Beefheart connection

Ok, officially put me down as someone who would vote for Jon Huntsman for President if he ever made it out of the Republican primary. It's not because of his politics, although he did criticize Obama's stimulus package as being too small, and he just tweeted this:

To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.

It's because of his awesome taste in music.

After a tweet suggesting the "call me crazy" line had attracted "lots of new followers," Huntsman wrote, "I wonder if a tweet where I admit how much I like Captain Beefheart will make the followers skyrocket even more!" He then linked to a youtube video of "The Cap and his Magic Band playing their oh-so-conventional sound to a bunch of hip crowd members on a beach."

By fnord12 | August 19, 2011, 4:02 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Link

No shoes and dresses for the Democrats

There's this whole ridiculous political metaphor that's been out there for years that Democrats are the mommy party and Republicans are the daddy party.

So is Digby onto something here or over-analyzing?

By fnord12 | August 18, 2011, 8:52 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Someone needs to play Bioshock

"A bunch of Libertarians living in the middle of the ocean on a rig constructed without building codes?... Where do I donate?"

By fnord12 | August 18, 2011, 8:49 AM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other? & Video Games | Link


NYTimes: White House Debates Fight on Economy.

In one corner...

Mr. Obama's senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.

Free trade agreements that ship more jobs overseas. Brilliant! And sure, a lack of patent protection is what's holding back the economy. (By the way, does anyone besides Dean Baker see the inherent contradiction between advocating for "free trade" and "intellectual property rights" at the same time?)

In the other corner...

But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama's chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view.

As Calculated Risk says:

Tax incentives are the "bigger idea"? It sounds like the debate is between doing nothing and doing very little.

Troubling as the above "ideas" are, the following is worse:

Administration officials, frustrated by the intransigence of House Republicans, have increasingly concluded that the best thing Mr. Obama can do for the economy may be winning a second term, with a mandate to advance his ideas on deficit reduction, entitlement changes, housing policy and other issues.

Yes, Obama hopes to win a second term so that he has a mandate for pushing Republican goals like deficit reduction and cutting Medicare and Social Security without Republican interference. Does anyone want to do anything about unemployment? Not even after the election?!?

Finally, just to twist the knife, there's this.

Republicans contend that the Obama administration has mismanaged the nation's recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. Mr. Obama's political advisers are struggling to define a response, aware that their prospects may rest on persuading voters that the results of the first term matter less than the contrast between their vision for the next four years and the alternative economic ideas offered by Republicans.

So far, most signs point to a continuation of the nonconfrontational approach -- better to do something than nothing -- that has defined this administration. Mr. Obama and his aides are skeptical that voters will reward bold proposals if those ideas do not pass Congress. It is their judgment that moderate voters want tangible results rather than speeches.

"If you're talking about a stunt, I don't think a stunt is what the American people are looking for," the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters on Wednesday. They're looking for leadership, and they're looking for a focus on economic growth and job creation."

It's not a stunt to advocate policies that will actually work, or to blame Republicans for obstruction. Telling me you're pushing for deficit reduction, trade agreements, and patent protection because it will create jobs, and hoping the economy recovers on its own in the meantime... that's a stunt.

I think we are down to hoping that Rick Perry's calls for divine intervention start working once he is in the White House.

By fnord12 | August 15, 2011, 10:26 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Maybe instead of elections, we should have arena battles

George W. Bush's extraordinary physical condition, and how it helped him win the war on terror.

By fnord12 | August 11, 2011, 12:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Here i go again

Robert Reich was Clinton's Secretary of Labor. I guess he still has contacts at the White House, and he says:

Americans are deeply confused about why the economy is so bad - and their President isn't telling them. In fact, the White House apparently has decided to join with Republicans and blame it on the long-term budget deficit.
I'm told White House political operatives are against a bold jobs plan. They believe the only jobs plan that could get through Congress would be so watered down as to have almost no impact by Election Day. They also worry the public wouldn't understand how more government spending in the near term can be consistent with long-term deficit reduction. And they fear Republicans would use any such initiative to further bash Obama as a big spender.

So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it's politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama - to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington's paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it. They hope all this will distract the public's attention from the President's failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia.

This mainly ensures that the public will continue to not understand "how more government spending in the near term can be consistent with long-term deficit reduction".

I don't see that it's difficult to explain. If we must put it in terms of household budget metaphors, everyone understands that while taking out a mortgage to buy a house, or taking out a student loan, creates debt in the short term, it is a good investment in the long term. I think most people understand that hiring an accountant can save you money, even though you have to pay the accountant. And i suspect people understand that when a business makes an investment in their infrastructure - buying software that automates a manual payroll process, for example - the company is doing so because they expect a return on their investment that is greater than the money they are paying for the software.

What's even better about being the Federal government is that you're an immortal entity with guaranteed income growth. You don't have to save up for retirement when you hit 65. And barring catastrophe, the GDP will always increase, meaning the dollar you borrow today is worth less than the dollar you will earn tomorrow.

And best of all, right now, borrowing money is very cheap. Interest rates are very, very low. It's like if i told you that you could buy a house at .5% APR.

Investing in our economy now gets it growing again, which means more revenue faster for the future, reducing our debt.

Finally, the biggest source of our long term debt problems is growing medical costs. Both private and public medical costs are growing at an alarming rate. But public costs are growing more slowly. So if we spend money now in ways that reduce costs in the future (kind of like automating that payroll system), we're killing two birds with one stone.

I don't know why the President can't say these things. He's a better communicator than me or Paul Krugman, and he's got the resources of the White House behind him. Democrats are always a superstitious cowardly lot, even though their timid approach always bites them in the ass. Even if taking this approach was "risky" to my re-election goals (i don't think it is), if i were President i wouldn't see the value of being re-elected if it meant that i got to sit through another four years of paralyzed gridlock and debating the issues on the Republicans' terms. But more and more, i don't think it's an issue of Obama being timid. I think he's a moderate conservative and he's achieving exactly what he wants.

By fnord12 | August 10, 2011, 9:22 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Ironic or stupid?

Bond rating agency S&P downgrades the safety rating on the US's bonds. The stock market responds... by selling stocks and buying bonds:

Prices for U.S. government debt rose because Treasurys are still seen as one of the world's few safe havens. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.48 percent from 2.57 percent late Friday. It fell as low as 2.46 percent earlier Monday. A bond's yield drops when its price rises.

By fnord12 | August 8, 2011, 10:23 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Peak oil not so bad?

Since i love to link to the Peak Oil doomsdayers, here's an alternative view for balance.

By fnord12 | August 5, 2011, 12:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Putin's Got Some Balls


The Russian prime minister told ministers to cough up "at least a month's wages" each to fund a statue of Pyotr Stolypin, who was himself prime minister of the country from 1906 to 1911.

Stolypin launched important agrarian reforms but brooked no dissent and introduced a faster process for prosecuting opponents of Tsar Nicholas II. As a result, the hangman's noose became known as "Stolypin's necktie".


He suggested the current leadership had to demonstrate its own sacrifice in promoting Stolypin's desire to "put Russia on a healthy path".

He said MPs should also contribute to the memorial, which will be erected outside the White House, the Russian government building, to coincide with events celebrating the 150th anniversary of Stolypin's birth in April.

Ministers appeared to raise no objection to being told how to spend their cash.

Ofc they raised no objection. They don't want to end up getting a radioactive isotope cocktail.

It must be interesting being Putin, always entirely convinced of your own fantastic-ness. If he starts talking about being like unto a god, i suggest someone take him out quick.

By min | August 5, 2011, 9:01 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Something Unlikely to Occur in the US

The land of the free, as it were.

Inspired by the "indignant" protest movement that camped out in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square in May, residents in the multicultural neighbourhood of Lavapiés have reacted to recent attempts to detain immigrants by jeering and chanting at police.

Police have twice had to call for reinforcements in riot gear so that arresting officers can leave safely.

About 200 protesters gathered after an immigrant texted to say that police were asking African residents for identity documents. In another incident a crowd formed to drive police out after they arrested a Senegalese immigrant in the metro. Police said they had been chasing a drug trafficker on one occasion and, on the other, had been called to arrest a man who failed to pay for his metro ticket.

But neighbours say police frequently hassle immigrants for no reason at all. "This is a reaction to the police's habit of illegally rounding up immigrants and checking people's papers on grounds of race," said Olmo Calvo, a photographer at Diagonal, a leftwing bi-monthly newspaper based in Lavapiés.


Here, the people would

  1. Jeer at the immigrants, telling them to "go home" or calling them "terrorists",

  2. Stand around to watch the show, making sure to film it on their phones for later posting on YouTube, or

  3. Get out of the immediate vicinity as quickly as possible, making sure they have no eye contact with anyone

Even some of your "reasonable" friends might give you statistics on how "profiling" is effective, so as wrong as this might be, they're not entirely against the tactic. And your mother will tell you that "now is not the time to make a fuss".

Jan Brewer should become BFFs with Spain's interior ministry since neither seem to want Latin Americans in their cities.

By min | August 5, 2011, 8:33 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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