This Week in More Excellent Economic News

30 May

Smartypants blog:

Back to work in Lordstown, OH

We all know that there’s still a lot to do in getting people back to work. But the people of Lordstown, OH aren’t questioning President Obama’s commitment to working class Americans.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/25/eveningnews/main20066229.shtml

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ThePeoplesView:

Geithner was right and Krugman and Stiglitz were wrong

by rootless_e

In the early months of the Obama administration, with the economy in free-fall and Bush’s bank bailout having poured hundreds of billions into an apparently bottomless bank collapse, Nobel Prize winners Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz among others “on the left”, authoritatively and confidently explained that the policies advanced by the new Administration were naive, stupid, complicit, and sure to fail abysmally and catastrophically. The extent of the error made by these economists and others, like Dean Baker, Simon Johnson, and Robert Reich, not to mention all their often ludicrously ignorant followers in “progressive” blogs is all the more remarkable given their subsequent lack of interest in figuring out why they were so wrong or even admitting to error in the first place.

I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do.
-Princeton Professor Cornel West (not a hotel porter)

The basic Krugman/Stiglitz argument was that the financial markets had correctly priced bank assets as junk and so the biggest banks owed more money than they could ever repay and the government should “nationalize” them. The Administration, on the other hand, said that the financial markets were in the grip of a panic and that arranging for temporary government and government/private finance would calm things down at less cost to the taxpayer. Obviously, Geithner, Obama, and Bernanke were correct and the critics from the left were incorrect – the banks have stabilized, the “toxic assets” purchased by government have turned out to be a great investment, and the economy is recovering slowly, not smoldering in ruins.

Fun Reading for Progressives

30 May

From the  delightfully sharp pen of p m carpenter:

Sarah Palin’s Grand Distraction

The political press has finally noticed that Sarah Palin’s “mystery tour” has never been a mystery to those who first recalled her most fundamental personality: raging paranoia and a pathological hypersensitivity to scrutiny and legitimate criticism.

What’s she doing? Where’s she going? Is this the beginning? Is this it? — is it really it? — the grand blast-off to her much rumored, much anticipated presidential campaign? Oh, how exciting. Oh, how unorthodox. Oh, how Sarah!

Such has been the buzz.

Now before I go any farther I wish to remind you that there’s one convention of commentary that I rarely tolerate: that of the “I told you so” variety. And I have this morning plied my mental creativity to think of another way of saying this, but there just isn’t one that still conveys the essence of, quite simply, quite emphatically: I told you so.

[snip]

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And let’s hope he believes it!

I give you the inestimable Speaker of the House, John Boehner, political strategist extraordinaire:

[T]he small part of the reason we didn’t win [in NY’s 26th] clearly had to do with Medicare.

And the small part of the reason Gen. Custer didn’t win clearly had to do with the Sioux.

I started to go on with other historical analogies framed in utter ineptitude, but why slow such a helpfully delusional mind on such a magnificent roll?

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Diagnosing Paul Ryan

I’m still divided. Either Paul Ryan is merely this nation’s clumsiest ideologue or he’s the most vacuous politician since William Crawford, who in 1824 ran for the presidency while in a state of stroke-induced paralysis. Of course there might inhere a roughly equal mixture of both, however such aforementioned attributes, like left- or right-handedness, are, generally, singularly dominant.

[snip]

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O’Bama!

30 May

Outstanding coverage of President Obama’s trip to Ireland and the overwhelming reception which he and the First Lady received by the Irish people, courtesy of blackwaterdog:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/

Righteous rant [please excuse the language] in response to witnessing other countries’ excitement about President Obama as compared to some of the nonsense which he gets at home:

How f***ing STUPID are we in this country???

The response the President received in Ireland is typical. The REST OF THE WORLD sees his greatness. But here? Not so much. And I’m not just talking about Repubs/Tea party/Wingnuts.

Don’t people GET what he’s up against??? Racist f**kwads. Dummies who can’t read their tax statements. ‘Get your hands off my Medicare!’ And whiny Democrats who seemingly don’t remember what happened between Jan.20 2001-Jan.20 2009!

HE IS PLAYING THE CARDS HE’S BEEN DEALT AND HE’S DOING THE BEST THAT HE CAN! And I know typing in all cap means that you’re shouting. Well guess what? I AM SHOUTING!!!!!

Indeed.

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The First Lady and President being shown some Gaelic love by the people:

VIDEO – President Obama Speaks to the UK Parliament

30 May

President Obama was afforded the unprecedented honor of addressing the British Parliament during his recent overseas tour; no other US President has been given this honor; of course, POTUS did not disappoint:

Courtesy of weeseeyou.com:

Posted by Sepia

Remarks by the President to Parliament in London, United Kingdom
Westminster Hall, London, United Kingdom

3:47 P.M. BST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

My Lord Chancellor, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Prime Minister, my lords, and members of the House of Commons:

I have known few greater honors than the opportunity to address the Mother of Parliaments at Westminster Hall. I am told that the last three speakers here have been the Pope, Her Majesty the Queen, and Nelson Mandela — which is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke. (Laughter.)

I come here today to reaffirm one of the oldest, one of the strongest alliances the world has ever known. It’s long been said that the United States and the United Kingdom share a special relationship. And since we also share an especially active press corps, that relationship is often analyzed and overanalyzed for the slightest hint of stress or strain.

Of course, all relationships have their ups and downs. Admittedly, ours got off on the wrong foot with a small scrape about tea and taxes. (Laughter.) There may also have been some hurt feelings when the White House was set on fire during the War of 1812. (Laughter.) But fortunately, it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

The reason for this close friendship doesn’t just have to do with our shared history, our shared heritage; our ties of language and culture; or even the strong partnership between our governments. Our relationship is special because of the values and beliefs that have united our people through the ages.

Centuries ago, when kings, emperors, and warlords reigned over much of the world, it was the English who first spelled out the rights and liberties of man in the Magna Carta. It was here, in this very hall, where the rule of law first developed, courts were established, disputes were settled, and citizens came to petition their leaders.

Over time, the people of this nation waged a long and sometimes bloody struggle to expand and secure their freedom from the crown. Propelled by the ideals of the Enlightenment, they would ultimately forge an English Bill of Rights, and invest the power to govern in an elected parliament that’s gathered here today.

What began on this island would inspire millions throughout the continent of Europe and across the world. But perhaps no one drew greater inspiration from these notions of freedom than your rabble-rousing colonists on the other side of the Atlantic. As Winston Churchill said, the “…Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.”

For both of our nations, living up to the ideals enshrined in these founding documents has sometimes been difficult, has always been a work in progress. The path has never been perfect. But through the struggles of slaves and immigrants, women and ethnic minorities, former colonies and persecuted religions, we have learned better than most that the longing for freedom and human dignity is not English or American or Western –- it is universal, and it beats in every heart. Perhaps that’s why there are few nations that stand firmer, speak louder, and fight harder to defend democratic values around the world than the United States and the United Kingdom.

We are the allies who landed at Omaha and Gold, who sacrificed side by side to free a continent from the march of tyranny, and help prosperity flourish from the ruins of war. And with the founding of NATO –- a British idea –- we joined a transatlantic alliance that has ensured our security for over half a century.

Together with our allies, we forged a lasting peace from a cold war. When the Iron Curtain lifted, we expanded our alliance to include the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, and built new bridges to Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union. And when there was strife in the Balkans, we worked together to keep the peace.

Today, after a difficult decade that began with war and ended in recession, our nations have arrived at a pivotal moment once more. A global economy that once stood on the brink of depression is now stable and recovering. After years of conflict, the United States has removed 100,000 troops from Iraq, the United Kingdom has removed its forces, and our combat mission there has ended. In Afghanistan, we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum and will soon begin a transition to Afghan lead. And nearly 10 years after 9/11, we have disrupted terrorist networks and dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader –- Osama bin Laden.

Together, we have met great challenges. But as we enter this new chapter in our shared history, profound challenges stretch before us. In a world where the prosperity of all nations is now inextricably linked, a new era of cooperation is required to ensure the growth and stability of the global economy. As new threats spread across borders and oceans, we must dismantle terrorist networks and stop the spread of nuclear weapons, confront climate change and combat famine and disease. And as a revolution races through the streets of the Middle East and North Africa, the entire world has a stake in the aspirations of a generation that longs to determine its own destiny.

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT HERE.

“Running as a Joke: The People ‘Shaking Up’ The GOP Presidential Field”

30 May

ThePeople’sView:

Running as a Joke: The People “Shaking Up” The GOP Presidential Field

 by Deaniac83

Ooh, boy. The AP is reporting that the Republican presidential contest is suddenly heating up, thanks to three people: Texas governor Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, and Mr. noun-verb-and-9/11 Rudy Giuliani.

After months of resisting calls to join the contest, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he would consider it. That could reshape the GOP field, adding a sitting governor who has never lost an election.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also sent a jolt through the party with the announcement of a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, the latest possible contender to stand up since Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced last weekend that he would not run.

And former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is heading to New Hampshire next week, further stirring speculation that he will jump into the still-gelling field.

Umm, so the Republican field is finally getting some much needed excitement because of (wait for it, wait for it)…

This guy:

This woman:

And this guy:

bwd’s space: on Israel/Palestine

30 May

blackwaterdog:

Ha’aretz: “Obama is a rational president who knows what’s good for world peace, and above all, he’s devoted to doing justice”

Here’s a very good article by one of Israel’s most respected pundits. Just another proof that many people in Israel are actually behind PBO and know very well what a disaster Nut-N-Yahoo is.

One more victory like that and Israel is done for.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have read the phone book at the Congress podium and received the same standing ovation. His speech used the advice Moshe Sneh gave to himself. The late MK wrote on the draft of one of his speeches “weak argument, raise voice.”
There’s no question Bibi knew exactly which points in his speech would make the Congressmen rise to their feet in tumultuous applause. After all, that was his objective in the first place: to begin his bizarre visit to America by embarrassing President Barack Obama and end it by outflanking him with Congress’ applause.

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What did Bibi actually want when he organized an appearance in Congress for himself, near the date of the Jewish lobby’s conference in Washington? Some observers say he wanted to put pressure on Obama, who is entering an election period, so that he would adopt Israel’s positions. The public hazing of Obama in front of the media at the end of their meeting was embarrassing.

Douglas Bloomfield, AIPAC’s long-time legislative director, writes in his blog that if Bibi is betting on Obama being a one-term president, he’s not as smart as he thinks. At the same time, Gary Rosenblatt, editor of The Jewish Week, describes the White House incident as a “hasbara disaster” – a public relations disaster. The strategic relationship between the United States and Israel is stronger than ever, Bloomfield writes, but the political alliance suffered an unnecessary blow last week, when in front of journalists Bibi distorted what Obama had told him in private.

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…Obama is a rational president who knows what’s good for world peace, and above all, he’s devoted to doing justice. Aspiring to a Middle East that will not be ruled by dictators who murder their own people, he counts us among the good guys and wishes us well. A failure of the peace process is not an option. The status quo cannot be maintained. True friends tell each other the truth.

So as the clouds of September approach, we have a problem with Bibi’s savoir faire. A victory with the tricks and shticks of someone who finds it hard to drop the dream of a Greater Israel is leading us to destruction.

Cutting through the noise and taking the long view: Frank Schaeffer

30 May

This April piece has been circulating around as of late, and it is brilliant:

Obama Is Now and Will Be a Great President

The “disappointed” left says president Obama sold out. The racist-laced Medicaid-mugging, billionaire-codling right staggers under the weight of terminal “birther” mythology (now trumpeted by moron-come-lately Donald Trump). Meanwhile president Obama continues to bide his time and looks down the road to the post-2012 reality when his patience with an impatient country, his thoughtfulness in the context of a sound-bite-entertain-ourselves-to-death era of short attention spans and historical amnesia will be vindicated.

If you think that president Obama played the Republicans in the last lame duck congress like a violin just wait until after 2012 when the rotten Tea Party will be about as relevant as 1930s hate monger radio priest: Charles Coughlin (the “father” of hate radio), is today.

President Obama has met the vile far right (and religious right lynch mob) and also met the disappointment of the shrill impatient left with a calm smile and good humor. He’s even reached out to what remains of the Republican Party languishing hock deep in the quagmire of their own frightened and wholly imagined paranoid “victim” status. President Obama has also played chicken with each new crisis and — invariably — pulled last moment hair raising victory from what critics said would be defeat…

Before he’d served a year president Obama lost the support of the easily distracted (bitter?) left of the Left and also became the target for the white hot rage of the hate-filled right of the Right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds are sticking with our president.

I happen to be a white fifty-eight-year-old former Republican. In my new book I explain why I left (fled!) the right and religious right movement my family helped found Sex, Mom and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics–and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway. (In this book I deconstruct evangelical “thinking” about politics and the Bible in a way that I hope entertainingly exposes the religion-created sexual dysfunction that has been the only actual motivating factor for the so called culture wars.)

That said… I voted for Obama and have been impressed by the success of his presidency so far (we’re not in an economic depression because of his interventions) and heartened by the promise of his post-2012 presidency that is shaping up to be historic…

[please visit Schaeffer’s wonderful site to read evidence of his assertions in the remainder of this piece].

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Readers: are you on the right side of history alongside Mr. Schaeffer?

 

 

Discussion Points: Allan of AngryBlackLady; classic piece on incrementalism

30 May

Incrementalism: The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Toward Justice

By Allan on March 27th, 2011

Actual Progressives celebrate Progress.

You’re probably familiar with the title quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., who was paraphrasing the words of Unitarian minister and abolitionist Theodore Parker from 1853.  And you may also be familiar with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein (though no evidence exists that he said it): when asked to name the greatest invention by man, he replied, “Compound interest.”

Let me show you how little changes add up over time, how incremental steps function like compound interest to deliver huge pay-offs. But it takes time, which is something the Poutrage Princes and Princesses of the Professional Left don’t understand. Change, real change, is not about you and your pet cause or your need for immediate gratification or your need to see your enemies smitten.

I’ll focus on the topic I know best, the gay rights movement. There has been, and continues to be, a push-pull between progress and regress, with gay people often on opposing sides in every battle. But when you step back and look at the bigger picture, you cannot deny that progress happens, albeit incrementally and fitfully. It is maddening and frustrating to live your life on the front lines of a movement for social change, as I have. And yet I have seen things in my lifetime that I truly never expected to happen.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Let’s start in the mid-70s, the era in which I attained adulthood, with the first battle for gay rights I joined.

[please read the remainder of this outstanding piece at angryblacklady.com]

OFA’s Weekly Roundup

30 May

The Weekly Wrap-Up

Posted by Elizabeth on May 29, 2011

Check out some of the stories you might have missed this week on the blog:

    1. President Obama pledged support to those affected by the devastating tornadoes that touched down in Missouri and across the Midwest.
    2. We got good news out of Detroit: Chrysler paid back $5.9 billion in government loans, fees, and interest payments six years ahead of schedule.
    3. OFA New York volunteers made phone calls and knocked on doors, helping to propel Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul to victory in the 26th District’s special election.
    4. President Obama addressed both houses of Parliament during a state visit to the United Kingdom, telling those assembled that the leadership of our two nations is more critical than ever.
    5. We took a look behind the scenes in Chicago, where volunteers are hard at work helping to sort and pack 2,000 cell phones we’re sending to campaign field offices.

President Obama’s Weekly Address

7 May

There’s literally no faster and better way to become informed in mere minutes than the following two videos:

Weekly Address: Clean Energy to Out-Innovate the Rest of the World

West Wing Week: A Good Day for America