Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Promises, Promises...

“If Obama wins, it’s the end of conservatism? No, if Obama wins, let me tell you what it’s the end of; the Republican Party” – Rush Limbaugh.

Promises, promises...Or just another lie?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Class Act

So, what does class warfare from a classless, aristocratic, snob look like?

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax... my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives…. The president has been a disappointment. He told you he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn’t been below eight percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can’t get a job. Fifty percent.”

— Mitt Romney, speaking at a private, millionaires only, fundraiser on May 17  

These obnoxious authoritarian Republicans really do believe their own swill, don't they? No wonder they've declared war on fact checkers.   This elitist, scornful snit is full of lies, of course. And it is insulting to almost half the country.

He told you he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent. 

  No. Obama never said that. Just like he never said, "You didn't build your business".  

I'd call that dangerous abundunce of pompous arrogance, befitting a prep school bully who wants the power of the presidency, a clear warning for us all.   

Why on Earth would a country elect a man who clearly has such mean-spirited contempt, if not outright hatred, for the less affluent half of the country?  

What kind of jerk would insult and demean so many Americans?  

A first-class authoritarian asshole.  

The larger tragedy is the number of low-class authoritarain assholes who think the same way.  

And they want to "take back America".  

God help us.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Remember Four Years Ago?

Every four years the presidential challengers ask, “Are we better off now than four years ago?”

Good question. As we know, the wealthy are doing better than ever.

How about the rest of us? It’s been tough, with the Right wanting to privatize public health and safety nets, and punish us with austerity. Stepping on the little guy while coddling the rich is always their solution

But economists are generally in agreement that we are better off.

Five Veteran Economics Reporters Who Say We're Better Off:

The economy has grown for twelve consecutive quarters; private sector employment has grown for 29 consecutive months, adding millions of jobs; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has nearly doubled from its low point in March 2009.

"From an economic growth standpoint, clearly it is better," Kevin Hall, McClatchy's national economics correspondent, said about the country's finances.

"If you go back and look at the charts -- you can pull up the GDP chart, we are growing 2 to 2.2 percent -- you would say it is clearly yes, compared to a 3.7 percent contraction in the third quarter of 2008, followed by an 8.9 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2008."

He later added, "You look at how many jobs were lost, December '07 to June 2009, 7.9 million jobs lost. That is a big, big number. That recession encompassed mostly the Bush era, but also four month of Obama. In the last 28 months, there's been an increase of roughly 4.4 million jobs, which if you just look at that number, it is a tremendous growth period."

"Clearly we are better off. I don't know how you could say no," he stressed. "I think we have taken the steps to shore up our banking system, people have become more proactive in paying down debt, the American consumer has taken steps to be more responsible."

Greg Ip, U.S. economics editor for The Economist, offered a similar assessment.

"I would say [we are] better off than [we] would have been without his policies," he said in an email, referring to the president. "Ordinarily, presidents have limited influence over America's big, market-driven economy. However, Mr. Obama took office at a unique time when his decisions really mattered. His initial policy actions on stimulus and crisis relief for the banks really did make the recession less severe than it otherwise would have been

Steve Pearlstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning business and economics columnist for The Washington Post, cited a lag in median income, but found most economic indicators point to a better situation than four years ago.

"The stock market was going down very fast back then and our housing prices were going down fast, they went down quite a bit in the early days of Obama, but they probably are now higher, wealth wise," he said in an interview. "If you look at direction, in those days things were falling fast and would fall quite far.

"Today they are rising, slowly, but the direction of things is much better than it was then. If you are doing a directional analysis, we are better off."

Here are some facts and numbers that agree:

September 2008:

Monday, September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The Dow dropped 504.48 points.

September 29, 2008 The Dow fell 777.68 points, the most in any single day in history.

Unemployment rate on Election Day 2008 – 6.5%

On Obama’s Inauguration Day - 7.3%

Obama inherited a severe economic collapse and jobs were disappearing.

Stock Market Closing Prices – January 20, 2009

Dow Jones Industrial Average ( DJIA ) Close - 7949

NASDAQ Stock Market Close - 1440

S&P 500 Close - 805

The Bush Recession was rapidly hitting the fan before Obama took office.

Soon afterwards, auto company bailouts and Obama's economic stimulus plan, despite being gutted by the corpo-dems and Republicans, started to create the confidence needed to stop the panic.

On July 24, 2009, the Dow reached a higher high, closing at 9,093.24

What happened since?

October 2009: Peak Unemployment Rate – 10%

Current Unemployment Rate – 8.3%

Even measured by the lagging indicator of unemployment, it’s getting better. The direction is now postive.

And how’s the Market doing now?

Stock Market Closing Prices - September 14, 2012

Dow Jones Close - 13593 - Way up from Bush's 7949

NASDAQ Close - 3184 - Way up from Bush's 1440

S&P 500 Close - 1466 - Way up from Bush's 805

There’s no doubt the economy is better off now than four years ago, and headed in the right direction.


We don’t give it all back to the Republicans and go backwards to their same failed policies.

Republicans want us to forget. They’d rather tell you Obama is an un-American, Muslim Marxist apologizing for our values, and sympathizing with rioters and killers, and someone who said, “You didn’t build your business”.

They’re following the classic fascist techniques of inciting resentment among the people and fusing their Big Lies with hate mongering.

They need to make it harder for people to vote.

Why? Because it’s all they got...besides tons of "free speech money" from the economic elites, plutocrats, and corporations.

Democracy is in a life and death battle.

Use it or lose it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blame Bush?

George W. Bush was enjoying a long vacation playing rancher, when on August 6, 2001 these words were put in front of his eyes. “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The messenger was told “You’re ass is covered”, and that was the end of the matter.

We all know what happened less than a month later.

Now in his defense, there were no specifics as to where or when such an attack would occur. This was not actionable intelligence, but an analytical assessment, backed by increased chatter form suspected terrorists. Still measures could have been taken to coordinate our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and to place airports on high alert.

But even that didn’t happen.

(Just for a second, Imagine how the Right would have reacted if that was Obama in the identical situation. Yeah. The attack would clearly have been Obama the Muslim terrorist's fault.)

And no, I’m not blaming 9-11 on the befuddled Decider. But I do blame him for inaction and negligence, and buying into Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, and their fellow PNAC (Project for a New American Century) Neocon’s distraction and obsession with invading Iraq. After that attack they spent great efforts to link Saddam with 9-11. They fooled much of the country into that deception as well, and cleared their path for invading a country that didn’t attack us.

Bette Stockbauer presents a good review of PNAC’s vision of US global military dominance.

PNAC members believe that there are four vital missions "demanded by US global leadership," but claim that "current American armed forces are ill-prepared to execute" these missions.

1. Homeland Defense.

2. Large Wars

3. Constabulary Duties

4. Transform U.S. Armed Forces.

PNAC even expressed their concern that we’d need a “new Pearl Harbor” to kick start their transformation and war-mongering dreams.

Well, good news for the Neocons. They got their new Pearl Harbor and exploited that to advance their agenda. An agenda that ignored the threat of non-state terrorism.

But, we are learning that August Presidential Daily Brief was the last warning, not the first, of an al-Qaeda attack in the US.

Today’s New York Times tells us there were earlier warnings, not yet released.

The Deafness Before the Storm:

The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.

But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.

“The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden,” the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government’s transliteration of Bin Laden’s first name. Going on for more than a page, the document recited much of the evidence, including an interview that month with a Middle Eastern journalist in which Bin Laden aides warned of a coming attack, as well as competitive pressures that the terrorist leader was feeling, given the number of Islamists being recruited for the separatist Russian region of Chechnya.

And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed. Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have “dramatic consequences,” including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but “will occur soon.” Some of the briefs again reminded Mr. Bush that the attack timing was flexible, and that, despite any perceived delay, the planned assault was on track.

On May 1, June 22, June 29, July 1, and finally August 6, 2001 the alarms were sounded.

Kurt Eichenwald concludes his report:

Indeed, even as the Aug. 6 brief was being prepared, Mohamed al-Kahtani, a Saudi believed to have been assigned a role in the 9/11 attacks, was stopped at an airport in Orlando, Fla., by a suspicious customs agent and sent back overseas on Aug. 4. Two weeks later, another co-conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui, was arrested on immigration charges in Minnesota after arousing suspicions at a flight school. But the dots were not connected, and Washington did not react.

Could the 9/11 attack have been stopped, had the Bush team reacted with urgency to the warnings contained in all of those daily briefs? We can’t ever know. And that may be the most agonizing reality of all.

So do we blame Bush for 9-11? No, we blame al-Qaeda. But I do blame Bush for his subservience to the Neocons narrow self-serving vision.

And guess who Romney would have as foreign policy advisors?

Yup, the same crew that got it all wrong eleven years ago.

Not the change we need.