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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Il a fallu ...

Dear Tim, you must fellate Wall Street. Hurry. Bright red lipstick not required. KThksBye

Separately, the slow road to "recovery" - looks like housing/mortgage demand is deeply impaired by the fraud crisis perpetrated Wall Street. Mortgage giants recently locked out anyone who filed bankruptcy for a longer period than before, no matter what your FICO, too.

Last, it's still a good deal to be a white collar criminal in America, because it is sort-of Patriotic-for-business or something.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Green Shoots: The End of the Reagan Devolution


Question of the week: How will the Democrats fail to master the news cycle, this week?

Rather than that, here's one thing they could "lead" with. My "favoritest" new Senator, brought on during the repudiation of Bush and the entire Reagan Devolution, which is now so long in the tooth that it is biting itself and the Republic.

Senator Claire McCaskill.

You want someone taking care of your money in Washington? Want to stop pretending that the Tea Bag rebranding is "genuine" except in their earnestness to avoid their inadequacies by avoiding questions?

There are *many* more where this comes from - I've seen her in action. Check it out, with Claire telling it like it is, no sugar coat for the Rovian "church-going people". Not sure that she's getting results, but wouldn't this be nice as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, or something:


Week 2: Susan Collins, What are the amendments?


Or, were you lying in the style of the times?

Here's more on what the Defense Authorization bill included, that Susan Collins voted down, in a fit of ignoring the peoples' work.

Someone said the bill was also seeking funding finally to cost out the incremental price we paid for the wars in Iraq and (the one we gave away under Rumsfeld?) in Afghanistan.

If that's true, one could see why Senator Collins might want ...er, an "amendment".

This Fall's GOP: Leadership = Lies You Can Get Away With (Again)

Michelle Malkin quidditas:

  • Why argue (conservative points) when you can simply disinform?

I've decided this is the upshot of her conversation last week with Hannity, on the announcement of Larry Summers departure.

Emphatic, in her own hyperventilating way, she declared that it was time that someone "started to tell the truth" about how the stimulus was harming everyday Americans.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lemon Fresh Pledge

It's been a busy week, but you don't want Andrew Sullivan not on your side (here, he deflates yet another Krauthammer bubble - Charles has clearly lost something, lately).

Noting the surface cleaner nature of Boehner's Pledge, this is the quote of the week, though:

The Republican party's current incarnation is a threat to fiscal sanity, to national security and to civil peace. It is unhinged.


It won't be "anger" in the country for long, the ressentiment from the failed Bush years and the expert Beckian churn of the bottom of the pot.

Soon, it will be one of impending doom.

(And my tea leaves continue to say that there will be a gas tax in excess of $5/gallon, if the GOP get the reins...)

GOP Leadership = Getting Away With It

Anderson Cooper, on the job, has the question I did, though I didn't voice it because who knows the ways of Washington, truly:

Why the heck is the Sergeant at Arms the appropriate first-line of inquiry, if one at all, on the matter of staffers spreading the hate on the same day the Senator is out doing it under the cover of being called "Senator"?:

Friday, September 24, 2010

We are the change we seek

How much frustration can we take out on the President? Could it simply be that hate crime legislation was done because the votes were there, but they just aren't/weren't for DADT, on this first vote, or ENDA? I don't know, do you? (And no, prosecutions-to-date are not the way to judge the 'local law enforcement' bill - here and here).

I'll give another reason why we are the change we seek.

This President is one of the most time-pressured ever, that I can think of. It's amazing that he and his team are even holding it together.

Just stop and THINK for a minute all that he has/had on his plate, even still. Israel-Iran; Iraq isn't "over"; Afghanistan is almost under constant re-evaluation and risks putting him at direct odds with his military brass (that's a huge conflict to open up); an economy brought to an historic precipice by a combination of Wall Street fraud and GOP fiscal arrogance in governance; a housing problem the US Senate got bought off not to deal with by the mortgage brokers association; the collapse of the mainstream media and the rise of sophisticated disinformation and propaganda machines; two Supreme Court nominees; the largest national ecological disaster in American history, ...

As long as he's getting the substance right, isn't it our jobs to take it to the electorate, just as much as his? I keep faulting his team for weak communications, which is true, but at some point, his responsibility ends, and ours picks up.

I know it is not just substance that matters, but still...

All the hand wringing, battered-wife, victim-stuff, if it goes on too long, is taking time from pressing the offensive.

Obama Strategists - What are they up to?

Yesterday, the Obama administration took a perplexing move, of supporting DADT in court, after pushing for a vote against the policy, just days before.

One can hardly understand their strategy, if there is one. In a potentially even larger failure, their spokesman is of little help in resolving this contradiction on face, satisfactorily.

If they acquiesce to a court injunction against DADT, rather than file against it as they did, they will likely be challenged by the supporters of DADT, of keeping gays out of the service.

From a strategic perspective, that eventual challenge would force the administration to be in a position they (a) either don't believe / have the stomach to fight or (b) don't believe they can win, all the way to the Supremes.

It's not clear, however, why they would NOT take the fight, even if it is a losing one in their view, ultimately, in court, unless they just have shaky knees or tenuous homo-support among the DOJ and Pentagon lawyers.


Well, because there are 57 Senators representing 75% or whatever of the population, behind this issue, as well as sizable general population opinion. That's a huge support going into a high-profile court battle.

What's more, there is an important principle at stake, one that goes beyond apparent trivialities that they are objecting to in their brief about overly broad language in the injunction as written.

Last, they have a key constituency involved, a minority for which the courts' own record shows that the legislative process is often a loser, except when the courts themselves take the lead in mustering change, with a nudge or an outright nod. Apparently, no liaison from the gay community or University Professor has the President's ear to tell him these things ...

So, why wouldn't the Administration take a new fight, by acquiescing to the injunction to end enforcement of DADT?:

  1. 1. They believe they have momentum behind-the-scenes, so it doesn't matter (if so, their communications strategy is still a failure, even if they ultimately win on substance).
  2. 2. They are in a battle-royale behind-the-scenes with the military, the military underlings are winning (either in details or in full), and the Administration is planning an exit strategy, already, or to accommodate a bogus "compromise"
  3. 3. They are buying time, maybe because they have an ideological view that they are clinging to,

    -about how to implement/lead the change that does not include court-leadership or court-imposed action, i.e. "it must be done right" or "it must be done our way", with any number of motivations, selfish and broad, including some calculus on which it is harmful to gay servicemembers to do an 'imperfect' or rush job of eliminating the policy

    -about what they can 'get away with politically' (a.k.a. "triangulation", either in the big picture, like some think of Clinton-era, or in the court, i.e. kick the can to the courts, like Schwarzenegger)

  4. 4..They simply do not have a strategy, haven't thought it through or aren't coordinating whatever effort they do have to success, political, practical, substantive, or otherwise.

So, based on that list of at least four things, it appears that there is just a 25% chance that they made a good strategic move by fighting a 9th circuit-led injunction on DADT, on an agnostic view that any of the above are equally likely.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why the Tea Party Noise Either Doesn't Matter Or Is A Disaster

They caucus with the GOP.

This guy, 'the man with the tan'. Read it all. Very little more succinct and well written.

Except that Social Security is not "where the money is", I don't think.

Medicare and Social Security are considered transfer payments - money / taxes that people 'pay to themselves.' From that perspective, do they really qualify as "big government"?

Not so, defense spending. Has anyone (Brookings?) measured our return-on-investment in defense? It's hard, but it could be done.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The "W" Library

Andrew Sullivan keeps writing these wonderful placards, that really belong in the torture wing of the Bush Presidential Library. In many cases, they are even illustrated.

Since they probably won't end up there, one wonders if there ought not be a "shadow library", one that cuts to the reality behind the facade. How else are we to keep people educated on how a nation with broad prohibitions can still fall prey to this stuff.

Senator Collins, Show us the Amendments!

Dear Senator Collins:

Yesterday, you voted against the very large Defense Authorization Bill, telling your constituents and the rest of us affected that it was because there were important amendments that you or others did not get to offer.

Please show us the amendments that you mean.

This bill was amended in committee in two houses of Congress and has over 1500 provisions, integral to the functioning and good order of the military, during a time of war.

Please show us what amendment is so urgent that you had to hold up this huge piece of legislation, amendments that you couldn't offer on another bill or on a less pressing bill.

Citizens against GOP Leadership = Lies you can get away with

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

File Under GOP Leadership = Lies you can get away with

Hang-on Senator John McCain, pretty much a bystander in his own career since he had to enlist Palin to campaign for him in Arizona, had one of his distempered rages, first misstating the facts on gay and lesbian dismissals from service, what must be a deliberate lie, then angrily retreating into some generic statement about the intent of the policy.

Separately, has anyone asked John McCain about beheadings in the desert? Does he know the desert of Arizona as well as he "knows" the military?



Senators blocked the authorization bill from even coming to the floor. (It looks like it was a denial of the Motion to Proceed...still checking).


Jealousy? Jealous of their own power? They are unwilling to let the Military itself, the Joint Chiefs, decide, on the matter of finally integrating gay and lesbian service members fully.

So, who is holding the military captive to a political agenda, then? Well, after today, it is the Right's contempt of letting the military decide how best to proceed that puts them behind the eight ball, no?

Here is the long list of the business of the people held up today by lack of leadership by the GOP. (If you think it is just money that was held hostage today, think again...).

File Under GOP Leadership = Lies you can get away with


This joins the chorus of the GOP's non-intervention massive failures, including the Rubin-Clinton bailout of Mexico, which turned out aces.

Separately, I just can't imagine the cheek of a guy who would make a political stop like this. It really does boggle.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Small Government" - Is it also a "symbolic" birther poll?

I read this and all its backgrounders (this and this), to see if there is anything new.


"Small government" remains the cattle call and sometime disinformation campaign for duping those who 'don't have enough' into thinking that government, "Washington", is taking it away, rather than "redistributing" it to them.

There is this Reagan Devolution popularized notion that "small government" is about who we look to to solve our problems.

But, one could easily make the case that the electorate never looked to the government first, outside of, say, true communist aspirations, which were never sizable in America. What I mean is that no one ever said, "Oh, our life is so good, but it would be so much better with a government solution!"

Does anyone thoughtful really believe that there is an organizing principle to be found in "small government"?

What people want is a just society, no? At least as much as can be afforded.

But, in a Republic for which the top 1% is taking a share up to three times more of the national income today than just 30 years ago, it is easy to see why our current financial situation is eyed so closely:

Of course, correctness isn't the idea. The idea is to make it true by persuading enough Americans to believe it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why do Tea Party Leaders Hate Americans?

They won't take questions from them.

Sarah Palin only talks to FOX, the propaganda arm, the "news organization" that is actively involved in political organizing.

Leadership? This is leadership?

How can these people aspire to lead all of "We the People", if they only take questions from a few, from propagandists?

Real Authentic Pleather

Andrew Sullivan has this interesting insight that the Tea Party folks are looking for something "real" and have found "authenticity" in ... Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and a slew of other pretenders to high office, who make one cringe with their elevation of non-excellence, of dis-education, of the less than noble aspects of the commonplace.

That does seem correct - there is great energy in authenticity, especially in an environment seemingly missing it.

But the next layer of the onions is that their rally cries are propaganda, which has been spoon fed into a ressentiment, one that feeds on a general and irrational anxiety. That's a kind of authenticity that is dangerously rooted.

"Burgeoning Federal Government" is a joke, in the short time that Obama has had the reins. What has burgeoned is the debt, and that has been to the great benefit of many of the FOX-stirred-up and Koch-funded "Tea Baggers".

The straightforward way to reduce debt of this size is to raise taxes, at the right time.

Hence, these people, who cling without insight to a mantra that has long outlived its usefulness, "no new taxes", are going to end up cutting the very social benefits that they are probably counting on for their old age. If not, they will probably end up with a regressive $4-5/gallon gas tax.

It's a fine day, when you can get people to screw themselves (and the Republic), by voting for you, in a three pointed hat.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How weak is Progressivism in America?

Charlie Rose just had on some guest who uttered that we've just been through a 'radical expansion of Government'. The statement went completely unchallenged, by host and other guest.

Despite having the reins of power, in Washington at least, there is no "liberal lion" who is directing or has control of the message, is there?

Whitehouse.gov is full of things that the President is doing. What seems to be missing is anyone who can pull them all together into a message or two, one that resonates, one that emotes.

Here's the sadest picture of the day, Obama saying goodbye to Christina Romer. Following the departure of Peter Orzag, one of the few with some media skills, Obama is left with his private Hoover (and Harvard buddy?), Larry Summers. Gulp. This is the guy who may be recommending that Democrats embrace the GOP's failure, unfunded tax cuts ... good grief.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Bankruptcy of the GOP

Speaking of bankruptcy, heard this from Judd Gregg this morning, who was making the rounds to get out the GOP's message (didn't hear a single person getting the non-GOP message out):

"We don't believe that raising taxes makes sense under any scenario."

Think about that.

1. Ronald Reagan, patron saint of the Devolution, raised taxes.
2. If you want to know the true inflation risks in a robust recovery scenario, look to the GOP's own...nobody asked him whether he would raise taxes to fight inflation
3. No acknowledgement of the unpaid debts run-up, most of them under GOP leadership

Monday, September 6, 2010

The strategic imperative: Why the GOP *must* win the next two election cycles

Everyone who is thinking a step ahead knows that higher taxes are coming, in America.

It's imperative for the GOP to make sure the burden of that falls principally on America's middle class, aka "consumers" or "consumption".

Otherwise, taxes on wealth and high income are a real and frightening prospect for the owners of today's political parties, etc.

The implications are left to the reader. (Including the paradox of the GOP electoral rut on "no new taxes" and their eventual enactment of a huge gas tax, most likely, with Dem support...)

*"win" includes frightening or buying off Democrats, yes?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The White House Problem

In a nutshell: failed communications.

So much has been written, already, one barely dares to add more "nutshells".

In contrast, for example, FDR sent out a small team of photographers, to get pictures of the New Deal in action and the hardship in the country. He understood it takes 50% getting the policy/message right, and 50% to get the message out.
But, the White House regulars perhaps don't realize that getting the policy right is probably just about half of the whole task.

Seriously, just about half.

The rest is getting the message out, often before your opponents have time to shape the field. And that's before you factor in the end of a functioning MSM in getting information out.

If you stop and think about it, they haven't had really good messaging. You could make the case that it's been below average on some issues (especially healthcare).

Now, clearly, this Presidency is time-strapped. But, that's just an assessment of what is/was possible, not what is really required.

And the Democrats, as a group, seem to not have a strategy to get the message out, a costly endeavor in terms of time and money, against formidable headwinds, like the huge spend that has come from groups like the Chamber of Commerce.

In contrast, for example, FDR sent out a small team of photographers, to get pictures of the New Deal in action and the hardship in the country. He understood 50% getting the policy/message right, and 50% to get the message out.

To be a transformative figure, to practice transformative politics, the balance is probably about 80% time/cost on messaging and 20% on getting policy/message right. Some people are noticing that team Obama and the Democratic Congress haven't been up to the challenge of that.

[Headwinds include $3-million/wk from the Chamber of Commerce:


Friday, September 3, 2010

This Fall's GOP: Leadership = Lies You Can Get Away With (Again)

Personally, I think team Obama should revive the meme from the campaign that included a President, "who won't just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know."


Here's Jan Brewer, incumbent GOP Governor of Arizona, caught spreading lies about "beheadings in the desert". (see below). "Fighting the liberal press" is really code for unaccountable leadership.

Real news about conflicts of interest gets financially punished (!). This is not fighting a liberal slant or spin. It is fighting to not be held accountable, to not answer questions, to be "above everyone".


Enter stage left, Carly Fiorina, who hit Barbara Boxer with the labels of "big government" and "raise taxes". A more subtle set of lies in pursuit of power, no?

These labels are so dull and long-in-the-tooth from the Reagan Devolution, that they are now "lies", outright slight-of-hand.

George Bush was in office for eight long years. If "Government" were so big and bloated, how come it didn't get slashed and fixed? A better take is that the GOP focus on "Big Government" causes them to not be sound custodians of the Government. That's how we ended up with, say, regulators who were too deferential to industry and real danger to the public, including problems with the FAA and problems with oil-rig manipulation.

Last, income taxes are the lowest they've been in decades. If Democrats are abject tax hikers, it's not in the historical record.

The list goes on. Here are a few more.

  • "Tax cuts pay for themselves."

    Truth: everyone who has cut taxes and waited for growth to cover the resulting deficit has eventually had to face their "Mankiw Moment", when it's plain that the cuts are NOT going to pay for themselves.

    [More from ThinkProgress, with special mention of Fiorina]

  • "Compassionate conservative"

    Truth: long list includes recent attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the unemployed; it's okay for people to lose health care coverage; Obama owes an apology to Big Oil, we need a federal amendment to protect us from gays; ...

  • The Estate Tax will destroy the nations' farmers

    Truth: maybe 2% of farmers will have some impact from the estate tax; the rest, none.

    See ThinkProgress, here and here.

  • The "War on Brains"

    TPM Muckraker has a sizable list.

  • Casual lies - if it easier than the truth

    Glen Beck cops to lie, paradoxically told at "Restoring Honor" rally...(!)