Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Ambiguity From the Economy

Today's numbers to open the day didn't look so great. The ADP reported private sector job creation at 91,000 which is slightly less than expected.

 "The private sector created 91,000 jobs from July to August, a shade below expectations, according to a report from ADP that sets the stage for a likely weak report on nonfarm jobs the government will release Friday.

ADP and Macroeconomic Advisors said service-sector jobs rose 80,000, down from an average increase of 115,000 over the past two months, while the goods-producing sector saw a gain of just 11,000.

Consensus estimates are that the government will show the economy created about 80,000 jobs overall in August—including the public sector—though some economists say the report actually could show a loss of jobs."

    So this would seem to be a-mildly-disappointing report as private sector jobs were a shade beneath expectations, service-sector rose beneath the average for June and July, and the goods-producing sector provided only modest growth. Yet, according to  Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors, said the economy probably isn't in recession.

   "Our best recession probability models say that the likelihood that we're actually in a recession right now is actually very, very small," Prakken told CNBC.


   Again a mixed bag as they should be 23% down from July but still 47% higher than August 2009.

   For it's part, the market is unconcerned with strong gains in all 3 indexes after having already jumped 3 straight days and last week putting in it's best week in the last 8; in addition all S&P sectors are up today. Overall, the market is now positive for 2011.

   It's for this reason that Harry Truman famously complained about economists having so many arms, like an octopus, as there is always, "...but on the other hand..."

   Yet the picture remains ambiguous.

   What we can say categorically is this is a good time for Obama to unveil his jobs proposals and very important even in the face of the usual Republican obstructionism. It would contribute to business confidence and certainly let the public know who has its back and who's playing politics.  And there are some measures Obama has indicated he will undertake through executive order, like some much needed mortgage relief for homeowners including possibly refinancing mortgages for millions of Americans.

   As I write this, look what has come to the front page of, "Transportation Drives Rebound in Factory Orders".

   "New orders for U.S. factory goods rose more than expected in July as demand for transportation equipment surged, a government report showed on Wednesday, pointing to some resilience in manufacturing at the start of the third quarter."

    Sorry Harry, but on the other hand...

Has This Joker Emailed You?

    I don't know how many of you have dealt with this guy, but he sent me this crazy email last night entitled  "6. Your Post on Twitter."

    He then says, Hey Mike,
    have  you heard this expression before
    "Content is King."

     Well gee, Mr. what are you gonna tell me next, that there's this brilliant invention out there called the wheel?

     He goes on in expansive fashion:

    "Well it defiantly applies on Twitter. The difference between Twitter and other blogs and social media is that Twitter have Rules that are managed automatically.
If you break the rules then its game over. That is another reason to have a number of accounts running under different niches so if you get shut down by not following the rules then you won’t be back to square one."

   This is rich he's trying to worry me that I might get cited for spam. But here's the kicker: look at how he finishes his email to me.

    "PS If you want to get comprehensive tutorials and step by step videos on these and other strategies sign up to my Free Membership Site"

     So he tries to make me worry I could get hit for spam and then he sends me spam! I am somebody who supports openness which is why I offer my email to the public. I don't want to report you for spam for now I have only blocked you. But do not push me. And believe me next time I will call you out by name.

    If anyone has dealt with this fellow, he is a total fraud. He tries to make it sound like he somehow works for twitter or even is some big shot but is really a spam artist-with his myriad spelling errors he is no big shot but a blithering idiot. If you happen by him ignore and block him. If he tries to email you tell him where he can go.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let's Indict Andrew Breitbart!

     I have just started the following petition to do just this,

    "Breitbert and his partner in slander, James O'Keefe, have single-handedly destroyed many worthy public servants and institutions, most notably Acorn which provided help and assistance to many low income Americans who desired to buy homes.

    Breitbart and O'Keefe's fraudulent video-based on entrapment, lies, and doctored footage-was the basis for Acorn's slander, defunding, and criminal prosecution.

   While it was ultimately found innocent, Acorn is now broke and its reputation is wrongly sullied.

   Mr. Breitbart needs to be held accountable and found both civilly and criminally responsible as his actions have stolen literally millions from the public in the form of the services Acorn provided.

    Mr. Breitbart and O'Keefe also continue their tireless campaign against the American people and their interests, by targeting any public individual or institution that in any way serves their interests and needs.

    Currently for instance he is attacking among many other falsely maligned targets, Media Matters, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

    A prosecution of Mr. Breitbart-and O'Keefe-will serve the multiple functions of holding him accountable, recompensing his many victims, and also will provide an "ounce of prevention" by slowing down or stopping the harm he continues to work tirelessly to visit on the American people.

   A true social criminal, Mr. Breitbart must be stopped in his tracks."

    Please join with me in stopping him in his tracks by signing this petition.

    To sign please either go here

    Or follow the link on the front page of Diary of a Republican Hater "Let's Indict Andrew Breitbart."

OK. Score one for the Bears

     As we noted yesterday it is very hard to do economic forecasting. While there are some bullish indicators-yesterday we had strong auto demand driving better July sales than expected-today we got some real bearish indicators as consumer confidence, according to a new report on, is at it's lowest level since April 2009.

    "Consumers' confidence in August dropped almost 15 points to the lowest level since April 2009 as worries about the economy fueled the wildest stock market swings since the financial meltdown in 2008. "

    Talk about whiplash! Yesterday's July numbers would have seemed to suggest the opposite. I mean how do you square consumer confidence in August being the lowest since April, 2009 with those strong July consumer spending numbers?

    "U.S. consumer spending rebounded strongly in July to post the largest increase in five months on strong demand for motor vehicles, a government report showed on Monday, supporting views the economy was not falling back into recession.."

    Consumers in August "lack confidence" after in fact spending the most in 5 months in July. Is it possible for consumers to lack confidence while in fact spending confidently?

   Or have things suddenly changed in August dramatically? Well let's look a little more at the tape...

   "The Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 44.5, down from a revised 59.2 in July. The number was the lowest level since April 2009 when the reading was 40.8. It also is far below the 53.3 that analysts had expected. A reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; above 100 signals strong growth.
   A number of factors contributed to the index's decline. The Conference Board Index—based on a random survey of consumers sent to 5,000 households from Aug. 1 to Aug. 18—captured the wildest week on Wall Street since the financial crisis in 2008.

  Four days into the survey period, on Aug. 5, S&P downgraded the U.S. federal debt and concern revived about the health of European banks. Following that, The Dow Jones industrial average had four consecutive days of 400-point swings for the first time in its 115-year history during the week that ended Aug. 12.
  Besides debt talks and market fluctuations, Americans are still plagued by old economic worries. The nation's unemployment rate is stuck at 9 percent. Home values remain weak. And shoppers are facing rising costs for everything from food to clothing as retailers try to offset their higher costs for labor and materials. "

   Some of these worries like S&P downgrade, etc, will probably recede soon. In a way it's hard to imagine that your "consumer in the street" personally makes buying decisions on a S&P downgrade but by now it ought to be clear that in any case the downgrade has not caused the sky to fall.

   The fact that the Conference Board Index was subject to such wild fluctuations may explain some of it for sure. It may be that consumers-like the market-hasn't known what to think about a lot of the constant earth shattering developments and assumes the worst at first but then has time to reconsider.

    This has certainly been the behaviour of the market recently, which after selling the house initially after S&P's downgrade has rallied back strongly.

    The concern about jobs is understandable though this concern is nothing new. Certainly Obama's new job proposals couldn't come at a better time.

    So the picture as usual is mixed. All I will say is it's possible things could be turning around. And for the short term, stocks themselves look good. Today is a case in point, the market has now shrugged off the bad news and has gone green again-for now.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bulls vs. Bears: Trying to Predict this Economy

     As we have noted in previous posts, trying to analyze this economy, much less predict where it's going is if not a fool's errand, pretty fraught with difficulty.

     In previous posts I have built both a bull and bear case, and today's headlines are much the same. On the one hand the market is up big, with the Dow up over 200, on the heels of a good week last week, the best week in 8 weeks. Ok, that's bullish!

    This rise is predicated on a rise in July consumer spending from strong car sales. Again bullish!

    "U.S. consumer spending rebounded strongly in July to post the largest increase in five months on strong demand for motor vehicles, a government report showed on Monday, supporting views the economy was not falling back into recession.."

    Sounds good!

    However, there was on the same CNBC home page this cautionary headline "Pending Home Sales Fall 1.3% In July to June."

    Ok: bearish?
  "Pending sales of existing U.S. homes fell in July from June in the latest sign of weakness in the housing industry, data from a real estate trade group showed on Monday.
   The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in July, was down 1.3 percent to 89.7 from 90.9 in June.
Economists polled by Reuters ahead of the report were expecting pending home sales to fall 1.3 percent.
In a sign of how much the sector has recovered from a year ago, the index was up 14.4 percent from July of 2010. "

   So it has improved 14.4% since July 2010 even if down by 1.3% since June. So maybe bullish?

   But in the front page current headline on CNBC we read "Why Finland Could Re-ignite Crisis Over Bailout of Greece."

   Potentially bearish.

Banned From the Big Liberal Blogsophere: A Restrospective

      With my ban from Democratic Underground on Saturday 8/27 it is now 3 for 3. In the interests of both history and some mirth let us take a look back. Let's go the videotape!

      First there was Firedoglake. I was there the reviled Obamabot many from the start were asking that I be banned demanding to know 'How long are we gonna allow this?!' I had made an immediate big splash there with my first post in June "Firedoglake Ought to be Renamed RushLimbaughLake."

     This got lots of jeers-with some offering muted praise that I had brought up a good point that the way I had done so was irresponsible-but over all I received 277 responses, which on Firedoglake is a tremendous amount, usually on Jane Hamsher herself can regularly expect this much. So I declared victory. As this went so well I wrote another piece the very next day, "And Here's Another Way Firedoglake is Like Rush Limbaugh/"

     Although some naysayers started off the comments section by feigning boredom and disinterest-'yawn! bad joke is over' by the end of the day I had another 61 comments-again by FDL that is a lot of comments. And so it was during my time there my diary posts were always highly read and I even made a few-sort-of allies most notably, Freedom From All, who also sometimes went by the alias NoGod. His name does a good job of detonating my attitude as well.

     One could argue that public opinion or the opinion of the Obama hating FDL is just one more God, and he seemed to struggle with this as while he had been a long time FDLer now and again he would rebel and risk being tarred as a Right winger or Obamabot-for the record he supports Obama much less than I do.

    For the grisly details of my time as the resident Obamabot at FDL please see


    For all this, the one thing you can say for FDL is it gave me closure. Jane finally banned me, falling back on the excuse that in some vague way I had said something intentionally dishonest. She never explained what this was and upon banning me, everything I had ever written was erased so there is no way to look directly at what had been said. My offending comment was in response to a piece she had written claiming that Obama's campaign, particularly in the person of David Axelrod, had being attacking Romney using anti-Mormon tactics and overall insinuating that he is "weird."

    What got me is that this was her second post like this on the day. Is that really the biggest concern right now, worrying about whether Mitt Romney is being treated entirely fairly in the course of a political campagin? I sent a reply saying that Romney is kind of weird-certainly his sense of humor is when he joked that a waitress had grabbed his ass during a campaign stop, or where he joked at another stop that he understands the plight of the unemployed as he himself is out of work; in the case of someone who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and never has had to work a day in his life-the work he has done while at Bain Capital was not about being a "job creator" but job destroyer-this falls a little flat and shows how out of touch he is.

    For this I was banned. Still I had closure for the reason was clear;at FDL there is a very simple litmus test: if you in any way support Obama or even disagree with any criticism about him no matter the facts of the matter-even when Righting arguments of those of the Cato Institute are employed-you are an Obamabot and therefore a "neo-liberal."

   So even someone like Bin Quick who talks about Donald Trump as an opponent of "neoliberalism" is given a respectful hearing but if you support Obama you never will, not at FDL

   At least this is clear. At KOS and DU I've been banned for much more vague reasons. My debut at KOS was every bit the barn burner that was my debut at FDL. However, it concluded with my being banned after just one post. What were the causes? It seems to be a few things. For one thing my screen name "abortionondemand" led some to claim that I was a Right wing troll-totally untrue but irony is not their forte. In the same vein, my opening line "Firebaggers and Obamabots! Obamabot's and Firebaggers! Lend me your ears!"

   Again I can only assume that they leave their ironymeters way down at KOS but for this they concluded that I'm a Right wing troll. For more on this (in)auspicious debut see


  And now my recent blackballing at DU

   This was different as I had really no run ins, got some recommends and had no real indication of a problem. One person asked me about the name and I explained I mean aborionondemand ironically. He said he understood but wasn't a fan of it and that I might get more questions. They never came but instead with no warning was banned after posting on Saturday.

   So what do I take from all this? Obviously the Big Liberal Blogosphere is not for me though I am very much a liberal. My sensibility is not conducive to those at the Big Liberal Blogsosphere, that I truly do need Freedom from All. Many others have similar stories-like Jim Schaub at ExtremeLiberal-who had a similar experience to me as has John Conners at Motor City Liberal.

   Many who are genuine liberals, and for that matter part of the very struggling Americans these so-called liberals claim to want to help, find that when they try to post at these blogs they are treated like Right wing trolls and told they are not true liberals.

   That's why I use the term Big Liberal Blogosphere as today the best places for those who want to think independently are the smaller emerging liberal blogs.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Hit the Trifecta: Now Democratic Underground Bans Me

      Here there's really no sense of closure as I don't even know why. Of course there is my screen name: abortionondemand, but I got not even a warning over the last week of posting. On my posts I even got some recommends and no trouble.

      If it was my handle they could have at least let me know first and given me a chance. Not that I would have changed it but still, to ban someone without warning or offering a rhyme or reason is pretty weak.

     As I was already banned at KOS and FDL, I have now hit the trifecta of big, liberal blogs. I guess my style doesn't play there. Oh well, you can't please all the people. As I have admitted before to you I've never done a great job of coloring between the lines. This just reinforces my basic premise for this blog: that the big establishment blogs are kind of closed shops for any real independent thinking and that-as many liberals I've spoken with have felt-we need some alternative media even to the Big Liberal Blogosphere.

     If abortionondemand offends some people nothing I can do. I wasn't gonna drop it as it wouldn't be me-I got to be a little goofy and irreverent sometimes.

    As I said during this whole Breitbart affair, the so-called liberal media is a myth; to the extent that any members of the mainstream press are honest and genuinely practice good, probing, objective journalism they will be tagged as "liberal media elites." That is in a way an involuntary admission by the conservatives that truth is on the side of liberalism.

    However the only real liberal media is here, my friends. we are the liberal media. More us-those of us who prefer the smaller independent liberal blogs like ExtremeLiberal, St. Louis Activist, Motor City Liberal, Blogging Blue, etc-than those at Big Liberal Media blogs like KOS, FDL, and DU. Those are too big and set in their ways perhaps for many who want a slightly different skew on things.

    It is my hope that Diary of a Republican Hater will be one such beacon of the real liberal media.

Andrew Breitbart: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

      Well folks we are at the end of another eventful week, we got the big (non)statement from Bernanke yesterday, I think in retrospect it was fairly inspired.  As Todd Schoenberger, managing director of LandColt Trading put it: " his plan was not to have a plan … He basically gave us a carrot so that we can hold our breath for the next month.”

      Of course we had more crazy weather, where even here in my New York we had a 5.8 earthquake and, while those on the West Coast can laugh at us, is a man bites dog moment for us out here. And of course there's a lot of excitement about Hurricane Irene-we'll see if she is up to her billing, past hurricanes up here haven't been.

      Nevertheless, Andrew Breitbart was the gift that kept on giving this week. By responding to a post I wrote on Tuesday, "Andrew Breitbart, Enemy of the American People." he opened up a whole new can of worms. I would probably have left it there, had no plan for future posts on him in the near term-in the long term yes I consider him someone that we must do something about-but by sicing his flunky ColoKat after me the rest was history.

     Literally-it gave me my first chripstroy, and I must say, it was very successful, last I saw it had over 500 views. Seriously, if you haven't you should check it out, I promise it is hilarious.

     The 600th visitor gets a prize-seriously, I don't believe in the politics of austerity, we got to help each other in times like these my friends!

     They haven't bothered me the last few days and wont again if they're smart!

     What had initially gotten me to write the original piece was something by St. Louis Activist  where he tried to discuss with Breitbart why he was attacking the SEIU in St. Louis. This is another great one you gotta see, truly one for the books.

     It is hilarious and has the Right wing talk show woman Dana Loesch too trying to act like a big shot-what else is new! Telling the guy that he has no right to use the college computer for his "nefarious activities." LOL

    And as long as we're discussing hilarious stories and videos check out another gift that keeps on giving

      Believe me you wil laugh your ass off and you need the levity now and again. I got to play this on my radio show sometime, The Mike Sax Show(aptly named!)

      What is it about Wisconsin Republicans? After the Walker embarassment they got caught again this time planning to run fake Democrats in the recent recalls-they went trhough with it even after getting caught but it proved unsuccessful.

      Here are a few for some Saturday levity. You got any more please let us know.

Friday, August 26, 2011

No QE3! Oh No! Or Maybe in September?

      As usual anyone trying to figure out the market reaction to Bernanke's speechtoday, ended up with a case of whiplash. For long time market watchers this goes with the territory. Overall the market was initially pretty disappointed if not traumatized  that there will-for now-be no QE3.

      The market originally sold off on the news. Still anyone who stood out on a limb at this point and got short ended up road kill. Playing Fed meetings or announcements is always tricky. Often the market's first reaction won't take; sometimes it can go back and forth for hours before deciding whether it is bullish or bearish on the news.

      After the sell off though, the market regrouped and now looks fairly healthy at 2:44 est. So what gives?

      Coming in it seemed that the narrative on The Street is that QE3 is on it's way, that Bernanke had given the signal. On this basis it seemed to me that The Street was quite misguided and was believing what it wanted to believe. Bernanke's previous statements suggested to me that he was didn't really want to go to QE3, though if things continue to get worse who knows....

     "It is clear the recovery from the crisis has been much less robust than we had hoped," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in prepared remarks at a banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Bernanke said the Fed will meet for two days in September instead of the planned one to discuss its options to provide additional monetary stimulus, among other topics.
Bernanke added he expects growth to pick up in the second half of the year. However, if signs of a recovery fail to materialize in the near-term, the FOMC may consider additional policy tools at its September meeting.
“[Bernanke] outsmarted Wall Street,” said Todd Schoenberger, managing director of LandColt Trading. “His speech was plain vanilla and his plan was not to have a plan … He basically gave us a carrot so that we can hold our breath for the next month.”

     I like the way Schoenberger put it: "his plan was not to have a plan."

     While it seemed like bad news that the market got ahead of itself and there was no QE3 on the other hand he didn't categorically say there won't be either.

      Right now it seems to me the bleeding of the last month plus may be subsiding for the time been. Also though I unfortunately am in no position to play it, if I were gonna play anything it would be  Bac calls for with Buffet's move $10 seems pretty realistic-$10 calls are pretty cheap at this point even a few months out.

      I would watch for gold too. Gold is always knocked by the equity guys but it has been by far the best investment you could have made the last 10 years and has been the gift that keeps on giving. However, it had that huge sell off the other day and it seems quite plausible that it is gonna have at least a short term correction after such a big run.

     Obviously this has no bearing on the long term of Gold which the last 10 years would suggest you shouldn't bet against.

     But if Gold is weak that will probably mean equities will be stronger-money has to go somewhere.

     If the bullish case for the economy is right-at Diary of a Republican Hater the other day I tried to make a bullish case(there is also certainly a bear case which is at least as compelling and I also have made)-then logically the market should be ready to start coming back.

     Even if it isn't one would expect the short term market to be better as it sold off so much since July.

Building a Better Mousetrap: Time to "Breitbart" Breitbart

      Bretibart and his trolls have left me alone for now. This shows he isn't entirely stupid-would never presume that he is-for as should be obvious all that he did in "answering my phone"-ie, responding to my initial piece by trolling me on twitter- call was encourage me which it doesn't take much of anyway.

     Put it this way you don't discourage me, that just doesn't happen. I mean the fact is that as the original offending article was titled, Andrew Breitbart is the enemy of the American People a real, living social criminal. 

     But if it weren't for him, Ann Coulter, and their flunky, ColoKat, I probably would have written no more about Breitbart for the week, maybe longer. To be sure he needs to be discussed and what he does needs to be understood and he still needs to be held accountible for his past actions let alone what he's planning now. So thanks for the reaction Doing so let me know I hit a nerve. So obviously I've got to write more about it.

    He tries to dignify what he does by calling himself a "citizen-journalist" and even tries to color it as a kind of muckraker for fighting corruption in government, making it cleaner(of course "smaller" as the name of his website is Big Government) and doing the same for journalism(in his companion blog Big Journalism) by calling it on accuracy, objectivity, etc.

     In fact this is completely inaccurate: rather than any kind of muckraker he is a muckraker in reverse. The one thing you learn about Breitbart pretty quick in observing him, is he takes himself very, not to say absurdly, seriously. Who can forget after he destroyed Weiner back in June that he even had to high jack Weiner's sorry, abject press conference of resignation and mea culpea?

     Breitbart of course, had to spike the ball, destroying this decent man-who did nothing but send a picture on twitter and hit the wrong button(he should have hit Direct Message but hit Mention; again for anyone who tries to construe this as a crime, the recipient of his picture wasn't complaining far less suing)- wasn't enough. for him. He had to take a bow right then, pour more salt in the wounds.

     Just how seriously does Andrew Breitbart take himself? Well the title of his recent book is "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World."

      Besides being mawkishly grandiose it's also the opposite of the truth. Far from saving the world his project is to condemn it: as noted, he is a muckraker in reverse. This I mean quite literally. The original muckrakers-Upton Sinclair, et al.- were about bringing public attention various social ills and evils.

     Whether it be corruption in government, yellow journalism, substandard education, bad meat, improper safety for food and drugs, etc.

     Breitbart sort of claims to do this for government, the media, Hollywood(thought this category is a misnomer and we already see the truth in the lie of his "libertarianism" for he wants to censure movies and television; as I suggested in a previous post this even shows a certain truly sadistic streak in him as not only does he oppose government and media which serve the public but even begrudges their entertainment and enjoyment), and now he is starting a new one Big Education-so he as our nation's public education in his sites now.

      But whereas the muckrakers endeavoured to improve society Breitbart's effect is the opposite. He is sort of like Bizzaro Upton Sinclair who rather than tries to cal attention and improve the condition of meat, food, and drugs, he seeks to bring attention that the condition of meat, food and drugs, overall public safety is too good and needs to be drawn back to the time before the muckrakers. After all think of all the money we can save by abolishing-or scaling back-the FDA! That is what downsizing government amounts to.

      It is important to understand that in talking about Breitbart this is not a history less, he has harmed the public before he works tirelessly every waking second, every day to do more; as he is the Bizarro  Sinclair it is fitting that he adheres to a Bizzaro Hippocratic Oath: 'First do much harm. do as much harm as possible'.

      We know about the most famous examples-through entrapment and doctored tapes bringing about the defunding of Acorn. While ultimately charges against Acorn were dismissed nothing was done in terms of resititution, restoring their funding or holding Mr. Breitbart personally, legally, and criminally responsible. For providing misleading evidence with an intent to deceive and destroy; or that whole undercover stunt from the start reeks of bad faith attempt at entrapment.

      Who will make all the Americans who were served by Acorn whole? To this end Breitbart's profits ought to be garnished.

      We also know about Sharon Sherrod and more recently, Congressman Weiner, and fine and worthy NY Rep who the voters supported right till the end. He was on the short list of Democratic candidates for Mayor and now he has been destroyed. A terrible loss to the people of NY.

      But the muckraker in reverse continues. He is currently targeting the SEIU and Media Matters to just name a few but there are many more. And no one in "Big Journalism" has the balls to even think about standing up to him. So who will?

      "Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart is celebrating a victory over the Huffington Post after the site retracted an article alleging he may have doctored a video clip from a White House press briefing to make it look like CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell was upset about the recent debt compromise.
In an article posted yesterday, HuffPo said that Breitbart was being accused of doctoring video of an exchange between O'Donnell and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Some conservatives had alleged that the exchange showed liberal bias on O'Donnell's part. They'd asserted that O'Donnell, questioning Carney on the deal to raise the debt ceiling, had said, "You gave them everything they wanted."
     As usual he targetd a media outlet, in this case HuffPo, and the result was a total fold. Because the very idea an "upstanding citizen-journalist" could doctor video is-well very much in line with his modus operandi. Using the word "journalist" in the same breath of Breitbart is too rich an irony. As for "citizen" fine if we emphasize that he is the implacable enemy of the American citizens.
    The answer to the posed question who will stand against him will have to be you and me those who form the liberal media. A good place to start is
    Anyone know any other good ones or any info about prosecuting Breitbart please let us know! I know there are some Acorn workers who have brought suits against his partner in screwing the public, James O'Keefe.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Breitbart Trolls, Jehovah Witnesses, and Stalking ex-Boyfirends

       They share many of the same characteristics. They are not welcome yet they don't let that stop them. They keep thinking if you just hear their brilliant words you'd be interested when you are not interested for good reason.

       The Breitbart people always act like liberals aren't open do debate and a real exchange of ideas as if we just heard them out we'd all become dittoheads like a Rush Limbaugh listener or all agree that it was a good thing Acorn was- through Breitbart's libel, entrapment, and doctored footage destroyed, as it's only for the "indolent" poor.  Basically what they're argument amounts to 'well whether the charges against Acorn were true or not, and whether Breitbart behaved improperly or not, it's a good thing as Acorn is about giving handouts to the indolent poor.:

       Thru the trolls who kept bum rushing me since my piece on Breitbart 2 days ago "Andrew Breitbart, Enemy of the American People" I see that many of them are preoccupied with that word "indolent." Because if you're poor you're just lazy. No one who wants a great paying job can ever be unable to find it. Indeed they deny like pre-Keynsian economists did that voluntary unemployment was even a possibility,

       To speak of the undeserving poor then is for this pre-Keynsian view an oxymoron.

       Please understand, that I use the word troll advisedly. When I was on Firedoglake that's what I was called along with anyone in anyway supportive or even not entirely scornful of President Obama. At the Lake it seemed the only meaning of that word was "Obama supporter." For the history of my time as the resident Obamabot at Firedoglake please see

       Then I tried Daily KOS which was another rocky experience. How rocky? I was banned after one post. Two main reasons: I used the tag "abortionondemand" which was meant ironically but they interpreted this as meaning I'm a Right wing troll. And because I started my piece by declaring, "Firebaggers and Obamabots! Obamabots and Firebaggers! Lend me your ears!" They didn't get it. That all added up to "troll." For this episode please see

        So I'm a skeptic about "troll-baiting", I mean is a troll simply someone you disagree with?

        But in dealing with Breitbart's flunkies they really are trolls. I mean they just keep cyberstalking you for hours while making no point. I mean that's at best: that they are simply pointless.

        At worst they get into racism and homophobia. On Tuesday night I was asked by Steven Ball if I was in the Congressional Black Caucus and told by Jim Stevens that I was the product of the Indians and buffalo.

        They keep saying they want to debate issues but this always where the conversation ends up. When they attempt some sort of logical argument beyond pure unadulterated racism-you as a liberal are either a nigger or a nigger-lover-they say something like, "You have no right to what's in my pocket. It's mine I worked for it. You are indolent which is why you're poor and on welfare."

       This, of course is a totally ad hominem attack. They presume that as a liberal you're poor and on welfare ignoring the fact that many Americans are currently unemployed whatever their politics and that many liberals are actually in good financial shape-uh, hello, ever hear of George Soros?-and many conservatives are in the same boat as Americans in general-many of the rural areas which are very red are some of the poorest parts of the country. The genius of the Right wing strategy is it enables people thought racial hatred to vote against their own economic interest. Fact is very few Americans benefit from Republican policies-for example even the upper middle class got shafted by the Bush tax cuts-as it made many more of them liable for the AMT(though technically this was meant to make sure the super wealthy pay their fair share it has always hit the group just below wealthy, the upper middle class disproportionally; ie, it has never done it's assigned job).

        So their only "substantive" point besides overt racism is that 'it's my money I earned it because I'm hardworking and smart and you're lazy and dumb and you can't have it, nyah nyah!"

        Last night, reluctantly as I hate to be unfriendly, I had to ban this guy who just wouldn't quit bothering me and yet saying nothing. Sorry but I can't be bothered to debate with flat earthers, either we both agree coming in that the world is round or I got to beg off.

        And some of these guys must be stalking ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands. I had one guy tell me the other night after stalking for 2 hours that I should stop bugging him! Yeah right I'm the one who keeps sending tweets and initiated this whole silly conversation to begin with.

        Now let us turn to Andrew Breitbart himself, the greatest troll of them all. He is a professional troll-and generalized smear merchant-whose daily racket is to stalk people and public institutions that in any way help or improve people's lives. Currently he's working on his next target with his new spin off Big Education. He will no doubt troll them and we can already guess the "serious substantive proposals" he will make. Cut teachers pay, scale back the power of teacher's unions make more education cuts and argue that not to worry we can send some of this money to private parochial schools. Gee that will surely help us catch up with China and India in education-math, science, etc.

       I have said it before and will say it again-both because it's true but that it bothers him so much to hear the truth-Andrew Breibart is the enemy of the American people.



The Bull Case for the U.S. Economy

      Bears may ask me why I don't give you the bear case for the economy, the reason is though it's too easy. You have the way job growth has tapered off starting in April, we are currently adding nowhere near the amount of jobs per month necessary to bring the 9.1%  unemployment rate down,the continually ugly mortgage situation with so many Americans underwater or facing foreclosure and prices having collapsed, along with GDP growth that has been far beneath expectations this year beginning in quarter 2.

     Estimates have now come down markedly for the rest of the year and some are now suggesting while we may not go back into recession-technically over in 2009 though it surely doesn't seem this way to the millions unemployed and underemployed-we could face another 10 years of really weak growth-as David Faber suggested the other day. Then we have the S&P downgrade and the messy political situation.

       Anyway I already wrote the bear case 2 days ago "Could US be iin for longer economic quagmire?"

      Basically the bear case writes itself. Is there a bull case? Yes and a Newsweek article I recently mentioned a bull case was made Roger Lowenstein-of The Daily Beast. I should say that Diary of a Republican Hater's very own Shelly-aka wildthing-brought this very interesting article to my attention

       Actually the case Lowenstein makes is pretty bullish indeed. He cites the economist Mark Zandi, who says the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are stronger than they have been in 15 to 20 years.

       The basic narrative is "American households have pared their debt—significantly. Corporations are rolling in cash. Banks are profitable and far better capitalized"

        Lowenstein urges a little patients to "deficit doves" ,of which I am something of myself

        "Deficit doves will say the economy still needs stimulus. They are right that anti-recession measures such as the reduced payroll tax should be extended. If employment doesn’t pick up, I would favor a targeted jobs program, too. But a little patience is in order. The economy is sluggish because consumers have been repaying their debts. That always takes time after a financial crisis. The good news is, the typical household’s debt service, as a percentage of income, is now nearing record lows. Mortgage debt is still falling, but credit-card borrowing is ticking up"

         Lowenstein does follow this up with a plea to let the Bush tax cuts expire, which as have argued in previous posts remains the worst fiscal legislation in modern American history. Indeed he argues to let them all expire not just for the wealthy-they benefit the wealthy disproportionately anyway and most Americans were in better economic shape before them. That will be tough to achieve and I'm not sure Obama or any Democrat would be willing to go out on that limb. But just economically speaking he may have a point.
          This morning we of course have news of Buffett's deal with BAC

          Buffett declared that this is not 2008. At a minimum it will benefit my brother who recently bought very cheap Jan calls... I would be in it too but you gotta spend money to make money which I have none currently. An upsetting situation with the NYS Unemployment Office dithering with my check. But this important topic-the poor treatment of UI for the people who have a right to it will have to wait for another time.

         Also Weds' durable goods orders were double expectations

        This report showed durable goods for July up 4%, twice the consensus of economists-and coming on the heels of falling a revised 1.3% in June.  The rise was driven by a surge in demand for autos and aircraft.

        "Today’s report reflected a rebound in production at vehicle makers following supply disruptions caused by the earthquake in Japan in March. Orders for motor vehicles and parts jumped 11.5 percent, the most since January 2003."

        There is still some reason for caution.

        "Automakers last month rebounded from the slump caused by the Japanese earthquake, while some manufacturers like Deere & Co. (DE) continued benefit from growing sales in emerging markets. Nonetheless, regional factory surveys have shown demand plunged in August as concern over the European debt crisis mounted and stocks retreated, indicating the outlook may have since dimmed."
 It’s going to take time before businesses become comfortable about investing and hiring,” said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “The improvement in July appears to be narrowly based.”

        The housing picture that came out in the same report was mixed. There is still a lot of room for pessimism however even here some good news is on the horizon as the U.S. may now back mortgage refinancing for millions. As part of Obama's upcoming September jobs proposal he may sign an executive order to help mortgage borrowers.

       In addition, one way we compare very favorably in the long term with both Europe and Japan is we are a country of continuing population growth and immigration. Many European countries, and certainly Japan-are homogeneous societies that don't like immigrants.

      The anti immigration fervor in the U.S. recently-stemming in large part from anxiety of a future American where whites are no longer the majority-is therefore entirely counter-productive economically speaking.

      Perhaps in the future economic needs will push us away from this unworthy preoccupation-fortress America. As it's our immigrants that put us at a advantage. There is some reason for hope in this regard: and example of this is where the business community and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce helped to beat back more draconian legislation.

      So some reason for hope anyway. The bear case is still strong for sure and I'm not saying the bull case is correct just that it's viable.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Andrew Breitbart Answers My Phone Call

       Well say this for Andrew Breitbart: he answered my phone call.  It's rather flattering really. I mean it's not like I'm the NYT or even Media Matters. Evidently he didn't consider that going after me a total unknown blogger might make him look a little silly. Ever hear of the idea that if you have to stoop to fight someone you are the one who looks bad win or lose? Apparently neither has he. And after all who am I? LOL

       Yesterday afternoon his flunky who calls herself  ColoKat started furiously sending me tweets. Around 4 est, that is in NY and the rest of the eastern time zone where I am.  A little background.

       It had already been a fairly eventful day as during my radio show at I as a New Yorker experience what may be my first ever earthquake, though my host TurboKitty said we easterners are wimps! Don't know about that but I agree we're not used to earthquakes and while all that happened was my chair shooken a bit it was news.

       In addition, I had the extreme pleasure to interview Jim Schaub of ExtremLiberal. Overall even with my puny little NY earthquake it had been a great show. So where does ColoKat and her boss Breitbart come in? Well, that morning hear at Diary I had written a  little piece entitled "Andrew Breitbart, Enemy of the American People."

       By 4 though it was the last thing on my mind as you might imagine. Not for ColoKat who started furiously sending me tweets calling me an hypocritical, infantile leftist who had a temper tantrum and that I wanted cars that are powered by unicorn poop-ok you had to be there, but ColoKat found this very clever. She then after about 17 tweets declared that "you just stick to what you know (i.e., nothing) and leave the thinking to the grown ups" and furthermore "we'll find a bigger big chief and prettier crayons for you to keep you occupied. thanks for stopping by" Again you had to be there when she said it surely it was a great line.

      Now up to this point I hadn't answered her-partly because I wasn't terribly interested in what she was saying but mostly as I wasn't even there for most of it-but I couldn't help notice that she wasn't allowing the fact that I had given her no response to her many, many tweets discourage her and continued to talk to herself.

      So I was nice, really: you seem upset what can I do for you? I ask. However she was having none of my personableness and insisted in making all kinds of charges of how I don't know care to know what others think, etc.  The full and delightful story can be read here.

       The exchange finally ended when I pointed out that her boss-Breitbart and yes Ann Coulter-were present for the whole discussion but didn't speak that she really was flattering me with doing so much on my account.

       She then apologized to Breitbart for making me even think that they were even aware that such a little insect as me exists.

       Too late I answered triumphantly. It's obvious you know I exist! Finally she left. This is the initial offending post that generated such fireworks.

Hell let's have an oldie but a goodie due to the clear general interest this all still holds check out my first post ever at Diary . Finny this was my first post and there had been little talk of it at the time but Breitbart has made it relevant. In fact it remains relevant as what he did to Weiner-and Acorn, and Sharon Sherrod, and indeed even tried to do to the Census-he is now trying to do, to name just a few vendettas, to the St. Louis SEIU, and Media Matters. He remains an enemy of the American people and that saying so has hit such a nerve demonstrates it bears repeating.

        My exchange with ColoKat was so great I realized it had to be made a chirpstory though I didn't know how to. I learned and the rest is history. It turns out it was a great success as chirpinator told me, "That Chirpstory made for awesome reading" and "Please use Chirpstory again soon"

        It was made a favorite and last I checked had close to 400 views.

        Realizing just how much her/Breitbart's/Coulter's strategy had backfired she later on lamely declared, "kinda like a gnat or fly - i know they exist and they are irritating pests to be crushed" to her two bosses. Yeah ok, Cruela Daville!

       She aspires to be a cross between Cruella, Leoner Hemsley and of course Anne Coulter the real life model for Cruella, though she gets stiff competition from her fellow blond conservative sister Laura Ingraham.

       To this day these 2 find nothing more hysterical than to cheerfully laud the draconian airport security methods and mocking anyone who worries about civil liberties. The only thing Ann loves to add is that she as a white woman should not be subject to them as we know the all terrorists are olive skinned, swarthy, Arab men.

       Social justice Coulter style means that she gets to the front of the line and gets on the plane perched in first class doing a crossword or fixing her makeup while looking out at all those swarthy brown men are frisked and humiliated.

        After this things rather deteriorated. A bunch of Breitbart lackeys came at me at once like an insect horde. It was mostly all guys who attacked me on a personal level getting into their only line of defense, racial slurs. Steven Ball asked me if I'm a member of the Black Congressional Caucus and claimed I sound like Maxine Waters.

        Now I got nothing but love and respect for Maxine Waters but in what way? Is there any reason other than race-baiting?

         Jim Stevens, though, hands down won racist of the night by declaring that I was the product of Indians mating with the buffalo! Take a bow!

         TK for showing us what you Breitbart lovers are really all about. I assume this comment is because they see my picture and think I am "of dubious whiteness."

          Not that it matters, but for the record I am of mixed race descent. I am what is generally called a mulatto-half black and half white. In truth I really am considerably less than half black(as my mother is a mulatto I'm really more like 1/5 black) not that I'm not proud of my Afro-Caribbean heritage-not African-American though this is also a rich and admirable heritage-but because is the sorry history of racism in this country-and the Breitbart people are sterling examples of this-that African blood defiles that if you have on drop of "African blood" you are a nigger-to say what is on their minds. You know that's what they have in their hearts and minds when they talk about Obama being "foreign."

          These guys all seem to be professional stalkers from red states with weak laws against such, Certainly they ought to consider the words "restraining order." While I made no attempt to contact them or had any interest in ignorant and bigoted tweets they kept sending me they just kept going. Maybe we should talk to their ex-wives.

            With all these creepy guy late night stalkers I should mention the one late night girl to show up in this sea of locusts. Jenny IDLYITW snottily intoned, "This morning *I wrote a post [that nobody gave a shit about until this moment & the moment is over]..." *Emphasis"

            First of all, Jenny, you too make a great Cruella Daville who of course is based on Ann Coulter,  Take a bow! Practice repeating this Coulter gem about Muslims: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." (Implicating Empire Stanley Aronowitz & Heather Gautney pg 8)

            What does all this amount to? That clearly I hit a nerve. Now you guys who spent all this time cyberstalking are just tremendous I mean this sincerely to go to all this trouble over little old me.

             If you think you have discouraged you don't know me too well. For those of you who know me better-my friends-you know what when I hit a nerve that's when I keep on digging.

            While these teabaggers would never know this I of course cut my teeth in the liberal blogosphere fighting those who claim I'm on the Right due to my support of Obama. Firedoglake hated me and wanted any excuse to make me gone and finally Jane Hamsher manufactured one.

           On Daily KOS I was banned after one post because those geniuses can't understand irony, and thought my tag, abortionondemand, meant I was Right wing! Also the objected to this one line, "Firebaggers and Obamabots, Obamabots and firebaggers, lend me your ears!" They didn't appreciate Cicero it turned out.

           With Breitbart's henchman, though, at least now I'm being attacked from the Right! LOL

           Bottomline: I have never been one who colors between the line and it wont start now!

           I said it and I meant it: Andrew Breitbart is an Enemy of the American People." Live it, love it, learn it. Deal with it!

          Breitbart's website Big Government is all about his tremendous attack on the American people. We are the government so who exactly is he attacking when he attacks "Big Government?" He also has a companion blog, "Big Journalism" which is all about attacking the people's legitimate media. While we have heard that tired old canard about "the liberal media" for years what "liberal media" actually means is any accurate journalism performed by and person or media organization, newspaper, or tv show.

         If you don't lie for the Right you are a "liberal elite." Breitbart likes to fashion himself a muckraker almost, a citizen journalist. The opposite! He is a muckraker in reverse his Big Journalism campaign means to destroy accurate, objective journalism anywhere he can find it. Again he is the people's enemy. Repeat that as he can't bear to hear it and it is the truth!

      He even has a piece called Big Hollywood: ie, he even begrudges the people some enjoyable entertainment he is the ultimate kill joy, not only does he begrudge us to be served by our own government and to have an accurate and objective media, he can't even let us watch tv in peace! And the Right claims to be libertarian.

      His newest thing is Big Education which is a work in progress. Don't even have to guess what this will be about! Destroying our(the people's) educational system.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Could the US be in for longer economic quagmire?

     Judging by the consensus of many economists, the next 10 years may not be any brighter than the last-the last 10 years begin with the "election" of Bush back in 2001 and his appalling tax cuts. I've spoken about them in several posts as they really are the worst fiscal policy of modern times.

      Today CNBC featured a piece about David Faber who says that while he doesn't think we're gonna repeat 2008 we could be in for 10 more years of  "very muted growth."

      " I think for the next 10 years we'll have very muted growth in the Western world and standards of living for the average household will continue to decline."

        Another words very much like the previous 10 years."I think we never really came out of the recession  in many different sectors of the economy," Faber said. "If you look back to say 1999 to today, the U.S. as an economy, macroeconomically speaking, is of course much worse off than in 1999—courtesy of the Federal Reserve  I may add."

       Many economists currently have such a dour view. "Goldman Sachs has cut its forecast for growth to 1.5 percent for the year."

        According to a recent AP survey of leading economists "Another recession isn't likely over the next 12 months. Neither is any meaningful improvement in the economy."

        Of course this depends what you mean by "recession." While technically June 2009 was the technical end of the recession-a recession here is simply defined as 2 consecutive periods of negative GDP growth-if you are out of work, or underemployed or working for barely a living wage this is cold comfort for you.

        There are some more bullish forecasts for the economy and I had profiled on last week.

         According to Roger Lowenstein, "The economy isn't as bad as you think. But higher taxes are our best hope."

         Certainly if the Bush tax cuts are ever allowed to expire-a major if-I would be a lot more bullish. And true Obama is now pushing a substantial jobs program.

         Lowenstein's case bears repeating, " a little patience is in order. The economy is sluggish because consumers have been repaying their debts. That always takes time after a financial crisis. The good news is, the typical household’s debt service, as a percentage of income, is now nearing record lows. Mortgage debt is still falling, but credit-card borrowing is ticking up. Translation: spending should pick up soon. (And note: letting the tax cuts expire will not mean Hoover-style prudence; we would still be running big deficits.)"

         God I hope Lowenstein is smarter than the consensus. We'll see. An additional factor that is sometimes suggested will bode well for our economic future is population growth. This in counter distinction to Europe. Indeed while Perry has engineered no "Texas Miracle" it is true that population growth as Texas has enjoyed is a positive factor for economic growth and jobs. So the anti-immigration fervor is another erroneous GOP idea.

        Interestingly, for the market today at least, none of these concerns mattered. The Dow today soared 322 points and every sector rose. There were some better than expected earnings from the bank.

        We shall see but one thing is clear if there is any hope we need to elect some liberal Democrats in 2012 including re-electing President Obama.

Andrew Breitbart, Enemy of the American people

        I wrote the following letter to Larry Flynt-an American we owe a debt of gratittude for as he has tirelessly fought for civil liberties in America down through the years, at the cost of his ability to even walk

    " Larry it is an honor to speak with you! I have long admired your work! I will always be grateful for the good work you did in the 90s in calling out GOP gross hypocrisy during the impeachment fiasco and your singlehanded bringing down of that insufferable phony Bob Livingston.

     Appreciate your piece on Weiner and your offer to him. I feel the same way. Unfortunately you and I were two voices calling in the wilderness as even his so called Democratic colleagues failed to stand by him.

     In view of your great work in 1998 in exposing hypocrisy perhaps something on the same order is due for Andrew Breitbart.

     Mr. Breitbart I say without hyperbole is a true enemy of the American people. His destruction of Acorn hurt millions of minority and low income Americans who counted on the services they provided.
He is tireless in attacking whatever organizations in any way service the public. He even went after the Census last year and tried to make a big fuss of the point that during the training part of the job they often allow you to go home early and mark your time card as working the full 8 hours. I know as I worked for the Census last year.

     Of course he opposes the Census he is opposed to anything that helps the American people. That is what his opposition to “Big Government” amounts to!

     In the latest I heard of him-not naive to believe he doesn’t have many such similar campaigns against the American people at any moment-he was attacking the St. Louis chapter of SEIU.
Larry if anyone could do something about this man it is you as show by your record! What do you think?"

     That's it, Seriously Flynt is someone who has some real substance too which might surprise those who see him as a mere "smut peddler."

      Someone else I recommend highly both in general and his fine work about Breitbart, is St. Louis Activist who recently provided a hilarious video tape of an exchange between him and Breitbart as I mentioned above in the letter to Flynt.

      I encourage you to check out his website. I do hope he targets Breibart as this sorry smear merchant has done such job of harming good public institutions. Anything that provides any social benefit he targets. While the designation enemy of the people can be overblown Breitbart truly is one.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Obama takes his case right to the American People

       So much of the GOP position is one of shear chutzpah. This great Jewish word-made popular by such notables as Alan Dershowitz-does a great job in summing up their entire attitude, the way they can-as Judge Judy puts it; Dershowitz now Judge Judy seems we keep coming back to legal minds right now...-'pee on your leg then tell you it's raining'.

      GOP chutzpah seems to be boundless, like in the late 90s when they wasted all that pubic money and time investigating Bill Clinton's sex life-while they themselves were anything but 'without sin'. The watershed moment though was when Larry Flynt did the public a huge service and published a tell all book exposing each and every one of Clinton's accusers many sins. Right down the line, Newt, Bob Barr, Henry Hyde, Dick Armey, Tom Delay, Bob Livingston all of them lived in big old glass houses concerning "family values."

     While Flynt is exactly the kind of person this sorry families values conservatives-to use a great coinage of Howard Stern-love to insult and denigrate, a pornographer and "degenerate" with a history of controversy and fights with the religious Right, who they would try to tell you corrupts American society and culture-he called them on their sorry witch hunt and indeed Flynt can justly receive credit for singlehandedly causing the odious Bob Livingston-who took over for Newt after he was forced to step down-to step down the same weekend he took over for Newt. 

     While some questioned Flynt's methods-he made no bones about offering cash payment for information-what we can say is it was his own personal money he spent out of and not our public revenue like the Republicans were raiding millions of dollars; the very same public revenue which they refused to use for welfare, education, health care, and other public needs.

     See GOP chutzpah in action. For more on the unsung and heroic role played by Larry Flynt's role in fighting back against the Lewinsky witch hunt see

     There truly is a lot more to Larry Flynt than meets the eye if you keep an open mind. While those who were elected public servants were derelict in their duty, Larry Flynt even if reviled socially by many, provided a tremendous public service.

     There has been much chutzpah since. The GOP thought nothing of declaring, after stealing the 2000 election declaring in 2001, that liberals should get over "ancient history." Yeah right, so the will of the people was subverted, the statue of limitations on such whining is 6 months. After that just forget it.

     Chutzpah is what enables the Republicans to actually put forward Rick Perry as the solution to the US crisis, which is like letting Bin Laden handle the remodeling efforts of the new World Trade Center. The comparison for Perry is not between Texas jobs created since 2009 vs. national jobs as a whole since then but rather Obama's time since 2009 nationally vs the 8 year record of George W. Bush. Say what you want about jobs created since Obama took office, but his 3 years doesn't look bad next to Bush's eight year record.

     And finally chutzpah finally, is what allows Boehner to continue to as where are the jobs? when he has done nothing about jobs in his entire term as House Speaker. This is what makes you wonder if they aren't trying to tank the economy deliberately wrongly believing that the worse the economy does the better are their election prospects.

     But we see that Obama has a new jobs bill he's proposing and that while Bohner and company are content to use this clever sound bite about where are the jobs Obama is actually providing a meaningful and comprehensive proposal to create more jobs-construction, infrastructure, jobs repairing America's schools(by itself can create up to 500,000 jobs) as well as providing relief for mortgage owners.

     Obama has now done an end run around the do noting House and put his jobs proposal right to the American people emailing it directly.

     A contrast between Obama and GOP chutzpah couldn't be more clear than in his declaration that "action is my duty, reward is not my concern."

     Meanwhile the GOP even fights against an extension of Unemployment Insurance and an extension of the payroll tax. That's chutzpah for you.


Turns out Libya was not a quagmire

     There has been a lot of spin over our time in Libya with all kind of charges levied against Obama. One idea that the Republicans tried to sell is that our aims in Libya were somehow "unclear" and that Obama had failed to effectively communicate the objectives.

      Another is that he had created some kind of outrage by not discussing it with Congress first and of violating the War Powers Act of 1973.

      Another rather trifling complaint in my opinion is that Obama lacks a "coherent doctrine." This is partly based om the idea that as Obama's response to the varied uprisings of the "Arab Spring" has been too varied. Supportive in Iraq, not so supportive in Bahrain, rhetorically supportive but not assisting in Egypt, etc.

       There was also a charge given wide currency among the firebaggers that somehow Libya "is another Iraq.'

        The first and fourth of these charges are already pretty clearly off base. There was nothing ever very unclear about the Libyan effort. Our participation was limited-though of primary importance. The goal was clearly to take out Gaddafi and that is exactly what has been done. Actually what's striking about Obama's Libya intervention is how clear it's goal was unlike so many of our previous interventions, Iraq first and foremost. The objectives there were numerous and shifting always a sign of incoherence.

       This leads us to what I admitted above to finding a rather "trifling" complaint about Obama not having a doctrine, not Obama Doctrine. It seems that we reacted differently to each uprising in the Arab Spring but why is this a problem? Aren't doctrines overrated?

        Seems to me that historically speaking, the original doctrine, the Monroe Doctrine was justified and vital and set a very important precedent in US foreign relations, but in recent years this whole idea of doctrines has been overdone. Not every President needs a doctrine though media pundits have come to feel that it is somehow now mandatory. Bush did have a clear doctrine but it was highly problematic-preemptive war, 'your either with us or the terrorists'. 

       So having a doctrine isn't necessarily a good thing: a bad policy is only worsened by sort of codifying it in a "doctrine."

       More generally, there is a risk of simply overly dignifying what a President does on foreign policy. Obama has it right, if there is an Obama Doctrine it is agnosticism about Doctrines.

       Seems to me for the most part all a doctrine can do is rigidify and constrain a President's possible policies. It't ignoring the messy way the world works beyond any attempt to decide in advance of events themselves.

       As for the kvetching over not the War Resolutions Act, this is hypocrisy at its worse for the GOP anyway. They never agreed with this act in principle but now they wanted to selectively apply it for short term gain. When we did decide to get involved in Libya there was no time for a debating society in Congress. March 19, the Friday when it begun, we had about 48 hours tops to forestall the crushing of the Rebel city of Benghazi.

       As for the claim of symmetry with Iraq, the facts couldn't be more different. Our assistance was requested by the rebels, as well as the Arab League-yes, it was a man bites dog moment. While Iraq was entered entirely unilaterally, this was undergone multilaterally, through the UN, and working with NATO.

       As we noted above our objective was clear-not like in Iraq-and the objective has been achieved speedily.

       While the firebaggers claim that liberals are hypocrites to approve the same policies we criticized with Bush, the reason we haven't is that Obama hasn't pursued the same policies. Certainly not in the case of Libya where every complaint I had of Iraq-no collaboration, unilateralism, done without regard to nation's people were not repeated here. So what you want about the Libyan war but it was handled with impeccable liberal criteria-multilateral. consensus building, respect for the Libyan people's will, etc.



         Clearly the first and third charges are already proven false. O

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Terry McAuliffe: a Real Living Job Creator

     If anyone caught Ed last night (8/17/11) got to see Terry McAuliffe in action. I was rather taken aback! Hes an actual job creator with his GreenTech Automotive. It's funny we hear so much about "job creators" yet never seem to actually see one.

     I had become pessimistic that I ever would-maybe a job creator is like the DoDo Bird or the Unicorn. Or maybe Santa Claus. Something comforting to believe in but...

     In listening to McAuliffe I was truck by how much he gets it. This is a guy I though to myself that should run for office. I mean he has been campaign chairman for the Clintons in the past and was DNC chairman from 2001-06 but I never really had actually heard him speak in depth before.

     On Ed he was downright inspired-and inspiring. This guy missed his calling I thought. He should run for something. Turns out he is planning a possible run for Governor in Virginia.

     And the current Republican governor, Bob McDonnell,  is particularly awful. To be sure we got a lot of awful GOP govs to choose from. But this guy is a racist flat earther if there ever was one.

     So look out for Mr. Acauliffe. If you're in Virginia you're probably on the ledge with McDonnell who in 2010 declard April Confederate History Month. Maybe Aucliffe is the guy to talk you off of it.

    In general there are signs that the Democrats get it. Obama has announced that he will offer a jobs proposal and the Senate Democrats on the Super Committee will demand that job creation is part of any deal.

    Part of Obama's proposal reportedly will call for a jobs program to fix schools, many of which are dilapidated and haven't been touched since the 70s. It could create in the neighborhood of 500,000 jobs. He also may add infrastructure.

   Boehner always asks where are the jobs but he ought to ask himself this question as he has not introduced a single jobs bill in his time as House Speaker.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Still More on the Bush Tax Cuts

     If it isn't clear by now they are a pet peeve of mine. The reason is they are still killing us now. The entire sorry spectacle of debt ceiling chicken would not have happened if not for Bush's tax cuts. Even S&P as much as I disagree about the downgrade and believe they should be investigated for their rationale-and it ought to at least be considered for the US to drop them as the city of LA did recently-had a point in complaining of the political tone and being pessimistic due to the Bush tax cuts and pessimism that they will in fact expire in 2012. If we are to ever have fiscal health again they must be allowed to expire.

     Last night, Shelly made a good comment and left a link to a very good article by Roger Lowenstein that appeared in Newsweek. This is worth reading itself.

     The title is arresting enough: 'Stop the Panic. It's not 2008.' It;s arresting in that it seems pretty counter intuitive. Just yesterday we got some more bad economic numbers in  some manufacturing indexes and another increase in jobless claims. The market fell sharply again. Housing still is depressed. How can Lowenstein be so sanguine? He opens with some analysis by the economist Mark Zandi:

     "Mark Zandi, an economist, called from the airport in Orlando with news: “The fundamentals of the U.S. economy are better than they have been in 15 to 20 years.”

      This no doubt gives us a feeling of rather pervasive dissonance. As Lowenstein notes, Zandi made this assertion on August 14 just as the market was dropping 520 points. Yet Zandi's bullishness is due to the fact that "American households have pared their debt—significantly. Corporations are rolling in cash. Banks are profitable and far better capitalized. "

      Of coursers one hopes this is true but it's hard to wrap you head around...

       Lowenstein then talks about S&P. He feels that their actions are legitimate and don't deserve the criticism they have received from the Administration and elsewhere. I don't follow him there but it is true that the concern over the Bush tax cuts are legitimate.

      Of the cuts he says, "Ever since the Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the government has suffered from self-induced anorexia. Those oft-debated but never rescinded tax breaks have steadily drained the Treasury and added to its borrowings."


      "It’s hard to overstate the extent to which these cuts have been, and continue to be, the worm in Uncle Sam’s apple. They have cost the U.S. $3 trillion; the stimulus, by contrast, cost $1 trillion. If the cuts are extended, over the next decade they will bleed the Treasury of $5.4 trillion more."

      Of Obama he says,
      "Obama had a chance to let them expire in 2010; he blew it. He has another chance after the 2012 election. This time Obama should let them expire; indeed, he should campaign on a platform of achieving budgetary sanity via adjustments on both taxes and spending. The Republicans will repeat their pledge of no taxes. Let’s see who wins."

      The reason Obama didn't let them expire is the Republicans refused to extend the cuts for the middle class and poor and allow just those on the wealthy to expire-both the top rate returning to 39.6 and the capital gains and dividends returning from the much lower current level to the same.

      Yet Lowenstein's point is significant. He's arguing that we should let them all expire not just the top rates. Technically this is a point worth considering. The trouble is that no politician-not Obama and not the Congressional Democrats would dare risk being attacked for raising taxes on the middle class and the poor. Most Americans want the top rate cuts to expire. How many would be willing to see their rate go up?

      I guess the fair question is, and this is where some focus group polling would be helpful, what would the average American say if the question is posed as to which would the prefer the to keep their Bush era somewhat lower tax rates and maybe a few extra tax credits but with the depressed economy and job growth we have seen over the last 10 years or slightly higher rates on income and maybe a couple fewer or lower tax credits but a much more healthy economy with the kind of employment, rising standard of living, and public services we saw in the 90s?

     Overall I would probably like to see some of the tax credits for the poor and middle class retained: child tax credit, expanded earned income credit. Overall on of the many things I hated about the tax cuts is they focused so much on income taxes while most Americans-4 out of 5-pay most of their taxes in payroll taxes. Another thing which made the Bush cuts even more regressive is that as the US income tax has marginal rates, while the lowest rate saw it's taxes go down from 15 to 10 the highest rate saw it drop from 39.6 to 35 but as these are marginal rates those in the top rates also enjoyed a drop from 15 to 10 on the level of their income in this bottom rate, and the same applies at each tax level so that the top rate got not one but 5 cuts, the 2nd got 4, the third 3, the forth 2, the bottom only 1.

      Ideally then it would be a good thing to see not only top rates go back to 39.6 but maybe eliminate the marginal rates for them or at least raise them. In additon I'd like to see the payroll tax become progressive-right now it's the most regressive tax, flat 16.5% for everyone and even worse, capped at $106,800 of income. Finally we should lift this cap.

     This would give us a sharp increase in revenue. So I would probaly prefer this to allowing all the rates to go up on those with lower incomes as well. In a way this shows how brilliant the Bush budget team was as even liberals find it difficult to call for the entire cut to expire, so all they have to do is what the GOP did last year and refuse to vote on the middle and poor tax cuts separately.

      So Lowenstein and I agree that the Bush tax cuts are the fly in the fiscal US ointment. Where we might disagree is where he says

      "Deficit doves will say the economy still needs stimulus. They are right that anti-recession measures such as the reduced payroll tax should be extended. If employment doesn’t pick up, I would favor a targeted jobs program, too. But a little patience is in order. The economy is sluggish because consumers have been repaying their debts. That always takes time after a financial crisis. The good news is, the typical household’s debt service, as a percentage of income, is now nearing record lows. Mortgage debt is still falling, but credit-card borrowing is ticking up. Translation: spending should pick up soon. (And note: letting the tax cuts expire will not mean Hoover-style prudence; we would still be running big deficits.)"

      I am something of a "deficit dove" myself and do feel like we need more stimulus. And the reduced payroll tax doesn't seem enough-like small beer plus it could also be used to defund SS I worry. He does however allow that if employment doesn't pick up he would favor a targeted jobs program too, perhaps like what Obama will announce in September.

     Perhaps he's right about things taking a little time. Certainly hope he's right about this.

     However I agree about the Bush tax cuts. A new movement-like Recall Walker, or Pink Slip Rick-should be started EXPIRE THE BUSH TAX CUTS! Can see the website already.