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For some reason… 6 August 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.
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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pretend to march to music in the Blue Room of the White House, July 4, 2010, before delivering remarks to military families during a Fourth of July celebration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 For some reason, when I saw this pic, I got the music and lyrics to … Oh when the saints, oh when the saints come marching in… in my head, and now it is stuck.

It was at Business Insider, to accompany this.  A recipe for success fer sur.  I trust them to do right by us….

His surrogates are done, and now Obama is talking on this morning’s frustrating jobs report. His spin — which is as simple as possible — is that we’ve now had 7 straight months of private sector job creation. So that’s something.

But he’s acknowledging the need to do more, and his first example of doing more is spending more money to bail out the states, notably the $26.1 billion allocated by the Senate to bail out Medicare and education funds[uh… that is where they TOOK from Food Stamps! – Mcat]

Up next he wants a jobs bill to help small businesses, including one that focuses on going to a more green society.

uh, “green”.. right. I just read that Italy is outstripping us, moving speedily to change systems, incorporate green methods and practices.

Italy.

It is probably because we are so slow.  And disjointed in all that we do….

Because here, it is spin and PR and hoopla and bullshit. Pom poms and marching bands and hip pretzel, pretzel consort… and we sink and sink and sink…

BTW, the beaches were given an extra-special, super-dooper cleaning … um… and those would be beaches in Mallorca, for the pretzel consort.

Such crap.

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Comments»

1. catnip - 6 August 2010

He’s focused enough on the “green society” i.e. Wall Street.

(I thought they were doing the cha cha or maybe it’s the ka-ching ka-ching.)

CSTAR - 7 August 2010

Este es el ritmo del cha-cha-cha,,,toma chocolate, paga lo que debes

2. catnip - 6 August 2010

Speaking of Michelle: Spanish police close public beach for Michelle Obama’s £250,000 Spanish holiday

And they make the obvious “Let them eat cake” comparison.

marisacat - 6 August 2010

I am convinced this trip – the sort of trip – was on purpose… it is so amazingly in your face.

ms_xeno - 6 August 2010

I do ask mr_xeno from time to time why there’s nary a whimper from liberals about this kind of thing. He always changes the subject.

Sometimes I’m tempted to tweak a friend of friends on LJ who posted pictures of her fucking tear-stained-with-joy eyeglasses the day after the election, just to ask her if she’s still weeping tears of joy over Black Reagan or not.

But I never do. There’s just too much rich material for ridiculing these people and their mind-blowing amounts of love for their abusers. It would end up my full-time job– only there’s nobody who’ll pay me to do it.

WIBDI?

AIBDI?

What if Bush Did It?

And if Bush Did It?

Waiting for one or both of those to catch on. I can’t recall where I first saw ’em, though.

There’s a “peace” shirt at work right now, that just came in from some factory full of Chinese nine-year-olds or wherever. Did you all know that the color of “peace” is a rather ugly rip-off of a Tibetan Mandala, with a rhinestone in the middle of it? I shit you not. The color choice of vaguely metallic gray against a black background helpfully suggests an aerial view of a giant spreading oilslick. I wonder if anyone in charge feels bad now about that rather obvious Freudian slip.

“Your ‘Peace’ T-Shirt Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore…”

😀

marisacat - 6 August 2010

All I can say is he is far worse than I expected. I kind of think he has disappointed The Masters Of Us All, as well. But I go back and forth on that… disappointed them, in that he was supposed to be, for real, some mass communicator. Adroitly pat down the peonage.

And he clearly is from the mold that they did not break after poor Marie Antoinette. AND her Austrian mother was giving her tip top Mother Queen advice too. MA just could not get it, apparently.

Could be an interesting election. Millions out of work, many of them did in fact vote for him. Millions cut off from ANY unemployment insurance, many of them voted for him.

The Spain trip is a humdinger… I jsut think it is calculated. To be a big fat burr under a lot of hides.

I have no idea what is coming…

ms_xeno - 6 August 2010

I do, at least amongst the loyalists. Pailin or Rand Paul or some other racist, bigoted schmuck will be used to herd everyone back behind the fences just in time for the elections.

Because there’s never, historically, been any connection between accelerated class divisions and racism/the “ism” of your choice. Oh, no. Dear Leader loves us. He’d never foment that kind of shit on purpose, to keep his fans supine and begging no matter how much like shit he treats them.

Gah.

catnip - 6 August 2010

WIBDI?

AIBDI?

What if Bush Did It?

And if Bush Did It?

This is catching on over at dkos: a riff off of IOKIYAR (It’s OK If You’re a Republican) has become IOKIYAD or IOKIYAO (It’s OK If You Are Obama).

marisacat - 6 August 2010

This is catching on over at dkos:

Thank god there is still a commodity like TRACTION left!!

[snicker]

3. marisacat - 6 August 2010

oh I laughed till I was choking… [gasp]

a comment from SMBIVA, LINK :

Wonderful! The new Really Reagan 1.04 operating system, which now features the FDR Pseudo-Recovery Mode Screensaver, all in a Slim-Profile Black Illusion case.

This is a well-designed robot.

(c)(TM)(r)

Posted by Michael Dawson | August 6, 2010 2:34 P

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 6 August 2010

KENZABURO OE: Hiroshima and the Art of Outrage

It was recently reported here that a government panel is about to submit a policy paper to Prime Minister Kan, suggesting that regarding Japan’s “three nonnuclear principles” — prohibiting the production, possession and introduction of nuclear weapons — it was not wise to “limit the helping hand of the United States,” and recommending that we allow the transport of nuclear arms through our territory to improve the so-called nuclear umbrella.

When I read about this in the newspaper last week, I felt a great sense of outrage. (I’ll explain later why that word has such deep significance for me.) I felt the same way when another outrageous bit of news came to light this year: the decades-old, Okinawa-related secret agreement entered into by the United States and Japan in contravention of the third of the three nonnuclear principles, which forbids bringing nuclear weapons into Japan.

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 6 August 2010

What collapsing empire looks like

It’s probably also worth noting this Wall St. Journal article from last month — with a subheadline warning: “Back to Stone Age” — which describes how “paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue.” Utah is seriously considering eliminating the 12th grade, or making it optional. And it was announced this week that “Camden [New Jersey] is preparing to permanently shut its library system by the end of the year, potentially leaving residents of the impoverished city among the few in the United States unable to borrow a library book free.”

Does anyone doubt that once a society ceases to be able to afford schools, public transit, paved roads, libraries and street lights — or once it chooses not to be able to afford those things in pursuit of imperial priorities and the maintenance of a vast Surveillance and National Security State — that a very serious problem has arisen, that things have gone seriously awry, that imperial collapse, by definition, is an imminent inevitability?

marisacat - 6 August 2010

apparently the possible/probable closing of all three of Camden’s libraries has sparked some response… the head of the NYC Public Library had an op/ed… think in the NYT…

I cannot begin to think what it means to be the poorest town in NJ…. and nationally with the recssion library usage has spiked enormously… across the spectrum of users…

ms_xeno - 6 August 2010

I know I posted about it here eons ago, but I still know of no Presidential candidate who ever set foot in Camden apart from Nader.

ts - 7 August 2010

It didn’t happen in 1984. In fact, the impoverishment of the middle class was a necessary to keep them in line. That and Room 101.

6. Madman in the Marketplace - 6 August 2010
7. Madman in the Marketplace - 6 August 2010

The Obamas’ Off-Limits Topic

She says she does encourage them to exercise, but she will never bring up how much they weigh. My girls are preteens and they’re seeing their bodies in a whole different way,” she explained.

OTHER people’s children … well, it’s open season to attack and lecture.

marisacat - 6 August 2010

Maybe they could just permaglue a finger on the tip of her nose… and she can very easily shake a finger at all of us.

No idea why she is tender about the girls… Obby uses them all the time, from abortion to bombs over Sderot. And a few other things.

8. marisacat - 7 August 2010

Everybody is all whupset.

Fareed returns an award given to him, five years ago, by the then (on his part) much admired ADL. He is returning it on behalf of supporting the Zero Mosque.

And, I guess!, an expression of disgust over Foxman and his move against the mosque/cultural center/place of healing. (kinda late, you say?)

Does this have great import? Gee I don’t think so.

Fareed, Indian elite in the US, Zero Imam Rauf, Muslim Sufi elite in the US… ADL, political pressure operation of the Jewish lobby/AIPAC lobby.

I should care?

Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

well, there is a little entertainment value in watching tools for expanding American empire fight amongst themselves … but beyond that not worth the attention.

marisacat - 7 August 2010

It’s an opera glasses and popcorn moment potentially. If it moves beyond choreographed it might get interesting…

9. Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

Democracy Now: Obama Defends Sweeping Education Reforms in Face of Criticism from Minority and Teachers’ Groups

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Diane Ravitch, one of the reasons President Obama gave that particular speech was that he’s coming under increasing fire even from civil rights organizations who are questioning not only the emphasis on testing, but the push for more and more charter schools regardless of the quality of those schools. And your sense of how the ground is shifting around the country, among parent groups, among civil rights groups, around the whole issue of school reform?

DIANE RAVITCH: Well, you know, I think this week, in the last week of July of 2010, turns out to be a pretty momentous week. First of all, six civil rights groups came together and issued a joint statement that blasted Race to the Top and also the blueprint, the Obama blueprint, because he is building—although he doesn’t admit it, he’s building his education agenda right on top of the Bush education agenda, which is to test and punish, to close schools, to evaluate teachers in ways that are unfair and unsound from a research point of view, to increase the number of privately managed charter schools. All this is going to be immensely destabilizing, and it’s going to hit hardest on minority communities, because most of the schools that will be identified as the lowest-performing schools will be in poor Hispanic and black communities. And there will be massive—excuse me, massive destabilization. This is not good. And the civil rights groups recognize this.

There was a second report out that came out this week from a group of community—from an organization of community groups from across the country, echoing the same complaints: we don’t want more community schools, we don’t want more charter schools, we want better public schools—help our public schools get better, not by more testing, not by more charters, but by sensible approaches like more pre-kindergarten, smaller class size, more support for the people who are teaching in those schools—commonsense approaches, which this administration seems to be avoiding and looking for the quick fix that George Bush pursued and that Mayor Bloomberg pursued, and it didn’t work. So I think there are immense implications here.

And we also saw in the Congress where Congressman Obey tried to strip money away from Race to the Top, away from merit pay and away from charter schools. And the administration’s response was, “Don’t take money from Race to the Top. Take it away from food stamps.” And Joel Klein said to take it away from Title I. These are all programs that benefit the neediest families in our society, and there were prepared to harm people who are in need of help in order to preserve the President’s favorite program.

So I think that the implications of this week, with the test score explosion, the blowup of the fraud in New York City, and these two grassroots groups saying, “This is not working, and take a more commonsense approach, and stop this destructive test and measurement and punishment approach,” this is big, because up ’til now everybody seems to have gone along with the rhetoric of President Obama. But you have to separate his rhetoric, which is always very elegant, from what his administration is actually doing, which is just more Bush, more No Child Left Behind.

10. Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010
marisacat - 7 August 2010

Good post… and I liked this comment:

The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City

By scoutt on Sat, 08/07/2010 – 1:54pm

“Chiang Kai-Shek had irreparably alienated the last of his supporters, the urban middle class, who had surrendered their savings in hopes of resuscitating the economy. Instead, they had lost everything; they’d been robbed and “shaken down” by their government. Bitterly, the Shanghainese “whispered that the sole purpose of the transaction was to confiscate the people’s wealth for the benefit of the Four Great Families.”

From Shanghai by Stella Dong

Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

that was interesting …

marisacat - 7 August 2010

Sounds familiar…

Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

it’s a scam pulled off over and over again, in failing empire after failing empire.

marisacat - 7 August 2010

As you said once, Obby is the manager they send in after a take over or buy out. Lay off and bleed the joint.

Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

next will be the close-out subcontractor, to sell off the fixtures and such.

marisacat - 7 August 2010

Maybe Fareed would like Lady Liberty.

So so so tired of them all…………

11. Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

Around the World, Dockworkers Blockade Israeli Ships

On June 20, ILWU Local 10 dockworkers in Oakland, Calif., refused to unload an Israeli Zim Lines ship for 24 hours. Their protest was supported by more than 800 rallying local activists, the San Francisco Labor Council and the Alameda County Labor Council (the equivalent of local branches of the AFL-CIO).

Workers around the world have been joining the call to blockade Israeli ships from being unloaded, in essence creating their own blockade to protest the blockade of food and humanitarian supplies Israel has placed on Palestinians in the Gaza strip. On June 7, by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), the General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW), the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (IFU), and several other organizations produced a call for dockworkers to refuse to unload Israeli ships.

Their statement, released after the flotilla massacre that killed nine people earlier this year, said:

Gaza today has become the test of our universal morality and our common humanity. During the South African anti-apartheid struggle, the world was inspired by the brave and principled actions of dockworkers unions who refused to handle South African cargo, contributing significantly to the ultimate fall of apartheid. Today, we call on you, dockworkers unions of the world, to do the same against Israel’s occupation and apartheid.

Recognizing how similar longshoreman boycotts had helped bring down the apartheid, the Congress of South African Trade Unions called for a boycott of unloading all Israeli ships. The Western Australian members of the Australian Maritime Union have also responded to the boycott, refusing to unload Israeli cargo, as have the Turkish dockworkers union Liman-Is.

Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

oh, didn’t know all this history:

The ILWU has a slogan of “An Injury to One is An Injury to All.” By threatening to not unload ships, dockworkers have long been able to bring to a half the commerce of nations involved in human rights abuses.

In 1933, after the invasion of China by the Japanese and the Rape of Nanking, in which Japanese systematically raped 80,000 women, dockworkers on the West Coast refused to unload Japanese ships. Likewise when the stories of the holocaust began to become public knowledge in the 1930s, dockworkers would refuse to unload German ships in protest. In the 1980s, dockworkers around the world would refuse to unload South African ships in a sign of solidarity. On May 1, 2008, members of the Longshoremen Union in the United States refused to unload any ship in protest of the Iraq war and the atrocities being committed against Iraqi workers.

Dockworkers blockades stems from this tradition, but also from the involvement in helping facilitate the Gaza flotilla. The Swedish Dockworkers union, in conjunction with a Greek union, helped purchase the flotilla vessel the “Sofia.” Longshoremen union members provided key logistical support for several of the flotilla’s activities (In These Times covered this story back in June).

marisacat - 7 August 2010

they invoked that when they did the day blocking over in Oakland and would not unload the Israeli container ship…

I am hoping for more of that…

Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

I knew about the apartheid protests, but not Nanking … I must have missed it.

marisacat - 7 August 2010

I did not know of the Nanking strike either… but Chinatown here still commemorates Nanking/invasion, or parts of Chinatown, that is.

12. Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

yet they keep giving them guns and authority:

Police training programs lag badly

Massachusetts spends far less than other states on training for police officers, committing less money to its police academies than it did 20 years ago, according to a state legislative report that says the result is a fractured system with an outdated curriculum that fails to keep officers abreast of the latest trends in law enforcement.

Even academy instructors are falling behind on key topics like Taser and pepper spray use, firearms use, defensive tactics, and first aid, says a draft report by the Legislature’s Municipal Police Training Commission.

“There are a number of police officers, because of the lack of money departments have, they’re not getting any [specialized] training at all,’’ said Kenneth Scanzio, legislative director and vice president of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police and a member of the commission. “There’s a lot we have to work on to get our police training to better standards.’’

13. Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

Interesting interview with Joe Bageant

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

I thought this was interesting … I know very little about this period of history.

Professor Newt’s Distorted History Lesson

marisacat - 7 August 2010

oh that is a nice blog…. and a nice, distant discussion.

meanwhile i will so heartfully pray for interfaith mediation… a resolution of the religions, so to speak. (Actually I am thinking of drowning and bathtubs… )

Gah.

Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

I poked around there a little bit, some neat posts.

15. marisacat - 7 August 2010
Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

RFLMAO!

marisacat - 7 August 2010

yeah what can one add?

May they all die and go to Spain. As undocumented, African immigrant/workers in the economic downturn….

16. Madman in the Marketplace - 7 August 2010

The myth of the Social Security system’s financial shortfall

The annual report of the Social Security Trustees is the sort of rich compendium of facts and analysis that has something for everybody, like the Bible.

In recent years, during which conservatives have intensified their efforts to destroy one of the few U.S. government programs that actually works as intended, the report’s publication has become an occasion for hand-wringing and crocodile tears over the (supposedly) parlous state of the system’s finances.

This year’s report, which came out Thursday, is no exception. Within minutes of its release, some analysts were claiming that it projected a “shortfall” for Social Security this year of $41 billion.

Before we get to the bogus math behind that statement — which doesn’t actually appear in the report — let’s look at the encouraging findings by the agency’s trustees, who include the secretaries of Labor, the Treasury, and Health and Human Services.

The trustees indicated that the program has made it through the worst economic downturn in its life span essentially unscathed. In fact, by at least one measure it’s fiscally stronger than a year ago: Its projected actuarial deficit over the next 75 years (a measurement required by law) is smaller now than a year ago.

The old age and disability trust funds, which hold the system’s surplus, grew in 2009 by $122 billion, to $2.5 trillion. The program paid out $675 billion to 53 million beneficiaries — men, women and children — with administrative costs of 0.9% of expenditures. For all you privatization advocates out there, you’d be lucky to find a retirement and insurance plan of this complexity with an administrative fee less than five or 10 times that ratio.

This year and next, the program’s costs will exceed its take from the payroll tax and income tax on benefits. That’s an artifact of the recession, and it’s expected to reverse from 2012 through 2014. The difference is covered by the program’s other income source — interest on the Treasury bonds in the Social Security trust fund.

That brings us back to this supposed $41-billion “shortfall,” which exists only if you decide not to count interest due of about $118 billion.

And that, in turn, leads us to the convoluted subject of the trust fund, which for some two decades has been the prime target of the crowd trying to bamboozle Americans into thinking Social Security is insolvent, bankrupt, broke — pick any term you wish, because they’re all wrong. The trust fund is the mechanism by which baby boomers have pre-funded their own (OK, our own) retirements. When tax receipts fall short, its bonds are redeemed by the government to cover the gap.

Despite what Social Security’s enemies love to claim, the trust fund is not a myth, it’s not mere paper. It’s real money, and it represents the savings of every worker paying into the system today.

snip

Most Americans pay more payroll tax than income tax. Not until you pull in $200,000 or more, which puts you among roughly the top 5% of income-earners, are you likely to pay more in income tax than payroll tax. One reason is that the income taxed for Social Security is capped — this year, at $106,800. (My payroll and income tax figures come from the Brookings Institution, and the income distribution statistics come from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Since 1983, the money from all payroll taxpayers has been building up the Social Security surplus, swelling the trust fund. What’s happened to the money? It’s been borrowed by the federal government and spent on federal programs — housing, stimulus, war and a big income tax cut for the richest Americans, enacted under President George W. Bush in 2001.

In other words, money from the taxpayers at the lower end of the income scale has been spent to help out those at the higher end. That transfer — that loan, to characterize it accurately — is represented by the Treasury bonds held by the trust fund.

The interest on those bonds, and the eventual redemption of the principal, should have to be paid for by income taxpayers, who reaped the direct benefits from borrowing the money.

So all the whining you hear about how redeeming the trust fund will require a tax hike we can’t afford is simply the sound of wealthy taxpayers trying to skip out on a bill about to come due. The next time someone tells you the trust fund is full of worthless IOUs, try to guess what tax bracket he’s in.

snip

The trust fund may not last forever, but reports of its demise are certainly premature. The trustees say it will be drawn down to zero in 2037, at which point the program will only have enough money coming in from taxes to pay 78% of the benefits due under current law. So sometime in the next quarter-century — but by no means right now — does anything have to be fixed, say through a hike in the payroll tax ceiling (or, better, its elimination)?

That 2037 deadline, in truth, is a moving target. It’s based on long-term projections, which become more uncertain the further out you look. The estimated date is very sensitive to forecasts of immigration, wage and economic growth, and birth and death rates, all of which are uncertain. Over the last 10 years, it has fluctuated between 2037 and 2042, mostly due to economic factors. It has held steady at 2037 for two years despite the downturn, but that’s still better than the projection in 1998, which was for exhaustion in 2032.

In short, if the new trustees report gets examined wisely and responsibly, it should put an end to all the current talk about raising the retirement age or cutting benefits. Social Security doesn’t contribute a dime to the federal deficit, and in these days of market stagnation and cutbacks in pensions, it has never been more important to millions of Americans. The Pete Petersons of the world should find themselves a different target.

17. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 August 2010

Verizon, Google and the Woody Allen problem

WHY, exactly, does America have regulators? The idea is that regulatory agencies are better able than legislatures to keep up with innovation. Regulators, in theory, are more expert than politicians, and less passionate. In reality they are imperfect (as is all of government, and for that matter, all of life) but that we have any regulators at all is a testament, on some basic level, to the idea that companies left to their own devices don’t always act in the best interests of the market.

Yesterday afternoon the FCC announced that negotiations with several large companies over proposed internet-service regulatory changes had broken down. Also yesterday, the New York Times wrote of the possibility of a deal between Google and Verizon to allow Verizon to charge for faster service over its network. This would be a clear violation of the single, limited goal of the FCC’s proposed changes. Let’s leave aside for a second the question of just how terrible of an idea this is, and just how likely it is to throttle innovation by small actors on the web as it prioritises the work of better-capitalised companies. Let’s focus instead on a more basic question: why does America have regulators?

If companies always agreed with regulators’ rules, there would be no need for regulators. The very point of a regulator is to do things that companies don’t like, out of concern for the welfare of the market or the consumer. In its Brand X decision in 2005, the Supreme Court upheld this discretionary power, arguing that it’s better to give wide latitude to the expert opinion of a regulatory body. But in that case, the FCC had decided on a light touch with internet service providers. And back then, most ISPs agreed that the FCC had the authority to decide to regulate them lightly.

marisacat - 8 August 2010

Madman…

will move this forward to the new thread… 😉

****************

NEW

LINK

………………………………………………. 😯


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