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July 23, 2011 03:03 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Democracy is based upon so childish a complex of fallacies that they must be protected by a rigid system of taboos, else even half-wits would argue it to pieces.”

–Henry Louis Mencken


35 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. Much was made yesterday about Obama’s approval rating in the CNN poll.  If you dig a little deeper you will find a interesting fact:

    “But drill down into that number and you’ll see signs of a stirring discontent on the left,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Thirty-eight percent say they disapprove because President Obama has been too liberal, but 13 percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough – nearly double what it was in May, when the question was last asked, and the first time that number has hit double digits in Obama’s presidency.”

    Looking at that figure another way, roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he’s not been liberal enough.

    1. In Obama’s op-ed piece in USA Today, he says some strange things about how he wants the middle class to pay a significant portion of the costs for the deficit and debt mess that they didn’t cause:

      That’s why people in both parties have suggested that the best way to take on our deficit is with a more balanced approach. Yes, we should make serious spending cuts. But we should also ask the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations to pay their fair share through fundamental tax reform. Before we stop funding clean energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks that other companies don’t get. Before we ask college students to pay more, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks they don’t need and never asked for.

      The middle class hasn’t just borne the brunt of this recession; they’ve been dealing with higher costs and stagnant wages for more than a decade now. It’s just not right to ask them to pay the whole tab – especially when they’re not the ones who caused this mess in the first place.

      This recession was caused by Wall Street.  Their the only ones flush with cash right now – because the government bailed them out to the tune of $17 trillion dollars. GAO Audit of the Fed.  What is strange is that Obama would suggest that the middle class should bear any of the pain to clean up the mess that the recession made of the federal budget.

      1. and not just the some leftie fringe, ever since drilling down into polls showing disapproval of his healthcare reform plan showed a significant part of that was from those who thought it didn’t go far enough while the media was interpreting the polls as meaning that the public found it too far to the left. I personally have a really hard time “approving” of a mandate with no public option, for instance.

        Of course those who are the source of that segment of disapproval won’t be voting R but the enthusiasm level suffers.  If Obama and the Dems hang on and refuse to let the GOP win this latest game of chicken (it would be a first after about a zillion caves and the GOP is banking on a repeat) that could restore some of that enthusiasm in time. Success in the Wisconsin recalls and referendums on various R state legislation that is widely unpopular could help energize Dems too.  If, as usual, it’s the Dems who blink first, a lot of Dems may just stay in home in bed on election day in 2012.

        One thing to remember though, unhappy Dems(count me as one of the less than thrilled).  If Bader Ginsberg  doesn’t retire before 2012 she probably will  before 2016.  A GOP President would mean another corporatist Supreme, making the court firmly all corpooratist rightie, with decades to do too much damage to ever be entirely reversed.

        1. the nomination, he is all but assured of victory thanks to the Far-Right’s war on the poor, the elderly and the middle-class. The poor don’t vote but the middle-class and the elderly do.

          1. nominate. Until the whole Tea Party thing shakes out, I don’t think even the GOP leadership and money people know what’s going to happen.  Maybe they’ll concentrate on taking the Senate so that nothing gets done for another 4 years and they have a better chance for the WH in 2016.  All I know is, it’s fine that Obama probably will win again but if the Rs have both houses all he’ll be able to do is veto. Hoping Wisconsin state recalls go our way, get tons of media attention and give some spine to the party in general.

            1. BC, I just ran across this interesting analysis from Nate Silver:

              He plotted the ideological positions of both Democratic and Republican Governors relative to their state’s voters.  While most Democratic Governors were closely aligned with their constituents, the GOP Governors have taken a huge swing to the Right, and are currently paying the price in high unfavorables in the polls.

              G.O.P. Governors Swing Right, Leaving Voters Behind




              I don’t know that I buy the theory that these unpopular Republican governors are likely to harm the aspirations of the party’s presidential nominee though a “reverse coattail” effect, the evidence for which is quite spotty. But I do think it’s a significant problem for Republicans on its own terms. It suggests that the party has become uninterested in appealing to swing voters – and that the voters are starting to notice.

              Retribution from the electorate is a strong possibility unless there is a change of course.

      2. Ultimately it was Wall St.’s fault for hedging their bets on bad debt, but that debt was largely originally incurred by middle class Americans who bit off more than they could chew on everything from houses and cars to credit cards.

        Obama is right. It’s wrong to ask people to pay the whole tab, but it’s just as wrong to say that American borrowing habits during the first part of this century weren’t part of the reason we are where we are now.

        1. while offering symbolic bones to workers.  How else would one describe the “average” $1,000 per year payroll tax cut for workers?  That’s an extra $2.74 per day per worker. Then it must be divided among family members.

    1. No parent should outlive their children. I don’t know what I would do and where the strength would come to carry on.

      Our demons plague us while we live and some know better than others how to live with them.

      I wish you serenity today and that the demons stay away.  

    2. Couldn’t help to think about Janis Joplin dying at 27. Another brillant talent gone over personal excesses.

      Jim Morrison dead at 27.

      Jimi Hendrix dead at 27

      27 does not seem to be a very kind year…….

  2. $34 Billion wasted in AFPAK and Iraq or $440 Million for NPR? I know what the Republican’t Party would cut!

    U.S. wastes $34 billion in Afghan and Iraq contracting

    (Reuters) – The United States has wasted some $34 billion on service contracts with the private sector in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study being finalized for Congress.

    The findings by a bipartisan congressional commission were confirmed to Reuters by a person familiar with the draft of the study, which is due to be completed in coming weeks.

    The analysis by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, details of which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, offers the most complete look so far at the misuse of U.S. contracting funds in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than $200 billion has been doled out in the contracts and grants over nearly a decade.

    It also gives the most complete picture of the magnitude of the U.S. contracting workforce in the two countries.

    The source, who declined to be named, said more than 200,000 contractors have been on the U.S. payroll at times in Iraq and Afghanistan — outstripping the number of U.S. troops currently on the ground in those countries.

    The United States has fewer than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and some 46,000 forces in Iraq.

    The tally of private sector contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan can be surprisingly difficult to obtain since many U.S. contractors are outsourced to subcontractors who depend on temporary labor, the source said.

    The report blames a lack of oversight by federal agencies for misuse of funds and warns of further waste when the programs are transferred to Iraqi or Afghan control as the United States withdraws its troops.

    So, remind me again….KBR is a subsidiary of Halliburton….didn’t some former VP be in charge of that company? I wonder if Lord Cheney had the DoD IG on speed dial, and told them to back off every time they got close to exposing their crooked shit…

    1. 1. Where are the WMD’s we were told about by Bush/Cheny as the rationale for going to war?

      2. Iraq never attacked us. When FDR asked Congress on Dec. 8, 1941 for a Declaration of War against Japan, he never mentioned Germany. Why? BECAUSE GERMANY DIDN”T ATTACK US, JAPAN DID.

      2. This verifies that Republican administrations are always better stewards of taxpayer dollars against government fraud and waste. Well, at least that’s what their talking points say……

      Clearly, the only “mission accomplished” in these wars was the draining of the federal treasury for the enrichment of the well connected few. (Well actually the treasury wasn’t drained because there was nothing there, the money was all borrowed).  

  3. General “Shali” was in charge in Europe, and then overall during the 90’s. He got us ready for the Balkans, gave President Clinton the excellent advice he needed to make great decisions on when and if to deploy the military, and (most importantly) as a former enlisted man, he always found ways to take care of the troops and their families.

    Gen Shali was a frequent guest at AFN in the 90’s when I was there – I’ll miss him.

          1. You’re one of the more humorless polsters, at least IMO, so I will read everything you say straight. You know, unless it’s REALLY obvious.

  4. Job Creators Idle Rich:

    Analysis: Companies churn out profits but jobs don’t follow

    Economists say the ability to do more with less has helped create a two-speed U.S. recovery. The S&P 500 has doubled in value since the recession ended and per-share earnings are currently on track for a new annual record, while employment remains below the level seen in late 2008 when corporate profits troughed.

    Employers added fewer jobs in June than at any time in the past nine months, and the jobless rate rose to 9.2 percent – higher than when the recession ended in early 2009.

    “We’ve never seen the kind of shedding of jobs that we saw in this recession. America’s corporations have never been running so efficiently,” said Ellen Zentner, senior U.S. economist at Nomura Securities in New York.


    What’s more, workers have never claimed such a paltry share of real national income growth. Economists at Northeastern University in Boston recently found corporate profits captured 88 percent of income growth between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010.

    Workers’ take? Slightly more than 1 percent.

    “The only major beneficiaries of the recovery have been corporate profits and the stock market and its shareholders,” the study concludes.

    Whatda say folks, maybe just one more massive tax cut and then prosperity will start to trickle down . . .?

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