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Archive for August, 2011

Why Mitt Romney Will Fail

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Why Mitt Romney Will Fail
Ana Marie Cox, The Guardian
“If the world were a logical place, Mitt Romney would be president by now. I'm sure that's what he thinks – or that is what the chips in his circuit board tell him. His business background in the context of America's financial meltdown should have won him the Republican nomination in 2008 – seriously, John McCain? Seriously? – and his mixed-marriage political history (as the conservative governor of a liberal state) could have given him a fighting chance against any Democratic nominee. The logic of that equation is so strong, and Romney and…

Obama’s Quiet Victory in Libya
David Remnick, The New Yorker
In late April, a month after the United States lobbied the U.N. Security Council to support a NATO operation shielding anti-Qaddafi rebels in Libya from slaughter, Ryan Lizza published a detailed report in these pages called “The Consequentialist.” Lizza set out to describe the evolution of the President’s foreign-policy thinking and the way it applied to the regional phenomenon known as the Arab Spring. Political actors and think-tank grandees struggled to situate Obama somewhere on the idealist-realist scale, and White House aides hastened to define his…

Let’s Manufacture What We Invent
Susan Hockfield, New York Times
THE United States became the world’s largest economy because we invented products and then made them with new processes. With design and fabrication side by side, insights from the factory floor flowed back to the drawing board. Today, our most important task is to restart this virtuous cycle of invention and manufacturing.Rebuilding our manufacturing capacity requires the demolition of the idea that the United States can thrive on its service sector alone. We need to create at least 20 million jobs in the next decade to offset the effects of the recession and to address our $500…

Post-Irene, Obama Returns to Jobs Challenge
Alexis Simendinger, RCP
Hurricane Irene tested Washington's tolerance for high water and dry wallets, which was probably a useful exercise for President Obama, who must decide by next week whether he will challenge congressional Republicans to help America's unemployed on GOP terms, or on his.The president is preparing a major speech for delivery after Labor Day that will advocate proposals to help create jobs and improve economic growth. Obama wants to act in a fashion that, he will argue, also supports the bipartisan goal of shrinking budget deficits.The president will mix policies that would require…

For Obama, a Vineyard Too Far
Victor Davis Hanson, National Review
By Sunday afternoon, the Gallup tracking poll showed a 17-point spread in the president’s approval rating — 38 percent approval to 55 percent disapproval. Such polls are fickle and can go up and down quickly, often depending on unwarranted and unfair perceptions and media hype, hinging on everything from hurricanes to killing bin Laden. That said, these recent abysmal numbers might suggest that for the first time, a considerable number of Americans are starting to be turned off not just by Barack Obama’s economic policies, but by Barack Obama himself. But why…


Late, Late Night FDL: A Buncha Girls

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: A Buncha Girls
Frankie Ballard – A Buncha Girls and Hunter Hayes – Storm Warning

Frankie Ballard – A Buncha Girls

Check out this talented teenager too…

Hunter Hayes – Storm Warning

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Tack Righter
Oh one less budget battle, huz-freaking-zuh!

pic via mikenitro at flickr.com

I go out of my way to ignore FoxNews. But my father is visiting me and well, he’s also suffering from a bad cold and watching hour after hour of FoxNews drones seems to be his cup of tea (as opposed to actually y’know drinking tea when you’re sick, that’s Republican logic for ya’).  I spent most of the morning at my office working so it may not have been a continuous thing, but every time I passed by the TV yesterday afternoon there was some GOP talking head or Eric Cantor talking about Obama implementing “job destroying regulations.” Why it is almost as if they decided on a theme together!

?

Why this sudden tactic?

Oh…

The White House appears to have achieved one of its primary goals following the debt ceiling deal, with congressional Republicans showing little interest in extending budget fights through the fall.

Somebody…not the White House…can read polling. Meanwhile, “leadership” to the Administration continues to mean only criticizing your base, not the ostensible opponent America wants you to confront.


Look for Signs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Look for Signs

By Mr. Fish

Related Entries



‘Heads Exploding’? Critics, Pundits, Former Colleagues React To Dick Cheney’s New Book

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

‘Heads Exploding’? Critics, Pundits, Former Colleagues React To Dick Cheney’s New Book
Dick Cheney’s new memoir has been making waves since the former vice president first signed a multi-million dollar publishing deal with Simon & Schuster in…

Philip Radford: Shining Light on Obama’s Tar Sands Pipeline Decision
This week, President Obama will find hundreds more people in front of the White House — us included — willing to go to jail for peacefully protesting the President’s short-sighted decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Raising the Medicare Age: 8 Reasons It’s the Worst Presidential “Bargain” Since 1854
When it comes to the “Grand Bargain” they’re pushing in Washington, the movie posters for The Fly said it best: Be afraid. Be very afraid….


Right-Wing Media Distort Blog Post To Bash Obama Nominee Krueger Over VAT

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Distort Blog Post To Bash Obama Nominee Krueger Over VAT

Conservative media have attacked Alan Krueger, President Obama’s nominee to head the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, for purportedly advocating a “value added tax.” But the 2-year-old blog post they cite stated that he did so “only as a suggestion for serious discussion,” adding that he was “not sure it is the best way to go.”

Conservative Media, Pundits Push Idea That Krueger “Called For” A Value Added Tax

Cavuto: Krueger “Once Proposed That You Pay An Extra 5 Percent When You Buy Stuff At The Store.” From Fox News’ Your World With Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: All right, well, consumer spending up, and that helped stocks to more than just tick up, but is the president’s pick to lead his economic team about to, well, knock both back down — especially when people get a better idea of Alan Krueger and who he is? A guy who once proposed that you pay an extra 5 percent tax when you buy stuff at the store. Sort of like an big old value added tax, but without swapping it out for any other tax. So, Deneen Borelli says that our world economy would pay the price if Alan ever got his way. But you know, I’m wondering, Deneen, if all of a sudden he could. Obviously, by picking him, the administration is sending a signal. He could be a fan of that approach, right?

[…]

CAVUTO: I am curious, Deenen, what you make of this value added tax because a lot of Republicans are fans of it, a lot of conservatives are fans of it, just not as a pile-on, as a swap out. In other words, remove the income tax, replace it with a VAT or something like that. He does not appear to be saying something like that, it would be just an added revenue raiser, at least from my understanding of his work on this. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 8/29/11]

Big Government’s Dan Mitchell: “I’m Worried About Krueger’s Sympathy” For A VAT. From Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com:

On a more serious note, though, I’m worried about Krueger’s sympathy for a value-added tax (VAT). Here’s what he wrote back in 2009.

[…]

To be fair, Krueger was very careful to leave himself some wiggle room, even going so far as to write that, “I’m not sure it is the best way to go.”

But it seems rather obvious that Krueger, like other leftists, wants this giant new source of revenue. Heck, President Obama also has semi-endorsed a VAT, saying it is “something that has worked for other countries.”

The President’s assertion is especially foolish. After all, European nations imposed VATs about 40 years ago, which simply encouraged more spending and more debt — and now several nations are on the verge of bankruptcy. [Big Government, 8/29/11]

CNS: Krueger “Has Supported” And “Called For” A Value Added Tax. From CNSNews.com:

President Barack Obama’s nominee to chair the President’s Council of Economic Advisors has supported a European-style consumption tax that taxes every stage of production for a good or service, a policy generally called a Value Added Tax, or VAT.

Alan Krueger, a Princeton University economist, called for the Value Added Tax in a commentary for the New York Times in January 2009. The White House, however, has said that President Obama would not consider such a tax. [CNSNews.com, 8/29/11]

IBD Editorial: Krueger “Popped Up As An Advocate For A Value-Added Tax.” An Investor’s Business Daily editorial stated: “Still more recently, Krueger popped up as an advocate for a value-added tax (VAT) or, as some call it, a consumption tax.” [Investors.com, 8/29/11]

WSJ: Krueger “Favors A European-Style VAT.” From The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Krueger agrees with Mr. Obama on most issues, notably the need for higher taxes (he favors a European-style VAT), cap-and-tax to reduce global warming and a high minimum wage. We’re also told he was an architect of cash for clunkers, the $3 billion subsidy that moved car sales from one month to another. Professor Krueger has his work cut out for him as a salesman for Stimulus II — or is IV? — but his confirmation hearing should at the very least be educational. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/30/11]

Hannity: Krueger “Wants A Value-Added Tax.” From Fox News’ Hannity:

STUART VARNEY (Fox Business host): Thank heavens. The new economic adviser is Alan Krueger. He’s an academic. He likes —

SEAN HANNITY (host): Another one?

VARNEY: Yet another one. We didn’t learn the first time, or the second —

HANNITY: Another genius who’s going to lead us into economic turmoil.

VARNEY: He likes the VAT, the value added tax, a consumption tax.

HANNITY: Wait a minute, on top of. Not to replace.

VARNEY: On top of — on top of income taxes.

[…]

VARNEY: The game-changer, which would really change things —

HANNITY: What would it be?

VARNEY: Tax reform. Lower tax rates, bring in more money. He’ll never do it.

HANNITY: Well, wait a minute, this guy wants a value added tax — wait a minute, value-added tax, which is the FairTax, as we call it, right? My buddy Neal Boortz wrote a book on the FairTax, value-added tax.

VARNEY: But that’s in place of, it’s not going to be in place of.

HANNITY: But wait a minute, in place of — no, but they want to add a new tax, a national sales tax on top of —

VARNEY: Five percent to bring in $500 billion a year to spend on their social programs. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/29/11]

Krueger Wrote That VAT Proposal Was “A Suggestion For Serious Discussion,” Not “Sure It Is The Best Way To Go”

Krueger: VAT Posed “Only As A Suggestion For Serious Discussion; I’m Not Sure It Is The Best Way To Go.” In a January 12, 2009, post on The New York Times’ Economix blog, Krueger wrote:

Here is a suggestion to address both the short-run and long-run problems. I pose it only as a suggestion for serious discussion; I’m not sure it is the best way to go. But here goes: Why not pass a 5 percent consumption tax to take effect two years from now? There are many different ways to implement a consumption tax, but for simplicity think about a national sales tax.

[…]

This analysis only scratches the surface. As I said, I propose the idea only for discussion at this stage, but it is worth considering. What do you think? [Economix, The New York Times, 1/12/09]

Right-Wing Media Blast Krueger For Wanting To Add VAT On Top Of Income Tax …

CNS: “VAT Would Be A Levy That Adds To The Current Tax Structure.” From CNSNews.com:

The consumption tax differs from a “Fair Tax” proposal or national sales tax proposal that has been considered in recent years by U.S. politicians who want to replace the income tax. The VAT would be a levy that adds to the current tax structure. [CNS News, 8/29/11]

IBD Editorial: Krueger “Pushed” For VAT “Not As A Replacement For Our Current Dysfunctional Income-Tax Code, But As An Addition To It.” From an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily:

Nothing wrong with [proposing a VAT], per se, unless you’re pushing it not as a replacement for our current dysfunctional income-tax code, but as an addition to it.

But that’s exactly what Krueger did, although to his credit he did write in a January 2009 New York Times piece that “the main downside of this proposal is that taxes reduce economic activity.”

Darn right. Not only that, but unless you get rid of the income tax entirely when you impose a consumption tax, you end up with an overtaxed, stagnant mess. Don’t think so? Look at Europe, where citizens are hit with both income tax and a VAT, and the two just keep marching higher. [Investors.com, 8/29/11]

… But He Suggested Using VAT To Lower Rates In The Long Run

Krueger: If Budget Picture Improves, “Income Taxes Or Corporate Taxes Could Be Reduced And The Revenue Replaced By The Consumption Tax.” From Krueger’s New York Times blog post:

The main downside of this proposal is that taxes reduce economic activity. But the government must make critical trade-offs, and a consumption tax could be the most efficient means to raise revenue to finance essential government functions. Over time, if the budget picture improved, income taxes or corporate taxes could be reduced and the revenue replaced by the consumption tax. [Economix, The New York Times, 1/12/09]


Top Perry Patron Has Ties To DeLay Redistricting Scandal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Top Perry Patron Has Ties To DeLay Redistricting Scandal
Texas Gov. Ricky Perry Christian “call to action” retreat this weekend will bringing together some of his biggest patrons and political supporters. One of them, prominent San Antonio doctor and hospital-bed magnate James Leininger, is a leading social-conservative activist in the state who played a role in a scandal involving former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Texas redistricting.


Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Transition Team Knew About Missing Emails In March
As TPM reported recently, emails sent and received by Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) transition team were accidentally deleted, apparently in violation of state standards. But it wasn’t clear when they were deleted, or how. Now the Miami Herald reports…

Federal Judge Blocks Alabama’s Immigration Law
A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction against Alabama’s controversial immigration crackdown, ruling that she needed more time to determine whether the law is constitutional. The law had been scheduled to go into effect on September 1st.


The Unholy GOP Three and He Who Must Not Be Mentioned Except in Disdain

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

The Unholy GOP Three and He Who Must Not Be Mentioned Except in Disdain


O’Donnell’s Book Signing Bust

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

O’Donnell’s Book Signing Bust
Christine O’Donnell had a book signing for Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again in Naples, Florida last week but the News-Press reports just five people showed up and “members of the media outnumbered customers.”

The failed U.S. Senate candidate “politely turned down a request from a young man who asked her to sign his book on demonology instead of a copy of her book.”

O’Donnell Will Speak Before Palin
Tea party-backed activist Christine O’Donnell (R) will take the stage at Saturday’s tea party rally in Iowa shortly before Sarah Palin, the Des Moines Register reports.

O’Donnell, author of the book Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again, lost her bid for the U.S. Senate in Delaware last fall.

Some Donors Think Bachmann is Jewish
Some Jewish donors are telling fundraisers for Mitt Romney that while they like him, they’d rather open their wallets for the “Jewish candidate,” Michele Bachmann, who they don’t realize is actually a Lutheran, the New York Post reports.

“Some in Romney’s camp have been wondering whether Bachmann and her allies are pushing the ‘Jewish’ rumor to help their own fund-raising… She has enjoyed strong popularity among Jewish voters and often talks about her stay on a kibbutz during the summer of 1974, when she was a teenager.”


Is Capitalism Doomed?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Is Capitalism Doomed?
This article originally appeared in Project Syndicate. NEW YORK–The massive volatility and sharp equity-price correction now hitting global financial markets signal that most advanced economies are on the brink of a double-dip recession. A financial and economic crisis caused by…


Bachmann & The Golden Bough
If there’s one book that’s familiar to every Liberal Arts major it’s probably James Frazer’s mighty tome on comparative religion, 1890’s “The Golden Bough.” For generations many undergraduates have probably used this classic work the way I did: as a…


Morning CheckUp: August 30, 2011

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 30th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Morning CheckUp: August 30, 2011
Regulators to shame insurers in rate review process starting Thursday: The Obama administration and states “will automatically scrutinize any proposed health-premium increase of 10% or more as part of the 2010 health-overhaul law” but won’t have the authority to block insurers from charging the higher rates. [WSJ] HHS official compares health law to civil rights […]

Regulators to shame insurers in rate review process starting Thursday: The Obama administration and states “will automatically scrutinize any proposed health-premium increase of 10% or more as part of the 2010 health-overhaul law” but won’t have the authority to block insurers from charging the higher rates. [WSJ]

HHS official compares health law to civil rights movement: “Jay Angoff, special adviser to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, drew parallels between the two contentious efforts during a panel presentation in Baltimore. He said pushback from state governors over implementation of the law mirrors the acrimony held by many state lawmakers decades earlier when they had to adopt the civil rights package.” “I don’t want to say that the health care law is as important as the civil rights law,” Angoff said. “But there really are some analogies.” [Politico]

Obama administration steps up anti-fraud efforts: “New government statistics show federal health care fraud prosecutions in the first eight months of 2011 are on pace to rise 85% over last year due in large part to ramped-up enforcement efforts under the Obama administration.” [USA Today]

Employees are not willing to sacrifice to pay less for health insurance: Only 27 percent of people with insurance provided through their employer said they would accept a more restricted list of doctors and hospitals in their networks, according to the latest monthly poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Less than a third of those polled were willing to pay more for brand name drugs or pay higher deductibles in return for lower premiums. [Kaiser Health News]

Huckabee to headline ‘personhood’ event: Huckabee will be the keynote speaker kickoff a campaign in support of a “personhood” initiative that is slated to appear on the November ballot in Mississippi. The initiative seeks to define a “person” as a being at the point of fertilization. [Clarion Ledger]

VA abortion clinics see licensing regulations as an “attack”: “Officials at abortion clinics around Virginia said Monday that their offices do not meet building standards in draft state regulations, with one arguing that the move is “an attack on reproductive rights” intended to force clinics to close, not enhance safety as some proponents suggest.” [Pilot Online]

Docs urge research center not to consider cost effectiveness: The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a new medical research body created by the health care law, should not consider the cost of treatments when evaluating them, the nation’s largest physician lobby argues. [Julian Pecquet]

America?s Worst Federal Spending Is Generally Its Least Controversial
Suzy Khimm asks, sensibly, “Why are we subsidizing the building of homes in flood-prone areas?” As she explains, the National Flood Insurance Program offers sub-market insurance rates to people who want to build houses in very flood prone areas. It’d be as if we had a special program to offer subsidized health insurance to people […]

Suzy Khimm asks, sensibly, “Why are we subsidizing the building of homes in flood-prone areas?”

As she explains, the National Flood Insurance Program offers sub-market insurance rates to people who want to build houses in very flood prone areas. It’d be as if we had a special program to offer subsidized health insurance to people who refuse to wear seatbelts. Sounds nuts? And yet there it is. But I do think it’s important to note that this kind of program, generally the worst kind of thing the federal government does, tends to be totally uncontroversial politically. The National Flood Insurance Program Reextension Act of 2010 was sponsored by a bipartisan group, it passed the filibuster-ridden Senate by unanimous consent on September 21, it passed the House of Representatives on a voice vote on September 23, and was signed into law by President Obama a week later. The lead sponsor of the current Flood Insurance Reauthorization is Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi. Amidst fierce ideological debate about the size and scope of the federal government, in other words, there’s no serious budget-cutting move to stop subsidizing people from living in dangerous flood zones.