Visual source: Newseum
Economic suicide seems to Europe's choice, writes Paul Krugman, who surely must get tired of having to repeat his message to the stopped-up ears across the pond and here at home:
In a way, it doesn?t really matter how Spain got to this point?but for what it?s worth, the Spanish story bears no resemblance to the morality tales so popular among European officials, especially in Germany. Spain wasn?t fiscally profligate?on the eve of the crisis it had low debt and a budget surplus. Unfortunately, it also had an enormous housing bubble, a bubble made possible in large part by huge loans from German banks to their Spanish counterparts. When the bubble burst, the Spanish economy was left high and dry; Spain?s fiscal problems are a consequence of its depression, not its cause.Jackson Diehl says President Obama's election-year delaying tactics are hurting U.S. foreign policy interests.
Nonetheless, the prescription coming from Berlin and Frankfurt is, you guessed it, even more fiscal austerity.
This is, not to mince words, just insane.
David Leonhardt weighs in on "Taxmageddon," the end of the tax breaks that hit a wide swath of Americans in less eight-and-a-half months. He thinks whoever wins the election is going to have a tough time of it:
What?s missing from these plans is any detail on which tax breaks would be eliminated. Corporate lobbyists, like those at the Business Roundtable, offer an especially telling contrast: they urge the government to reform the tax code while continuing to push for loopholes that benefit them and generally refusing to name loopholes they would close.Ruth Marcus is sick of the "Mommy Wars":
The tax breaks that cost the government the most money turn out to be overwhelmingly popular. The three largest are those for health insurance provided by employers, mortgage interest and 401(k)?s.
...maybe, instead of taking turns disavowing [Hilary] Rosen and proclaiming their undying admiration for mothers everywhere, President Obama and Mitt Romney could engage on some of these points. That would be a more productive use of their time?and ours.Michael Kinsley:
Take, for example, the issue of equal pay.
Effective class warfare requires drawing a line and choosing a side. All this talk about millionaires effectively moves the line from income of $250,000 a year (the level below which Obama has promised not to raise taxes) to $1 million (the level below which you don't have to worry about the Buffett rule). Politically, the more people on your side, the better. But economically, it makes the war nearly pointless.Debra Saunders is a tad too young to have been on the front-lines in the '60s, but her assessment of student protests sounds just like right-wingers did then.
In discussing how growth in the retail workforce has stalled out as companies opt for fewer cashiers, fewer salespeople and more "frictionless" interaction between customers and their money, Derek Thompson notes:
A recent Harvard Business Review study looked at four low-price retailers, including Costco and Trader Joe's, with higher labor costs (more salespeople, higher wages, more full-time workers) than their competitors. It turned out "they were more profitable than most of their competitors and have more sales per employee and per square foot," James Surowiecki reported in the New Yorker.John Nichols says, contrary to the delusions of Rep. Allen West, there are no commies in Congress, not even in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where a few are democratic socialists. But, says Nichols, some Republicans have found Marxists and Marxist analysis interesting:
[Vito] Marcantonio?s Republicanism was in the tradition of the party?s founders, very radical and very committed to breaking the grip of racist and segregationist Democrats on the policymaking of the country. It happened that this stance, in this regard, paralleled that of the Communist Party?which during the period of his Congressional service elected members of the New York City Council from Manhattan and Brooklyn.The 99% Spring efforts of MoveOn.org are seen by many in the Occupy movement as an effort to co-opt its non-electoral, non-hierarchical approach to politics, but Josh Harkinson writes that there's something happening here that ain't yet exactly clear. But it might be a melding of minds. At a 99% Spring non-violent training session brimful of people with gray hair:
Marcantonio, who represented part of Harlem, worked to bring African-Americans into the Republican Party and championed their candidacies. He would have delighted in the fact that a once-segregated Southern state such as Florida now sends an African-American Republican?Allen West?to Congress.
But Marcantonio, a student of Lincoln and the radical Republican tradition, would probably have encouraged West to read a bit more of the real history of the Republican Party.
"It's fine that we have MoveOn.org and we can press a button and sign a petition, but that isn't going to get the job done," an elderly woman in a red sweater told the crowd. "So we are here. And the real question is: What are we going to do when we leave here tonight? Are we going to stray out of our comfort zones and take some direct action together?or not?"Mona, Mona, Mona. I used to edit Mona Charen's column, and so very frequently she had a problem with the...uh...facts:
The president is barnstorming around the nation hoping to enrage voters at the injustice that the wealthy pay fewer taxes than the middle class. "Now that's wrong," Obama objected, "That's not fair."Charen goes on to explain that the top 10 percent of Americans pay 70 percent of income taxes. But Obama did not say the wealthy pay fewer taxes than the middle class. He said: "Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years. [...] That's not fair. It doesn't make any sense."
It also isn't true.
Not content with her deceit, she channels Allen West by raising the specter of Stalin, saying that Obama is finding "'kulaks' to scapegoat." Classy.
The shelling of civilian targets hasn't stopped but maybe this next round of outside observers will help more than the initial round. With Assad's troops bombing Homs (again) he continues to show little regard for international authority. With friends like Russia, Syria knows that they have the flexibility needed to ignore world outrage. More from Al Jazeera.
If you can't annoy somebody,
there's little point in writing.
Born April 16, 1922
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his rant was against obama for placing a bounty on saeed but since saeed has been declared a terrorist by england as well as america, I will nt be surprised if his nobleship is somehow revoked or censured
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Well, fair is fair. A member of the House of Lords has declared a $14 million bounty on Obama and Bush.http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-wilmington/britain-muslim-member-of-house-of-lords-offers-10m-bounty-on-obama-bush
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Morning all,I'm off to a paying gig so a good day to all.
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Good morning, pups. It's Keller and Krugman today. In "The Sweet Spot" Mr. Keller squeaks that Mitt Romney and President Obama will both need to remember that candidates don?t live by the base alone. It would appear that the President has gotten the message, since he's tossed his base under the bus more than once. Mittens, on the other hand... Prof. Krugman, in "Europe's Economic Suicide," says with European leaders doubling down on their failed policies, it?s getting harder and harder to believe that anything will get them to change course. Here they are.The coffee and tea are ready, and the biscuits are out of the oven. I'm headed out into the garden to cut a bunch of oregano for some folks at work, before it flowers. And then off to start another week... Have a great day.
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This was tax weekend in my house. As I've done for many years, I filled out my tax forms in early February and then on the final weekend, I check all my numbers, finalize the forms, and cut the check. Not that you're interested, but my Federal tax rate was 17.6%. More than Mittens, less than our president. I worked for my money. And I'm proud that I pay my taxes, although I think they're low for what I get back, but that's a discussion for another day.
Today the discussion is women and working. I work because I'm a widow, and thus my sole household support. I also work because I LIKE to work: I like being productive, I like the work I do, I like the people with whom I work. Would I work if Michael were still alive and we had a gaggle of kids? I don't know, because I don't know if he would have made enough money to support all of us, and that's the crux of the issue raised last week.
Is raising kids hard work? Absolutely...even raising a puppy is hard work. Most women in America who raise kids do not do so in multiple households, with a staff of nannies, maids, drivers and gardeners. They do it mostly alone, with help from husbands, relatives and friends. They do it while they also hold down paid employment.
Is there "dignity" in working? Mittens seems to think so, or at least he did back in January before it was Etch-a-Sketched out:
“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney in New Hampshire. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”
Back in the 1970's, I belonged to an organization of professional women who networked as we all worked in a male-driven society and we traded information on how to best navigate those waters. Sometimes the talk would turn to women who had kids and stayed home with them. The most radical of the feminists amoung the group felt that somehow those women weren't living up to their potential, and thus the stay at home moms were disdained. And that was the beginning of the problem for the left with motherhood.
Flash forward to 2012 when it's almost impossible to NOT work (if you can get a job): male, female, young, old. People work longer because they live longer, and pensions are virtually gone, or at best, questionable since so many companies renege. Young people often work part-time while in college to supplement loans since so many grants and scholarships are gone. People who need it cannot depend on the safety net that used to be so helpful. And the whole sandwich generation is supporting elderly parents with logistic and financial support, as well as trying to save for retirement and put their kids through school. And "school" is not just college: we've all seen the kids at the intersections raising money for sports and clubs which used to be free, we know the extra costs of school supplies that the schools used to supply.
The GOP is saying the issue isn't about choice, it's about jobs. And maybe they're somewhat correct: if the 1% hadn't been holding down wages, trading computerized productivity for workers, offshoring jobs, and decimating companies (I still miss Ampad, I was a regular customer) for the past 30 years, there would be more choice in who stays home and who works. Sure, if we were each worth $250 million dollars, we'd all have all the choices we could ever want. But we don't have that sort of net worth.
And so, there is the issue of fairness. It would be most fair if those women (and men) who wanted to stay home with their kids could, and those who wanted to work could also do so. It would be most fair if those who worked earned enough money to support a complete household. What is NOT fair is someone defending her right to stay home when she had choices that very few of the rest of us have, AND all the support that paid staff can bring to the endeavor of raising kids. No matter how eloquently she spoke, Ann Romney is still missing the point.
And so go forth and tell the truth: most parents cannot stay home because they cannot afford to do so. In a perfect world, we would have a European social net, where parents can stay home when their children are young. (Think Sweden.) In a perfect world, people could more easily work for smaller companies, or start sole proprietorships because they wouldn't have to worry about where to get health insurance. (Think anywhere else in the developed world.) In a perfect world we would be talking about industrial policy and bringing jobs back to America and not who stays home, and contraception, and whether gays should be allowed to marry. (Of COURSE they should.)
Over the weekend someone asked why he should be concerned about politics. "Someone should do something, but I've had it, and I don't want to think about any of this before November." My answer "YOU are "someone" - and it doesn't change unless we all stand up against the horror that is the 2012 Republican party. We need to work to vanquish them to the shadows, where they belong.
Source: Advanced Currency Markets | G10 Advancers and Decliners vs USD JPY 0.45 GBP -0.09 EUR -0.41 CHF -0.43 FX Risk appetite was weaker in the Asian session, as concern over the European situation, specifically Spain, continued from last week. Asia?s regional indices were lower with the Nikkei down -1.74%, the Hang Sang -0.45%, and the Shanghai flat at 0.02%. Over the weekend, China widened the CNY band from ±0.5% to ±1.0% as policymakers anticipate a ?soft? landing-a move which was largely…
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There seems to be some youthful spirit in the air.
Georgetown's Young Democrats are beginning to gather and have formed a Facebook page. Here's a look at some goals.
Maintaining and building upon the youth support in 2008, the Young Democrats of Georgetown County aim to continue the outreach enhanced by President Barack Obama?s campaign. Our goal is to collaborate with our young Democratic friends in sharing ideas, finding solutions, and having fun along the way. YDGC is open to all from ages 18 to 36.