The evidence everywhere is unequivocal: Despite trillions in printed dollars, euros, pounds, and yen … despite the passage of almost four years since the heart of the credit crisis … despite all the proclamations of government bureaucrats and central bankers, the economy and capital markets remain on the ropes!
Take … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: If All You Have Is a Hammer
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The Washington Post was a strong supporter of NAFTA at the time the deal was approved. It continues to be a strong defender of the pact nearly two decades later. It has repeatedly shown itself willing to make up facts or just ignore them to push its[...]
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"Let's get one thing straight: It's not flip-flopping. It's lying." (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)Mitt Romney tells two basic types of lies: the kind where he's feeling awkward and unpopular and is just trying to make his audience like him more, for even an instant, and the brazen, ridiculous, intentional campaign lie. The latter case is where we get a campaign predicated on the idea that you just shake the Etch A Sketch and no one will notice. Just as the idea of the Etch A Sketch originated with Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, so do some of the most blatant lies. That's certainly the case with Fehrnstrom's new attempt to claim that President Obama's rescue of the American auto industry was all Mitt Romney's idea:
"[Romney's] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that," Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said.Fehrnstrom's position is that because Romney called for managed bankruptcy in November 2008, and months and months later Obama did have the auto companies go through managed bankruptcy, Romney deserves credit for Obama's success. There are, as you might imagine, a few tiny problems with this position. First, the auto companies, the people who worked on the auto rescue in the Bush and Obama administrations, and economists outside the process agree, contra Romney, that managed bankruptcy only became possible because of the aid the government gave the auto companies between the time Romney suggested immediate bankruptcy and the time they actually entered that process. What Romney advocated at the time he advocated it has been widely discredited by economists in both parties. No private capital was available to make managed bankruptcy possible; in fact, Bain Capital, the company Romney ran for most of his career, refused to invest.
"The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney's advice."
Second, Romney has continued saying that President Obama rescued the auto industry in the wrong way. In February, he wrote a Detroit News op-ed to that effect. He actually wrote "The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better." Subsequently, challenged on that at a debate, he said "Those monies they put in beforehand were?it was wasted money." But two months and a shake of the Etch A Sketch later, we're supposed to start believing that President Obama did the right thing ... but only because Mitt Romney told him how.
It's not just that Mitt Romney is, personally, a habitual liar. Though he certainly is that, the real issue is that his campaign is calibrated around the idea that blatant mendacity won't be penalized by the media or the Republican base, so lying is an acceptable and politically safe way to try to appeal to independent voters.
House Budget chairman Paul Ryan inhabits two, mutually exclusive spaces in Washington politics. He?s both a crusader for deficit reduction?the recipient of praise and accolades from the Beltway?s collection of deficit hawks?and a pure right-wing ideologue, whose budgets would gut the social safety net, slash taxes on the rich, and load the United States with trillions of dollars in debt. That he?s managed to do this without backlash from the Right or incredulity from the mainstream is a remarkable achievement, and as Jonathan Chait describes for New York Magazine, a product of his studied earnestness and ostentatious love of ?wonkery?:
Seeming genuine is something Ryan does extraordinarily well. And here is where something deeper is at play, more than Ryan?s charm and winning personality, something that gets at the intellectual bankruptcy of contemporary Washington. The Ryan brand is rooted in his ostentatious wonkery. Because, unlike the Bushes and the Palins, he grounds his position in facts and figures, he seems like an encouraging candidate to strike a bargain. But the thing to keep in mind about Ryan is that he was trained in the world of Washington Republican think tanks. These were created out of a belief that mainstream economists were hopelessly biased to the left, and crafted an alternative intellectual ecosystem in which conservative beliefs?the planet is not getting warmer, the economy is not growing more unequal?can flourish, undisturbed by skepticism. Ryan is intimately versed in the blend of fact, pseudo-fact, and pure imagination inhabiting this realm.
The thing that comes across in Chait?s piece, more than anything, is the degree to which so many people simply don?t believe that Ryan is a right-wing ideologue. When given a choice between him and their lying eyes, they choose him, despite the fact that his budget would clearly result in a return to the pre-New Deal era, where government was mostly uninvolved in the economic life of the country, to the detriment of everyone.
To wit, Chait relays an interview with New York Times business columnist James Stewart, who assumes that Ryan would raise tax rates on capital gains as part of his budget plan, despite the fact that Ryan has been a vocal opponent of taxes on capital gains. Chait is baffled, and asks him to square the circle:
I asked Stewart why he believed so strongly that Ryan actually supported such a reform, despite the explicit opposition of his budget. ?Maybe he?s being boxed in? by right-wing colleagues, Stewart suggested.
This is actually a problem for trying to challenge Ryan?s brand of reactionary conservatism; if the arbiters of mainstream discourse refuse to take Ryan on his stated terms?because he talks nice and works out a lot?then the public is necessarily less informed about what the Wisconsin representative wants for the United States. You can see this dynamic at work in today?s Times profile of Ryan, where we learn a lot about his popularity, his exercise regimen, and his love of noodling (catching catfish with your bare hands), and not very much about his plans or their implications.
Ryan?s ideas should discredit him?they are little more than an updated version of the policies that led us to the worst economy since the Depression. But people like to be hooked, and the earnest congressman is a great salesman.
Gousha on Illinois jobs: But they created 41,000 jobs in that time frame, the March to March time frame.There you have it, the Wisconsin people paying attention to what their elected leaders are doing in the Capitol [secretly doing in Walker's case] caused job loss under Scott Walker, though he takes credit for everything else.
Walker: Yeah, but they didn't have all the attention around the Capitol.
White House dismisses Sen. Marco Rubio's claims that it is actively working to torpedo his version of the DREAM Act: "If this proposal fails, the reason will be the Republicans," a White House official tells TPM.[...]
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Virginia is pushing ahead with passenger rail expansion in the state despite the uncertainty of federal funding, Carl Franzen reports.[...]
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I figured we were headed down a bad road when the conferees were named on the Workers Compensation Destruction Bill, and I was right. The bill still forces the family of a worker killed on the job to prove causation without the testimony of their deceased loved one. (I call this the "dead men tell no tales" provision.) The bill still creates an unfair apportionment scheme for injured workers with regard to preexisting conditions, takes away the right of an injured worker to choose his own physician in many cases, and creates a presumption that a worker on any prescribed medication was drunk at the time of injury.
Further the bill still does nothing to address the problems outlined in the lengthy PEER report that blasted our current Workers Compensation scheme. In fact, this bill is likely to make those problems worse, not better.
As an aside for those of you out there with Haley Barbour bumper stickers on the Silverado the bank still owns - The Workers Compensation Destruction Bill is the perfect example of what Republicans do when given power: they grind middle-class and working-class folks into grist for the rich. It's fine for the guy who owns the plant where you work and the folks who own the bank your wife is a loan officer for to vote Republican. Heck, it's in their economic best interest. But you ought to look in the mirror and ask yourself if the folks you've been voting for are ever going to look out for you. The Workers Compensation Destruction Bill is your answer.
I'll try to post more on this later this morning, but I can already tell you work's going to get in the way.
It's a target-rich environment here at la maison chez nous, choosing this morning's post. Google (the company, not the tool) is hitting the radar big time, and will soon get its share of attention.
But Nancy Pelosi, our "progressive" fierce defender, has center stage this morning with her recent announcement that she (and by the way, Obama) are still on board with a Grand Bargain ? you know, the one where you trade away your children's safety net so long as you keep your own.
Ryan Grimm at the Huffington Post:
Two progressive organizations have found themselves in the unusual position of being on the opposite side of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Over the course of the past two years, the former House Speaker has been the most significant obstacle to the ongoing effort to slash entitlements and cut social spending.Ignore the accurate but yes-butish first paragraph, and the praise in the second. The meat is in the third paragraph.
But a series of recent comments, and reports that Pelosi was willing to accept draconian cuts as part of a debt-ceiling deal, have liberals worried that their most powerful and passionate defender may be buckling on the issue.
During a recent press conference, and again during an interview with Charlie Rose, [Pelosi] said that she would support what's known as the Simpson-Bowles plan, a budget proposal that was created by the co-chairs of a fiscal commission set up by President Obama (dubbed the "Catfood Commission" by progressives).
The Simpson-Bowles plan is a mix of tax increases and spending cuts that trims four trillion dollars off the deficit in ten years. Its cuts to social spending and entitlement programs made it "simply unacceptable" to the Democrats' liberal base almost as soon as it was announced. Pelosi's rhetorical retreat from that hard-line position has progressives worried they'll have nobody left to defend the social safety net, even Medicare and Social Security.And for good measure, there's this to worry about as well:
They are also worried by the willingness Pelosi expressed during the manufactured debt-ceiling crisis to agree to cuts much greater than Simpson-Bowles was going for, as reported by the Washington Post.There's more in Grim's reporting, but I won't belabor the point.
We are going to stick to the big three [Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid].Got that? The rest is just words, the fog. Krugman calls it a "wealth transfer" and faux-progressive Pelosi's on board.
Working late into the evening, Obama asked someone to get Boehner on the phone. [Obama's] message: I?ll take your last offer. ?Mr. President,? Boehner answered, ?we don?t have time to reopen these negotiations.?
White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table.
Yesterday in Dearborn, Michigan, noted anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer hosted a conference promising to advocate for “human rights” in one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. Geller, writing on her blog on Sunday, warned, “We will meet fierce resistance by Islamic supremacists who will do anything, say anything to impose the sharia and whitewash the oppression, subjugation and slaughter of women under Islamic law.”
But surprisingly, Muslim women found themselves denied entry to the conference and, after patiently waiting in the corridor after being told to wait, were removed from the Hyatt Hotel by the Dearborn Police Department and Hyatt security.
Several of the young women commented that they shared a similar appearance with Jessica Mokdad, the young women who Geller and Spencer claim was murdered in an “honor killing” (a conclusion not shared by Mokdad’s family or Michigan prosecutors).
ThinkProgress attempted to attend the event and was turned away, and eventually removed from the Hyatt by the police, along with the young women. One of the women commented, “I tried emailing [Pamela Geller to register] and I literally couldn’t get any kind of response back.” That comment seems to contradict Geller’s claim that she wants to help Muslim women and that the conference was in defense of the human rights of Muslim women.
Another woman who tried to attend the conference told ThinkProgress:
Coming in, I was asking where the human rights conference is. [Hyatt Security and Dearborn Police] were like, ‘what are you talking about?’ I’m like, ‘the human rights conference on the second floor.’ They were like, ‘the anti-Islam conference?’ That’s what they’re calling it now.
And another woman expressed surprise that Geller, who has asked to hear from more Muslim voices on human rights issues, was denying Muslims access to her event. “I watched an interview with her [...] and she said, ‘Where are the Muslims?’ Well, we’re here!” Watch it (police arrive to escort the women off the Hyatt premises at 3:58):
Pamela Geller emailed ThinkProgress, “They didn’t register. We’ve been announcing for weeks that only registered attendees would be admitted.”
Geller and Spencer play prominent roles in the Islamophobia “echo chamber” detailed in the Center for American Progress’s report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”