Daily Archive: 09/04/2011

Sep 04 2011

Rant of the Week: Paul Krugman

New Tork Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning Economist, Paul Krugman was a guest on This Week with Christiane Amanpour participating in a rountable discussion with Jared Bernstein, Doug Holtz-Eakin, and Carol Lee on jobs.  Sounds like Dr. Krugman had a lousy morning.

Zombies on ABC

Boy, that was a morning of the undead.

First, we had DeMint assuring us that businessmen he talks to say that fear of regulation – and the National Labor Relations Board!- is holding them back.

Then Douglas Holtz-Eakin repeated the claim, and also did the “we’re about to be Greece” thing after a week in which the 10-year Treasury fell to 2 percent.

OK, that’s what happens with zombie ideas- no matter how often you kill them, they keep coming back. But don’t these people ever get embarrassed?

Dr. Krugman links to an article in McClatchy that debunks the argument that regulations, taxes are killing small business, the owners say they aren’t:

WASHINGTON – Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation.

snip

McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business.

Their response was surprising.

None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Umm. Yes, he’s right these people are zombies. You can’t kill them or their lies.  

Sep 04 2011

AFL-CIO President Gets Tough With Democrats

Recently AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka laid in on the line to the White House and the Democrats, you don’t support us, we won’t support you. “In the past we’ve spent a significant amount of resources on candidates and party structures, and the day after election, workers were no stronger then they were the day before,” Trumka said, during a sit down at his Washington D.C. office slightly more than a week ago.

The failure to pass Employee Free Choice Act and the public health insurance option and the renewal of the Bush tax cuts and the consistent push for free trade deals have made Mr. Trumka cranky. In light of the events in Wisconsin, he has taken a harder stand and in recent interviews has politely let his frustrations show.  This is some of what he said in an interview with Huffington Post where he also spoke out on Social Security and Medicare:

“What we are now focused on is doing a couple of things differently,” Trumka said. “In the past, we would build our structure six to eight months before the election,” he added. “Now we’re not going to do that. We’re going to focus our resources on building a structure that has total fidelity towards America’s working people, both union and non-union working people. We’ll do it 12 months a year, so they’ll be able to transition from electoral politics, to advocacy, to accountability with no effort. And it will continue to build greater strength for workers after the election and in between elections.”

snip

“How do you tell someone like my dad, who retired the day he was 62, that he has to work to 67? It would have been a death sentence for him,” said Trumka. “He couldn’t have worked to 67 — he was completely disabled of black lung. So what do you tell then? You tell them that they ought to be able to retire at a lower range.”

“I think the President made a strategic mistake when he abandoned talking about the jobs crisis and job creation and focused completely on the politically manufactured debt crisis,” he said when asked for a review of the administration’s economic record. “You have one very obvious way to make a dent in the deficit crisis, which is to get people back to work.”

“But you don’t have anyone actually talking about jobs,” Trumka said. “And when you bring it up to people at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, their almost universal response is we have a Congress that won’t do it. So what do you do? You do what leaders do, you lead.”

Another labor official spoke about plans to engage more on the local level:

“One of the most important aspects of the labor movement, which is different then for other entities, is that we have an enormous network of local community workers who are responsible for talking to people after their election,” one top union official said. “The experience of the last six years should teach progressives a great deal about the difference between elected people who say the right thing in their candidate questionnaires and the people who are there voting for workers, voting for jobs and advocating our positions.”

“There was a perception in the progressive community in January 2009 that things had gotten pretty good,” the official, who requested anonymity, added. “But we didn’t have an infrastructure in place to say we need a bigger stimulus, or we need to be concerned about jobs or we need to have a different national agenda.”

So what has President Obama done since he was elected? He has met with and capitulated to the demands of Republicans, banks, Wall St. and corporations. I sincerely doubt that Obama will have anything that will be any different to say on Thursday than this mediocre responses of the past.

Sep 04 2011

On This Day In History September 4

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 4 is the 247th day of the year (248th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 118 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1886, Apache chief Geronimo surrenders to U.S. government troops. For 30 years, the mighty Native American warrior had battled to protect his tribe’s homeland; however, by 1886 the Apaches were exhausted and hopelessly outnumbered. General Nelson Miles accepted Geronimo’s surrender, making him the last Indian warrior to formally give in to U.S. forces and signaling the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest.

While Geronimo (Chiricahua: Goyaale, “one who yawns”; often spelled Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English) said he was never a chief, he was a military leader. As a Chiricahua Apache, this meant he was one of many people with special spiritual insights and abilities known to Apache people as “Power”. Among these were the ability to walk without leaving tracks; the abilities now known as telekinesis and telepathy; and the ability to survive gunshot (rifle/musket, pistol, and shotgun). Geronimo was wounded numerous times by both bullets and buckshot, but survived. Apache men chose to follow him of their own free will, and offered first-hand eye-witness testimony regarding his many “powers”. They declared that this was the main reason why so many chose to follow him (he was favored by/protected by “Usen”, the Apache high-god). Geronimo’s “powers” were considered to be so great that he personally painted the faces of the warriors who followed him to reflect their protective effect. During his career as a war chief, Geronimo was notorious for consistently urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and their various towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.

snip

In 1886, General Nelson A. Miles selected Captain Henry Lawton, in command of B Troop, 4th Cavalry, at Ft. Huachuca and First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood to lead the expedition that captured Geronimo. Numerous stories abound as to who actually captured Geronimo, or to whom he surrendered, although most contemporary accounts, and Geronimo’s own later statements, give most of the credit for negotiating the surrender to Lt. Gatewood. For Lawton’s part, he was given orders to head up actions south of the U.S.-Mexico boundary where it was thought Geronimo and a small band of his followers would take refuge from U.S. authorities. Lawton was to pursue, subdue, and return Geronimo to the U.S., dead or alive.

Lawton’s official report dated September 9, 1886 sums up the actions of his unit and gives credit to a number of his troopers for their efforts. Geronimo gave Gatewood credit for his decision to surrender as Gatewood was well known to Geronimo, spoke some Apache, and was familiar with and honored their traditions and values. He acknowledged Lawton’s tenacity for wearing the Apaches down with constant pursuit. Geronimo and his followers had little or no time to rest or stay in one place. Completely worn out, the little band of Apaches returned to the U.S. with Lawton and officially surrendered to General Miles on September 4, 1886 at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.

The debate still remains whether Geronimo surrendered unconditionally. Geronimo pleaded in his memoirs that his people who surrendered had been misled: his surrender as a war prisoner was conditioned in front of uncontested witnesses (especially General Stanley). General Howard, chief of Pacific US army division, said on his part that his surrender was accepted as a dangerous outlaw without condition, which has been contested in front of the Senate.

In February, 1909, Geronimo was thrown from his horse while riding home, and had to lie in the cold all night before a friend found him extremely ill. He died of pneumonia on February 17, 1909 as a prisoner of the United States at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. On his deathbed, he confessed to his nephew that he regretted his decision to surrender. He was buried at Fort Sill in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery

Sep 04 2011

Happy? Labor Day

Zero Job Growth Latest Bleak Sign for U.S. Economy

By SHAILA DEWAN, The New York Times

Published: September 2, 2011

August brought no increase in the number of jobs in the United States, a signal that the economy has stalled and that inaction by policy makers carries substantial risk.



Mr. Obama, who instructed the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to pull back on more stringent standards on ozone emissions in response to complaints that they would hurt hiring, is expected to propose tax incentives to promote hiring and infrastructure spending. He also is expected to renew the payroll tax cut and extend unemployment benefits, both of which are set to expire.



Much of the movement that did appear in the jobs report went in the wrong direction. Revised numbers showed that job growth in June and July was smaller than previously indicated. In August, wages fell and the average number of hours worked inched down – a sign that businesses had less for employees to do.

Governments continued to cut jobs, the Labor Department reported. Small gains at the state level were attributed in part to the return of workers from the government shutdown in Minnesota. Local governments lost 20,000 jobs as they continued to struggle with budget shortfalls and the disappearance of federal stimulus money.

Black unemployment: Highest in 27 years

By Annalyn Censky @CNNMoney

September 2, 2011: 3:13 PM ET

Black unemployment surged to 16.7% in August, its highest level since 1984, while the unemployment rate for whites fell slightly to 8%, the Labor Department reported.



Overall, black men have it the worst, with joblessness at a staggeringly high 19.1%, compared to 14.5% for black women.

Black unemployment has now remained above 10% for four straight years, and the given current economic sluggishness, some experts say it’s safe to predict the rate will remain above 10% for four more years.

White House Expects Persistently High Unemployment

By JACKIE CALMES, The New York Times

Published: September 1, 2011

The White House budget office forecast on Thursday that unemployment would remain at 9 percent through the 2012 presidential election year, an outlook that it said calls for the sort of the job-creating tax cuts and spending President Obama will propose next week.

The unemployment outlook for the next 16 months reflects a 9.1 percent rate this year, down slightly from the 9.3 percent forecast when President Obama made his annual budget request in February. Next year, the projected jobless rate is 9 percent, up from 8.6 percent in the February forecast.

Unemployment will not return to the 5 percent range until 2017, the budget office said, reflecting the intensity of the hangover from the most severe recession since the Great Depression.

While the budget office’s unemployment forecast for 2012 is no surprise given similar private sector projections, it amounts to the White House’s official acknowledgement of the political hurdle in Mr. Obama’s path to re-election.

Labor unions adjust to new reality under Obama

By SAM HANANEL, Associated Press

3 hours ago

It’s a far cry from the early optimism unions had after Obama came into office. Back then, unions hoped a Democratic-controlled Congress would pass legislation to make it easier for unions to organize workers. But business groups fought that proposal hard, and it never came to a vote.

Union leaders grew more disappointed when the president’s health care overhaul didn’t include a government-run insurance option. Then Obama agreed to extend President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

Obama came out in favor of trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that most unions say will cost American jobs. Despite campaigning in favor of raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.50 an hour, Obama hasn’t touched the issue since taking office.



(L)abor’s frustration with Obama reached new heights this summer as Trumka accused him of working with tea party Republicans on deficit reduction instead of “stepping up to the plate” on jobs.

Labor unions and other liberal groups want Obama to push a major stimulus bill with hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending on infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and transit systems. Even if it’s rejected in the GOP-controlled House, unions want to see Obama show more leadership and take a bold stand in favor of stimulus spending.

That’s not likely to happen.



(U)nions have begun shifting money and resources out of Democratic congressional campaigns and back to the states in a furious effort to reverse or limit GOP measures that could wipe out union rolls.

The AFL-CIO’s president, Richard Trumka, says it’s part of a new strategy for labor to build an independent voice separate from the Democratic Party.

Union donations to federal candidates at the beginning of this year were down about 40 percent compared with the same period in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Last month, a dozen trade unions said they would boycott next year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., over frustration on the economy and to protest the event’s location in a right-to-work state.

Good luck with that Labor vote Barack.  Thanks for nothing.

Sep 04 2011

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour:I’ll make this brief. There’s an interview with the king of the Tea Party Republican’s Sen. Jim DeMint (SC) and Paul Krugman is a guest on the round table. You have a mute button until the round table segment. The rest is too maudlin for words.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Oy, Bachmann and Huntsman.

The Chris Matthews Show: It’s all about Perry. Seriously, what kind of a question is this:

In Bad Economic Times, Would Perry’s Far Right Rhetoric Get Overlooked?

What does that even mean?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Don’t expect a rational discussion about jobs from this bunch: Tom Friedman (he’s got a new book); editorial page editor for the Wall Street Journal, Paul Gigot; congresswoman from California, Maxine Waters (D); co-founder of No Labels, Mark McKinnon; and Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin. Waters is the only realistic voice about jobs and Goodwin is out of her element.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Sen DeMint again. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Chair of the House “Intelligence” Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers babbling about Libya, Syria and 9/11. Time Magazine’s assistant managing editor Michael Duffy and New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker will talk about the president & the Republicans who wan to replace him

It’s the last weekend of Summer (damn). do you really want to spend it watching any pf this?

New York Times Editorial: The Jobs Crisis

The August employment report, released on Friday, is bleak on all counts, but at least it leaves no doubt that the United States is in the grip of a severe and worsening jobs crisis. That should lend a sense of urgency to the speech on jobs that President Obama plans to deliver this week.

The August employment report, released on Friday, is bleak on all counts, but at least it leaves no doubt that the United States is in the grip of a severe and worsening jobs crisis. That should lend a sense of urgency to the speech on jobs that President Obama plans to deliver this week.

Michele Chen: Labor Day Showdown: Can Advocates Stop ‘NAFTA of the Pacific’?

This Labor Day, the Pacific Rim will wash into the Midwest’s flagship city, and activists will confront the tides of global commerce with a demand for global economic justice.

At trade talks in Chicago, the Obama administration will work with other officials to develop a trade agreement that will incorporate Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Peru. Labor, environmental and human rights groups will gather in the city to warn that the structure, and guiding ideology, of the emerging trade deal could expand a model of free-marketeering that has displaced masses of workers across the globe and granted multinationals unprecedented powers to flout national and international laws.

Maureen Dowd: One and Done?

ONE day during the 2008 campaign, as Barack Obama read the foreboding news of the mounting economic and military catastrophes that W. was bequeathing his successor, he dryly remarked to aides: “Maybe I should throw the game.”

On the razor’s edge of another recession; blocked at every turn by Republicans determined to slice him up at any cost; starting an unexpectedly daunting re-election bid; and puzzling over how to make a prime-time speech about infrastructure and payroll taxes soar, maybe President Obama is wishing that he had thrown the game.

The leader who was once a luminescent, inspirational force is now just a guy in a really bad spot.

Mark Weisbot: Is This Minustah’s ‘Abu Ghraib Moment’ in Haiti?

Shock video of UN soldiers apparently raping a Haitian teenager raises questions about why these ‘peacekeepers’ are there at all

The video is profoundly disturbing. It shows four men, identified as Uruguayan troops from the UN mission in Haiti (Minustah), seemingly in the act of raping an 18-year-old Haitian youth. Two have the victim pinned down on a mattress, with his hands twisted high up his back so that he cannot move. Perhaps the most unnerving part of the video is the constant chorus of laughter from the alleged perpetrators; to them, apparently, it’s just a drunken party.

ABC News reports that a Uruguayan navy lieutenant, Nicolas Casariego, has confirmed the authenticity of the video. A medical certificate filed with the court in Port Salut, a southern coastal town where the incident took place, says that the victim was beaten and had injuries consistent with a sexual assault.

The incident is likely to pour more gasoline on the fire of resentment that Haitians have for the UN troops who have occupied their country for more than seven years. There has been a dire pattern of abuses: in December 2007, more than 100 UN soldiers from Sri Lanka were deported under charges of sexual abuse of under-age girls. In 2005, UN troops went on the rampage in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest areas in Port-au-Prince, killing as many as 23 people, including children, according to witnesses. After the raid, the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders reported: “On that day, we treated 27 people for gunshot wounds. Of them, around 20 were women under the age of 18.”

Sep 04 2011

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

U.S. Appeals to Palestinians to Stall U.N. Vote on Statehood

 

By STEVEN LEE MYERS and MARK LANDLER  

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has initiated a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over a plan by Palestinians to seek recognition as a state at the United Nations, but it may already be too late, according to senior American officials and foreign diplomats.

The administration has circulated a proposal for renewed peace talks with the Israelis in the hopes of persuading the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to abandon the bid for recognition at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly beginning Sept. 20.




Sunday’s Headlines:

The hunt for Gaddafi – and his victims – goes on

‘It Is Possible to Pull the Plug’

Elections to be held by March 2012, says Mugabe

Witness to a decade that redefined Southeast Asia

India’s Anna Hazare, from village activist to national campaigner

Sep 04 2011

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

U.S. Appeals to Palestinians to Stall U.N. Vote on Statehood

 

By STEVEN LEE MYERS and MARK LANDLER  

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has initiated a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over a plan by Palestinians to seek recognition as a state at the United Nations, but it may already be too late, according to senior American officials and foreign diplomats.

The administration has circulated a proposal for renewed peace talks with the Israelis in the hopes of persuading the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to abandon the bid for recognition at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly beginning Sept. 20.




Sunday’s Headlines:

The hunt for Gaddafi – and his victims – goes on

‘It Is Possible to Pull the Plug’

Elections to be held by March 2012, says Mugabe

Witness to a decade that redefined Southeast Asia

India’s Anna Hazare, from village activist to national campaigner

Sep 04 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Featured Essays-

DocuDharma

Sep 04 2011

The Abbreviated Evening Edition

Apologies for lateness and the very abbreviated news. Since this is an American Holiday weekend and many of us are planning family outing, attending barbecues and celebrating Summer’s last big weekend before beaches and pools close, I won’t bore you with too many details. So here are the top stories that, at least I think deserve some attention.

New Orleans braces for Tropical Storm Lee

by Kathy Finn

(Reuters) – New Orleans, devastated by Hurricane Katrina six years ago, faced a new threat on Saturday from Tropical Storm Lee, which was set to challenge the city’s flood defenses with an onslaught of heavy rain.

The storm was expected to bring up to 20 inches of rain to southeast Louisiana over the next few days, including to low-lying New Orleans, the National Hurricane Center said.

Lee’s tidal surge could spur coastal flooding in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama before drenching a large swath of the Southeast and Appalachian regions next week.