09/26/2012 archive

No Dancing XIV

And some of them do.  This particular video is posted by someone you might recognize.

Taking it to the Streets

Don’t know why people won’t dance to that one.

It’s funny because it’s true.

According to ChaCha that phrase is from from Simpson’s #39 8F03 Bart the Murderer (aired October 10, 1991).

It was spoken by Fat Tony on seeing Itchy and Scratchy for the very first time.

Just something to think about when you read all those Romney/Stench pieces.

Paul Ryan vs. The Stench

By: Roger Simon, Politico

September 25, 2012 04:38 AM EDT

Jonathan Swift did not really want Irish people to sell their children for food in 1791; George Orwell did not really want the clocks to strike thirteen in 1984; Paul Ryan, I am sure, calls Mitt Romney something more dignified than “Stench” and Microsoft did not invent PowerPoint as a means to euthanize cattle. At least I am pretty sure Microsoft didn’t.

And you see, this is where Roger Simon is completely and totally wrong, it’s perfectly true that-

PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990 as a way to euthanize cattle using a method less cruel than hitting them over the head with iron mallets. After PETA successfully argued in court that PowerPoint actually was more cruel than iron mallets, the program was adopted by corporations for slide show presentations.

Conducting a PowerPoint presentation is a lot like smoking a cigar. Only the person doing it likes it. The people around him want to hit him with a chair.

PowerPoint is usually restricted to conference rooms where the doors are locked from the outside. It is, therefore, considered unsuited for large rallies, where people have a means of escape and where the purpose is to energize rather than daze.

Don’t quit your day job.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is 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”.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Katrina vanden Heuvel: The Better Bargain: Transaction Tax, not Austerity

On the eve of Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary, Congressman Keith Ellison introduced a much-needed common sense bill: HR 6411, the Inclusive Prosperity Act. The bill taxes financial transactions to generate revenue for social needs. Amid our consensus-narrowed, deficit-obsessed political debate, it’s a call to arms, and a breath of fresh air.

As I’ve often argued, a financial transaction tax is deeply pragmatic, broadly popular and sorely needed. At a time when budget slashing is a bipartisan obsession, it offers vital revenue. As we struggle to escape the recession wrought by the 1 percent, it presents a simple solution to discourage speculation. As progressives fight too many defensive battles, the financial transaction tax presents an urgent opportunity to go on offense.

Bryce Covert: A Gaffe Is When a Republican Tells the Truth

This Sunday, I attended a panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival in which moderator Ta-Nehisi Coates started out with a question for the panelists: Does this campaign season matter? Are we learning anything about the candidates? I was in the audience, but my response would be: Yes, it matters, and we’re learning a great deal. But it’s mostly about what the Republican Party really thinks.

While this election season may appear gaffe-tastic, the most viral moments weren’t misspoken words. Rather, they reveal what’s deep in the conservative heart-opinions that many had warned existed for a long time (and had even appeared in real-life legislation) but have now been put into stark relief for the general public. This election season has been highly instructional about deep-seated beliefs on the right.

Jessica Valenti: Feminism’s War on Penises

Rush Limbaugh is worried about penises. Specifically, he’s concerned that feminism (I’m sorry, ‘feminazis’) have contributed to decreasing penis size. Responding to an Italian study that reports penises are 10 percent smaller than they were fifty years ago, last week Limbaugh pointed to feminism, feminazis and “chickification” as the cause.

Ladies, the cat is out of the bag. Our cover of fighting for equal social, political and economic opportunities for women has been blown. The phallus has always been the centerpiece-and the target-of all feminist thought. The upside is that we can finally be open about our true agenda: A small dick on every man. (‘Cause who likes a big one, amirite?!)

This isn’t the first time someone has caught on to feminism’s real goal, of course. The world has a long history of outfoxing Operation Chestnut.

Anna M. Clark: America’s Miasma of Misinformation on Climate Change

With serious reporting of global warming by US media virtually nonexistent, it’s no wonder Americans are paralyzed in denial

Since 1950, humans have manufactured more goods than have ever existed in history. Our consumption of those goods – a highly inefficient use of our natural capital – has wrought a long list of environmental consequences. Staggering deforestation, check. Increasing greenhouse gas emissions, check. Rising heat, sea level, and incidence of extreme weather events – check, check and check.

To environmental experts, such evidence is the proverbial writing on the wall: we must transition to a low-carbon economy, stat, in order to avoid irrevocable damage. As President Obama affirmed, upon accepting his party’s nomination for president, no less:

   “Climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future.”

The president’s choice of words seemed a pointed response to Republican Senator James Inhofe, author of The Greatest Hoax and, it’s worth noting, recipient of $1.3m in campaign contributions from the oil and gas lobby.

Hilary Matfess: The TPP: A Quiet Coup for the Investor Class

The Obama administration’s trade negotiators are quietly selling out workers and the environment in a massive Bush-style trade agreement.

It would be a relief to report with any certainty that the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)-a massive proposed free-trade zone spanning the Pacific Ocean and all four hemispheres-are definitely empowering corporations to the detriment of workers, the environment, and sovereignty throughout the region. Unfortunately, the secretive and opaque character of the negotiations has made it difficult to report much of anything about them.

What can be confidently reported about the TPP is that, in terms of trade flows, it would be the largest free-trade agreement yet entered into by the United States-and, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service, that the ministers negotiating the agreement “have expressed an intent to comprehensively reduce barriers in goods, services, and agricultural trade as well as rules and disciplines on a wide range of topics” to unprecedented levels. Yet despite these grandiose ambitions, details of the negotiations and drafts of the text have been purposefully withheld from Congress and American citizens.

Phyllis Bennis: The Middle East in Turmoil Once Again: And It’s Not All About Us

When are we going to learn that it’s not all about us?

Certainly a lot of the current turmoil in the Middle East has something to do with the consequences of U.S. policy there. But still. The front page article in last Sunday’s New York Times led with concern that the current turmoil will test “President Obama’s ability to shape the forces of change in the Middle East.” Yikes. This is a disaster in the making.

Trying to renew U.S. control of a region finally claiming its 21st century independence from mainly U.S.-backed governments, is completely wrong-headed. After two or three generations of U.S. support for brutal military dictatorships and absolute monarchies because they were willing to toe the line on Israel, oil, and military bases, do we really want to put Washington back in charge of “shaping” the change that people across the region are fighting for?

Putting the Brakes on High Speed Trading

High Speed Frequency Trading (HFT) has been known to rattle traders and disrupt the stock market but has yet to be harnessed by regulators, until now.

Germany Acts to Increase Limits on High-Speed Trades

by Melissa Eddy and James Kanter

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government approved draft legislation on Wednesday that foresees imposing additional controls on such trading. The proposed measures include requiring that all high-frequency traders be licensed, requiring clear labeling of all financial products traded by powerful algorithms without human intervention and limiting the number of orders that may be placed without a corresponding trade. Traders who violate the limits, which would be set once the law took effect, would face a fine.

“Computer-generated algorithmic transaction involves a variety of new risks,” Germany’s finance ministry said in a statement. “Germany is reacting to these risks with legislation that will create more transparency, security and a better overview.”

The legislation, which is subject to approval by both houses of Parliament, was written with an eye toward similar legislation being discussed in Brussels that could eventually apply across the European Union, which has 27 member nations, the official said.

A prime example of what happens when HFT runs amok occurred in August this year by Knight Match, a system used by high speed trades, nearly bankrupted the trading company Knight Capital that lost $440 million in 45 minutes.

Knight was saved by a hastily assembled $400 million from a consortium of investors, but it appears the damage to Knight’s reputation with customers, particularly high frequency traders, will take longer to repair. Knight says the volume numbers, which were compiled by stock market and technology research firm Tabb Group, exclude the trading glitch, which happened on August 1st. Knight was forced to shut down its systems for part of that day. The volume drop shows that traders shied away from Knight longer than just in the days following the trading glitch. A Knight spokeswoman says the company won’t comment on whether trading volumes rebounded in September until early next month.

The HFT system has caused some concern in Washington. At a Senate Banking Committee hearing trading professional expressed the the fears of investors:

It no longer is your parents’ or grandparents’ stock market. Rather, it’s become a Wild West of trading, with errant technology too often in control and setting stocks, commodities, currencies and futures up for violent moves that could make the $1 trillion flash crash of May 2010 look tame by comparison, testified David Lauer, who has designed trading technology and worked as an analyst for Allston Trading and Citadel Investment Group.

“U.S. equity markets are in dire straits,” Lauer said. “We are truly in a crisis.”

He noted that “retail investors have been fleeing the stock market in droves” and that the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index shows “investor confidence is nonexistent – with only 15 percent of the public expressing trust in the stock market.”

Rather than buying a stock and holding onto it, institutions using high-frequency trading buy and sell stocks constantly in milliseconds, or much faster than a blink of the eye. Lauer said about 50 to 70 percent of the volume of trading in the stock market now takes that form. Often trading systems send out phony trades aimed at manipulating others into buying or selling. The activity can mislead legitimate traders working for mutual funds, pension funds or individuals to buy a stock at too high a price or sell it at too low a price.

The system is also riddled with fraud:

A New York-based brokerage allowed overseas clients to run a scheme aimed at distorting stock prices by rapidly canceling orders, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Clients of Hold Brothers On-Line Investment Services were “repeatedly manipulating publicly traded stocks” by placing and erasing orders in an illegal strategy designed to trick others into buying or selling, the SEC said today in a release. Hold Brothers, its owners, and the foreign firms Trade Alpha Corporate Ltd. and Demonstrate LLC agreed to settle allegations that the New York broker failed to supervise customers and pay $4 million in total SEC fines.

The SEC complaint targeted practices that abused high-speed computer trading on American equity venues. As high-frequency activity has grown in recent years, the agency’s efforts to stop fraudulent practices such as “layering” or “spoofing” have extended to the automated trading tactics.

However, the SEC has been called the “Barney Fife” of regulators when it comes to regulating HFT and their competence has been questioned:

But the agency is clearly outgunned when it comes to dealing with high-frequency trading, many experts agree. And a new lawsuit goes so far as to accuse the SEC of covering up high-speed fraud so nobody will know just how incompetent it really is, Courthouse News reports.

In the suit, a Wisconsin company called EMM Holdings accuses the SEC of not investigating a Houston high-speed trading firm called Quantlab Financial. According to EMM, Quantlab is perpetrating fraud amid all the high-speed churning and burning it does in the stock market. EMM notes that Quantlab has been flagged six times in the past eight years by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the brokerage industry’s self-regulatory body, for not properly documenting its trades. EMM thinks this is evidence that Quantlab is trying to cover up some fraud, and it has asked the SEC (pdf) for any documents showing an investigation of Quantlab. The SEC has refused (pdf), on the grounds that doing so might interfere with law-enforcement activities. EMM has sued the SEC to force it to give up whatever goods it has on Quantlab.

Trouble is, it’s not entirely clear if the SEC is actually investigating Quantlab at all. EMM argues in its complaint that the only way the SEC could deny its record request is “if there is an on-going and active investigation.” And EMM accuses the SEC of letting this investigation fester, hoping the statute of limitations will run out.

“Given [the SEC’s] near complete abdication of its prosecutorial duties during the 2008 financial crisis, inaction and delay may unfortunately have become [the SEC’s] modus operandi for dealing with complex financial malfeasance,” EMM said in its complaint.

At least the Germans are willing to take the “bull by the horns” by limiting the ability of these trades to disrupt the market with rules that would slow trading, curb the volume and make it more expensive for traders to cancel large volumes of orders.  

The Project

We Are Now Entering The Terrifying End Game

Nigel Farage, King World News

September 24, 2012

What is really happening here is the eurozone crisis is so serious, and so dire, public opinion across Europe is turning so quickly in every country against the project, that what they are trying to do is seal and complete the project before everybody really wakes up to what’s being done in their name.

That’s what they are about.  We are now entering the end game in what has been a 50 year political project.  This is all going to come to a very dramatic head over the course of the next two years.

The end game for them is to effectively abolish the nation states of Europe, to completely abolish any concept of national democracy, and to vest all power, all the attributes we associate with normal countries, that is all to be vested in this new European political class.

That imperial ambition has been there from the start, but up until now it has been hidden.  I have to say that as far as most of Europe is concerned,  I am quite pessimistic.

You’re Dreaming If You Think The Euro Crisis Is Resolved

Raul Ilargi Meijer, Automatic Earth

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 12:54 AM

It makes no difference whether you call it shock doctrine or 21st century imperialism or hostile takeovers, you can’t take away from the people of Greece, Italy and Spain all the monuments of their past, as well as all powers they have over their own economies, production facilities and agriculture, and expect them to take that lying down. Not going to happen.

The politico-banking class are all sitting there smugly and comfy in their bought-on-someone-else’s-credit plush offices, picking through the still rich and splendid spoils of once proud nations and fiercely independent peoples. And even if they do win some of the preliminary battles at the negotiating table, the real ones can be won only through the use of violence.

There isn’t much time left until that becomes a realistic threat, which means that now is the time for the people of Europe to decide whether they want to go down that road or not. And if they don’t, they need to draw conclusions and accept the potential consequences of that decision: Get up, Stand up. And no, I don’t have a lot of faith that they will. But I do hope that more people will now start to clue in on what that means: yes, violence.

Patience snaps in Portugal

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph

September 24th, 2012

The Portuguese people have put up with one draconian package after another – with longer working hours, 7pc pay cuts, tax rises, an erosion of pensions, etc – all amounting to a net fiscal squeeze of 10.4 of GDP so far in cyclically-adjusted terms. (It will ultimately be 15pc).

They have protested peacefully, in marked contrast to the Greeks, even though the latest poll by the Catholic University shows that 87pc are losing faith in Portugal’s democracy.

Yet Mr Passos Coelho’s rash decision to raise the Social Security tax on workers’ pay from 11pc to 18pc has at last brought the heavens down upon his head.

He was hauled in front of the Council of State – a sort of Privy Council of elders and wise men – for a showdown over the weekend. Eight hours later he emerged battered and bruised to admit defeat. The measure will not go ahead.

Francisco Louca from left-wing Bloco suggested that the prime minister cannot survive such a defeat. “The government is dead”, he said.

If Citigroup is right – and views differ on this – Portugal is going into the same sort of self-feeding downward spiral as Greece. Debt-deflation is choking the country.

The defenders of Portugal’s current policies have nothing to do with Friedman or orthodox monetarism.

They are disciples of an extremist subcult that believes in expansionary fiscal contractions, even though ample evidence from the IMF shows that such policies are mostly doomed to failure without offsetting monetary stimulus and/or devaluation.

Sadly, there seems to be almost nobody in public life in Portugal willing to tell the people that membership of the euro is the elemental cause of their current suffering.

Valencia: A Spanish city without medicine

Paul Mason, BBC

22 September 2012

Journalists sacked when a local paper closed have taken to doing “citizen journalism” – which today means organising a coach trip around all the various projects Valencia built in the good times.

There is the Formula One racetrack, which runs right through the city so the roads had to be redesigned. But the city has lost its Formula One race.

There is the America’s Cup dock, with huge sheds for ocean-going yachts and a massive white control tower. But there is no more America’s Cup racing in Valencia.

There is the Opera House, a cross between the one in Sydney and something you would imagine only in your more disturbed dreams – 400 million euros to build, 40 million a year to run – 15 performances a year.

Whether by corruption – and there has been a great deal of that – maladministration, or pure bad luck, Valencia is littered with vanity projects that tell their own story.

The airport that has never seen a single plane land. The theme park built in a place where the summer heat rises above 40C (104F). The land bought at premium prices that is now worthless.

Spaniards rage against austerity near Parliament

By ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press

36 minutes ago

More than 1,000 riot police blocked off access to the Parliament building in the heart of Madrid, forcing most protesters to crowd nearby avenues and shutting down traffic at the height of the evening rush hour.

Police used batons to push back some protesters at the front of the march attended by an estimated 6,000 people as tempers flared, and some demonstrators broke down barricades and threw rocks and bottles toward authorities.

Angry Madrid marchers who got as close as they could to Parliament, 250 meters (yards) away, yelled “Get out!, Get out! They don’t represent us! Fire them!”

“The only solution is that we should put everyone in Parliament out on the street so they know what it’s like,” said Maria Pilar Lopez, a 60-year-old government secretary.

Lopez and others called for fresh elections, claiming the government’s hard-hitting austerity measures are proof that the ruling Popular Party misled voters when it won power last November in a landslide.

Spain prepares more austerity, protesters clash with police

By Tracy Rucinski and Paul Day, Reuters

Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:40pm EDT

“Let us in, we want to evict you,” protesters chanted outside parliament. Evictions have soared in Spain as thousands of people have defaulted on bank loans.

Demonstrators said they were angry that the state has poured funds into crumbled banks while it is cutting social benefits.

Half-year deficit data indicate national accounts are already on a slope that will drive Spain into a bailout. The deficit to end-June stands at over 4.3 percent of gross domestic product, including transfers to bailed out banks, making meeting the 6.3 percent target by the end of the year almost impossible.

On This Day In History September 26

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 26 is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 96 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day on 1957, West Side Story premieres on Broadway. East Side Story was the original title of the Shakespeare-inspired musical conceived by choreographer Jerome Robbins, written by playwright Arthur Laurents and scored by composer and lyricist Leonard Bernstein in 1949. A tale of star-crossed lovers-one Jewish, the other Catholic-on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the show in its original form never went into production, and the idea was set aside for the next six years. It was more than just a change of setting, however, that helped the re-titled show get off the ground in the mid-1950s. It was also the addition of a young, relatively unknown lyricist named Stephen Sondheim. The book by Arthur Laurents and the incredible choreography by Jerome Robbins helped make West Side Story a work of lasting genius, but it was the strength of the songs by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein that allowed it to make its Broadway debut on this day in 1957.

There are no videos of the original Broadway production which starred Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, Ken Le Roy as Bernardo and Chita Rivera as Anita (Ms. Rivera reprized her role in the movie), so here is the Prologue from the Academy Award winning movie. The area that the movie was filmed no longer exists. The 17 blocks between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 60th to West 66th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he filming took place were demolished to build Lincoln Center for the Preforming Arts.

Creative Schools MOU – Let SEA Members VOTE, Jonathan!

Table of Contents:

I. Quick History of the Creative Schools Approach Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) pushed by Jonathan Knapp in Dec. 2011 to Jan. 2012.

II. A Perspective on the implications of this MOU.

III. A Printable Petition  


I. Quick History of the Creative Schools Approach Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) pushed by Jonathan Knapp in Dec. 2011 to Jan. 2012.

Tues. 6 Dec. an SEA email had a draft of MOU in it, but, no warning in the subject line about this issue.

Thurs. 8 Dec. SEA sent out an email with MOU stuff in it, subject “Exhibit A”.  

Mon. 12 Dec. The SEA RA votes to not vote until the Jan. RA.

3 Jan an email from SEA with the FIRST mention of “Creative Approach Schools” – and a week later on 10 Jan they sent out an update.

In Jan. the SEA RA approved the MOU.

15 Feb. 2012 the school board approves the MOU.



5 March 2012 City Council member Tim Burgess weighs in the CAS MOU on Publicola.


In July the MOU is declared illegal.



II. A Perspective on the implications of this MOU.

This MOU is extremely dangerous for teachers, and even though there was an SEA vote affirming it last January, that document was found illegal in court in July.

After careful study of both the MOU and its supporting documents, we find that, far from its advertised intent of allowing creative teaching, it instead is much more about abrogating important protections we have within the collective bargaining agreement.

One of the most egregious provisions requires all teachers who wish to retain their jobs at a “Creative Approach” schools to sign a kind of binding 3-year duration “loyalty oath”.

Failure to sign, even for a teacher with otherwise excellent evaluations, would result in displacement. Displacement in a district with many “Creative Approach” would would have to end in termination for many, as openings for displaced personnel shrinks.

There is at present a chance to stop this MOU in its present form if enough signatures of SEA represented folks are gathered, quickly.

SEA leadership intends that the new version of this MOU not come up for any new consideration of SEA membership, at any level.

No Dancing XIII

And some of them do.  This particular video is posted by someone you might recognize.

Taking it to the Streets

Don’t know why people won’t dance to that one.

No Dancing XII

Harking back to Kashmir, a lot of great old songs don’t sound quite the way you remember them.


Everyone remembers hearing George twice, I do but it’s not true.

Conservatism cannot fail…

it can only be failed.

Among some Paul Ryan backers, disappointment at Romney campaign trajectory

By Felicia Sonmez and David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

Updated: Monday, September 24, 1:50 AM

Dissatisfaction with the trajectory of the campaign seems highest among Ryan’s most ardent backers. They view Romney’s campaign as having doubled back to a cautious strategy, avoiding Ryan’s trademark big ideas, and hoping President Obama will beat himself.

Still, there have been unforced errors, such as the one Ryan made last month when he misstated his marathon time in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt – a misstep that has so become part of Ryan’s national profile that it was lampooned in the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.”

And it’s not that Ryan is neglecting to cite the need to focus on the big problems facing the country. Aside from his first week on the trail, during which he barely mentioned his signature plan to overhaul Medicare, he has raised the issue at the majority of his roughly three-dozen campaign stops as GOP vice presidential nominee, including in his appearance on Friday at the AARP’s annual summit, at which he received a mixed reception.

Rather, the concern of some of the seven-term Wisconsin congressman’s supporters is that nowadays Ryan’s discussion of the big issues facing the country offers more specifics on what Obama has done wrong than what Romney and Ryan would do right.

A Ryan spokesman disputed the notion that the campaign has not delivered on its promise of honing in on the big ideas, noting that Ryan frequently focuses in interviews as well as in his campaign-trail remarks on Medicare, tax reform and balancing the budget.

“Only one ticket has had the courage to talk about solutions to the big challenges facing America,” spokesman Brendan Buck said. “Not only has Paul Ryan championed the Romney plan to save and strengthen Medicare – he’s done it in front of Florida seniors and at the AARP. We are running on bold solutions – made even bolder compared to the pettiness of President Obama’s campaign.”

When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem.- Mitt Romney

Likewise Neo-Liberalism-

Obama and the Center-Right Nation He Hasn’t Changed

By: masaccio, Firedog Lake

Sunday September 23, 2012 10:30 am

But he isn’t the only one who dismisses the concerns of his supporters. Barack Obama was elected in large part by people who wanted real changes from the Bush government. They wanted an end to wars, restoration of civil liberties, equality for LGBT people, strenuous regulation and law enforcement directed at the criminals on Wall Street, and economic fairness through support for homeowners and workers. With the notable exception of grudging support for marriage equality and equality in the ranks of the armed forces, Obama and the Democratic Party turned their backs on their supporters. It is impossible to find a single policy suggested by anyone from Paul Krugman to whatever is left of the left that made its way into any piece of actual legislation. No one from the Wall Street criminal class has been investigated, let alone prosecuted.

It was apparent by Fall 2009 that the Democrats believed what the Republicans were saying: America is a Center-Right nation. Time after time, Obama and the Democrats proposed legislation that only a Republican could love, then bargained further to the right to pick up votes from the most conservative Democrats and the least conservative Republicans. Time after time the resulting legislation was nearly useless when action was taken at all. Unions and the hard-working people they represent were probably the single greatest contributor to the Obama victory. They got slapped in the face. The stimulus was too small. Dodd-Frank relied on captured agencies to create rules. Obamacare threw millions of Americans into the maws of the private insurance companies. Every time I hear a Democrat brag on some piece of legislation, I think of the lost possibilities.

The nation was hungry for leadership, starving for action to make things better, desperate for change, and we got a President who was unwilling to push for anything that would actually change the status quo.

Ultimately, both Romney and Obama disrespect their constituents. Romney openly loathes the people he needs, and they know it. They may vote for him, but they know that they will suffer for it.

Obama is more circumspect in public, but look at the people he hires: Rahm Emmanuel who openly loathes the left, and Tim Geithner, who lives to serve Wall Street at any cost, like foaming the runway for bank foreclosures with the lives of millions of homeowners. Obama refuses even to talk to anyone who questions conventional wisdom, which is the nature of the intellectual activity of the left. It’s as if we professional leftists don’t exist for him, in exactly the same way the 47% don’t really exist for Romney.

This is no way to run a country. Ideas matter, policies matter, evidence matters. In a room full of smart people, the smartest person is the room. Romney despises his supporters, and will fill the room with silly people like those at his secret fund-raiser. So far, Obama has refused to listen to the room. He thinks he knows we are a center-right nation and that he can do nothing to change that, that he cannot exercise leadership. I hope that changes if he wins a second term.

Leadership means that the President listens to the room, clarifies thinking and helps everyone see the problems and the possible solutions. When that doesn’t happen, we are governed by a tiny group of jerks, responsible only to their moneymen and reliant on public relations tricks to pacify the masses. That will work until it doesn’t.

Five Big Opportunities on the Economy Obama Missed

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Monday September 24, 2012 9:32 am

One of the most frustrating things about having a two party political system, especially during the heat of an election, is that many important points get ignored if the don’t fit the partisan dynamic. One of the best examples I feel is the debate about Obama’s record on the economy.

The only arguments most people hear against Obama’s record comes from Republicans, but their criticisms are normally incoherent attacks based on fantasies about confidence and government crowding out the private sector. Most prominent figures who believe in Keynesian economics are at this moment defending Obama poor record mainly because it is at least noticeably less terrible than any proposal from Mitt Romney.

People trying to defend Obama record from the left will often claim Obama didn’t try to get more stimulus only because Obama knew he wouldn’t be able to get the votes in the Senate. Yet here are things Obama could have done for the economy without Congress but he choose not to do them. Given that Obama didn’t even try to spend all the potential money for stimulus he had at his disposal, it is safe to assume the real reason Obama didn’t seek more stimulus money for Congress was simply because he mistakenly believed the economy didn’t need it.

The behavior and statements of the administration clearly show that they kept underestimating the size of the economy problem for years.

While Bill Clinton is defending Obama by claiming no president could have magically turned the economy to full employment, a honest look at the record would indicate another president could have done a better job even with the constraints Obama faced. Sadly though this critic of Obama’s record from the left is almost completely absent. Careful examinations of Obama’s failing are being completely overshadowed by how misguided Mitt Romney policy ideas are.