DBT WIR on Monday.
"I have seldom felt helpless in my life. I hold to the hillbilly standard that there is no situation so hopeless that, through perseverance, I cannot make worse."
"It seems as if the farther west you go, the better the longevity. Only two cities in the northeast made the cut.
The west coast had the majority of the spots on the list of 20 cities, with California having the most out of all the states."
"At this point, we just have to accept it as a fact of life: Obama doesn’t, and maybe can’t, do outrage — no matter how much the situation calls for it. The purpose of last night’s speech, if there was one, was to rally the nation against crazy Republicans. But there were no memorable lines, no forceful statements of the very stark reality. “Now, now, that’s not reasonable” isn’t going to move multitudes.
It turns out, I’m sorry to say, that he wasn’t the one we were waiting for."
"At this point, the only factor that can lead someone to deny the significance of this trend is willful blindness. And it's hard to imagine those numbers going anywhere but down as the realization sets in that it is the President who, now by his own admission, has been working hard to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, and as the President increasingly pursues what is clearly his 2012 strategy: casting himself as a trans-partisan centrist (his doing so vindicates, in my view, those of us who have long argued that there was nothing 'new' about Obama's politics; it was just slightly re-branded Clintonian, Third Way triangulation)."
"'Entitlement' my ass, I PAID cash for my social security insurance! Our benefits aren't some kind of charity or handout. Congressional benefits -- free premium federal health care, enormous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, 3 weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days -- now THAT is welfare! And they have the nerve to call my retirement 'entitlement'?"
SANDERS: Brian, believe me, I wish I had the answer to your question. Let me just suggest this. I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president, who believe that with regard to Social Security and other things, he said one thing as a candidate and is doing something very much else as a president. Who cannot believe how weak he has been for whatever reason in negotiating with Republicans, and there’s deep disappointment. So my suggestion is, I think one of the reasons the president has made the move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama believes he’s doing. [...] So I would say to Ryan, discouragement is not an option. I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.
"The rather obvious solution is a clean debt ceiling hike, but none of the people involved in this ridiculous mess seem to want that.
Using crisis as an excuse to ram through massive 'bipartisan' changes without public input is horribly undemocratic.
Shame on all of them."
"Man, the citizens of this country are being duped big time, again.
Dupe: One that is easily deceived or cheated; delude, trick.
President Obama quoted Thomas Jefferson in his nationally televised speech tonight. Here's another quote from Jefferson:
Thomas Jefferson: .'If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.'"
"My response to the President’s speech?
You know, at some point, you just have to stop listening to people who always end being proven wrong.
And to help nudge you along, here’s a reminder of what some people, some outsiders, some people who are scorned as “the professional left” and as “bloggers in their mother’s basement” were saying, back at the time President Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts in December 2010, last year:"
"The President doesn't want his hands tied. I can understand that from Lincoln -- but Obama doesn't face an armed rebellion, he faces a bunch of Republicans who don't want to do what's reasonable, what's customary, and what the American people overwhelmingly want. I understand the need for negotiation, but he's not really negotiating with the Republicans. He's like a man picking up an unconscious opponent from the floor and pretending to wrestle with him so he can justify calling the bout a draw. He has sought this outcome; sought the inferior position we suddenly, amazingly given public opinion, find ourselves in today."
"but it seems depraved that a Democrat would run for reelection on a platform that would 'cut social insurance and health care programs for people who are old and sick and cannot work.' If a GOP President proposed these changes, we'd be calling it was it is. The Democratic base would be apoplectic. But, for some reason, we're all supposed to suck it up because a Democratic President is doing it. It's just wrong."
"Jonathan Cohn summarizes what seems to have been in the deal that Boehner walked away from; it’s horrifying. Above all, the proposed rise in the age of Medicare eligibility was a real betrayal of both Democratic principles and good government."
"Yes, now President Obama and Democrats have to accept a bad bargain to raise the debt ceiling. But if they had negotiated better last December, they could have made a better bargain then. They didn't. The Deal was a terrible mistake. And 7 months later, people like Bernstein want to forget how the bad deal in December is leading to the bad deal in July/August on the debt ceiling (and the one after that on the budget.)
It is taxes that Republicans care about. It is the one thing that animates the party. In December, President Obama had the biggest stick he is likely to have until after the 2012 elections. He gave it up without getting back what he needed.
It was terrible bargaining and everyone should have been able to see it. Apparently, not everyone did."
"Taking out 80 of the people committed enough to go to the AUF's Utoya summer retreat? That's like sending a Terminator back in time to take out a future Parliamentary leadership.
The crime was unspeakably heinous to begin with. And telling Americans that the killer targeted a 'summer camp,' it was no doubt imagined, would only make it sound worse.
It did. But it didn't really describe the magnitude of the loss for Norway. Nor did it convey the calculated sickness—and the very, very intensely political nature—of what the gunman undertook to do."
Just a few years ago, a powerful ideology—the belief in free and unfettered markets—brought the world to the brink of ruin. Even in its heyday, from the early 1980s until 2007, American-style deregulated capitalism brought greater material well-being only to the very richest of the richest country of the world. Indeed, over the course of this ideology's 30-year ascendance, most Americans saw their incomes decline or stagnate.
Much more importantly, the facts already pretty well established in Britain indicate violations of American law, in particular a law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Justice Department has been going out of its way to undertake FCPA prosecutions and investigations in recent years, and the News Corp. case presents a pretty simple test for Attorney General Eric Holder: If the department fails to open an immediate investigation into News Corp.'s violations of the FCPA, there will have been a major breach of enforcement at Justice. Having failed to pursue Wall Street with any apparent vigor, this is an opportunity for the Justice Department to show it can flex its muscles at the right moment. While one must always be cautious in seeking government investigation of the media for the obvious First Amendment concerns, this is not actually an investigation of the media, but an investigation of criminal acts undertaken by those masquerading as members of the media.
"Those counties vote for Republicans who vow to cut taxes and spending -- and, of course, those counties also get more in state money than they contribute in taxes. That is, San Franciscans and people in Los Angeles are subsidizing with our tax dollars counties that elect people who don't want taxes.
Fine. Leave us. Without those counties, California would have a two-thirds Democratic majority in both houses, easy. The state would be able to raise taxes to balance the budget. California's credit rating would improve and the cost of bonds would drop. A Democrat could run for governor without pandering to the conservatives. Maybe we could even get rid of the death penalty.
South California would be an economic basket case -- but it would still be part of America, so the Democrats and sane people who are stuck living there would be able to move north without worrying about ICE. I'd even propose setting aside a state fund (maybe equal to some percentage of what California now spends subsidizing the tax haters) to help pay relocation expenses for low-income liberal refugees."
"What am I willing to give up so that Congress will follow through on its constitutional obligation to protect the credit of the nation? Exactly what I'm willing to give up to ensure that the sun rises, that water is wet, and that Republicans will toady to the rich. Nothing, that's what I'll give up.
No matter how many times it may be said, and no matter who says it, there is no 'unique opportunity' here. There's no opportunity at all. There's not even any here, here."
"In an interview with The Huffington Post, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) aired his concern that the fiscal 'belt-tightening' President Obama and many Democrats have pursued has effectively diminished the party's brand. Democrats, he argued, have 'allowed the center of the political debate to be shifted so far to the right that we find ourselves debating on their territory and using Republican language.'
'It's very troubling,' he said."
"If you believe that targeting retirements at a time when unemployment is rising, as are CEO pay and bonuses, at a time when new jobs are not being created at a rate that is near enough to take a bite out of this recession, if you believe that targeting entitlements at this time is some sort of shared sacrifice, after we the taxpayer bailed out criminally negligent banking institutions for at times, fraudulent practices, and not a single one of 'em has gone to jail, then you my friend, are contributing to the destruction of the middle class, and the continued oppression of the working poor."
"Let's tell the emperor he has no clothes: Cutting spending during a prolonged recession is about as likely to reduce the long-term deficit as rubbing your lucky rabbit's foot. This is disaster capitalism, plain and simple:"
"We have abandoned Keynes and common sense and moved in with Milton Freidman while partaking in shock doctrine austerity binge drinking, but we’re told we won’t get drunk. We’ll just have a few drinks while we forget what we are supposed to stand for as Democrats.
So what the hell are we celebrating anyway?"
"And like a molotov cocktail, he and the devlish crew even dropped in a surprising choice of a rarity: “Too Much Sex, Too Little Jesus.” Oh my!"Photography: Basilica Block Party Day Two – Walser Stage (Minneapolis) � Mezzic
Buckets of gratitude go to those who came out and shared in these recent shows with us and our friend, Sarah Jaffe. It’s been an important chapter in our collective creative lives. Seven months ago we confidently decided to streamline and shorten the path to our fans by self-releasing our music. It was the right time to simplify things, and hopefully strengthen our connection with those who continue to support us. Candidate Waltz has been our first step in that direction. Ten Centro-matic records in, this was our most encouraging and enjoyable tour yet. It has also been the best start sales and press-wise for any record that we’ve released. Thanks to all that have supported our cause, spent some time with our music, come out to the shows, purchased our records, and have therefore enabled us to keep doing this. Can’t wait ’til we see each other again."
"'I have reached the point where I say enough,' Obama told the leaders, according to the account. 'Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I've reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.'"A couple of points if the 'don't question dear leader' folks can quiet down for a moment.
"I simply don't believe the Democrats would really be worse off with voters if they committed themselves to putting people back to work, policing Wall Street, throwing their weight behind a real public option in health care, making hedge fund managers pay the same tax rates as ordinary people, ending the pointless wars abroad, etc. That they won't do these things because they're afraid of public criticism, and 'responding to pressure,' is an increasingly transparent lie. This 'Please, Br'er Fox, don't throw me into dat dere briar patch' deal isn't going to work for much longer. Just about everybody knows now that they want to go into that briar patch."
"A man who posed as a doctor and told a Belmont woman to eat watermelon in a hot tub to help her kidneys has been ordered to spend a month in jail and never to pass himself off as a medical professional."
"The hacking scandal currently shaking Rupert Murdoch’s empire will surprise only those who have willfully blinded themselves to that empire’s pernicious influence on journalism in the English-speaking world. Too many of us have winked in amusement at the salaciousness without considering the larger corruption of journalism and politics promulgated by Murdoch Culture on both sides of the Atlantic."
"I’m not alone in marveling at the extent to which Obama has thrown his rhetorical weight behind anti-Keynesian economics; Ryan Avent is equally amazed, as are many others. And now he’s endorsing the structural unemployment story too.No, We Can’t? Or Won’t? - NYTimes.com
To those defending Obama on the grounds that he’s saying what he has to politically, I have two answers. First, words matter — as people who rallied around Obama in the first place because of his eloquence should know. Yes, he has to make compromises on policy grounds — but that doesn’t mean he has to adopt the right’s rhetoric and arguments. The effect of his intellectual capitulation is that we now have only one side in the national argument.
Second, since Obama keeps talking nonsense about economics, at what point do we stop giving him credit for actually knowing better? Maybe at some point we have to accept that he believes what he’s saying."
"Everyone's always trying to figure out what Barack Obama really wants. But it's not a mystery. He's been clear about it from the very beginning. What people have to face is the fact that he is a rigid leader who refuses to change course in the face of changing circumstances. Perhaps that's a strength at times. But in this one, it's a tragic weakness. We have over 9% official unemployment and probably double that in reality. The housing sector is still dead. Growth is anemic and very possibly about to go south. His grand bargain vision from 2009 was always anathema to the liberal project. Today it is destructive on an entirely different level."
"Yet instead of pushing for the spending that's needed, the President keeps reinforcing Republican arguments instead. According to the AP he told reporters in the Rose Garden that 'uncertainty over whether lawmakers will raise the nation's debt limit is keeping businesses from hiring.' (What was keeping them from hiring before that?) Economic advisor Austan Goolsbee evaded the issue of badly-needed stimulus funding as well as anyone could - that is, not very well at all - while repeating that ill-advised 'business confidence' mantra."
"In the past week, we witnessed the truly astonishing spectacle of a wide array of Democratic Congressional leaders feeling it necessary to stand up to a Democratic President in order to defend the programs and values that have defined the Democratic Party since the Great Depression. Just think about that. And now some consider it a victory that there probably won't be any immediate cuts to Social Security, even though there will be a trillion or more in overall budget cuts, without any major increases in revenue. And cutting Social Security is now safe to discuss on both sides of the aisle. To use digby's own comparison, only Nixon could go to China; and while Reagan and the Bushes did not even seriously try, a Democratic president may be opening the door to the dismantling of the New Deal."
"Even still, it’s extremely disheartening; it demonstrates that, as always, Obama is willing to cater to the center-right in a huge way (entitlement cuts) for the sake of a small political advantage.
Moreover, this proposal is further evidence that the debt ceiling negotiations were an intentional decision on Obama’s part. The president genuinely believes in deficit reduction, and chose to use the debt ceiling as an opportunity to cut spending with significant bipartisan cover. Obama hasn’t been fooled into these negotiations, nor is he playing rope-a-dope or a complex game of 11-dimensional chess. This is what he wants."
"Now the people who helped Obama defraud voters by channeling everyone’s hope for change have convinced themselves he won the election because they’re political geniuses.
The lastest example of this delusion is Obama’s senior campaign adviser, David Plouffe, who confidently told Bloomberg that going into the 2012 elections with over 8 percent unemployment and no meaningful jobs programs will not hurt Obama’s chances for reelection:"
"The Americans are moving on to the semifinals after one of the most riveting games in the history of the Women's World Cup — beating Brazil 5-3 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie.
"Folklorist Deborah Boykin interviews musician Patterson Hood about the Drive-By Truckers' (DBT) upcoming appearance at the W.C. Handy Festival sponsored by the Alabama Folklife Association. A native of Florence, Hood talks about the influence of the area on his songwriting and discusses growing up as a second generation musician in Muscle Shoals. He describes the evolution of the DBT and his long partnership with fellow Trucker Mike Cooley and gives his thoughts on the future of music in the Shoals."
"The album was cut it in two days with four of the singers recorded live with the band of Cropper, bassist David Hood, keyboardist Spooner Oldham, drummers Steve Ferrone and Steve Jordan and saxophonists Neal Sugarman and Jon Tiven."
"I wish I could see an exit from this theater before the movie ends in disaster."And nobody gives a damn....
"No We Can't
Not a new observation, but I do continue to be amazed that in the greatest fucking country in the history of the universe our elite classes have basically decided that things suck and there's nothing to be done.
Unemployment is at 9.1% and everybody in Washington is desperately trying to figure out how to increase taxes and cut spending. Maybe it's opposite year and somebody forgot to tell me.
And, yes, in normal times there are tax increases I'd get behind and I'm sure reasonable spending cuts exist (though whether they're being considered is another question), but the point is that the fact that we're having this conversation at all is insane. Jobs bill jobs bill jobs bill jobs bill jobs bill...."
"The neo-conservative is willing to leave those problems to be coped with by liberal interregnums. He wants to shape the future, and will leave it up to his opponents to tidy up afterwards. (emphasis added)
And the GOP has been pulling this scam ever since. As Bloomberg News reported even before Obama had won the election, the bond markets were poised to start insisting on cuts to social spending in order to protect the bond traders themselves. This, of course, was just a repeat of the scam that was pulled on Bill Clinton when he took office:"
"The president’s failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down has cursed his first term, and could prevent a second."
"Yep, the false government-family equivalence, the myth of expansionary austerity, and the confidence fairy, all in just two sentences.
Read this and this to see why he’s wrong. This is truly a tragedy: the great progressive hope (well, I did warn people) is falling all over himself to endorse right-wing economic fallacies."
"'We have to tell them to come back the next day and most of the time they never come back,' Jacoby said. 'Most of the time it happens around holidays — St. Patrick's Day or Gay Pride.'"
"Most people make mix tapes. Warren Hellman throws a music festival."