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    • A word on Abenomics, QE and doing Stimulus right
      Quantitative Easing, to put it simply, no matter what form you do it in, is only marginally effective. Most of the money goes to the rich, you may or may not get a technical win in GDP, and in many cases the money may flow out of the country. If you want to improve the [...]
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Americans Who Pay Attention Leadership Council

Press Release

The Americans Who Pay Attention Leadership Council met recently to discuss the most effective way to cut the budget deficit. After having examined recent trends and similar historical events, they have decided that resolving the employment problem should be the focus of public and private initiatives and that policies to bring down unemployment would be the most effective way of reducing the deficit.  Higher employment has been shown to stimulate economic growth and lead to higher tax revenues.

“It’s unlikely that the private sector is going to be able to contribute to higher employment levels without a ‘carrots and sticks’ campaign”, says a senior director of the leadership council.  “The focus of the private sector is on the next quarter, according to our data.  Unfortunately, we do not see a movement within the White House to formulate policies that would lead big businesses to focus longer. The 2009 stimulus package was underfunded and not well designed to have a lasting effect.”

The leadership council plans to meet again to monitor the White House’s response to the ongoing unemployment crisis, which it says has been “pathetic” in the preceeding four years.

A second topic that the leadership council explored was the nature of President Obama’s political philosophy.  The leadership council has determined that President Obama is not now nor ever has been a member of the socialist party.  The irony of such claims to the contrary were not lost on the council.

“Clearly, we must do a better job of moving Americans away from television and radio sources of news.  They’re lowering our collective IQ and making us a global laughingstock”, the senior director said.  “Americans Who Pay Attention recommend a cable news free diet and only occasional consumption of NPR.  Excessive intake of focus group driven memes has been shown to be harmful to the American standard of living.”

 

 

Attention Cory Booker

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 10.54.27 AMI saw you on the DailyShow last night and the stuff you said about the state of New Jersey being desperately short of biomedical researchers made me sick to my stomach.

You have to know this is not true.  How could you NOT know this is not true?  It’s so easy to prove with cold hard numbers and statistics.  The big pharmas are pulling out of New Jersey to go to Massachusetts because Massachusetts offered them almost half a Billion dollars in taxpayer money to relocate there.  They are leaving thousands and thousands of us behind.  That’s thousands and thousands of well-educated, technically proficient, TAXPAYERS. That’s where the unemployment money is going, Cory.  Those companies take the money that Massachusetts is offering, dump thousands and thousands of us on the state of New Jersey’s unemployment roles and then relocate only a tiny fraction of their workforce to Massachusetts.  What do they do with the rest of the tax incentives?  Beats me but I’m sure the shareholders are happy.

The idea that you would actually believe a pharma lobbyist who tells you he can’t find good help anymore in NJ and now has to outsource and that you would voluntarily spread this misinformation without actually checking to see if what they’re telling you is true or not defies explanation.  It makes no sense, Cory.  It is UN-believable. You either know that you are willfully lying, compromised by people who you view as your true “peers” or you’re dumber than a box of rocks.

I suggest you spend some time with those of us who used to work for pharma and are now unemployed in New Jersey.  Funny how no politician actually does that.  They’re more than happy to listen to whatever bullshit the financiers and industry propaganda artists tell them but they won’t go down to the NJ Department of Labor and actually check the database for the unemployed from Roche, Sanofi, Pfizer, Merck and all of the other companies that shed employees on a routine basis.  Go check out the shuttered lab facilities in South Brunswick and Bridgewater.  Our unemployment rate is more than 10% in this state and a big slice of it comes from the biomedical researchers who are not employed anymore.

But don’t tell lies on national TV.  It will come back to bite you during your next campaign.  Someone who is that out of touch shouldn’t be representing our state.

By the way, the idea that “the more you learn, the more you earn” is the old paradigm.  It doesn’t work any more. Wake up already or you’re going to condemn a whole generation of New Jersey school children to a lifetime of indentured servitude to pay off their student loans for the low paying jobs they got in a laboratory.  Come talk to us, Cory.  The sooner you get a clue, the better off the school kids in Newark will be.  What we need is a tough negotiator, not more low paid scientists who can’t make ends meet in New Jersey anymore.

The Big Dawg’s Magic Trick: Pulling Obama’s Bacon Out of the Fire.

So, Bill Clinton, who all of the Obama fans and loyal Democrats will never forgive for 8 years of peace and prosperity, will attempt to turn us refuseniks into devoted Democratic voters.

I hope he asked for something good in return.

(It’s not going to be Hillary in 2016.  Just forget it.)

Now, Bill’s got a big problem.  He’s going to have to make the case that the Republicans are the ones who decided to make unemployment sky high going into the election.  And I don’t disagree with him.  *Except* that Obama had two years of a filibuster proof majority and the unemployed were loooooow on his priority list after saving the bankers and passing an inadequate and largely unimplemented health care insurance reform bill so he could look like a hero to other Democrats.  If he had put jobs, and I don’t mean just “manly” jobs, as his first priority, he wouldn’t need Bill to save his bacon.  (Well, that and killing the Bush tax cuts, implementing a HOLC program to save people’s houses after they are laid off, putting bankers who threaten the economy in jail, break up the biggest banks, etc.)

No, instead, all he needed to do was push for the $100 Billion that Christine Romer said would put a shitload of people back to work.  But you know, Romer was a woman and the Obama White House doesn’t really listen to women.  She also recommended a much bigger fiscal stimulus package but instead of asking for the moon and having to dial it back to a Romeresque number of $1.2 Trillion, Obama asked for much, much less than that to start and negotiated down.  Unnecessarily less.  He spent no political capital on the rest of us and much real capital on the banks.

Then he let Tim Geithner cover up what bad shape the banks were in.  If Congress had known about the LIBOR manipulations, and what serious condition the economy was in, well, we couldn’t have counted on the Republicans to lift a finger to help but we might have prevailed upon the more sensible Democrats to do the right thing (I know I’m being generous here.  Work with me.).

You know what?  Just forget it.  The dude just blew his first two years.  Totally blew them.  Unfortunately for us, they were the crucial two years.  It looks like Obama’s campaign is going to be a sentimental journey into BoBo land where if you would have only worked really hard and gone to the right schools and didn’t have unapproved sex, you wouldn’t be in the straits you’re in right now.  That utopia conveeeeeniently leaves out what happened to all of the scientists with PhDs I know who were 33 before they got their real first job after their post docs, but the Obama campaign is busting a gut trying not to mention the word ‘unemployment” or to in any way burst the merry little scenario they have built in their heads of well tended gardens in idyllic upper middle class suburbs.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, back to Bill.  Well, he’s got his work cut out for him tonight.  He’s got to get the remaining Clintonistas back in the fold.  Except the remaining Clintonistas are pissed as all hell.  Four years ago, we were dragged, kicking and screaming to vote for Mr. Caucus Fraud against our better judgement (some of us protest voted).  He wasn’t ready, had no practical experience, used misogyny against his opponent in a way that reverberated throughout the social sphere and we didn’t trust him because he was a ruthless, unethical and egotistical campaigner who took more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history up to that point.  We still don’t trust him.  Not only that but we were right about Obama.  It’s regrettable that so many Clintonistas took their ire a step too far and joined the Tea Party.  Not the smartest move but you can hardly blame them.  Obama made a point of blowing off the working class (which in this context, O Best Beloveds, means anyone not making a living off their investments).  So, bad move or not, they are no more guilty of letting their emotions cloud their judgement than the 2008 Obots were.

Some of us didn’t defect from our values.  We just left the party and became independents.  But we’re still liberal, FDR Democrats.  And Obama ain’t.  Not even close.  So, I think the best that Clinton can do is deliver a powerful, enthusiastic vision of the future, which Obama will fail to pay any attention to.  Bill’s a loyal Democrat and a mensch.  That’s what he does.

And the nation will shake it’s head and think, we could have had a V8.

Pay close attention to Bill’s words.  Without careful parsing, you could be persuaded to think he said something he actually didn’t.

**********************************

Oh, and the Democrats just f^&*ed the non-believers.  Would the Freedom From Religion Foundation care to comment?  Check out the expression on the face of the woman at minute mark 1:44.  Priceless.

Words not found in Michelle Obama’s Speech

Unemployment

Unemployed

Jobless

You can grep it yourself here: Text of Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC 2012.

People all over the country send her mail about the bills they can’t pay and their problems and she has no idea how those people got that way.  But if they just keep working hard, they’ll dig themselves out of the mess they’re in.  Whoo-hoo! Obama 2012!

By the way, the unemployment rate in NJ in August 2012 was 9.8%.  I’m guessing that included many, many overeducated professional college graduates with STEM degrees because that’s what I’m seeing, including some former colleagues of mine who are newly unemployed with the upcoming closure of the Roche research facility in Nutley, NJ.  My friends worked on cancer drugs.  Cancer.  We are closing cancer research labs all over NJ.

Here’s a snippet of Michelle’s speech:

And everywhere I’ve gone, in the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

I’ve seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.

I’ve seen it in people who become heroes at a moment’s notice, diving into harm’s way to save others…flying across the country to put out a fire…driving for hours to bail out a flooded town.

And I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families…in wounded warriors who tell me they’re not just going to walk again, they’re going to run, and they’re going to run marathons…in the young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said, simply, “…I’d give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do.”

Thank you, Effie Trinket.

Yes, we love to work without pay and it looks like we’re expected to do so indefinitely.  With more cuts in the Grand Bargain, more people will have an opportunity to work without pay for bankrupt school districts.  The only thing that could top that is having the bankers work without bonuses but I couldn’t find it in her speech.   And until Obama actually ends the wars he said he was ending, more soldiers will have the opportunity to lose limbs and eyes 100 times over.

That man is never going to see again.  He’s not going to see a Van Gogh blue sky on a summer day.  He’s not going to see his kids’ faces.  He’s not going to know how much money he has in his wallet without help.  He’s going to wake up in the dark for the rest of his life. That man is trying to give meaning to a loss from a now meaningless war while government contractors lobby Congress to keep the damn thing going.

I think your broccoli needs weeding. You may leave now.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

In case the youtube embed doesn’t work for you, here’s the link.  Great movie, made just in time for the 2012 elections. Spells it out for even the dimmest wit.

***************************

More Michelle moments, this time on equality for women:

Barack’s grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank…and she moved quickly up the ranks…but like so many women, she hit a glass ceiling.

And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continued to scrape by.

But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus…arriving at work before anyone else…giving her best without complaint or regret.

And she would often tell Barack, “So long as you kids do well, Bar, that’s all that really matters.”

Nauseating.

Stop complaining, Ladies.  Your careers are just not that important.  We insist on making you choose between your family and your job.  Is my husband great or what!?

What’s missing in this NYTimes article on the divided Democrats?

The word

UNEMPLOYMENT

Nice try, guys. Is David Axelrod taking “journalists” aside and telling them to ix-nay on the unemployment-ay? By the way, poverty, which is the concern of only the “liberal” Democrats derives from

having no job.

Is this what the Unemployed are going to have to put up with?  They’re not going to mention us at all!?

Please get Caroline Kennedy off the fricking stage.  She is not doing the Democrats any favors:

Mr. Obama has, if slowly, taken stands that many members of his party long felt were politically risky, including support for same-sex marriage and issuing an order granting many young illegal immigrants brought to this country as children a two-year reprieve from deportation.

“They’re Democrats — they are always going to be disappointed,”Ms. Kennedy said. “But I think his stands on gay marriage and immigration this year changes that. I think he’s accomplished some really substantive things that people gloss over.”

Or he hasn’t accomplished anything substantive so there’s no need to gloss over.  But it’s hard to prove a negative.  Except in one particular area:

UNEMPLOYMENT

He hasn’t done a damn thing about that, even when he had a two year lead and a filibuster proof majority of his own party in Congress.  Not that Caroline, who was one of the people responsible for this disaster, has any clue.

Wait a sec, that’s it?  He says he’s for non-discrimination of the LGBT community but he doesn’t sign the non-discrimination clause for government contracts and he says he’ll leave anti-discrimination laws up to the states.  That’s not progress.  That’s pandering in the weakest way possible so as not to ruffle the feathers of the evangelicals.  And those students who are Americans in every way but birth?  There’s no teeth behind that “accomplishment”.  He might as well take up embroidery.

Let me work through this.  If Caroline Kennedy doesn’t think that poverty is a big deal, that must mean she’s not a liberal.  Oh sure, she has socially liberal views but she doesn’t really give a f^&* about poor people.  Can we agree on that?  BTW, it’s just as easy to be a poor gay person or immigrant.  Unemployment tends to not discriminate.  Even PhDs in STEM professions are not immune, Caroline.

Can we just push Caroline into the extinct liberal Republican camp and be done with it?  And take Obama with you, Caroline.

By the way, my brother is still in Afghanistan.

Isn’t it possible that the “lack of spirit” is due to the fact that Obama turned out to be a disaster to the

UNEMPLOYED?

And what’s with this crap?:

Bill Richardson, a former New Mexico governor who broke with Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008 and endorsed Mr. Obama, said it was critical for the White House to “re-energize the base that got him elected: minorities, young people and independents.”

“They need to get excited again,” he said.

What is he saying?  All we need is to have a couple of keggers and par-tay and that will make everything Ok?  Gawd, Richardson always was overrated.

Ah, this is closer to the truth:

Mr. Kerrey said the enthusiasm was “quite high,” but added, “It’s not going to be the naïve enthusiasm of four years ago.”

Yep, It was naive.  Stupid naivety.  And Democratic activists who were easier to fool than they thought they were. And a whole lotta bankers’ money with which to do it.

Happy Labor Day to those of you who still have jobs!

Since I cut the cord, I have been blissfully unaware of all the meme pushing out there.  Lambert says there has been quite a stir on the Democratic side over the Clint Eastwood speech at the RNC.  A couple of days ago, I checked out the youtube video of it but couldn’t get past the first few minutes.  But it wasn’t because he sounded incoherent.

It was because I was so touched that Clint Eastwood remembered the unemployed that I didn’t want to see the rest of it where he might have gone completely off the rails.

Remember when Ross Perot went on and on about the deficit being the crazy aunt in the attic or wherever?    Well, he always was one sandwich short of a picnic.  Nowadays, all you hear about is the deficit.  One party is going to gouge us.  One party is going to gouge us and ask for a token sacrifice from the bonus class.

No one is talking about unemployment except everybody I know.  Because everybody I know has been laid off, got a new job, got laid off again, is about to get laid off, is retraining before they get laid off.  Layoff is inevitable.  It’s a fact of life now.

Just because an old semi-conservative Hollywood star talks about unemployment in front of a bunch of heartless, mean spirited rich people doesn’t mean that his criticism of Obama and the Democrats is incorrect.  As Karl Rove said recently, you don’t have to get personal.  The truth is the best thing the Republicans have going for them.  They might have caused the crisis to begin with but they weren’t in charge when the decision was made to ignore the unemployed so the bankers wouldn’t feel inconvenienced.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s something the Republicans would definitely do but voters never expected that kind of behavior from Democrats.

All I want to hear from the Democrats in Charlotte is how they are going to deal with Unemployment.  I don’t want to hear about the deficit or “entitlements”, i.e. those benefits we PREPAID, or any other stupid thing the bonus class would like to use to commandeer our attention.  I don’t want to hear about how this has been “played”, or the style, or the inside baseball, horseracey, competition.

Unemployment is not a competition.

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to watch crappy cable news coverage of things that are of no importance to me.  But I will be periodically perusing the videos coming out of the convention.  You’d better not let us unemployed people down because we may not have money anymore but we do have votes and there are a lot of us out here in the suburbs where four years ago you thought you had us in the bag.

Time to rewrite those speeches, Democrats.

*****************************************

I hate Facebook.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.

I thought I was the only one who hated Facebook.  It’s not like I don’t want to be social. It’s just that I don’t like the interface or any of the stupid things people have to do in order to remain relevant.  I have an account but I NEVER use it except if I have to sign into the damn thing in order to get registered for a sweepstakes at my favorite design blogs.  If I had bothered to accept all the friend invitations I received since 2008, I’d look like one of the most popular people on Facebook.  We hit 58,000+ unique hits here at  The Confluence on one day in 2008.  Everybody wanted to be my friend (I don’t take this as an indication of the attractiveness of my many wonderful qualities or charisma.  As if. It’s just what people do, they “friend” you when you hit their radar).  And I’m sure that most of you are very lovely people…

But I hate Facebook.  Yep, I just hate it.  I’m right up there with George Clooney’s hatred of Facebook when he said “he would rather have a prostate exam on live television by a guy with very cold hands than have a Facebook page”.  Fortunately, I don’t have a prostate but I know the feeling.  Er, not of cold hands in my rectum.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.  Well, anyway, you know what I mean.  I don’t want to get into too many examples and extended metaphors.  Let’s just say that Facebook requires me to use my brain in ways that I find unnatural.  As a person whose former profession involved quite a bit of learning new interfaces, Facebook is non-intuitive to me and besides, why?  Just… why?  I don’t understand what is the big draw?  Don’t people get enough of my trivialities and whining here?  And I’m not interested in your trivialities and whining anymore than you’re interested in mine.  Post a blog and I’ll read it.  I want to hear your thoughts and the way you’re figuring things out in writing, your internal monologue.  That’s interesting.  That you’re eating breakfast?  Not interesting.

So, on the final day of the summer season, but not the season of summer, I’m stepping away from all the tech for awhile so I can do other stuff.  Maybe go outside, go shopping for the kid’s school supplies, see a movie, finish cleaning my basement, you know, useful things.  Don’t look for me on Facebook.

What Does Cardinal Timothy Dolan think about UNEMPLOYMENT?

Hey, did you hear the one about the Catholic bishop who is going to give a closing prayer at BOTH party conventions this year?*

Ladies? How do you feel about this? Remember back in 2008 when you climbed aboard the Obama bandwagon because he made you feel so creative and young and hot?

What has he done for you lately? Did he banish the Bush Conscience Rule or merely attenuate it? Did he stand up for your rights in the health care bill or capitulate to the Bart Stupaks because a *win* for him was more important that a loss for you?

Did he do anything about your unemployment problem in the he-covery? You know, the one where he thought it jobs should be manly man jobs so a guy could feel good about himself? Remember this blurb from Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men about where the pathetically inadequate stimulus money for jobs would go?:

That was where the jobs would be: nurse’s aides, companions to infirm seniors, hospital orderlies. The group bandied about ideas for how to channel job-seeking men into this growth industry. A need in one area filling a need in another. Interlocking problems, interlocking solutions. The Holy Grail of systemic change.

But Obama shook his head.

“Look, these are guys,” he said. “A lot of them see health care, being nurse’s aides, as women’s work. They need to do something that fits with how they define themselves as men.”

As the room chewed over the non-PC phrase “women’s work,” trying to square the senator’s point with their analytical models, [Alan] Krueger—who was chief economist at the Department of Labor in the mid-1990s at the tender age of thirty-four—sat there silently, thinking that in all his years ofstudying men and muscle, he had never used that term. But Obama was right. Krueger wondered how his latest research on happiness and well-being might take into account what Obama had put his finger on: that work is identity, that men like to build, to have something to show for their sweat and toil.

“Infrastructure,” he blurted out. “Rebuilding infrastructure.”

Obama nodded and smiled, seeing it instantly. “Now we’re talking. . . . Okay, let’s think about how that would work as a real centerpiece…. Don’t even get me started about potholed highways and collapsing bridges,” Obama said….

And just like that, a policy to repair the nation’s infrastructure was born. The federal government, in partnership with the private sector, would call upon the underemployed men of America to rebuild the country, and in doing so restore their pride.

;

Did he pay any attention to the women in his inner circle who told him to ask for more money in the stimulus and at least $100 billion for a jobs program? Did he care about YOUR pride? Economic needs? Kids you need to support?

No, he did not. By the way, read Confidence Men if you have a chance. If the last 4 years haven’t turned you off your kibble with Obama, that book will definitely do it.

Having Cardinal Dolan at the convention is what I would call a swift kick in the teeth. You’ve already decided that the Democrats are going to save you from the Republicans draconian crackdown on reproductive rights so Obama’s campaign has now written you off the list of voters he has to work for. Jeez, did you get ANYTHING in exchange for your vote or did they just scare the pants off you?

So, now that Obama has you in his win column, he can ignore you and go for the anti-abortion Catholics. Do you think they’re just going to give him their votes for nothing? They’re not stupid, you know.

Next time you have a chance to vote for a competent woman, give it more than a few seconds thought before some dude talks you out of it.

*Um, are we also going to get a moment of encouragement from the non-believers or don’t they count?  What about it, Democrats?  Are non-believers citizens who also deserve respect or is it just politically expedient to stuff them in a closet and tell them to be quiet?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is putting up this billboard in two places in Charlotte as well as one place in Tampa:

***************************************

In the meantime, I’ve got other things to do. And here’s something a little bit different. Misschievous, a Canadian-Swiss youtuber, now living in Switzerland, has lost a lot of weight in the past year by cutting out almost all carbs from her diet. Here she presents three different lunches, lower in carbs but not carb free, that look delicious. If you want even fewer carbs, leave out the wrap and honey. Enjoy:

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