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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 3, 2022
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 3, 2022 by Tony Wikrent   Strategic Political Economy “America Is Sliding Into the Long Pandemic Defeat” Ed Yong [The Atlantic, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 6-28-2022] “In 2018, while reporting on pandemic preparedness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I heard many people joking about the fictional 15th articl […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Breakfast news

Iraq War: The Sequel
Soldier rampage hints at stress of repeated deployments

Military police on Tuesday charged Sgt. John Russell, a soldier on a 15-month tour to Iraq – his third deployment to the country – with murder in the shooting deaths of five soldiers at an American base.

Details about Sergeant Russell are beginning to emerge. In an interview with a local television station in Sherman, Texas, Russell’s father said his son was facing financial difficulty and feared he was about to be discharged from the Army. The case has focused further attention on the effect that multiple, extended deployments are having on soldiers.

Base Slayings Spur Probe of Mental Health Care

The U.S. military said Tuesday that it is launching a probe to identify shortcomings in mental health treatment for troops deployed in war zones, after a soldier allegedly killed five fellow service members at a base clinic in Baghdad on Monday.

Parties Face Off Over CIA Interrogation Briefings

The GOP’s (new) justification for torture
Republicans: Nancy Pelosi could have objected

Congress’s Torture Bubble (By Vicki Divoll, a former deputy counsel to the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, was the general counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003.)

JUST four members of Congress were notified in 2002 when the Central Intelligence Agency’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” program was first approved and carried out, according to documents released by the agency last week.
[A]s a practical matter, there was very little, if anything, the Gang of Four could have done to affect the Bush administration’s decision on the enhanced interrogation techniques program.

Why won’t Dick Cheney just go away and leave us alone?
Dick Cheney: Why So Chatty All of a Sudden?

For a man whose public profile was almost non-existent while he was a public servant, it’s clear from his schedule alone that private citizen Cheney hasn’t merely resurfaced — he’s gone on the offensive. The question is why?

Not only do we have to put up with this torture-loving freak, now we have his daughter too. What was that about the apple and the tree?
Liz Cheney suggests Obama ‘siding with terrorists’

Cheney in Manhattan: ‘A giant conspiracy’ on Iran

GOP Quo Vadis?
Finally! The Republican Party has come up with a brand new strategy to get back to power. Something totally different.
GOP, RNC to rebrand Democrats as ‘Socialists’

A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

When I asked if such a resolution would force RNC Chairman Michael Steele to use that label when talking about Democrats in all his speeches and press releases, the RNC member replied: “Who cares?”

Analysis: Cheney attacks may not help GOP

GOP poised to reject Interior nominee

Richard Posner said there’s currently no (intellectual) there there.
Is the Conservative Movement Losing Steam?

Economic woes
Alarm Sounded On Social Security

The financial health of the Social Security system has eroded more sharply in the past year than at any time since the mid-1990s, according to a government forecast that ratchets up pressure on the Obama administration and Congress to stabilize the retirement system that keeps many older Americans out of poverty.

Recession Hits Social Security Projections

I still can’t believe Thomas Frank has a spot on the WSJ op-ed pages. I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts.
Republicans vs. Bureaucrats

You can’t starve government and blame it too.

Why Obama’s conservatism may not prove good enough

57 Responses

  1. It was a rush job this morning.

    Gotto go. See you guys later.

  2. The financial health of the Social Security system has eroded more sharply in the past year than at any time since the mid-1990s, according to a government forecast that ratchets up pressure on the Obama administration and Congress to stabilize the retirement system that keeps many older Americans out of poverty.

    They will be coming for Social Security soon. I love this part ….that ratchets up pressure on the Obama administration and Congress …..See, it’s not like they and thier owners want to steal Social Security and hand it over to an” industry” …. no, no , they are being forced to! The poor darlings. /snark

    • We knew this would happen, that’s why we preferred Hillary.

      • Yup, they will make you eligible at age 80. Maybe they should have looked at Social Security and not the Greedo Bankers and their cushie bonuses.

  3. I suggest we change the name of Social Security to ” Goldman Sachs” , and the funding problem will be solved.

  4. If I were the GOP I’d find an undisclosed location to drop Dick Cheney off at.Everytime he opens his mouth its a reminder of why they are no longer in power. The guy and his co president practically destroyed the GOP brand single handedly.

    Did you all hear Perry and one of their buddies is doing a town hall called tax party 2.0? I guess that’s they are going to unroll the concept that the democrats are socialists(we should be so lucky).

    • cwaltz-have you been out gardening lately?

      • Yep

        It’s been fairly pretty out in SW Va if a little rainy. My lavender, chives, thyme, mint and feverfew came back as well as all my blueberries and kiwi plant.

        I put in some strawberries, basil, and cilantro. Husband picked me up a Meyer lemon tree(It’s leaves are yellowing so it is my challenging plant. I gave it some azalea fertilizer since it said the tree is nitro loving.

        I haven’t got in any tomatoes yet so I am a little behind on that. Work for hubby has been chaotic. They laid more folks off. Hubby is towards the bottom now which is a little worrisome. We’re hoping to hang on until next year when the house is paid off so we have done a little tightening of the belt.

        How bout you? Pretty enough weather yet so you can play in the dirt? 🙂
        I put the dill in too early and it croaked.

        • Check your lemon tree to see if it is getting too much water. A guy in work was saying how he had to make sure his lemon tree did not get watered as much as his other trees and plants.
          Also read this tidbit, if not enough bees to pollinate tie silk to the tree limbs. When the wind blows electric static will make the pollen transfer to other plants just like a bee.
          Also plant basil and bee balm around tomato plants. They seem to work together.



          • Marigolds seem to keep the critters away from the maters’. One of the insects really liked my basil last year although I never could catch the sneaky critters on the plant.

        • Great weather here. Bulbs seem to have only just finished, and all of a sudden it’s time for petunias, geraniums and lavender!

          I’m very sorry to hear about your hubby- that is very worrying.

          Anyway according to the Financial times, some green shoots are showing.

        • Your Meyer lemon might be in need of iron, too.

  5. I could never understand why Nancy Pelosi took “impeachment off the table” and repeated it so adamantly in many of her interviews. Well, it’s all clear now. She was saving her own hide.
    As for Social Security, I just became a retiree and I am entitled to get my money after 31 years of service. I hope everyone sees that as a common goal and will pressure the Democrats to not touch our SS. It would be the ultimate irony if SS dies under the Democratic control of everything.

  6. Republicans are infamous with framing and using code words for the same tired old ideas. I’d hate to be Michael Steele at this point. They’ve be so successful out driving at any one but the ‘purists’ in most states that every republican convention and meeting is just a fest of hate and anger. Especially on the abortion issue — the big red states are rabid on that.

    What really bothers me is to see the Democrats pick up some of these tricks. They are having the same results.

    If things keep up this way there will be more independent voters than those in either of the parties.

    • Independants are growing in ranks. Heres to a timely death to the Tweedledum and Tweedledumber party anyway. It isn’t like the two parties really represent the constituency well anyway anymore. They spend more time on sound bites then they do on governance.

      • oh, they represent their constituencies very well — folks and organizations with money and power, the voters are just to be lied to to sustain the sham of democracy

    • Ohhh…the link doesn’t work well for me at all, but I did catch sight of her in lavender–she looks really beautiful.

  7. More election fraud news. Gee, I wonder who the service members voted for?

    Report: One-fourth of overseas votes go uncounted

    WASHINGTON (AP) – One out of every four ballots requested by military personnel and other Americans living overseas for the 2008 election may have gone uncounted, according to findings being released at a Senate hearing Wednesday.

    The committee, working with the Congressional Research Service, surveyed election offices in seven states with high numbers of military personnel: California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.

    It said that of 441,000 absentee ballots requested by eligible voters living abroad – mainly active-duty and reserve troops – more than 98,000 were “lost” ballots that were mailed out but never received by election officials. Taking into account 13,500 ballots that were rejected for such reasons as a missing signature or failure to notarize, one-quarter of those requesting a ballot were disenfranchised.


  8. [So, the way I read this: there is a solution to paying for health care, but since it involves political embarrassment for Obama, it’s probably off the table!?! So who comes first: the 50 million uninsured, or The Prince?]

    Health Care, a Lesson in Pain

    Providing health insurance to the roughly 50 million people without it will cost something like $120 billion a year. President Obama has proposed $60 billion or so in new revenue for this purpose — a “down payment,” his advisers say. But Congress seems set to reject about half of the down payment (a plan to limit high-income families’ tax deductions for charitable giving and other such things). That makes for the $90 billion health care hole.

    And no one is quite sure how to fill it.

    The government forgoes $250 billion a year in taxes because of the deduction. Capping it, to apply only to reasonably priced health plans, would bring in enough money to fill most of the $90 billion hole.

    The idea seems to be classic Obama: empirical, pragmatic, bipartisan. Unfortunately, it happens to be an idea that John McCain campaigned on last year and that Mr. Obama, sensing a political opening, blasted as a tax increase. “Taxing health care instead of fixing it,” intoned the narrator in an Obama campaign advertisement, with ominous music playing in the background. “We can’t afford John McCain.”

    Mr. Obama’s economic advisers would be happy to see him reverse his position. But his political advisers remember that ad and know it could be used against him. Further complicating matters, labor unions and Charles Rangel, the influential Democratic House member, say they remain firmly opposed to capping the deduction.

    All of which means that filling the $90 billion hole is going to be very tricky.

    One possibility is that Congress will pass a bill capping the deduction, and Mr. Obama will be able to claim that he is signing it reluctantly. Another possibility, however, is that we need to begin thinking about whether health care reform is possible even if some significant number of people remain uninsured.


    • Did you see the nurses protesting at the Senate hiring yesterday? It was great!!! They need to put single payer on the table and I hope every one can see exactly how ‘socialist’ Obama is without dumping private health insurance and folks that profit from sickness and death.

  9. Bacisly the GOP is dropping its spaghetti strap, in desperate hopes the upper crust will dump its new love interest , Barry , and come back to them.

    What you see is what was visible when the Dems were “finished” a few years back….the political parties without upper crust backing and it ain’t a pretty picture in either case. The GOP will most likely make its future gains just as the Dems did…by default .

    Both want to service the Upper Crust….right now it’s the Dems turn.

  10. Helen Thomas is getting cheers and a sheep skin at NYU ! Go Helen!

    • Helen Thomas is my idol. She has more guts and knowledge then the whole bunch of so-called journalists in msm combined.
      She has the guts to speak truth to power. That idea is lost in todays msm.



      • My sister wrote Helen an email during the primaries, and she wrote back. Clearly, she was not a BO fan–she can spot a fraud from a mile away. She’s seen them in both parties, and is not seduced by a charlatan pitching her empty rhetoric.

    • She received a very warm welcome. Lots of clapping.

    • Helen & Hillary?! NYU knows how to pick ’em!

  11. Now it’s Hill’s turn! They are roaring for her!!

  12. I am no fan of the Bush Admin and was very happy to see them go, but we need to start focusing on the war crimes by the Obama admin. As Obama says it’s time to look forward not back.

  13. I am no fan of Nancy but someone is trying to throw her to the wolves. First she was blamed for Obama’s stimulus and now this. There are clearly out to get her.

    • As far as I’m concerned her and Harry deserve everything they get.

    • Good
      Paybacks are a bitch. If she was not smart enough to see that backtrack will throw any woman especially a white woman under the bus that is on her.
      She did not care how much she hurt the country by backing a anti-American- racist- know nothing. I can not feel any sorrow for her.
      She set women back in politics for years. How long do you think it will take to have another woman speaker?
      She could have used her position to help the women of this country but chose to enable someone who will hurt women before he will help them



    • she foolishly thought she could control the agenda of the inexperienced and shallow ONE … now they’re showing her she overestimated her importance and underestimated the ambition …

      bye bye bye bubbbba bye bye!

    • Hoyer and Rahm are tight–apparently, BO & Co. want to seize the House, and have no impediments. How’s it feel Nance? They seduced you to get your superdelegates, and now they don’t need you anymore. Serves you right.

    • she’s a woman and so she makes a great scape goat.

  14. I’m filing this under odd.

    Obama is the freaking CiC so why would the Pentagon disregard his order if he wanted the pictures contained?


  15. What do folks think about the federal government guaranteeing Californias debt?

    • If it is like all his other promises it will not happen.
      He talks a good game but never comes through.
      At last look California is part of the USA that is not his priority.
      He says what sounds good at the time then forgets about the statement when the lights go out.
      Under bush’s and backtrack’s watch every state is hurting you can not pick one state to help and not others



    • They will have 49 more – wait, I think Alaska is ok – make that 48 more states asking for same guarantee.

      • In some ways the government has already guaranteed parts already. Unemployment reserves were depleted in several states and they had to borrow from the federal government to payout benefits. I have to wonder if the remedy will be somewhere along the line of guaranteeing some but not the full 15-21 billion they would need(depending on the fate of some of the referendums).

        If they guaranteed the whole they would definitely be opening up a whole new can of worms.

        I do think if they do that California no longer gets the right to complain about autonomy. You can’t expect other states to pick up the tab and then say that you have a right to create your own budget and set your own priorities without regard to the people you are asking to pay the tab.

    • I was wondering what happens when a “state goes bankrupt.” The Fed has to step in right–especially with a vital economy and population like CA. What would happen if the Fed didn’t guarantee the debt?

  16. It’s important to know who knew what when regarding torture. It’s even more important to see who’s doing what now. Not being a Democrat or giving a damn about protecting the political ambitions of Democrats, I would cheerfully see any D face the music as much as any R. In particular, I would not cross the street to justify Nancy Pelosi.

    As well, since the argument made by some seems to be that Republicans are a lower moral order than Democrats, then what’s the Democrats’ excuse for their cowardly protection of war criminals now? Being of a higher moral order and all, I mean.

    I think a lot of the conversations about torture are serving to distract from the deeper issues. One being: at this stage, cover-up equals complicity. There is an obligation to prosecute here. Everyday, I’m told more and more than I need to be frightened of conservative extremists. Who, paradoxically, are apparently scarier and scarier even as they drop off the political radar. Neat trick, that — I was reading Paglia’s piece in Salon this morning and not that I expect to agree with her, I just find the argument that talk radio should be my concern fascinating. No one can convince me to be frightened of Rush or O’Reilly or tea parties — just falls flat for me. I’m more concerned about living in a country where the Beautiful People of Whole Foods Nation decide we are no longer a nation of laws, while the “legitimate” media acts as a wing of the government. Because those people are the ones with actual political power — as much as I’m encouraged to participate in the requisite 2 minutes of hate against my morally inferior political enemies.

    Hm, what do you know, I seem to be scared of all the incorrect things…

    • PS –


      “Defense and military officials tell NBC News that President Obama will seek to delay the release of hundreds of photos that reportedly depict the abuse of prisoners by U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

      The ACLU is not happy:


      “If it’s true that they’re reversing position, we find that wholly unacceptable,” ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer told POLITICO. “It’s inconsistent with the commitment they’ve made to the court and its inconsistent with the promise of transparency that they’ve repeated many times both before the election and since.”

      So it looks like there are enough (new) justifications to go around.

  17. New thread up — and I promise Myiq2xu, you can read this one with out blacking out!

  18. I am really really really p*ssed off about the latest attack on SS and Medicare, an attack which has Obama’s imprimatur all over it. In several months, I will finally qualify to collect SS, money which is desperately needed in this household, though my monthly payment will be a pittance. In several years, I’ll qualify for Medicare, too. Is the reward for aging and paying in all these years to be nothing more than “Oh, sorry, we already spent that, so you’re screwed”? When will the constant whitewashing of Obama STOP? When will his willing complicity in the economic raping of the non-rich be exposed? When will more Americans get as angry as those of us nearing the bottom of the economic pile are?

    Apparently, we’re just fine with bailing out an utterly corrupt bankster system and have no plans to ever regulate the stock market as law dictates it must be regulated. Are we also fine with throwing those in their sixties and older under the biggest bus this country has ever seen? I am down to the last shreds of ‘hope’ in my possession. What I’m seeing is a country – and a president – so in thrall to big money that everything else is small potatoes about to be mashed into uncaring oblivion, with the apparent acquiescence of voters. I am completely depressed.

    • RD has mentioned this for months, and I started finding more and more clues about it being released in the press. This is their “master plan” to pay for all the spending. They plan to “reform the entitlement programs.” They didn’t dare announce this at once, because it would cause a firestorm. They are letting it leak out bit by bit.

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