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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 4, 2022 by Tony Wikrent   Professional Management Class war on workers Railroading workers [Popular Information, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 11-29-2022] “The dispute boils down to one issue: paid sick leave. … Railroad companies have adamantly refused to include any short-term paid leave. That means rail wor […]
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Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

It’s hump day, and there are many blue meanies about. Watch out for glovey-dovey especially as he will tend to “point, and having pointed, POUNCE!” And remember how the Obots, um, I mean blue meanies were commanded: “Go get thee hence, and destroy yon upstarts. SMASH THEM, SQUASH THEM, CRUSH THEM! O-BLUE-terate them!” Why all the blue references, well yesterday (no pun intended) Apple Corps decided to come into the modern age and put their catalog out for digital download. Apple Inc. is having a big event and have what is quite a nice concert available free online. It’s from their first US concert at the Washington Coliseum in 1964. Go listen, before the blue meanies stomp it out. Here’s an article pointing out how stupid it has been to wait this long:

The Beatles, their surviving heirs and their misguided management finally turned in their Flat Earth Society membership cards Tuesday, allowing the sale of their music as digital downloads on Apple’s iTunes Store. La-dee-freakin’-da.

I’m sorry, were you expecting congratulations here?

This absurdly overdue development happened shortly before 10 a.m. – slightly in advance of the vague prediction posted on Apple’s home page Monday.

I have to agree. There was no reason to wait this long, and the sales will be nothing what they would have been a few years ago. What have they been smoking in Pepperland?

And speaking of, the other tribe of blue meanies are getting nasty and are trying to squash the new arms treaty efforts with Russia:

One of President Obama’s top foreign-policy goals suffered a potentially ruinous setback Friday when the Senate’s second-ranking Republican said the U.S. nuclear treaty with Russia should not be considered until next year.

The statement by Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) stunned the White House and Democrats, who scrambled to save the pact. It came just days after Obama declared that ratifying the treaty was his top foreign-policy priority for the lame-duck session of Congress.

SoS Clinton is weighing in to try to save all the work she and others have done:

Clinton is scheduled to meet with leaders from both parties and will try to draw on goodwill from her eight years in the Senate to persuade lawmakers to ratify the treaty before the Democratic majority in the chamber shrinks in January, making it more difficult to win approval of an agreement Obama calls one of his top foreign policy priorities.

“Clinton was among those senators who worked comfortably with individuals on the other side of the aisle,” said Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the Brookings Institute, a Washington policy group.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn said newly elected lawmakers who take office in January deserve a chance to be heard on the treaty.

“People here have a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton, but we’ve got 13 new senators who have a right to be given a chance to learn about it,” Cornyn said in an interview. “It shouldn’t be rushed through in the lame-duck session.”

Here’s NYTimes take on the same story:

“Failure to pass the New Start treaty this year would endanger our national security,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has led negotiations with Mr. Kyl, said in a statement. It would mean “no verification regime to track Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal,” Mr. Biden said, and would sour a relationship that has helped open a new supply route to troops in Afghanistan and increase pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program.

“Given New Start’s bipartisan support and enormous importance to our national security, the time to act is now, and we will continue to seek its approval by the Senate before the end of the year,” Mr. Biden said.

Both parties had considered Mr. Kyl the make-or-break voice on the pact, with Senate Republicans essentially deputizing him to work out a deal that would secure tens of billions of dollars to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons complex in exchange for approval of the treaty.

Over many months of negotiations, the administration committed to spending $80 billion to do that over the next 10 years, and on Friday offered to chip in $4.1 billion more over the next five years. As a gesture of commitment, the White House had made sure extra money for modernization was included in the stopgap spending resolution now keeping the government operating, even though almost no other program received an increase in money.

All told, White House officials counted 29 meetings, phone calls, briefings or letters involving Mr. Kyl or his staff. They said they thought they had given him everything he wanted, and were optimistic about completing a deal this week, only to learn about his decision on Tuesday from reporters.

You give them an inch. And isn’t Kyl a piece of work? No, maybe it’s just that he cares too much. /snark

NATO is preparing their first updated mission statement in over a decade. The point being to come to terms with the post cold war 21st century realities. Um, about time. WaPo reports:

The statement will embrace deployment of a land-based alliance missile-defense system and approve cost-cutting plans to reduce overlapping weapons systems and streamline NATO’s command structure. It will echo President Obama’s ideal of “a world without nuclear weapons,” but it will make clear that NATO will retain its nuclear deterrent as long as others have such weapons.

It also will commit NATO to developing new capabilities for cyber defense and counterterrorism, as well as enhanced air defense and ground surveillance systems.

Obama leaves Thursday night for the two-day meeting, a fast turn-around just days after he returned from a 10-day tour of Asia to face resurgent Republicans after their mid-term election victory.

Remaining in Lisbon little more than 24 hours, Obama will participate in the Strategic Concept discussions Friday and a Saturday morning session on Afghanistan to be addressed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top coalition military commander in Afghanistan.

The Russian president will be attending a meeting, the first since Russia was suspended in 2006 for their Georgia invasion. Things appear to be very rocky at the moment. Good thing we have such a great SoS.

Back to domestic politics, earmark bashing is the new hip game in town. It’s what all the kids are doing. NYTimes has this:

Given how zealously Mr. McConnell has defended the constitutional prerogative of Congress to control the federal purse, his turnabout was also the surest sign yet that the rightward pressure of Tea Party groups, and an antispending sentiment among voters, have begun to influence the way Washington does business.

At the same time, the renewed push against earmarks highlighted a potential conflict between the calls to eliminate the spending items and demands by many Tea Party supporters for greater fidelity to the Constitution. It is the Constitution, after all, that put Congress in charge of deciding how to spend the taxpayers’ money. In pledging not to let individual lawmakers designate federal money for local purposes, the anti-earmark contingent is in effect ceding more power to the executive branch over how taxpayer dollars are spent, presumably not the outcome desired by the new crop of grass-roots conservatives.

“If Congress does not direct any spending,” said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, who supported the earmark ban, “the president will have 100 percent of the discretion in all federal programs. The failed stimulus is replete with examples of the president’s earmarks that are wasteful.”

Meanwhile that bipartisan beer summit shindig date lounge act has been postponed:

Obama had summoned congressional leaders from both parties for a gathering Thursday to discuss the way forward after the midterm elections. The meeting was to focus on economic concerns, particularly the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 that are set to expire at year’s end.

But the White House said in a statement Tuesday night that the meeting had been rescheduled “at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner due to scheduling conflicts in organizing their caucuses.” The meeting will instead be held on Nov. 30, the White House said.

Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell (R-Ky.), said earlier that the meeting “was never confirmed in the first place.” Stewart added: “The meeting will happen, the schedulers just haven’t confirmed the date/time yet. Nobody ‘pulled out.’ “

Good thing they’re all adults. Otherwise they might act childish.

Back to Alaska, it looks like Murkowski has her win nearly wrapped up:

With nearly all the names on write-in ballots tallied, officials had counted 100,868 votes in Ms. Murkowski’s favor, compared with 90,468 votes for Mr. Miller from the Nov. 2 election, according to Alaska elections officials.

Of the votes for Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Miller’s camp has challenged 8,153 because of misspellings and other imperfections. Not counting the challenged votes, Ms. Murkowski would be left with 92,715 votes.

And finally, in society news from across the pond, the future figure-head, pretend leader thingy they still have (seriously embarrassing if you ask me), is now engaged to be married. But here’s the fun part, apparently some of the little people over there are too big for their britches and don’t want to have to pay for the wedding:

Anti-monarchy group Republic said the couple’s wedding next year was a “private matter” and that taxpayers should not be expected to pay for it.

Lobby group the Taxpayers’ Alliance said a “lavish ceremony” during a time of austerity would be inappropriate.

A spokesman for St James’s Palace said the couple would be “mindful of the economic situation”.

They’re just mad that they won’t be invited. Or maybe their mad about not having homes or jobs or food or all those pesky things the little people worry about. Heavens. Wonder what she’ll wear.

That’s a smidgen of what’s what, and all that rot. Chime in with any goodies you come across.

40 Responses

  1. Since I am the Malicious Gossip and Sleazy Innuendo Editor at The Confluence I feel obligated to bring you this:

    REUNITED: Kal Penn returning to White House. Tiff with Obama apparently over.

    • Who is kal penn?

    • Sheesh I thought you were joking! I had to confirm it, and all I can say is he plans on doing a number on the young people about his lack of standing for or fighting for anything that benefits the working people of American.

      Where is my PUBLIC OPTION…Obama sold us out on that one and on the Medicare Buy In and all we got was a big bill, while allowing ‘Mini Health Plans’ (only cover two thousand a year) that wouldn’t cover a broken foot to be used as tools by big business.

  2. Hee-hee-hee, Obama is going to have to play nice with the Republicans if he wants to earn that Nobel Prize he was given.

    Oh, just forget it.

    • He doesn’t plan on earning it, just like he never planned on representing the working people in Health Care Reform.

      In testy exchange, Chuck Grassley told Obama: No deal!
      By Greg Sargent

      Here’s another fascinating nugget from journalist Richard Wolffe’s new book. If true, it really blows up the ridiculous claim that Obama never made any genuine effort to attract bipartisan support for health reform.

      Wolffe reports that Obama got into a testy exchange with Senator Chuck Grassley, in which the President flatly asked Grassley if he could support health reform if the public option were dropped and he got everything he wanted. Grassley, in effect, said: Nope. And he told a top Obama adviser the same.

      The key is that this exchange occurred early on in the process, and the quest for bipartisan support for health reform continued anyway. The tale begins on page 70, when top Obama adviser Nancy DeParle met with Grassley to ask for his support amid the health care wars in the summer of 2009:

      So, he SOLD US OUT!

      • He never sold me out. I didn’t buy his schtick in the first place. He has completely lived up to my expectations.

        • I didn’t vote for him, but I now have a PINTO insurance plan at the cost of the old plan and YES HE SOLD ME OUT! I didn’t vote for BUSH II and YES HE GOT US INTO TWO WARS that are still going under Obama.

          • Yep, I’ve only voted for a winning president twice. It was for Bill Clinton both times he ran. Every other time, I’ve been on the losing side.
            It’s sort of like the Beatles songs that are most popular. I don’t get it.

          • I’m practically a jinx for pols I support.

  3. I did buy some Beatles tunes yesterday but I’ve been surprised at which of their songs is being downloaded most. Here Comes the Sun is at the top of the list, which I believe is a George Harrison tune. Weird.
    The other top Beatles downloads are (in this order):
    Let it Be
    In My Life
    Come Together

    Sooo, I really like Blackbird and Come Together. Here Comes is a nice wake up song. Let it Be I’ve always found a bit sentimental and schlocky, the true mark of a Paul McCartney song.
    What I find missing are some of the most memorable songs for me: Revolution, Back in the USSR, Norwegian Wood, Fool on the Hill, Oh Bla di-Oh bla da, pretty much anything on the White Album.
    Some people ain’t got no taste.

    • On the other hand, after listening to so much Rolling Stones in the past couple of weeks, I find the Beatles to be refreshing and cerebral in comparison. You can only take so much mindless raunch.

  4. Ok, back to the Beatles thingy. I think the original reaction that the Beatles had overplayed their hand and missed the boat is not necessarily the case. I’ve been perusing the tracks from the albums and am truly astonished at the wealth of songs that are extremely well crafted and would be hits today with a little tweaking. Like Dig a Pony from Let it Be. Or I’ve Got a Feeling could have been a hit for The Band or some other southern flavored rock band. It’s just one good song after another. I could spend a lot of money on their inventory. In fact, I have already spent a lot of money on their inventory and I’m nowhere near done yet.

    • Agree. I wore down my four cassette six hour anthology of Beatles tunes on my Walkman way back when. They made some truly amazing songs, and I have a weakness for the ones that don’t get much karaoke play.

    • Love the Beatles. Never get tired of them. There is something truly timeless in their music and many of their lyrics. I agree about Paul though, I was always a John fan. I am not big on the bubblegum songs (“I Wanna Hold Your Hand”), but love the weird, provocative stuff. I have it all on CD’s and iPod already.

    • I am so old fashioned. I still buy CD’s and download them to my mp3 player.

      I probably have a dozen Beatles albums including anthologies and “greatest hits” collections and a couple Paul McCartney and Wings albums.

      All that plastic didn’t cost me that much money but it did cost me all of my soul brother street cred.

      Oh well. Worth it, says I.

  5. And since HCR came in the news, here’s a preview for the 2014 nightmare from Mass – in my tabloids

  6. Wow! Have you seen the interview of Prince William and Kate Middleton? He is so much like his mother with his eyes and mannerisms. It’s scarey, like Di lives on through her son. Er, is that a good thing? I’m going to go with yes.

    I’m not a royal watcher or a People Magazine reader but I do find it fascinating to watch the product of so much misery appear to be overcoming it.

    • He turned out well. Good sense of humor, grounded, as ordinary as any other 28 year old guy, very supportive of her.
      She’s a bit of an enigma. They are obviously good friends, which helps. But after so much time in the spotlight, I thought she would be a little more at ease. Her sentences drop off to a whisper. She seems to be holding something back. She doesn’t appear to want to be overly charming or like a blushing virgin. It’s going to be a little harder to go all ga-ga over her like Di and maybe that’s a deliberate strategy.
      Don’t reveal too much, don’t be too vulnerable. Put some limits and barriers up.
      It will be a huge wedding. No matter how much people gripe about hardship, it’s weddings like this one that get people giddy and cheering and make them forget their troubles for a few days. Sort of like Astaire and Rogers. It’s a fantasy about two people who are enjoying their lives without all of the intrusive worries of day to day living.
      He may not be a brain trust but I have this feeling that he will make a very good king. He’s got a very positive attitude and looks like he is ready to take up his responsibilities as cheerleader in chief. He’s a working guy who just happens to be a Prince.

    • They are sweet. She just looks nervous–this is her first “official” interview. Wish them the best.

    • I heard on NPR this morning that she has actually been out of the spotlight as much as possible and isn’t really used to giving interviews.

      I’m sort of torn between being OK with the “cheerleading” aspect of it and not OK with the celebrity worship/fascination with the vulgarly-rich aspect. It was a bit repellent to me to see photos of them on ski trips, at polo matches and on pheasant shoots (which I first saw yesterday in the Guardian).

      Remnants of feudalism or boost to tourism/national pride – not sure.

  7. The Foreclosure Crisis is having an ongoing hearing in the Senate on C-Span3. Bottom line: The banks would be insolvent if they recognized their losses.
    Geithner really screwed up when he didn’t allow the big banks to be taken over.

    • What?!? Geithner put his good friends out on the street?

      Why they might kick his golf ball in the rough on their next outing at the country club they all belong to.

  8. Gee, the republicans want to throw a wrench in the Arms Limitation Treaty, they must be taking their marching orders from Michael Savage. Never mind we have enough nukes to change life on Earth as we know it, it still isn’t enough for some.

    Anybody besides me find it ironic that the party that claims to stand on the two legs of National Security and Fiscal Responsibility has failed miserably at both?

    That the troika of political intellect that is Obama, Pelosi, and Reid allowed the republicans to reinvent themselves in the eyes of the voters speaks volumes of their lack of anything.

  9. Just a general thought, but who exactly is doing strategy and talking points for the progressives these days. Is it Markos or Josh Marshall or Digby, because whoever it is is doing a really shitty job.

    • BO is not a socialist, not even close, but Ailes and wingnuts like him keep calling BO a socialist and presto BO keeps moving to the right. And what do the koolaid progressives say in response…of course Obama is a socialist, that’s why we love him so. Twilight zone.

  10. I still remember where I was the day they released the Beatles on iTunes. It’s like it was yesterday.

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