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      So, a little bit ago I noted that with temperatures of 70 degrees in the arctic, we could expect permafrost to melt, and that would release methane. Methane is a lot stronger greenhouse gas than carbon, in the short run, and there is a lot held in arctic permafrost. It was suggested that this was […]
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Clap harder, CLAP HAAAARDER!!!

Typed “daily” into the Google search bar looking for the Daily Show, got DailyKos instead.  What the heck, let’s see what they have on the first page.  Oh, it’s a post by DemFromCT titled “What if the Economic News Gets Better?

{{faceplant}}

First, there’s an oh so brief blurb on the Greek sovereign debt crisis, that looks like it’s going to turn out ok anyway!  Isn’t that great??  The stock market is doing ok and the Euro bounced back, but we still hate Wall Street.  But our 401Ks are doing well, not that any Kossacks care about materialism and filthy lucre made on the backs of working people all over the world.  Dayum, do you see the slope on that curve?  It’s f%c^ing *awesome*!

But then, the post gets serious and discusses the GDP.

Right, who are we fooling?  Oh, right, these are Kossacks, who were used as a giant male fraternity party clueless focus group for the Obama campaign in 2008.  So, the bad news is that GDP was only 0.7% for the first half of the year.  The good news is that it was 2.5% in the 3rd quarter!  Isn’t that great?  That will keep those nasty wasty Republicans (boo!, hiss!  boo!) at bay next year because if this keeps up for the 4th quarter, we’ll have an average annual GDP for 2011 of …

… wait for it…

.

.

.

… it’s going to be good…

.

1.6%!!

{{cue the bad magician music}} Da-da-DA-DA-da-DA-da-DA-DA, Da-da-DA-DA-da-DA-da-DAAA!!

Uhhh, guys?  That’s not that good.  And you know what?  9.2% unemployment is a bigger number and likely to stick in the public’s mind a lot longer.  Just think about it: next year, presidential candidate’s debate, Obama gets up there and announces a sensational 1.6% GDP, pats himself on the back, because that is so Barry. Romney furrows his brow (provided he can actually move it) and says, almost sotto voce “9.2% unemployment”, shakes his head, glances at Obama, looks down at his podium, shuffles his notes, shakes his head again, sighs.

See where I’m going with this?   A GDP of 1.6% is anemic.  Check out this post from Brad Plumer at WaPo.  Here’s the money quote:

The economy grew at a 2.5 percent annualized pace in the third quarter of 2011, according to new Commerce Department data released this morning. Seeing as how plenty of economists were grumbling about a double-dip recession not too long ago, even modest growth counts as cheering news. But 2.5 percent growth won’t bring us back to full employment anytime soon. So how much growth do we actually need?

Short answer: A lot more. Back in August, the Congressional Budget Office released its revised GDP forecasts and predicted that the economy would gallop along with 3.6 percent growth between 2013 and 2016. Now, as Jeffrey Frankel has shown, government forecasters tend to err on the optimistic sign, but even in the CBO’s sunny scenario, we wouldn’t hit full employment until 2017.

It’s not enough to keep Social Security payroll taxes streaming in to keep the system going.  One year or two maybe we can make up the difference.  But four?  With another four more years of Barry at the wheel carrying on the Bush legacy and trying to make Grand Bargains with the Republicans to give away virtually all we have left?  What are you guys smoking over there?

The next part of the post is the funniest:

Sure, none of this changes the huge need for jobs or fixes the housing crisis, but with Obama pounding jobs bills and student relief (and some of it actually getting into the headlines and onto the news), it might just reverse the bad news coverage Obama has been getting this year.

It’s of special importance because the GOP really has nothing beyond economic frustration to run on. Their plan, be it this week’s flat tax, last week’s 9-9-9 or Paul Ryan’s disastrous roadmap is all the same: coddle the rich and screw the middle class. No one likes their plan, but with a tanking economy, no one is going to reward incumbents.

So what happens if a year from now, the economy isn’t tanking? Keep in mind the Republicans have no Plan B if America does well.

So, we admit that Obama has been a failure, just as we Conflucians predicted him to be back in 2008, given that he was an inexperienced, political unknown who seemed to flinch whenever anyone called him a Democrat and was being funded by Wall Street in vast quantities (We HATE Wall Street! Remember? But look at my 401K!!).  And we admit that he clusterf^&*ed the housing foreclosure crisis and the unemployment crisis and sure, it looks bad.  But that’s just because Obama keeps getting bad news coverage.  If he gets *good* news coverage, we unemployed people who can’t pay our mortgages will just let bygones be bygones.

And what’s this about the GOP plan to “coddle the rich and screw the middle class”?  I thought that was Obama and the Congress’s plan.  Isn’t it?  Because that’s what it looks like to me.  If Obama and the Democrats have the same plan as Romney and the Republicans, how are we supposed to tell them apart?  Better yet, why should I vote for either of them?  There are other options on the ballot and, who knows, by this time next year, there may be a third viable candidate.  The Occupy movement has unveiled a deep dissatisfaction with both parties.

What is Obama’s Plan B anyway?  I mean, if he wins re-election in 2012, he doesn’t have to have one, you nitwits.  Which is why you shouldn’t be giving him a pass.  You should be on his case and vowing not to vote for him unless he does something for you *before* the election.  Unless all you care about is your 401K.  (Didja see the slope on that graph??)  Even Steve Jobs told Obama that his poor performance on the economy was going to cost him the White House in 2012.  True story.  It’s in Jobs’ new biography by Walter Isaacson.  And we know that Jobs was pretty damn good at getting a feel for what people want.  (Have you checked the quarterly earnings for Apple these days??  Amazing!  Oh, but we HATE Wall Street)

Look, you Kossacks screwed up good in 2008 and as a result, the pain and misery for millions of Americans is going to continue for a long, long time if either Romney OR Obama wins next year. Yes, YOU, You are responsible. The best thing you can do is stop trying so hard to make this sound better than it is.  Stop lying to yourselves and each other.  If you want to make this better, tell Obama to step down now and let someone else with longer coattails take on the Republicans.  Even you guys can’t possibly be as delusional as DemFromCT’s post.

By the way, he could have stopped what happened in Oakland on Tuesday night if he really cared about citizens and their first amendment rights.  There’s an Iraq War veteran who is now in the hospital in critical condition because of this out of control overreaction by “riot police”, if that’s what we’re calling them these days.

I don’t know what is worse, that they knocked this poor guy out and seriously injured him or that they tried to prevent other people from helping him.  I haven’t been so disgusted with the behavior of police in a long time.  This is outrageous.

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

In a bit of good news, apparently, Elizabeth Warren’s embrace of the Occupy Movement hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of the people of Massachusetts who want to work for her senate campaign.  This is a picture of the people who volunteered on Tuesday to lend her campaign a hand.

Golly!  Can we clone her??

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Wednesday: Tell me sweet little lies

learAnglachel and Bob Somerby are channeling Shakespeare. The extended metaphor involves King Lear, Goneril and Regan, and Cordelia. (What kind of parent names their daughter Goneril?? No wonder she had a score to settle.)

For those of you unfamiliar with the play, King Lear, is a self-absorbed, vain man and a bit of a control freak. He challenges his daughters to a “love test” where they are to flatter him with speeches about their devotion and he tells them he will divide his kingdom according to who loves him best. Goneril and Regan outdo themselves in hyperbole. But Cordelia, Lear’s favorite, simply tells her father the truth and doesn’t embellish. She doesn’t think you can just talk about love but you must demonstrate it. And enraged Lear disowns Cordelia on the spot and divides the kingdom between her two sisters. The rest of the play is full of plot twists and double crossing and lots of pathos and death and eventually sophrosyne when it’s too late.

So, anyway, that’s the background for Anglachel’s and Somerby’s commentary. Now, how does it apply to our present situation. Well, Anglachel and Somerby touch on one aspect of the primary season related to the promise to accept public financing but there is another aspect as well and I’ll get to that in a moment. It turns out that last year, several of our fine Democratic candidates took the pledge to accept public financing for the General Election but Hillary did not. Yes, the others prostrated themselves before the press, outdoing each other to prove they were more incorruptable, less lobbyist toe-sucking, more devoted to the purity of the voting public than the other guy. Cordelia, er, Hillary, perhaps knowing how expensive a presidential election could be, just said no. Lear, er, the media, was livid. She was completely diss(own)ed. Well, they would have eventually found a reason to hate, hate, HATE her, but I digress.

So, what happened last week? Barack Obama, that paragon of virtue (oh, *please!*), decides to opt out of public financing. He says he never *really* made a promise and a committment to it anyway. He just said he would support the idea of public financing. It’s like “Blessed are the Cheesemakers”, it’s not to be taken literally. Now, the media and the Obamasphere are shocked, SHOCKED that he would renege on his promise. To be fair, there are a certain number of cynical or completely deluded Obamaphiles who will forgive anything he does. But, then, he also backtracked on FISA as well.

And this where I extend the metaphor a little bit further. Because I remember my days at the Big Orange Cheeto before it became the sludgy birthplace of future spam filter inhabitants when the Kossacks glommed onto whoever would tell them what they wanted to hear. In fact, I remember comment threads where I argued with people about how Edwards wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. He sounded so truthful in thought, word and deed and would NEVER take a dime from a lobbyist, er, federal lobbyist, to be precise. It seems that he never officially disavowed state lobbyists. And he would have NEVER voted for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment. And he was completely immune from the corrupting effects of those mean, nasty, greedy corporations and big pharma people who didn’t deserve to live. He would just stop his ears. And why could we be sure he was the boy scout he said he was? Because he *said* so and by golly, that was good enough for most Kossacks. I think it might have been one of the frontpagers even said quite honestly, “He tells me what I want to hear.”

Someday, I would thunder, Edwards and Obama are going to take it all back. They HAVE to take it all back because in order to win, they can not continue to pander to the purity police on the left. They will have to tack right in order to appeal to conservatives and Republicans and swing voters who they will need to win in November. And no sooner does Obama snag the nomination (or so he thinks) than he immediately backtracks on FISA and sells out our civil liberties. He has to do this to prop up his non-existent national security creds. We would have been better off voting for that toothless Kyl-Lieberman amendment that was all symbolism and did not harm any constitutional amendments in the drafting of its legislation. THAT kinda made sense. Did you or did you not approve of state sponsors of terrorism? Hillary voted that having Iran funding Hezbollah was a not such a cool and groovy thing and we should be on record as opposing it. Where was Barack? Conveeeniently AWOL that day.

Here was the bottom line and I never could get the Kossacks to see it: Edwards and Obama knew what sweet little lies to tell them. They told the future Obamaphiles exactly what they wanted to hear. Oh, sure, the Big Orange Cheeto was being infiltrated by clever Axlerod and Trippi trained moles who knew all of the Pavlovian trigger words that would get the Kossacks salivating on command. But instead of being on their guard, the Kossacks and others ate it up. Why? Vanity, I think. They liked the flattery of having the presidential candidates showing up at their YearlyKos forum. They liked the idea that they had something to do with winning the 2006 elections for the House and Senate. They saw 2008 as their moment to purge the government of the corrupt and vile influences of corporations and insider politicians. They were going to be a political version of the Essenes and become more pure than pure. Cleaner than clean. Stronger than dirt. (Those of you who just caught that last reference have instantly aged yourselves)

But Hillary wouldn’t pander. She never courted the Kossacks or the Obamasphere in general. She was roudly booed at the YearlyKos 2007 presidential forum. I know because I was there. It was disgraceful. She was just getting the hang of facing really tough crowds and I could see her physically withdrawing a bit in her chair. “Oooo”, I thought, “She’d better learn to stiffen her spine.” And she did. I never saw a hint of that in her again.

Anyway, as time went on, I started to realize that she wasn’t avoiding the blogosphere to snub us, though there might have been some misunderstanding at first as to how important the online cauldron was for message origination and for this I blame Mark Penn. No, what I saw was a person who seem to know where she stood and didn’t feel the need to flatter any particular group. As Wes Clark once said, action follows from principle and that is what I saw in Hillary. She was grounded, she knew her policy landscape and she had a set of guiding principles. She presented them to you and asked her to join her. She didn’t tell sweet little lies that she was going to have to backtrack on later. She was attractive to both left and right and felt no need to pander. That infuriated the blogosphere and they disowned her. How many times have we heard them question whether she was a true Democrat?

As Anglachel sums it up so well:

One of my favorite essays ever is Stanley Cavell’s magnificent work on King Lear, “The Avoidance of Love”. In it, one of his themes was that love, and those virtues that are related to love, such as honor, responsibility, respect, loyalty and honesty, are not things that can be claimed or spoken. They must be demonstrated. They are, to grab some graduate school lingo, performatives, made actual in the doing, and they bear a difficult relationship to language because they are difficult to represent in that way. Declarations of these virtues, most of which either are also political virtues or else have a political correlate, stand in tension with the actions of the one who declares – the act of declaration is an invitation to judge.

Cordelia’s love was ordinary, quiet and steady. It did not change to suit the situation, even as she could see the fate that might befall her unless she submitted to her father’s imperious demands. Lear was not the only person in the room passing judgment.

As for the play, well, it was a tragedy.

I think it needs a rewrite, PUMAs.