The Aeration Zone: A liberal breath of fresh air

Contributors (otherwise known as "The Aerheads"):

Walldon in New Jersey ---- Marketingace in Pennsylvania ---- Simoneyezd in Ontario
ChiTom in Illinois -- KISSweb in Illinois -- HoundDog in Kansas City -- The Binger in Ohio

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy

First Posted: 10-25-10 12:22 PM Updated: 10-25-10 03:05 PM

One out of every 34 Americans who earned wages in 2008 earned absolutely nothing -- not one cent -- in 2009.

The stunning figure was released earlier this month by the Social Security Administration, but apparently went unreported until it appeared today on in a column by Pulitzer Prize-winning tax reporter David Cay Johnston.

It's not just every 34th earner whose financial situation has been upended by the financial crisis. Average wages, median wages, and total wages have all declined -- except at the very top, where they leaped dramatically, increasing five-fold.

Johnston writes that while the number of Americans earning more than $50 million fell from 131 in 2008 to 74 in 2009, those that remained at the top increased their income from an average of $91.2 million in 2008 to almost $519 million.

The wealth is astounding, says Johnston. "That's nearly $10 million in weekly pay!... These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers."

Johston sees the depressing figures as a result of government tax policies maintained by politicians with an eye on re-election, not good government:

It is the latest, and in this case quite dramatic, evidence that our economic policies in Washington are undermining the nation as a whole.We have created a tax system that changes continually as politicians manipulate it to extract campaign donations. We have enabled ''free trade'' that is nothing of the sort, but rather tax-subsidized mechanisms that encourage American manufacturers to close their domestic factories, fire workers, and then use cheap labor in China for products they send right back to the United States. This has created enormous downward pressure on wages, and not just for factory workers.

Combined with government policies that have reduced the share of private-sector workers in unions by more than two-thirds -- while our competitors in Canada, Europe, and Japan continue to have highly unionized workforces -- the net effect has been disastrous for the vast majority of American workers. And of course, less money earned from labor translates into less money to finance the United States of America.

Johnston's assertions appear to be supported by a recent Senate vote.

In September, Senate Republicans along with a handful of Democrats, partnered to defeat the Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act, a bill that would have raised taxes on companies that send jobs abroad and benefited companies that bring jobs back to American soil.

The notion that it's good business for American corporations to send jobs overseas has been championed by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's biggest and most powerful business lobby.

The tabulations, staggering as they may be, are only half of half of picture.

Behind the official 9.6 percent unemployment (which is probably somewhere closer to 22 percent), are the stories of millions of individuals who are struggling to get by or are coming to terms with a future of lower wages and a life with less.

"60 Minutes" profiled the underemployed and unemployed on Sunday in a piece titled "The 99ers."

China to nurture 7 new strategic industries in 2011-15

Updated: 2010-10-28 10:47

The industries were new-generation information technology, energy-saving and environment protection, new energy, biology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials and new-energy cars, said the document.

Gee it maps on to our targets for green jobs in solar, wind and plug-in hybrids as providing new U.S. growth.

On clean energy, the China Daily Supplement in today's Post (couldn't find it online) had some very interesting, sobering statistics:

Global production of solar cell power modules from China today: 40% today from zero in 2002(USA today 5% and shrinking as US PV companies move to China)

Number of solar PV manufactures in China today: 528

Number of wind turbine companies in China: 83

While this article is claiming that 73 % of direct jobs thru development of the energy sector stay on U.S. soil, this is probably temporary jobs in the lower end jobs of installation.

Creating a whole new industry that can export to the world with its higher end management, research and engineering and manufacturing will remain in China.

So the USA is to be China's new vassal state like Korea and Viet Nam were at the end of the 1800s sending tribute to our new master in Beijing... its now called interest payments on the debt dollars has lent us. They have all these dollars from all our consumer buying of Chinese goods. And soon those good will be solar modules and wind turbines like the 240 ShenYang Power 2.5 MWatt wind mills being installed right now in West Texas.

Americans will follow the British disease and have jobs that service their economy... there is always a need for low paying salesman jobs at Big Box stores, McDonalds etc. and for finance jobs that just move money around. Sign of the times: Bloomberg Business News on Channel 103 now comes direct from Hong Kong after 6:00 pm. How long will the Chinese just be content to just earn 1% on long term Treasuries and start demanding more in payments, control of our economy?

The real foreclosure mess: Lack of accountability for banks

By Allan Sloan
Tuesday, October 26, 2010; 11:28 AM

The biggest danger to the U.S. capitalist system doesn't come from communists or community activists or left-wing academics. It comes from some of the nation's biggest financial institutions. These companies, which helped create the financial meltdown that touched off the Great Recession, have now found yet another way to undermine the public's faith in capitalism and markets: the foreclosure fiasco.

Even before the foreclosure problem appeared, the level of public distrust of our financial and political systems was approaching the pathological. It's going to get even worse when the true lesson of this episode sinks in. To wit: If you screw up big time when you deal with a giant bank, you're toast. If the giant bank screws up when it deals with you, it gets a do-over.

Sure, many - probably most - of the people whose mortgages are being foreclosed got in trouble because they overreached or lost their jobs, or got conned into teaser rate mortgages: about half of the subprime loans by banks like Countrywide, now part of bank of America were adjustable rate refinancings by people who had fixed prime mortgages. But if we're going to have rules, they ought to be binding on everyone. If I'm supposed to obey the law and pay my bills, the people I'm paying ought to have to obey the law, too.

You miss a payment on your credit card or send it in a few days late, you get whacked. Forget to make a loan payment, your credit rating gets vaporized. But if a bank doesn't do its job properly - for example, if you can't get a knowledgeable and competent human on the phone to deal with a loan modification or a paperwork screwup because the bank is holding down back-office costs to save money - it ends up being your problem, not the bank's.

It's utterly shocking, even to a congenital skeptic like me, to see that giant institutions such as Bank of America, GMAC and J.P. Morgan were allegedly using misleading affidavits to oust people from their homes. Employees of these institutions - the "robo-signers" - repeatedly misled courts by saying they had examined documents they hadn't examined and had reviewed documents they hadn't reviewed.

If you or I as individuals did that, we'd be kicked to the curb by the legal system in about two seconds. If we said that we hadn't wanted to spend the money to do things right - the real reason that robo-signers exist - it would take only one second for the system to whack us.

But how will the system deal with the big outfits that are found to have filed false information in court? They'll be attacked, sued and investigated, and you can bet that at some point their chief executives will be hauled in front of Congress for public show trials by posturing politicians. But in the end, I'm sure, these institutions and their chief executives will get what amounts to a slap on the wrist compared with what would happen to regular people who behaved the way these banks (and possibly other banks) did.

People in this country may be uninformed or misinformed - but they're not stupid. They'll catch on to the message soon, if they haven't already: There's one deal for average people, but a different, far better deal for the really big and powerful.

Yes, you can make a case that there's rough justice here: People made up stuff on their mortgage applications to get into homes they couldn't afford, and banks made up stuff to get them out. But the whole thing just stinks.

GMAC and BofA, which had suspended foreclosures for a while, have now resumed them in some states. By the time you see this, J.P. Morgan may have done so, too.

There's no way to tell at this point whether we're dealing with some overwhelmed back-office people in a few institutions who became robo-signers to meet their quotas and keep their jobs, or whether something more systemic and serious is wrong. My bet's on the latter.

Whatever happens, I hope that the bankers won't be as tone-deaf as they've been lately, and blame their problems on the Obama administration or plaintiffs' lawyers or the news media rather than on themselves. We're already starting to hear the whining about how the big guys are being mistreated for minor paperwork errors. Poor babies. With friends like these, the capitalist system doesn't need enemies.

Allan Sloan is Fortune magazine's senior editor at large.

Trick or treat

Observation: About 50% of the over-18 trick or treaters we've had don't need any more CANDY! We've had several that look as though they may weigh in above 500 lbs! Some have even tried to double dip by coming back twice.

Idiots, wimps, worms.

Today's headline.

Menendez: Temporary Extension Of Bush Tax Cuts Possible

With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The incredible shrinking commercial

The headline of this AP news story is "TV commercials shrink to match attention span."

If we're lucky, the population's attention span will soon get so short that there will be no commercials at all (or, put more correctly from a mathematical point of view, the number of commercials will approach a limit of infinity and the time spent airing them would approach a limit infinitesimally small).

It's a Sarah Palin world we live in.

Monday, October 25, 2010

As bad as Bush

The New York Times got this one right:

[It's] hard to distinguish between the Bush administration and the Obama administration when it comes to detainee policy.
But nobody seems to care much that our Constitution is being ripped to shreds, do they?

Loyal Democrats

Great! Obama is out there telling everyone they should vote for the Democrats while he endorses a former Republican (now independent) against a Democrat. He's endorsed Linc Chafee in the race for RI governor. Now Linc's a pretty good guy, at least as far as Republicans are concerned, but he's not a Democrat.

Of course, we all remember Obama endorsing Joe Lieberman too.

Well, surprise, surprise, if I vote for Lyndon LaRouche in 2012. At least he claims to be a Democrat (some of the time).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's not just what the Democrats don't say, it's what they don't do

On this blog, as in many other places, the Democrats have been rightly accused of failing to make a persuasive case -- for not having a clear, coherent and consistent message. There's much truth in this, but it's not the whole story. A large part of their problem is their failure to do. Frank Rich's op ed in today's Times makes the case that the administration has failed to prosecute the crooks and thugs who run our financial system. That's only one of many such failures. The administration has also failed to prosecute the crooks and thugs who ran our government (into the ground) for the past eight years. And, Democrats, in general, have repeatedly failed to force a confrontation with Republicans. The Dems could easily have voted to repeal the Bush tax cuts (and keep the cuts for the under $250,000 crowd), forcing the Republicans to kill it through a filibuster, but they ran away from it when the Republicans said, "Boo." Now, they can't even complain that the Republicans blocked it. The truthful retort on the part of Republicans is, "We didn't block it. It never came up because the Democrats failed to bring it up." Same for "Don't ask, don't tell."

Back to Frank Rich's piece, I'm afraid the administration in particular and Democrats in general are simply afraid of a fight. And, if you don't fight, there's no way you can win.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gilbert & Sullivan endorse Obama

This clip is worth watching, particularly if you're a Gilbert & Sullivan fan.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Horse head in bed

Roger Stone at Politico makes a great point, one that this blog has been making with less flamboyance for years:

Barack Obama said during the 2008 campaign that his favorite movie was “The Godfather.” But the president apparently views “The Godfather” as a crime or family drama — not as the most important work on the use of power by an Italian since Machiavelli’s “The Prince.”

Lessons from Don Corleone would have helped Obama avoid many of the mistakes in his first year and a half in office.

Remember that the don has done you this favor.

As a powerful man, the don does many people many favors. But they know that something will be expected of them in return. When that moment comes, they had better be willing to return the favor. This favor bank is a great source of the don’s power.

Obama has been all quid, with no pro quo. With Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) down on his luck — no job in the McCain administration and the Democratic Caucus skeptical of his liberal credentials — Obama intervened. Because of that, Lieberman got the committee chairmanship he so desperately wanted. But, somehow, attached to that favor were no strings — for example, no condition that he could vote as he wanted on bills but would support the caucus on breaking filibusters.

Sometimes you need to leave a horse head in the bed.

H/T Americablog

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Democrats suffer from Americans' unwillingness to accept economic reality

By Steven PearlsteinTuesday, October 19, 2010; 9:30 PM
It's one of the great fallacies in politics: Candidate Jones says X, Y and Z during the campaign. Candidate Jones wins the election. Ergo, the public agrees with X, Y and Z.
Certainly there are times when that may be true, but just as often it is not. After all, if that were always true, then voters should now be ecstatic that President Obama delivered on his campaign promise of health-care reform, while being mad as hell that nothing's been done about global warming.
So maybe that wasn't what voters were really thinking way back in 2008. Maybe voters were simply angry about the lousy economy and looking for a new team to take the country in a new direction. And maybe that's the story this year as well.
As for the details of that new direction, it's not at all clear what voters have in mind. Most voters - particularly the swing voters - aren't as well-informed as they might be on major policy issues. What they do have are experiences and instincts and emotions that politicians play upon in order to win elections. Rarely, however, do the election results add up to a mandate. More often it's nothing more than a temporary license to govern.
Americans, it is said, are suddenly recoiling at the dramatic expansion in the reach and power of a federal government that is "taking over" the economy. Topping this list of alleged voter grievances is a new health-care law that requires every American to buy health insurance, a new consumer protection agency for financial products and the government bailout of the auto industry.
Now ask yourself: Do you think the results of the coming election would be tilting in favor of Democrats if the "individual mandate" had been omitted from health reform, if the consumer protection agency had been dropped from financial regulatory reform and if General Motors had been left to die. Somehow I doubt it.
The dirty little secret is that most Americans don't really know what they think about the issues that so animate the political conversation in Washington, and what they think they know about them is often wrong.
Most Americans still think that the bailouts of the banks, the auto companies and American International Group will wind up costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. In fact, the latest guess is that the government will come out even on the deal, and may even turn a profit.
Many Americans think that the economic stimulus package has been a failure. In fact, the estimates from a wide range of experts say the stimulus has saved or created more than 3 million jobs.
Many Americans believe their federal taxes have gone up in the past two years. In fact, for 90 percent of households, taxes were temporarily cut.
After the headlines of the past few weeks, most Americans probably think government has been able to do little, if anything to stem the tidal wave of foreclosures. In fact, over the past 18 months, two mortgages have been modified to avoid foreclosure for every completed foreclosure.
Oh, yes, and then there is the budget deficit, which many Americans think is out of control because of runaway spending orchestrated by President Obama and the Democratic Congress. That deficit, in turn, is blamed for the lackluster economy.
In fact, the deficit has nothing to do with today's slow growth and high unemployment. Indeed, many economists, including those at the International Monetary Fund, think that increasing the deficit even further would be a good way to reduce unemployment in the short term.
And who is responsible for this year's record federal deficit? Roughly half of it was already baked into the cake by the time Obama came into office, with another quarter coming from the "automatic stabilizers" that reduce tax collections and increase spending on things like unemployment insurance and food stamps when the economy is in recession. The rest comes from the one-time stimulus which, once it runs its course, will leave a "structural deficit" that is no bigger than it was when George W. Bush left office.
The simple truth is that Obama and the Democratic Congress were dealt a lousy economic hand, and they've played it about as well as anyone could. Along with their predecessors and the holdovers at the Federal Reserve, they prevented a collapse of the global financial system and a 1930s-like depression. But given the magnitude of the financial crisis and the global imbalances that gave rise to it, a prolonged period of slow growth and high unemployment was almost inevitable.
The political reality, however, is that voters are unwilling to accept that economic reality. They want to believe that government has the power to control the economy and fix it quickly when it breaks down. They are encouraged in that belief by politicians and special interest groups, by the media and by too many economists.
That said, trying to convince voters that things could have been worse was not a viable political strategy for Democrats in 2010. Against a backdrop of stagnant incomes and declining home prices and 10 percent unemployment, toting up the number of jobs saved, mortgages modified or bridges repaired was never going to be a winning argument. What voters needed was a broader vision of where the country needed to go and how we could get there, a credible story of how shared sacrifice today could lead to shared prosperity tomorrow.
The inability of President Obama and Democratic leaders to articulate such a vision and tell that story now threatens their governing majority. Republicans may soon be the beneficiaries of that failure. Their victory, however, will be similarly short-lived if they mistake their good fortune for a mandate for lower taxes, less regulation and further erosion of the economic safety net.
In politics as in many competitive arenas, sometimes you win simply because the other guy loses.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GOP Misinformation Back in Gear

GOP misinformation is circulating two lies. The first one is that Obama is going to institute a 3.8% tax in 2013 for everyone on selling your house in order to pay for Obamacare. From a seminar on this subject at Schwab I know that this is a gross exaggeration. It applies as a surcharge to investment income for those whose AGI is over $250,000 to help pay for the 50 million now who don't have healthcare. Those under are not affected. Hey, lets not worry about details like that.

The second one says Obama "Vets Retirement Asset Grab" and even comes from Turncoat Dick Morris's website ( He will make money from anyone these days). This email says that Obama is going to merge your retirement 401ks and IRAs funds into Social Security so don't let the Dems and Obama get away with that. Again a gross exaggeration. It seems that this got started before Obama was elected. It can be traced back to a Congressional hearing after the meltdown in Oct 2008 with people seeing 50% or more stock market losses in their 401ks and IRAs. The intent of the hearings in October was to explore whether the Social Security agency might do a better job at managing retirement dollars than the ups and downs of the stock market.

This never went any place but it hasn't stop people from all kinds of wild speculation. Of course left unsaid is that W in his second term was seriously toying with the idea of privatizing Social Security and turning it over to Wall St speculators. Maybe the Tea party will try to bring W's idea back as they try to so away with SOCIAL security.

Compared to the Republican misinformation propaganda machine financed by the billionaire Koch Brothers, Democrats continue to show that they can't effectively communicate to the population in instances I've cited above and like what happened with John Kerry and the Swift Boat veterans. We have an electorate that is 80% ignorant.

Democrats Communication Gap Extends to Obama Tax Cuts

By Peter Baker

In a troubling sign for Democrats as they head into the midterm elections, their signature tax cut of the past two years, which decreased income taxes by up to $400 a year for individuals and $800 for married couples, has gone largely unnoticed.

In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know. As Thom Tillis, a Republican state representative, put it as the dinner wound down here, “This was the tax cut that fell in the woods — nobody heard it.”

Actually, the tax cut was, by design, hard to notice. Faced with evidence that people were more likely to save than spend the tax rebate checks they received during the Bush administration, the Obama administration decided to take a different tack: it arranged for less tax money to be withheld from people’s paychecks.

They reasoned that people would be more likely to spend a small, recurring extra bit of money that they might not even notice, and that the quicker the money was spent, the faster it would cycle through the economy.

Economists are still measuring how stimulative the tax cut was. But the hard-to-notice part has succeeded wildly. In a recent interview, President Obama said that structuring the tax cuts so that a little more money showed up regularly in people’s paychecks “was the right thing to do economically, but politically it meant that nobody knew that they were getting a tax cut.”

“And in fact what ended up happening was six months into it, or nine months into it,” the president said, “people had thought we had raised their taxes instead of cutting their taxes.”

There are plenty of explanations as to why many taxpayers did not feel richer when the cuts kicked in, giving typical families an extra $65 a month. Some people were making less money to begin with, as businesses cut back. Others saw their take-home pay shrink as the amounts deducted for health insurance rose.

And taxpayers in more than 30 states saw their state taxes rise, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

That is what happened in North Carolina. The Treasury Department estimated that the federal tax cut would put $1.7 billion back in the hands of North Carolina taxpayers this year. Last year, though, North Carolina, facing a large budget shortfall, raised a variety of state taxes by roughly a billion dollars.

“It was a wash,” said Mr. Tillis, the state representative.

The guests at the Pig Pickin’ rally here could rattle off the names of the House speaker and the Senate majority leader with ease, if with disdain, and were up on many of the political controversies of the day. They studied the campaign fliers at their tables, and pocketed the 1.5-ounce jars of strawberry preserves with special labels urging them to vote for Judge Bill Constangy for Superior Court (“Preserving Justice,” the labels read).

Many volunteered that they thought the Bush tax cuts should be extended for all taxpayers, even for the wealthy ones whom Mr. Obama would like to exclude. But few had heard that there had also been Obama tax cuts — which will also expire next year unless extended, but have generated far less public debate.

Bob Deaton, 73, who wore a “Fair Tax” baseball cap, was surprised to hear that there were tax cuts in the $787 billion stimulus bill, which was wildly unpopular with many at the rally even though roughly a third of it was in the form of tax cuts.

“Tax cuts?” he asked. “Where were the tax cuts?”

Ron Julian, 50, a Huntersville town commissioner, said he thought his taxes had gone up under Mr. Obama. And Mr. Paratore, a former Hearst executive, said he might have noticed the tax cuts if his paycheck had jumped more in the weeks before he retired last year: “I couldn’t even tell you what it was, to be honest with you.”

The Obama administration wants to extend the little-noticed tax cut next year. Jason Furman, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, said the administration still believes that changing the withholdings was a more effective form of stimulus than sending out rebate checks would have been.

“In retrospect, we think that judgment was right,” he said. “It’s harder to predict what’s good for politics. Ultimately, the best thing for politics is going to be helping the economy.”

But at least one prominent economist is questioning whether the method really was more effective. Joel B. Slemrod, a professor of economics at the University of Michigan, analyzed consumer surveys after the last rebate checks were sent out in 2008 by the Bush administration, and after this tax cut, called Making Work Pay, went into effect under the Obama administration.

After the 2008 rebates, he found that about a quarter of the households surveyed said they would use the money primarily to increase their spending. After the Obama tax cut took effect, he said, only 13 percent said they would use the money primarily to increase their spending. The Obama administration believes that people did spend the money, and cites analyses calling the cut one of the more effective forms of stimulus.

Mr. Slemrod said it was not unheard of for voters to miss tax cuts. Just a few years after a 1986 overhaul of the tax system made significant cuts to most people’s taxes, he said, a survey asked people what had happened to their taxes. “Most people didn’t answer that they went down,” he said.

Blau skies von Deutsche Bank

Tuesday, 19 Oct 2010 11:24 AM

By: Forrest Jones

The U.S. economy is leaving its recovery period and is set to enter an expansionary phase, and it won’t double-dip back into a recession, according to global financial giant Deutsche Bank.

Since 1947, the United States gross domestic product has never double-dipped into a recession before growing beyond its pre-crisis levels first, says Deutsche economist Carl Riccadonna.

“Since we are not projecting the economy to cross into expansion until Q4-2010/Q1-2011, it would be unprecedented for the economy to relapse into contraction in the meantime,” Riccadonna says, according to Business Insider.

“This follows logically, because recessions typically lead to a correction of imbalances, such as excessive inventory levels, abnormally low household savings or overinvestment in housing or [capital expenditures].”

Furthermore, a double-dip is unlikely even well into 2011.

“As the recession subsides, the newly rebalanced economy subsequently has greater resilience as the next cycle begins,” Riccadonna says.

Fears of a double-dip recession, often described as when an economy contracts, recovers and then contracts again, have grabbed headlines over the past couple of years, although many others have also rejected the notion, including Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase.

“The American economy may be stronger than people think,” Dimon tells Fortune.

“At the root of my optimism is the sense that the embedded strengths of this country — a lot of which reside in its business — are still here. We work hard, we are innovative, we adapt quickly.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Can Democrats Regroup by 2012?

By Jon Friedman, 10/18/10 Market Watch

It's getting serious. The steady drumbeat of despair in the Democratic Party is telling a big story for the near-term future of the United States.

The pundits are unified (for once) in concluding that the Democrats will be dead in the water next month in the midterm elections.

Can the Democrats regroup in time for 2012?

Is President Obama going to turn out to be a savior or a culprit in these dealings?

The Democrats, of course, can regroup, as can our beleaguered POTUS. It is a matter of presentation and tone, by now, as much as it is a thread of political issues.

Afghanistan, jobs, immigration, healthcare, national security — we know these issues by heart. We know Obama has struggled mightily with the way he conducts his image.

Inexplicably, to the people who voted for him (me, for instance), he has emerged two years later as an indecisive, cliche-spouting leader. I want the old Obama to come back and act as an inspirational leader.

The Democratic Party needs that man to come back, too.

The Republicans are fractured, splintered, tottering, with no one able to serve as a linchpin or a catalyst. The Republicans are a mess. The Democrats are also a mess right now.

What President Obama must do is to regain the momentum he had during the 2008 presidential campaign. He must take some chances in his speeches. He has to look like a man who is in control. I suspect that President Obama remains as self-confident as ever.

But he must show it to the country. When he gives the voters something to believe in, they will respond.

China's US debt holdings

China's holdings of Treasury securities rose to $868.4 billion in August, the Treasury Department reported Monday. That's up 2.6 percent and followed a smaller gain of 0.4 percent in July. China's holdings had fallen 2.8 percent in June and 3.6 percent in May.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The essence of Democracy

The Pentagon is asking the media not to republish the Iraq war secrets that have already been published at Wikileaks. Now just think about that for a minute. Any self-respecting enemy of the United States obviously knows exactly where to go to get this information, so preventing the media from republishing it does nothing to protect our secrets from the enemy. The only reason for asking the media not to republish is to protect the Pentagon and the Government from the citizens of the United States, who might learn something they didn't like about the way in which they are governed.

I suppose that is the essence of modern Democracy.


Republican candidate Joe Miller arrests and holds reporter several hours for asking questions.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Retroactively Forgiving Mortgage Fraud by the Banks

The Democrats are about to do it again -- bail out the banksters by passing a law that forgives whatever fraudulent activities they've engaged in in the mortgage business.

With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

As I said to a Democratic fund raiser who called the other day, "They're all spineless worms who run away when Republicans say, 'boo'. Most are also crooks and perpetrators of war crimes. May they all die in hell. I'm not going to give to or vote for any of them. If there are some commies on the ballot, I might vote for them. Otherwise, my vote is for 'none of the above.'"

There was even a report today that Obama is reconsidering his position re. the Bush tax cuts. What a bunch of wimps.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Soros Throws in the Towel

Billionaire financier George Soros says he’s sitting out the 2010 midterms because he’s convinced the GOP tide cannot be slowed with more of the money he used to help Democrats like Barack Obama get elected in 2008, The New York Times reported.

“I made an exception getting involved in 2004,” Soros told the Times in a brief interview Friday at a forum sponsored by the Bretton Woods Committee, which promotes understanding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“And since I didn’t succeed in 2004, I remained engaged in 2006 and 2008. But I’m basically not a party man. I’d just been forced into that situation by what I considered the excesses of the Bush administration.”

Asked if the prospect of Republican control of one or both houses of Congress concerned him, Soros told the Times: “It does, because I think they are pushing the wrong policies, but I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche.”

War Crimes

When a Democratic President commits war crimes, they're just as much war crimes as when a Republican President commits them. They should all be in jail!

Pat Sajak doesn't want public employees to be permitted to vote

Pat Sajak says that public employees should be disenfranchised if the matters on which they are voting might help or hurt them directly . I suppose the same logic would disenfranchise taxpayers from voting on anything that might affect their taxes.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

RIP Horace J. DePodwin

Died October 5, 2010.

Your Democrats at work

Helping the banksters steal your money.

Of course, Republicans are for this too, but we all knew that already.

The Hypocrites

"The Hypocrites" is the name of this poem by Muriel de Chambrun:

Save me from those men
Whose mouths are full of God
Whose thoughts are full of self
And save me from a world
Where riches matter most
And buy a worthless man
A powerful place.
And give me for my friends
Men whose wealth lies in their minds,
Their hearts, their souls,
Whose wallets hold integrity.

Crappy health care law just got crappier

The Obama administration is now handing out waivers to insurance companies and employers who don't want to abide by the provisions of the new health care law.

So what good is the law?

And, if Obama can do this, think what President Palin will do once she's in office!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Manufacturing jobs redux: the hapless Republicans

I am reviving a post from last year with data that the national Democratic organizations could use in the current campaign. Will they do anything like this? I am not holding my breath. Assuming they do not, can anyone explain why? This is an essential part of the progressive view of the parties, and it's a concern shared broadly throughout society, even reaching into Tea Party ranks. Candidates will say they are going to protect manufacturing jobs, blah, blah, blah, but they absolutely refuse to go for the jugular on anything other than character flaws.

But these are the facts of how the two parties fared in stimulating manufacturing activity, and of particular concern to actual people, manufacturing jobs. This is January to January from the start to the end of each administration (except for Truman, from the post-war demobilization trough in 1946 until January 1953 when he left office).

First, Democrats:

Under Truman, manufacturing employment increased by 3 million.

Under Carter, manufacturing jobs increased by over 800,000.

Under Clinton, manufacturing jobs increased by over 300,000. (Note that this belies the notion, sometimes mindlessly repeated by well-meaning progressives, that manufacturing has been in steady decline since 1980 when Reagan took office. In fact, it has not been steady: there was no decline in the number of employment jobs when Clinton was President.)

And now, the hapless Republicans:

Under Eisenhower, 1.2 million manufacturing jobs were lost.

Under Nixon, over 600,000 manufacturing jobs were lost.

Under Reagan, almost 600,000 manufacturing jobs were lost.

Under George H.W. Bush, almost 1.3 million manufacturing jobs were lost.

Under George W. Bush, believe it or not, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs were lost.

And we as a nation are thinking of putting these people back in charge? And the Democratic Party can't make an effective national ad to support Democrats nationwide out of this?

OK, so the decline under Bush had momentum that has continued under Obama. Does that mean we can't come up with a decent changing-the-path-of-the-Titanic metaphor -- especially when everyone without an explicit ideological axe to grind knows it essentially is true?

For the percentages on this, go to my earlier post: Who is the party of business? It sure as hell ain't the Republicans