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Walldon in New Jersey ---- Marketingace in Pennsylvania ---- Simoneyezd in Ontario
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Romney's Big Lie: Obama "Has Not Created Any New Jobs"

Think Progress - Of course, like Romney's repeated assertions that Obama made the economy "worse," the claim that he hasn't created any new jobs is false. As Steve Benen noted, the private sector has added 2.3 million new jobs since March 2010, and it took the Obama economy one year to create more jobs than the economy under President Bush did in eight. There are, indeed, fewer net jobs now than when Obama took office early in the recession, but his policies, including the stimulus, effectively turned months of job losses into months of consistent job gains.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Classical Economists: the social scientists who are unsocial and anti-science

In this excellent discussion of so-called pro-market economists
("Occupy Economics Departments: Conventional economists have a lot to answer for but will they listen?")
, David Morris gives us a little factoid I never fully grasped before that actually offers profound insight:

A few weeks ago the Nobel Prize for Economics was announced. The press dutifully noted that it wasn’t one of the official Nobel Prizes inaugurated in 1901. Yet the media continue to call it the Nobel Prize rather than by its actual name: The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

Knowing that the prize is issued by a bank might help people understand why, since its inception in 1969, 70 percent of these economics prizes have been awarded to Americans compared to only 39 percent of the real Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics, literature and medicine. And why ten have been won by University of Chicago faculty.

The study of economics may indeed help us understand the world and design appropriate policies. But we need to drop the pretense that economics is a science based on laws and objective models and accept that it is a normative discipline. We need to own up to the bias inherent in conventional economic models and the social damage policies based on those models has wrought.

Morris' article starts from the recent walk-out by Harvard University students protesting the inherent conservative bias in the introductory economics course taught by Greg Mankiw, a frequent adviser to Republican candidates and President Bush.

Right now, we have a University of Chicago economist (Casey Mulligan) who seems to be arguing that -- I kid you not -- the reason we have high unemployment is generous unemployment compensation and too many workers who want to use it to take a vacation. Under this theory, several million got this hankering for leisure within the space of a few months as the Bush economy imploded and unemployment soared.

Of course, the U of C has been the center of modern classical economists with its theories about how "the market" is perfect because everyone in the economy has perfect information, acts totally in self-interest on rational expectations and so forth -- and all of these assumptions, when plugged into mathematical algorithms that most of us shrink from in fear, even though the assumptions not only cannot be supported by real life evidence but seem to push the outer envelope of absurdity, are supposed to convey the status of a "science" to their compilation of theories. Of course, it's just a coincidence that their implicitly libertarian theories are used to support right wing politics and low taxation of the wealthy, and justify letting banks do whatever they want because "the market" will correct any abuses. Their notion of "the market," by the way, seems even to go so far as to preclude enforcement of ancient laws against fraud.

So we have the University of Chicago Economics Department advancing these frivolous theories, and yet they get all these Nobel Prizes there. Well, now we know the awards should at best be identified as "Nobel" Prizes in Pro-Banking Economics. Understanding the true nature of the prizes closes the disconnect there. The greatness of the University of Chicago, as verified by all those "Nobels," is a sham. Casey Mulligan looks in his picture like a very nice guy. But the stuff he writes is used by very not nice people to do some very not nice things to a lot of people. How long will it take for the truth to start bringing down those glowing rankings the institution receives?

Don't worry. It's only record levels of climate-killing methane gas. We are God's chosen people. He will protect us. We don't have to lift a finger

by David Atkins, DigsbyBlog 12/13/11

It seems like every day brings more alarming news that would shock and alarm an intelligent species with the capacity for foresight. Sadly, humanity doesn't seem to be such a species.

Yesterday brings news of a shocking level of methane gas being released into the atmosphere via climate-change-induced permafrost melt--one of those positive feedback climate change loops we keep hearing about:

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said. "I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them."

Why does this matter?

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere leading to rapid and severe climate change.

And why is methane so bad? Adam Siegellinks to this piece at Thinkprogrss by Joe Romm to explain:

Scientists learned last year that the permafrost permamelt contains a staggering “1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere,” much of which would be released as methane. Methane is is 25 times as potent a heat-trapping gas as CO2 over a 100 year time horizon, but 72 times as potent over 20 years!

The carbon is locked in a freezer in the part of the planet warming up the fastest (see “Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“). Half the land-based permafrost would vanish by mid-century on our current emissions path (see “Tundra, Part 2: The point of no return” and below). No climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra.

But what the heck do all these scientists know? Real Amurkans know it's time to get science out of politics, tackle the real threat to humanity posed by gay military service, and give the jaahb creators more tax breaks. And that's all that really matters, right?

Monday, December 12, 2011


Income inequality is a myth

From the DC underground

Have you noticed that if the Senate or the House are not in session CSPAN is usually running a lecture by some whore at the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute. This from the famous "liberal media." Last night I stumbled on one of these con job lectures. The whore of the week was a guy named James Pethokoukis who was presenting his argument that income inequality in America is a myth, and all those dozen books I have read over the last 7 or 8 years on the subject and all those articles by hundreds of respected economists were lies and part of a vast conspiracy. The website listed here discusses Pethokoukis work.

It is the only objective of the Heritage Foundation, Amercian Enterprise Institute, Americans for Progress and all the other so called "think tanks" funded and run by the same cadre of oligarchs to generate reports that are peer reviewed by the Wall Street Journal and argue the black is actually white, night is actually day, and all government regulation is bad. The technique of spreading false contradictory data to confuse the masses was developed by the tobacco lobby to keep Americans smoking cigarettes 30 years after science knew it was killing us. The Heritage Foundations was formed to get such contradicting reports out fast. The conduits for misinformation at the time were too slow and legislation banning CHC got through without the usual crap. If you want to read a good history of the technique read "Merchants of Doubt."

My Comment: AKA the 5P Syndrome (the preposterous proposition of perversion perpetrating politicos)

Candid Blogs on Newt

BTW most of the 1960s weirdo-hippy-freaks did NOT become conservatives. Second, the Tea-Party is not Conservative it is Radical best. That older White men are impressed with Gingrich is a testament to their lack of insight. These older folks should remember what "scape-goating" is all about (think Gypsies, Communists and Jews in the 1930s....Germany....Hitler and his followers....DUH). Tag some group as the cause of the problems the public faces and keep harping on that and pretty soon the people have had their collective attention diverted from the real problem. In this case, it is NOT "illegal aliens" that have caused the problems in America. It is the Reactionaries belief that government (regulations that control banking and mortgages and corporate behavior and social security and medicare) is bad. All of the things I have mentioned, parenthetically, would stop the Reactionary rape of the Middle Class and return some semblance of equity to our social and financial structure. Gingrich is the shining example of a personality disordered, egocentric shill. He does not believe in anything other than his own agrandizement and financial well being. This is a man that served divorce papers to his wife, in the hospital, while she was dying of cancer. Shoot the bast--d, don't elect him President. Anyone who is that cold hearted will clearly put his own self-interest before ANYTHING else. There is NO EXCUSE for what he did!!!! Evangelicals support this man.....if Gingrich meets Christ in Heaven...count on it....warp speed transfer to Hell. I seem shrill because I am deeply troubled as to why the Middle Class keeps electing Republicans to office

I completely agree with everything you've said. Newt tried to get one of his marriages annulled after producing two children? who does that? He didn't want to pay child support. How anyone could think this man has any principals at all is beyond me. He pushed harder than anyone in D.C. to have Clinton impeached meanwhile in the backseat of his lovers car he was getting his head stroked while his wife sat wondering where the hell he was. Newt is the worst possible choice for any office let alone a presidental post

Ok it's time to tell the truth. The republican party are the party of ego!!! They are for one thing collectively and that is their own self angrandizing, self centerd and self loving selves. They have given up all compassion in a bargin with the devil (newt, rush, savage, hannity, O'reilly, trump etc)that allows them to give generously to them selves (Intellectually), while they pooh pooh any and all other peoples who don't look like them (White) don't think like them (ignorent) or live like them (in glass houses) and why the media and the social scean don't want to say any of this has me courious as to how far our country has dipped into the well of of forgetfullness. look to the past and you will see where the people live.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Teddy Roosevelt: 193 recess appointments during a one second recess

This is what you call executive decision-making. When he was facing a Congress that tried to prevent him from governing by refusing to approve his appointments, TR got creative. In the split second between the gavels closing one Senate session and opening a new one, TR made 193 recess appointment.

I've wondered about the Obama administration's passivity in response to Republican obstructionism. His recess appointments have been sparse, and the unfilled offices are piling up. Obama could take the following position: that by refusing to even permit votes on appointments that require Senate approval, and then refusing to go formally into recess in order to prevent him from exercising his Constitutional authority to make recess appointments, the Senate is deliberately interfering with his executive authority and effectively preventing him from fulfilling his Constitutional obligation to execute the laws of the land; accordingly, for purposes of making appointments he is entitled, he is declaring a constructive recess, making the appointments and moving on to conduct the country's business -- including protecting hard-working Americans from depredations by unethical financial institutions by getting the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency up to speed.

OK, so he does this and Republicans throw a gigantic hissy fit. What are they going to do about it? The Supreme Court won't touch a dispute between its sister branches of government, the Republicans draft a resolution condemning his actions, and the majority Democratic Senators vote it down. With relentless attacks on the Republicans for abusing their offices by refusing to let the President make appointments he is Constitutionally obligated to make, the Democrats could create both a legal and political stalemate.

I can make a better Constitutional law argument for this as Bush's (and now Obama's) lawyers could make -- again on the basis of Executive branch prerogatives -- for allowing indefinite detention with no due process rights. This is asserted even in the case of American citizens, and even on U.S. soil, if they are declared by the President, with no provision for judicial review, to be "enemy combatants."

Friday, December 09, 2011

I Got Spine. Fool me Once

Obama's New Square Deal

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 3:13pm —

E.J. Dionne National Memo

WASHINGTON -- President Obama has decided that he is more likely to win if the election is about big things rather than small ones. He hopes to turn the 2012 campaign from a plebiscite about the current state of the economy into a referendum about the broader progressive tradition that made us a middle-class nation. For the second time, he intends to stake his fate on a battle for the future.

This choice has obvious political benefits to an incumbent presiding over a still-ailing economy, and it confirms Obama's shift from a defensive approach earlier this year to an aggressive philosophical attack on a Republican Party that has veered sharply rightward. It's also the boldest move the president has made since he decided to go all-out for health insurance reform even after the Democrats lost their 60-vote majority in the Senate in early 2010.

The president's speech on Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kan., the site of Theodore Roosevelt's legendary "New Nationalism" speech 101 years ago, was the Inaugural address Obama never gave. It was, at once, a clear philosophical rationale for his presidency, a straightforward narrative explaining the causes of the nation's travails, and a coherent plan of battle against a radicalized conservatism that now defines the Republican Party and has set the tone for its presidential nominating contest.

In drawing upon TR, Obama tied himself unapologetically to a defense of America's long progressive and liberal tradition. The Republican Roosevelt, after all, drew his inspiration from the writer Herbert Croly, whose book "The Promise of American Life" can fairly be seen as the original manifesto for modern liberalism. Thus has the tea party's radicalism encouraged a very shrewd politician to take on a task that Democrats have been reluctant to engage since Ronald Reagan's ascendancy.

Obama was remarkably direct in declaring that the core ideas of the progressivism advanced by Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were right, and that the commitments of Reagan era supply-side economics are flatly wrong. He praised TR for knowing "that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can" and for understanding that "the free market only works when there are rules of the road that ensure competition is fair and open and honest."

He also eviscerated supply-side economics, a theory promising that "if we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger."

"But here's the problem," Obama declared. "It doesn't work. It has never worked. It didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It's not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the '50s and '60s. And it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade."

A White House that just a few months ago was obsessed with the political center is now not at all wary, as a senior adviser put it, of extolling "a vision that has worked for this country." But this adviser also noted that Obama implicitly contrasted the flexibility of the Rooseveltian progressivism with the rigidity of the current brand of conservatism. The official pointed to Obama's strong commitment to education reform, including his critique in Osawatomie of "just throwing money at education."

"You can embrace it (the progressive tradition) if you can make the point that philosophies and political theories can evolve as facts on the ground change," the adviser said. The liberalism Obama advocated thus contains a core of moderation that the ideology of the tea party does not. Finally, Obama has realized that the path to the doors of moderate voters passes through a wholesale critique of the immoderation of the right.

For months, progressives have asked why Obama wasn't invoking the populist language of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his attacks on "economic royalists" and "the privileged princes" of "new economic dynasties." What progressives often forget is that FDR offered these words only when his first term was almost over, in his acceptance speech at the 1936 Democratic National Convention. Roosevelt did not become a full-throated economic populist until the election was upon him -- and only after he was pressed by a left and a labor movement that demanded more of him.

Facing his own re-election and pushed by an Occupy Wall Street movement that has made economic inequality a driving issue in our politics, Barack Obama discovered both of his inner Roosevelts.

E.J. Dionne's email address is ejdionne(at)

Reader's Rejoinder:

Geez Mr. President, it's about time. But make no mistake about it, it is a class war. Only until recently the middle class has been attacked repeatedly on every front and barely whimpered under the withering assault. That's why these sociopaths on the right have become so emboldened to do the demented things they do. They got no resistance. Well taken to it's logical conclusion there would be a bloody revolution if that were to continue. Time to restore balance and engage in mutual sacrifice so we can reap mutual benefit. Either that or we can descend into the hell that tyranny inevitably bring (in the form of corporate facism).