Friday, August 17, 2012

80 More Days Of This To Suffer Through


Anonymous said...

Start and end of Obama's speech four years ago in Janesville:

Can't find the whole.

Mostly empty rhetoric (Put away the video games kids! Prosperity!) and in these clips candidate Obama does not specifically say the plant will (re)open. But, on that particular point I'd say Ryan's rhetoric is more correct than the reliably sycophantic Daily Kos' montage implies. Obama is promising Janesville good jobs here, and the unemployment rate in Janesville, WI is 9.4% as of June.

Neither party should really be too sanguine about the auto industry. The Republicans wanted no stimulus and drill-baby-drill. Obama and the Democrats busted union contracts, forced a lower wage scale on younger workers, ensured elite CEO salary payscales, and propped up a dinosaur industry (Tahoes and Suburbans replacing just like Ryan wants).

And, of course, the Democrats gave us drill-baby-drill in all but name, most notably resulting in the regulatory failure of the BP oil spill.

Neither party really addresses the underlying problems that Janesville, USA faces. Unfair trade is the hidden hand in wage deterioration and job insecurity, particularly in manufacturing, and neither party will talk about it. The bailout did not reward innovation in auto design, and it reinforced elitist pay structures and generational inequality. Nearly the opposite of what Obama promised four years ago in Janesville.

Neither party should really be that smug about mendacity either. Cue the Obama 2008 montage...Gitmo, surveillance, public option, war powers...

Yes, 80 more days, preceded by twelve feckless years, and at least four more. No matter which of these evil clowns "wins."

We're all Janesville, and we're all screwed.

The last democrat said...

Obama and Romney's agreement to run bland campaigns and avoid real disagreements on issues certainly provided a nice platform for Julian Assange today. Hey, whatever you think of Wikileaks, at least someone is speaking colorfully and forcefully on justice and courage. (I kept fearing Assange would get shot.) The US seems to be painting itself back into W.-style corner of isolation internationally. So much for Obama-Clinton's new style of reset diplomacy.

I guess that's the problem with a fake election--it's so boring that other actors can easily grab the media spotlight.

Anonymous said...

We used to think that brokered conventions or primaries were a sign of corruption, until they became commonplace. Now we have what looks increasingly like a brokered Presidential race.

The elites want a second Obama term, and in return Obama signals Clintonite "Grand Bargain" Erskine Bowles will get Treasury. The other elite "Republican" wing is running Ryan to be Bowles opponent in the supposedly divisive budget battle of 2013.

Except, of course, that elite constituencies are not really that divided. Simpson-Bowles-Ryan will screw over the 90-to-99% in favor of elite 10-to-1% constituencies, no matter the plan's final outline. The real uncertainty is for the upper "middle" professional classes. The fix is already in for the rest of us.

Which elites will win still seems somewhat in the air, since Congress still seems to have narrow play (in the Democrat vs Republican sense). Elites are using the Presidential election to effect the Congressional outcome.

Ironically, if Obama's election wasn't so assured, the elites would likely be giving him more money relative to Romney. The elites need the Democratic imprint on the budget deal, much as they did on WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA, welfare/ safety net gutting, Glass-Steagall repeal, TARP etc. Obama will be their poodle, much the same role that Clinton played. Hence Clinton's symbolic appearance at the (entirely pointless) Democratic convention. Obama already has his post-Presidency hat out.

With Obama safely leading in the electoral college, the Presidential race is all about Congress, and positioning for the albeit narrowly defined budget contest. So, Romney picks up plenty of money as part of the overall power swing to elite representation. It's the 1% vs the next 9%.

What we've got in America now is really not so different than the decennial brokered power transitions in China's system. Political power is reserved for elites, who have genuine factional disputes, but who agree to prevent any real political voice by the vast majority of the public. Elites in both systems have to make placating gestures to the 90% public, but these gestures stop short of real power-sharing or reform.

The American public (ex-citizens) has more in common with the Chinese public (never-citizens) than we do with our own respective elite political parties.

The modern form of the apocryphal Chinese curse may be "may you live in an interesting time with boring, meaningless campaigns."

Anonymous said...

This election reminds me of a trick I'd play on my kid when she refused to go to bed.

I'd ask her "do you want to wear your red or blue pajamas tonight?"

When it worked, the "choice" would distract her and also commit her to the bedtime routine.

Of course, the difference is that getting sleep was actually in her best interests. And, she eventually saw through the ruse.

T.J. said...

Wake up, America.

Wake. Up.

A firebell is ringing, in the night.

Anonymous said...

The partisan vitriol is kind of silly in this campaign.

Democrats denounce Ryan's Medicare plan as extreme Ayn Rand libertarianism because it relies on vouchers and choosing private insurers in the marketplace.

Meanwhile, Obamacare relies on vouchers and choosing private insurers in the marketplace. So, Republicans denounce it as socialism.

Florence Nightengale said...

Yes, if Democrats think single-payer Medicare is so great, why didn't they expand it to all (or at least retain the public option).

If Republicans think Obamacare is so evil, why expand it to seniors?

Its similar to Krugman disagreeing with Ferguson on whether Obamacare is "fully funded." Well no, the plan may not add to the federal deficit to offer the subsidies. But unless the subsidies and cost savings match household mandated obligations, Krugman's point feels irrelevant. If Obama ordered me to pave a street, it would also decrease the deficit I suppose.

Of course, Krugman employed a similar sleight of hand when he argued the complex subsidy reimbursements through a private system were just like single payer. But, it's not: Obamacare built in private profits avoided by single payer. The same costs would presumably occur in Ryan's Medicare plan. Ergo, Krugman has no consistent basis to attack Ryancare. If profit is OK for Obamacare, then why not for Ryancare?

Krugman and the Democrats are as rhetorically stuck as the Republicans and Ferguson.

The saddest thing is that the public solidly believes that Medicare is one thing government does well. Only politicians oppose the Medicare concept.

Florence Henderson said...

The key word to decode the jabberwocky is "seniors."

All changes to entitlements have increased benefits for seniors and shifted costs to younger generations. That accelerated when boomers took political power, and became seniors themselves.

No entitlement proposals from either party have had anything to do with socialism, "small government" or any other ideology. They are simply politically expedient transfers of labor value from the young to boomers.

If the parties were really interested in realistic entitlement reform, they'd be taxing wealth, not youth. If they were interested in sustainabilty, they wouldn't be crippling youth with education debts while simultaneously destroying the job market.

Krugman has one set of economic rules for boomer health care and a different set of laws for the rest of us.

But Ryan would exempt boomers from his Medicare vouchers, also leaving postboomers holding the bag.

One pill makes you larger, and another pill makes you small.

Anonymous said...

The political system has boomers eating their young, but class still matters.

Obamacare made explicit one particular type of class discrimination: Young adults who have parents with insurance can stay on that insurance. Of course, poorer young people are less likely to have parents with jobs and insurance to offer.

Forcing adults to use their parents insurance is condescending policy (and gives parents remarkable social leverage and control over their adult children). WOuldn't real reform allow young people to get their own individual policies?

But young adults of lower status without family access are out trying to pay for mandated insurance, as well as Medicare costs, Social Security etc. for individuals who may very well be wealthy.

Younger people, and particularly those without trust funds, are mostly declining to vote in this election. That's not just because of intimidation from Republican voter ID laws. Neither party offers policies that deserve a vote. Obama lied to them, about health care, education costs, and trade, not to mention issues like drug policy.

Obama will win this election with his apathetic campaign and targeted constituencies. But, speaking of mandates Mr President, good luck governing without a mandate that includes post-boomers.

Anonymous said...

I'm 52 and I've decided I'm too naive to vote anymore.

I thought, without question, that Obama would investiage and prosecute Wall Street, and that Wall Street and banks would get re-regulated. Stupid me.

I also thought that even McCain would appoint a truth commission on Bush-Cheney torture, surveillance, etc. I figured Obama would appoint a special prosecutor. Gitmo would close down, rapido.

Now the torture-enabler Condi gets a green jacket and everyone cheers. Cheney and Rumsfeld give each other human rights awards.

I'm too dumb to get it. I don't even know what country I live in anymore. I ain't voting.

Anonymous said...

The stimulus didn't produce any jobs for Janesville, but it at least gave the cops there lots of surveillance equipment and enhanced weaponry through DHS, right?

At least that's how we spent our stimulus here! Oh, and on a big road to nowhere. Hope they got one of those. Then their unemployment would be 8.8% instead of 9.4%

Anonymous said...

OK, this one tops the Ryan ad. Bill Clinton, who deregulated the banks, has a new ad out for Obama:

"The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper-income people and go back to deregulation. That's what got us in trouble in the first place," the former president says.

Wait just a minute Mr. Ex-President. Deregulation was your plan and was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. You are the one gutted Glass-Steagal. You have consistently opposed a return to real regulation ever since. You've taken many millions in speech fees and other payoffs from banks like Goldman-Sachs after you signed Gramm-Leach.

"President Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up, investing in innovation, education and job training. It only works if there is a strong middle class. That's what happened when I was president."

What? When you were president you signed the profoundly anti-labor WTO and NAFTA, which resulted in the massive off-shoring of jobs and kicked the ground level out of wages. Yeah, lots of that happened after you left office (just like the delayed effects of deregulation), but structural unemployment and wage loss was largely caused by your policies.

"We need to keep going with [Obama's] plan."

Um, what plan? What does Clinton know that we don't? Obama hasn't said anything that isn't retread.

Clinton is right that Obama's policies are basically the same as his (and the Democrats and Republicans): no meaningful regulation, unfair trade.

But, that similarity is exactly the problem.

Anonymous said...

Let's check Obama's progress:

Dick Cheney, uncharged.
Lloyd Blankfein, uncharged.
Lance Armstrong, BUSTED.

Wow. Glad the Democrats have their priorities in place.

Cheshire Scat said...

"Look forward not back" is a tricky policy. Only Nobel Peace Prize winners know when it applies and when it doesn't.

Kinda like the Geneva Conventions or the US Code.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did Paul Krugman just call 42-year-old father Paul Ryan "boy"?

Meanwhile, Democrats are floating the idea that Ryan is "racist" because he had once had a black girlfriend. Um, what?

Maybe there IS still time for Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Cheshire said...

You couldn't make this stuff up. This year is about ad hominem the way 2008 was about substance. Though, the substance proved not very substantive.

The Akin thing was a gift to Democrats, exactly on message for them. But, I don't get how they're playing the follow-through. It's like they hit a homerun on a fat pitch, then turned around and whacked the umpire with the bat. They'd score more if they ran the bases and brought everyone home.

Sorry, sports metaphor. But, why do the Democrats have turn everything into a condescending wine and cheese lecture?

But, no worries. Obama can always go to a sports bar and "enjoy" a beer with the "boys."

This Just In said...

Omg. Turns out that Obama also once had a black gf.

And, he married her!

I can get enthusing the identity base to vote, but, its late summer. Shouldn't Democrats be wary of alienating the class base? The biggest issue in this election is the disappearance of the middle class (for all identities). Its one thing to respond to Republican misogyny, its another to choose noneconomic messaging as a strategy.

Obama's internal polling must be making the campaign desparate. Or, maybe there are bad employment numbers ahead.

Tars Tarkas said...

Here's the thing: Ryan is now the elites' stand-in for working class people, and white working class males in particular. That's true for both right and left elites, for both Democrats and Republicans. The bigotry on the NYTimes editorial page toward Ryan is almost across the board: Krugman, Collins, Brooks... Ryan is "boy" and "they all look alike" and "he's sadly mistaken."

On the elite "concerned" liberal left there's Moyers, Walsh etc etc. Gag me.

It doesn't matter if Ryan had a black girlfriend (and sister-in-law), he's the scapegoat racist. It doesn't matter if he married a royal Democrat with pedigree, he's unwashed and only loves Ayn Rand. The elites need him to play the role they've assigned him. He's an extremist whether he wants to be or not.

Don't mistake me. Ryan's Medicare plan is wrong, his Medicaid plan is wronger. But, they're really no worse than Obamacare. Actually, they're nearly identical both in philosophy and likely application. That's why wonky Krugman doesn't debate the policy this time, he goes for the person.

The elites need an extremist stand-in. It doesn't matter what Ryan says. It matters he's a white working class male from symbolic Wisconsin, even to the extent he isn't. Remember, Obama (nor his Labor Secretary) could be bothered to go to Wisconsin during the protest there, even though candidate Obama had promised to march with labor during the 2008 campaign. Instead, the President signed CAFTA and lied about NAFTA.

It's all twisted and hilarious, which is to say, tragic.

Unfortunately, after 20 years of Clinton-Bush-Obama, America can no longer afford tragic.

Neil Dung said...

NYC, you got
The weight on your shoulders
That's breaking your back
Your Cadillac has a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track

You've got the rest of the union
To help you along
What's going wrong?

Empire state of mind:

Stop and frisk for hispanics, blacks, and poor whites
Surveillance for Muslims
Wall Street crooks running wild
Politicians on the take

What wrong with New York? Are we better off without 'em? As New York goes...

Anonymous said...

The devil plays with the best-laid plans, indeed. There couldn't be a more-surveilled place on the planet than the Empire State Building in the middle of New York City.

The reaction of Bloomburg and the New York Times is to blame the rest of the country. Maybe. The gunmen bought his weapon, legally, in Florida. If we had a national ban on handguns, which neither party supports, that might make a difference, eventually (this gun was twenty years old).

Gail Collins points a finger at Paul Ryan (linking him to the Sikh shootings), but Obama also opposes new gun control measures. His only action on gun control was to allow them into National Parks. Oh, and to supply them to Mexican drug cartels, but that's another story.

I'm also not clear what North Dakota oil workers have to do with the accuracy of NYPD's officers, but that's the Times for ya. Their take on the Colorado shootings was to blame Western gun culture. Oddly, the Times doesn't blame New York culture for the most recent shootings, even though the artist gunman seems almost a stereotypical New Yorker.

It's weird--they are almost defending the gunman as a victim corrupted by outside influences.

But whatever, gun control should be a part of the Presidential debate.

Florensis LB1 said...

Collins hates North Dakotans because the small population state has two US senators.

She has no objections to Maryland or Rhode Islands' "supervoters," though... Or to Obama's pick for veep, Biden, former senator from the tiny municipality of Deleware.

Bart Reynolds said...

Politically, Delaware is less a municipality than a hereditary Democratic principality. Since Democratic commentators have disparaged Ryan's looks (for reasons I don't quite get), let me just say the current senators from Delaware are together the ugliest inbred-looking pair of dudes that you could possibly cast with banjos for Deliverance II.

In terms of real power, though, Delaware an incredibly corrupt corporate kingdom for the credit card kingpins. (Alliteration unintended, the "k" sound just naturally surfaces when discussing evil, think "KKK.") Actually, robber baron corporations in general love Delaware's anti-99% rules. Good reading if you have time. Make you look at Biden with new eyes.

Nothing is more ridiculous than Biden as a "working stiff" when he's a total tool for the banking industry. Well, maybe Clinton is a more ridiculous symbol. Ryan is more believable on that score. I think Ryan on the ticket might mean Romney takes Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio. Still think that means Obama wins, though it may come down to Florida late in the night. Bush v Gore II?

Also, God Almighty is spanking the Republicans mightily down in Florida.

Now, if only He'd just send a few storms up the Northeast coast...

LB1 said...

I will wager 3 cans of beans, 2 expired bus transfers and a Gideon's Bible that timing is on the GOP's side.

Obama seems to be hitting the sweet spot between John Kerry's campaign and Michael Dukkakis'. In 2008, Obama was inspiring. Now he seems pedantic when he isn't pleading. The Democrats' convention pageant better present a powerpoint program peppered with pleasing populist policies. P-p-pow! But, it won't. Pass the aged smoked Gouda.

All the Romney-Ryan has to do is offer three-four memorable bullet points over next few days and repeat them incessantly for two months. K-k-kaboom!

If there's an October economic surprise, as in 2008, and which seems even predictable and unsurprising, Obama and Biden are toast.

Not that Biden is Deleware-ugly mind you. (Amazing how much hair even the poorest Senator can buy...) He was genuinely a good pol back in the not so far back day. But, time hasn't been on the Democrats' side. He had to choose between the people and the corporations, and the people lost.

Gin and Colonic said...

I dunno. Obama keeps pursuing the path of calling Romney an "extremist" for policies very similar to Obama's own. Very Clintonian, but I don't see it working.

Anyway, I remember when it was illegal for Presidents to assasinate foreign leaders, let alone children who are American citizens.

If Obama wants to see an extremist, perhaps he should look in the mirror. The whole selling point of Obama's Presidency is supposed to be the normalization of activities once illegal: fraud, torture, surveillance, class-based justice, war without consent of congress, indefinite detention, martial law at home.

Obama looks weak when he denies the whole point of his first term. He's Cheney with a pretty face, right? I think he either proclaims the new American values he's forced on us, or risks looking like a sentimental weakling when judged by them.

Obama can't proclaim himself a strongman above the Constitution and then complain a voucher is "extremist."

Anonymous said...

Ryan's vibrant generational speech contrasted well to Obama's insipid Reddit attempt to connect. Ryan outshines Romney, and Biden is eclipsed.

Ryan is the only one in the race with substantive policy--the Ryan-Wyden plan which would turn Medicare into a Obamacare-style voucher program for future generations of retirees.

Elite Democrats are wrong when they attack Ryan as stupid (because of his color, gender, and class background), and wrong when they attack his ideas as radical and new. The voucher idea has been around decades now, and was embraced by Obama himself.

The Democrats are ideologically compromised. They have nothing to hit Ryan with except reversed racism, sexism, and classism, laced with generational condescension. The elite Democrats ideological refusal to face off Wisconsin-branded Republicanism on the streets of Madison and Janesville now looks not only like betrayal and cowardice, but a fatal tactical political error that will haunt the Democrats into future elections.

LBJ lost the South, but gained a new voting block for a great cause. Obama is sacrificing the Midwest, gaining no new blocks, and for what?

Honey Marmot said...

I'm just glad that YouTube is providing access to objective documentaries this election season. "The Honey Badger" on the rise of Paul Ryan. Mitt starring in the catchy "Gangnam Style." Obama and Biden's relationship explored at depth in the seminal "Yeah Goat."

Anonymous said...

If Ryan is the honey badger, than what about Clint? That hombre really doesn't give a shit.

It's interesting that Democrats attack Dirty Harry for spilling a tear for the unemployed. Or for calling for a decisive pullout in Afghanistan. Or for not combing his hair. Wtf? Old dude has better policies than either scripted, coiffed candidate. He'd probably even close Gitmo if once he saw that hellhole's annual budget.

Nastyass Clint for President!

Besides Eastwood, the good bits of the convention were that Ryan and Romney said the following undeniable, fact-checkable truths aloud: the President Obama isn't a leader and he doesn't have a plan.

Can't argue with that. Might be hypocritical, but they are right on the facts! Obama may not be an empty chair, but he is definitely an empty suit.

Most importantly, Holder used Clint's distraction to feebly admit that neither he nor Obama ever had the intention to prosecute torture. Which more than justifies never voting Democratic again. I'd rather be apathetic sleepy-f*** than an energetic fascist.

Not that I'd vote Republican either.

Unless... CLINT 2016! Make my day!