Blog Archives

Why I think very little of Fox News.

On Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” last night, onetime Bill Clinton ally (now foe) Dick Morris suggested the former president secretly wants Barack Obama to lose the election but won’t say so publicly because the Obama administration is holding Hillary Clinton hostage and it will kill her if he loses.

The look on Bill O’Reilly’s face and the tone of his voice during the interview demonstrates that even he thought Morris’ suggestion was ludicrous, though it is rather appalling that the two men appeared to laugh at the supposed “joke.”

Morris made the suggestion before Clinton’s endorsement of Obama’s re-election campaign during his well-received Democratic National Convention speech.

A congregation of assholes, no?

Quote of the Day – from last night’s keynote speech…

 

“If you want a winner-take-all, you-are-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we-are-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”

Bill Clinton

 

Some of you may have missed Clinton’s speech due to football or the lateness of it’s presentation (if you are an early sleeper like me), so here it is in it’s entirety:

 

Why you and I have to cover what the rich don’t pay…

 

… according to Economist Robert Reich:

If you don’t think we should increase taxes on the top 1%, watch this video first.

 

Robert Reich on Regressives vs. Progressives…

Reich outlines what is really being fought for in 2012 and beyond.

Listen up!

 

“Miss me yet?” – George W. Bush

George Bush Is the Least Popular Living President

According to Time.com:

Since leaving office, George W. Bush has stayed largely out of the spotlight and away from the daily grind of politicking, declining to take public swipes at Barack Obama so as not toundermine” the sitting president. The ex-decider, however, hasn’t been rewarded for riding off into the Texas sunset.According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, Bush has the lowest favorable rating of any living president. Only 43 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the 43rd president, lower than Jimmy Carter (54 percent), George H.W. Bush (59 percent) or Bill Clinton (66 percent). Dubya also had the highest unfavorable rating, 54 percent, of those presidents.

 

Are you surprised?

Hard To Believe Dept. – Where Economic Strategies Come From

Former President George W. Bush is writing a book on—wait for it—strategies for economic growth.

Yeah, that George W. Bush.

The one who ate up our budget surplus that he inherited after the Clinton administration and turned it into massive debt. The one who got us into this great recession BEFORE Obama ever took office.

As the Economic Policy Institute put it best of all:

“…between the end of the 2001 recession (2001Q4) and the peak of that expansion (2007Q4), the U.S. economy experienced the worst economic expansion of the post-war era.”

So, unless Bush calls his book “What I Did Wrong” I’m not sure anyone will take it with any seriousness.

Thanks to All Hat, No Cattle.

A Quote on the Economy – Clinton Outlines History and Praises Obama

“If you go back 500 years, whenever a country’s financial system collapses, it takes between five and 10 years to get back to full employment. If you go back for the last 200 years, when buildings had been widely owned by individuals and companies, if there’s a mortgage collapse, it almost always takes 10 years.

“He’s beating the clock, not behind it. Don’t listen to those Republicans. We are beating the clock.”

– Bill Clinton

… and what are Republicans beating? (and if you say “off” I’ll laugh.)

Quote of the Day – Paul Begala Predicts Romney’s VeeP Choice…

Thanks to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

“You heard it here first: Mitt Romney is going to select Rob Portman, the junior senator from Ohio, to be his running mate. I have no insight into how Romney will make this decision. But I had a front-row seat at what I believe was the best veep choice of my lifetime...

…I’m betting that Romney’s choice will reflect who he is: a bloodless technocrat who wants to double down on trickle down.”

 

 

Interesting. Anyone giving odds? Not a woman, not a Hispanic.

In his “best veep choice of a lifetime” statement, Begala was, of course, referring to Al Gore. I wonder if, looking back at it, I agree with him…but he has a point.

Tonight is Obama’s State of the Union Address…

President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union speech tonight at 9 p.m. EST. It is expected to last at least an hour, after which Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana will deliver the Republican response (there will be a Tea Party response from Herman Cain… don’t miss it. All speeches like this should end with humor.)

Obama is expected to use the State of the Union to pitch new initiatives on jobs, taxes and housing, in what will be billed as his opening salvo in a long 2012 election race. He will probably push tax breaks for bringing manufacturing jobs home from overseas, give ideas to help the troubled home-mortgage market and create incentives for alternative energy development. Expect him to call again for higher taxes on the wealthy – despite consistent Republican opposition – and to speak of further pressure on China over currency and trade practices.

There are a number of ways you can watch and follow the speech online. The official White House website, which will not only be streaming the speech live, but will be accompany it with charts, stats, and data that reinforce the address. On television, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC will all air the speech live. The Huffington Post will also run liveblog coverage of the event, accompanied by an embedded live video feed.

Some items based on recent Obama remarks leading up to the address:

“Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.”

The President has promised to let the Bush tax cuts for millionaires expire at the end of 2012.

_____

“[The Affordable Care Act] is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage.”

At least 2.5 million young Americans now have health insurance through their parents’ health care plans until 26 years of age. As of November, more than 2.2 million people with Medicare had saved more than $1.2 billion on prescriptions (I’m one of them. I support this whole heartedly. – Bill)

_____

Expect the Republicans to make it clear that they will continue to oppose Obama’s positions… but also expect Obama to say that he will be seeking bi-partisan progress even though it is an election year.

It should be noted, however, that State of the Union messages have historically not effected increases in a President’s poll ratings (an exception being Bill Clinton’s 2nd address which increased his numbers by 3%.)

Tar and Feather the Politicians…

Ralph Nader signing books at Barnes & Noble Un...

Ralph Nader - "The Spoiler" - if it were not for him, Gore would have been President and we would probably not be in this position right now.

 

As we go through the weekend with both Democrats and Republicans more concerned with which side “wins” or “loses” than with the concerns and complaints of the general public, we rapidly approach the August 2nd Deadline.

So, perhaps they will give themselves a one week extension to figure out how to end this… perhaps even REALLY compromise on a solution. I tell you what would end this now… a consortium of the richest folks in America… called by a Warren Buffett or a Bill Gates perhaps… who INSIST on returning to the tax levels they were at under Bill Clinton (when they all made significant monetary advances anyway). Greed, however, is stronger than Good, so I don’t think anything like a voiced opinion by wealthy folks will ever happen.

We are also getting to the extremes… and that brings out people like Ralph Nader (the Spoiler) who is now pushing for a primary challenge to Obama to bring out progressives and liberals dissatisfied with the President’s concessions to the Right. And , of course, the unchangeable Tea-Party Congressfolk can still do plenty of damage before the 2012 elections… the first time Americans can repair the mess they made for themselves in 2010.

If there were a way to just keep the politicians, the corporations, the lobbyists and pigs like the Koch Brothers out of all this and have a national referendum on raising the debt ceiling  and sharing the tax burden mor equitably… a referendum that would stand as law…  we might see a different world. But that will never happen, either.

We are in a deep and slippery-sided pit and climbing out seems damn near impossible. If they cut my Social Security payment and I can’t afford to do this blog anymore, I’ll be heading to DC with my pup tent and sleeping bag, with signs and my megaphone, and I would ask everyone in the same situation to join me.

Let’s hear it for Ben Stein…

Ben Stein speaking at 2006 National Summit on ...

Ben Stein

I was surprised this morning to hear Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning, who I know is a conservative and who has talked about the need for budget cuts before, speak this morning on the ratio of the Deficit to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Surprised because:

  1. he had good things to say about Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin who left office giving us a surplus… and
  2.  he stated that the Republicans would have to agree to raising taxes…especially on the Rich Americans who, he said, there are plenty of and they CAN afford it.

I’m even more surprised because, just before the 2010 elections, he did a Sunday Morning piece complaining that, as a rich guy, he was paying too much in taxes and didn’t want taxes on the rich raised. Something has changed his mind… which means other conservatives can change their minds as well. Whether this applies to Tea Party types is your guess.

Now, he did also say that the Democrats were going to have to agree to budget cuts, but they should be able to look at the military and some of the other areas we are not looking at now (I assume he was talking about oil subsidies and their related entities.)

You know, I felt pretty good about Ben Stein this morning… I usually haven’t felt good about him since he stopped doing a comedy quiz show with Jimmy Kimmel. But this morning I’ll give him the benefit of my appreciation for his ilttle editorial… and I hope some of these politicians heard it.

Warren Christopher dies at 85

Warren Christopher, who spent 45 years serving Democratic Administrations (including Secretary of State for Bill Clinton), died yesterday of complications from bladder and kidney cancer at his home in California.

Hillary Clinton commenting on Christopher said:

“Warren was a diplomat’s diplomat — talented, dedicated and exceptionally wise. As well as anyone in his generation, he understood the subtle interplay of national interests, fundamental values and personal dynamics that drive diplomacy.”

His achievements were notable. With Richard Holbrooke, Christopher brokered the 1995 Dayton agreement ending the war in Bosnia. He restored diplomatic relations with Vietnam and pushed for the expansion of NATO to include countries of central and Eastern Europe. Christopher oversaw the signing of the Oslo accords between Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat in Washington.

This was a great man who served by “talking” as opposed to armed battles. His comment says it all:

“Most talking is not glamorous. Often it is tedious. It can be excruciating and exhausting. But talking can also tame conflict, lift the human condition, and move us close to the ideal of peace.”

Why Bill Clinton’s Favorable View of Obama’s Tax Deal Should Be Disregarded

by Robert Reich (reproduced here in full from the Huffington Post)

Bill Clinton seems the perfect validator for Barack Obama — which is why the president is utilizing the former president for selling his tax deal. After all, the economy boomed when Clinton was president and 22 million net new jobs were created. From a more narrow political perspective — and this is important to Democrats in Washington — Bill Clinton was reelected, even though he lost both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterms.

But the analogy falls apart as soon as you realize Clinton’s economy was vastly different from Obama’s. The recession Clinton inherited was relatively small, and caused by the Fed raising interest rates too high to ward off inflation. So it could be reversed by the Fed lowering interest rates — as the Fed did in 1994. By 1995, the so-called “jobless recovery” had morphed into a full-blown jobs recovery. By 1996, at pollster Dick Morris’s urging, Clinton could proclaim to the American people “you’ve never had it so good, and you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The Great Recession has been far larger, caused not by the Fed raising interest rates but by the bursting of a giant housing bubble. In 2008, the biggest asset of most middle-class people, upon which they borrowed and that they assumed would be their nest eggs for retirement, collapsed. Housing prices continue to fall in most parts of the country. The Fed has lowered interest rates all it can, and unemployment remains sky high.

Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom engineered by Fed chair Alan Greenspan, who felt confident he could drop interest rates far lower than anyone expected without risking inflation. The result was 4 percent unemployment in many parts of America, as well as the best jobs recovery in history.

The price Greenspan exacted from Clinton — and a resurgent Republican congress demanded — was a balanced budget. As a result, Clinton had to give up much of his “investment agenda” in education, infrastructure, and other long-neglected means of building the productivity of average working Americans. The economy enjoyed a huge cyclical recovery.

But the economy’s underlying structure remained as it had been before, including stagnant wages for most Americans. Within a few years the middle and working class was treating their homes as ATMs, borrowing trillions of dollars in order to maintain their standard of living, and at the same time demand enough goods and services to keep almost everyone in jobs.

Those days are over. The Democratic Party can no longer ignore critical investments in the productivity of average workers. Nor can it ignore the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the very top, and the inability of America’s middle and working class to get the economy moving again.

The GOP hasn’t changed their story or their strategy since the 1990s. It’s the fault of big government. That was false then, and it’s false now. The structural problems are now much worse, and the cyclical recovery from the Great Recession pathetically anemic.

If the Democratic Party has stood for anything over the years it is to maintain and restore upward mobility for the majority of working Americans, ensure that the playing field isn’t tilted in the direction of the privileged, and limit the power of the richest among us to entrench themselves and their heirs into a semi-permanent plutocracy.

Continuing the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, including a sharp cut in the estate tax, violates these core principles. Doing so in the midst of an economic emergency that demands bold measures to rescue America’s vast middle and working class adds further insult. For President Obama and former President Clinton to tell America there’s “no other choice” or that “this is the best we can do” — when Democrats remain putatively in control of the House, Senate, and the presidency — is misleading.

I admire Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. I advised the former and worked for the latter. They are good men. But they have either been outwitted by the privileged and powerful of America, or seduced by those on Wall Street and the executive suites of America into believing that the Republican nostrums are necessary, or succumbed Democratic advisors who think in terms of small-bore tactics rather than large and principled strategies.

I urge congressional Democrats to remember the larger principles — not in order to be purist or make the perfect the enemy of the better, but to move toward an economy and a society that we believe in, that reflects the needs of the vast majority of Americans at this difficult time.

Robert Reich is the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, now in bookstores. This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.

Quote of the Day – From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Just Like 1994

“November 2nd was a very bad day for Democrats — indeed, the worst since November 8, 1994 when Democrats lost their four-decade hold on the House of Representatives, control of the US Senate and 472 state legislative seats across the country. Newt Gingrich and his new majorities were triumphant. I was polling then for President Bill Clinton and the poll findings today in this joint poll with Resurgent Republic look eerily similar. On election night, an identical two-thirds said the country is seriously off on the wrong track; an identical 45 percent said Clinton and Obama were moving the country in the right direction; and Clinton and Obama had almost identical favorability ratings – split evenly between favorable and unfavorable responses.”

-Pollster  Stan Greenberg

Did you know Obama has appointed a record number of gay officials

I just read this article and here’s one more major move forward that Obama has not been generally credited with. I hope this all changes soon.

There’s more in this article over at news.yahoo.com:

clipped from news.yahoo.com
Less than halfway through his first term, President Barack Obama has appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in history.

Gay activists say the estimate of more than 150 appointments so far — from agency heads and commission members to policy officials and senior staffers — surpasses the previous high of about 140 reached during two full terms under President Bill Clinton.

The pace of appointments has helped to ease broader disappointment among gay rights groups that Obama has not acted more quickly on other fronts, such as ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military.
In a sign of how times have changed, few of the appointees — about two dozen required Senate confirmation — have stirred much controversy.
Gay activists, among Obama’s strongest supporters, had hoped he would be the first to appoint an openly gay Cabinet secretary.
blog it
“It’s both significant and rather ordinary,” said Michael Cole, a spokesman for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. “It’s a simple affirmation of the American ideal that what matters is how you do your job and not who you are.”

Here’s a great long post by Doctor Cleveland:

Here’s the first couple of paragraphs:

History Never Repeats Itself

by Doctor Cleveland

Election day is next Tuesday. Papers like the New York Times and Washington Post began publishing their post-mortem analyses of the election results last week. What should Obama do now that next Tuesday’s results are in? Highly paid opinion writers have opinions.

The current conventional wisdom has two basic pillars:

1) It is currently 1994.

2) Since it’s 1994, Bill Clinton should be President.

I’m going to leave the actual electoral predictions to my colleague Articleman and to folks like Nate Silver. But even if Tuesday night were to turn into an exact replay of 1994, district by district, the political situation on Wednesday morning would still be something completely new. History echoes itself, but it never repeats exactly. If this really were 1994, of course, being more like Bill Clinton would be a stupid idea, like telling someone fighting Muhammad Ali to be more like Sonny Liston. As Ezra Klein and Josh Marshall both remind us, the Big Dog was soundly beaten in 1994. And his post-1994 playbook, no matter how successful it was fifteen years ago, is just not going to work in 2011. Things have changed.

Now go to DAGBLOG to read the rest.

Brady Bonk comments on Former President Clinton…

… and his remarks on the Obama student loan changes.
Why aren’t we hearing more of this?

 

It is titled “Student Lones”:

clipped from ketchupisavegetable.com
By the way, the Washington Post article I linked to in the last post contains a incredibly good point made by the former President, an accomplishment of these Democrats that they should by shouting from the rooftops, but that they just aren’t talking about one bit: They reformed student loans.

Clinton reserves time near the end of his speeches to talk about student-loan policy change, an Obama accomplishment he says isn’t getting its due on the campaign trail. Clinton bemoans that the United States has fallen from first to ninth in the world in the percentage of adults with a four-year college degree – because too many students drop out for fear that they can’t repay their loans.

Democrats overhauled student-loan policy to cap monthly repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income – a law Clinton says Republicans want to repeal.

Why in God’s green earth isn’t every Democrat running for anything touting this marvelous accomplishment?

blog it

Bill Clinton Hospitalized With Heart Issue

Came home from grocery shopping to find this announcement on HuffPo:
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
On Thursday afternoon, former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized in New York for a condition related to his heart. Clinton, 63, was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after experiencing chest pains. Sources told ABC News that he was at the hospital “likely for a stent procedure.”
Story developing…

Clinton
+++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATE:

Clinton had 2 stents put in and a spokesman says he’s doing OK.

blog it

————————
ANOTHER UPDATE (Friday AM):

Bill is back home in Chappaquiddick this morning. That’s a very good sign. Bet he’ll be back on the phone this afternoon.

The Power of Nightmares — Part 4

So… now we get up to the Clinton administration and the terrorism of Bin Laden.

More later.