Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for August 9th, 2011

Aw, Wisconsin/updated

Posted by Charles II on August 9, 2011

There were six incumbent GOP Senators on the ballot (see John Nichols FAQ).

At this hour, two GOP incumbents have been declared winners. Two are leading (see here for results).

Unless Dems take three races, the GOP remains in control of the Senate.

Furthermore, the GOP has recalls against two Democrats on 8/19.

We always knew it would be hard. The recalls were against strong incumbents in districts that outperformed the state average Republican result by 5%. The GOP poured millions and millions in dollars of advertising into this effort. In four of six districts, GOP candidates outspent Democrats. Interest groups outspent candidates 5:1! The Democrats could still do come from behind wins.

But after what the GOP has done, and especially after Washington Republicans tried to blow up the economy, voters really should have wised up. They are destroying this country.

People say I’m unfair when I say that we have the political system we deserve, that the problem with our national representation is that they are so very much like the American people. I only wish I was being unfair.
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Update: and, of course, it’s Kathy Nicklaus of Waukesha County who is sending in results late in the Darling-Pasch race (this according to John Erpenbach speaking to Rachel Maddow). However, 12 precincts in Milwaukee are still out as of 12:34 Eastern.
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Update, 1:05 AM. Supposedly Waukesha is in. Ozaukee, another Darling stronghold, has two precincts out. Milwaukee, which has some conservative areas and many liberal areas, has 12 precincts out. Pasch is behind by 4574 votes. If things broke as they have broken, Pasch would net 2473 from Milwaukee and lose 572 from Ozaukee. I just don’t think the votes are there. Of course, it ain’t over till it’s over.
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Well, now it’s over. GOP 4-Dems 2, and two Dem seats still at risk. Marcos tells us why we should celebrate.

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Posted in Republicans as cancer, unions | 8 Comments »

Austerity And Its Discontents

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 9, 2011

Even as London’s eastern neighborhoods are in flames because of austerity, President Obama is using the S&P downgrade as a pretext for more economy- and grandma-killing austerity here:

Let’s note, at the start, that this downgrade was absurd. The credit rating of the United States is not in jeopardy. The U.S. government prints dollars — it can no more run out of dollars than a bowling alley can run out of strikes.

What’s really happening is an attempt by both parties to justify slashing Social Security and Medicare. Republicans have long wanted to roll back the New Deal. What is relatively new is that a Democratic president is now dead-set on cutting these programs as well.

President Barack Obama, in his speech Monday about the downgrade, used the market turmoil as an excuse to do just that. After a debt ceiling deal in which the Democrats argued that defense spending cuts – not entitlement cuts — could close the long-term deficit, Obama said Monday that there’s “not much further” he can trim defense. Despite the fact that defense spending has gone up on his watch. Instead, Obama said, we need cuts in social spending, or, as he phrased it, “modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare.”

In effect, there seems to have been a merger of both parties into a single force advocating for the interests of bondholders and the cutting of Medicare and Social Security. It’s why both Republicans and Democrats are now blaming each other for the downgrade — as if the downgrade is to be taken seriously.

[…]

Strange and ominous political eddies are already emerging. Congressional disapproval is higher than 80 percent. This could turn ugly – as it has before in U.S. history. While we’ve airbrushed the legacy of political violence out of U.S. history, it’s there. Labor conducted gun battles with Pinkerton private military forces in the late 19th century. Strikes often turned deadly in the 1930s. If there are serious defense cuts, the prospect of hundreds of thousands of war-weary former soldiers thrown into a terrible economy is not, shall we say, a recipe for social stability.

With proposals on the table to cut defense and social spending in a deflationary economy, maybe U.S. political leaders are just throwing one final, blow-out empire-ending party.

I don’t mean to push the panic button. After all, America has a stable political order that can handle a great deal of stress. This system, though, is rooted in a middle class that believes its interests are aligned with those running the country.

As the wealth, opportunity, social status and economic security of the middle class evaporates, so, too, could this belief.

We don’t not want to find out what happens if we should reach that point. But if politicians keep using S&P to justify bondholder-friendly policies that damage the interests of the middle class — we just might.

A word to the wise.

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