Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Study: Obama’s Stimulus Saved America And Made Rich Richer. So Why Do Rich People Hate Him?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 8, 2012

Check out this very interesting study of the effects of the Obama stimulus package.

I’m not bummed out about housing starts still being flat — that was a bubble that needed to be popped.

What I do find interesting is that while most Americans have benefitted mildly — and that the stimulus did save us from a horrific chasm — the people who have reaped the most benefit from Obama are the very folks who are tossing shitloads of money at Mitt Romney.

Go figure.

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Exit Poll: 53% of Walker Voters Back Obama

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 5, 2012

It’s been all over the TV, and was mentioned here: Exit polls showed that 53% of Walker voters back Obama.

In other words, what I’d been hearing from some Sconnie friends is true: There are a lot of Wisconsinites of all parties who dislike recalls done for anything but criminal convictions and the like, or to redress a perceived imbalance (as happened when Wisconsin voters recalled enough Republican state senators to make the chamber even-steven). Anything that seems like mere political payback simply won’t fly.

So while the Republicans and their local and national media helpers will try to spin this as an anti-Obama vote, it was actually an anti-‘frivolous’-recall vote.

UPDATE: Elsewhere, I’ve used the term “recall resentment” to describe the force that enabled Scott Walker to survive the recall vote. Here’s what I mean by “recall resentment”:

Sixty percent of Wisconsin voters in today’s recall election say recall elections are only appropriate for official misconduct, according to early CBS News exit polls. Twenty-eight percent said they think they are suitable for any reason, while nine percent think they are never appropriate.

My Wisconsin friends had hinted this might happen: Essentially, a lot of them saw this second batch of recalls — which happened fifteen months after the first, when Walker’s betrayals were still fresh in everyone’s mind and people hadn’t got used to having him in power — as more political revenge/payback than a righteous effort to remove a guy unfit for office.

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Considering Giving Obama Money? You’re Better Off Helping Your Own Local Party.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 5, 2012

Even more than in 2008, Obama’s campaign is going to be dominated by big corporate and institutional funders. And even more than in 2008 and 2009, when he essentially took over the DNC and made it into an OFA arm, the downticket Democratic candidates are getting screwed:

President Barack Obama has a bleak message for House and Senate Democrats this year when it comes to campaign cash: You’re on your own.

Democratic congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have privately sought as much as $30 million combined from Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee — a replay of the financial help they received from Obama in 2008 and 2010.

But that’s not going to happen, top Obama aides Jim Messina and David Plouffe told Reid and Pelosi in back-to-back meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, according to sources familiar with the high-level talks. It was a stark admission from a presidential campaign once expected to rake in as much as $1 billion of just how closely it is watching its own bottom line.

Messina and Plouffe told the two Hill leaders that there would be no cash transfers to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from OFA or the DNC, at least not before Election Day, the sources said.

If you really want to help the Democratic party become a better party by electing more and better Democrats, skip donating to OFA/DNC and give it straight to the Democratic candidate or candidates of your choice. Who says so? Obama buddy Jonathan Bernstein says so:

If you’re planning on making political donations this year, and you really want your money to help the cause, here’s what you should do: Instead of sinking cash into either presidential campaign, put it where it will really matter — into Congressional or state and local races.

Here’s why: The battle for the House and Senate may well shape up as toss ups, which means that control of Congress is hanging in the balance. This matters just as much, and in many ways more, than control of the White House. The least bang for your buck comes in presidential general elections. Your money will make a much bigger difference in practically every other type of election.

Hat tip to David Dayen.

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Birth Control: What the GOP’s Pet Bishops Don’t Want You To Know

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 12, 2012

Here’s some of what the GOP-allied US branch of the world’s largest organized group of pedophile enablers doesn’t want you to know:

There’s this: Catholic health group says it backs Obama compromise on birth control policy (That would be the Catholic Health Organization, which is headed by a nun, Sister Carol Keehan. Nuns seem to have a track record of being more sensible and compassionate in this regard than the (male) bishops whose pronouncements are given press coverage; of course, this compassion and good sense can get them in trouble with their misogynist bishop bosses.)

And this: How the Vatican Almost Embraced Birth Control (Of course, the Vatican has embraced what it calls “the rhythm method” and the mucus-testing method, except that neither of those actually works anywhere as well as real contraceptives such as condoms or birth-control pills — for one thing, both, especially the mucus method, require a level of familiarity and comfort with both one’s own body and that of one’s partner that is hard to achieve for Catholic couples reared to think of their bodies as icky and dirty. As the old joke goes, “What do you call a man and woman who practice the rhythm method? Parents.”)

And of course this: Catholic institutions here cover birth control (“Here” being New York state, the apparent model for Obama’s original proposal.)

Pass it on!

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Obama Finally Figuring Out How To Deal With Republicans?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 27, 2012

Nice to see the President landing a few hard blows on right-wingers for a change:

Republicans said it was unconstitutional. An overreach of executive power. A blatant slap at the Senate.

But when it comes to waging war over a handful of obscure recess appointments, the Senate GOP is struggling with how to respond.

They fear a knock-down, drag-out fight is exactly what the White House wants — and that President Barack Obama would use such a battle to ratchet up his campaign against a dysfunctional and gridlocked Congress. The internal debate highlights the party’s challenges, with public opinion soured on Congress and Republicans still lacking a presidential nominee to rally behind.

Ahead of a closed-door party retreat Wednesday at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, Senate Republicans suggested that they might let their business allies fight the battle over recess appointments for the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The 47-member conference didn’t reach a resolution Wednesday.

Translation: We got our asses kicked on the last shutdown battle, and we’re not eager to do that again right before we have to run for re-election.

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Jonathan Chait Rewrites History, Assumes His Readers Are Idiots

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 4, 2011

Jonathan Chait crafted a carnival of utter wrongness for the New York Times today.

Here’s one steaming attempt to rewrite recent history:

At the time, Obama’s $800 billion stimulus was seen by Congress, pundits and business leaders — that is to say, just about everybody who mattered — as mind-bogglingly large. News reports invariably described it as “huge,” “massive” or other terms suggesting it was unrealistically large, even kind of pornographic. The favored cliché used to describe the reaction in Congress was “sticker shock.”

Here’s a small sampling of the corrective, courtesy of Blue Texan:

Aside from the fact that it wasn’t $800B, it was $787B — that’s just wrong. Unless you think Paul Krugman didn’t matter.

To close a gap of more than $2 trillion — possibly a lot more, if the budget office projections turn out to be too optimistic — Mr. Obama offers a $775 billion plan. And that’s not enough.

Or Dean Baker.

“You’re talking about a gap on the order of twelve-hundred-fifty billion dollars, and we’re trying to plug that with four-hundred-something, so we’ve got a long way to go,” Baker says.

Or Brad DeLong.

Nevertheless, I agree [with Krugman] that there [sic] best is almost surely not enough. […] So at the moment my preliminary judgment of the Obama fiscal boost is that it is a good first bid, but that the administration ought to be doing a lot more.

BT cites a few more economists, but you get the general picture. The only people who were saying that the stimulus was “mind-bogglingly large” were Republicans, their media enablers, or Obama’s defenders in the Veal Pen. Not many economists worthy of the name were saying this.

Not content with spewing nonsense about the stimulus, Chait proceeds to spew nonsense about Obama’s ability to pass legislation such as a meaningful stimulus or a health care bill with a public option:

“Yes, Bush passed his tax cuts — by using a method called reconciliation, which can avoid a filibuster but can be used only on budget issues.”

I took on that piece of bogusness here:

Um, Jonathan? Reconciliation can be used on many bills in which money is involved, not just budget bills. Do you know one reason why we know this? Because it was used to pass the health care bill, you moron. Really, do you think we all just fell off the turnip truck here? Or are you equipped with less than the memory God gave a tree squirrel?

Arrrgh.

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What “The People’s View” Would Rather You Didn’t See Right Now

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 29, 2011

As some of you may know, Ray Sandoval, the New Mexico OFA Director, saw fit in a recent OFA e-mail to quote an entire blog post from Spandan Chakrabarti, whose blog is called “The People’s View” and who also posts as “Deaniac83” at DailyKos, as a way to attack the progressive movement, especially those who publicly take issue with the doings (or not doings) of Obama and his coterie.

But Chakrabarti wasn’t always a My-Obama-Right-Or-Wrong kinda guy. In fact, back on October 30 of 2007, he stated that Obama had lost his vote for, in Chakrabarti’s words, Obama’s “decision to pander to some in the African American religious community in order to surrender his principled support for equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity”. As Chakrabarti would go on to say:

Lest you think this is because I was personally offended as a gay man, you are right. But it wasn’t only because of that that I made this decision. I draw the line in the sand when politicians pander to any group and sacrifice their stated goals of equal dignity under law and associate themselves, willingly, with known bigots of any kind, be they racists, sexists or homophobes. This is such a line. Obama has crossed it. Good riddance, Barack Obama.

That really must have been a line drawn in the sand, because it didn’t last very long. Hint: Next time, draw such lines in freshly-poured concrete. Better yet, don’t make such claims if you aren’t willing to stand behind them.

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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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Biden Admits 14th Amendment Was Viable Option

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 2, 2011

The downward stock market slide Charles noted yesterday continues today (see above). Smart observers know this is going to kill the American economy, and possibly the global economy as well.

Biden’s now saying that Obama would have invoked the 14th amendment if Congress didn’t get a deal done by today.

Now remember, all through this process the White House pretended the 14th wasn’t an option.  Ever.  No way no how.

Just like they pretended that reconciliation (which Bush used repeatedly to pass key fiscally-related bills with 51 votes) couldn’t be used to pass a health care bill, much less one with a public option.  Only after the public option was killed (per the secret agreement with AHIP) and after the 60th Senate seat went away did they finally admit what educated observers knew all along:  Reconciliation was possible.

So whenever they say that some legislative or procedural trick is “not possible”, what they’re really saying is that they won’t do it if it helps the little people, but they will if it helps corporate lobbyists with deep pockets and lots of cash to spend on their favored candidates and/or political parties. 

Posted in 2012 | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Debt Limit Follies: China Learns Not to Trust Republicans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 10, 2011

Buried at the very bottom of this story about China’s reading the Riot Act to Boehner and Company over the debt limit (as in: Stop it already, morons!), we find this:

Yuan Gangming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, smelled some political wrangling behind the U.S. debt debate as the 2012 presidential election draws nearer and said Republicans “want to make things difficult for Obama.”

But with time running short before the U.S. Treasury exhausts its borrowing room, Yuan said default was a real risk.

“The possibility is quite high to see a default of the U.S. debt, which would harm many countries in the world, and China in particular,” he said.

Remember when Republicans like Mark Kirk (see photo above) were working to hamstring Obama on a bigger stimulus package by essentially telling the Chinese leadership not to loan the US any more money now that Obama was president because his budget numbers couldn’t be trusted? Even some conservatives reamed Kirk out for that move.

Have the Republicans totally forgotten that Kirk did this — and most of them approved? Do they think the Chinese are stupid? Now the Chinese are learning that it’s the Republicans whose word they shouldn’t be trusting when it comes to money.

By the way, why aren’t there any quotes in here from the anti-debt bond vigilantes and the Pete Peterson crowd talking about how a brief default will be totally worth it if it leads to less debt in the long run? I mean, isn’t that who the Republicans are doing this for?

(Crossposted to MyFDL and Renaissance Post.)

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