Saturday, September 8, 2012

O 47% R 43% updated today to O 49% R 45%

That's the headline over at Drudge [updated with today's headline], and it's as close to truth as they ever get. They still have plenty of the crazy stuff though.

The spin is that Carter led Reagan by more points and lost. The difference now is that there aren't the swing voters. Everything Reagan said was hypothetical, pie in the sky as it turned out. At least 49% of Americans have figured that out, and are going with reality this time. Carter didn't help himself by adopting a deregulation, Margret Thatcher-ism mindset. I know it's blasphemy to say, but Carter wasn't a very good President. He's actually gotten much wiser since, that's why the right likes to go after him so much. Ironic, since his bad qualities were all Republican virtues. As per usual, nothing the right says about Carter is true. Well, there you go again. Nothing Reagan said, or is said about him is true either.

The poll numbers are from a nationwide survey that include areas of the country that are still holding onto their Confederate currency hoping to redeem it for gold. It isn't a question of Obama winning with him leading all the swing states, it's a question of Democrats getting the House back so some things can get done. There is a chance Ryan could lose his seat, feel free to support his opponent.

Even if that happens we should not look to that as the dawn of a new golden age. The billionaires will still wield incredible power and you can bet they will use it to do every dirty trick that they can. Don't cash in your canned goods, they'll keep for decades if kept cool. It might take that long.

[UPDATE] Drudge moved the poll numbers to a small headline and replaced it with Tim Tebow 'news', maybe it occurred to them that Romney is really losing and no spin will change that. Maybe Americans aren't quite as stupid as they were counting on.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Look it up

'Look it up', this is something you'll never, ever hear from the right. They love their talking points that they treat as facts, as they do with any opinion that pops into their heads. Even when they quote an actual real number, they never put it into context.

The big headline today on the rightwing 'news' sites is that the workforce non-participation total is now 89 million. They are implying and hoping you will accept this to mean that there are 89 million unemployed people (all on welfare of course). This is simply nonsense. The number represents everybody over 16 that isn't institutionalized or in the military. Even if you are a 100, you are counted as a potential worker if you have stayed out of the nursing home.

If you look it up, the non-participation number 10 years ago was 73 million, and it has gone up every month since at a steadily increasing rate. Gee, what has happened over the past 10 years that might affect this number? How about baby boomers retiring at an accelerating pace, and a new boom in millennium kids coming of age? The millennium generation is actually larger than the much ballyhooed baby boom.

The right is constantly saying that Social Security and Medicare are going broke (and must be scrapped) because everybody is living longer, but no mention of this affecting the non-participation rate. Of course not everybody is living longer, there is a pronounced demographic divide. People who need to do actual work (shower after work, not before), they aren't living longer. They work until they die. The well-off are living much longer, and they can afford to retire young, swelling the non-participation number.

That's not to say there aren't millions of people who want jobs but can't find one. Have you heard of out-sourcing? You can work for 40 years in your field and wake up to find that your employer has outsourced your entire industry. Going back to school at 60 to learn a new trade is generally not an option since you have to pay for the tuition yourself with little chance of ever paying it off. Especially since many people you know have 'learned a new trade' several times since Reagan and are still paying the student loans. Having your Social Security check garnisheed to pay the corporation that holds your student loan is not an attractive prospect. Student loans are forever, 'mortgage' means 'death pledge'. Republicans like that concept.

The millenniums face a similar conundrum, is college worthwhile? Half of recent graduates are either unemployed or working at Best Buy because all of the new jobs (and most of the old ones) are in India, Philippines or China. But for the un-educated, the service industry isn't growing either. People can't buy services with no job, or a job at half the living wage. Ross Perot's prophetic vision included this gem, "we can't have an economy by giving each other haircuts".

The really frustrating thing is that these aren't particularly complex problems. Obama overstated the difficulty in his convention speech, but he's finally starting to hammer home that the real problem is the Republicans and their Billionaire masters. Look around, China is booming, Germany is booming,  Brazil is booming. Why are we sliding headlong into decline? What is the difference between us and them? It's not education, it's not the burden of carrying non-whites like the racist right insists. Except for Germany, the booming countries don't even have white people. The advantage they have over us is that people like Mitt Romney aren't in power. They don't believe in Trickle Down economics, they operate on the Alexander Hamilton model. There's a reason Hamilton is on the ten dollar bill without ever being President.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers that I used for this piece were accessible from the link provided by the right-wing 'news' article. The link was only there to make them seem credible, they don't expect anybody to use it, and they certainly don't expect their readers to realize that their 'news' about the number is just BS.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

16 trillion is a really big number

We have now gone past 16 trillion in debt, I bet the GOP wishes their convention had lasted a couple of days longer so their center piece debt clock could have ticked over that number. It's incredible that they get away with pretending that the debt isn't their fault. Reagan inherited a debt of less than one trillion dollars, this was accumulated from 1790 until 1981. He then added another $3 trillion to the debt in a spending orgy, mostly on the military without fighting a real war. Fighting WWII only cost about 350 billion in 1980 dollars. The interest on Reagan's debt, compounded over the past 30 years more than doubles the amount of his debt.

Inflation is an important factor in considering the relative impact of deficit spending. The right makes much of the trillion dollar deficits that Obama has been running, (never mind that this is still the Bush budget he is operating on). To match Reagan, Obama would need to run up $9 trillion in eight years. He's currently running close to that curve, but only if you don't allow for growth of the population or in the GDP of the country. In reality no President is ever likely to run up the kind of debt that Reagan did.

George Bush took debt pay down plan put in place by Clinton and turned it on its head. The thing that is really insidious about it is that Clinton severely cut into the things government should do for its people to balance the budget. Bush kept the cuts, spent the savings on his cronies, and another extra trillion a year on the credit card.

Let's be clear, Obama has not really fixed things. He's clamped the severed artery, and that's all. This has only bought us Progressives some time to get it together and fight back.

There is one all important thing to remember, nobody has mortgaged our kids futures if we don't let them get away with it. Debt is nothing but paper, remember that, it's paper. A shredder or a bonfire will take care of it in short order. Too bad for the rich people who loaned us our own money instead of paying any taxes, but that's the way the tumbrel rolls.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Living is Easy in Romneyville

Incredibly the Republicans think they can pull a Ronald Reagan stunt and work the 'Morning in America' scam on the voters again. Carter lost a big chunk of the union vote who blamed him for the bad economy caused largely by Nixon, they foolishly believed Reagan to be on their side. Mitt Romney doesn't pass the smell test for most voters, even with many of those who will vote for him anyway.

But are you better off than four years ago? Well, the banks are no longer dropping like leaves from the trees after an early frost. At 4.5 million, more jobs have been created than Bush lost, in fact more than he created in 8 years. In total Bush's new job creation was a net zero. The first decade of zero growth ever.

Romney is trying to take credit for GM's success. But if Romney had let them go bankrupt as he really advocated, it would have meant GM leaving the US and becoming a Chinese company. In fact few if any cars would be made here now as it was the parts suppliers who got paid with the government money. In an unsupported bankruptcy the courts would have wiped out the creditors including all the parts factories who supply the other car makers in the US.

It was Romney's stated position was that no attempt should be made to halt the housing bust as the quicker the houses could be turned over to investors (pirates like Bain for pennies on the dollar) the sooner they could be rented out. The housing market is turning around, if ever so slowly.

Millions of Americans have health insurance who didn't four years ago. Everybody has better health insurance as the abusive practices have been ended. The right is running a TV ad now with a woman purported to be Canadian who fled her socialist system to get an un-diagnosed brain tumor treated here. Even if the story is true, she would have been treated even worse by any pre-Obamacare insurance company.  But keep telling the big lie often enough and it becomes the truth. The thing is, the right has already recruited all the crazies, this is why Romney is not getting the traditional bounce in polling. Romney could take credit for Obamacare as Romneycare did prove the concept. Too bad for him that he can't.

Moody's says 12 million new jobs will be created in the next four years under current policies. Romney 'coincidentally' says he will create 12 million new jobs in his first term. That would require he stay with Obama's policies, and you know he won't. There's still wealth in the middle class to be stolen. Speaking of stealing, that brings up Paul Ryan, this guy is such a congenital liar that he couldn't resist saying his marathon running time was about an hour faster than it really was. This guy is supposed to be the new Republican intellectual and a numbers guru. Yet he didn't realize people can look this stuff up?  Or have they really gone over the edge to where bald face lying is the strategy. When fact checkers talk about their lies they are in fact talking about the liars, which is what the liars want. Their sympathetic base feels they are being picked on and it keeps them fired up. It's a crazy approach, but it might work. They don't have anything else to use, but barrels of money of course.

In a sign of things to come, Honduras is considering allowing developers to build 'private cities'. The ultimate in gated communities, these 'private cities' would have their own laws and tax system. It's not so different from what we have here already, it's just being formalized. I guess Romneyville could take on a whole different meaning from that of Hooverville.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

They are that stupid

Chuck Norris has issued his own campaign ad warning evangelical Christians they have to oust Obama from office or face "a thousand years of darkness". Huh? Isn't that the prophecy that evangelical Christians are waiting for, why fight it? Evangelicals used to stay out of politics, but TV preachers discovered that there was a lot of money in scaring the crap out of them.

The rightwing fumes about Hollywood liberals, but treats Chuck Norris as if he was some sort of war hero and an expert in foreign policy. He did serve in Korea (during peace time), was educated in military strategy (well no, he was an enlisted AF cop). His only world experience is as an actor who kicked the crap out of stereotyped bad guys (mostly brown or socialist) who threatened to bring down America through some vague conspiracy. Chuck was always there to save the day at the last minute by destroying the bad guy. Does he think the world really works like the poorly thought out plots of his movies? More likely he just knows that his audience is stupid enough to believe him if he says the same scary lines from his movies. That's the one thing Chuck has right, they are that stupid.

And a reminder to all rightwing readers: you must wear your US Flag lapel pin at half staff for the month of September to mourn the passing of Rev Sun Myung Moon at age 92. For those too young to remember before your "news" came from Drudge, the good Rev spent over a billion dollars propping up the Washington Times. This rag operated for decades as an IV catheter to insert right-wing lies into the main stream media. Oddly enough the corporate media is loathe to print a bald faced lie, until somebody else does it first. Even Fox operates largely on this basis. Everything the right believes to be recent "history" began it's life in print at the Washington Times. PS A Chinese made US Flag lapel pin is acceptable for this purpose since Korean made ones are hard to come by. By no means wear a US made Flag pin, they're all obsolete.