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continued from here:
At least Newt's moon gaff has left us with something memorable.
the major reason Obama will be re-elected:
steady improvement in US economy and jobs market in 2012:
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all plan to add jobs in Michigan, which stands to benefit more than any other state. Nissan, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Kia and Mercedes-Benz also are hiring. Suppliers are looking to add engineers and technical people, but at a more gradual pace.
About 15,000 auto-related Michigan jobs could be created this year, said Sean McAlinden, economist at Ann Arbor's Center for Automotive Research. That would double the jobs added from 2009 to 2011.
The Odd Couple: Romney Vs Gingrich - by Matt Taibbi
"Has the GOP race become a showdown between a walking OCD diagnosis and a flatulent serial adulterer?"
Mitt Romney, Florida's Psycho-Killer Superhero of Cash - by Charles Pierce
"Romney won because he had more money.."
US economy jumps ahead, nearly half a million net new jobs in last 2 months;
conclusion, Obama '12 in a landslide if things continue to improve:
Economists were surprised by the strength of the new numbers, which showed a gain of 243,000 jobs last month and larger gains in earlier months than previously reported. Over the last year, the economy has added almost two million jobs for the best 12 months in five years. Stocks surged, with the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index closing only slightly below its high since Mr. Obama took office.
The economy has now been gaining strength for almost six months, according to a broad array of data, offering some reason for hope that the effects of the deep financial crisis are finally starting to fade.
Numbers are spun, people also dropped out of the labour market completely
that's an old argument, in fact the US national statistics on unemployment take that into account (that people drop out of, then rejoin the jobs market as it improves), which makes it progressively harder for the unemplyment stats to drop below, say, 4-5 per cent ...
the ILO formula allows stats agencies to normalize these fluctuations and compare between countries/regions better; they track "discouraged workers" and the ""participation rate" and try to even out the variations, these are calculated as U-3, U-4 and U-5 figures, for example:
Total employment in the U.S. has continued increasing with the strengthening U.S. economy, creating a total of 200,000 net new jobs in December 2011. The private sector added 212,000 jobs while the public sector shed 12,000 jobs. During 2011, the private sector added 1.9 million jobs while government decreased by 280,000. All sectors (except construction, professional, and business services) had increases in December, led by transportation and warehousing. Overall, the employment to population ratio (E/P) stands at 58.5%, unchanged from previous months.
and for youth unemployment:
If the unemployment rate is falling quickly -- as it is in the U.S. now -- the above facts are integrated into the employment stats; but the U-3 rate gets the headlines, no question.
It is dropping fast, the others historically follow in lockstep, so cheers
You sound just like Jim Flaherty. 600,000 new jobs, not including all the ones that were lost since 2008
Meanwhile, Back in the U.S., Republican billionaires...
Koch Brothers Convene Super-Secret Billionaires' Meeting for 2012 Elections
Some of America's wealthiest Republicans flew into Palm Springs last weekend to update their stealthy political strategy for 2012.
From Robert Reich's Recent Posts
"The Republican Myth of Obama’s “Entitlement Society”
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
One of the few things Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich agree on is that President Obama is turning America into “European-style welfare culture.”
In his standard stump speech Romney charges Obama with creating a nation of dependents. “Over the past three years Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society.”
Gingrich calls Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history.”
What’s their evidence? Both rely on federal budget data showing direct payments to individuals shot up by almost $600 billion, a 32 percent increase, since the start of 2009.
They also point to Census data showing that 49 percent of Americans now live in homes where at least one person is collecting a federal benefit – Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, or subsidized housing. That’s up from 44 percent in 2008.
Finally, they trumpet Social Security Administration figures showing that the number of people on Social Security disability jumped 10 percent in Obama’s first two years in office.
They argue our economic problems stem from this sharp rise in “dependency.” Get rid of these benefits and people will work harder.
But they have cause and effect backwards. The reason for the rise in food stamps, unemployment insurance, and other safety-net programs is Americans got clobbered in 2008 with the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. They and their families have needed whatever helping hands they could get.
If anything, America’s safety nets have been too small and shot through with holes. That’s why the number and percentage of Americans in poverty has increased dramatically over the past three years. According to a study by Northeastern University, a third of families with young children are now in poverty.
This is the real scandal. For example, only 40 percent of the unemployed qualify for unemployment benefits because they weren’t working full time or long enough on a single job before they were canned. The unemployment system doesn’t take account of the fact that a large portion of the workforce typically works part time on several jobs, and moves from job to job.
Republicans also object to Obama’s health care law, which covers 30 million more Americans than were covered before. That law still leaves over 20 million without health insurance. They’ll get emergency care when they’re in dire straights — hospitals won’t refuse them — but we all end up paying indirectly.
Regressive Republicans pretend they’re about opportunity. In reality they’re back at what they’ve been doing for years — promoting Social Darwinism."
It would be one thing if Republicans used the argument that Obama is creating something (that actually has existed in greater scope in the past) "foreign" as a cynical political ploy. But a lot these folks really believe it. And I'm not just talking about the nutjob teabaggers and talk radio blowhards. But office holders as well.
Well they have to stick to a line,and never challenge its source, just as folks hereabouts can read posts by Robert Reich but never get to read his books. Superficiality rules.
[quote=Gaian] Superficiality rules.[/quote]
There's always that thread with the tumbleweeds blowing through, where you were asked to outline your indepth solutions.
Why don't you just do some reading, Sj. You've been here long enough to have read my notes in the book lounge about Reich. Get off your ass and do some work yourself...bugger the tumbleweed crap. That's just more of your irrelavancy leading nowhere.
Well, I have been around here for awhile its true, but not long enough to have seen you propose anything with a snowball's chance.
[url=http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/how-waste-your-vote-2012]How to waste your vote in 2012[/url]
by Bruce A. Dixon
It's true enough. Your vote really is your voice, and in the modern era, every government on earth claims to rule with the consent of the people. This bestows upon the vote a unique kind of legal and symbolic power. The gap, however, between this legal, this symbolic power of the vote and any real ability to change things for the better is a vast one. The authorities rightly fear the people's voice, and so have contrived law and custom to ensure that we are seldom heard and almost never heeded.
They would never dream of allowing us to vote on the price of gas, food, housing, credit or college tuition. But they don't mind at all letting us choose between corporate-funded Republicans and corporate-funded Democrats. The powers that rule our economy, our media and our politics won't let us vote on whether to bring the troops home from 140 countries and the seven seas, or whether to continue spending more on weapons of death and destruction than the other 95% of humanity combined. But they will let us choose between an ignorant, crazy or racist Republican who promises to give banksters, polluters and corporate criminals a free pass, and a sane, smart, level-headed free market liberal Democrat who does exactly the same thing, no matter what he promised.
The authorities won't let us vote on whether the broadcast spectrum should be privatized, whether we should have the right to start and join unions, whether to create millions of good-paying green jobs. They won't allow voters to decide whether corporations deserve more rights than flesh and blood people, or whether the president should be able to kidnap, torture, imprison and murder people without trials or even charges. But they will let us choose between a white guy and a black guy. As long as it's their white guy, and their black one as well.
Wow! If the NDP race could contain these sorts of twists and turns it might be interesting--- exciting even.
Just a side show. Romney will win the next two big races in 3 weeks, Michigan and Arizona, which are not caucuses or beauty contests. He will be the nominee.
Not that I give a shit about the Republicans but I'd like to see whom Romney picks as his VP...
He'll need someone especially whacky, in the spirit of reaching around to the various base ideologies and such. Displaying a knack for having people come together in other words. It didn't work out so well for John McCain though, but they really can't help themselves from exercising the same type of judgments.
Romney/Bachman 2012. Theme song: Takin' Care of Business.
Probably one of 4: Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell or Susana Martinez. Romney seems to making a play for the Catholic vote. All four are Catholic, and two are Latino.
Well, that should be interesting. Hardcore evangelicals already think he's not a real Christian - I'm sure they would just love it if he teamed up with a Catholic, which many of them also consider to be not quite Christian.
Anyhoo, my non-existent vote is with Roseanne.
Obama: 'The Devil' Made Me Take The Super-Pac Money - by Glen Ford
"...There is no evidence that Obama wants to clean up campaign financing, only that he finds all kinds of excuses to take the money. This election year, just like last time, the top influence seller is Barack Obama.."
Anyone post this yet?
Diebold accidentally leaks 2012 election results
Good one jas!
Ha, jas, I love that one. I think they might have recycled it from a few years ago, though, updated with new names. I seem to remember seeing that one last time around.
Edited to add: I knew it. Here's the 2008 version - exactly the same, with the names changed.
Rick Santorum won the caucus vote in my state (Minnesota) last night. But, if there is any evidence that Santorum is unfit to be president, then this is it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js3BYcHmBhE&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Rick Santorum is bad news for everybody.
Jay Smooth on Romney vs Gingrich.
Instead of a season dominated by this one totally unconvincing, untrustworthy, unelectable candidate, now we've got a *battle* between *two* totally unconvincing, untrustworthy, unelectable candidates.
Nah. She can't sing
At least he can.
There is absolutely no evidence that Obama supported the Supreme Court decision that threw financing of elections wide open to corporate support of super-pacs, quite the contrary. And of course, positing the idea that he should go Christlike to political death in a climate teetering on institutional collapse challenges the rational reader.
the Citizens United judgement by the Supreme Court ruled that money was an element of free speech, hence not liable to regulation... Obama has no control over that, but he has to make the best of the consequences and act for re-election
there is a very strong contingent at Babble that seem to think a US President has pretty much a free hand to do what he wants, leaving out the opposition Congress, lobbies, public opinion, court rulings, legislative mandates, etc etc., each of which constrain his room for manoeuvre,
hence in example No. 1 no public mandate universal health care plan, because huge swathes of US opinion and Congress, maybe 60 per cent, would never stand for it ... but campaign finance laws fall in a similar category
As any reader of the news knows, a Canadian PM has far more swat than a president - relatively speaking, eh? :)
Elections Are For Suckers - by Robert Scheer
"Let's just dip our fingers in purple ink and pose for photos now that voting has the same significance for us as it had for those Iraqis that got conned into thinking they were participating in some grand democratic experiment. Our own elections, the ones are government has modeled for the world, are a hoax. What other word should we use to describe this year's presidential elections, where the outcome will turn on which party's super PACs get the most generous bribes from billionaires?"
An interesting look into some of the thinking of American voters at a local level - I have a hard time summing it up in any other way than to say that Americans are weird.
Paul Krugman explains the GOP quandry this way:
"How did American conservatism end up so detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality? For it was not always thus. After all, that health reform Mr. Romney wants us to forget followed a blueprint originally laid out at the Heritage Foundation!
My short answer is that the long-running con game of economic conservatives and the wealthy supporters they serve finally went bad. For decades the G.O.P. has won elections by appealing to social and racial divisions, only to turn after each victory to deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy — a process that reached its epitome when George W. Bush won re-election by posing as America’s defender against gay married terrorists, then announced that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security.
Over time, however, this strategy created a base that really believed in all the hokum — and now the party elite has lost control."
And then there are those who say the American citizen should just walk away from the political fray and let it all melt down to a condition requiring military takeover. How mad is that?
[quote=Gaian]And then there are those who say the American citizen should just walk away from the political fray and let it all melt down to a condition requiring military takeover. How mad is that?[/quote]
It's pretty mad. Just who exactly are those people you refer to?
Obama laid out his budget proposals today, taxing the wealthy at 30 per cent, and closing the tax loopholes that some escape through now. He intends to spend more on education and to defend medicare and medicaid from GOP savaging, among other progressive measures.
In answer to your question, MS, I suppose the folks who would wash their hands of any attempt to further/defend those elements of that budget, ignoring the racism and inequality at the GOP's core, and the "bat crazy" nature of its followers, just might fit the category "mad." Realizing, of course, the fundamental democratic flaws and the imperialist nature of the structure that he leads, its murderous use of military weaponry, etc. etc. etc.
I still have no clue what "folks" you are talking about who want American citizens to "walk away from the fray". It seems to me there is no escape from the "fray": that it will follow everyone whether they like it or not.
Unless of course you consider the sum total of the "fray" to be participation in a sham of a democratic electoral system by putting a ballot in a box every two years for a candidate who you know in advance is the enemy of social justice and freedom, and is in the pay of the oligarchs who are making your life miserable.
On the contrary, the "fray" is something that happens 365 days a year. There is no walking away from it.
[quote=josh] Nah. She can't sing
Ha! I know, she'll never live that down. And I'll give it to Obama, he's a great singer (loved that clip), and dancer too (you forgot the clip of him dancing with Ellen). He's great at those impromptu things that would be risky for anyone else, but easy for him since he oozes charisma from every pore.
Good thing he used that charisma to convince Americans and his Democratic majority to bring in an effective health care plan, huh? Single payer sure is a lot more cost-effective, efficient, and less hassle for patients than all those private insurance companies, isn't it?
...oh yeah...I forgot...Obama didn't even come close to proposing that, did he?
But even if there's no single-payer health care, at least there's always the public option for those who don't want to be ripped off by private insurance companies, right?
...oh yeah...I forgot...
Roseanne, on the other hand, supports a real public health care system.
I get that the Repugnicans are certifiable, and even the status quo is less terrifying than those teabagger creeps. And of course the Greens have absolutely no chance of winning, and Roseanne will never live down her sacrilege on the baseball diamond.
But the Democrats won't learn until their left-wing base starts moving to Greener pastures. You can bet they'd start paying attention to you and other people like you on the left of the Democratic party if the Green vote went up as much as their vote goes down - especially if you tell them why. And how much worse could it get, really? Obama gave a crapload of bailout money to banks and corporations, who gave it away to their CEOs in bonuses, your economy has tanked, he utterly failed to bring in the health care system he promised, and he's shown that he would rather suck up than stand up to Repugnicans.
It would be so satisfying to see left-wing Democrats change their tune from "Hit me, baby, one more time," to "Hit the road, Jack." I'm all for protest voting when faced with futility on all sides.
I just don't think that we can afford such lonely, isolated displays of virtue, people.
Voter Fraud in Maine to match every other state so far
[quote=Gaian] I just don't think that we can afford such lonely, isolated displays of virtue, people.[/quote]
Perhaps the virtuous are not as lonely and isolated as you imagine.
But if not for the occasional displays of virtue they would be even more isolated and lonely. And that's something we definitely can't afford.
Will Netanyahu Use US Election to Push Obama Into Iran War? (and vid)
Ben Swann is the man
And Rachel is pretty good too
This is a big concern. Likud and its allies clearly want to defeat Obama (why, I have no idea since settlements have expanded without consequence and he hasn't pressured Israel to negotiate seriously). With Obama's re-election appearing to be more likely, Israel has a limited window in which to attack. An attack, and the chaos that would ensure, including a spike in gas prices, could seriously damage Obama's re-election chances. So, Netanyahu could get a twofer out of it.
So which would you rather be hit with - mud or santorum!
Maddow goes deeper into the voter fraud in Maine. One last decent journalist in that country.
CNN poll shows which candidate favours middle class
relatively good economic news continues to favour incumbent:
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market is steadily improving.
In other economic news, a rise in building permits suggested that the construction industry was growing confident that more buyers were ready to come off the sidelines, and the latest data on wholesale prices signaled that inflation remained largely in check.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. It was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008.