Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open

Happy FRY-day, Everyone.  We made it through another week.  Enjoy your weekend and your FREEDOM.

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19 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open

  1. rikyrah says:

    eptember 02, 2011 1:15 PM A recipe for failure

    By Steve Benen
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    Looking back over the last several months, after Americans rewarded Republicans in the 2010 midterms, we’ve seen quite a few policies intended to affect the economy. Extension of Bush-era tax breaks? Check. Wind down on stimulus spending? Check. Budget deal that cut spending? Check. Debt-ceiling deal that cut spending even more? Check. States and municipalities forced to cut back and fend for themselves? Check. Taking the nation’s full faith and credit hostage, inviting default, and causing a downgrade? Check.

    This checklist, when considered against the deteriorating job market and anemic growth, leads me to ask three questions: (1) Who thinks the Republican economic agenda is making things better? (2) Why are Republicans complaining so much about their policies not working? And (3) Who in their right mind would blame President Obama for the performance of the Republican agenda?

    On that last one, we know the answer. GOP leaders, some of whom thought Republicans deserved credit for the economy in April, are only too pleased to pretend Obama deserves the blame for conservative policies now.

    But anyone who believes this garbage is fooling themselves. About a month ago, Kevin Drum had an item that still resonates.

    2001-2008: Republicans run economy into ditch.

    2008: Obama elected.

    2009-2011: Republicans respond by doing everything possible to prevent him from fixing things.

    2012: Republicans use lousy economy as campaign cudgel against Obama.

    2012: Republican candidate wins presidency (maybe).

    Arguably one of the most dramatic Democratic dilemmas of 2011 and 2012 is overcoming the realization that Republicans are getting their way on economic policy and then denying any responsibility for the results. Indeed, it’s a rather extraordinary con: GOP officials see much of their agenda implemented, then see it fail, and then blame Obama when their policies don’t work.

    Under ideal circumstances, the president would come up with an economic plan and execute it. If the agenda succeeded, he’d get the credit. If it faltered, Republicans would call him on it. Voters could evaluate the results and decide whether to keep the president around or go back to GOP economic policies.

    But those circumstances are nowhere to be found. Rather, we’re stuck looking in this funhouse-mirror in which Republicans block Democratic economic policies, and then condemn the policies for failing. Worse, as Adam Serwer recently noted, these same GOP officials are “actively pursuing policies that make the problem worse, and then attacking the president for the results.”

    For most Americans, this level of substantive detail is invisible. They know Obama’s the president; they know the economy stinks; they know there’s a lot of arguing going on in Washington, but they have no idea who’s right and who’s wrong. They can’t count on major media outlets to help sort things out — reality has a well known liberal bias — and they’ll hear a lot of reporting about how “both sides” are always to blame for everything.

    But for those who are sincere in wanting to know who’s responsible for the economic mess, the truth is painfully obvious.

  2. rikyrah says:

    I Handed Out Burglary Tools to Criminals

    by BooMan
    Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 04:06:55 PM EST
    Well, at least he’s honest about how he feels about my work helping poor people to register to vote.

    Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?

    Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians. Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery. Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.

    There are desperately poor white people living all throughout Appalachia who voted overwhelmingly for John McCain and Sarah Palin. They all benefit from the Motor Voter Law, which makes it possible for them to register to vote at the welfare office as well as the Division of Motor Vehicles. You NEVER hear Democrats complaining about how easy it is for these folks to vote. It’s true that the Democratic Party benefits when overall turnout is high and suffers when it is low. Democrats have a self-interested motivation for doing voter registration, including among the poor. But we’re not hypocrites about it. We try to make it easy to vote for everyone.

    If we’re talking about people voting more than once, or voting when they’re not eligible to vote, or people impersonating someone in order to cast a vote, there is almost no voter fraud occurring in this country. Probably the most common cases of voter fraud are when people move and fail to reregister in their proper precinct. If they go ahead and vote at their old precinct, that’s voter fraud. It’s minor, but it does take place. Much less common are cases like Ann Coulter’s where people deliberately lie about what precinct they live in for whatever reason.

    These types of relatively minor cases of voter fraud do not involve an increase or decrease of the overall electorate, and unless someone moves out of state, they only impact local races. When people don’t follow the rules, they should be punished, but there is no epidemic of voter fraud, and certainly not from the underclass.

    Yet, the Republicans have moved in state after state to make it more difficult to vote.

    The most common new requirement, that citizens obtain and display unexpired government-issued photo identification before entering the voting booth, was advanced in 35 states and passed by Republican legislatures in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri and nine other states — despite the fact that as many as 25 percent of African-Americans lack acceptable identification.

    Having fought for voting rights as a student, I am especially troubled that these laws disproportionately affect young voters. Students at state universities in Wisconsin cannot vote using their current IDs (because the new law requires the cards to have signatures, which those do not). South Carolina prohibits the use of student IDs altogether. Texas also rejects student IDs, but allows voting by those who have a license to carry a concealed handgun. These schemes are clearly crafted to affect not just how we vote, but who votes…

    …In Georgia, Florida, Ohio and other states, legislatures have significantly reduced opportunities to cast ballots before Election Day — an option that was disproportionately used by African-American voters in 2008. In this case the justification is often fiscal: Republicans in North Carolina attempted to eliminate early voting, claiming it would save money. Fortunately, the effort failed after the State Election Board demonstrated that cuts to early voting would actually be more expensive because new election precincts and additional voting machines would be required to handle the surge of voters on Election Day.

    Voters in other states weren’t so lucky. Florida has cut its early voting period by half, from 96 mandated hours over 14 days to a minimum of 48 hours over just eight days, and has severely restricted voter registration drives, prompting the venerable League of Women Voters to cease registering voters in the state altogether. Again, this affects very specific types of voters: according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, African-Americans and Latinos were more than twice as likely as white voters to register through a voter registration drive.

    So, the evidence is quite plain. Democrats want more people to vote, and Republicans want less. The Democrats try to expand the electorate, and they don’t try to suppress Republican votes. The Republicans actively try to suppress the Democratic vote.

    The idea that all citizens are equal and we’re all entitled to one vote is perfectly fine with the Democrats, but it it’s a socialist plot to conservatives.

  3. rikyrah says:

    GOP’s Immigration Problem

    by BooMan
    Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 01:28:58 PM EST

    Personally, whenever I think about the increasing racial diversity of the country at all, it’s usually in the favorable context of better food choices both at grocery stores and in restaurants. The truth is, I don’t really think about racial diversity much at all. Yet, it seems to be an all-consuming preoccupation of a large percentage of the Republican base. The candidates are going across the country trying to talk about jobs, regulations, taxes, and other economic issues. That makes sense since the economy is horrible and people continue to tell pollsters that jobs and the economy are their number one concern. But the candidates keep discovering that Republican voters are obsessed with our southern border (even in New Hampshire).

    KEENE, N.H. — Mitt Romney opened his town hall meeting here talking about the economy — his thoughts on growing business, getting government out of the way — just as he does nearly every other campaign event. But when he opened last week’s forum for questions, the first voter he called on didn’t seem concerned about any of that. He wanted to know the Republican presidential candidate’s stance on border security.

    A similar scene played out in South Carolina a few days later, when Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) attended a town hall meeting she assumed would center on the economy, jobs and the federal deficit — only to see the assembled voters react most passionately to her comments on illegal immigration.

    I understand that illegal immigration is unfair to the people who are trying to immigrate legally. At the same time, I also understand that illegal immigrants are moving here because there is a legitimate demand for their labor. We could improve the situation by providing a lot more legal openings for people to immigrate from Mexico and Central America. The thing is, what’s bothering the base of the Republican Party is not really that these folks are breaking our immigration laws. What’s bothering them is that they’re not white and English isn’t their first language.

    The result is that, once again, conservatives come up with positions that can’t be satisfied because they involve magical thinking. Whether it’s Bachmann’s plan to fence “every mile, every yard, every foot, every inch” of the southern border, or it’s Romney’s plan to crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers, no Republicans are willing to address the demand for their labor. Who is going to harvest the fruit in this country if not Mexicans, Guatemalans, etc.? If you won’t let them come here legally, and you’re successful in barring their entry into the country, you’re going to have a problem.

    “After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

    It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry. Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Two weeks later, with farmers howling, a scrambling Deal ordered a hasty investigation into the impact of the law he had just signed, as if all this had come as quite a surprise to him.

    The results of that investigation have now been released. According to survey of 230 Georgia farmers conducted by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, farmers expect to need more than 11,000 workers at some point over the rest of the season, a number that probably underestimates the real need, since not every farmer in the state responded to the survey.

    In response, Deal proposes that farmers try to hire the 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers estimated to live in southwest Georgia. Somehow, I suspect that would not be a partnership made in heaven for either party.

    You either need to accept that the country isn’t going to retain the same racial dynamics as in the past or you need to convince a ton of white people to immigrate from Europe to take back-breaking jobs in our fields.

    How many undocumented workers do you think would not prefer to be documented? If people didn’t let race get in the way of sane policy, we wouldn’t have any people working here illegally because they would have been invited in. Of course, if you invited them in, you’d have to pay them more. That’s another reason the GOP’s top donors don’t want a sane immigration policy anymore than their racist base.

  4. Ametia says:

    The federal agency overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac filed lawsuits against 17 financial institutions in an attempt to recover losses from risky mortgage investments.
    The lawsuits were filed against many of the nation’s largest Wall Street and financial firms, including Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
    In the complaints, the Federal Housing Finance Agency contends the institutions misrepresented the quality of the investments’ underlying loans.

  5. dannie22 says:


  6. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s public positioning
    Thursday, September 01, 2011 | Posted by rootless_e at 6:45 PM

    A recent Pew poll carried some interesting results under a very negative headline. It turns out that 71% of Americans think the President stands up for what he believes in and 63% think he cares about people like them. 59% think he’s trustworthy and 71% think he’s warm and friendly. These are great numbers, semi-hidden behind the negative slant of the article which is focused on a drop in “approval”, “strong leader”, and “able to get things done”. Of course there’s a good reason for fewer people to believe the President can get things done after the last 8 months of GOP obstruction in the House and the continuing weakness of Senate Democrats, but when the election comes around, the President who got Bin Ladin will remind the voters that he did in 2 years what Bush couldn’t do in 7 years.

    It’s also up to the President’s team to find ways to do things by executive action in the next year or so – and they appear to be doing exactly that. It is worth noting the extreme disconnect between the public perception of the President as someone who stands up for what he believes in and the ongoing campaign to portray the President as weak and unprincipled by people who claim to be Democrats and supporters – just ones who, they insist, are perceptive enough and brave enough to be critical. Somehow their perceptive and brave criticism lines up with what the corporate media and the Republican PR machine says but not with what the vast majority of the public thinks. Interesting.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: ” Somehow their perceptive and brave criticism lines up with what the corporate media and the Republican PR machine says but not with what the vast majority of the public thinks. Interesting.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    A Different Perspective on The GOP “Jobs” Plan: Are Republicans Bowing to Some Demands from the President?

    Hey, did you hear? The House Republicans have a jobs plan! Hurray – finally a year after telling people how they would have a “laser focus” on jobs, the Republicans in the House have come out with their jobs plan. I waited with baited breath: Oh what will I wear to the Republican Jobs Plan party? Well, if you have heard the news of the Republican jobs plan, you know that most of it is based on a hugh and cry of oh, who will think of the trust fund children!!! and oh the poor, poor corporations are being so darn inconvenienced just ‘cuz you folks don’t want lead in your toothpaste. Eric Cantor haz a sad because under President Obama, the EPA and the NLRB are daring to enforce the law.

    Most of the media has been looking at the Republican plan as their attempt to preempt President Obama’s upcoming jobs speech, and it in large part is. But interestingly, the House GOP plan can be looked at another way: a pre-emptive surrender to President Obama on certain issues just as the debt reduction supercommittee is about to begin its work. The President has been pushing for a jobs agenda some parts of which the Republicans seem to finally be acquiescing to: such as tax reform to eliminate the tax giveaway welfare state for the uber rich, passing the pending trade agreements and patent reform.

    The House Republican plan, while it whines a lot about how they should be able to block any new regulations just by Congressional edict rather than lawmaking (the tool already available for them to pursue if they don’t like a certain regulation), they do give way to some of President Obama’s demands.

    First, tax reform with revenue raising:

    America’s tax code has grown too complicated and cumbersome, and it is fundamentally unfair. It is filled with loopholes and giveaways. Congress should eliminate the special interest tax breaks that litter the code and reduce the overall tax rate to no more than 25% for businesses and individuals including small business owners. This would make the tax code flatter, fairer, and simpler. Common sense changes to the tax code will ensure that everyone pays their fair share, lessen the burden on families, generate economic expansion, and create jobs by making America more competitive.

    Hmm, you think? Eliminate the loopholes, tax giveaways, and the tax welfare system for the uber rich and multinationals, and lower the overall rates to be more competitive. Where have we heard that before? Oh, right, the Fiscal Commission set up by the president proposed something very similar in their very progressive tax reform: proposing bringing down the individual top rate to 23% and the corporate rate to 26% after the elimination of the giveaways and spending in the tax code. What the Republicans are hoping you don’t find out is that the rich takes the most advantage of the tax loopholes and deductions to reduce their effective rates far below what the average person pays, and eliminating them would in fact raise the effective tax rate on the highest income earner. And it will raise additional revenue.

    In other words, if the Republicans mean what they say in their proposal, they are acquiescing to the President’s demand that the rich and the multinational corporations pay a fairer share of their income in taxes. No more zero taxes for GE. No more next-to-nothing taxes for Google. No more giving extra taxpayer subsidy to oil companies. It looks like the Republicans could not ultimately keep up their facade to maintain support for corporate jet tax breaks.

    Second, they committed to passing trade agreements negotiated by the president and beneficial to the American worker, and funding for programs for displaced workers.

    • Yeah, the GOP has a “jobs plan” and I have some beach front property to sell you right here in AZ. Lots of sand but you will have to wait for the real “BIG ONE” to happen in California before you get any water.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Obama Backs Bill Barring Discrimination Against Jobless

    We’ve written before about job ads and hiring practices that exclude unemployed candidates from applying. Mitchell Hirsch, an associate at the National Employment Law Project, recently alerted me that President Obama had expressed support for outlawing such practices.

    From an interview with the president on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a national radio program, which aired on Tuesday:

    Well, there is no doubt that folks who have been unemployed longer than six months have a tougher time getting back into the job market. Now, the single most important thing we can do is just have the economy strong so that employers aren’t as choosy because they’ve got to hire because their businesses are expanding.

    But we have seen instances in which employers are explicitly saying we don’t want to take a look at folks who’ve been unemployed. Well, that makes absolutely no sense, and I know there’s legislation that I’m supportive of that says you cannot discriminate against folks because they’ve been unemployed, particularly when you’ve seen so many folks who, through no fault of their own, ended up being laid off because of the difficulty of this recession.

    Mr. Obama appears to be referring to this bill, introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut.

    • Ametia says:

      Good news; but no surprises here. Folks have gone completely mad, when they won’t hire qualified workers who have been unemployed and are willing to work. It’s mind-numbing, really, it is.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Nonfarm payroll flat in Aug, jobless rate 9.1%

    By Greg Robb

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Job growth was unchanged in August, the weakest performance in almost a year, the Labor Department said Friday. The weak report was lower than the 53,000 gain expected by Wall Street economists. A strike at Verizon Communications Inc VZ -0.56% cut 45,000 from payrolls in the month. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1% as expected. Average hourly earnings decreased 0.1% to $23.09. Economists had been expecting a 0.1% gain. Earnings are up only 1.9% in the past year. The average workweek fell six minutes to 34.2 hours.

  10. Ametia says:

    Bush and Cheney remind us how we got into this mess
    By Eugene Robinson, Thank you, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, for emerging from your secure, undisclosed locations to remind us how we got into this mess: It didn’t happen by accident.

    The important thing isn’t what Bush says in his interview with National Geographic or what scores Cheney tries to settle in his memoir. What matters is that as they return to the public eye, they highlight their record of wrongheaded policy choices that helped bring the nation to a sour, penurious state

    Questions about whether President Obama has been combative enough in dealing with the Republican opposition — or sufficiently ambitious in framing his progressive agenda — seem trivial when viewed in this larger context. Obama is tackling enormous problems that took many years to create. His presidential style is important insofar as it boosts or lessens his effectiveness, but its importance pales beside the generally righteous substance of what he’s trying to accomplish.

    It was the Bush administration, you will recall, that sent the national debt into the stratosphere and choked off federal revenue to the point of asphyxiation. Bush and Cheney decided to fight two wars without even accounting — let alone paying — for them. Rather than raise taxes to cover the cost of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Bush opted to maintain unreasonable and unnecessay tax cuts.
    The president and the speaker squabble while Americans wait for work.

  11. Ametia says:

    Good Morning. Everyone! :-)

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