Tuesday, 4/12/11, Public Square

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27 responses to “Tuesday, 4/12/11, Public Square

  1. ”Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.” That, according to Herbert Hoover, was the advice he received from Andrew Mellon, the Treasury secretary, as America plunged into depression. To be fair, there’s some question about whether Mellon actually said that; all we have is Hoover’s version, written many years later.

    But one thing is clear: Mellon-style liquidationism is now the official doctrine of the G.O.P.

    Two weeks ago, Republican staff at the Congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report, ”Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy,” that argued that slashing government spending and employment in the face of a deeply depressed economy would actually create jobs. In part, they invoked the aid of the confidence fairy; more on that in a minute. But the leading argument was pure Mellon.

    Here’s the report’s explanation of how layoffs would create jobs: ”A smaller government work force increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs.” Dropping the euphemisms, what this says is that by increasing unemployment, particularly of ”educated, skilled workers” — in case you’re wondering, that mainly means schoolteachers — we can drive down wages, which would encourage hiring.

    There is, if you think about it, an immediate logical problem here: Republicans are saying that job destruction leads to lower wages, which leads to job creation. But won’t this job creation lead to higher wages, which leads to job destruction, which leads to …? I need some aspirin.

    Beyond that, why would lower wages promote higher employment?

    continue —
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A05EEDA1330F932A35757C0A9679D8B63&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

  2. Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

    A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.

    http://www.truth-out.org/why-united-states-destroying-its-education-system/1302418800

    • Has this not always been the goal? The introduction of Carneige Units, the standard 50 minute class period, the assignment of seats in rows, etc., appear to me to have been specifically designed to produce workers for the factories, assembly lines, etc., who were already programmed to do specific, repetitive tasks, to obey authority, all at a time when urbanization was occurring and graduating from High School rather than the Eighth Grade became the norm, not the exception. This system worked well, for the most part, until the advances in technology, spurred by the Space Race, hastened its inevitable obsolescence, resulting in young people less prepared for the “real world” than ever. Due to the decades it takes to shift a monolithic system’s direction, “reforms” needed in the 1960s were slowly adopted in the late 1980s and 1990s, to little avail, as the world had moved beyond the goals these reforms were intended to hit.

      It seems to me that real education is highly devalued in the modern U.S. society (see the emphasis on “going to college to get a good job” extant today), but when any attempt is made to break this cycle, i.e., go to vocational training to become employable; go to college to enhance education, is met with derision, some of which comes from members of the self-labeled “progressive” branch (what> vocational education? sounds/looks/smells racist/sexist/generally discriminatory to “me”), who do not realize the fallacy that is being sustained through their efforts.

      It is probably too late to implement the same notion that other industrialized countries have, namely not everyone is intellectually suited to receive a true university education, thus we, as a society, need to produce and respect alternative training methods and the jobs that those receiving such training can do. Yes, this means some sort of “tracking”, but what we’re doing now isn’t working too well. /rant

      • indypendent

        I remember watching Rachel Maddow awhile back and the issue was about Republicans changing the child labor laws.

        I think she was talking about Maine at the time (wasn’t he the guy that ordered the labor mural off the wall?).

        Anyway – there is a push to get child labor laws changed so that kids can work longer hours and the pay gets knocked way down from the current minimum wage.

        So, perhaps this is just another leg in the Republicans’ stool to abolish education – so their corporate masters can really exploit the cheapest labor possible.

        Why think – kids would be even cheaper than illegals.

        What a sad and pathetic society we have become if we allow this to happen.

        And yet the Tea Party Republicans proudly wear their 3-cornered hats with tea bags stapled to them and singing Yankee Doodle Dandy while desperatedly ranting about that government health care but yet still demanding their Medicare.

        Sometimes I think people really are stupid – then they prove me correct.

      • indy, there is a “school” of thought out there that putting teens to work is better than putting them in school. The “special” minimum wage, relaxation/elimination of maximum hours these young folks can work, are positions espoused by these folks since before I got my first job in High School. Sounds like these folks’ ideas are gaining traction. Yes, the goal is to obtain maximum labor for minimum cost; that’s what it has always been.

  3. Shenanigans by both sides because, after all, Americans have proven to be stupid enough to elect them so why would they think we’d notice?

    Budget Tricks Helped Obama Save Programs From Cuts

  4. I’ll forget some of them so help me out here please. Which GOPpers have announced (or have exploratory committees which is the same thing!) already?

    Newt

    Pawlenty

    Bachmann

    Trump

    Romney

    Who else? Quite a line up, don’t you think?

    • indypendent

      I think I’ll agree with Bill Cosby when he said Trump was ‘full of it’.

      I think this entire group of circus clowns are full of it.

      The only problem is – these folks seem to think we want them to share what they have – and I, for one, do not want anything any of these 5 people have.

    • This makes me laugh out loud!

      Trump Leads GOP 2012 Poll

      Does the Donald really have a chance? The numbers seem to suggest it. A new CNN poll shows Trump tied for first in the race for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, pulling even with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Twelve percent of Republicans opted for Sarah Palin in the national poll, and 11 percent for Mitt Romney, who just announced his exploratory committee yesterday. As part of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, the real-estate developer and alleged billionaire told The Wall Street Journal that he would “take the oil” from Iraq, returned to his recent “birther” theme, and reiterated his threat to tax China—whatever that means. What’s more, Trump says that if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination, he’ll run as an independent: “I think the Republicans are very concerned that I [may] run as an independent.”

      http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/12/cnn-poll-trump-tied-for-first-in-gop-horserace/

      • indypendent

        Hey, I may get my wish for an independent in the race after all.

        If he runs as an independent – then the birthers and other fringees will be siphoned off by the Donald….what is that 18% of the voting population?

        Even with my disappointment with Obama – I still prefer him to any other GOP circus clown currently performing in their three-ring circus.

        I suspect the moderates in both parties and the real Independents will be energized to keep the Donald relegated to his NY boardroom where he can co the least amount of damage to our country.

        One question though – what does the Donald mean when he will just ‘take the oil’?

        Let me guess- by force????

        Hmmm……takes alot of money, but he will have the birthers backing him and those wanting the Holy war – so money is no object, as long as it is somebody else’s money.

  5. What would our day be without Krugman?

    Why Not A Public Option for Medicare?

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

  6. A lot to untangle! My, my…

    Wisconsin’s Place in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

    http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/wisconsins-place-vast-right-wing-conspiracy

  7. FLASHBACK: Senate Republicans Raised The Debt Ceiling Immediately After Passing The 2003 Bush Tax Cut

    With the debate over the fiscal 2011 budget now, for the most part, behind it, Congress will have to address other budgetary matters, with the most urgent being the debt ceiling. According to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the U.S. will hit its debt limit — the maximum amount that it is legally allowed to borrow — no later than May 16, unless Congress acts.

    Plenty of Republicans have been saying that they won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling — and thus risk the economic cataclysm that would result if the U.S. defaulted on its debt — unless they receive various other budget-related measures, including a balanced budget amendment, statutory spending caps, or, in the case of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), just about every budget idea that has ever been mentioned by a Republican. Friday night, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that no Republican would vote to increase the debt limit “unless we do something about the debt. And you can write that down!”

    But in May of 2003, the GOP was not only willing to raise the debt ceiling in the absence of debt reduction measures, but it did so on the same evening that it blew a brand new hole in the federal budget by approving a giant tax cut for the wealthy:

    Without comment or ceremony, President Bush on Tuesday signed a bill allowing a record $984 billion increase in the amount the federal government can borrow, to a record $7.4 trillion. The increased federal borrowing will enable the government to pay for the $350 billion economic stimulus package that the GOP-led Congress passed last week at Mr. Bush’s behest.

    That “stimulus package” was the 2003 Bush tax cut. Here is the Congressional Record, showing that, right after approving the tax cut, the Senate made a “turn to the debt limit bill.”

    As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out, the Bush tax cuts will add $3.4 trillion in deficits by 2019, as well as an additional $1.7 trillion in interest on the federal debt. And contrary to the pronouncements of many conservatives at the time, the Bush tax cuts did not lead to a booming economy and job growth, but rather “the weakest jobs and income growth in the post-war period.”

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/04/11/senate-debt-limit-flashback/

    • indypendent

      But, but…..the Republicans were in total control and they can spend whatever amount of our tax dollars they want to spend.

      Didn’t you get the memo that these folks are God’s favorite?

      Very, very heavy sarcasm//

      P.S. – You don’t want to be known as the person that hates God or Jesus – do you?

      This is why I detest and loathe people that use their religion as a weapon .

  8. indypendent

    I listen to radio station KSGL because I like their old-time music from the 30’s through the 50’s.

    Anyway – this is the same radio station that carries Terry Fox and his Summit Church services.

    Recently, Joe Wright (remember this preacher from North Rock Road) has been on air announcing to everyone that he has returned to Wichita to partner with Terry Fox and his church and he has a new ministry.

    Joe Wright proudly boasts that their church is one where they are not politcally correct.

    Does anyone else remember the last time Terry Fox and Joe Wright paired up together and what ‘politically correct issue’ they were vehemently demonizing?

    Hmmm…..I was wondering why a former Wichita preacher who retired to Florida would want to come back to Wichita and start preaching again.

    Then a co-worker informed me that there is a doctor who is reportedly ready to come to Wichita to start doing abortions.

    BINGO……..I think we have a winner……….give that guy a kewpie doll…..

    I saw in the WE website yesterday an article about some woman in Valley Center who has been summoned to court for some hearing. The article stated this woman allegedly wrote a threatening letter to this doctor preparing to come to Wichita.

    WTH…….. It would never cross my mind to write anyone – pro-choice or pro-life – about anything regarding this abortion issue.

    Just why do these pro-lifers think they have the right to do such things? I am still waiting for some real justification of how these pro-lifers harassed Dr. Tiller and his staff for years – and yet nothing was ever done.

    But I do know one thing – these same pro-lifers tend to be Republican and the Republicans were in total control from 2000 to 2006. But yet not one single Republican even attempted to overturn Roe v Wade.

    Why not? If these pro-lifers are serious about stopping abortions – why doesn’t any of them ask their precious Republicans the $64,000 question – why did they not do a single thing to overturn Roe v Wade when they had total control?

    Bottom line – if that woman did write a threatening letter and it falls into the category of being charged – then she needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    If it does not fall into the category of being charged – then she needs to be left alone.

    But – the same could not be said for Dr. Tiller – could it? Dr. Tiller was performing a legal medical procedure and he needed to be left alone also.

    But then – maybe these pro-lifers are not all that serioius about stopping abortions – because they keep voting for Republicans even after being shown for 6 years of total control – not one time was abortion even attempted to be overturned.

  9. indypendent

    Here is an interesting link to debt ceiling information. Did you know that the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times since 1962?

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/03/news/economy/debt_ceiling_faqs/index.htm

  10. War on the Weak
    How the GOP came to view the poor as parasites—and the rich as our rightful rulers.

    Last week the Republican Party sounded two distinct voices. First we heard the angry demands of the Tea Party, speaking through its hardline conservative allies in the House, pushing the government to the brink of a shutdown. But then emerged the soothing tones of Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, who fashions himself the intellectual leader of the party, unveiling a budget manifesto he calls the “Path to Prosperity.”

    Ryan portrays his goals in reassuringly pecuniary terms—he’s just the friendly neighborhood accountant here to help balance your checkbook. “I have a knack for numbers,” he chirps. ABC News compared him to a character in Dave, the corny 1993 movie about an average Joe who mistakenly assumes the presidency and calls in his CPA buddy—that would be Ryan—to scour the federal budget and bring it into balance. If he has any flaw, he just cares too much about rescuing the country from debt, gosh darn it!

    In fact, the two streams—the furious Tea Party rebels and Ryan the earnest budget geek—both spring from the same source. And it is to that source that you must look if you want to understand what Ryan is really after, and what makes these activists so angry.

    http://www.newsweek.com/2011/04/10/war-on-the-weak.html

    • Another quote from the Newsweek article cited above —

      Ryan’s plan does do two things in immediate and specific ways: hurt the poor and help the rich. After extending the Bush tax cuts, he would cut the top rate for individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent. Then Ryan slashes Medicaid, Pell Grants, food stamps, and low-income housing. These programs to help the poor, which constitute approximately 21 percent of the federal budget, absorb two thirds of Ryan’s cuts.

      Ryan spares anybody over the age of 55 from any Medicare or Social Security cuts, because, he says, they “have organized their lives around these programs.” But the roughly one in seven Americans (and nearly one in four children) on food stamps? Apparently they can have their benefits yanked away because they were only counting on using them to eat.

    • Isn’t there a vote planned this week on Ryan’s plan? So we can have an accurate list of all who vote for this lunacy to end Medicare and Social Security.

      • indypendent

        The House is pretty much lockstepping – but the Senate is where the real fight will be taking place.

      • I remember when my son was giving expert witness testimony before Congress he told me when you left the congressional office bldg. and entered the senate office bldg. the IQ level went up palpably. I don’t remember him commenting that one was very high, just that it was considerably higher than the other. They didn’t have questions, they didn’t actually want to know about the issue the legislation was written about, they just wanted talking points to support the position they had previously chosen.

      • indypendent

        I’ve heard the same thing about the House. I’ve also heard it is like a really bad college fraternity house – alot of testosterone (sp?) being thrown around and very little brain power being used.

  11. A FYI if you or any business with which you are affiliated uses Barracuda for network security; it’s been hacked.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-20053125-83.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=News-Security

  12. http://opensource.com/government/11/4/scott-mcnealy-obama-and-open-source

    The link is likely interesting to just a few here. The tactics used in the attempt to discredit the proposal are all too familiar. Imagine, companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Apple might not be able to garner large revenues from the federal government if there is even more adoption of open-source software. It seems to me that the deficit hawks (well, at least in their own mind) would be behind this, but a remarkable silence comes from Capitol Hill…

  13. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/us/12arizona.html?_r=1

    May have missed any discussion of this here, but Ninth Circuit has, on a 2-1 vote, upheld the District Court’s ruling finding the crucial part of the Arizona “immigration law” unconstitutional. The state may apply for an en banc review, or appeal to SCOTUS. No decision has been made.