Saturday, 9/3/11, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

30 responses to “Saturday, 9/3/11, Public Square

  1. Labor Day Officially Moved to China
    First U.S. Holiday to be Outsourced

    Labor Day, one of America’s most beloved and longest-celebrated holidays, has been officially moved to China, U.S. officials confirmed today.

    The Labor Day celebrations are expected to kick off Monday afternoon in Beijing with a barbeque attended by over seven million people and presided over by former NBA star Yao Ming.

    The transfer of Labor Day to China represents the first time in American history that an entire holiday has been outsourced, experts said.

    “It may be just as well,” said the University of Minnesota’s Davis Logsdon, who has lectured extensively on Labor Day traditions. “It’s been getting harder and harder for Americans to remember what labor is.”

    Tracy Klugian, 37 said he was sorry to see his annual Labor Day barbeque relocated from his home in Medina, Ohio to Beijing, but is taking the loss in stride.

    “I used to really look forward to Labor Day,” he said. “But to be honest, getting a day off isn’t as special as it used to be.”

    While Mr. Klugian said it was “a little strange” for Labor Day barbecues to occur in China with no participation by Americans, he added, “Maybe someday we’ll be able to make illegal fireworks for them.”

    Meanwhile, U.S. officials said it was looking “more and more likely” that Thanksgiving would be relocated this year to India.

    “At the very least, Americans will still be able to celebrate Thanksgiving by phone,” one official said. “But they should listen closely because some menu options have changed.”

  2. Registering Poor To Vote ‘Like Handing Out Burglary Tools To Criminals’

    Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is just going to come right out and say it: registering the poor to vote is un-American and “like handing out burglary tools to criminals.”

    • indypendent

      Hey, isn’t this guy a Constitution-loving American patriot that believes in democracy for all people?

      Or is he just one of the ‘white-collar’ criminals who are maniuplating the votes so they have the only burglary tools in town?

  3. A View From The Top One Percent

    A financial manager provides his perspective on the wealthiest one percent and 0.1 percent of Americans — i.e. his clients — regarding who they are, how they got so rich, and why he worries that they have too much power:

    Membership in this elite group is likely to come from being involved in some aspect of the financial services or banking industry, real estate development involved with those industries, or government contracting.

    Not surprisingly, Wall Street and the top of corporate America are doing extremely well as of June 2011. For example, in Q1 of 2011, America’s top corporations reported 31% profit growth and a 31% reduction in taxes, the latter due to profit outsourcing to low tax rate countries. Somewhere around 40% of the profits in the S&P 500 come from overseas and stay overseas, with about half of these 500 top corporations having their headquarters in tax havens. If the corporations don’t repatriate their profits, they pay no U.S. taxes. The year 2010 was a record year for compensation on Wall Street, while corporate CEO compensation rose by over 30%, most Americans struggled. In 2010 a dozen major companies, including GE, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and Fed Ex paid US tax rates between -0.7% and -9.2%. Production, employment, profits, and taxes have all been outsourced.

  4. When the jobs reports were looking quite good in the early spring, Republican leaders were eager to take credit for the positive numbers they had nothing to do with. After all, as far as GOP officials were concerned, their mere presence in the House majority was enough to inspire job creators everywhere.

    But if Republicans demanded credit for the job totals in the spring, these same Republicans are desperate to avoid blame for job totals in the summer. It’s a nice little scam Republicans have put together: when more jobs are being created, it’s proof they’re right; when fewer jobs are being created, it’s proof Democrats are wrong.

    Heads they win; tails Obama loses.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in an apparent attempt at self-parody, said this morning that “private-sector job growth continues to be undermined,” at least in part, by the “threat of higher taxes.” Seriously, that’s what he said. The very idea that someone, somewhere, might at some time might be asked some additional amount in taxes is enough to undermine job growth.

    I can only hope the Speaker doesn’t actually believe his own dumb rhetoric.

    Regardless, following up on a little exercise from July, let’s play the game in a way Boehner might like, using Republican rules. Here’s a chart showing private-sector job creation in the latter half of 2010, when stimulus money was still being spent, and when Democrats enjoyed the congressional majority.

    And here’s a chart showing private-sector job creation so far in 2011, after stimulus spending largely ended, Republicans took control of the U.S. House and most of the nation’s gubernatorial offices, and the national discourse pivoted from jobs to the deficit and debt.

    Now, I certainly know better than to make a post-hoc-ergo-propter hoc mistake, but I wonder if the Speaker would be kind enough to consider the trends. The “threat of higher taxes” existed last year, as did Democratic regulatory enforcement, and a large deficit. And yet, job growth improved. Then Republicans took office.

    I can appreciate why the GOP wouldn’t want the blame, even though it’s conservative policies standing in the way of improving the economy. But if Republicans want to claim credit for the job market in April, they should expect responsibility for the same job market in September.

    • At the click above, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “the larger trends since 2001” for a great graphic showing how much the public sector grew under Bush.

      Never believe it when a republican tries to say their party reduces government!

  5. Rick Perry’s Execution Record Includes The Deaths Of Juveniles And The Mentally Disabled

    Texas has held 234 executions on Perry’s watch. While Perry can only grant clemency from death sentences if it is recommended by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, he has rarely used that power. According to the Texas Tribune, Perry has commuted only 31 death sentences, and 28 of those resulted from a 2005 Supreme Court case outlawing the execution of juveniles. Meanwhile, he has allowed a host of controversial executions to go forward, the Tribune reported today:

    JUVENILES: According to the Tribune, three people who were juveniles at the time of their crime were executed between 2000, when Perry took office, and 2005, when the Supreme Court banned the execution of juveniles. Before Napoleon Beazley, who committed a murder at 17, was executed, 18 state legislators wrote Perry asking him to grant clemency, and the trial judge who eventually had to sign his execution order asked Perry to commute the sentence to life in prison. Perry’s response: “To delay his punishment is to delay justice.”

    MENTALLY DISABLED: Ten executions during Perry’s tenure have involved serious questions about the prisoner’s mental health and stability. One was Kelsey Patterson, who was judged as mentally fit by a doctor known as “Dr. Death” because he rarely found patients mentally unfit for trial. During his trial, Patterson testified about having devices planted in his head by the military, and once in prison, he sent incoherent letters to courts. The Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended to Perry that he grant clemency, but Perry rejected the recommendation. Another was James Clark, whose final statement was, “Howdy.” Two Texas prisoners with mental health concerns have been executed in 2011.

    INADEQUATE COUNSEL: Five men executed since 2000 have had major questions about the adequacy of their legal counsel, including Leonard Uresti Rojas. The appellate attorney appointed to Rojas was on probation with the state bar, suffered from mental illness and missed multiple deadlines to file appeals on Rojas’ behalf. New attorneys took Rojas’ case before the Court of Appeals asked Perry to stay the execution but were denied. After the execution, an appeals court judge wrote a dissenting opinion against the court, saying Rojas’ attorney had “neglected his duties.”

    In addition, Perry has overseen the executions of seven foreign nationals and two men who were accomplices but did not actually commit murder.

  6. The Fate of Israel May Be Decided Today

    After eight weeks of non-stop protests, Israel’s social justice movement hopes to conclude its street rallies with the largest protest in Israel’s history: a million people (which would be 13% of the population in a country with only 7.7 million).

    At their core, these protests have been about a fairer distribution of wealth. They have been about economic reforms that give all Israelis access to affordable education, health care, and fair wages. And they have been about social reforms, giving all Israelis access to equal opportunities and treatment under the law. Jews. Arabs. Immigrants. Druze. Bedouin. The poor. The shrinking middle class. The vulnerable.

    Participating in tomorrow’s demonstration means caring and involvement; not participating means complacency and willful blindness to the ills of Israel’s society and economy. There is little dispute over the need for change, and that near-unanimous recognition must be given forceful expression Saturday.

    Saturday’s event in [Tel Aviv] will determine the character of our society: Will it remain comatose, submissively accepting the injustice that has pervaded it, or will it rise up in tenacious struggle? Will Israelis consent to go on living in a society where they pay too much and receive too little, and where most of the wealth is concentrated in too few hands, or are they set on change?

    • Just think — they’ll be able to control the curriculum, teaching only what they want the next generation of tea baggers to know. It will be so much easier to control the masses that way! We’ll no longer have a functioning democracy, but for all extent and purposes we’ll have become an oligarchy where government functions to meet the needs of an economic elite and the rest of the population makes do with whatever the elites decide to give them.

  7. Maybe it really is time to think of another country to call home. Then again, the whole world is imploding and destroying itself. Gee, how lucky can I be?

  8. Asher Bob White

    Today’s cartoon post is just great! That briefcase could also be labeled “independent” and “some democrats” As an ’08 Obama voter, I have a real dilemma: I can’t vote for Obama, again; and I can’t vote for any Tea Party candidate. What to do???

    • WSClark

      In a perfect world, we go to the polls and vote for the candidate that we feel mostly closely aligns with our views on the positions and the one we feel that can do the best job.

      We don’t live in a perfect world.

      When we vote – unless we are just throwing away our vote – we vote either for or against a candidate. Realistically, a third party candidate is not going to do much other than possibly play spoiler, so we are left with the choices of the two major parties.

      In November 2012, our choices are going to come down to Barack Obama or Mitt Perry. Despite relative unhappiness with the results obtained by Obama, the alternative is almost unspeakable. Romney? Perry? Really?

      President Obama has had to deal with one of the absolute worst ‘first day in office’ scenarios in US history. He hasn’t always made the right choices or taken the positions that I would have preferred. Much of my unhappiness is due to his positions being less liberal than I would prefer.

      The alternative to a vote for Obama in 2012 will be either the election of a far right extremist or an endorsement of their positions. That is, quite frankly, completely unacceptable. Even if Obama wins, but loses many popular votes to other candidates, his victory will seem hallow in that a narrow margin will further embolden the right wing Tea Partiers. The end results will be four more years of what we have already been through.

      It will not be enough for Obama merely win in 2012, he must crush the Tea Party mindset if any truly liberal progress is to be made.

      • Obama must crush the Tea Party mindset? Yeah, good luck on that one.

        I used to think it was just the Democratic Senators and Representatives who needed to grow a pair. Our president keeps knuckling under to the do-nothing Republicans in congress. Sure, anything will be a fight. Sure, I believe our Founding Fathers expected compromise to rule this country, not the strongest bullies in the crowd, but come on.

        The latest is his bowing down to weakening the EPA. WTF? Now I’m wondering just which corporations he belongs to.

      • WSClark

        When the President takes the Oath of Office, he is no longer just the highest ranking member of his party, he has to transcend politics and be the President for all Americans, even if that costs him an election. As with the debt debacle, Obama had to do the right thing to protect the integrity of the United States, regardless.

        The Tea Cons and spineless Democrats could yell and scream and make false statements about default and revenue and anything else. It came down to one person doing what had to be done to prevent the country from willfully launching ourselves into a Depression.

        Personally, if I were Obama I would announce that I would NOT be running for a second term and let the Democrats that left him high and dry to pick a new candidate.

        Since the moment that Obama took office, he has been assailed on both sides. From the Left for not being liberal enough – as if he could have been elected as a full-on progressive. The obstructionism from the Right has been well documented – they have no other goal other than to see Obama defeated and humiliated.

        The Left is all too willing to let Obama suffer the slings and arrows – but you can’t help but notice that none of them have a better plan and none of them are stepping up to challenge Obama.

        The only Democrat that has shown any balls for the past three years is Nancy Pelosi. The rest have either been just making noise or they have been hiding under their beds. Barney Frank occasionally stands up. Harry Reid is a flippin’ joke. Steny Hoyer? Webb? Where are these Democrats that rode into office on Obama’s coattails and then ran for cover the moment that a Con threatened to piss on their pant leg?

        As I said, if I were Obama, I would announce that it’s time the country – including the Democrats – find a new whipping boy.

        Fortunately for America, Barack Obama is a better man than I.

  9. Zippy

    At this point, I am in serious quandary, because I am aware of very real battles on the behalf of sanity wages by the Obama administration. Yet, for reasons that others will gladly fill-in-the-blank on (and, spare me, you don’t actually know, and I am by nature and experience far more darkly cynical than thou), we are getting signals that the touted “jobs speech” is going to a public appeal to John Boehner and, perhaps, the mushy 20% for the next election cycle—a “why can’t we all just get along?” at the exact moment Rodney King is getting the shit beaten out of him.

    I hope, for America and the World’s sake, that I am wrong, and Gene Sperling is just an imbecile who should have been fired long ago

    That approach is bad politics, bad negotiating and bad reality. Yeah, I get the reality that Boehner is not quite as insane as the Tea Party people. But if that piece of crap is “98%” of what he wanted–even if he was lying–flipping Boehner by caving even more is a dangerous pipe dream.

    Upshot: It is morally indefensible and intellectually to pretend that there isn’t a sane position to be defended, especially when you already know they are going to say “no,”

    No, this isn’t 1936 — in some ways the situation — and the stakes — are far worse.

    And if Mr Sperling is daring to claim that offering pre-compromised position is somehow putting the nation above politics, he is simply a goddamn liar. As is anyone–anyone–who would suggest that stealing the Social Security surplus to fix the current budget crisis has even the motivation of keeping the program solvent.

    You know, if we are going to argue that America can longer afford Social Security and Medicare, then we need to have the persistent argument about progressive taxation–which the underlying objection of those in the pockets of power (and not just Republicans).

    For my part, I stand with Adam Smith and Theodore Roosevelt.

    (Damned socialists!)

    • prairie pond

      I’ll see your “darkly cynical” and raise you to boot!

      Obama has been exactly what I expected from the Donnie McClurkin days forward.

  10. Zippy

    And what creates jobs? Well, the short of it that employers pay people to do things There is an insulation from reality in the investor class now, believing, against all evidence but consistent with pseudo-responsible prejudices, that investing in America–not just businesses the forward progress–the talent, skills, and inded the very existence of the American people–is a waste of money.

    They’re just not working hard enough. That begs the question: doing what?.

    Making money from a portfolio is by the laziest way to make a living. That’s not neccesarily a bad thing, by itself.

    But investing in dressed-up Ponzi schemes (via exotic instruments), seeing no connection between one’s investments and the future of humanity, is beyond stupid.

    It is also, mathematically, ignoring the most consequences of the figures, as it was very obviously so in the early part of this decade.

    But the dirty little secret is that the people who run the world ain’t too bright, and they are not monolithic in their views.

    That’s our hope and our peril.

  11. prairie pond

    The only reason we don’t have runaway inflation or stagflation is because productivity continues to defy all conventional economic wisdom and has held steady or been rising. It’s killing the workforce and contributing to mass unemployment, but as long as the ruling class keeps contributing to the political class, who cares, right?

  12. indypendent

    I would love to see an independent woman with brass balls to come into the political scene and kick some ass.

    And when I say a woman – I do not mean some Stepford Wife. I want a woman who has had to stretch a dollar into lasting until the next pay day. A woman who has had to juggle the kids, the house, her job (if she works outside the home) and keep her husband from falling down from his tired schedule.

    I want a woman who knows what it is like to cut out coupons and search to get the best price for things the family really needs to buy.

    I want a woman that knows education is the best tool for her children, and herself, to a better life.

    But the most important thing – I want a woman who knows that wars are not the answer to everything. I’m sick of these too-heavy-on-the-testerone males who only know one mantra – let’s go to war.

    Will I get it – probably not. But, boy, wouldn’t it be fun to watch?

    P.S. – males on the PPP blog – I ask for your indulgences and forgiveness if I stepped on any of your toes about my woman/male characterization.

    From what I’ve seen of the men on our blog – no neandethals seem to be lurking in their caves around here.

  13. indypendent

    Asher Bob White posed the dilemma of who to vote for

    If given the choice between Obama and a Far Right Repubilcan – I’ll take Obama. It’s better to have at least feel like we have a chance .

    If any Far Right Republican gets in – I truly expect another country to be invaded – Iran or North Korea – comes to mind.

    I am not kidding folks – I really think these Far Right Republican will take us into World War III and be singing Yankee Doodle Dandy the entire way.

    • I don’t have the same serious concerns about what country will be invaded next because the neocons were a casualty of their own actions. They over played their hands. I think economic elites will rule the world (maybe they already do) and we might be thrown some scraps if we behave and provide for them well enough. I don’t think these economic elites would mind a theocracy. In fact, a theocracy would help them because they’ll pretend their god isn’t money and fool a bunch of religious folks. About all they need to do is keep telling the same lies about over turning Roe v Wade and protecting marriage. People have been stupid enough to believe them for over 40 years and there’s no indication those people have gotten any wiser. They used terrorism to expand their wealth and power and they’ll use god just as easily. There will always be a bogeyman to keep the masses afraid and under control. Electing republicans increases the power of economic elites and a moves us ever closer to a theocracy.

  14. I listened to Plain’s speech. It wasn’t easy but I did it. I have a far-fetched suspicion that she will continue to campaign without declaring a candidacy and when the time seems right a campaign to write her name in will be launched. She won’t ever have to debate, face the media, quit her job at Fox, speak where she doesn’t want to speak. She won’t have to comply with any of the standards other candidates are held to, she can just spout her hatred of Obama and make all those sound bites of love for country… It’ll be made to look like a grass roots campaign of the people for the people. It won’t be, but that’s how it will be sold.

    How’s that for a conspiracy theory? 🙂

  15. CapnAmerica

    As mentioned previously on this Blog, because of the Electoral College system, voting for a Democratic president in our state is a purely symbolic gesture.

    Kansas has three major sources of revenue, all closely tied to RepubliCon special interests: agri-business, oil and gas, and defense (as in military bases and contractors like Boeing, Spirit, Raytheon, etc.).

    The Cons have bought these votes over many long decades and once they’re bought, they stay bought.

    So . . . I plan to vote Democratic for president as long as I draw breath.

    I don’t plan to delude myself that it actually makes a difference in the State of Kansas.

    If you really want your vote to count, move to Iowa or Colorado . . . a place where a Democratic Presidential candidate might actually have a prayer.

    Here, getting all exercised about who you’re going to vote for (for president) is utterly meaningless.

    • I disagree, I don’t believe a Democratic vote is totally impossible.

      “The state is strongly Republican in presidential elections; it hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1964, when Lyndon Johnson won in a landslide. In 2008, John McCain won by 57% to 42% over Barack Obama. ”

      There’s always hope, we narrowed the margin last time around. We just need to tip it over to our side for 2012. Shock the H E double hockey sticks out of the teabaggers.