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June 11, 2012

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The primary target of a Romney administration will be the reduction of social security and medicare. Military spending being of course off limits.

The entitlement reductions will be largely accomplished by stealth through modification of inflation adjustments and other gadgets. No doubt these slight of hand acts were abundantly employed by Bain Capital to make corporate books look good before being offloaded to investors.


Show me an electorate who doesn't know history, who doesn't know math, who doesn't know science, and I'll show you an electorate who can be led to it's own slaughter with very little effort.

Instead of looking at those that still have good pensions and benefits and saying "hey, I want that too - let's go get our's back from the private corporations that took them away from us", people are saying "why don't I get that, they're no better than me - they should have to suffer too."

It's jealousy instead of an adapt and overcome mentality - maybe because it's far easier to destroy than to create.

Europe's current financial crisis will be felt in the US this summer by a continued hold on US hiring. Republicans have successfully stymied Obama administration attempts to provide federal support to public sector employment or implement government actions to alleviate the general employment situation. Can Obama overcome the failing employment situation and secure a second term? Recent history of presidential elections suggests not.

I'm reading your book. You should have called it "Powers of cardiac arrest".

It's keeping me on the edge of my seat. And I'm not even sitting down.

I"m enjoying the hell out of it.

Thank you!!

Finished "Powers of Arrest" when's the sequel ? (and Mapstone?)
As far as the economy goes, Atrios keeps asking "Why do we keep giving money to those who destroyed the economy?
http://www.eschatonblog.com/2012/06/worst-possible-thing-they-could-do-is.html
He's got a point

Boy, is this election going to lower the bar for turnout. Even while contemplating the not-so-slow burn of our economy consuming itself on this President's watch, just a few words out of the opposition - where one might, traditionally, reasonably look for some relief from the status quo* - and the urge to self-immolate becomes very distracting.

---

*OK - except that they're the GOP. There's that.

From the Krugman column cited in this post:

That same obstructionist House majority effectively blackmailed the president into continuing all the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, so that federal taxes as a share of G.D.P. are near historic lows...
That's pretty glib, and backhanded, as an apology for the President's predicament... I'm sorry, I mean our predicament.

Our President was "effectively blackmailed?" What the fuck do we hire these people for, anyway? "I'm sorry, well, you know - the President is gutless..."

Hard to be an optimist nowadays, but I'm hoping that there's some potential benefit that might come from Independent registration (per Pew research) now at 38%. Granted, this group is a mixed bag that's difficult to sort, but I'm wondering whether this might be a strategic inflection point where the myopic/mindless 2 party system is coming apart. And if so, would this bode well for our country's future?

Problem is, Independents are - by definition - even less cohesive than the left.

(Speaking as a lifelong registered Independent - tho I've pretty consistently leaned Dem, I know Independents who are Tea-Party types. Let's not even get started on the Greens vs. Pauls vs. what-have-yous. I'm sure the two-party system has come to love we hapless iconoclasts.)

It's really a bit facile to even bother capitalizing the "I."

the system is rigged. It would take a very motivated Independent group to change things. So far, "motivated" and "Independent" has never been used in the same sentence.

I'm working on the next Mapstone mystery now.

Petro and Reb: another facet of the independents may be a growing trend that favors a group that could be called "political agnostics". If Congress' 10% approval rating holds, doesn't this reflect the possibility of a far less-predictable electorate?

morecleanair,

I've alwasy been greatly disappointed by the following math:

Approval rating: 10-15%

Re-elction rate: 85-90%

AMEN Brother!

I finished Powers of Arrest.
Once again Jon invents a great plot with a lot of sex. I always seem to Identify with the Tongue. I am waiting for the next Mapstone. Will the train leave downtown Phoenix for California? Maybe a cover depicting the old train station.
All Aboard

Judging from the large percentages of union members that voted for Walker becuz' he did nothing illegal or whatever, there is no hope. What's the Matter with Kansas is now nationwide. Better make your deals with crony capitalism now.

Where's soleri been hiding?

Soleri was bitten by a white widow from utah and is now a speech writer for Mitt.

I digress. Are my eyes going bad or does the current photo of a bald Florida's Rick Scott remind you of a Arizona lawman?

The day I truly become agnostic is the day that you can reliably predict that I will not vote.

Oh, wait...

Petro for Pope

Outstandingly good column, Mr. Talton. Bravo!

You hit every major point (including some I'd forgotten but shouldn't have, as well as some I didn't know), and tied them together in a pithy and organic whole. This is the kind of writing I aspire to and a perfect example of why I read Rogue Columnist.

The "reality cone" portion is easily the best single-paragraph explanation I've seen of the current economic situation. Of course, encapsulated by item (4) are some important details contributing to fiscal problems through low economic growth and thus low federal revenues. To reiterate:

In the present instance, economic recovery has been slow because the usual economic channels for increasing consumer demand no longer apply.

The housing market crashed in a big way, and rising home values cannot be used to provide additional household income through capital gains (resale), through cash-out refinancing, or through second mortgages or home-loan lines of credit anticipating rising home prices.

Levels of household debt remain high, and some of the money that might increase demand through consumption is going instead to pay down debt. A record number of foreclosures and bankruptcies (both personal and business) set back spending.

Consumer credit standards have been tightened and the lending rates on them increased substantially, so the credit card is no longer a magic wand through which total demand can be increased in anticipation of future economic growth.

Over two decades, as good paying manufacturing jobs went overseas, credit and asset appreciation (homes) played an increasing part in maintaining American consumer lifestyles.

All of this eliminates many of the traditional post-recession mechanisms by which total domestic consumer demand can be increased and hiring stimulated thereby.

And as you pointed out elsewhere above, though increased federal spending (deficit spending) has helped buoy demand, this has been partially offset by decreased state and local spending, and most of the additional federal stimulus has already wound down.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker rode this issue to election and survived a recall involving the best fight the 'left' could make. Walker received huge amounts of outside money, allowing him to outspend his opponent ten to one."

Another important and often overlooked point. And don't forget the 13 out of state billionaires. Money talks. The average voter, hearing one version of events ten times, and another version one time, tends to forget the latter, even if he agreed with it at the time he heard the minority view: all the more so if his peers repeat the message to him because they too were saturated with it.

You can't buy public opinion, but Hitler and others understood the power of an oft repeated lie and of the kind of clever propaganda which a sufficiently large ad budget can buy.

Further discussion of the Walker debacle from a progressive viewpoint:

http://blog.reidreport.com/2012/06/what-the-wisconsin-recall-fail-means-and-what-it-doesnt/

Might as well hunt out a few more dumb truths about the "exceptional" electorate Talton so brilliant skewers. So in regards to this:

... the Medicare prescription drug benefit that was neither paid for nor allowed the government to seek competitive bidding...

Remember "they" want their government run like a business too. Except when it comes to competitive bidding that would undermine their corporate masters profits.

AND....

When it comes to collecting money from corporations and the rich that owe taxes. A paste from this piece (http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/info-03-2012/irs-uncollected-billions.html):

IRS data show that individuals and companies underpaid their taxes by a whopping $385 billion in 2006 alone, the most recent year for which statistics are available. "The IRS is effectively the Accounts Receivable Department of the federal government," wrote Olson in her annual report to Congress. "If the federal government were a private company, its management would fund the Accounts Receivable Department at a level that it believed would maximize the company's bottom line."

And "they" want their government run like a business?
Everything is a lie. Everything.

But here is one truth: If this country elects Romney, I hibernate every penny that doesn't go to food. I mean total+total non-participation in the Romney economy. I'll be a complete anti-consumer. I'll do my best to see he fails a la Rush Limbaugh. I'll be praying the world economy goes to total chaos, and there are hostile marches on DC.


If someone would have told me a number of years back that banks would bundle imaginary packages of debt and sell and resell and resell these packages until their imaginary value exceeded the total wealth of the planet, so that when the scheme collapsed it would take down economies of whole continents, I would have said, Buddy, you're spending too much of your time watching the SyFy channel and you better get out and grab some fresh air.

I still can't believe it happened.

I think there has been no backlash because it is still too unbelievable for the average Joe.

They can comprehend a bank robbery.

But, how do you comprehend a theft of trillions of dollars? I mean, how do you get 100 trillion dollars in a getaway car? Rent a trailer?

Take heart, Arizona! This recent Rocky Mountain poll gives our legislature an approval rating that's DOUBLE what Congress gets! The media may be too "polite" (gut-less) to report this. PS: Brewer's ratings are even more puzzling.

Phoenix, Arizona, May 2, 2012. By a 53 to 9 percent margin, Arizona Republicans say Jan Brewer is doing a good job as Governor. But when registered Republican voters look at their legislature, “poor” job ratings jump to 30 percent and favorable assessments wither to only 23 percent.Political conservatives tend to share this general view in that 45percent applaud Governor Brewer’s performance but only 23 percent express the same view of the state legislature.

Poll: she may be more like the public.
She just can't decide on which kool aid to drink

Koreyel said, But here is one truth: If this country elects Romney, I hibernate every penny that doesn't go to food. I mean total+total non-participation in the Romney economy. I'll be a complete anti-consumer. I'll do my best to see he fails a la Rush Limbaugh. I'll be praying the world economy goes to total chaos, and there are hostile marches on DC.

Maybe Soleri already left. As the last word was from Soleri's Coochie

The FL governor does remind me of a certain AZ county sheriff. I was thinking that while watching a Daily Show piece on Walker.

I've been listening to interviews with the "leftneck" Joe Bageant lately and he has laid out nicely why Americans won't turn out into the streets and why we are the way we are:

http://www.joebageant.com/joe/essay-list.html

The videos and podcasts are down the page on the left side.

Eclecticdog, great referral.

AZRebel said:"If someone would have told me a number of years back that banks would bundle imaginary packages of debt and sell and resell and resell these packages until their imaginary value exceeded the total wealth of the planet..."

Another thing-- every time a package was sold bonuses were paid all around.

Take heart, AZ's legislature is not alone in crazy town.

You'll Never Walk Alone:


Lawmakers passed a bill that restricts local planning agencies’ abilities to use climate change science to predict sea-level rise in 20 coastal counties. The bill’s supporters said that relying on climate change forecasts would stifle economic development and depress property values in eastern North Carolina.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/12/2132216/senate-approves-law-that-challenges.html

'We'll create new realities'. Sure, we don't want science to badmouth coastal properties and 'development'. "Next up: Outlawing hurricanes", Desdemona Despair says:
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2012/06/north-carolina-senate-approves-law-that.html

Bowles-Simpson is "THE WAY" to our redemption.

It is a path not followed because it is a tablespoon of castor oil for both parties.

It is the solution for the constipation afflicting both parties.

A tablespoon of prevention or a giant-size enema down the road. Choose.

Well Mr. Talton at least you got the conclusion wrong:

Pima County has long ago had its progressivism diluted by waves of retirees and others in the self-selecting Midwest migration. Want to take a bet that a GOPer wins Giffords’ seat?

We've now twice sent Jesse (Machine gun) Kelly back home to Texas (and his sinecure in his daddy's firm). And if the dirty pup comes back for a third try, we'll kick him back towards Texas one more time...

But in all fairness to you, the post where you wrote that contains one of your best paragraphs ever. Here it is again in all its heated honest glory:

Poor Tucson voted down light rail at least twice. Unlike in Portland or Seattle or even Dallas, one is pretty much required to have a car. And this is not the sacred free market at work, but rather Sprawl Keynesianism. For decades, tax dollars have heavily subsidized roads, freeways, autos and oil — right down to our armed forces as a petroleum protection force. None of the externalities of this misadventure — from environmental damage to ruined city cores — has been priced in. The cost per-square-foot of car-based American suburbia, if calculated, would be astronomical.

I mean, how do you get 100 trillion dollars in a getaway car? Rent a trailer?

A click of a mouse and a guy or guys on the inside of the regulatory agency. Done deal.

Happy to be wrong in this case, Koreyel.

I'm far less optimistic about Obama winning re-election. He will be on the defensive all Summer! Too bad he can't resurrect Osama, and have at him again-three weeks before election!

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