Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Catnip 5/29/12 : Wack to Bork (Pronounced "Burke")


A shot from Oakland to start the week. There! sculpture in the City Center mall embraces the Tribune Tower.

Where do those weekends go? Back to the news...

Wonder how many of these folks vote against their own interests. From the WSJ: "49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011. Cutting government spending is no easy task, and it’s made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one."

There will be more than a few off the books soon, as extended unemployment benefits are set to expire for upwards to 500,000 people in the near future. States are sticking it to the unemployed as well, cutting weeks and making it harder to qualify for benefits. You get one guess as to which party is insisting we go this route.

We have to cut spending, right? Well, not necessarily. When it's the GOP doing the spending, government funding is a wonderful thing. But only for the fortunate few, namely defense contractors. Here's Jon Kyl: "The whole point here is to try to get some economic growth, job creation, to get out of this recession." Yeah, right. Take it away, NYT editor: "By accepting the argument that spending cuts could deepen or prolong the recession, Mr. Kyl and other Republicans are also tacitly accepting Keynesian economic theory. Republicans though, are nothing if not inconsistent. They propose to replace cuts to the Pentagon with cuts to domestic programs."

Mitt Romney, pathological liar. How many times, how many people, have to say it? How is it this man is even being considered as credible leader for this country? Eugene Robinson: "Every political campaign exaggerates and dissembles. This practice may not be admirable — it’s surely one reason so many Americans are disenchanted with politics — but it’s something we’ve all come to expect. Candidates claim the right to make any boast or accusation as long as there’s a kernel of veracity in there somewhere. Even by this lax standard, Romney too often fails. Not to put too fine a point on it, he lies. Quite a bit."

Nope, no coordination here. Karl Rove's Crossroads S-Pac and the Romney campaign come out with the same attack ad today; this time the target is the stimulus. Rove: "Obama invested our tax dollars in Solyndra. Lost half a billion." Romney: "You’ve heard of Solyndra. They took $535 million in taxpayer loan guarantees and went bankrupt." We should know by now, election laws don't apply to Republicans.

Which leads us to the newest Romney lie. Greg Sargent points it out: "So Romney will now go back to claiming Obama subtracted jobs. But there’s a new twist: Romney will claim that the effect of the stimulus has been to destroy jobs. As it has in the past, the Romney camp will justify this by pointing to a bogus metric — the net jobs lost on Obama' watch. That includes the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost before the stimulus went into effect. Really: The Romney camp’s claim is that we can calculate that the stimulus destroyed jobs overall with a metric that factors in all the jobs destroyed before the stimulus took effect. That's not an exaggeration. It really is the Romney campaign’s position. It’s time to ask Romney himself to justify it." But... but... but... Trump!

Florida is busy removing eligible voters from the voting roles, and the evidence points out that “Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted. Whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal.” Hmmm, which state was it again that gave us Debacle 2000?

Stevenson and Wolfers at Bloomberg warn that another debt-ceiling stand-off could throw us into a deep recession. If you add Europe in recession, China's slowing growth, and this.. "The next debt-ceiling battle could be worse, because the stakes are even higher. In addition to the threat of default, the U.S. is facing the so-called fiscal cliff: a raft of spending cuts and tax increases that will happen at the end of this year unless Congress acts to postpone them." ... it's a recipe for contraction.

China is taking the solar panel tariff dispute to the WTO. Guess all the fear-mongering over a "trade war" was just that, talk (and keep in mind they impose stiff tariffs on imports too). "Rather than resorting to retaliatory measures, China’s Ministry of Commerce on Friday asked for WTO consultations, the first stage of a formal dispute process. The products covered are worth a total of $7.29 billion, a substantial figure for the companies involved but only a small fraction of the trade between the two nations."

Wait, what? The latest GOP anti-choice bill is a doozy. "The House will vote this week on legislation imposing criminal penalties on anyone performing an abortion based on the sex, gender, color or race of the parent, but the measure runs the risk of failing on the floor because of how the GOP is calling it up... Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said when he introduced the bill that his aim is to ensure equal rights for unborn children. In December, his office put out a statement saying, "A minority baby is currently five times more likely to be aborted than a white baby, and nearly half of all black babies are aborted, with over 70 percent of abortion clinics being located in predominantly minority neighborhoods." So, minorities will be held up for more scrutiny? Really?

And we're off...