I just love when our President calls out the Republicans on their stupidity. Since the media just plays along with them, it falls on the President to do it himself. And he does it sooooo well, doesn’t he?
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Common refrains from people who say it didn’t work:
- But Obama promised that unemployment would be less than 8%. Horseshit on a stick. First, he didn’t “promise” a damn thing, if everything an incoming president says is turned into a “promise”, well then there has been a whole lot of promise breaking going on in our history. Second, the cautious prediction made during the transition was based on the numbers that the outgoing Bush administration was feeding the Obama team. They were flat out wrong and completely underestimated what was going on in our economy. Hey media, that’s called context. Buy some at the local C-store.
- But soooo many people are still out of work. Yes, and that totally sucks. But that does not mean that the over 3 million people who did get jobs are insignificant or don’t matter. They do. If the measure for whether the stimulus worked is full employment, then those people will be waiting till the end of time — we’ve never had anything close to full employment. And you can damn well bet that those people still looking for work are encouraged by the fact that others are starting to find jobs, which of course increases the number of people looking and drives up the unemployment rate.
- But the stock market has been falling…..oh, wait, it’s going like gangbusters. Nevermind.
- But Fox News says we are still in a recession, the numbers are being cooked. The only thing cooking at Fox New is the meth that the anchors must be smoking during commercial breaks.
- But, but, but….let’s just all say it together, the stimulus worked. And yes, we have more to do, but don’t let the Republicans and the compliant media make you think that cutting taxes for the rich would have been much better, that is a big part of what got us into this freakin mess.
In keeping with the alternate reality created by Fox News and perpetuated by it’s minions like Rush Limbaugh, the anchors at Fox News are questioning the recent uptick in the number of jobs created in the private sector. They are pushing the idea that the books have been “cooked.” It is really astounding how obvious they are in their attempts to keep their alternate reality propped up. Alex Seitz-Wald at ThinkProgress spells it out pretty clearly.
If it weren’t improper to psychologically analyse strangers, one might think the Fox hosts are displaying a textbook example of cognitive dissonance here, a psychological phenomena in which people who hold a strong belief about something invent (sometimes far fetched) explanations for new evidence that conflicts with their existing views. Obama is bad for the economy, the jobs numbers show the economy is doing better, so there must be something wrong with the jobs numbers.
To illustrate how Fox News is selective in believing the job numbers, we only have to look at how they report when unemployment rises.
The Labor Department reported that employers added just 18,000 net jobs in June, the fewest in nine months. The jobless rate ticked up to 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent. The pace of job growth is not even enough to keep up with population growth — it would take about 125,000 jobs per months to do so — and certainly not enough to bring down the unemployment rate.
The article then goes on to quote extensively from the Labor Department’s report, while sprinkling in Republican talking points along the way. Not a single mention of any books being cooked or numbers being manipulated, because — you know — the bad numbers fit with the narrative.
What is disturbing to me about this tactic is that it works for their audience.They are feeding them exactly what they want and they really don’t care if their viewers are misinformed. In fact, I would argue that they count on it. Several studies of Fox News viewers have shown a huge disconnect between reality and the manufactured one that the right have been feeding them. Steven Benen wrote an excellent piece a while back on how disconnected Fox News viewers are from reality.
The quantifiable evidence is overwhelming. Eight years ago, just six months into the war in Iraq, the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland found that those who relied on the Republican network were “three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions — about WMD in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11, and foreign support for the U.S. position on the war in Iraq.” [...]
The problem is actually getting worse.
In December, PIPA published a report, this time on “Misinformation and the 2010 Election” (pdf). The point was to measure Americans’ understanding of a variety of key developments that news consumers would likely be familiar with. As was the case eight years ago, Fox News viewers were “significantly more likely” to be confused about reality.
It really scares me to think that viewers of the most watched cable news network live in a world where empirical reality has no place. They absorb only information that conforms to their beliefs and block any conflicting information, regardless of the source. And even when presented with clear evidence to the contrary, they either attack the messenger or just cover their ears and go “na na na, I can’t hear you.”
My theory on why they are successful at this tactic is that most of these uninformed viewers have a mindset that is based on emotion, fear and bigotry. Logic plays no role in their thinking and because of that, they are extremely susceptible to suggestions and selective facts they fit those biases and fears. Fox News only has to confirm those fears and play with those emotions. Fox News has made a science out it…except, of course, they don’t believe in science either.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Our “liberal media” at work!
The Republican Party is picking up where they left off in the last election and helping to define themselves as the party “of and for” corporations – especially big oil.
In 2008, they had “Drill, Baby, Drill” and all the money that came along with that. This election year, they’ve chosen the Keystone XL pipeline to show how they plant their lips on the ass of big oil.
Once again, they have the media on their side in this endeavor. Media Matters for America did a study of media coverage from August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 on the Keystone XL pipeline. The results aren’t a surprise to anyone who pays attention to reality. This chart tells the story pretty clearly.
The GOP has been tremendously successful at getting the media to play along with them since August of 2011 on this issue and the above chart shows us the results. The red bars show how “job creation potential” was mentioned in the coverage from major media outlets with the green bar representing the “environmental concerns.” If you’ve been following the topic recently, it is obvious that Republicans are trying to make this into their jobs program, or at least an attempt to show how the Obama administration is preventing job creation. Go read the whole article at Media Matters, it was very thorough.
When you drill down into the numbers (I couldn’t resist), it turns out that reality is much different than the propaganda that has been sold to the American people. In a different post, Media Matters has some interesting information that gets to the real job numbers associated with the pipeline. Here are some snippets that show a progression that begins with Fox News…
Fox Anchor Martha MacCallum: 20,000 Jobs Is “The Low-End Estimate.” [snip]
TransCanada Said In 2010 That Keystone XL Pipeline “Is Expected To Create Over … 13,000 New Jobs For American Workers.” [snip]
Wash. Post: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Number Of People Employed” Would Actually Be 6,500. A November 5 article in The Washington Post reported that TransCanada CEO Russ Girling “said Friday that the 13,000 figure was actually not a true job number, but actually accounted for ‘one person, one year.’” The Post added that “if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500.” [snip]
Cornell University Global Labor Institute: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Project Will Create No More Than 2,500-4,600 Temporary Direct Construction Jobs.” [snip]
Cornell University Global Labor Institute: “Based On The Figures Provided By TransCanada For The Canadian Section Of The Pipeline, The New Permanent US Pipeline Jobs In The US Number As Few As 50.” (emphasis mine)
The estimate by the independent group at Cornell University puts the number of temporary jobs at 2,500 – 4,600 and the number of permanent jobs at 50. Those jobs would certainly matter to the people lucky enough to get them, but it ain’t no 20,000 jobs for sure. And considering all the risks to the states that this pipeline would travel through, not worth it at all.
Republicans are either stupid or crazy, take your pick!
In November of 2011, the Republicans decided to embrace the issue in their negotiations for extending the payroll tax cut that President Obama was fighting for. The pipeline became their bargaining chip in those negotiations, even after being warned by the State Department that trying to force the issue would result in it being killed for sure. That didn’t seem to bother the GOP, from a State Department briefing on December 12, 2011…
The State Department has led a rigorous, thorough, and transparent process that must run its course to obtain the necessary information to make an informed decision on behalf of the national interest. Should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision, its actions would not only compromise the process, it would prohibit the Department from acting consistently with National Environmental Policy Act requirements by not allowing sufficient time for the development of this information. In the absence of properly completing the process, the Department would be unable to make a determination to issue a permit for this project. (emphasis mine)
But like the flat footed, clumsy party that they are, the GOP kept right on pushing it. So during the holidays, we were treated to the White House fighting for tax cuts for every American while the Republicans were blocking those tax cuts and supporting big oil. Coming off the BP oil spill in 2010, I’m not sure that is the group you want to wrap your arms around.
Just over a week ago on January 18, 2012, President Obama officially rejected the Keystone XL pipeline bid.
But the president said today in a statement that the congressionally imposed deadline did not provide adequate time for the State Department to finish a customary review of the pipeline’s route through six states.
“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said.
“As a result, the secretary of state has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”
What is so astounding to me is that they don’t seem to really want the pipeline to go through, they just want it as a campaign issue. Steve Benen summed it up very well…
I’d argue that this is the outcome Republicans wanted all along. The GOP didn’t really want the pipeline; they wanted the ability to whine about the absence of the pipeline. This wasn’t, in other words, about energy production; this was about creating an issue for the 2012 campaign.
Besides the stupidity of pitting tax cuts for all Americans against the interests of big oil, Republicans also touted those outrageous claims of how many jobs it would create. Going into an election year that everyone says will be all about jobs, you would think they might pick an issue that would actually create some jobs. But instead, they’ve inflated and exaggerated numbers that even the company building the pipeline doesn’t agree with.
I’m seeing a new slogan, “Lay Pipe, Baby, Lay Pipe.” Now get your minds out of the gutter.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Steve Benen put up a post the other day about an exchange between Candy Crowley and David Axelrod that is a perfect illustration of how the media has morphed into stenographers for politicians, mostly Republicans. Many in the media have abandoned critical thinking and analysis in lieu of the easy routes – polls, talking points and false equivalency nonsense.
Here is the exchange that has Candy Crowley doing the heavy lifting for the Romney campaign.
CROWLEY: But couldn’t that huge gap, which is a pretty big gap between those who think you could handle the economy as opposed to Mitt Romney — couldn’t it also be that, from the day — from the month the president took office, we still have 1.7 million fewer jobs in the marketplace?
AXLEROD: Candy, let’s have — you know what, I’m happy to have that discussion. Do you know that, when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and 2008, Governor Romney had nothing but praise for the economic policies that were in place at that time, as America was sliding into the worst recession since the Great Depression, after eight years in which we…
CROWLEY: But this isn’t Romney. This is a fact.
Steve Benen goes on to point out that in the first 6 months of the Obama presidency, the country lost 3.89 million jobs. And yes, President Obama was president at the time of those job losses, but if anyone thinks that a single thing that President Obama did in that first 6 months had ANYTHING to do with the job losses, they are seriously deluded.
Here is a chart that shows the number of job losses/gains over the last 10 years or so.
Guest Blogger: Mike Sax
This time the consensus was right. While we had worried earlier that such optimism could be dashed, I had concluded that the trend in data lately has unquestionably been up.
For my earlier piece-that I wrote before dawn-please go here.
As it turns out GDP growth increased by exactly the 2.5 percent predicted. At the moment it seems that while we haven’t felt confident-recent consumer confidence is at its lowest level since the 2007-2009 recession-things have been getting better. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, grew by 2.4 percent as opposed to only .7 percent in the second quarter.
Similarly, business investment picked up:
‘Similarly, while some business surveys have pointed to a contraction in factory output, there is little sign corporate America is cutting back spending. Indeed, recent data has suggested business spending is picking up. Business spending rose at a 16.3 percent pace as companies splurged on equipment and software, and invested in nonresidential structures. “
Like consumers it seems that business spending exceeds confidence. Unemployment claims were down 2,000 to 402,000 and have clearly shown a downward bias in recent months though sustained job growth is only indicated when they are able to consistently dip beneath 375,000 a week.
“Apart from consumer and business spending, growth in the third quarter was also supported by a smaller U.S. trade deficit, and the careful management of business inventories bodes well for fourth-quarter production.”
“The GDP report also showed a moderation in inflation pressures, with the personal consumption price index (PCE) rising at a 2.4 percent rate in the third quarter, slowing from the April-June quarter’s 3.3 percent pace. Core PCE, which excludes food and energy, rose at a 2.1 percent rate after increasing 2.3 percent in the second quarter.”
Also found at Diary of a Republican Hater
The Democratic Party is clearly on the side of the 99%’ers and no amount of denial and blame shifting can change that. And yes, the Democratic Party has their share of elected representatives that act more like conservatives than liberals, but that fact shouldn’t diminish the hard working liberals in the party who are fighting for all of us in this country who don’t have lobbyists. When I hear or read people generalize and group all Democrats in with big business, they are ignoring reality and perpetuating false memes.
I had an exchange on Twitter the other day with a person who exemplifies much of that “head-in-the-sand” thinking. Here are a few of his tweets, with my responses.
Tweeter: The difference between a Democrat and Republican is the difference between a man and his mirrored reflection.
Extreme Liberal: How does the mirror reflect the repeal of DADT? Or health care for children? Or Lily Ledbetter? Or the Matthew Shepard law?
Extreme Liberal: Or who’s reflection is opposite Sotomayor or Kagan? Do you want a Republican picking the next nominee to the SUPREME COURT!
The Tweeter in question then sent a tweet that he has since deleted, probably had second thoughts about it, but he basically said that the issues I raised were “petty”, to which I replied…
Extreme Liberal: Tell my niece who now has health care that she is petty or over 60,000 LGBT people now serving openly in our military.
Extreme Liberal: And if you have any females in your family, are you willing to give up their rights to their own bodies? Supreme Court matters!
Tweeter: Bush might as well have been a Democrat, Obama a Republican for the similar aims and interests re: domestic/foreign policy.
President Obama spoke in Asheville, North Carolina this morning as part of his continued push to bring jobs to the American people. He laid waste to the Republican’s “plan” and did a little comparison for us that spells out a stark reality. It needs to be shared with the people marching in the streets across the country…(emphasis mine)
THE PRESIDENT: They said no to helping veterans find jobs.
Essentially, they said no to you — because it turns out one poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. (Applause.) So 63 percent of Americans support the jobs bill that I put forward; 100 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against it. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?
THE PRESIDENT: No, it does not.
Now, it turns out that the Republicans have a plan, too. I want to be fair. They call — they put forward this plan last week. They called it the “Real American Jobs Act.” The “real one” — that’s what they called it — just in case you were wondering. (Laughter.) So let’s take a look at what the Republican American jobs act looks like. It turns out the Republican plan boils down to a few basic ideas: They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants.
I’m very encouraged by the energy being generated by the “Occupy” movements happening across the country. And even though it is made up of people with many different views on politics, I’m hopeful that it gets people involved and more people register to vote — because elections do matter. If you don’t think they matter, you must have been sleeping through President Bush’s 8 years in office. This movement has the potential to change the corporate hold on Washington and give voice to those who don’t have lobbyists, the 99% of us just trying to survive. Viva La Occupy!
CNBC seems to be rather smitten with Cain as he has won some unexpected straw polls and his numbers have risen nationally. At present he is now ahead of presumed main challenger to Romney, Rick Perry.
Mr. Cain, who has had some very nice things to say about low income Americans and the Occupy Wall Street protests — like if you’re not rich it’s your fault and that the protesters are “un-American” — now claims that his tax proposal will benefit these same low income Americans who are so ignorant of their own interests.
His proposal-described apocalyptically enough as the only one that will “blow up the tax code” — he dubs the 9-9-9. Basically, it’s a flat tax. He claims that it’s not regressive which means that he is mistaken on at least one count. As a flat tax is inherently regressive it can’t be both flat and not regressive.
His rationale for saying it isn’t regressive is fairly spotty too it must be said, “No, it is not regressive,” he said. “First of all, by putting it on sales tax — that third ’9′ — we are going to pick up revenue that we are not getting today. That helps to lower the rate for everybody including the people that are making the least amount of money.”
For his fully laid out proposal see http://www.hermancain.com/999plan
A sales tax, “that third “9″ ” how does a sales tax make his plan not regressive? A sales tax is by definition a regressive tax. He also claims that it will raise revenue. Sure, it’s gonna raise revenue while lowering the corporate tax rate to 9 percent and eliminating the capital gains tax. The usual supply side delusions.
Only thing missing from his plan is a proposal to square the circle.
Cross-posted at Diary of a Republican Hater
Initially, the Occupy Wall Street movement was ignored by the corporate media. The networks and cable outfits figured that perhaps after a few days, the movement would simply go away. But it didn’t, and in fact, the movement gained more sympathy than scorn from various factions for different reasons.
It’s been almost humorous watching the media insist that OWS needs to “define” itself in order to “achieve” their (unstated) goals. They need to have a list of clear demands, news anchors on the six o’clock news bellowed. But once again, the corporate media misses the obvious mark. For one, “Occupy Wall Street” is a moniker that speaks for itself. No explanation is needed, if one reflects on the current turmoil that our nation is experiencing. In a Twitter-oriented society, it helps, not hinders, to label a movement with a general descriptive tag that is short and inclusive.
It is not a mystery that there is a general consensus that Wall Street’s gains have not alleviated the misery of those on Main Street. “The 99%”, which is a self-conferred name, has also provided a connective link to the general public. What could be so wrong about a movement that calls itself the overwhelming majority? After all, most folks know doggone well that they aren’t part of the 1%. So both the name of the movement as well as that of its participants have allowed a visceral kinship to ordinary Americans without even trying, something the media doesn’t quite yet comprehended. The OWS’s truth in labeling is its connective strength that could be key to its eventual success, however that success materializes.
Also, the recorded acts of police brutality perpetuated upon the young, peaceful protestors certainly helped foster public sympathy early in the movement’s plight. As YouTube provided visual footage of inexplicable police action against peaceful protestors, that pitiful sight allowed a large segment of the public to side with the defenseless. This has always been the case in prior successful movements. Americans who might have otherwise paid no attention realized that the young women being pepper sprayed could be their own daughter or granddaughter who showed up to protest their lack of finding a job after graduating from college. These events had an impact.
Guest Blogger: Joan Ruaiz
On the day of the historic unveiling of the Martin Luther King National Memorial on the Mall next Saturday, October 15, there will also be a march on Washington beforehand to reiterate some of the ideals supported by the Occupy Wall Street movement currently sweeping the country– the ideal that Congress needs to start doing its damn job of putting Americans back to work.
With unemployment hovering at 9.1%, Americans continue to suffer at the hand of an economy weakened by the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008, largely caused by the deregulation of financial markets. To add insult to injury, the prior administration giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy while plunging our nation into two unpaid wars has almost bankrupted the county. The Great Recession was nearly staved off via President Obama’s 2009 stimulus, until relentless Republicans and corporate obstruction, supported by media propaganda, brought economic growth to a screeching halt after the Republicans took back the House in January of 2011.
Although GOP candidates of the 2010 election ran on the platform of “jobs, jobs, jobs,” the only action on jobs that we have witnessed the Republican winners of that election act upon thus far is the cutting of over 500,000 public jobs, while engaging in a continuous national campaign of maintaining those massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich.
In President Obama’s press conference yesterday, he fired some warning shots across the bow of the Republican party and put them on notice that he’s going to make them suffer for their obstruction of the American Jobs Act. He also called out the brain dead media and I really hope that continues. Take it away Mr. President…
“[W]hat I’ve tried to do is say, here are the best ideas I’ve heard. Not just from partisans, but from independent economists. These are the ideas most likely to create jobs now and strengthen the economy right now. And that’s what the American people are looking for. And the response from Republicans has been: No. Although they haven’t given a good reason why they’re opposed to putting construction workers back on the job, or teachers back in the classroom.
“If you ask them, ‘Well, okay, if you’re not for that, what are you for?’ Trade has already been done; patent reform has been done. What else? The answer we’re getting right now is, well, we’re going to roll back all these Obama regulations. So their big economic plan to put people back to work right now is to roll back financial protections and allow banks to charge hidden fees on credit cards again or weaken consumer watchdogs, or alternatively they’ve said we’ll roll back regulations that make sure we’ve got clean air and clean water, eliminate the EPA. Does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of a global economy that are — that is weakening with all these forces coming into play?
“I mean, here is a good question, here’s a little homework assignment for folks: Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan. These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. I think it would be interesting to have them do a similar assessment — same people. Some of these folks, by the way, traditionally have worked for Republicans, not just Democrats. Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do.
“I’ll be interested in the answer. I think everybody here — I see some smirks in the audience because you know that it’s not going to be real robust.”
If Republicans think that message isn’t resonating with the American people, they are even more stupid than we all thought. I’m pretty sure that John Boehner had to run to the cloak room commode to change his Underoos after hearing the President spell it out so clearly. But the President went even further and warned them that he will beat the living shit out them with every part of the legislation and demand that Republicans tell us why they don’t want to create jobs. Go President Obama…
“[If Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] chooses to vote against it, or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, I promise you we’re going to keep on going, and we will put forward maybe piece by piece each component of the bill. And each time they’re going to have to explain why it is that they’d be opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom, or rebuilding our schools, or giving tax cuts to middle-class folks, and giving tax cuts to small businesses. […]
“If … everybody on Capitol Hill is cynical and saying there’s no way that the overall jobs bill passes in its current form, we’re just going to keep on going at it. I want everybody to be clear. My intention is to insist that each part of this, I want an explanation as to why we shouldn’t be doing it, each component part: putting people back to work rebuilding our roads, putting teachers back in the classroom, tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families, tax breaks for our veterans. We will just keep on going at it….”
Mr. President, more please!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Shrinking Access To Post Secondary Education = Permanent Underclass
Guest Blogger: theangryliberal
What are we going to do since the cost of education is skyrocketing? Students these days graduate with enormous debt or they don’t get the opportunity to attend post secondary training.
Long ago when I started college it was an inexpensive 1200.00 a year that included books. I didn’t really have debt when I graduated from college. That isn’t the case for students today, and with the cost of tuition rising as much as 20% in one year at some state colleges, soon enough the middle and lower classes will be unable to afford post-secondary education. And the thing is, we’d become a thriving first world nation in part because we expanded access to education to almost everyone.
Let’s look at some numbers:
So my numbers are personal numbers, and at the time, it was not difficult to afford a college education, I could even hold down a part-time job, go to school and not really worry tons about tuition, it just wasn’t that expensive. Let’s look at the rising cost of post secondary education with information obtained from the US Census bureau. The data I am going to share with you is also an example of the tiny policy things Democrats do in Office juxtaposed with how Republicans treat government function. First and foremost, the data I found spans the years 1991 – 2001, the 2001 data wasn’t published until 2006. This information is published in table form, as excel worksheets, but without an explanation of that data, that could be distributed to the general public. As usual, Republicans take the function of government for granted, but as you will see during the Clinton era, government produced much demographic information from years of data collection and comprehensive analysis. I digress, but if you follow my links you will see evidence of my statement.
“Dallas, that starts now. That starts with your help. Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives. He won’t even give it a vote.
“Well I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?
“Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas, look Kim Russell in the eye, and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to get a paycheck again. Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.
“Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting home instead of fixing our bridges and our schools.
“Come tell the small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for millionaires than tax cuts for the middle-class.
“And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every Member of Congress stands.