August 21, 2011 archive

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One Term Wonder

Obama admits economic liabilities

By Stephen Collinson (AFP)

5 hours ago

Obama’s approval rating on the struggling economy has dipped to 26 percent in a Gallup poll as fears grow of a slump into a second recession and global stock markets plunge, clouding his 2012 reelection prospects.

“You’ve got an unemployment rate that is still too high, an economy that’s not growing fast enough,” Obama said in an interview with CBS News taped during his economic-themed bus tour of three states last week.

“For me to argue, ‘look, we’ve actually made the right decisions, things would have been much worse had we not made those decisions,’ that’s not that satisfying if you don’t have a job right now,” he said.

“And I understand that and I expect to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better.”

This Week

TAPPER: Lastly, David, I know that you’re well aware that you have a big task ahead of you when it comes to motivating Obama supporters from 2008 and potentially future Obama supporters, rallying the base. Progressive filmmaker Michael Moore had this question that he wanted me to ask you. Quote, “Are you aware of how profoundly disappointed so many of the president’s supporters are? Do you realize that each time the president moves to the right, he picks up no votes and loses many? Or do you cynically believe that because these people have nowhere else to go, they’ll end up voting for Obama?”

How do you respond to liberals like Michael Moore, who want to vote for the president, but are just profoundly disappointed? How do you convince them to turn out in November 2012?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, no one is cynically moving one way or the other. The president is not moving left or right; he’s interested in moving the country forward.

And we’ve got a very, very sharp debate here. And the question is, are we going to take steps in the short run to help stimulate this economy, to help create jobs, to help create growth? And are we going to take the steps in the long run that will protect the investments that can grow our economy and, most importantly, Jake, can create good middle-class jobs in the future on which people can raise their families?

That’s what education is about. That’s what research and development to create new technologies and advance manufacturing is about. That’s what the infrastructure — that’s what roads and bridges and repairs that put people to work now, but also create the opportunity to move — to move our goods across this country.

And all of these things are part and parcel of a strategy that is completely opposed by the other side, who want to go back to the same trickle-down, deregulation. You know, the same mantra we heard in the last decade that led up to this problem we’re hearing again. I think that this is such a profound choice that the president’s supporters and independent voters and people across this country will rally, because the future will be determined by this debate and the path we take.

If you want a Democrat in the White House in 2013, you’d better be working like hell to make sure Obama pulls an LBJ.

He and his team don’t care about winning.

Electoral victory my ass.

(h/t Phoebe Loosinhouse)


The Spy Who Didn’t Love Me Episode 2 Season 1

Reality Check: The Economy Is Not Recovering

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The pessimistic opinion of a looming second recession that has been expressed by economists who have gotten it right in the past is finally being recognized by the traditional media.

After a two-year rebound, recession risks rise

by Tom Petruno

The U.S. economy has officially been out of recession for two years, but fear of falling back into the abyss has dogged the recovery every step of the way.

Now, the prospect of recession no longer is a fringe view.


The almost universal belief was that global growth would accelerate in the second half of the year. But that view has been fading fast this summer.

“We’re seeing a pattern of data that look very similar to what you see at a turning point in the economy,” said Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners in Stamford, Conn. And he doesn’t mean a turning point to better times.

A key measure of U.S. consumer confidence has crashed to a 30-year low. Stock market volatility has become gut-wrenching. And prospects in the manufacturing sector, one of the few true bright spots of the recovery, have dimmed markedly.


Of course, whether GDP growth contracts or is just slightly positive may feel exactly the same to many Americans, particularly the jobless, and to the country’s countless struggling small businesses.

The danger is that, if another recession becomes official, it could feed on itself as consumers and businesses that might otherwise have spent money decide not to, opting instead to hoard more cash.

“It can be a self-fulfilling phenomenon when households and businesses just stop in their tracks,” (MKM Partners chief economists, Michael) Darda said.

Dangerously Close to Recession

By Joachim Fels & Manoj Pradhan

US and Europe dangerously close to recession: Our revised forecasts show the US and the euro area hovering dangerously close to a recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction – over the next 6-12 months. The US growth disappointment in 1H11, when GDP advanced by an annual average rate of less than 1%, illustrates the brittleness of the US recovery in the face of external shocks (oil, Japan earthquake), despite ongoing QE2 and fiscal stimulus at the time. While the current quarter should still show some rebound in growth to around 3% from the very low bar in 1H, much of this rebound is likely due to temporary factors such as the ramping up of auto production as supply disruptions from the Japan situation ease. The most critical period for the US economy will likely be 4Q11, when we may see some fallout from the heightened volatility of risk markets, and 1Q12, when we get an automatic tightening fiscal policy if, as our US team currently assumes, this year’s fiscal stimulus measures will expire.

This from the economist who predicted the 1st recession before anyone else and was booed off the stage:

Roubini: Risks of global recession are greater than 50%

“In dealing with large debt, there should be a cutback on costs in both the public and private sectors, an attempt reduce overtime and adding to savings. Also, to avoid a second recession, banking requires more relaxed policies “says Roubini.

“There is too much debt, both in the government and in the private sector. The debt cannot be reduces except by saving, by strong economic growth or through the dangerous method of inflation, says Roubini. But if population and companies consumption do not restart, then you risk to remain in recession. ”

“Business does not help the economy, because there are risks. They aren’t investing because there is excess capacity,they are not hiring because there is insufficient demand. Here is the paradox. If you do not hire workers, there isn’t enough money for workers’ income, there isn’t enough consumer confidence and consumption is insufficient, “says Roubini.

To most Americans we never got out of the first recession as Atrios points out the linger unemployment rate at 9% is unacceptable:

The point is we never got out of the last recession, and whether GDP growth is barely positive or barely negative doesn’t matter all that much.

Cutting the Payroll tax again will not substantial increase the GDP or create jobs. It will hurt the Social Security fund by reducing the payroll contributions. Creating jobs that will rebuild and improve roads, schools and other crumbling infrastructure will. If private industry won’t do it, then the government must.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Operation Mermaid: ‘Rebels in Tripoli have risen up’

Fighting reported in capital; Gadhafi’s former No. 2 urges government troops to join the opposition

 NBC, and news services

TRIPOLI, Libya – Explosions and gunfire rocked Tripoli through the night as opponents of Moammar Gadhafi rose up in the capital, declaring a final push to topple the Libyan leader after a six-month war reached the city’s outskirts.

“The zero hour has started,” said Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice-chairman of the rebel leadership council. “The rebels in Tripoli have risen up.”

However, a defiant Gadhafi said an assault by “rats” had been repelled.

“Those rats … were attacked by the masses tonight and we eliminated them,” Gadhafi said in an audio message broadcast over state television early Sunday.

Intense gunfire erupted after nightfall. Reuters journalists in the center of the capital, a metropolis of 2 million people, said it subsided somewhat after several hours. Fighting was reported early Sunday in several neighborhoods.

NATO aircraft made heavy bombing runs after nightfall, The Associated Press reported.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Food aid reaches only one in five of Somalia’s starving

The hilltop Spanish town overshadowed by a debt mountain

Bahrain government fires hundreds of employees for political views

South Korea churches’ beacons an eyesore to some

U.S. scholars say their book on China led to travel ban

Late Night Karaoke

On This Day In History August 21

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 21 is the 233rd day of the year (234th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 132 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1959, Hawaii became our 50th state. Hawaii is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It occupies most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. Hawaii’s natural beauty, warm tropical climate, inviting waters and waves, and active volcanoes  make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Island chain, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight “main islands” are (from the northwest to southeast) Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and Hawaii. The last is by far the largest and is often called “The Big Island” to avoid confusion with the state as a whole. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.

The first known settlers of the Hawaiian Islands were Polynesian voyagers who arrived sometime in the eighth century. In the early 18th century, American traders came to Hawaii to exploit the islands’ sandalwood, which was much valued in China at the time. In the 1830s, the sugar industry was introduced to Hawaii and by the mid 19th century had become well established. American missionaries and planters brought about great changes in Hawaiian political, cultural, economic, and religious life. In 1840, a constitutional monarchy was established, stripping the Hawaiian monarch of much of his authority.

In 1893, a group of American expatriates and sugar planters supported by a division of U.S. Marines deposed Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. One year later, the Republic of Hawaii was established as a U.S. protectorate with Hawaiian-born Sanford B. Dole as president. Many in Congress opposed the formal annexation of Hawaii, and it was not until 1898, following the use of the naval base at Pearl Harbor during the Spanish-American War, that Hawaii’s strategic importance became evident and formal annexation was approved. Two years later, Hawaii was organized into a formal U.S. territory. During World War II, Hawaii became firmly ensconced in the American national identity following the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Admission, or Statehood, Day is an official state holiday. It is the home state of President Barack Obama, the only President from that state and one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The pictures were the very hard to select. The second picture (above) is an aerial view of Diamond Head.

Diamond Head is a dormant volcanic cone on the island of Oahu. It is called Le’ahi by Hawaiians, most likely from lae ‘browridge, promontory’ plus ‘ahi ‘tuna’ because the shape of the ridgeline resembles the shape of a tuna’s dorsal fin. Its English name was given by British sailors in the 19th century, who mistook calcite crystals embedded in the rock for diamonds.

Then of course there are volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The first picture on the left is the more famous of the volcanoes, Mauna Loa which is the largest volcano on Earth by volume and area and one of the five volcanoes in that form the islands.