Aug 15 2011
We gotta grow some jobs, and that’s a fact, and we probably aren’t going to be able to do it with big ol’ jobs programs funded by the Federal Government, what with today’s politics and all, and that means if this Administration wants to stay in the jobs game they’re going to have to find some smaller and more creative ways to do it.
They are also going to have to come up with ideas that are pretty much “bulletproof”, meaning that they are so hard to object to that even Allen West and Louie Gohmert will not want to be on record saying “no no no!”; alternatively, solutions that work around the legislative process entirely could represent the other form of “bulletproof-ery”.
Well, I have one of those “maybe bulletproof” ideas for you today, and it has to do with how “Made in USA” the things are that our Government buys.
Aug 06 2011
It was just a couple of nights ago that Keith Olbermann was challenging us, in one of his “Special Comments”, to rise up in the streets and take back this country.
He pointed out that the only way those on the left were going to be able to fight against those who are looking to get all “Tea Party” is to be as angry and as organized and as aggressive as the Tea Party community, and if we’re smart, we’ll take him up on that challenge.
But if you really want to push “professional” Democrats to the left, most especially this President, and you want to do it in time to impact the ’12 cycle, the only way to do it is to run a candidate in primary contests that either moves the conversation your way…or leaves you with a surprising new Candidate.
And right here, right now, we actually have a chance to do exactly that – and that’s why, in today’s discussion, I’m going to challenge Olbermann right back.
Aug 01 2011
So everybody’s hearing the news, right?
There is a tentative debt ceiling deal, and this Administration and Congressional Democrats seem to have won everything they wanted: Republicans get to have multiple “we don’t approve” votes before 2012 on raising the debt ceiling, there won’t be any new revenue, there’s going to be another “hostage-taking” event around Christmastime, for many Democrats the issue of the Ryan Budget and the dismantling of Medicare is likely off the table for the 2012 electoral cycle, and the Administration seems to have figured out a way to not involve itself in shaping the way that entitlement reform will work out.
All in all, it’s some pretty slick negotiating, and I’m sure this Administration and Democratic Congressional leaders must be very proud.
Even on bad days, however, you gotta have some fun, and that’s why I’m encouraging everyone to take a minute today to say #thanksalot.
Jul 30 2011
I have not been talking about the insanity around the debt ceiling and debt and deficit and the efforts of Republicans to drive us all off the cliff, but I am today – and I’m going to do it by allowing you to grab ahold of this problem and see for yourself just how unbelievably bad this manufactured crisis is going to be.
You will hear a lot of conversation about the consequences from others; today, however, you are going to get the chance to be both the President and the Secretary of the Treasury, and you will get to decide for yourself exactly what bills the Federal Government should and should not pay as the cash runs out if a deal is not made by the time borrowing authority runs out.
At that point you’ll be able to see what’s coming for yourself – and once you do, you won’t need me to tell you what ugly is going to look like.
Jul 27 2011
(FNS – Washington, New Germany, April 17, 1947) America’s new Führer, Adolf Hitler, announced today that his official War History would in fact acknowledge that one of the biggest contributing factors to the defeat of the Allies was the insistence of the former United States of America on sticking to its Balanced Budget Amendment, which left them unable to fund the wartime conversion of the US economy for the benefit of the Alliance.
“All those ideas Mr. Roosevelt spoke of”, said Hitler, “Lend-Lease, modular shipbuilding, War Bonds, secret weapons…in the end, all of them were just words, since the Americans’ Congress was never willing to allow the country to fully fund its war effort.”
As has been previously disclosed, Waffen SS historians have already located caches of documents in Washington describing plans to fund a massive military expansion in the former United States by selling War Bonds.
These debt instruments would have allowed the Roosevelt Administration to spend up to 40% of the Gross Domestic Product of the former Nation in defending itself, the former United Kingdom, and other nations against the Fatherland, but for reasons that are still not well understood Conservative politicians demanded that the former US Government never “take on debt for outsiders”, or, in the words of Mae Cadoodie, leader of the American Tea Party movement, “Never invite a foreign entanglement that raises our taxes”.
Had the Americans been allowed to sell War Bonds, or to raise taxes to fund the War, it is estimated that they could have provided tens of thousands of aircraft, millions of military vehicles, and hundreds of ships, but the Balanced Budget Amendment prevented any of that.
This represents the end of a series of political arguments that had been taking place since the 1930s, when some American economists were suggesting that a new idea called “deficit spending” could be helpful in bringing the former USA out of the Great Depression; at that time the Roosevelt Administration was unable to establish agencies such as the Work Projects Administration, which would have built public works projects throughout the USA in an effort to revive the moribund economy.
Mae Cadoodie and others fought back successfully against these ideas, pointing out that the last thing the US economy needed in a bad economy was new taxes; they made the same arguments when the Roosevelt Administration first proposed Lend-Lease as a war emergency measure.
“We cannot inflict punishing new taxes on American industry at this fragile time in our recovery” Cadoodie said in a famous speech in 1939, “and if the market is really there for this military materiel, if it’s not just some boondoggle manufactured by Roosevelt to take money out of the pockets of the American people, then I’m sure the British will be able to find the funding they need from the markets or from charitable donations”.
Cadoodie was unavailable for comment, as she and most other former American politicians are still serving on the Eastern Front, and will be for the foreseeable future.
In a related story, the conversion of the remainder of the American industrial base is underway for the fight against the Russians, and millions of otherwise unemployed Americans are being drafted into the military services in preparation for the final assault.
Jul 24 2011
So I disappeared for a full week, right in the middle of what should have been a busy writing schedule, and I have to claim some “personal days” to cover the time we missed here at the blog – but it won’t be time entirely wasted.
Instead, I’m going to jump into my own personal life for today’s story, and I’m going to do it so that we can stimulate some thinking about where we really need to go to if we ever hope to make some sense out of the crazy way we deliver health care in this country.
Since this appears to be the weekend that a lot of decisions are either going to be made about the future of our “social safety net”…or they wont; we’re entirely unsure…let’s talk about how it actually works for a lot of us – and how it could work a lot better.
Jul 14 2011
It was a beautiful day in Seattle last Saturday, and at the unholy hour of 7:30 AM I was steering my car into the parking lot of Qwest Field, preparing to take advantage of the spectacular weather by descending into the showroom of The Comedy Underground – in order to spend the day surrounded by politics and politicians.
The only thing that could have made the irony more prefect…is if all the espresso shops had been closed.
Thank your favorite deity (or, perhaps, the power of serendipity) that they weren’t, or we might not been able to cover the events at NWroots 2011 at all.
We’ll have a lot to talk about over the next few days, and to lead things off I’ll tell you about the series of events that might – or might not – have to do with why I happened to bump into Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich as he came down from the sunlight into the same dark room as the rest of us.
Jul 09 2011
By now you have heard that President Obama has chosen to throw Social Security and the Medicare and Medicaid Programs over the side of his proverbial fishing boat as bait to see if he can get Republicans to give him another really lousy compromise, much as he did last December when he gave up billions upon billions of deficit reduction in order to help Republicans preserve tax cuts for billionaires.
And it looks like the President doesn’t really lose if you or I get hurt here: in fact, it seems that, in his eyes, it’s to his advantage to fight against his own base as he seeks to be “the adult in the room” in the runup to the ’12 election.
So we’re going to have to find a way to put The Fear on this guy – and I think I’ve got a plan to force this President to listen.
And it works like this: if this President ain’t gonna be moved by our message…we do it by holding the rest of his Party hostage.
Jul 07 2011
OK: so I’ve been working what is, on one level, a Jay Inslee story (Inslee is the Congressman from Washington’s 1st District, now running for Governor in ’12), and, on another level, a story of why Democrats are having all kinds of problems with what should be “natural” constituencies – and why those problems might not be going away anytime soon.
I thought the two elements of this narrative would come together last Monday, when I attended the “announcement event” that marked the beginning of the Inslee Gubernatorial Campaign, and in fact they did…but it wasn’t in a way I would have expected, and that’s why we have something to talk about today.
I reached out to some helpful outside voices, including Inslee himself; all of that will be brought to the discussion – and as another news organization famously offers to do, I’ll report, and leave you to decide.
Jul 04 2011
So I thought I was going to have another Jay Inslee story for y’all today, but it turns out that I’m going to have to do more research before we can “come to press” with that one.
But that’s OK, because the world’s been busy doing a lot of other things – and while many of them get media coverage, some don’t get a lot of notice at all.
And of course, there are also those stories that look one way at first glance…but look a lot different when you dig a bit deeper.
We’ll hit a few of those today, have a bit of fun doing it, and get ready for what promises to be another busy week of strategically not doing things in Washington.
To make things even better, some of the stories will be real, and some won’t.
We’ll see if you can tell the difference.
Jun 29 2011
Congressman Jay Inslee (WA-01) announced his candidacy for Governor of the State of Washington in Seattle Monday, and Your Erstwhile Reporter was present.
The candidacy was announced with a speech that focused on “process improvements” and the invocation of new technology jobs as an economic engine for job growth (and in fact the event took place at the headquarters of a company that has developed seed-derived biofuels that have been used to power military and commercial aircraft).
But that’s not the part that’s going to be the most interesting for the civil-rights supportive reader.
The most interesting part is that Inslee was quick to offer his support for full marriage equality in the State of Washington, should he find himself elected.
Jun 26 2011
So I took a bit of a break this past month, and I figured by the time I came back y’all would have things sorted out: people would be surely by flying around with jet packs by now, God would have sent fires and floods to smite the unrighteous, and, if I really got lucky, Barack Obama would have “grown a pair”.
And now that I’m back, debt negotiations are about to commence between that same Barack Obama and the Republican Congressional Leadership, things like Social Security and Medicare cuts are apparently on the table in order to protect tax cuts for the rich, and certain quarters of the Republican Party aren’t even trying anymore to hide their racism.
All of which suggests that I shouldn’t be looking for a jet pack anytime soon.
But there is some good news: God is apparently working hard, and states like Oklahoma and Arizona and Florida and Georgia and Texas have been alternately aflame or aflood, apparently as a result of their unrepentant behavior…and on the economic front, New York City’s Stonewall Inn is going to make a ton of money this summer hosting weddings.
That gives us a lot to talk about…so let’s get right to it.