Words fail me. But the electorate didn’t.
It’s it for now. Thanks,
The last debate.
Three weeks to go.
Got me to reminisce about my early exposure to politics.
The first presidential debate I ever watched was the first modern presidential debate: Nixon v. Kennedy, 1960.
I was a kid, growing up in a very political household. My dad had been a precinct captain, and was soon to become Democratic township committeeman of our (before he took over) rock-ribbed Republican suburb.
My mother was the brains of the outfit, who had helped my dad go door to door to elect a Democratic congressman whose name was always gold in their house, even 40 years later, Barratt O’Hara.
In late 1959, my parents began an impossibly quixotic quest: from our family room they created a national campaign to nominate Chester Bowles of Connecticut for president. Where this cockamamie idea came from I have no idea to this day. A very distinguished progressive politician. Before that, a phenomenally successful advertising executive. Once and future ambassador to India and Under Secretary of State.
Way too qualified for the presidency.
Yr (justifiably) humble svt spent many a weekend that year and through mid-1960 stuffing, addressing and stamping envelopes.
It was a simpler time. Stuffing envelopes in support of a national presidential campaign by hand, indeed.
Sometimes good things happen to good people.
This is worthy recognition to an outstanding thinker, who not only thinks the deep thoughts of his “dismal science,” but articulately delivers complex concepts with clarity.
Well done, Nobel committee, and Paul Krugman!
Last post, I spoke in glowing terms of one of my favorite progressive blogs, First Door on the Left.
Len did it again today (recognizing Paul Krugman, by the way) by posting the complete transcript of Barack Obama’s fleshed out economic rescue plan delivered in Ohio today.
A Rescue Plan for the Middle Class
Posted by Len on Monday at 1:19 pm in Democrats, Election 2008, Politics
I know these are difficult times. I know folks are worried. But I also know this – we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. Because we are the United States of America. We are the country that has faced down war and depression; great challenges and great threats. And at each and every moment, we have risen to meet these challenges – not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans.
We still have the most talented, most productive workers of any country on Earth. We’re still home to innovation and technology, colleges and universities that are the envy of the world. Some of the biggest ideas in history have come from our small businesses and our research facilities. It won’t be easy, but there’s no reason we can’t make this century another American century.
But it will take a new direction. It will take new leadership in Washington. It will take a real change in the policies and politics of the last eight years. And that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.
My opponent has made his choice. Last week, Senator McCain’s campaign announced that they were going to “turn the page” on the discussion about our economy so they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me instead. His campaign actually said, and I quote, “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Well Senator McCain may be worried about losing an election, but I’m worried about Americans who are losing their jobs, and their homes, and their life savings. They can’t afford four more years of the economic theory that says we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. We’ve seen where that’s led us and we’re not going back. It’s time to turn the page.
As some observers have noted after the two conventions, there were lots of distractions, lots of words, but not much in the way of substance.
Especially regarding this nation’s number one concern.
Iraq, you ask?
That’s so 2007.
No, it’s the economy — rather, the very dangerous state of the economy.
Our Republican friends, plutocrats, or plutocrat wannabe’s, don’t believe we have a problem. McCain is and has always been insulated from the real world by, first, years as a Naval officer, where the pay might not be royal but subsidized expenses are low; then years as a prisoner of war, where the cost of living takes on an entirely ugly but non-financial meaning; then many more years as a Senator, married to wealth, a combination as isolated from the real world as it gets. He relies on his good buddy and close advisor on topics economic, former colleague Phil Gramm of Texas, who believes we’re all whiners.
The Democrats talked a spectacularly good ball game, but had little substantive to offer us.
Even so, based on their track record, one has to believe that the Democrats are more likely to get it than the Republicans, who have spent the last eight years aiding and abetting the liars and thieves on Wall Street and beyond.
Meanwhile, the news, and its import, is grim and becoming even more so.
The Power of De
Op-Ed Columnist | By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: September 7, 2008
Save the home lenders, save the world? If only it were that simple.
The just-announced federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant mortgage lenders, was certainly the right thing to do — and it was done fairly well, too. The plan will sustain institutions that play a crucial role in the economy, while holding down taxpayer costs by more or less cleaning out the stockholders.
In case current events in the nation of Georgia haven’t made the fact crystal clear, yr (justifiably) humble svt is unhappy to inform you that the U.S. military hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory over the past nearly 20 years since the end of the Cold War.
And the diplomatic corps has similarly shown itself to be overstressed and undermanned.
Nicholas Kristof made the point this past weekend: the U.S. has more musicians in its military bands than it has diplomats!
And what Kristof’s story omits, due to rapidly breaking events, is the failure of both U.S. diplomacy and U.S. military strength during the Russian invasion of Georgia this past week.
Military strength? Well, we can’t simultaneously put sufficient boots on the ground to meet our objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan, much less come to the aid of a strategically critical ally, Georgia.
Diplomacy? A strong diplomatic corps might have foreseen (yes, hindsight is always 20:20) that Georgia was simultaneously taking U.S. and NATO support as more than words, while underestimating Vladimir Putin’s urge for regained empire, and warned Mikheil Saakashvili away from his adventuristic invasion of South Ossettia.
Or a diplomatic arm with some heft might have been able to forestall, or at least mitigate, Russia’s response. Putin may now be emboldened to exercise his brand of “diplomacy” over other, West-leaning, former states of the old Soviet empire, and the U.S. will be hard pressed to protect them, diplomatically or militarily, if it even figures out that this would be a useful strategy.
But George III is a happy warrior, as befits a civilian who took giant steps to avoid substantive military service, and diplomacy apparently doesn’t mean much to him, or it appears, to Congress.
Today (or, what’s left of it in the Western Hemisphere, this post having been delayed an hour at least thanks to a weird PC glitch), 13 August, is Left-Handers’ Day.
We have this information on the authority of www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk , an online commerce site that one might well believe has an incentive (indeed, if it is not responsible for the event altogether) to celebrate.
I’ve been a member of this organization (read: shop’s mailing list) for several months, but shortly after reading the announcement in email this morning, found a link to the above site in my hometown newspaper’s online instance, seemingly as news, not paid advertising.
As a publication that takes pride in its left-handedness in every way, what else could we do but create a suitable graphic representation of the day, with the help of MUDGElet No. 3, the only one of the three MUDGElets who, like his father, is left-handed.
Can anyone still doubt our national (perhaps global?) economic distress? Runs on the banks. A tank of gas edging toward Benjamin territory. Someone you know (or mayhaps many someones you know) out of work and/or looking. Or giving up looking. Starbucks (Starbucks!) closing 600 stores.
Let’s have a show of hands: How many of you (U.S.) readers believe that this Spring’s tax refund “stimulus” could have been an order of magnitude larger (that’s 10 times), and still not been enough? Two orders (that’s times 100)?
It doesn’t go away, our concern with the dire state of the economy.
Paul Krugman, economics professor and columnist of the NYTimes has been consistent in identifying our present financial dismay, and he has some grim news — it’s not going to get better very quickly.
L-ish Economic Prospects
By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: July 18, 2008
Home prices are in free fall. Unemployment is rising. Consumer confidence is plumbing depths not seen since 1980. When will it all end?
The answer is, probably not until 2010 or later. Barack Obama, take notice.
As I begin to write, shortly after 8:00pmCDT, CNN is telling the world that Barack Obama has amassed sufficient delegates to clinch the Democratic party’s nomination for president of the United States.
As an interested observer of history, notwithstanding whatever personal feelings one might have or not about Obama the candidate, one cannot help but be quietly amazed at this turn of events, once so unlikely and tonight so inevitable.
I was born in 1948. Yeah, okay, old enough to be your grandfather, perhaps. But, take it from me, 1948 was not that long ago.
In 1948 racial segregation was a fact of life for most African Americans. That year, President Harry Truman signed an executive order ending racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces, although it took several more years to take effect throughout the military. Less than a year before I was born, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play for a major league baseball team. Today, we take for granted our integrated military force, and our integrated sports teams, in fact both would be curiously empty otherwise.
Now, a majority of voters in this endless Democratic primary season that began 18 months ago after the mid-term election of 2006, have chosen an African American candidate to campaign for the U.S. presidency in November.
Faithful reader (if s/he indeed is faithful) is probably disgusted with this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© lately, as we’ve been rehashing good old stuff rather than creating good new stuff here.
As I reflect on my lethargic approach to blogging this past week, my analysis finds that it’s partly due to the demands of the bill paying occupation, and partly my failure to extricate from the zillions of new pages popping up every day in said ‘Sphere a nugget of insight upon which to build.
Didn’t really want to write about the Democrats’ Clinton/Obama soap opera. Although, I commend to your attention Eric Zorn of yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s hometown Chicago Tribune on why Sen. Clinton is the wrong running mate for Obama.
So that left me with — what? Reruns, and this during sweeps month, too!
Tonight though, finally, revelation. Christopher Dickey of Newsweek makes a thought connection regarding the cesspool that is our Iraq adventure that makes such great sense that one is tempted to slap oneself, saying “it’s so obvious — why didn’t I think of that?”
I didn’t. Dickey did. Read and learn.
Let’s be geopolitically strategic today.
Our writers here make the point that, while we (manifestly!) weren’t paying attention, that superpower status we earned by being the last country standing after World War II, and defended so expensively during the ensuing Cold War, has quietly left the building.
From a new addition to our blogroll, Tom Engelhardt’s TomDispatch.com, comes this bracing wake-up call.
Tomgram: Michael Klare, America Out of Gas
TomDispatch.com | posted May 08, 2008 11:01 am
These days, the price of oil seems ever on the rise. A barrel of crude broke another barrier Wednesday — $123 — on international markets, and the talk is now of the sort of “superspike” in pricing (only yesterday unimaginable) that might break the $200 a barrel ceiling “within two years.” And that would be without a full-scale American air assault on Iran, after which all bets would be off.