Tag: New York Times

Jul 30

Getting the Facts Straight About the Clintons

For the last twenty years the mainstream media and the Clinton’s political adversaries have tried to discredit and criminalize them. In the process it has not only failed but done a disservice to the public just to get a “scoop” or score political points. The latest fiasco at The New York Times involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server for her correspondence, has exposed the use of unreliable anonymous sources to create a story that was blatantly false. It exposed a pattern of toxic reporting on the Clinton’s, as Jonathan Allen at Vox called the “Clinton Rules

The reporter’s job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” – a credo that, humorously, was originally written as a smear of the self-righteous nature of journalists. And so the justification for going after a public figure increases in proportion to his or her stature. The bigger the figure, the looser the restraints.

After a quarter of a century on the national stage, there’s no more comfortable political figure to afflict than Hillary Clinton. And she’s in for a lot of affliction over the next year and half.

That’s generally a good way for reporters to go about their business. After all, the more power a person wants in our republic, the more voters should know about her or him. But it’s also an essential frame for thinking about the long-toxic relationship between the Clintons and the media, why the coverage of Hillary Clinton differs from coverage of other candidates for the presidency, and whether that difference encourages distortions that will ultimately affect the presidential race.

The Clinton rules are driven by reporters’ and editors’ desire to score the ultimate prize in contemporary journalism: the scoop that brings down Hillary Clinton and her family’s political empire. At least in that way, Republicans and the media have a common interest.

As Eric Boehler at Media Matters points out, if you’re surprised by this that you haven’t been paying attention. From Whitewater to Benghazi the pattern has been very clear:

(T)he Times remains the country’s most influential news outlet and the daily has been carrying around an unmistakable Clinton grudge for nearly 20 years. And it’s a collective disdain for the Clintons that stretches from the opinion pages to the newsroom that arguably leads to spectacular blunders like the one we saw last week.

There seems to be a world view within the Times that taking cheap shots at the Clintons is not only allowed, it’s preferred; it’s a way for Times journalists to raise their profiles and generate buzz. But not only is the practice unfair and unethical, it carries with it profound political implications.

Apparently making no effort to check with the lead Democrat on the panel about the anonymous claims of a criminal referral — Rep. Elijah Cummings would have demolished the entire premise of the gotcha story — the Times essentially acted as stenographer for sources who either manufactured the claim about a criminal referral or unknowingly botched the facts.

The Times‘ oddly personal crusade against Hillary Clinton is also a crusade against the Democratic frontrunner for president, so the Republican Party benefits. The stakes really could not be higher, which makes the Times‘ behavior all the more disturbing.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow weighed in on the misreporting and clumsy handling of the story and makes note of the similar excuses the Times used about Judith Miller’s sources on her bad Iraq WMD reporting.

Kurk Eichenwald at Newsweek puts it bluntly in his analysis of the Times debacle:

Democracy is not a game. It is not a means of getting our names on the front page or setting the world abuzz about our latest scoop. It is about providing information so that an electorate can make decisions based on reality. It is about being fair and being accurate. This despicable Times story was neither.

Jul 24

The Ghost of Judith Miller: NYT Still Shilling For Government

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In 2004 a editorial, the editors of The New york Times profoundly apologized for its complicity in the run up to the Iraq war and for not having been more aggressive in its examination of the claims made by government officials. Much of the blame for the erroneous reporting was placed on one writer, Judith Miller, who resigned from the paper. But still today, despite the promises to be more questioning of anonymous sources, the spirit Judith Miller persists in the Times reporting on national security and international affairs. As Glenn Greenwald observes in  his article at The Intercept, the writers are still blithely taking to word of anonymous sources as the truth.

Let’s look at an illustrative example from yesterday to see how this toxic process works. The New York Times published an article about ISIS by Eric Schmitt and Ben Hubbard based entirely and exclusively on unproven claims from officials of the U.S. government and its allies, to whom they (needless to say) granted anonymity. The entire article reads exactly like an official press release: Paragraph after paragraph does nothing other than summarize the claims of anonymous officials, without an iota of questioning, skepticism, scrutiny or doubt.

Among the assertions mindlessly repeated by the Paper of Record from its beloved anonymous officials is this one:

The Islamic State has also studied revelations from Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, about how the United States gathers information on militants. A main result is that the group’s top leaders now use couriers or encrypted channels that Western analysts cannot crack to communicate, intelligence and military officials said.

Leave to the side the banal journalistic malpractice of uncritically parroting the self-serving claims of anonymous officials, supposedly what the paper is so horrified at Judy Miller for having done. Also leave to the side the fact that the U.S. government has been anonymously making these Helping-The-Enemy claims not just about Snowden but about all whistleblowers for decades, back to Daniel Ellsberg, if not earlier. Let’s instead focus on this: the claim itself, on the merits, is monumentally stupid on multiple levels: self-evidently so.

To begin with, The Terrorists™ had been using couriers and encryption for many, many years before anyone knew the name “Edward Snowden.” Last August, after NPR uncritically laundered claims that Snowden revelations had helped The Terrorists™, we reported on a 45-page document that the U.K. government calls “the Jihadist Handbook,” written by and distributed among extremist groups, which describes in sophisticated detail the encryption technologies, SIM card-switching tactics and other methods they use to circumvent U.S. surveillance. Even these 2002/2003 methods were so sophisticated that they actually mirror GCHQ’s own operational security methods for protecting its communications.

This “Jihadist Handbook” was written in 2002 or 2003: more than a full decade before any Snowden revelations. Indisputably, terrorists have known for a very long time that the U.S. government and its allies are trying to intercept their communications, and have long used encryption and other means to prevent that.

The New York Times‘ claim that ISIS learned to use couriers as a result of the Snowden revelations is almost a form of self-mockery. Few facts from Terrorism lore are more well-known than Osama bin Laden’s use of couriers to avoid U.S. surveillance. A 2011 article from the Washington Post – more than two years before the first Snowden story – was headlined: “Al-Qaeda couriers provided the trail that led to bin Laden.” It described how “Bin Laden strictly avoided phone or e-mail communications for fear that they would be intercepted.” [..]

If one were engaged in journalism, one would include some of these facts in order to scrutinize, question and express skepticism about the claims of anonymous officials that ISIS now uses encryption and couriers because of Snowden reporting. But if one is engaged in mindless, subservient pro-government stenography, one simply grants anonymity to officials and then uncritically parrots their facially dubious claims with no doubt or questioning of any kind. Does anyone have any doubts about what these New York Times reporters are doing in this article?

There’s one more point worth noting about the New York Times‘ conduct here. As has been documented many times, Edward Snowden never publicly disclosed a single document: Instead, he gave the documents to journalists and left it up to them to decide which documents should be public and which ones should not be. As I’ve noted, he has sometimes disagreed with the choices journalists made, usually on the ground that documents media outlets decided to publish should have, in his view, not been published. [..]

Look at what the New York Times, yet again, has done. Isn’t it amazing? All anyone in government has to do is whisper something in its journalists’ ears, demand anonymity for it, and instruct them to print it. Then they obey. Then other journalists treat it as Truth. Then it becomes fact, all over the world. This is the same process that enabled the New York Times, more than any other media outlet, to sell the Iraq War to the American public, and they’re using exactly the same methods to this day. But it’s not just their shoddy journalism that drives this but the mentality of other “journalists” who instantly equate anonymous official claims as fact.

You can read the entirety of Glenn’s article at “The Intercept.”

May 30

Wheeler, WaPo, Snowden Demolish Feeble Attempt By Gov’t and NYT to Discredit His NBC Interview

If you want to be a firsthand witness to a truly brilliant, textbook example of how to cut U.S. government propaganda off at its knees before it even begins to take its first breath in the MSM (somewhat surprisingly, by New York Times’ government stenographer David Sanger, no less), look no further than Edward Snowden’s powerful response in tonight’s Washington Post, and Marcy Wheeler’s double-dose of commentary and analysis over at her Emptywheel blog for some serious and beautifully executed lessons! (John Podesta, are you taking copious notes?)

As many will realize after reading these incredibly disparate NYT and WaPo reports, even open-minded Snowden-haters (I know, that’s an oxymoron) would have to admit their home team was completely schooled in tonight’s news cycle.

First, the government’s stenography courtesy of the NYT

N.S.A. Releases Email That It Says Undercuts Snowden’s Whistle-Blower Claim



MAY 29, 2014

WASHINGTON – The National Security Agency on Thursday released what it said was the sole internal email from Edward J. Snowden before he fled with a trove of agency secrets, and officials asserted that the message undercut his argument that he protested the legality of surveillance programs before he released any of the documents he stole to journalists.

The email to the N.S.A. general counsel’s office, dated April 8, 2013, makes no reference to the government’s bulk collection of telephone data or other surveillance or cyberprograms. Nor does it raise concerns about violations of privacy.

Instead, Mr. Snowden was seeking clarification about the hierarchy of laws governing the N.S.A., based on what he had learned in an agency training course about privacy protection rules for handling intercepted information.

By the time the email was sent, Mr. Snowden, who was a private contractor and not an agency employee, had already implanted software in the N.S.A. system that was copying its files automatically. Two months later, the first of those files were made public by journalists who had received them from Mr. Snowden.

The N.S.A. released the email in response to Mr. Snowden’s assertion in an interview with Brian Williams of NBC News that was broadcast on Wednesday night. In the interview, Mr. Snowden said he had raised complaints both in Hawaii and at the N.S.A. headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., about “real problems with the way the N.S.A. was interpreting its legal authorities…”

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Jan 28

NYT’s Reporter Wonders Why the President’s Approval Ratings Are So Bad

What world do the economics writer live in? It can’t be anywhere on the planet Earth, never mind the United States, especially when they write things like this:

Obama’s Puzzle: Economy Rarely Better, Approval Rarely Worse

President Obama will pronounce on the state of the union for the fifth time on Tuesday, and never during his time in office has the state of the economy been better – yet rarely has he gotten such low marks from the public for his handling of it.

Not only have economic indicators shown progress toward pre-recession health, but many forecasters are predicting what one called “a breakout year” for growth. A new study from a Federal Reserve economist even put a more benign spin on a negative trend, the shrinking labor force, by attributing the decline not to discouraged unemployed workers who have quit looking for jobs, but to the first baby-boomer retirements.

Demand for labor is up and the unemployment rate is below 7 percent for the first time since November 2008. Consumers, buoyed by rising home prices and stock values, are spending more; so are businesses. Exports are growing as Europe regains health. The fiscal drag from state and federal spending cuts has abated.

I suppose that the writer, Jackie Calmes, who covers the White house, is a very smart person but obviously not tuned into what is a happening outside the bubble of the political pages of the New York Times. Quoting one anonymous Federal Reserve economist without evidence to refute the actual numbers from the Bureau of Labor statistics is ether more spin or bad journalism, probably both. We all know that the markets and the GDP are not true indicators of how well the majority of Americans are faring economically.

However, the explanation for the negativity about the economy and not just the president’s approval ratings but those of the Congress, is simple: since the “recovery” started in June 2009, 95 percent of the income gains have gone to the richest 1 percent (pdf) of the U.S. population. For a vast number of Americans the recession never ended.

Just look at what is happening in New York City, since the drastic cuts to SNAP and unemployment benefits ended, food banks and soup kitchens have seen an increase in the number of people seeking assistance and are now running out of food

New York, NY – January 22, 2014 – New research from Food Bank For New York City reveals a majority of New York City’s food pantries and soup kitchens (85 percent) experienced an increase in the number of visitors following a $5 billion national cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) that took effect on November 1st, 2013. In fact, the numbers of visitors post-November 1 actually exceeded the number of visitors seen in November 2012, in the immediate aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. [..]

* 85% reported an overall increase in visitors in November 2013, as compared to November 2012, immediately following Super Storm Sandy.

* 76% of food pantries and soup kitchens saw an increase in visitors in November 2013 compared to the previous two months, with nearly half (45%) reporting considerable increases in visitor traffic of more than 25%;

* Nearly half (48%) of emergency food providers ran out of food required for meals or pantry bags, with 26% reporting having to turn people away due to insufficient food supplies;

* Nearly one quarter (23%) of food pantries and soup kitchens reported having to reduce the total number of meals they otherwise provided

  That should be setting off alarm bells in Congress and at the White House. It isn’t. Congress is now set to pass a farm bill that further cuts food assistance by another $8.8 billion dollars over 10 years but continues generous subsidies for farmers.

The president will address this inequality and need for jobs with a living wage in the State of the Union address tonight. The White House has announced that he will raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour by executive order. The president has also said that he has “a pen and a phone” and is going to use them. The question is, with so many Americans suffering and the middle class shrinking, what took five years? And why should anyone believe him now?

Perhaps if he started with vetoing this farm bill and taking a stand against the Republicans and the corporate Democrats who enable them, then, maybe, he’d see an improvement in his approval ratings. Another flowery speech won’t do it.

And, Ms Calmes, read something other than your own paper, you might find out what’s going on in the world outside the offices of the NYT. Better yet, check out a food kitchen or pantry.

Jun 15

Surprise, surprise, surprise! NY Times endorses transgender equality

There are surprises in life.  One happened wednesday.  At least I never expected to see the Editorial Board of the New York Times endorse Civil Rights for Transgender People.

Note:  The original title of the opinion used transgender as a noun (Civil Rights for Transgenders).  The paper has acceded to complaints by changing it.

New York stood for equality by approving same-sex marriage two years ago.  It is time now for state lawmakers to extend basic civil rights protections to transgender people.  The 2002 state statute that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit and public accommodations does not explicitly cover transgender people.

There’s more about the effort to bring that equality to transgender people on the inside.

May 23

Conspiracy theories: they’re all in your heads!

Or at least the New York Times Online says so.

Here’s an amusing piece:

Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories

Because real life contains conspiracies?  Naah.  Couldn’t be!

Now, of course we could just stop talking about conspiracies, because everyone knows how ridiculous such talk actually is.  But will those messy conspiracies go away if we stop talking about them?  Probably not, which would explain why Maggie Koerth-Baker had to write the NYT piece in the first place. So here’s the solution! We’re going to make up some sort of pop-psychology “theory” to explain why people think about conspiracies.  That’ll do the trick!  Gee, if only members of the human race were to limit their thinking to whatever it is that the “experts” produce on any given topic, they could stay sane, and we wouldn’t have to discredit them.  Maggie Koerth-Baker is of course one of those experts, and she will protect you from the pernicious belief in conspiracy theories by psychologizing them away.  That and Kos will ban anyone who writes “conspiracy theory diaries,” one of which this isn’t.

So, yeah, everyone knows there are no conspiracies, and there are all kinds of events out there that might be attributable to conspiracies, but they’re all caused by people acting alone, and all by themselves, without so much as talking to anyone else.  Right?

Now, maybe some really twisted minds out there think that real-life conspiracies develop as a result of chance meetings at the meetings of the Trilateral Commission, or the Bilderberg Group, or the World Economic Forum, or the Council on Foreign Relations.  Or maybe such conspiracies are said to happen in the secret meetings of the FBI or the CIA or the NSA or ALEC.  But everyone knows that (even if these organizations really did exist, which they don’t) all they really do at those meetings is play ping-pong and eat pizza.  Right?

So, armed with our aerosol can of Conspiracy-Be-Gone spray, ahead into the NYT piece we venture!

“The best predictor of belief in a conspiracy theory is belief in other conspiracy theories,” says Viren Swami, a psychology professor who studies conspiracy belief at the University of Westminster in England. Psychologists say that’s because a conspiracy theory isn’t so much a response to a single event as it is an expression of an overarching worldview.

There is, of course, an alternate explanation for conspiracy theories — I think it goes like “maybe the official explanations aren’t credible” or something like that.  But only people with a certain worldview believe crazy stuff of that sort.

Perfectly sane minds possess an incredible capacity for developing narratives, and even some of the wildest conspiracy theories can be grounded in rational thinking, which makes them that much more pernicious.

My god, they’re developing narratives!  Human nature must be innately bad.  And I have to wonder in this context whether the perniciousness of a conspiracy theory can be quantified.  Could we put a conspiracy theory on the Wild-O-Meter, and if it goes above a certain number, then we could say it’s pernicious?  This could be important in distinguishing pernicious theories from merely innocuous ones.

Here’s an example.  Just after the disaster of September 11th, 2001, the Bush administration allowed the bin Laden family to be flown out of the country without so much as an FBI question on a day when every airplane in America was grounded.  Let’s say (hypothetically; we don’t really believe this stuff, do we?) that the bin Ladens were allowed to do this because they had urgent family business or something.  Now that’s not very pernicious, is it?  I experience urgent family business all the time.  Don’t you?

On the other hand, some of these theories about who killed JFK, well, we don’t want to break the Wild-O-Meter, do we?  You can’t buy them at the 99 cents store anymore.

While psychologists can’t know exactly what goes on inside our heads, they have, through surveys and laboratory studies, come up with a set of traits that correlate well with conspiracy belief. In 2010, Swami and a co-author summarized this research in The Psychologist, a scientific journal. They found, perhaps surprisingly, that believers are more likely to be cynical about the world in general and politics in particular.

Now everyone here knows cynicism isn’t rational, right?  Your leaders are always acting in good faith, of course.

Economic recessions, terrorist attacks and natural disasters are massive, looming threats, but we have little power over when they occur or how or what happens afterward. In these moments of powerlessness and uncertainty, a part of the brain called the amygdala kicks into action.

So, you see, if you stop searching for explanations for economic recessions, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters, and just accept that your tendency to do so is a product of your errant amygdala, you will be closer to enlightenment!

Our access to high-quality information has not, unfortunately, ushered in an age in which disagreements of this sort can easily be solved with a quick Google search. In fact, the Internet has made things worse. Confirmation bias – the tendency to pay more attention to evidence that supports what you already believe – is a well-documented and common human failing. People have been writing about it for centuries. In recent years, though, researchers have found that confirmation bias is not easy to overcome. You can’t just drown it in facts.

And so, you see, our social scientists have everything under control.  All that’s left for us to do is to believe all of that “high quality information” we’re given, and restrain our impulses to reside in the land of “confirmation bias,” which prevents us from seeing the light.

Psychologists aren’t sure whether powerlessness causes conspiracy theories or vice versa. Either way, the current scientific thinking suggests these beliefs are nothing more than an extreme form of cynicism, a turning away from politics and traditional media – which only perpetuates the problem.

Thus if we can all quit “turning away from politics and traditional media,” and learn to accept the system, we can overcome those feelings of powerlessness as they are caused by our belief in conspiracy theories.

See?  Problem solved.  Conspiracy theories are all just in our heads, and the quicker we recognize that, the more easily we’ll be able to ignore them, and get on with the enlightened task of believing what we’re told.

Jul 17

America: “Life is no longer worth living with David Brooks.”

Today, in a sad, yet courageous affirmation of “life worth living,” America announced that it no longer wished to extend its marginal existence under the cursed journalistic blight of David Brooks, whose most recent unspeakable transgression against human decency, a remorseless and uncontrollable intrusion of his recurring parricidal fantasies masquerading as ethical pragmatism, manifested itself as a sudden and conspicuous discoloration and wilting of America’s pestered soul.

The country is broke because of health care, Brooks asserts.  

The fiscal crisis is driven largely by health care costs.

He baldly states this whopper without making so much as a pipsqueaking reference to multiple stupid and endless wars of aggression, decades of historically incomprehensible tax cuts for the wealthy, and pathologically self-defeating bailouts for the prodigal malefactors of imaginary wealth on Wall Street.  Nor does he even manage to mention the ungodly profits driving health care costs through the roof, to the point where we have worse health care at twice the cost compared to other industrialized nations.

The real problem, according to our maggot-brained buffoon and his editors at the NYT, is our old, selfish and sickly geezers on life support who are stealing money, freedom, and opportunity from the young.  The old should demand to die, “to confront death and their obligations to the living,” the self-enclosed, life-impersonating skin-bag actually opined in one of America’s top dying newspapers.

Mar 22

Sunday Train: NYT taking Koch Bros. dictation on Florida High Speed Rail

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Suppose that you wanted to inject a framing into a purely political strategy which also happened to involve sabotaging the future of the nation’s economy? “We sabotaged the future economy” would be a bad talking point there.

“The project we sabotaged was not justifiable on its merits, and was only pursued for purely political reasons”. Aha, much better: the benefit of this framing is when someone points out that the cancellation was purely political, now you have charges of pure politics going in both directions, making it sound “controversial”, which in itself makes it sound risky to support spending billions on a useful piece of infrastructure.

And where better to inject this framing than the pages of the New York Time or the Washington Post? Well, this time it was the Times taking dictation and not bothering to report the whole story. NYT new slogan, it seems, should be “All the news that can fit the Village Frame”.

Oct 23

US Wants MORE CIA in Pakistan, $ for Weapons, Using Wikileaks as Excuse

Like clockwork in being timed with the latest wikileaks release:

After increasing the number of drone attacks in September, now the US is pressuring Pakistan to let in more covert paramilitary and CIA forces to increase the unknown, classified number that are already there – to support the death by drones program that is killing an unknown number of militants and civilians.  The story in the WSJ also says that Pakistan’s Inter – Services Intelligence agency, ISI, is currently doing most of the intelligence gathering and that CIA chief Leon Panetta has called them “very cooperative.”

Wall Street Journal:


The Obama administration has been ramping up pressure on Islamabad in recent weeks to attack militants after months of publicly praising Pakistani efforts. The CIA has intensified drone strikes in Pakistan, and the military in Afghanistan has carried out cross-border helicopter raids, underlining U.S. doubts Islamabad can be relied upon to be more aggressive. Officials have even said they were going to stop asking for Pakistani help with the U.S.’s most difficult adversary in the region, the North Waziristan-based Haqqani network, because it was unproductive.

Pakistani officials believe the CIA is better able to keep details of its operations largely out of the public eye, although the agency’s drone program has received widespread attention and is enormously unpopular with the Pakistani public.

U.S. military forces on the ground remain a red line for Islamabad. A senior Pakistani official said if the Pakistan public became aware of U.S. military forces conducting combat operations on Pakistani territory, it would wipe out popular support for fighting the militants in the tribal areas. Whether covert CIA forces would cross that line however, remains an open question.

Back in July, the public relationship wasn’t so cozy.

HuffPo, 7/6/10


…. but the US – Pakistan relationship is at the heart of Washington’s counterterrorism efforts.

But the CIA became so concerned by a rash of cases involving suspected double agents in 2009, it re-examined the spies it had on the payroll in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The internal investigation revealed about a dozen double agents, stretching back several years. Most of them were being run by Pakistan. Other cases were deemed suspicious. The CIA determined the efforts were part of an official offensive counterintelligence program being run by Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI’s spy chief.

Recruiting agents to track down and kill terrorists and militants is a top priority for the CIA, and one of the clandestine service’s greatest challenges. The drones can’t hit their targets without help finding them. Such efforts would be impossible without Pakistan’s blessing, and the U.S. pays about $3 billion a year in military and economic aid to keep the country stable and cooperative.

Pakistan has its own worries about the Americans. During the first term of the Bush administration, Pakistan became enraged after it shared intelligence with the U.S., only to learn the CIA station chief passed that information to the British. The incident caused a serious row, one that threatened the CIA’s relationship with the ISI and deepened the levels of distrust between the two sides. Pakistan almost threw the CIA station chief out of the country.

July 2010 – HuffPo says 8 years after the war in Afghanistan, a very poor and not very large country, was not going so well, the Obama administration finally became “concerned” about their intelligence partners in the region.   Three months after the first batch of wikileaks were released,  April 5, 2010.    

Sep 19

Pressure Mounts For Moderate Republicans To Support the DREAM Act

Originally posted on Citizen Orange.

Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) is starting to feel the heat of pro-migrant voters, specifically Latino voters. Tonight, Univision will air a debate in which current Florida governor and U.S. Senate nominee Charlie Crist will come out in support of the DREAM Act.  The day before yesterday, Representive Kendrick Meek (D-FL), and also a nominee for U.S. Senate, hand delivered a letter to LeMieux.  This part of Meek’s letter says it all:

Sep 08

Orszag & Gibbs Have A Bridge In Brooklyn They’d Like To Sell You- On Spec

Peter Orszag, the former White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), now a “Distinguished Visiting Fellow” at the   “Council of Foreign Relations,” launched his debut in the New York Times yesterday.  

Orszag’s found a cure for his personal employment prospects:  put himself out for hire to continue the Bush Years deficit spending.

In typical neocon- liberal fashion, he admits there is a problem, and them offers a “compromise” which is supposed to be a concession, which actually does not nothing but continue the current status quo, because it doesn’t really happen.  Orszag writes:


” Yet no one wants to make an already stagnating jobs market worse over the next year or two, which is exactly what would happen if the cuts expire as planned.  Higher taxes now would crimp consumer spending, further depressing the already inadequate demand for what firms are capable of producing at full tilt. ”


” …. extend the tax cuts for two years, and then end them altogether.  Ideally, only the middle class tax cuts would be continued for now.

Getting a deal in Congress, though, may require keeping the the high income tax cuts, too. And that would still be worth it. ”

On consumer demand, they spend on shelter/utilities and food and then transportation, clothes, and finally luxury goods.  Shelter- we have a housing glut, and don’t need to produce any in the immediate future.  Food- no shortages yet, thankfully, only HUNGER, aka “food insecurity,” whereby the millions of jobless and underemployed are relying on food stamps, food banks, and charities to feed themselves and the school lunch program to feed the kids.  Transportation, ie gasoline prices, are not spiking, but public transportation maintenance is lagging, and even the interstates are literally crumbling in hard hit states, such as CA.  Manufacturing for clothing and consumer goods for things like appliances and electronics, we outsourced overseas in the name of stockholder’s profits.  

Aug 02

Afghan War Logs: what did we learn?

The subject title is the one from a Guardian report one of the participants in the Wikileaks document dump and explanations of.

In this first blockquote, and if in the U.S., think of all that you’ve read or especially heard since the three outlets, the Guardian where this comes from being one, helped bring out what the online Wikileaks had obtained and posted simultaneously.

One disappointed paper deliberately provided the Taliban with a to-do list: it drew their attention to specific Wikileaks documents they might inspect in order to take reprisals. The low point was perhaps reached by Channel 4 News, which respectfully quoted a “spokesman” for the bearded murderers, as he uttered promises of revenge on alleged informants. It felt like PR for the Taliban.

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