True to his billionaire plutocrat roots, Bloomberg blames the victims today

Cross Post from IfLizWereQueen

Here’s a pie for Bloomberg’s Pie Hole!

In his weekly radio show today (Friday Sept 30, 2011) Bloomberg, a former Wall Street worker himself, said the financial industry is not solely responsible for the crippling economic crisis. “We always tend to blame the wrong people. [And who should we blame Bloomberg?  the poor?]   We blame the banks. They were part of this, but so was Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae  and Congress and you and me and everybody,” said Bloomberg.


IfLizWereQueen Comments

How unoriginal.  Bloomberg is pulling the same baloney that millionaires in Congress pulled about a month ago talking along the lines of “shared blame” and  ”shared sacrifice”. In March 2009, Forbes reported Michael Bloomberg’s wealth at $16 billion, a gain of $4.5 billion over the previous year, enjoying the world’s biggest increase in wealth in 2009–all at a time when 77% of the American people are living from paycheck to paycheck. And Bloomberg has the nerve to talk about “blaming the wrong people?”

In 2008, 50,000 Americans who worked for Bear Stearns lost their jobs and their pension in less than a week–all because of games that other Wall Street vultures such as Goldman Sachs were playing.  The leaders of Wall Street, like the leaders of Congress, are vicious cutthroats who don’t give a damn about the majority of Americans–those of us who earn under $100,000 a year.  In fact most of them are psychopaths who don’t even give a damn for their own kind.  They eat each other.  Bernie Madoff is another perfect example of their willingness to even devour their own fellow plutocrats.  Why the heck would we think they would hesitate with us?  Wall Street is nothing more than an evil carnival for the rich, a multilevel marketing scheme.  It should be totally torn down.

The general public need to be better educated on Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae.  These two institution are about as “government run” as the Federal Reserve.  The way they operate is as quasi government/private institutions.  The private investors get all the profit and the taxpayer get to take care of any cost or loss.  And that arrangement fairly well sums up how all privatized institutions work.

Let’s make a Clean Sweep for Democracy in 2012 and replace the entire House of Representatives with people from the majority.  Then in 2014 we can go after the Senate.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Fairy Tale

Tariffs:The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Fairy Tale

Once again, it’s necessary to debunk the Globalist fairy tales about the “damage” caused by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. Below is a copy of U.S. GDP from 1929 through 1939. These are official government figures from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

Below is a copy of the chart that has key numbers underlined. The Trade Balance has been underlined in Red. Exports have been underlined in Blue. Imports have been underlined in Orange.

** Note on the above referenced charts: The 1929 Trade balance is listed as +$0.4 billion. This is a MISTAKE. It should be +$0.3 billion. Subtracting the $5.6 billion in imports from the $5.9 billion in exports gives a difference of +$0.3 billion, not +$0.4 billion.

Notice that there is a slight decline in both exports and imports by the end of 1930. The trade balance remained around 0 during the entire time. Exports bottomed in 1932 — 2 years before any revision or modification of Smoot-Hawley occurred.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was signed into law on June 17, 1930, and raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods. Legislation was passed in 1934 that weakened the effect of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. In effect, the 1934 legislation functionally repealed Smoot-Hawley. Thus, the effects of Smoot-Hawley cover only the period between June 17, 1930, and 1934. This is the time frame that should be focused on.

So in reviewing the chart, what evidence is there that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff “hurt” the economy?? Is there any evidence at all?

No, there is practically NO evidence that Smoot-Hawley hurt our economy.

The US was already in a Depression when Smoot-Hawley was enacted. Prior to Smoot-Hawley, the 1929 Trade Surplus was +0.38% of our GDP. In other words, it contributed less than 1/200th to our economy.

What happens if we focus on exports alone? Exports were $5.9 billion in 1929, and had declined to $2.0 billion in 1933, for a -$3.9 billion decline. This $3.9 billion decline was roughly 3.8% of our 1929 GDP, which had already declined by a whopping 46% over the same period of time. Thus, of the -46% GDP decline, only 3.8% of it was due to a fall in exports.

But the effects on trade must also include the reduction in Imports, which ADDS to GDP. (A decline in imports increases GDP). If the import decline is added back to the GDP total (to measure the net trade balance), the “loss” becomes only -$0.2 billion from our GDP — or less than ½ of 1% of the total GDP decline.

In other words, the document-able “loss” from the Smoot-Hawley Tariff — the “net export” loss — contributed less than ½ of 1% of our our -46% GDP decline. Overall, the Smoot Hawley Tariff caused almost 0 damage to our economy during the Depression.

To put this in better perspective, let’s compare all the GDP components together:

1929 …………………………………………………. 1933

GDP $103.6 billion———————>$56.4 billion ( decreased -$47.2 billion)
Consum. Expend $77.4 bil———-> $45.9 billion ( decreased -$31.5 bill)
Private Invest $16.5 bil————–> $1.7 billion ( decreased -$14.8 billion)
*Trade Balance +$0.3 bil————>+$0.1 billion ( decreased -$0.2 billion)
Exports $5.9 billion——————–> $2.0 billion ( decreased -$3.9 billion)
Imports $5.6 billion——————–> $1.9 billion ( decreased -$3.7 billion)

Again, to re-emphasize, how much difference to US GDP did the export loss make? The Trade Balance worsened by only -$0.2 billion, or about 0.19% of our 1929 GDP ( or less than 1/5th of 1% of 1929 GDP). Meanwhile, our total GDP decreased a whopping -46% (or $47.2 billion).

How much effect did a 1/5th of 1% loss of GDP have on the Great Depression, especially when spread over a 4-year period?

Again, where’s all the “damage” that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff caused?? (Was it was all in “off-balance sheet” accounts?)

From the actual statistics, the true “harm” caused by the Smoot-Hawley is completely fictional. The harmful effects exist only in the minds of self-serving Globalist propagandists, who hope no one will actually check the facts, and expose their disingenuous attempts to re-write history.

Based on available statistics, Smoot-Hawley had almost NO effect on the Great Depression. At the very most, caused a -3.8% decline in GDP from loss of exports. But factoring in the GDP increase from a decline in imports, it caused less than 1% of the GDP decline.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff did not cause the Great Depression, nor did it worsen it or extend it. Claims to the contrary are not only false, but easily refutable. The evidence to disprove those claims is abundant, overwhelming, and freely available to the public.

The Smoot-Hawley myth needs to be put to rest, once and for all. The claim that it worsened the Great Depression is nothing but a fairy tale.

Economic Populist Forum

Don’t Overrate Barack Obama’s Campaign

In the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain ran the better campaign.

This statement goes strongly against conventional wisdom. After all, President Barack Obama’s campaign is widely praised by the media for its masterful turn-out operation and other achievements. This is, of course, because Mr. Obama won the election. Winning candidates, by definition, are almost always considered to have run the better campaign. (Quick: name a losing politician who ran a better campaign than his opponent.)

In fact there were two things that propelled Mr. Obama to victory in 2008, and neither of them had to do with his campaign apparatus. The first was the political environment. Mr. Obama had the fortune of running after a two-term unpopular Republican administration. He did this, moreover, in the midst of a financial meltdown for which blame went to said administration. It’s hard to lose an election under those circumstances.

Secondly, Mr. Obama was a more attractive candidate than Mr. McCain. He was younger, he looked better on camera, he gave much better speeches. Mr. Obama had a magnetism that could attract crowds numbering greater than 100,000. His opponent simply didn’t have that.

But Mr. Obama’s campaign itself wasn’t actually that amazing. It was a fairly conservative operation that took things very safe. The campaign tried to be very cautious, avoiding any risky and exciting maneuvers. This happened under the principle that the senator probably was going to win anyways – so a boring, conventional campaign was much safer than a risky, unconventional one. It’s hard to fault his operation for this conclusion, because Mr. Obama did in fact win.

It was Senator John McCain’s campaign that took risks and made headlines. In many ways his campaign was better than Mr. Obama’s. It won more of the daily media battles until the financial crisis – and there was nothing it could really do about that. It ran better ads. How many Obama ads do you remember, for instance? What about McCain ads? I bet a lot of people remember this one.

Mr. McCain’s campaign also made the more memorable moves. It selected an unforgettable Vice Presidential nominee (in contrast, Mr. Obama once again took the safe route in picking Senator Joe Biden). It famously promised to suspend its campaign in the midst of the financial meltdown. Some of these moves worked; some of them didn’t. But they were very rational moves to take; there was simply no way Mr. McCain could have won in 2008 without taking enormous, risky gambles.

Mr. Obama’s campaign is widely credited for bringing many young and African-American voters to the polls who otherwise wouldn’t have shown up. But those voters came not because of the campaign, but because of Mr. Obama himself. If the entire campaign operation had remained the same, but Senator Barack Obama had been replaced by Senator John Kerry, how many of those people would have shown up?

The moral of this analysis is not to overrate the Obama campaign. There was a Democratic wave in 2008, and Mr. Obama’s campaign deserves credit for riding that wave with the help of a very gifted politician. But to say that ”Obama put together one of the most impressive campaign operations of all time” is a big exaggeration.



Late Night FDL: The GOP Pre-Primary Hazing Ritual, Continued

(photo: mr. rollers)

The way the Republican Party keeps shuffling through front-runners for its 2012 presidential nomination, you almost start to wonder if these folks aren’t firm advocates of recycling after all.

Disposability is certainly something they have down pat.  Only four months ago, I wrote in this space needling the GOP White House contenders for coming across “like the revolving ducks in a shooting gallery.” And that was before the ephemeral rise and collapse of Michele Bachmann, soon to be followed by emergence and (apparently, if still in progress) decline of Rick Perry — which in turn has led previously reluctant pols like New Jersey’s Chris Christie to, um, weigh getting into the race.

Like other observers before me, I noted in that post the difficulties posed by the radicalization of the Republican base (“a group with more collective resentments than common sense”).  But it’s worth mentioning that the GOP electorate was similarly fickle four years ago, when it wasn’t nearly as cuckoo-bananas as it is now.

John McCain, the eventual party nominee, seemed washed up at this stage of the 2008 race, dropping in polls and running low on money.  But as each of his opponents took turns as the seeming front-runner, they suffered from the increased public scrutiny and faded as well — until Republican primary voters, having rejected all of the candidates as implausible, found themselves reaching back into the discard pile for McCain.

Why is it happening again?  If you get the impression that there’s something inherent about Republican party politics that makes being new and untested a plus and sustained public exposure a problem, you’re on the right track.

Ever since Ronald Reagan showed them the way, success as a GOP presidential candidate has been defined by the ability to present the public with a bland, unthreatening face that effectively hides the party’s underlying cruel policy agenda. (more…)

‘The President’s Equality Address’ – tune in for live coverage on OutQ News; plus advice for Barack Obama…

There’s been a lot of speculation about what the President will say at this year’s Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in DC. It’s his second time around speaking before the largest LGBT rights group, and you can hear analysis of his speech on SiriusXM OutQ by some familiar voices…

SiriusXM OutQ News will have live special coverage of President Barack Obama’s keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner in Washington, D.C., this Saturday, October 1, at 7pm ET.

Morning anchor Xorje Olivares will report live from the Washington Convention Center for immediate reactions to the president’s speech and will be live-tweeting during the event. Meanwhile, OutQ News Director Tim Curran will be at SiriusXM’s headquarters in New York talking to progressive LGBT bloggers Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend and Joe Jervis of JoeMyGod. Together they will offer an analysis of the president’s remarks, with an opportunity for you to call in and share your thoughts on his address as well.

Gay rights advocates are hoping President Obama will finally come out in full support of marriage equality–he has only said that his views are still ‘evolving.’ They would also like him to mention the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.

It’s almost certain that the president will address the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which became official on September 20th. He may also make note of the recent suicide death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, especially after pop icon Lady Gaga brought the issue of anti-gay bullying to his attention during a fundraising event last weekend.

OutQ News Reports: ‘The President’s Equality Address’ will begin at 7pm ET, shortly before the president is scheduled to speak. We invite you to participate in the conversation by calling us at 866-305-6887 or replying to us at @outqnews and @outq.

My advice for the President…

Not that he asked me for it…but in related news, Chris Geidner of MetroWeekly asked a few people in the movement, including your blogmistress, What Advice Would You Give Obama? as he plans to address this particular crowd. Here’s my two cents if you’re reading Mr. President:

It will be a celebratory evening for you before the audience at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner; it will be a time to revisit the accomplishments to date. The crowning jewel, of course, is presiding over the fall of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It was a rocky road to get to this place, but in the end, the myriad strategies — from the White House to Congress and the Pentagon, to the grassroots and Netroots — made this happen. Acknowledging that before the well-heeled LGBT establishment on Saturday will go a long way toward future equality accomplishments.

Also, think hard about the message you choose to send as the cultural storms over marriage and equal rights under the law are brewing in the state your party chose to host the Democratic National Convention – North Carolina. It is a state without any employment protections for LGBT workers at a time when jobs are a priority; it is a state that faces a vote on the civil rights of a minority based on political and religion-based bigotry. Corporations in the state, as well as politicians wary of being vocal will be guided by your choice — to speak out publicly, on camera — or to remain silent as millions of dollars pour in from anti-gay forces to ensure that lesbian and gay couples face even more restricted civil rights.

There will be buzz in the air on Saturday about whether you’ve “evolved” on your position regarding marriage equality since you are in Washington, DC, where it now exists. However, be mindful that you are being feted by a small demographic slice of the LGBT pie, by a group of people whose equality priorities may differ greatly from those who don’t have the same level access, resources or political power. Speak not only to those LGBTs present in the room, but to the many out there still seeking the most basic civil rights and protections in more hostile parts of the country.

Chris also has statements from Barbra Siperstein, the first out transgender person on the Democatic National Committee executive committee; Calvin Stowell, a young activist who made a splash with his “It Gets Better” video on YouTube; and Blend barista and Daily Kos blogger Scott Wooledge, one of those arrested at the White House, protesting Obama and calling for more action on ending DADT.

Did someone inside the Beltway hear me? [LOL.]

I’m not sure if this bodes well for those of in states facing amendments, but the HRC, given it probably knows what is in the President’s speech, is showing its hand, stating through President Joe Somonese that it expects Barack Obama to make clear statementson Saturday about the discrimination amendments that are on the ballot in 2012. (ABC’s Political Punch):

[W]ith a coming election in which Obama’s name will appear on the ballot alongside the same-sex marriage question in at least three battleground states, advocates are now pressing the president to use the spotlight and his campaign’s ground operations to help lobby for their cause.

“One thing that would be incredibly helpful would be for the president and the administration to look out across the electoral landscape next year, understand where it is that we’re engaged in marriage fights – whether overturning the ban in Oregon, or fighting a ban in Minnesota or North Carolina – and have something to say about that,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian rights group, in an interview with ABC News.

I think that will be important, particularly in North Carolina, where the legislature just passed a bill that would put a marriage ban on the ballot next year and where the president will find himself for the Democratic National Convention,” he said.

I’m glad to hear this (even if it’s only rumorville), because it’s been made pretty clear to me in several circles to date (readers, donors, movement leaders) that flyover states where the fights are defensive aren’t seen attractive or desirable to address  with people or resources (or cover in detail), but the focus should be on  playing offense (obtaining marriage equality where it’s close, defending it where it is in place). Should the President publicly signal that his attention is on LGBT equality — and stopping bigotry where it has legislatively arisen — I have no doubt that will make a difference in bringing companies and fence-sitters into the game. Fingers are crossed.

For a great take on what the President could accomplish in bold strokes, check out Kerry Eleveld’s “It’s Time for Obama to Advance Equality in the Workplace.”

Watercooler: I See Your Ceiling Cat, And Raise You…

…Gypsy Acrobat Cat.

And a pretty good Gypsy band too:

Ta da!

Now if all these damn cats on the internets would just admit they can play gypsy music, and form a band, and admit they know the circus backwards and forwards, they could leave all these pesky humans OUT of the scenario and just have total cat performance, but, nooooo, they have to be all mysterious and stuff.


QNotes interview with NC Sen. James Forrester: ‘Homosexuals are out to discredit me

I don’t know how Matt Comer of QNotes kept his composure on the phone with anti-gay NC marriage amendment sponsor James Forrester, who is now playing the victim after he was busted on the Blend this week for misrepresenting his professional credentials.

As expected, now Forrester is claiming to be a victim of TEH HOMO AGENDA. Who knew that asking an elected official to answer questions directly related to the credibility of his public statements and policy positions  is an undue burden. Did he just fall off of the turnip truck? Call the Waaambulance and pull out the tiny violin for this statement from Forrester:

“What has happened is the gay community — the homosexuals don’t like the bill that I pushed through the General Assembly,” Forrester told qnotes via phone. “They don’t like the bill. They are trying to kill the messenger. They are working to discredit me but they can’t.”

Forrester added, “If I put anything on my resume that is false, I’ll certainly change it.”

Any mistakes, Forrester said, were “inadvertent.”

“I don’t need to make up credentials; I have enough of them already,” he said. “The gay community is just trying to dig up anything bad about me to discredit me and discredit the bill. I wish they’d quit sending such hate mail and the terrible phone calls I’m getting from them.”

Forrester has two choices – he deliberately chose to misrepresent his credentials, or to say he just wasn’t so befuddled he couldn’t keep his credentials, ahem, straight.

Forrester also said he had already changed his resumes to list “former” affiliations with groups like the American College of Preventive Medicine, though mentions of the groups remain unedited on his resume at his personal campaign site and at a web page on the Gaston County Republican Party’s website. In each instance, Forrester’s citations seem to indicate a current and active affiliation with various groups.

Well I hope Forrester is ready for round 2; Scott Rose has a follow-up report on the veracity of some of the Senator’s specific anti-gay statements that he keeps spewing in articles and on the air.

Won’t SOMEONE Please Think of the Dictators?

Michele Bachmann really is the Energizer Bunny of crazy.  Fresh off of her scaremongering about how Hezbollah is going to use Cuba as some kind of launch platform to shoot terrorist missiles at the US, she is now blaming Barack Obama for the Arab Spring.  I repeat, blaming.

You want to know why we have Arab Spring?  Barack Obama has laid the table for the Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America.

Oh noes!  Obama must be stopped while we still have some tyrants left!  We’ve already lost Qaddafi; if we lose Assad the terrorists will have won!

Not only does Bachmann think the democratic overthrow of dictators is a bad thing, but that it’s a bad thing Obama is somehow responsible for.  True, he did have a hand in Qaddafi’s downfall, but “weakness” isn’t exactly the word I would choose there… unless you think the US should have participated harder.

Instead of at least pretending that the US is some kind of global beacon and promoter of democracy, Michele Bachmann is arguing that the President Of The United States needs to back dictators up when they squash freedom and dissent.  Because where we looked at Tahrir Square and saw oppressed people hungry for freedom, she saw only terrorist jihadis plotting to turn Egypt into a giant al Qaeda cell.

In a way, I kind of wish Bachmann was right about Obama causing the Arab Spring.  It’d be the only time his fecklessness ever resulted in a net increase in democracy.

The Party Line – September 30, 2011: No Will, No Way: Nuclear Problems Persist, But US Fails to Seize Fukushima Moment

As September drew to a close, residents of southwest Michigan found themselves taking in a little extra tritium, thanks to their daily habit of breathing (h/t emptywheel). The tritium was courtesy of the 40-year-old Palisades Nuclear Generating Station in Covert Township, which suffered its third “event” (as they are politely called) in less than two months, and was forced to vent an indeterminate amount of radioactive steam.

The reactor at Palisades was forced to scram after an accident caused an electrical arc in a transformer in the DC system that powers “indications and controls“–also known as monitoring devices, meters and safety valves. (Transformer arcs seem to be “in” this season–it was a transformer arc that caused the Calvert Cliffs plant in Maryland to scram during Hurricane Irene.)

While it is nice to see rectors shut themselves down when a vital system goes offline, remember that “turning off” a fission reactor is not like flicking a light switch. Shutting down a reactor is a process, and the faster it is done, the more strain it puts on the reactor and its safety and cooling systems. And even after fission is mitigated, a reactor core generates heat that requires a fully functional cooling system.

Which is kind of an interesting point when considering that Palisades had just been restarted after completing repairs to a breach in the cooling system that was reported to be leaking more than 10 gallons per minute. Prior to that, a “special inspection” was ordered August 9 after a pipe coupling in the plant’s cooling system failed.  [cont’d.] (more…)