Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To My Sunny Day Dem Friends

You keep telling me I shouldn't criticize President Obama; he's the master chess player -- wooing the independents and moderate Republicans by demonstrating what a fair and bi-partisan guy he is.

"And besides, Bob, he has your vote, where else are you going to go? Why should he do anything progressive"

Well guess what, my Pollyanna-politico friends. It isn't working.

Per the latest Gallup poll, Obama’s approval rating has dropped across the board, most — 10 percentage points, from 40% to 30% — among pure independents.

And nearly as much — eight points — among moderate/liberal Republicans, from 29% to 21%. [Gallup poll]

They don't say why - apparently they don't ask that question.

Maybe its because the economy hasn't completely turned around quickly enough for impatient Americans?

But maybe it's because, more and more, he is seen as an ineffectual leader, always willing to compromise and to compromise far to the right of what most people want, never willing to actually fight for anything.

(I guess you need a comfortable pair of shoes to fight for stuff and he seems to have lost his in the move to the White House.)

Whatever it is, he isn't accomplishing the goal you say he is reaching for.

So, should he keep on pursuing an unsuccessful strategy?

Or become the leader we elected him to be?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

OWS Costs In Perspective

The relative sizes of some current economic facts:

It has been said that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have cost cities $13 million dollars. That's a lot of money. (Of course, one can ask whether the massive police reactions to OWS were necessary and thus whether that 13 million was necessary, but, OK, let's accept the $13 million figure.)

Let's picture that $13 million as filling the standard size bed of my Ford F150 pickup.

The direct losses from Wall Street's unregulated speculation in the toxic sub-prime CDOs were about $9 billion.

Based on my F150 scale, that $9 billion would fill about 6 ½ standard highway sized tractor-trailers (with a 53' trailer.)

And corporations in the US have about $2 trillion in savings, which is money not spent on jobs and production and business activities.

Based on my F150 scale, that $2 trillion would fill about 1,450 standard highway sized tractor-trailers .

Bumper to bumper, that's about 20 miles of 18 wheelers hauling that $2 trillion dollars out of our nation's economic activity.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Free Markets and Consequences

The term "free markets" means markets and commercial activities with few or no restrictions.

What human activity doesn't end in tragedy when human impulses are left unrestrained? (Whether you view it in terms of "original sin," human nature, or karma, unrestrained human impulses can be catastrophic.)

The US and world financial markets became ever "freer" under the policies and practices of (i) libertarian Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve and (ii) the GOP controlled US government during Bush II's first administration. (Not to mention the whole Reagan Revolution thing.)

Who thinks the crash of 2008 was just something that happened without cause?

Let's face it: Derivatives (and their rating scheme) operated in almost a pure "free market."

Derivatives were the direct cause of the crash of 2008.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Real Voter Fraud

Should it take 3 Democratic voters in Ohio to equal 1 Republican voter?

The Ohio GOP has decided it should and that it's fair.

That it's fair to negate the votes of 25% of Ohio Voters. (Calculations below.)

Republican leaders love to shout about "voter fraud." Yes, a vote cast by an ineligible person is a type of voter fraud. (After an intensive 5 year investigation, the Bush II administration found about 120 cases nationwide worth prosecuting. And one would assume half would vote for one party and half for the other – unless you assume that all single-vote fraudsters would vote for just one party....)

But also: denying an effective vote to an eligible person is another type of voter fraud.

Gerrymandering - the drawing of districts to favor one party over another is being taken to extremes by the GOP in Ohio.

Ohio is a swing state, sometimes going Democratic, sometime Republican. It is, in essence, split 50% Republican, 50% Democrat.

So it's 16 Congressional house memebers shoud be roughly split 50%/50%, right?

The GOP dominated legislature has redrawn district maps for the 16 Ohio Congressional districts in such a way as to almost ensure there will be a 12 Republican to 4 Democrat split in our House delegation.

In 2008, 5,607,879 people voted for president in Ohio. So let's say there are 2,803,939 Republican voters and the same number of Democrat voters. (Yes, this is an over-simplification, but we're talking averages here.)

There are 350,492 people per district. Through the extreme redistricting of the GOP, Democrats in 4 districts (the 8 expected by the averages minus the 4 lost through the extreme gerrymandering) are being denied representation.

That's 1,401,968 voters being denied an effective vote - 1.4 million cases of overt voter fraud. Brought to us by the Ohio GOP's extreme redistricting.