Michele Bachmann Attacks Challenger Anne Nolan, Occupy Wall Street

Michele Bachmann Attacks Challenger Anne Nolan, Occupy Wall Street.

Former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann sent a fundraising email Friday morning for her congressional re-election campaign in which she attacked her new opponent, Anne Nolan, a self-identified Occupy Wall Street supporter.

Bachmann’s email to supporters criticized the Occupy movement at large, describing it as a threat to conservative values. “By touting the values of Occupy Wall Street, my opponent clearly favors the opposite: a lazy handout culture where big government is king. This is the America that the left seeks to impose on the American people,” Bachmann wrote.

Nolan, an attorney in St. Cloud, Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party told the St. Cloud Times that the Occupy movement inspired her to enter the congressional race.

Rush Limbaugh Attacked President Obama For ‘Targeting’ Joseph Kony’s ‘Christian’ LRA

Rush Limbaugh Attacked President Obama For ‘Targeting’ Joseph Kony’s ‘Christian’ LRA.

The mainstream media has, thus far, ignored the intersection of the stars of this week’s two lava-hot news stories; the backlash against embattled conservative gabber Rush Limbaugh, and the viral news signal flare that is Kony 2012, the video that draws attention to the atrocities of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Just a few months ago, Rush Limbaugh was attacking President Obama for sending advisors to help take out Kony and his henchmen, before laughingly admitting he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Limbaugh characterized the mission as “a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda,” saying “Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians.  They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan.” 

CHART: How Public Sector Layoffs Are Holding Back The Recovery

That was the biggest mistake of all. The key to economy recovery is people being employed. The greatest stimulant to the economy should have been to prevent layoffs rather than having bailed out Wall St.  Some of those bonuses given to those whom almost destroyed the economy should have gone to pay public employees:

The current economic recovery is going well if one looks at private sector job creation. The pace of private sector job creation is slower than in the recovery from the early 1990s recession, but it’s about the same as it was during the economic recovery in the early 2000s. In the first two years of both the current and early 2000s recovery, employment grew by 3.7 percent.

But since early 2009, governments at all levels have shed nearly 700,000 jobs, most of them at the state and local level. Since August of 2008 state and local governments have shed a total of 647,000 workers, of which 64 percent, or 416,000, were women workers.

Source: Think Progress

U.S. trade deficit hits $52.6 billion in January, Record Imports

This is the only record the U.S. economy accomplishes anymore. Record debt and deficits:

The U.S. trade deficit surged to the widest imbalance in more than three years in January as imports hit an all-time high, reflecting big demand for foreign-made cars, computers and food products.

U.S. exports to Europe fell, raising concerns that the debt crisis in that region could dampen U.S. economic growth.

The Commerce Department says the January trade deficit widened to $52.6 billion, the biggest gap since October 2008. Imports rose 2.1% to a record $233.4 billion. Exports were up a smaller 1.4% to $180.8 billion. Exports to Europe fell 7.5%.

If you wonder what the relevance of this story is, trade deficits means the loss of American jobs:

The U.S.-China trade deficit has eliminated or displaced nearly 2.8 million U.S. jobs since 2001, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) briefing paper finds.  Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.8 million jobs between 2001 and 2010 by Robert Scott, EPI’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, finds that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico suffered jobs lost or displaced as a result of the growing U.S.-China trade deficit.

[…]Of the nearly 2.8 million jobs lost or displaced, 1.9 million of them were in manufacturing.  These jobs represent nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost between 2001 and 2010.  The largest share of manufacturing jobs lost or displaced were in computer and electronic parts, at 909,400 jobs, or 32% of all jobs lost or displaced.  Other hard-hit sectors of the manufacturing industry were apparel and accessories, textile fabrics and products, fabricated metal products, plastic and rubber products and motor vehicles and parts.  Service industries, including administrative, support and waste management services experienced significant job displacement.

Increases in U.S. exports tend to create jobs in the United States, and increases in imports tend to lead to job loss.  Thus, a growing trade deficit signifies growing job loss.  The trade deficit with China is exacerbated by the currency manipulation.  Because China has pegged its currency to the U.S. dollar instead of allowing it to fluctuate freely, the yuan has remained artificially low, effectively subsidizing Chinese exports and artificially raising the cost of U.S. exports.  U.S. goods are less competitive in China and in countries where U.S. exports compete with those from China.

The impact of the trade deficit with China extends beyond U.S. jobs lost or displaced.  Competition with China and countries like it has resulted in lower wages and less bargaining power for U.S. workers in manufacturing and for all workers with less than a four-year college degree.

EU officials: Sanctions against Syria are helping

EU officials: Sanctions against Syria are helping.

Sanctions against Syria appear to be working and defections by high-level officials show that President Bashar Assad’s regime is cracking, European leaders said Friday.

EU foreign ministers at an informal meeting in Copenhagen said they stood united against Assad’s bloody crackdown, which the U.N. says has left more than 7,500 people dead, but appealed to Russia and China to condemn the regime’s actions.


Obama, GOP governors share many views on education

Don’t tell that Obama’s gullible supporters on the left:

A funny thing is happening between President Barack Obama and many Republican governors when it comes to improving America’s schools: They are mostly getting along.

After Obama spoke recently to the nation’s governors, Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal publicly praised the administration’s efforts on education, and Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said there was a lot of room for “common agreement” on fixing schools. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, another Republican, introduced Obama in September at the White House before the president announced that states could be freed from stringent rules under the No Child Left Behind law if they met certain conditions.

GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels freely credits Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan for helping to pave the way for a “tectonic” shift in education, including comprehensive law changes passed in his home state of Indiana last year that include the rigorous use of teacher evaluations and one of the nation’s most expansive uses of vouchers to help parents send children to private schools.

Paul Krugman would be surprised to learn Obama has similar views to the Republicans on education:

But now one of our two major political parties has taken a hard right turn against education, or at least against education that working Americans can afford. Remarkably, this new hostility to education is shared by the social conservative and economic conservative wings of the Republican coalition, now embodied in the persons of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.

And this comes at a time when American education is already in deep trouble.

[…]For the past couple of generations, choosing a less expensive school has generally meant going to a public university rather than a private university. But these days, public higher education is very much under siege, facing even harsher budget cuts than the rest of the public sector. Adjusted for inflation, state support for higher education has fallen 12 percent over the past five years, even as the number of students has continued to rise; in California, support is down by 20 percent.

One result has been soaring fees. Inflation-adjusted tuition at public four-year colleges has risen by more than 70 percent over the past decade. So good luck on finding that college “that has a little lower price.”

Obama hides dirty laundry of Fannie, Freddie

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How is this any different than under Bush when it comes to transparency:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t originate mortgages, but they end up owning most of them because they buy them and then resell them as securities, which are “guaranteed” by the government.

That guarantee is possible because Fannie and Freddie both began as “government-sponsored enterprises.” Both were taken over by the federal government at the height of the Great Recession of 2008 after housing prices fell, millions of mortgages went into foreclosure, and home sales fell into a downward spiral that continues to this day. Since the takeover, taxpayers have shelled out in excess of $152 billion to keep Fannie and Freddie afloat. Just last month, Fannie Mae said it would need another $4.6 billion in federal aid after posting a fourth-quarter 2011 loss of more than $2.4 billion.

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Feds Pay $10 Million for $50 Light Bulb

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That’s how you get Trillion dollar deficits:

In 2007, when Congress passed legislation that would gradually ban old school incandescent light bulbs, they added a carrot to the pile of sticks: A $10 million dollar prize to encourage the development of a cheap, green, domestic light bulb to replace the dearly departed Edison model.

Five years later, that bulb is coming to a hardware store near you. It will cost you 50 bucks. It also fails to meet many of the original prize specifications. The winner, Dutch electronics company Philips, was the one and only entrant, suggesting that the prize failed to stimulate widespread additional private spending on R&D. The portion of the LED bulb made in America is less than initially envisioned. And the guidelines for pricing were utterly ignored: The goal was $22 price tag in the first year, falling rapidly to $8 by year three.

Meanwhile, a lot has happened in those five years. Americans are (perhaps grudgingly) adopting new light bulb technologies; experimenting with CFLs, halogens, and LEDs. The florescence of options was partially due to the fact that the relevant technologies reached a natural tipping point, partially due to the increasing cost of energy, and partially a response to the impending ban. (The end of the 100-watt incandescent was targeted for this year, with lesser wattages slated to fall victim on subsequent New Year’s Days.) In other words, in the time that elapsed between conception and delivery the prize has become perfectly irrelevant.

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China has a Trade Deficit, But not with the U.S.

China has a Trade Deficit, But not with the U.S.

China reported its biggest monthly trade deficit in at least a decade in February as imports rebounded after a Lunar New Year holiday slowdown, but a broader measure showed global and Chinese demand both weakening.

[…]Exports to the 27-nation European Union contracted by 1.1 percent in February from a year earlier to $19.4 billion, the General Administration of Customs of China reported. China’s trade surplus with Europe contracted by 79 percent to $1.6 billion.

Despite the surge in imports, China’s politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States rose by 1 percent to $8.1 billion.

See The Racist Email About Obama Sent Out By A Federal Judge

Source: Mother Jones

The Great Falls Tribune reported Wednesday that Richard Cebull, a George W. Bush-appointed federal judge in Montana, sent a racist joke about President Barack Obama from his official email account. Even as far as racist jokes go, the dig is mightily unclever—the punchline contains an implied comparison between black people and dogs.

Josh Glasstetter at Right Wing Watch has obtained an image of the email, which he writes has been going around the Internet around for months. It resembles a cheesy greeting card….

Your Share of Fannie, Freddie Losses: $1,300


Fannie Mae said Wednesday it lost $2.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2011 and $16.9 billion for the full year.

It has had worse years, remarkably. Fannie lost about $60 billion in 2008 and $72 billion the following year–two of the 10 largest corporate losses ever. Sibling Freddie Mac is responsible for a third, a $51 billion loss in 2008.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938 to promote home ownership by making federal funds available to lenders. In the 1950s and 1960s, it transformed into a profit-seeking corporation, with the goal of purchasing mortgages and selling them to investors, thereby replenishing funds to banks for fresh loans. Freddie Mac was created in 1970 to spur competition.

Recent losses for both agencies stem from the U.S. housing bubble that peaked in 2006. House prices fell nationwide by more than one-third since mid-2006 by one measure, the S&P/Case-Shiller index. Price changes vary by market, but for the country as a whole, homeowners erased the gains made since 2003.

100 Iraq Veterans Invited to the White House. No Parade

100 Veterans get invited to the White House for dinner. That’s it? Thousands died fighting a war started under false pretenses. And this is the gratitude they get. I would rather hear the President call for a special monument for the those who fought in Iraq, just as with other the Vietnam War. Then also a special bill to help all those who lost limbs, are suffering form PTSD, or can’t find work after coming home. One event involving 100 troops is a slap in the face for all those who fought for our country:

President Barack Obama hosted a dinner to salute soldiers recently back from Iraq — marking his first major tribute to the veterans since officially withdrawing all troops from the nation.

The White House said it invited more than 100 veterans and one guest each to the event Wednesday night, and a few veteran groups and Gold Star families.

“In the history of this house, there has never been a night quite like this,” Obama said. “This evening we welcome not the statesmen who decide great questions of war and peace, but citizens men and women from every corner of our country, from every rank of our military, every branch of our service, who answer the call, who go to war, who defend the peace.”

Touching upon veteran difficulties following the Vietnam War, Obama pledged to thank and honor the service of wartime veterans.
Obama salutes Iraq war veterans

“You succeeded in your mission,” Obama said. “In your resilience, we see the essence of America because we do not give up. All of you taught us a lesson about the character of our country.”

At the end of his 10 minute speech, the president raised a glass of water and toasted his guests.

“To the country we love, to the men and women who defend her, and to that faith — that fundamental American faith — that says no mission is too hard, no challenge is too great,” Obama said.

“Through tests and through trials, we don’t simply endure, we are stronger than before, knowing that America’s greatest days are still to come. And they are great because of you. Cheers.”

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Weather not Obama Deserve Credit for Economic Upturn

This reminds of the old joke about politicians taking credit for the sun coming up in the morning. Fundamentally the American economy is a basket case. But it still might be strong enough to get Obama re-elected. And that’s all he cares about:

Two-thirds of Wall Street economists say abnormally warm weather is making the U.S. economy look stronger than fundamentals would suggest, according to a survey released Thursday.

In a special question to the Blue Chip Financial Forecasts, 66% of those polled responded yes to a question asking “has unseasonably warm and dry winter weather in the U.S. led to an overstatement of the economy’s underlying strength in recent months.”

That weather has had an impact on recent economic data is pretty clear after the fourth-warmest January on record in the U.S.

For example, utilities output slumped 7.5% on a seasonally-adjusted year-on-year basis in January as consumers didn’t need to heat their homes as much. Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, says utilities usage is down about 10% on an annualized basis this quarter after a 12% drop last quarter.

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Poll: Republicans win enthusiasm contest

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We keep hearing that Republicans are dissatisfied with their choices in the primaries. Well it turns out both parties have problems with their voters:

Republicans are more excited to vote in the 2012 election than Democrats, according to a new survey.

The Gallup poll released Thursday showed 53% of registered Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP are enthusiastic about casting ballots in November, compared with 45% of Democrats who said the same.

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