Monday, September 6, 2010

Last Call

General Petraeus has stepped into the fray on Quran burning for 9/11.
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.
The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, plans to mark the anniversary of al Qaeda's September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington by burning copies of the Muslim holy book. The church insists the event is "neither an act of love nor of hate," but a warning against what it calls the threats posed by Islam.
The event has drawn criticism from Muslims in the United States and overseas, with thousands of Indonesians gathering outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday to protest the planned Quran burning. 
"The burning is not only an insult to the holy Quran, but an insult to Islam and Muslims around the world," said Muhammad Ismail, a spokesman for the hard-line Indonesian Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
But for an increasing number of Americans, that's perfectly fine.  That beast got loose some time ago and there's not a single Republican leader who has the ability to put it back in its cage.  They have to ride it to where it goes, or be trampled underneath.  They have no choice.

You, in November, do.  Remember that.

Obama The Roads Warrior

In Milwaukee today the President announced a $50 billion infrastructure program to build roads, rail, and runways.
"Today, I am announcing a new plan for rebuilding and modernizing America's roads, and rails and runways for the long term," said Obama, who spoke on Labor Day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin -- a state with competitive gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

"We used to have the best infrastructure in the world. We can have it again," he said to loud cheers from a crowd of union workers.

The proposal envisions -- over a six year period -- rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads, 4,000 miles of rail and 150 miles of airport runways. It also would include modernizing the nation's air traffic control system in an effort to reduce delays and travel time

"This will not only create jobs immediately. It's also going to make our economy hum over the long haul," said the president.

Obama hopes to work with Congress to enact an up-front investment of $50 billion -- an amount a White House statement said would represent a significant chunk of new spending on infrastructure.

The investment would then be paired with what the administration called a framework to improve transportation spending.
It'll be fun to watch the GOP block this, but I'm expecting the impact of that to be dulled if not destroyed by Democrats like Ben Nelson and Evan Bayh to turn against it, meaning there'll magically be "broad bipartisan opposition in Congress" to yet another of the President's programs.

Still, it's a necessary fight to have, especially since so many states are in the red that they can't do anything about extra building of roads and bridges right now.

Of course, since Republicans believe roads build themselves because government is incapable of ever doing anything useful, it'll be interesting to see what the excuse they use to kill this will be.  If the pattern holds what will finally get approved is about $2 billion in pothole repair.

The Kroog Versus The Annals Of History

It's not 2010 as 1994 or 1982, folks.  It's 2010 as 1938.
Here’s the situation: The U.S. economy has been crippled by a financial crisis. The president’s policies have limited the damage, but they were too cautious, and unemployment remains disastrously high. More action is clearly needed. Yet the public has soured on government activism, and seems poised to deal Democrats a severe defeat in the midterm elections.

The president in question is Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the year is 1938. Within a few years, of course, the Great Depression was over. But it’s both instructive and discouraging to look at the state of America circa 1938 — instructive because the nature of the recovery that followed refutes the arguments dominating today’s public debate, discouraging because it’s hard to see anything like the miracle of the 1940s happening again.

Now, we weren’t supposed to find ourselves replaying the late 1930s. President Obama’s economists promised not to repeat the mistakes of 1937, when F.D.R. pulled back fiscal stimulus too soon. But by making his program too small and too short-lived, Mr. Obama did just that: the stimulus raised growth while it lasted, but it made only a small dent in unemployment — and now it’s fading out.
It was a brutal year, 1938.  Democrats lost 70 seats in the House and seven in the Senate, and basically the only thing that got us out of that mess was fighting World War II.   I think about what would happen if the Republicans got in charge of things again and I'm thinking another one of those may not be too far off.  We had the only infrastructure game in town by the time it was all over, so we were able to pay off our debt by selling things to the countries that needed it, and that was everybody in Europe.

How will things play out this time?  Will we really need World War III to get us out of this hole?

Tax Cuts Uber Alles

The WaPo is reporting that later this week in Cleveland, the President will announce a $100 billion program to effectively make the business research and development tax credit from the stimulus permanent.
Under mounting pressure to intensify his focus on the economy ahead of the midterm elections, President Obama will call for a $100 billion business tax credit this week, using a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday to launch what administration officials said was a new policy push.

The business proposal - what one aide called a key part of a limited economic package - would increase and permanently extend research and development tax credits for businesses, rewarding companies that develop new technologies domestically and preserve American jobs.

It would be paid for by closing other corporate tax loopholes, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the policy has not yet been unveiled.

This is not the first time Obama has called for making the credit permanent. But with the economic recovery moving more slowly than the administration had hoped - and Democratic candidates nationwide panicking as the issue threatens their majorities in the House and Senate on Nov. 2 - he is increasingly eager to show he understands the depth of the problem and is trying to act. 
A Clintonian move if there ever was one.  The bad news:  actually helping the American people directly has now gone by the wayside.

The White House has decided to forgo a broad-based payroll-tax holiday at this point, officials have said. That proposal, which had been part of earlier discussions with key congressional officials, would have been an expensive measure, potentially costing hundreds of billions of dollars. It also could have deprived Social Security of needed cash even as Democrats are accusing the GOP of plotting the program's demise on the campaign trail. 

It also would have boosted America's paychecks directly, so there's no way the GOP was going to allow that to pass before an election and the Village has already given the GOP cover on this:  it may "deprive Social Security of needed cash".  That's cockamamie bull, considering that Social Security could have easily taken the hit for a couple of months.

But hey, the big Obama plan to save the Dems?  Tax cuts for businesses.  The GOP is already calling Obama out on this and are declaring that the real message is that tax cuts uber alles should have been the plan all along.  The actual real message is that the Republicans will attack Obama no matter what he does.

Shoulda swung for the fences, instead he lays down a bunt.  Forcing the GOP to vote against a payroill tax holiday that would have directly put money in America's paychecks would have been the wise thing to do.
Instead he's doing what the Republicans want now as a default position and they're pillaging him for it.

StupidiNews, Labor Day Edition

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