Monday, December 29, 2014

Last Call For The Kroog's Look Back

Paul Krugman takes stock of the last six years, in inimitable Krugman fashion.

Suppose that for some reason you decided to start hitting yourself in the head, repeatedly, with a baseball bat. You’d feel pretty bad. Correspondingly, you’d probably feel a lot better if and when you finally stopped. What would that improvement in your condition tell you? 
It certainly wouldn’t imply that hitting yourself in the head was a good idea. It would, however, be an indication that the pain you were experiencing wasn’t a reflection of anything fundamentally wrong with your health. Your head wasn’t hurting because you were sick; it was hurting because you kept hitting it with that baseball bat. 
And now you understand the basics of what has been happening to several major economies, including the United States, over the past few years. In fact, you understand these basics better than many politicians and commentators.

The best part is we handed over the economy to the GOP so we can start bashing ourselves in the head some more, because two-thirds of us stayed home in November.

And yes, I'm going to keep harping on "two-thirds of us stayed home in November" until things change.  At some point, we've got to learn that if we don't vote, we get screwed.

The Joke's On Chuck

Pretty telling that Chuck Todd, his Meet The Press ratings even more dismal than that of his predecessor David Gregory, had a panel of political satire show comedians on Sunday, and ended up telling the hard truth about himself and his profession as a pundit.

During a panel discussion with about the popularity of political satire, Todd asserted that comedians may be guilty of fueling the public’s cynicism.

But comedian W. Kamau Bell argued that programs like The Daily Show gave viewers hope.

“You feel like I can laugh my way through this,” he pointed out. “I think that whenever they watch Jon Stewart or John Oliver, they feel like they are at least getting that person’s perspective. I don’t think people believe with the news, you know, you feel like you’re getting a corporation’s perspective.”

The Daily Show‘s Lewis Black said that it was unfair to blame comedy for cynicism when many Americans were even more angry than comedians.

I have watched you and everybody else,” he told Todd, “where somebody comes on, and I don’t know how you do it because I’d be barking at them.”

“We all sit there because we know the first time we bark is the last time we do the show,” Todd explained. “There’s something where all of the sudden nobody will come on your show

Let's think about this.  Todd, in his head, knows he's talking to crazy people, but politicians don't go on news shows to face tough questions, they go to get exposure of their political views and get them vindicated by softball nonsense.  Vindicated by people like Chuck Todd.

Can't ask the newsmakers the tough questions because otherwise you have no guests.  Instead, you get John McCain every third week or so.  And this is the dance that we watch every week.

Or well, fewer of us are watching every week, judging by Todd's rapidly crashing ratings.

Perhaps he should examine the state of his show.  You know, while he still has one.

The Longest War

The 13-year long nightmare that is our combat mission in Afghanistan is finally over.

President Barack Obama says the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.

Obama is welcoming the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. The war came to a formal end Sunday with a ceremony in Kabul.

Obama says in a statement that the effort has devastated al-Qaida's core leadership, brought justice to Osama bin Laden and disrupted terrorist plots. He says U.S. troops and diplomats have helped Afghans reclaim their communities and move toward democracy.

Obama is also honoring the more than 2,200 Americans who have died in Afghanistan since the war started 13 years ago. Obama says those years have tested the U.S. and its military.

From a peak 140,000 troops in 2010, the U.S. and NATO plan to leave just 13,500 behind.

Well, the "combat mission" part is over, not the war.   No, I don't blame Obama for this.  He didn't start this mess and he's doing what he can to end it.   His predecessor is another story, however.  Frankly, we never should have been there in the first place, and if Bush had done his job, we wouldn't have been sucked in for half a generation.

At least we're getting out.


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