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The New York Times on "austerity on autopilot":

Stocks on Wall Street dropped sharply on Thursday, with investors spooked, again, about the euro-zone debt crisis and the sputtering United States economy.

Yet, even at this hour, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic seem determined to handcuff fiscal policies — the main tools that can increase jobs, consumer demand and economic growth — with an unquestioning devotion to rigid austerity.

Stephen Stromberg on Michelle Bachmann's ridiculous pledge that she'll bring back gas under $2 a gallon:

Usually, politicians manifest their dishonesty on gas prices as mere hints, implications or vague predictions about being able to bring down gas prices, and they are sensible enough not to say by exactly how much. This is because none of them can really determine the world market price of oil, a commodity that every country demands in bulk and that America doesn’t control. Bachmann not only promised to drop gas prices below $2 a gallon — “that will happen,” she said — she also didn’t try to explain how she would do it.

But — wait! — Bachmann has a fact that apparently makes her case: “The day that the president became president gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look what it is today.”

President Obama also took office amid a massive global economic shock that reduced demand for oil across the world. Prices — and carbon emissions — were down because people were burning less fossil fuel, not because of some brilliant Bush-era low-gas-price policy, unless you consider “entering a punishing global recession” to be a policy.

And Domenico Montanaro debunks another crazy Bachmann claim:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) likened the federal government today to Enron.

"If you spend more than you earn, the sheriff comes to your door," she said, per NBC's Jamie Novogrod. And then added, "Ever heard of Enron before? You get shut down when you don't pay your bills."

Of course, this is inaccurate as a literal comparison.

First, this isn’t a Dickens novel. If you don’t pay your bills, you don’t go to debtor’s prison. The sheriff doesn’t come to your door, it’s more like letters and calls from collections agencies from guys who are more Romney than Rosco.

Second, Enron was defrauding its employees -- and its executives went to jail. By that logic, does Bachmann presume that the federal government is defrauding taxpayers and President Obama should go to jail?

When pressed further, however, Bachmann -- who, as a candidate for president, has toned down her sometimes far-flung rhetoric -- deflected.

Ronald Brownstein on Mitt Romney's advantage:

The GOP race has been clarified by a succession of closely bunched developments last weekend: Bachmann’s victory in the Iowa straw poll, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s subsequent decision to quit the race, and Perry’s entry from a position firmly on stage right. Taken together, these developments present the three main candidates with a new calculus of risks and opportunities.

For Romney, the new alignment offers one clear advantage: the possibility that the voters least likely to support him will be splintered between two opponents rather than consolidating behind one. Both in his 2008 bid, and in early 2012 polling, Romney has run best with voters holding at least a four-year college degree and those who do not identify as evangelical Christians -- what might be called the party’s managerial wing. Romney has always struggled with the party’s populist wing, composed mostly of evangelical Christians and Republicans without a college degree.

Douglas Rushkoff takes a look at government crackdowns on social media:

Is access to technology through which a network of friends can so easily be turned into a gang of thieves or assailants just too dangerous for people to handle? By putting what had formerly been the capability of broadcast networks in the hands of everyone owning smartphones, have we unwittingly empowered the "mob" and given new life to the lowest form of crowd behavior?

Maybe. But the abuse of these networks and their capabilities hardly justifies recent talk of limiting access, shutting them down, or entrusting corporations and central authorities to monitor them at the expense of our privacy. As the ever-growing News Corp./Scotland Yard scandal illustrates, it is not unregulated phone hackers we need to be afraid of so much as the folks who are supposed to be entrusted with maintaining these networks and our security.

George Condon Jr. brushes off attacks on President Obama's vacation time and gives an interesting perspective on historical POTUS vacations:

It's vacation time for President Obama. So cue the critics and listen to the echoes of history in their complaints. You'll hear that this vacation is too long. Or too lavish. Or too insensitive. Or too far removed from the struggles of average Americans.

In the two centuries since John Adams was the first president to seek solace outside Washington and the 109 years since Theodore Roosevelt invented the modern presidential vacation, the critics have always been there to attack. Now, it's Obama’s turn to weather the storm. [...]

In contrast to some of [his]predecessors, though, no one will be able to accuse Obama of using Navy battleships and submarines, Army dirigibles, or Air Force planes to enhance his vacation enjoyment. There was always criticism; but in the past, there were also some vacation perks that went with being commander in chief. [...]

Truman and all of Obama’s predecessors learned the same lesson the president will learn over the next nine days: Vacations cannot stop recessions, end wars, or cure political problems. And on Martha’s Vineyard, Obama won’t have submarines, yachts, dirigibles, or battleships to help take his mind off them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Grew up in the 1970's. Austerity sucks. (6+ / 0-)

    It's no way to run a ______.

    Notice: This Comment © 2011 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 04:37:25 AM PDT

  •  I was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    Surprised yesterday there was so little coverage about the events in Israel.  For august there hasn't been much of a silly season. Did you know there was someone killed by a shark on his honeymoon in the Seychelles? No room for that on the news either. I miss my old silly august news cycle.

  •  Anyone dumb enough to vote for Bachmann (12+ / 0-)

    Will also believe that someday gasoline will be $2.00 a gallon again.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:04:21 AM PDT

  •  So Obama is not gonna to send all those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SottoVoce

    brown people back to their hellholes after all ? All that Sturm und Drang here as usual were for nothing ?

    One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
    Call the media when they Lie

    by amk for obama on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:06:07 AM PDT

  •  What would be really interesting (6+ / 0-)

    I would be interested in a comparison of Obama 'Vacation Critics' and how they defended / criticized Bush or Reagan vacation time , the 2 presidents who took more vacation than any other.
    Some thought, as I recall, Reagan could never be topped - but W. did it.
    I am always a little upset with elected official vacations to be honest, NOT THAT THEY DON'T DESERVE THEM. They get a lot more time than the average American. Freshman Congress People of the Tea Party Variety who clamor about how bad government is vs. the private sector make me want to ask - What job , in your first year, do you get full benefits, a 3 day work week, vested pension and 8 weeks vacation ?
    I think a new labor law should be enacted that all workers get 6 weeks paid vacation on day 1. After 5 years, 8 and max out at 10 weeks after 10 years.
    That is a stimulus

    you can't remain neutral on a moving train

    by rmfcjr on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:07:33 AM PDT

    •  do you have a breakdown of presidents' vacations? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, skohayes

      At this point in their first terms, I suspect Bush had taken more vacation days than Obama.

      "Tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:23:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Three day workweek? Are you speaking of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MartyM, crystalboy, Amber6541, loblolly

      POTUS?  He essentially works seven days a week.  Even during vacation.  The Congress is something different--this particular Congress has virtually done nothing.  But I think if President Obama isn't allowed to take a break, we're being incredibly unfair.

      Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

      by SottoVoce on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:23:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Boehner changed the House work rules (7+ / 0-)

        Now they're "in session" 2 weeks - then off 1 week.
        More time to campaign in their districts to keep the House.
        Pelosi's House worked every week.

        "Tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

        by MartyM on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:26:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that the Congress, even when they ARE (0+ / 0-)

          working, isn't working at all.  This should be a good thing to run against them about. (Frustratingly, they never actually go on recess, even though they aren't on the job, preventing the President from making recess appointments).  But the diarist seemed to be complaining about the President's vacation, and that is what this diary is about.

          Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

          by SottoVoce on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:35:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  To clarify, (0+ / 0-)

      Congressmembers are ineligible to collect a pension benefit until they have served for 5 years.

      And this is interesting:

      Under The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, the Federal Employee Retirement System Act was amended to exclude Members convicted of certain crimes, including bribery, espionage, fraud, racketeering, and perjury.

      Whatever happened to the Congressional Ethics Committees?  

      •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

        Pretty sweet. To interject my question of congress, What other job offers that ?
        My point was made, Bush took way more vacation at this point. If I had any desire, I would find out how much vacation time Reagan had at this point.
        AND LET NO ONE FORGET
        Ronnie had the most time of all presidents, and many said it would be impossible for that  to be topped, but it was.
        Obama can't come close to either.
        LET US REMEMBER THOUGH Obama is 1/2 black which means 1 of his vacation days equals 12. I don't know how, you'd have to ask Fox

        you can't remain neutral on a moving train

        by rmfcjr on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 04:23:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Perry seems to have imploded already, Michelle is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MartyM, DRo, skohayes, Amber6541

    trying to out of her straight jacket which only makes the darn thing get tighter and Mittens is not really what Rush and the Tea Baggers had in mind at all.....so what rough beast, its hour come round at last stumbles towards Iowa to be born?

    Chris Christie can't carry Joisey, the Donald is too wild for even the nutter class....when does Kerick finish his stretch? He could be the man for job!

  •  mob (5+ / 0-)

    Show me when technology has turned the network into a gang of theives, or when the ability to communicate among the masses has produced the lowest form of behavior.
    That statement is false, and has not happened. If the revolutions that were helped by technology took place it was because of a repressive government over its people.
    On the other hand I'll show you two examples of the "established" media causing war and pain
    Spanish American war. Remember the Maine.
    War in Iraq. WMD's

    I know to look at the past and know who has alwayed lied and minipulated information.

    Our Media is yellow and will always be so.

    What I can not tolerate is intolerance

    by rageagnstmach on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:09:38 AM PDT

  •  Where are the jobs?? (7+ / 0-)

    The Democrats' prediction was correct ---- Republicans’ law giving tax breaks to corporations that move jobs overseas has FAILED America....

    October 2004....WASHINGTON — With no fanfare, President Bush Friday signed the most sweeping rewrite of corporate tax law in nearly two decades, showering $136 billion in new tax breaks on businesses, farmers and other groups.

    Intended to end a bitter trade war with Europe, the election-year measure was described by supporters as critically necessary to aid beleaguered manufacturers who have suffered 2.7 million lost jobs over the past four years.

    But opponents charged that the tax package had grown into a massive giveaway that will add to the complexity of the tax system and end up rewarding multinational companies that move jobs overseas.

    ....Bush’s campaign rival, Kerry spokesman Phil Singer said there were many important things in the bill but that “George Bush filled the bill up with corporate giveaways and tax breaks for multinational companies that send jobs overseas.......”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

    "Tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:21:23 AM PDT

  •  Obama Doctrine Emerging in New Libya; Cowbagger .. (4+ / 0-)

    ... Diplomacy ‘Refudiated’

    The inevitable ouster of Col. Muammar Gaddafi will have been a victory for this administra­tion and the operation will provide a template for how future such troubles must be handled. It will have the added benefit of serving as the final repudiation of Cowboy Diplomacy while formally introducing the long overdue Obama Doctrine. The accomplishment will have come without the support of a loyal opposition in America. Indeed, it will have come despite a bed wetting and back stabbing disloyal opposition ...
    Article:
    Obama Doctrine Emerging in New Libya

    Waging a "War on Ignorance" ... http://beeryblog.wordpress.com/

    by heycoachb on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:21:43 AM PDT

  •  Further evidence (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MartyM, annieli, Amber6541

    ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:24:51 AM PDT

  •  Enron? Really? (4+ / 0-)

    Well then Bachmann must be Ken Lay.

    I'm a Mainer, and I WANT MY STATE BACK!!!

    by The Truth Shall Set Ye Free on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:25:36 AM PDT

  •  Ignorance is the new "black" in the political... (8+ / 0-)

    fashion world of T-publican politics. When a Presidential candidate is not considered to be in the first tier of a major party's presidential contendors because he believes in evolution or global warming, that's a stunning indictment of the American political system. Not to mention a cultural and educational indictment of America of breath-taking dimensions.

    I feel like Clarence Darrow arguing with WJ Bryan during the Scopes trial, when I speak to most Republicans today, or overhear the commentary of "conservatives" or self identifying "Christians." It is like falling down the "rabbit hole" and ending up at the "Mad Hatter's Tea Party," too stunned to understand the context.

    I am often, by turns, bemused and outraged, never calmly dispassionate or filled with equanimity. This political situation has evolved from partisan to a weird, almost unhinged, zealotry by Republicans, countered by a fractured and reactive peevishness by Democrats. It is as if we Democrats are more angry with each other for not having a coherent message and direction in policy, than we are with Republicans who have a knife at our throat and the nation's.

    I understand the diversity of opinion, what I don't comprehend is the lack of dialogue within the Party aimed at real solutions and the lack of leadership on the real problems. Faced with the ramblings of ignorant self promoting Republican reactionaries, we stumble around as if these positions are serious and need replies. This is the most infuriating situation to me... We are being beaten to death by intellectual pygmies wielding nerf bats.

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:30:27 AM PDT

    •  This is a brilliant description. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, Amber6541

      So true, so painful, so frustrating.  And you know that the rest of the world sees it as it is and just scratches its collective head in wonder.  And so the markets crash because this pack of loons is running the great US of A.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  •  Semi-auto or Full-Autopilot: Nothing is Austere (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, Amber6541
    Elections are approaching in Spain, France, Germany and other European countries over the coming months. The campaign will soon gear up here. Voters on both sides of the Atlantic need to demand more from their leaders than continued austerity on autopilot.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:35:23 AM PDT

  •  no Finegold in WI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Amber6541

    Former Sen. Russ Feingold, a hero to Wisconsin liberals, told supporters Friday that he will not run for political office in 2012, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

    http://www.politico.com/...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:39:46 AM PDT

  •  more Perry pushback (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Amber6541
    TOP TALKER – PERRY’S LOOSE LIPS WORRY HILL REPUBLICANS: “House Republicans from heavily suburban districts were particularly uneasy about the Bernanke remark and [Rick] Perry’s refusal to say whether President Obama is a patriot,” Jonathan Martin and Jake Sherman write in the story leading POLITICO’s site. “These members, some of them facing potentially tough re-election campaigns next year, urged the White House hopeful to stick to core issues of jobs and spending.” JMart and Jake get on-the-record quotes from Peter King, Charlie Bass, Peter Roskam and Tom Cole. A bunch of other members spoke on background. Cole, a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, said: “He’s got to prove he won’t self-destruct. There is only one race like the presidency and that’s the presidency. He’s been playing Triple-A ball until now.”

     http://politi.co/...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:40:28 AM PDT

    •  I think Perry will find out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541

      that bluster and bullshit work fine in Texas, but in the country overall, not so much.

      You will never know what it’s like to work on a farm until your hands are raw, just so people can have fresh marijuana. Jack Handey

      by skohayes on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:29:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bachmann's 'pledge' smacks of... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    desperation more than anything else. She is going to lose a lot of supporters to Perry and she knows it.

  •  Bachman, Perry pushing towards the deflationary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, Amber6541

    spiral that Obama...and even Bush, in the last months...and the Fed had successfully fought.

    It would be nice if someone who knew better on the GOP side stood up and told them to stop, instead of trying to out do them.

    Inland: A privately held corporation spun off from the Womb Division of MomCo a half century or so ago.

    by Inland on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:52:16 AM PDT

  •  And it's always austerity for ordinary folk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    only.

    Yeah -- let's see...

    All those folks who've been or were out of work all that time?

    The one's who've lost homes, savings, etc?

    Yeah ---

    Those people need to go on an austerity program.

    Hey -- this hurts me, too, y'know.

    I'm still driving last year's Bentley, and I'll be going to Vail this winter instead of the Alps.

    We're all in this together, after all.

    Riiiiiiight.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:53:05 AM PDT

  •  Gotta admit: Mitt's the smartest guy in the room.* (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare

    He must feel like he's been thrown into remedial school by mistake or something.

    (*Well, the Utah guy really is, but he doesn't have a chance.)

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 05:58:41 AM PDT

    •  When you think of what you just (0+ / 0-)

      wrote, it's an incredibly depressing state of affairs, isn't it?
      That the smartest candidate has no chance of winning a republican primary is good for us, not too good for the future of our country.

      You will never know what it’s like to work on a farm until your hands are raw, just so people can have fresh marijuana. Jack Handey

      by skohayes on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:32:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  an extremely low bar. (0+ / 0-)

      kinda like the title of a frank deford book about sportswriting: "the world's tallest midget."

      (and yes, i know that's considered a derogatory "heightist" word. I'M QUOTING HERE, PEOPLE!)

      "Morality is doing what's right, regardless of what you're told. Religion is doing what you're told, regardless of what's right." –Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

      by mellowjohn on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:35:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just how many are there... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crystalboy

    ...of Brownstein's "managerial GOP activists?"

    Romney has run best with voters holding at least a four-year college degree and those who do not identify as evangelical Christians -- what might be called the party’s managerial wing. Romney has always struggled with the party’s populist wing, composed mostly of evangelical Christians and Republicans without a college degree.

    My guess is you could fit all of them - every one of them in the entire country - in the largest meeting space...in Jackson Hole, WY.

    That may be a considerable fundraising base, but it is not a base from which anyone can count on winning the  smallest, most participation rule restrictive Caucus, let alone the much larger contests on the nomination calendar.

    Romney's problem has always been that if he gets the nomination, it will be because the real GOP base stopped caring that it matters.

    The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

    by Egalitare on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:01:10 AM PDT

  •  Europeans always take August off. (0+ / 0-)

    The prez is just showing his Kenyan Colonial past again.

    Right Newt?

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:01:51 AM PDT

    •  "Anti-colonial" (0+ / 0-)

      Remember the Mau Maus...
      It's like us secularist Islamists taking over the Democratic party. We're everywhere.

      You will never know what it’s like to work on a farm until your hands are raw, just so people can have fresh marijuana. Jack Handey

      by skohayes on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:34:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  iirc, there's a line in "the blues brothers" (0+ / 0-)

    that the rhythm section could "turn goat piss into gasoline."
    maybe ms. crazyeyes is talking about putting the band back together. it would certainly go along with her "on a mission from god" attitude.

    "Morality is doing what's right, regardless of what you're told. Religion is doing what you're told, regardless of what's right." –Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by mellowjohn on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 06:26:21 AM PDT

  •  New Conservative talking point on S&P... (0+ / 0-)

    "This investigation is the federal government's retribution for them lowering our credit rating."

    I suddenly want to smash my head into a wall repeatedly.

    -this space for rent-

    by EsnRedshirt on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 07:38:44 AM PDT

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