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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Beginning of the End? We Can Only Hope

Previously sympathetic commentators disillusioned by Obama's unchecked lying and fumbling were heartened by the uncharacteristic candour coming from Deputy Secretary of State P.J. Crowley late last week--until he was shit-canned for the same early this week.

But there is still some cause for hope:  Hillary has anounced her own plans to jump ship at the end of  this term as well.  Check out her blunt statements to that effect here.

Is this yet another harbinger of the destruction of Obama's career?  A recognition that the situation is so bad that even the filthiest bilge rats see that it's time to abandon ship? Seems like a reasonable possibility.  Anyone working a political paradigm that relies on unquestioning tribal loyalty to the exclusion of substantive policies the way Obama does should be concerned about the defection of establishment stalwarts.  Very concerned.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There's been quite a bit going on at all levels of the political spectrum--I should not fail to mention the special fireworks being lit in Michigan.  But for the purposes of our discussion here, it's probably more immediately relevant to pass on the rumour being floated around that DNC chief Tim Kaine, may be replaced in the coming months.  Ted Strickland, the man currently speculated to replace Kaine, has a bit of a waffel-y record on business and tax issues, but has gone solidly on the record in opposition to free trade treaties like NAFTA.*

Yeah, early days here.  But encouraging trends seem to be bubbling up from the surface.  It's tempting to imagine that, with the remains of an incompetent establishment no longer blocking the way, the latent energies unleashed at by the Madison Uprising finally have a chance to take on a more coherent and effective shape nationally.

*Incidentally, although PolitiFact Ohio seems to lay out the various elements in the contention clearly enough, they seem to have done a pretty half-assed job in assessing them.  If the author of this piece could believe that the EPI's estimates were effected by it's pro-union affiliation, why could he or she not challenge the impartiality of the World Bank or the U.S. International Trade Commission?  Those last two organizations are not exactly deep undercover as bastions of deep neo-liberal commitments. 

And I seriously doubt the PolitiFact author read or understood the underlying studies very well--because the CBO's stated conclusion regarding reduction in tariffs is directly contradicted by that of the Carnegie Endowment (see linked reports here FN5,p4 and here, esp. fig's 1 & 3 on pp 15 & 16).  The CBO's conclusions about net job movement seem oddly oblivious to the plain fact that the destruction of Mexico's agricultural sector has more to do with the mind-boggling productivity efficiency in the U.S. than its sheer scale.  Mexico's employment losses here certainly did NOT result in massive hiring gains in the U.S.  How could it?  As measured by the ratio between GDP and farm employment, the U.S. went from being just over twice as efficient in 1992 to being over 5 1/2 times more efficient in 2010.  Check out details in this workbook if you care to.

On balance I give PolitiFact Ohio an 'F' for this report.  It's not my job to go around correcting all their failed reports, so I'm not going redo their work here.  I'll just say that PolitiFact did nowhere near an adequate job in assessing these claims.

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