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Obama's State Of The Union: LQD

by Crazy Horse Wed Jan 25th, 2012 at 01:38:08 PM EST

Yahoo Whopee Shit. He came down on windpower's side, calling for a continuation of the Production Tax Credit and some other green goodies. No, not Al Green, he wasn't singing last night.

But he also said some things which make me cringe. Some speech highlights after the jump (fall?).

And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I'm directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.
A strategy that's cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.
And I'm requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.
Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk. The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don't have to choose between our environment and our economy.

sorry, but zero vision there.

I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We've subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough.
It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits. Create these jobs.
(i suppose Applause)

He spoke for over an hour, perhaps there were topics which impact your world. Please feel free to bring such issues here.

The NYT has a fine interactive video with script HERE. Parse at will.

I was a bit skeptical about his mortgage fraud investigation, since it didn't sound much different from what he's been doing up to now. Then I heard that Schneiderman would be on it, and I thought there might be something to it. Trust nakedcapitalism to restore my cynicism.
A lot of soi-disant liberal groups have fallen in line with Obama messaging, which was the plan (I already have the predictable congratulatory Move On e-mail in my inbox). Let's get real. The wee problem is that this committee looks like yet another bit of theater for the Administration to pretend, yet again, that it is Doing Something, while scoring a twofer by getting Schneiderman, who has been a pretty effective opponent, hobbled.

If you wanted a real investigation, you get a real independent investigator, with a real budget and staffing, and turn him loose. We had the FCIC which had a lot of hearings and produced a readable book that said everyone was responsible for the mortgage crisis, which was tantamount to saying no one was responsible. We even had an eleven-regulator Foreclosure Task Force that looked at 2800 loan files (and a mere 100 foreclosures) and found nothing very much wrong.

Now we have a committee full of people who have made numerous statements in the media and to Congressional committee minimizing the severity of the mortgage mess. Are were to believe they all had a conversion experience on the eve of the State of the Union address? But apparently the members of what passes for the left are prepared to take "investigation" at face value since it would be unpleasant to consider the possibility that they are being snookered again.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 25th, 2012 at 01:47:15 PM EST
The credibility of Naked Capitalism is zero.
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 09:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You keep saying that like you have unassailable proof that it's a covered Fox outlet...
by generic on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 01:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's easy to demonstrate from even this report - one does not need to even note that it has a commercial purpose.

And it seems awfully plausible that the aim of getting Schneiderman on board with an Administration "investigation" is to undermine the effort by 15 Democrat attorneys general to devise their own strategy for dealing with mortgage abuses. We've heard reports privately that some of the defecting AGs are in a panic.

"Seems awfully plausible" that naming the lead aggressive state AG to a high power panel is supposed to in some 11 dimensional plot "undermine" the AGs ? This would be the AGs who threw Schneiderman off their committee because he was too aggressive?  Well, if you wanted an aggressive investigation of bank malfeasance, why would that be a bad thing? This paragraph is classical NC, full of tremulous innuendo and implications based on nothing at all.

It's clear what the Administration is getting from getting Schneiderman aligned with them. It is much less clear why Schneiderman is signing up. He can investigate and prosecute NOW. He has subpoena powers, staff, and the Martin Act. He doesn't need to join a Federal committee to get permission to do his job. And this is true for ALL the others agencies represented on this committee.

This one is really a gem. First the "it's clear" that elevates the gibberish innuendo of the previous three paragraphs into established fact, then the added implication that Schneiderman, the hero until yesterday, is in some sleazy deal, and then a quick shuffle to keep readers from thinking: the administration cannot keep the AGs from prosecuting because, as the author admits, the AGs are independent.

by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 09:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You sound as if the concept of co-option is entirely alien to you.
NC have consistently argued that the Administration's investigation was a whitewash. Trying to tie up independent actors is entirely consistent with this being their goal.
by generic on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 07:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you use circular reasoning, everything is easy to explain. However,if you do not accept the premise that, e.g Schniederman and a career DOJ prosecutor who was entrusted with the DOMA case are stupid weak people, easily suborned by baubles or that the Administration is willing to invest enormous energy in pretending to do something (for what goal, nobody knows), then it seems like gibberish.
by rootless2 on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 10:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The demarcation line between a reasonable argument and gibberish maps our prejudices. Funny how that works.

But seriously: Investing enormous energies into pretending to be doing something is as old as politics.

And the Administration has shown no willingness to prosecute people who matter. Yet this stance is probably not one they want to take openly when elections are coming up.
Sums up to non business meetings and institutional maneuvering.

by generic on Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 06:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fair point, but NK has alleged "kabuki" or some other form of elaborate deception steadily since 2009. Seems like it would be a lot easier to just yell than to set up a potential disaster with an angry and disappointed high profile group of AGs, no? Schneiderman points out that state law is much stronger, but the states have not had the resources - which they now do.
http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/01/schneiderman-on-the-mortgage-industry-investigation.html?u tm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter


by rootless2 on Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 10:43:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by rootless2 on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 06:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I must say that I increasingly take their writing with a pinch of salt as they have been extremely doom-porn-ish lately (perhaps before as well) and writing things that have not turned out to be true.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 30th, 2012 at 09:44:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

We've made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope. From the coalitions we've built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we've led against hunger and disease; from the blows we've dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about.
That's not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us. That's not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they've been in years. Yes, the world is changing. No, we can't control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs -- and as long as I'm President, I intend to keep it that way. (Applause.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Jan 25th, 2012 at 01:55:19 PM EST

Murika's back, bringing Peace©, Justice™ and Freedom® to the benighted heathens.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Jan 25th, 2012 at 02:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh bro', you're telling me. Too bad it's a day late and dollar short.
by sgr2 on Mon Jan 30th, 2012 at 10:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I rarely listen to, let alone agree with Fox News presenter and commenter Chris Wallace, but was amused to hear him repeat what I had shouted at the TV during the speech: "Where have YOU been for the last four years!?" Chris put it differently, noting that this speech would better have been delivered in 2009. Absent that context it was an excellent speech. But I cannot ignore the context.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 25th, 2012 at 07:33:39 PM EST
When even chris Wallace sees this, we're really in trouble. See my comment to Fran. It is unbelievable how such little substance with so much fire captures the minds of a population used to so much propaganda and obfuscation, and downright idiocy, that it is no longer possible for them to see clearly.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 05:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Obama is all talk" is not a new line of criticism from Fox. Obviously it works.
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:29:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a nation with an MTV mentality. We want what we want immediately, if not sooner. Yesterday, preferably. And what WE want, not what may work for/impact/enhance/detract from other segments of society.

I don't think Obama's done everything right, or everything wrong, but given the cesspool he inherited (including apparently a number of nasty nasties that became known only after he took the oath of office), and the cement-headedness and intransigent racism arrayed against him, and the ingrown, good-old-boy culture on both sides of the aisle -- I have to say, I think he's done a decent job.

He seems to be doing what he can, and perhaps some things that aren't immediately visible as well, who knows?, to improve the overall mindset of the populace. But remember that they've had decades of non-thinking and anti-intellectualism pounded on them.

Why anyone would want to re-up for such hard work and so little appreciation is beyond me, but I'll be glad if he gets another four years. When you consider the alternative -- I don't want to have to spend the next four years hiding under the covers, eating chocolate-chip cookies.

by Mnemosyne on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good commentary, and I agree. The alternative? Scary. He is smart and thoughtful, at least...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 07:15:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does Obama mean saying this?
Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.

If you're a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn't get a tax deduction for doing it.

He is implying that the IRS code has tax breaks specifically for outsourcing, no?

by das monde on Wed Jan 25th, 2012 at 09:11:04 PM EST
Yes. Tax breaks for looters.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 25th, 2012 at 11:59:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't get what he's specifically referring to, though assume there's something in the code.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 05:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot cite chapter and verse I don't think there is explicit language to the effect that, if you close down a company and send the jobs offshore you get a tax break, but that the existing regulations, as administered, routinely produce that result. With a 15% cap on capital gains taxes in the highest income brackets for positions held over one year it should be relatively easy for the organization providing the financing to insure that the books show the position as long term. Then there will be opaque and obliquely stated provisions inserted by lobbyists into thousand + page omnibus bills a day or two before a session ending vote that grant more giveaways.

One of the more breaks was the notorious Hummer tax credit. At the last opportunity the gross weight of business vehicles qualifying for business tax credits was raised to cover the Hummer. Therefore a businessman who owed $100,000 in taxes could instead just buy a Hummer and drive his tax payment around. Cool, hunh? My accountant explained that one to me. If the purchase price is en lieu of paying the money to the hated government who cares what the price or gas mileage is?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 09:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 09:50:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he may be referring to the old situation discussed in this article.

The problem with the "Times" proposed solution is that it provides a fair amount of tax relief for US corporations that move jobs and production off-shore, but does less to encourage them to return jobs and production to the US. As I understand it, they could still manufacture goods in a country with ridiculously low labor costs, sell them to US consumers and pay a rather low tax rate (no more than 20%) on any profits.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 10:03:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a classic misdirection used by Hedge Fund Democrats to con Democratic primary base electorate voters. It refers to some no-double-taxation provisions in the US corporate tax code, under which corporations supposedly get a tax break for outsourcing because they get taxed at a lower foreign rate instead of the high US rate. The common proposal is to replace the income exclusion with a tax credit instead, so that the corporation effectively pays the same rate no matter whether they outsource the jobs or not.

Only problem is that the effective US corporate tax rate is around 2.3%, so for most big corporations, a tax owed of the difference between foreign tax paid on the income and US tax paid would leave no US tax due.

Meanwhile, while repeatedly proposing this policy (from his primary campaign on), but somehow never getting it passed into law (which would spoil the shell game, since it could not then be used on the campaign trail), Obama has supported corporate wealth agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama, entrenching the corporate freedom to move wealth across national borders unfettered by any constraint in the interests of economic stability or in defense of individual liberty from corporate power.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 11:24:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, they have proposed eliminating the foreign tax breaks - and actually HAVE eliminated some of them - consistently.

Under the US system of government, laws must be passed by the legislature.

by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 09:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks to the power of not being required to give magnitudes by a dictation taking press, they can kill a tax break worth very little to the companies receiving them, and say in a speech that they were able to kill a tax break for companies sending jobs overseas. The mainstream political reporters in the big papers will not say, "This sounds more impressive than it really is, because the actual impact of the change is very small." They will only say, "Rep. X (D) said X and Rep. Y (R) said Y", so a mostly cosmetic change that the R's agreed to because it was mostly cosmetic gets covered as if it actually meant something.

At an effective corporate income tax rate below 3% on average, foreign earned income exclusions can only be a significant factor in the limited number of cases where the US corporation would find itself actually having to pay something like the headline US corporate income tax rate.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:27:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you need some data for that argument?
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:23:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My data for the effective tax rate was the Obama administration.

The tax haven part of the tax dodge has nothing to do with "outsourcing US jobs overseas". Its simply a financial manipulation where the US company establishes a subsidiary in a tax haven. The tax haven subsidiary raises money. The US corporation borrows that money from its own subsidiary. It then pays interest to the tax haven subsidiary on the loan, which is a pre-tax expense, and the income received by the tax haven subsidiary at or close to tax free.

Sure its a tax dodge, but it is the same tax dodge whether the project that is financed is located in the US or overseas. Indeed, if you closed the financial manipulation tax haven loophole, but left the credit in place for a place where the company engage in substantial value added, that's when the tax credit on the activity taking place overseas would begin to have a substantial differential impact.

And the fiscal impact of the changes proposed again this year is supposed to be $190b over ten years.

US corporate tax receipts have dropped from 4% of GDP in the 60's to under 2.5% of GDP in this last decade. $19b/year is only around 0.1% to 0.2% of a $14T~$19T economy.

Meanwhile, while the policy of "cutting tax credits for US companies that ship American jobs overseas" is in the stump speech, with zero chance of being supported by the 60 Senator supermajority required under the present gross abuse of the filibuster, three more aggressively neoliberal "free trade" agreements for unfettered corporate wealth transfers across national borders have been passed into law with the President actively lobbying for them.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 01:02:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No the key dodge is the non-taxable status of non-repatriated profits.
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 02:30:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, your argument is 100% wrong. For example, Google's single digit tax rate is entirely due to use of the overseas tax rate exclusions and an elaborate scheme for funneling money through jurisdictions with loopholes. The Netherlands exclusion of tax on earnings from overseas royalties is a huge draw for US companies and it can be connected to Irish and West Indies holding companies to have significant effect.
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the location of a holding company has very little connection with the location of employment.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 01:02:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Google Ireland has 2000 employees. But they are a low employee to revenue business. Consider Apple with hundreds of thousands of contract employees in China. The ability to indefinitely delay taxes on non-repatriated funds and the ability to import tax credits for those funds create a strong incentive


by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 02:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So here's how google does it

Sell IP to Holland co.
Locate world operations in Irish Co.
Bermuda co owns Holland co and provides "management" to Irish co.

Money comes into Irish co. Some goes to bermuda tax free.
Royalty payments go to Netherlands which exempts royalty income from taxation. Then money goes to holding co. in Bermuda.

3% tax rate!

by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the tax breaks that Obama references are not  tax breaks directly declared, but rather tax breaks by default or omission. Right?
by das monde on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 10:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what you are asking,but the tax code for example specifically permits indefinite delay of tax on non-repatriated off-shore profits.
by rootless2 on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 11:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sounds to me, like Obama the campaigner is back.
by Fran on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 01:37:55 AM EST
is amusing.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 04:31:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and i'm getting a fair amount of feedback from my USian friends. It's as if his record since 2009 doesn't exist, and the fieriness of his soul brother speechifying has them all in a trance.

In energy policy, he's making it sound as if going backwards is a positive step, using campaign rhetoric to entrance.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 05:43:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing isn't it? I often read the rationalization that after his reelction he will become the true progressive he is, because he will not have to cater to voters and donors anymore. Funny, nobody ever seems to wonder that once he will not have to cater to voters anymore, he might move even more to the right - that is what I fear.
by Fran on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 07:59:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope springs eternal...

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 08:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In 2008, a Presidential candidate ran on a drill baby drill platform, and another candidate ran on a drill baby drill slogan, and the drill baby drill platform candidate won. And so it should be no surprise that this three years have seen a drill baby drill administration.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 11:27:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no contradiction between the SOTU address and the record since 2009. Obama is the most consistent politician I have ever seen.
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 09:46:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On energy politics, his consistency is in not making the right choice. The time for middle of the road compromise is long past, as I see it. He could have let the opposition block everything, but he doesn't understand the cost to amurka's future.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:22:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On Energy Policy, he is not making any choice at all, which under the current legislature amounts to making the Republican choices. That is why that was the biggest Republican applause line of the evening: they know that "all of the above" means, "R's and Hedge Fund D's get what they want and Democratic wing D's get to complain about not getting what they want."

And since he said he wants green energy in the "all of the above" strategy, the portion of Democratic D's trying to fight the current drill baby drill platform (a minority of a minority) would find themselves standing on a foundation of sand.

Pushing the first hope for a serious energy policy back to 2015, under what I'd guess to be an unlikely series of unfortunate events, or else 2017.

Its great politics, since independents want "green energy jobs" so its a great wedge issue between R-affiliate voters and R-leaning voters, and the drill baby drill part does not give Republicans substantial purchase for their counter messaging, but its horrific policy.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the battery industry creation was a GOP policy? The big investment in green energy from DOD was inertia? The mercury standards for coal were an accident?

It's one thing to make the argument that a lot more needs to be done - but then one might have to consider the power structure and how change could be accomplished.

by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm making the argument that we're long past the border when a lot more needs to be done. Now is the time for an unfathomable amount to be done, and he has the support of the majority of the US to do it.

No one is claiming he hasn't also made some small but necessary steps. I don't know if the mercury standards have any teeth or not, perhaps it will make some difference, i don't know.

But he hasn't stopped coal leases, he hasn't stopped mountain top removal, and the EPA still has not teeth.

And of course windpower was a recipient of the renewable portion of the stimulus, which helped the industry from completely stopping after 2009, when it only dropped 50% in new capacity, from 10 gigs to 5+ gigs. That windpower in the US returned to 9 gigs this year is only because the industry cut margins to zero or minus. That means not just Vestas, but GE and Siemens as well as the second tier companies.

You may well wish to find strength in that Obama has done some things, which he has. But that's in the context you might not be seeing the intensity of the problem.

And that windpower in the US was finally reestablished under Bush, first in Texas and then in the nation. Bush may be an unpunished war criminal (i won't get into Obama's decision not to resurrect the rule of law), but no renewable policies were effected by Obama any stronger than occurred under the oil president.

and the Gulf disaster changed things how?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"and he has the support of the majority of the US to do it."

What do you base that on? Do you think people are clamoring to stop coal leases? And not only that, clamoring enough to overcome support from coal state interest? Even supposed "progressive" allies of Obama will step on him on that issue- for example Sherrod Brown of Ohio tried to pull authority to regulate coal dust from the EPA. My progressive friends keep describing an American popular revolt to me that I have not seen evident at all.

The public is generally in favor of environmental measures but dubious on specifics and nowhere near a state to overcome entrenched interests.

Of course the mercury standards have teeth

and see

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pew-study-department-of-defense-accelerates-clean-energy-inn ovation-to-save-lives-money-130278133.html


Definitely not enough, but the line of argument that "Obama sux" does not appear to me to be a productive one.

by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:55:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And just for the record, Obama ran on the platform of expanding "clean coal". I very much doubt he could have been elected on a platform of shutting down coal, let alone coal and oil.
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 12:02:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and that's a positive?  to run on a platform of pushing a technology which barely exists?

says more about the current state of the neanderthal US.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 03:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but it indicates that people who expected a radical energy policy from Obama were not basing that expectation on what he claimed to want to do or on what the voters wanted.
by rootless2 on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 08:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surveys, from the late 80's until today, have always shown strong support for renewables in amurka. Including "paying" extra.

So please don't tell me Obama shouldn't have fought for what the people want. He's like Goldman Sachs, strong on renewables and 4x as strong on conventional poison.

Try getting out of the closed circle of politics, and make judgements on what your grandchildren are going to judge.

Had he provided enough vision, he would have held the lower house in 2010. Had he said strongly that global warming was real, the game would have been changed.

We are in a time when calculating politics has nothing to do with the actual situation civilization finds itself. All actions which affect other people must be judged within that context, NOT with what compromise might be acceptable.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 12:28:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"How do you feel about increased drilling for oil and natural gas offshore in U.S. waters? Do you strongly favor, mildly favor, mildly oppose or strongly oppose increased offshore drilling?"

strong favor mild favor mild no strong no

    45     24     15     16     -

"Which is more important to you as you think about increasing drilling for oil and gas in coastal areas around the United States? The need for the U.S. to provide its own sources of energy. The need to protect the environment." Options rotated

  provide own  protect env         

    52     45    

And, obviously, general national impressions do not always translate into public pressure.  

In other words, its easy for you to say that all Obama had to to was understand the urgency of the problem and order Congress to pass laws that their financial sponsors don't like - including what's left of the union movement - but just saying it doesn't make it true.

The environmentalists, like myself, have not succeeded in creating a powerful public demand. The results follow.

by rootless2 on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 12:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the question is phrased only about wanting more renewables, the polls have given 70-80%. (No sources, i've read enough.)

Leaders create demand.

Don't get me wrong, i voted for him, or would have, had the voters abroad website not been a nightmare. And I would vote for him again, unless there was a Green candidate with a modicum of sense.

And also understand, i know the game. I've testified in congress, and been invited twice to the white house privately. i played a role in getting the DoD take renewables seriously, because my best friend growing up became the lawyer for the Senate armed whatever concummittee.

I'm not saying he's done badly, especially considering the circumstances. I'm saying he hasn't done what needs to be done.

What i asked of you was to stop a moment, get out of the politics, and think about what actually needs to be done.

He had the chance to rise above the politics, and didn't.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 01:40:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty pessimistic about what can be done, but I'm more pessimistic about what a President can do - especially when faced with Congress that has gone from uncooperative to antagonistic. Jimmy Carter's energy initiatives were reduced to rubble by a Democratic Congress and Fox news/hate-radio didn't exist in those day. And I have a great deal of respect for the ability of entrenched powers, like oil, to defend their privileged status.
by rootless2 on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 03:07:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clean energy is a wedge issue that favors Democrats | Grist

During Obama's State of the Union speech, Democracy Corps ran a dial-test focus group. Fifty swing voters were given devices that let them register approval or disapproval continuously throughout the speech. Two results in particular are worth highlighting.

Overall, there was a striking degree of unanimity, quite in contrast to the polarization in Washington. Reactions to the speech split along party lines on only a few issues. The most interesting split came during the section of the speech on energy:

This section received the highest sustained ratings of the speech from Democrats and independents, but it was also one of the few polarizing sections as Republicans reacted negatively to the President's call for more support of clean energy (independents, like Democrats, responded very favorably). Overall, Obama gained 22 points on the issue, one of his biggest gains on the evening, as these voters endorsed his appeal to end subsidies for oil companies and instead focus those resources on expanding clean energy in America. [my emphasis]

It seems the Republican attempt to drag clean energy into the culture war has reached only the conservative base. Independents outside the Fox-Limbaugh loop still favor it.

In other words, this is a powerful wedge issue that favors Democrats.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jan 28th, 2012 at 02:23:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... under a Democratic House of Representatives: it would not pass today's House. Much of the original authorization of the investment in green energy by the DOD took place at the same time.

The mercury standards are a regulatory action, and entirely compatible with drill baby drill.

Its considering the power structure and how change could be accomplished that reveals that the "all of the above" strategy sounds far more impressive than it is in the reality of today's Congress.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 27th, 2012 at 01:06:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My USAian family, at least, are still stayin' "yeah, we heard you the first time. SHOW me."

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 01:47:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That attitude really pisses me off. It's kind of saying, fuck the poor women who get health insurance paying for birth control and mammograms, fuck the tomato pickers who are the poorest workers and are getting a raise, fuck all the people who got beat up or shot by cops and are now being championed by the civil rights lawyers in the DOJ, fuck the soldiers who got out of Iraq, fuck the people who live down wind from coal plants, fuck the students who are being protected from Sallie Mae, etc. etc. - we didn't get our magic pony.

It's the attitude that made America's New Left the best friend the far right ever had.

by rootless2 on Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 02:05:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New left?

Still punching hippies, after all these years?

What's next, Alinsky?

by IM on Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 02:16:35 PM EST
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Alinsky had no patience for the New Left and would have had no patience for the magic pony progressives.

America isn't Russia in 1917 or China in 1946, and any violent head-on collision with the power structure will only ensure the mass suicide of the left and the probable triumph of domestic fascism. So you're not going to get instant nirvana -- or any nirvana, for that matter -- and you've got to ask yourself, "Short of that, what the hell can I do?" The only answer is to build up local power bases that can merge into a national power movement that will ultimately realize your goals. That takes time and hard work and all the tedium connected with hard work, which turns off a lot of today's rhetorical radicals

Saul Alinsky.

by rootless2 on Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 03:58:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So at least you have a correct view of Alinsky.

Generally speaking I don't think it is productive to transfer your old flame-wars to this blog.

And since you seem to reasonably informed that the New Left was, you should admit that your sparring partners in these flame war, the "magic ponic progressives" have nothing to do with the New Left of yesteryear.

by IM on Mon Jan 30th, 2012 at 04:20:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm responding to a comment in this blog. Is that not permitted, or should I clear my comments with you first?

And I disagree entirely. The underlying class structure and ideological approach of the "New Left" and the "magic pony progressives" is very similar.  


by rootless2 on Tue Jan 31st, 2012 at 01:54:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't play the victim. Have you learned that from the american right-wing, that everybody arguing with you is oppressing you?

And that is simply nonsense. "Obots" and "firebaggers" have exactly the same academic middle-class class-structure. And ideologically we are talking about a squabbling among two reformist center-left factions.


by IM on Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 06:26:41 PM EST
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I'm most certainly not playing victim, I'm just mocking your officiousness.
by rootless2 on Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 06:27:55 PM EST
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officiousness? Nonsense. I just remember your heroic flame-wars on this or that american blog.
by IM on Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 06:38:21 PM EST
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it's so gratifying to be remembered.
by rootless2 on Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 07:06:16 PM EST
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Yes, your charming ways made quite the impression.
by IM on Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 08:03:03 PM EST
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no need to be officious about it, though.
by rootless2 on Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 08:07:29 PM EST
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I get that you are pissed off. But I don't really get why.

If I understand you correct, you see Obama as an effective and consistent politician within the tight restrains created by the current state of the political system. But as an effective politician, did he not run a very effective campaign back in 2008 that primarily convinced people to vote for him not through policy items but through a vague but inspiring message of Hope and Change? Did this not enthusiase people as they projected their own hopes for change on his campaign?

And within the tight restrains of the current system, he naturally must make a lot of those who projected disappointed because he will not be their saviour. So is not they expressing that disappointment the natural consequence of choices taken by this effective politician in both campaign and in office?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jan 30th, 2012 at 04:12:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think he ever sold himself as a savior and don't think anyone had the right to imagine he would be a savior in any case. But that's not what annoys me. What annoys me is (a)  the consistent derision of real accomplishment by people who are privileged enough not to have needed that accomplishment and (b) the advocacy of a kind of light weight cynicism as an evasion of political responsibility. For the first, solipsitic well off American "leftists" may not care that tomato pickers are getting  a few pennies more a pound for their work, but that's a poor reflection on their moral compass. Same goes for many other Obama administration accomplishments - which may not add up to a magic wonderland demanded by those who wanted to believe in the savior but actually help real human beings.  In particular, I have no respect for the "civil libertarians" who do not seem to care that for the first time in a very long time, the US government is acting to protect people who have been the victims of police and jail brutality.

For the second, deriding accomplishments of an incremental process is morally acceptable, at least to me, only from those who have some alternative to propose. The argument that it's all a fake and hopeless is an argument for the success of the far right.

by rootless2 on Tue Jan 31st, 2012 at 02:07:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. to open up remaining Gulf oil leases.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 10:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone been following the reaction to Obama's SOU Address on orange?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 26th, 2012 at 08:28:53 PM EST
I get frustrated with it. First someone mentions how Obama will be no better during his second term than in his first term, that he's just a politician, though a skillful one, then the discussion devolves into mud-slinging between the "faithful" and the disillusioned, with very little substance thrown in. Just too much to wade through.  But he's definitely not championed the way he was during the first election.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 01:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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