Thursday, August 23, 2012

8.3% Is Not 38%

A lot of people just can't fathom how much worse things could have been. The Great Recession could have become the second Great Depression. There was a good chance. Obama prevented that from happening.

I also wish to see the unemployment rate go down to something like 5.3%. You get there by giving Barack Obama the House.

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1,000 Hijackers

Not Going Backward

Move Forward

Obama Rally Cry

Source: Barack Obama

Jon Stewart Readies For The Convention

Source: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Call It

Truth be told the only thing Barack Obama ever needed to do for me was win in 2008. And win he did. Twice.

Truth be told I never really gave a flying fuck about the economy, the recession, the deficit, the debt, the defense budget, Planned Parenthood, Social Security, Medicare, the space program. He could have messed up everything two times over and I would have still been for him. But he did not.

This dude is destined for greatness.

I am Barack Obama's first full time volunteer in New York City and I love the guy as much as ever. He has my full support, plus some more.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

The Honey Badger

The Madonna Of Global Politics
Hillary's Bobby Kennedy Comment: Bitter Heart, Bad Taste
Now, at age 64, Clinton continues to get heat for being, gasp, a 64-year-old political leader instead of Megan Fox. ..... And in June, author Ed Klein took to the airwaves to dismiss Clinton's chances of running for the White House in 2016 by saying, "She’ll be 69 years old. And as you know — and I don't want to sound anti-feminist here — but she’s not looking good these days. She's looking overweight, and she’s looking very tired." Because you can't run a country if you're not under 35 and skinny. Also, if you have a vagina. .... (One gets the sense that Angela Merkel isn't exactly losing sleep over whether or not you want to bone her, either.) ..... And there is something really, really fantastic about a first lady, United States senator, and secretary of state who has just had it with your stupid questions about what she's wearing, world. Last spring, she told CNN, "I feel so relieved to be at the stage I'm at in my life right now. Because, you know, if I want to wear my glasses, I'm wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back, I'm pulling my hair back. You know, at some point it's just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention." ..... Priorities! Other than the size of her butt! What a radical idea. And it's why, though she may or may not ever get to be president, Hillary Clinton totally rules.
Salon: Hillary Clinton does not have time for your games

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan: New Yorker Profile

his punishing early-morning workouts ... his mastery of the federal budget ...... as a fiscal conservative, he was “miserable during the last majority” .... his real fight was for the ideological identity of the Republican Party .... “If you’re going to criticize, then you should propose” ..... the leader of the attack-and-propose faction .... Ryan’s long-range plan was straightforward: to create a detailed alternative to Obama’s budget and persuade his party to embrace it...... Nearly every important conservative opinion-maker and think tank has rallied around his policies. Nearly every Republican in the House and the Senate has voted in favor of some version of his budget plan. Earlier this year, the G.O.P. Presidential candidates lavished praise on Ryan and his ideas....... Janesville, Wisconsin, where Ryan was born and still lives, is a riverfront city of sixty-four thousand people in the southeast corner of the state, between Madison and Chicago. Three families, the Ryans, the Fitzgeralds, and the Cullens, sometimes called the Irish Mafia, helped develop the town, especially in the postwar era. The Ryans were major road builders, and today Ryan, Inc., started in 1884 by Paul’s great-grandfather, is a national construction firm. The historic Courthouse section of Janesville is still thick with members of the Ryan clan. At last count, there were eight other Ryan households within a six-block radius of his house, a large Georgian Revival with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms that is on the National Register of Historic Places ........ Unlike most members of Congress these days, Ryan is relatively accessible to reporters. “The key to understanding me is really simple,” he said. “I am not trying to be anybody other than who I actually am.” Even his ideological foes comment on his friendliness and good nature. After his sophomore year in high school, back in 1986, he worked the grill at McDonald’s. “The manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter,” he said. “And now I’m in Congress!” ....... Like many conservatives, he claims to have been profoundly affected by Ayn Rand. After reading “Atlas Shrugged,” he told me, “I said, ‘Wow, I’ve got to check out this economics thing.’ What I liked about her novels was their devastating indictment of the fatal conceit of socialism, of too much government.” He dived into Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman...... “The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” To me he was careful to point out that he rejects Rand’s atheism. ..... One ad showed him walking through a Janesville cemetery among the gravestones of his ancestors. He won the election, becoming the second-youngest member of the House, and he has been reëlected easily ever since ..... As a thirty-four-year-old representative, he set out to privatize Social Security...... Two weeks after Bush’s Inauguration, Ryan gave a speech at Cato asserting that Social Security was no longer the third rail of American politics. He toured his district with a PowerPoint presentation and invited news crews to document how Republicans could challenge Democrats on a sacrosanct policy issue and live to tell about it....... For the first time, Ryan enjoyed a round of worshipful media coverage. “THAT HAIR, THOSE EYES, THAT PLAN,” proclaimed the headline of a long home-state magazine profile in 2005...... Bush’s poll numbers sank, and the plan was effectively dead by the fall. The following year, the Republicans lost thirty House seats and the Democrats took over Congress. Other factors contributed to Bush’s failures in 2005 and 2006—Hurricane Katrina, escalating violence in Iraq—but his push for a version of the Ryan Social Security plan marked the start of the decline. Bush, in his memoir, writes that he regretted pursuing the issue when he did...... “Don’t let the engineers run the marketing department.” ...... he set about testing the bounds of conservative ideology within the Party ..... Rather than just build support inside Congress, he promoted the Roadmap through the rich network of conservative media and think tanks that helped influence Republican members...... Ryan had witnessed three periods when conservatism was ascendant: during the Reagan revolution of the nineteen-eighties; after the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress; and after Bush’s election in 2000. Notably, the federal government’s size and responsibilities grew through all three political epochs....... Conservative intellectuals at National Review and the Heritage Foundation loved the Roadmap, and Ryan became an icon within the insular world of right-wing pundits. In Congress, things were different..... someone who could attack the President’s policies with facts and figures..... there were eighty-seven Republican freshmen who wanted to starve the government but had no clear idea how to do so.... In April, after months of this education campaign, Ryan formally unveiled a third version of the Roadmap, renamed the Path to Prosperity...... “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has just released a recklessly bold, 73-page, 10-year budget plan,” he wrote. “At 37 footnotes, it might be the most annotated suicide note in history.” ..... “He’s a cerebral guy who likes policy, and he’s from my part of the country,” Ryan said. “At the beginning, I did have some hope..... Obama said. “There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.” ..... Ryan helped scuttle three deals on the budget. ...... “That’s what Cantor and Ryan want,” Jackson told a group of Republican congressmen, according to Robert Draper’s recent book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do.” “They see a world where it’s Mitch McConnell”—as Senate Majority Leader—“Speaker Cantor, a Republican President, and then Paul Ryan can do whatever he wants to do. It’s not about this year. It’s about getting us to 2012, defeating the President, and Boehner being disgraced.” ...... Through 2007, Ryan regularly requested government money for special projects back home .... Since the plant closed, Janesville, which sits almost at the center of a ring of major cities, including Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Des Moines, and Minneapolis, has partly reinvented itself as a distribution hub for major companies. “They don’t make anything here,” Beckord explained. “But they distribute their products from here.” ..... Next year, I-90 around Janesville will begin expansion from four lanes to eight. The project, the top issue for the local business community since the G.M. plant closed, will be financed as part of a billion-dollar federal and state highway project. “Paul has been as helpful as he can be to encourage that development,” Beckord said. “But, as you know, he also has a philosophical disconnect with the idea of earmarks.” ..... “When we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together..... When I pointed out to Ryan that government spending programs were at the heart of his home town’s recovery, he didn’t disagree...... what he’s been doing since 2008: remaking the Republican Party in his image
Barack Obama could not have wished for a better running mate for Romney. Mitt Romney just handed Barack Obama a gift.

It is not a fight between individualism and collectivism. It is about striking the right balance between the two to create maximum possible space for the individual without gutting all the good that only collective actions make possible.
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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Paramendra Kumar Batting For Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar: Prime Minister

My name is Paramendra Kumar, and I am batting for Nitish Kumar.

Bihar bats for Nitish Kumar as PM
L K Advani's blog about a non-Congress, non-NDA Prime Minister coming to power after 2014 polls stoked the fire on Tuesday with Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray criticizing the BJP leader while JD(U) leaders differed in their opinion on the issue. Thackeray's comment, that Advani's prediction might be based on the two contenders - Nitish and Narendra Modi - for the PM's post within the NDA, threw up the issue for debate .... TOI on Tuesday reached out to a cross-section of society for reaction on Thackeray admitting Nitish as potential PM candidate and majority of them preferred Nitish to Modi mainly because of the former's secular credentials, wider acceptability among the NDA allies, clean image and his pan-India appeal among youth. .... his stature will also bring other socialist, secular and nationalist parties under one umbrella. The 2014 battle will be fought in the Hindi heartland. In this backdrop, Nitish will emerge an automatic choice .... "Nobody in this country is ready to accept that Modi is a secular person. Nitish has secular credentials. If the NDA projects Nitish as its next prime ministerial candidate, he would be able to garner support from all secular forces. Among the non-Congress leaders, Nitish would be the best prime minister." .... "Nitish has emerged as the strongest prime ministerial candidate. He would be the most capable and dynamic PM. He has vision and ability to lead a country of different religions, faiths and languages. Unlike Modi, Nitish has experience of running ministries at the Centre. Whichever ministry he headed, Nitish hardly disturbed the basic fabric of bureaucracy." .... "Bihar has taken a big leap in terms of development, safety and security under Nitish leadership. The world has recognized his ability to govern. In 2008, when I was travelling in Gujarat, some co-passengers in train told me about crisis of workers mainly because Biharis had stopped going to Gujarat after tremendous development in Nitish raj. I think Nitish would prove a better PM." ..... "When Lalu Prasad was the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish used to be called his 'Chanakya'. Let this modern Chanakya from Nalanda be the next PM. As he has brought an overall growth in Bihar, he would surely change the economic scenario of the country." .... "Modi has no experience of heading ministry at the Centre whereas Nitish has been minister of different departments, including railways, for several years. Besides, unlike Modi, Nitish has acceptance among people of all religions." ..... "Nitish must be given a chance to become PM. He would definitely bring the nation on the fast track of development as he has done in Bihar. If Modi is doing well in Gujarat it is because he got a developed territory to lead. But Bihar has been a 'Bimaru' state for several years. Nitish has made the turnaround no one had even thought of."
Post-2014 polls, non-Congress, non-BJP PM likely: LK Advani
Advani wrote in his blog, "A non-Congress, non-BJP prime minister heading a government supported by one of these two principal parties is, however, feasible. This has happened in the past also." .... Advani also predicted that the Congress was headed for its worst-ever debacle and might for the first time "sink to just two digits" in Lok Sabha .... at a time when the BJP leadership is debating whether it can risk annoying allies like Bihar CM Nitish Kumar by projecting his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. ..... In his blog , Advani also wrote that a government which will not be led by either the BJP or Congress was not likely to last long. "This has happened in the past also. But as the prime ministership of Chaudhry Charan Singh, Chandrashekharji, Deve Gowdaji and Inder Kumar Gujralji, as also of Vishwanath Pratap Singhji have shown, such governments have never lasted long," he said.
A scenario I am looking at is where either the BJP or the Congress emerge as the largest party but distant from a majority on their own, the non-Congress, non-BJP parties collectively become bigger than either the Congress or the BJP, and the BJP throwing its weight behind Nitish Kumar among all possible non-Congress, non-BJP candidates. That BJP support wipes out any possibility of any other non-Congress, non-BJP candidate showing up. Congress gets left out big time. The UPA as an alliance is no more, and even the NDA as an alliance is in tatters. For the first time the non-Congress, non-BJP government could last a full four year term.

Advani blog: Sena fumes, JD(U) welcomes prediction
A political storm has stirred up over Bharatiya Janata Party veteran L.K. Advani's blog post predicting a non-Congress, non-BJP prime minister after the next polls, with ally Shiv Sena terming it "demoralising" and another ally Janata Dal(United) (JD-U) welcoming it..... JD(U) MP Shivanand Tiwari, however, defended Advani, saying his assessment is "impeccable".... Old ally Thackeray, in a strongly worded editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, however, said: "If Advani has any doubts, he can come to me at Matoshri (Thackeray's residence in Mumbai) and I will give him a dose of morale and strength." .... He added that the comment would "add fuel to the fire" of ambitions in Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi for the prime minister's post.... "There is price rise, unemployment, corruption, but the BJP is not fighting a sustained battle against these evils... In Uttar Pradesh, Punjab elections, there was anti-incumbency factor which should have benefited the BJP but it didn't," said Tiwari..... Tiwari's comment come a day after his party chief Sharad Yadav said he did not agree with Advani's prediction
LK Advani's Blog
Speculations About Congress' Fate In 2014
the Government likely to take shape can be that of the Third Front. .... It would not at all be surprising if the next Lok Sabha elections yield a result which for the Congress may prove the worst in its history since 1952
How Britain Promoted Opium In India
Today, it is universally acknowledged that the two basic touchstones to judge a country’s conditions are its performance in the field of education and healthcare...... the British rulers in India deliberately and systematically, destroyed whatever wholesome existed .... When the British came there was throughout India, a system of communal schools managed by the village communities. The agents of the East India Company destroyed these village communities…. ..... “Instead of encouraging education, the Government encouraged drink. When the British came, India was a sober nation. ‘The temperance of the people,’ said Warren Hastings, ‘is demonstrated in the simplicity of their food and their total abstinence from spirituous liquors and other substances of intoxication.’ ...... “With the first trading posts established by the British, saloons were opened for the sale of rum, and the East India Company made handsome profits from the trade. When the Crown took over India it depended on the saloons for a large parts of its revenue; the license system was so arranged as to stimulate drinking and sales....... “The Government revenue from such licenses has increased seven-fold in the last forty years; in 1922 it stood at $60,000,000 annually-three times the appropriation for schools and universities.’ ..... She does not tell us that the opium is grown only by the Government, and is sold exclusively by the Government; that its sale, like the sale of drink through saloons, is carried on despite the protest of the Nationalist Congress, the Industrial and Social Conferences, the Provincial Conferences, the Brahmo-Somaj, the Arya-Somaj, the Mohammedans and the Christians, that there are seven thousand opium shops in India, operated by the British Government, in the most conspicuous places in every town; that the Central Legislature in 1921 passed a bill prohibiting the growth or sale of opium in India, and that the Government refused to act upon it; that from two to four hundred thousand acres of India’s soil, sorely needed for the raising of food, are given over to the growing of opium; and that the sale of the drug brings to the Government one-ninth of its total revenue every year. ...... It was…the practice of the miserable tyrants whom we found in India, that when they dreaded the capacity and spirit of some distinguished subjects, and yet could not venture to murder him, to administer to him daily dose of the pousta, a preparation of opium, the effect of which was in a few months to destroy all the bodily and mental powers of the wretch who was drugged with it, and turn him into a helpless idiot. That detestable artifice, more horrible than assassination itself, was worthy of those who employed it. It is no model for the English nation. We shall never consent to administer the pousta to a whole community, to stupefy and paralyze a great people

The NDA has to project Nitish as its PM candidate before the elections. That is a sure way for the NDA to get into power.

The only person contesting against Nitish Kumar is Rahul Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi himself is a fan of Nitish Kumar. I think that pretty much sums up the debate, if there is one.

May 2009: Rahul praises Nitish Kumar, Naidu
"I am not saying that only Congress has leaders (who have done good work), there are leaders in the opposition.... Nitish (Kumar), for example," he said, praising the Bihar chief minister. 
Rahul blundered by praising Nitish, Jayalalitha, quips Jaitley
"It is a blunder on part of young Gandhi to praise Nitish Kumar and Jayalalitha, for his overtures have been cold-shouldered by the parties he was trying to reach. On the other hand, UPA partners got upset and is seeing it with suspicion" 
Lalu, Paswan Dismiss Rahul's Praise For Nitish
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi lauding Nitish Kumar for the developmental work done in the state, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad made no attempt to hide his ire. He told reporters: "Nitish koi achha kaam nahi kiya hai (Nitish has not done any good work)." ... He added, "Neither is the Congress ours nor are we in Congress." ..... Lok Janshakti Party leader and Bihar leader Ram Vilas Paswan too made apparent his irritation at the Congress general secretary's speech. "If Nitish has done good work, then why has the Congress pitched its candidates against him? Kya bolte hain Rahul? (What is Rahul talking about)."
And the biggest name in the BJP is himself saying no to Modi, and yes to Nitish.

Lal Krishna Advani moves away from Modi, says Non-Cong, Non-BJP PM possible
Advani's remarks assume significance in the context of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's reservations over BJP projecting Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate in the next general elections..... Of late, there has been speculation that Advani and Modi do not share the same relationship they used to have years ago. Advani had in an earlier blog also written about not-so-rosy a picture about the state of affairs in BJP

A vote for Nitish Kumar will be a vote for double digit growth rates for India. India becomes the new China with Nitish Kumar at the helm. This is about the economy, stupid. India's time on the world stage has come.
Bangladesh Diplomat Identifies Pakistan's Seven Deadly Sins
If Saudis Can Surrender Abu Jindal, Why Can't Pak Hand Over Dawood Ibrahim?
Some Memories Of Past Presidential Elections

I must say Advani has a great blog.
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