Goodbye, Eric Holder UPDATED

We learned today of the resignation of US AG Eric Holder:

Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and 5 1/2 years of fights with Republicans in Congress.

Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear that he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.

Holder’s work on Civil Rights was outstanding, but he was also beholden to the status quo when it came to people with power: Holder never found a single person to prosecute for Wall Street’s criminal looting of the global economy, and never brought charges against the admitted war criminals of the Bush Administration.

I’m not sure we would notice the difference if he left today, which is probably a good thing: it is unlikely that the Republicans would approve a replacement, especially if they gain control of the Senate in 2014 as many pundits are predicting.

Paul Constant at the SLOG says it so much better than I ever could.

I didn’t have one single reaction upon reading this morning that Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning… Holder has a spotty record on civil liberties—he’s taken heat from both the left and the far right as an enemy of freedom of the press and a fearsome enforcer when it comes to whistleblowers. He let Wall Street and the big banks trample the middle class. He deserves all that criticism—Holder has done a lot to keep George W. Bush’s paranoid, power-obsessed America alive for another eight years—but he’s taken a lot of criticism that he doesn’t deserve, too. The New York Times, for instance, describes Holder as a “lightning rod” for “partisan venom,” which is a decidedly mixed metaphor that somehow works perfectly.

He’s also been a force for good. Holder has been a strong supporter of civil rights, gay marriage, and reduced prison time for nonviolent drug offenders. He’s been permissive of Washington and Colorado’s experiments with legalized marijuana. We just got an e-mail from Christian ninnies Morality in Media saying Holder’s resignation “can only give hope to those suffering the ravages of the pornography pandemic in America.” Anyone painting him as a faux-liberal is intentionally obscuring half the man’s record. Anyone trying to paint him as a strictly liberal politician is missing the point, too.

So Bill Gates walks into a bar…

…and the average income rises.

choo-choo train

However, median income is in some ways a better measure?

The census numbers on what American families made last year are as mediocre as they are predictable. We now know that if your household brought in $51,939 in income last year, you were right at the 50th percentile, with half of households doing better and half doing worse. In inflation-adjusted terms, that is up a mere 0.3 percent from 2012. If you’re counting, that’s an extra $180 in annual real income for a middle-income American family. Don’t spend your extra $3.46 a week all in one place.

There’s a chart in the NYTimes article that shows more clearly than anything how far we’ve fallen with The Miracle Of The Bush Economy began. The GDP has grown by leaps and bounds as America’s multination corporations have benefitted greatly from killing off the working class and moving operations off-shore.

I know technically we left the Great Recession years and years ago, and outside of the rarified air of Silicon Valley (the board rooms and suites, not so much in the cubicle farms and veal-fattening pens) and Wall Street, I really don’t know of anyone who is doing better; I do know some people who are holding steady, but most people in my circle are doing considerably worse. So while the technical definition is that the US is in good times, to most of us we are well on the way to a lost decade, if not a lost generation.

WSJ: Portman in the 2016 Goat Rodeo?

Portman

HAHAHAHAHAHA! *Gasp* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Chimpy McStagger’s Budget Director? That Rob Portman?

HAHAHAHAHAHA! *gasp* HAHAHAHAHA!

Killer material, dude!

What I’m reading today

flaming-finger

This review of Little Timmy Geithner’s book, Stress Test: The Con Artist Wing of the Democratic Party. Here’s a taste:

The book is full of narratives, facts, and statements that are, well, untrue, or at the very least, highly misleading. Despite its length, there are also serious omissions that suggest an intention to mislead, as well as misrepresentations of his critics’ arguments. As I went further into Geithner’s narrative, even back into his college days, I got the sense that I was seeing only a brilliantly scrubbed surface, that there were nooks and crannies hidden away. It struck me that I was reading the memoirs of an incredibly savvy and well-bred grifter, the kind that the American WASP establishment of financiers, foundation officials, and spies produces in such rich abundance. I realize this is a bold claim, because it’s an indictment not just of Geithner but also of those who worked for him at Treasury and at the Federal Reserve, as well as indictment of the Clinton-era finance team of Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Michael Barr, Jason Furman, and other accomplices.

[snip]

Geithner is at heart a grifter, a petty con artist with the right manners and breeding to lie at the top echelons of American finance at a moment when the government and financial services industry needed someone to be the face of their multi-trillion dollar three card monte. He’s going to make his money, now that he’s done living his life of fantastic power after his upbringing of remarkable mysterious privilege. After reading this book and documenting lie after lie after lie, I’m convinced that there’s more here than just a self-serving corrupt official. There’s an entire culture, of figures at Treasury, the Federal Reserve, in the entire Democratic Party elite structure, and in the world of journalism, a culture in which Geithner is seen as some sort of role model.

It’s a long review, but I’m already enjoying it. From Vice, no less.

“Would you liked fries with your career?”

Ugh: Most Of The Jobs Added Since The Recession Pay Low Wages

hoovervilles

Four years into the recovery, low-wage industries have accounted for 44 percent of job growth, but they only made up 22 percent of the losses during the recession. These jobs pay between $9.48 and $13.33 an hour — even that higher wage is only about $27,000 a year. At the same time, mid-wage industries saw 37 percent of the job losses but have only made up about a quarter of employment growth. High-wage industries accounted for 41 percent of the losses but have only seen 30 percent of the recovery’s gains. In all, low-wage industries employ 1.85 million more people than when the recession began, while the other two groups have lost nearly 2 million jobs.

I don’t think that this comes as a surprise to anyone, really. If you are above a certain age, you won’t be offered these jobs, either. I know that by the economic definition we are no longer in a recession, but it sure feels like a depression. Thanks Chimpy for your lasting legacy of making everything worse.

(Think Progress)

What has e-squared’s panties in a bunch today?

Erick-Erickson-viking

Our hot-tempered pal Erick son of Erick is always about one cheeseburger away from a stroke (have another deep fried potato skin, Erick) and today it is no different.

erickson

But today it is Matthew Yglesias who has gotten under e2 collar.

Why, what did Yglesias do, you ask?

Simple: he told the truth about the debt:

And here is Ewick’s weaction

Matthew Yglesias is Juice Vox Media’s Village Idiot and Liar-in-Chief

…which begins with a long section that is a personal attack on Yglesias (with lots of outgoing links to Twitchy and the like to, you know, footnote his epithets):

Let us turn our attention to Matthew Yglesias, the Executive Editor of Ezra Klein’s new site. As my friend Pejman Yousefzadeh has well documented, Yglesias is just not that bright. He thinks Joe Lieberman is a dumb Jewish politician; was shocked to discover Senators represent the states as opposed to populations; was unaware of a black conservative tradition; couldn’t understand why Miami didn’t expand westward (hint: a giant swamp); had no idea an incumbent President had been defeated in primaries (Jimmy Carter lost 13 primaries in 1980 to Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown); thought Bobby Jindal’s reputation for intelligence was just ethnic stereotyping; argued it was okay to lie about having kids; wanted to know why Egypt didn’t have a Parliamentary system as if it’d matter and, by the way, it already does have one; thinks there are too many banks; thinks no banks have been chartered in 2013 even though banks were chartered in 2013; and the list goes on.

See, there that proves it that Yglesias is not smart, like E-E is!

Which brings us to his video at the JuiceVox Media website. He tries to explain the National Debt and out of the gate beings with a lie. He claims the national debt is $5 trillion less than the U.S. Treasury says it is.

Yglesias notes that he’s excluding debt owed from one arm of the government to another, and only including federal debt held by the public.

Then he uses deficit and debt interchangeably.

Ewick, debt is the sum of the deficit over many years. So long as you understand that one is an annual figure and the other is the total, there’s nothing wrong with looking at them as two views of the same number. That’s accounting 101.

Then he claims the U.S. Government can never run out of money.

This is true, of course, and is why we got off the Gold Standard, much to Ron Paul’s chagrin.

He goes through all of this to conclude that the national debt, which he understated, is just not anything to worry about.

This isn’t education. It is not explaining. It is left-wing propaganda. It is also sponsored by General Electric. Why is General Electric sponsoring left-wing propaganda?

Everything in the video is true, which means it is not left-wing propaganda (facts don’t have a bias). The problem of course is that if any factual information makes it into the noggins of the teabaggers from Possum Hollar, Ark., they might not buy into the whole narrative that to save the village the GOP must burn the village.

Ann Frank weeps for Tom Perkins

…because being wealthy is exactly like the Kristallnacht:

Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”

From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?

Tom Perkins

“First they came for Venture Capitalists…” just what the hell is he trying to accomplish? Sympathy? Lessons from history?

For those of you outside of Silicon Valley, the name might not be on the tip of your tongue, but Mr. Perkins is a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is pretty much the mother ship of Venture Capital, and yes, he is one of the richest men in the world.

Fun fact: Tom Perkins is also one of the few people to ever have been convicted of killing someone using a yacht as the deadly weapon.

His comment was so offensive that KPCB actually had to disclaim it:

As for me, I’m also offended that he considers his ex-wife and not-really talented dirty book writer Danielle Steel to be the #1 celebrity in SF. Poor old Tom doesn’t get out much anymore.

(WSJ)

Good News! Americans Are Evolving and the GOP Isn’t!

chimpy.jpg

Belief in evolution among Republicans has dropped more than 10 percentage points since 2009, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

And I suppose after 8 long years of Chimpy McStagger, the Republicans might have a point. (Livewire)

GOP: Feed a cold, starve the poor

hoovervilles

The Froomkin piece from Friday on the abject cruelty of the GOP’s slashing of SNAP (foodstamps to you and me) has at the end of it some really interesting tools and facts about budgeting that I have not seen before:

Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy research, has, as he puts it, “long harassed budget reporters and editors over the practice of reporting large budget numbers without any context.”

Baker’s suggestion: “Newspapers could get in the habit of writing budget numbers as shares of the total budget.” (They can even use this nifty calculator.) So, for instance:

“[T]he food stamp piece could have told readers that the proposed cut to the program was 0.086 percent of projected federal spending over the next decade. That may or may not be a big deal for the people losing benefits, but readers would know that it would not matter much for the budget.”

Baker concludes:

“There are certainly people who want to believe that all of their tax dollars are going to lazy good-for-nothings and they have no intention of letting the evidence change their views. But that does not explain most of the confusion on budget issues. It really is a case where the media has been incredibly irresponsible, treating budget reporting more like a fraternity ritual than an effort to inform their audience about the budget.”

This is really a great idea to give these numbers context. Taking away food from starving people is reprehensible on its own merit, but when you see that this needless austerity only saves about 0.08% of the Federal budget, it just is an act of unprecedented cruelty. We can—and must—do better than this.