The Sunday Funnies
Jake Sherman of Politico: "New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman seems to be testing the patience of a couple of his fellow pundits on ABC's 'This Week.' Conservative commentator George Will and former White House aide Mary Matalin both directed pointed remarks at Krugman Sunday that broke with the good-natured banter common among the guests on Sunday political talk shows." CW: I happened to be in the kitchen while my husband had this segment on; Matalin & Will once again proved they are the Village Vicious Idiots. You can watch the performances here (if you're willing to sit through several minutes of ads). The segment begins at about 14:45 min. in. ...
... Pam Spaulding of Pam's Houseblend writes a great post of Matelin's & Will's sorta not anti-gay remarks emanating from the same show. She throws in a bonus remark about Ann Coulter.
AND Lawrence O'Donnell takes on the Newt on "Press the Meat." Igor Volsky of Think Progress reports. With video.
NEW. Charles Pierce has a lovely rundown of what-all you missed by doing something useful with your Sunday morning. Thanks to MAG for the link.
NEW. Driftglass fills in the parts Pierce missed.
Jake Sherman & Carrie Brown of Politico: "President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House Sunday in an attempt to break the logjam on the fiscal cliff. It was their first face-to-face meeting in 23 days." The New York Times story, by Brian Knowlton & Jackie Calmes, is here.
Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post: "Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Sunday that he's 'beginning to believe' thatfalling in line with President Obama's call to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, then shifting the focus to reforming entitlements 'is the best route for us to take' on the 'fiscal cliff.'"
Joan Walsh has a terrific post on the stupidity of raising the eligibility age for Medicare. CW: I'm getting damned sick of the increasing acceptable idea that Obama has to cave on something like this because House Republicans need some "face-saving" measure so they can say they won. Why in hell is it more important to appease a few prima donnas than it is to guarantee more affordable health care to millions of older Americans? What happened to Obama's campaign line about "fundamental fairness"? Oh. I guess it was just a campaign line.
Peter Schroeder & Bernie Becker of The Hill: "The White House has the power to temporarily protect taxpayers from middle-class tax hikes even as upper income rates rise if Congress does nothing and all of the Bush-era tax rates expire in January. Experts and lawmakers alike agree that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has the power to adjust how much is withheld from paychecks for tax purposes -- for all taxpayers or just for some."
** Paul Krugman: "Increasingly, [corporate] profits have been rising at the expense of workers in general, including workers with the skills that were supposed to lead to success in today's economy.... As best as I can tell, there are two plausible explanations, both of which could be true to some extent. One is that technology has taken a turn that places labor at a disadvantage; the other is that we're looking at the effects of a sharp increase in monopoly power."
** Frank Rich: "What's really shocking about the Petraeus affair is not Petraeus's affair but the fact that once again, we were taken in by a secular plaster saint who turns out to bear only a faint resemblance to the image purveyed by the man himself and the mass media that abetted his self-glorification."
Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "Almost two decades after the Clinton administration failed to intervene in the genocide in Rwanda, the United States is coming under harsh criticism for not moving forcefully in another African crisis..., this time in Rwanda's neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo.... Critics ... who include officials of human rights organizations and United Nations diplomats ... of the Obama administration's Africa policy have focused on the role of Susan E. Rice ... in the administration’s failure to take action against the country they see as a major cause of the Congolese crisis, Rwanda.... Aides to Ms. Rice acknowledge that she is close to [Rwandan President Paul] Kagame and that Mr. Kagame's government was her client when she worked at Intellibridge, a strategic analysis firm in Washington." ...
... AND speaking of President Clinton, Richard Socarides, who worked in the Clinton administration, has a good, short post in the New Yorker on what the Supreme Court's rulings on the DOMA & Prop 8 cases could mean to the future of gay marriage. His post is a reminder for those extolling the virtues of Bill Clinton that Clinton was not a leader on this issue.
Jason Zengerle of New York magazine: "... a month after the election, Obama's campaign team has managed to cast a 2008-like hue on their 2012 victory. The secret of their successful spin: Instead of talking about how their guy won a second term by methodically defining -- and demonizing -- his buffoon of an opponent, they’re gushing about the ingenuity of their apps and algorithms."
Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: "Unless and until the federal government takes over the business of running our elections -- which will, in all likelihood, never happen -- the process of voting will remain the shambles we saw on November 6, 2012."
James Allworth in the Harvard Business Review on how political corruption stifles innovation -- by privileging established companies and technologies over new ones. CW: It's worth noting that there's another side to the story. There was no greater or more invasive monopoly in the U.S. than AT&FuckingT, but it also was half-owner of Bell Labs, a citadel of innovation that produced 7 Nobel Prizes. Of course if the Justice Department hadn't broken up AT&T, we'd probably still be phoning each other on black rotary dials & paying AT&T a per-minute fee to use the government-developed Internets. Thanks to Dave S. for the link.
Edward Wong of the New York Times: "In a strong signal of support for greater market-oriented economic policies, Xi Jinping, the new head of the Communist Party, made a visit over the weekend to the special economic zone of Shenzhen in south China, which has stood as a symbol of the nation's embrace of a state-led form of capitalism since its growth over the last three decades from a fishing enclave to an industrial metropolis."
Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press: "Large numbers of Michigan State Police officers were around the Capitol building early this morning as Lansing braced for a day of protests related to controversial right-to-work legislation working its way through the state Legislature. Today's protests are a precursor to much larger ones planned for Tuesday, when thousands of union activists are expected to converge at the Capitol and supporters of right-to-work legislation have also promised a strong presence there. Union members took civil disobedience training in Detroit on Saturday to prepare for the protests." ...
... Amanda Terkel of the Huffington Post: "The Obama administration told labor leaders that the president will also be weighing in on the right-to-work fight in his speech [to be delivered today at the Detroit Daimler Truck diesel plant], according to union officials who spoke with The Huffington Post." ...
... Greg Sargent: "I'm told that virtually the entire Democratic Congressional delegation in Michigan is set to privately meet with [Michigan Gov. Rick] Snyder today in an effort to persuade him to reconsider the initiative and to find a way out of the impasse.... The lawmakers ... will try to persuade Snyder that proceeding with the anti-union initiative will badly damage the state and that there is a middle-ground way out of the situation...."
Right Wing World
Jonathan Chait on "The Psychology of Defeat": how the leaders of Right Wing World -- especially Charles Krautheimer are handling their pain.
President Obama speaking in Detroit, Michigan:
Washington Post: "Treasury announced on Monday that it is completing its exit of American International Group, the insurance behemoth that nearly imploded four years ago, almost dragging down the entire financial system with it. It plans to sell about 234 million shares, raising about $8 billion and leaving Treasury with a $5 billion profit on its investment. The Federal Reserve, which also invested in the firm, has already unloaded virtually all its holdings, for a profit of $18 billion."
Bloomberg News: "HSBC Holdings Plc will pay at least $1.9 billion to settle U.S. probes of money laundering allegations involving Europe's largest bank..., making it the largest such accord ever. The bank, whose top executives were accused of lax oversight by a U.S. Senate subcommittee in July, has been the target of investigations run by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Controls, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Manhattan District Attorney."
New York Times: "The political crisis over Egypt's draft constitution hardened on both sides on Sunday, as President Mohamed Morsi prepared to deploy the army to safeguard balloting in a planned referendum on the new charter and his opponents called for more protests and a boycott to undermine the vote." ...
... Update: "Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi captured, detained and beat dozens of his political opponents last week, holding them for hours with their hands bound on the pavement outside the presidential palace while pressuring them to confess that they had accepted money to use violence in protests against him.
Guardian: "Russian and American diplomats have met in Geneva to discuss the future of Syria with the UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, according to the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who insisted the meeting did not imply Moscow had softened in its support for the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad. ...
... Al Jazeera: "Syrian rebels have captured parts of a large army base in the country's north, just west of the city of Aleppo, activists say."
AP: "Mexico's music world mourned Jenni Rivera, the U.S.-born singer presumed killed in a plane crash whose soulful voice and openness about her personal troubles had made her a Mexican-American superstar. Authorities have not confirmed her death, but Rivera's relatives in the U.S. say they have few doubts that she was on the Learjet 25 that disintegrated on impact Sunday in rugged territory in Nuevo Leon state in northern Mexico."
AP: "South African former President Nelson Mandela's stay in hospital for unspecified medical tests has stretched into a third day. On Monday there was no new word on his condition. Government officials have said the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is 'comfortable' and receiving medical care that is 'consistent with his age.'"