Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feinstein, Rogers Agree the Taliban is Stronger

So tell me why we are still in Afghanistan again? Oh, yeah, It's an election year:

The heads of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Sunday the Taliban was gaining ground, just days after President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan and touted the progress made in the war on terror.

“I think we'd both say that what we found is that the Taliban is stronger,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on CNN’s “State of the Union,” while sitting with Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan.
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'Meet The Press' Transcript (5-6-12)

Full Transcript. Excerpt below:


But the net jobs are down, in terms of job created.  You've lost a ton of jobs over the course of this administration, because of the financial crisis.  And there is this idea of some stagnation out there.  That what was economic recovery seems to have flat lined.  Is that not a concern?

No, it's not a concern.  There-- it's not stagnation.  Look, as you pointed out, there were four million jobs lost in the six months or so before we came to office.  Before I lowered my right hand on-- on January the 20th, we lost 700,000 jobs that month.  And before we got out first major economic initiative passed, we lost another 3.5 million jobs.  Since that point, it's been steady growth, not enough.  There's still a lot of people in trouble.  But there's no stagnation.                                             


Are people discouraged is the question.  And this presidential campaign, which is kicking off in a big way this weekend with the president making his official kickoff.  Mitt Romney is saying, "Look, we need a different path.  We need a different president to turn this around."  And this is how he reacted on Friday to the jobs report.


And the discouragement is real.  Recent polling showing three-- three fourths, 76% of Americans still believe the country's in recession.                                                

Well, you know, for the people who are unemployed, it-- they there you are still in recession.  For the people whose wages are stagnant, it feels like a recession.  I come from a household where whenever there was a massive recession, somebody around that table was going to lose their job.  And-- but here's the deal.  What is Romney proposing?  He's proposing, as to quote Bill Clinton, "going back to the last policy of the last administration on steroids."  I mean, what is he talking about?
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Is he talking about-- how is he going to create jobs?  He talks about another $2 trillion in tax cuts for the very wealthy?  You're going to create jobs?  Is that how he's going to do it?  Is he going to create jobs by continuing to undercut getting people to college and helping them get there by undercutting education?  Is he going to continue to create jobs by eliminating investments in-- in-- research and development?  I mean, what-- what-- what's the plan?

Transcript: Fareed Zakaria GPS (5-6-12)

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

ZAKARIA: My next guest is the author of what some are saying will be the most controversial, perhaps even hated book of the year. "Unintended Consequences" goes against the grain in arguing that the rise of the 1 percent is actually good for the 99 percent.

The author says that contrary to what the Occupy Movement might say, inequality does have its benefits. Ed Conard is here to explain. He is a former managing director at Bain Capital. Yes, he worked closely with Mitt Romney and is now one of his top donors. He joins me now.

So, Ed, let's start by just -- explain to me why is the rise of the 1 percent good for the economy?

ED CONARD, AUTHOR, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, BAIN CAPITAL: It's not really the essential focus of the book. The book is about how to get the economy to grow faster. That growth, in the long run, is powered by innovation and risk-taking.

And part of what the book argues is that the pay-offs for risk- taking are essentially to getting more risk-taking in this economy and that that's good for the middle class and the worker poor.

ZAKARIA: So you want people to invest, take risks with their capital so that you spur innovation?

CONARD: Yes, although I think the economy has changed significantly from where it was in the 1950s, when capital investment to build an automotive industry and a highway system were essential to growth, to one today were 13 guys on a computer can create Instagram and a billion dollars of value in two years.

It's now much more powered by risk-taking than it is by the funding of investment.

Elections are Rigged in Favor of Incumbents

John Fund gets it right except for his conclusion. We need less money in politics not more:

More Americans approve of polygamy than of Congress. A February CBS News/New York Times poll found just 10 percent of respondents approved of Congress’s job performance. A recent poll from the same source found 11 percent of respondents thought polygamy “morally acceptable.” Other polls have found that the “U.S. going communist” has 11 percent support—meaning that concept has more fans than Congress has.

But here’s the paradox: While the approval rating for Congress has hit an all-time low, well over 90 percent of incumbent House members routinely win re-election. Even in the Tea Party election of 2010, 86 percent of House incumbents were returned to office. How can this be? It’s because the game is rigged in favor of incumbents, with more than four out of five congressional districts a lock for one party or another. Incumbent gerrymandering and enormous campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists make it nearly impossible to dislodge members short of major scandal. The general elections in which they cruise to victory time and time again are really fake fights, like the ones in pro wrestling.
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