Posts Tagged ‘standard


lies, lies, lies…..

Glenn Kessler (Washington Post): Another lengthy presidential debate, and more bogus claims and counterclaims to check…..

Rick Perry: “I got lobbied on this issue. I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage-four cervical cancer. I spent a lot of time with her. She came by my office. She talked to me about this program…..”

Perry is being misleading when he discusses his controversial vaccine order. He makes it sound like he was lobbied by a cancer patient, not his former chief of staff working for a drug company, and that’s why he made his decision.

But he has the story backwards. He met Heather Burcham, a 31-year-old woman who died from cervical cancer after contracting HPV, after he signed the mandate ordering vaccinations for children.

Perry: “When we had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded F- 16s, we chose not to do that.”

Perry gets this story backwards. He may have been focused on the F-16 because it is built by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, but India made the decision to not buy F-16s and instead go with another military jet. It was not the U.S. choice. The Obama administration actually lobbied hard for the sale, and the aerospace firm had assured India that its F-16s would be “much more advanced” than the fighters provided to Pakistan.

Romney: “The president went about this all wrong. He went around the world and apologized for America….”.

Regarding the supposed apology, we have repeatedly called this out as a Four-Pinocchio falsehood. A careful review of all of Obama’s overseas statements found that they had been taken out of context or had been misquoted.

More here


Bill Kristol: The Weekly Standard’s official reaction to last night’s Republican presidential debate: Yikes.

Reading the reactions of thoughtful commentators after the stage emptied, talking with conservative policy types and GOP political operatives later last evening and this morning, we know we’re not alone. Most won’t express publicly just how horrified – or at least how demoralized – they are……

The e-mails flooding into our inbox during the evening were less guarded. Early on, we received this missive from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!” ….

…. no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him. And Mitt Romney remains, when all is said and done, a technocratic management consultant whose one term as governor produced Romneycare….

…. we do ask (again!), with a month left before filing deadlines: Is that all there is?

More here – but be warned, it’s right wing territory ;-)


aaa to b+

Robert Reich explains the credit downgrade


‘burned on a teacup’

Mark Mellman (The Hill): Make no mistake: Republicans castigating President Obama for S&P’s ill-considered downgrade are akin to a mugger attacking the mayor, then blaming the sheriff for “letting” him do it.

Republican members of Congress attacked the full faith and credit of the United States by arguing publicly that defaulting on our debts would not be so bad. No rating agency can hear that and remain confident America feels bound and determined to pay its bills.

When every serious GOP economist and most every Republican who has carefully investigated the issue – from Sen. Tom Coburn to former Sen. Alan Simpson – conclude that both spending cuts and revenue increases are required to restore our fiscal heath, but Republican leaders announce they will refuse to appoint anyone to the supercommittee who might even consider eliminating billions in subsidies to oil companies, they not only subordinate the national interest to the interests of Big Oil, they also send an unmistakable message to rating agencies that they aren’t serious about restoring fiscal discipline, thereby mugging America’s credit rating. Then they attack President Obama for what – allowing them to speak freely, if foolishly?

… “Tea Party” is becoming a dirty word …. Republicans running for every office from president to dog catcher are forced to pledge fealty to a group that is increasingly scorned by the American people.

The same could be said of the GOP itself. Just this week CNN/ORC pollsters found 59 percent of Americans harboring unfavorable views of the Republican Party, while only 33 percent offered favorable opinions. At no point in the last two decades has opinion of the Republican Party been so negative …. (While hardly loved, Democrats are 26 points better off than the GOP.)

…. Americans want compromise and moderation, while Republicans emerge from this crisis looking uncompromising in their extremism. Public preference for compromise is clear – three recent polls found 66 percent to 85 percent saying they would rather the parties compromise than stick to their principles.

But the GOP failed this test … Being uncompromising, extreme and in thrall to a movement that is becoming a pariah will hurt the GOP. Unfortunately, it hurts the country even more.

Full article here




surprise, surprise!

HughBoyOhBoy (DK): I did some checking this afternoon on the Federal Election Commission’s database of financial contributors to political candidates. Within minutes I found that Harold W. McGraw III, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Standard & Poor’s parent company, is a big money contributor to lots of Republicans.

Repeat recipients of McGraw’s largess include Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, something called the Bush-Cheney Compliance Committee, and many more Republicans …. He has never given any money to the Obama campaign nor any to the Democratic Party.

Gee, how convenient. Standard and Poor’s issues a politically biased rating with a $2 trillion error. Republicans wave that rating around like Moses just brought it down from the mountain as verification of their defamation about the Obama presidency. And the head of the company making those ratings happens to give money to the likes of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party…

Thanks Fred




The White House announced Tuesday morning that the President’s trip to Interstate Moving Services in Springfield, VA., where he was scheduled to talk about fuel efficiency, has been cancelled.

Instead, the President will “meet with industry officials at the White House to discuss the first of their kind fuel efficiency standards for work trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles,” the White House said.


Eugene Robinson: The so-called analysts at Standard & Poor’s may not be the most reliable bunch, but there was one very good reason for them to downgrade U.S. debt: Republicans in Congress made a credible threat to force a default on our obligations.

This isn’t the rationale that S&P gave, but it’s the only one that makes sense. Like a lucky college student who partied the night before an exam, the ratings agency used flawed logic and faulty arithmetic to somehow come up with the right answer. No, life isn’t always fair.

And no, I can’t join the “we’re all at fault” chorus. Absent the threat of willful default, a downgrade would be unjustified and absurd. And history will note that it was House Republicans who issued that threat.

…. What happened this summer is that Republicans in the House, using the Tea Party freshmen as a battering ram, threatened to compel a default. More accurately, they demanded big budget cuts as the price of raising the debt ceiling. If the Senate and President Obama did not comply, the Treasury’s access to capital through borrowing would have been cut off.

…. The ratings agency should have focused instead on the one development that has direct bearing on our creditworthiness: the GOP threat to force a default. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor should never have planned to use the debt ceiling vote as “leverage.” Obama should have made clear from the start that if necessary he would take unilateral action, based on the 14th Amendment, to ensure there could never be a default. And yes, progressive Democrats who voted against the final debt-ceiling bill should be ashamed.

It’s pretty simple: If you threaten not to pay your bills, people will — and should — take you seriously.

Full article here


the, um, liberal media

SFGate: The Standard & Poors’ rating agency decision to reduce the United States’ long term debt from AAA to AA+ was explained in a press release that specifically mentioned “the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues,” should, itself, make headlines like “Standard And Poors Blames U.S. Credit Rating Reduction On Republicans.”

But the fact is, some publications, most notable The Associated Press and Politico, are working (thus far) to cover up S&P’s finger-pointing at Republicans. Instead, they appear to be pointing their own fingers at President Obama – someone not mentioned in the Standard and Poor’s press release.

Take Jonathan Allen in Politico: Standard & Poor’s delivered an unambiguous message to investors Friday that has serious implications not only for the nation’s economy but also for President Barack Obama, the tea party and anyone else with skin in the 2012 elections: America’s political system is subprime.

That was how Allen started off his article. In it, there was zero mention of the two very damaging statements S&P used in its press release, and directly aimed at Republicans….

… Allen’s Politico article had a lot of Republican quotes, not many Democratic quotes, and in all failed to tell the truth of Standard & Poor’s message.

And then there’s the Associated Press’ article by Martin Crutsinger. It fails to include, or mention Standard & Poors’ GOP-directed press release quotes….

…. It’s purely irresponsible for The Associated Press and Politico to fail to accurately report the contents of the Standard and Poors press release. If The Associated Press and Politico want to damage President Obama, they should just come out and say so. Heck, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that his objective was to make President Obama “A one-term President”….

Full post here

Thanks Ladyhawke


‘we’ve always been and always will be a triple-a country’

President Obama delivers remarks at the White House, July 8



I’m late posting this video, but John Kerry is always worth the wait.


The President has no public appearances in his schedule today – he attends two DNC events in Washington this evening (the first at a private residence, the second at the St. Regis Hotel)




rusty, 98% honest

So, Standard & Poor’s downgrade the US credit rating after the debt ceiling saga/deal.

The Republicans blame President Obama for the downgrade.


Ah, looks like Rusty Boehner is only apportioning 2% of the blame to the President. That’s good of him ;-)

Thanks StR


‘the meltdown’s true villain’


Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): With a double-dip recession looming and attacks on Obama mounting, it’s amazing the GOP is still setting the U.S. agenda when its own George W. Bush ran up half the debt we’ve accumulated since Reagan.
… Every time I step back and ponder this sordid history, I am amazed that the Republican Party has any credibility..

The Boston Globe ran a chart last Sunday that I’d buy billboard space to reproduce in every decent-size city in America:

The premise of it was very simple: It showed how many trillions each president since Ronald Reagan has added to the nation’s debt. The debt was about $1 trillion when Reagan took office, and then: Reagan, $1.9 trillion; George H.W. Bush, $1.5 trillion (in just four years); Bill Clinton, $1.4 trillion; Obama, $2.4 trillion.

Oh, wait. I skipped someone. George W. Bush ran up $6.4 trillion. That’s nearly half – 44.7 percent – of the $14.3 trillion total. We all know what did it – two massive tax cuts geared toward the rich (along with other similar measures, like slashing the capital gains and inheritance taxes), the off-the-books wars, the unfunded Medicare expansion, and so on. But the number is staggering and worth dwelling on. In a history covering 30 years, nearly half the debt was run up in eight. Even the allegedly socialist Obama at his most allegedly wanton doesn’t compare to Dubya…

In percentage terms, the case is even more open and shut. This table tells the sad tale (see table at the top of the post)…

The percentages in question here are debt as a chunk of the GDP … Reagan raised it 20 points, to 53 percent from 33 percent. Bush Sr. a gaudy 13 points more. Clinton lowered it by 10 points, back down to 56 percent. Bush Jr.? Up 28 points, to 82 percent of GDP. Obama has raised it nine points. Once again: In a 30-year increase from 32 percent to 93 percent of 61 points, nearly half, 28 points or 46 percent, happened under Bush.

…. I can only laugh when I hear Tea Party conservatives avow today that they have no love for Bush. It is truly an incredible record when you stack it up. First, the party fought tooth and nail against every single move Clinton made that ended up putting us in surplus. Then it got power – and let’s not get into how that happened – and ran up completely unprecedented debts and deficits. Then it put the foxes in command of the henhouses at the SEC and OTC and brought the world to the very brink of total economic collapse.

Then a guy from the other party got back in, tried to do what the vast majority of economists would say should be done in such a situation (the government should spend money while the private sector couldn’t), and they fought him tooth and nail. And now they’ve forced him into a deal (which he should not have agreed to) that will help ensure that the economy remains stuck in neutral until, oh, November 2012, to pick a date out of the air. Next, that guy will identify tax cuts to spur job growth, and they will invent reasons to oppose these measures, just as they once invented reasons why “deficits don’t matter”.

Full article here


saturday – the downgrade

First, the President’s weekly address:


Zachary Karabell (The Daily Beast): Math-challenged and politically-driven, S&P’s Friday night credit demotion puts the ratings agency on par with the Tea Party. Zachary Karabell on why that’s dangerous.

…. Let’s be clear: Congress and the White House did not cover themselves with glory during the debt debate throughout July. The United States has a stalled economy and a large amount of debt. But on so many levels, this downgrade is absurd.

…. there is the question of math. When S&P informed the White House of its intention to downgrade on Friday afternoon, the Treasury Department took issue with S&P’s math and claimed that their assessment of the trends of the U.S. debt burden and its ratio to GDP was off by trillions of dollars. No matter. After a brief review, the wizards at S&P went ahead and removed an A.

… I have no criticism of an academic theory about how nations function economically. But when debatable theories become the underpinnings of decisions by unelected individuals who run organizations with significant sway (sway ceded to them by governments throughout the 20th century), then we have a problem …. drawing on theories about the “right” level of debt puts S&P in a strange bedfellow alliance with the Tea Party.

The people who run the ratings agencies are welcome to their analysis, as is the Tea Party. But if Rogoff and Reinhart or the Tea Party announced that they were downgrading U.S. sovereign debt, they would be laughed for their audacity. Yet when it is one of the anointed ratings agencies, there is this sudden need to genuflect.

… The company assailed the Washington culture of “brinkmanship” so in display during the debt ceiling fiasco, and used that as the primary reason to take us down a notch. Excuse me, but since when is a pristine political process a key ingredient to good credit? Are we supposed to have civil politics in order to maintain the rating?

…. There is not a scintilla of evidence that the political process has yet impeded the ability of the United States to meet its debt obligations, even with the debt ceiling brinkmanship….

Finally, as a symbol that the United States is sliding off the rails, the downgrade is potent … the actions of S&P are part of problem and not just an independent verification that one exists.

These agencies have been elevated to heights that should not ascend; they have been chronically wrong and late in the past; and their rationale for a downgrade sounds more like a prim distaste for a dysfunctional political process that a reasoned assessment of the ability of the United States to discharge its obligations. No defense can be offered of our current political system or near-term economic prospects. But S&P – already on overreach as “neutral” judge of American creditworthiness – has no special standing to rule on the political system, and using that as a cudgel to prove their own power is a destructive act.

Full post here



Politicususa: … Reality denying Republicans have already tried to shift the blame to Obama for the debt downgrade, but it is important to state the obvious. If Republicans would have passed a clean debt ceiling extension, the downgrade would have never happened. The GOP’s political recipe for bringing Obama down of one part chaos and one part obstruction was never going to allow that to happen. Many Republicans wanted the debt downgrade because it plays into their political strategy for 2012.

Whether or not S&P’s numbers are off, and with Standard and Poor’s track record they very well could be, the political point can’t be ignored. S&P downgraded our debt because our political leaders can’t agree on anything….

… The S&P can be described as a troubled and flawed organization at best. They took a justified beating from Democrats for their role in helping to cause the financial crash of 2008. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the people at S&P saw this as a chance for a bit of reputation enhancement and political payback.

In economic terms, S&P is one of three ratings agencies. As long as the other two agencies keep the US rating at AAA there should be little impact from S&P’s decision. The biggest impact will be likely felt politically, not economically.

Republicans can try to blame Obama all they want, but they the ones who ginned up a crisis out of thin air, and they are party that has forced the United States of America’s debt to be downgraded for the first time in this nation’s glorious history.

The message to Obama and the Democrats is simple. They can’t fix this. Republicans are hell bent on making sure that the economy doesn’t recover. This reality leaves Democrats with two choices. They can either battle with the Republicans thus adding to the gridlock that is trashing the economy, or they can compromise and flush the economy down the drain.

It is a lose-lose situation that has no hope of improving unless the voters wake up and remove the Republicans from the House majority in 2012. Until then the American people are going to force fed a buffet of embarrassment, humiliation, and failure prepared by the master chefs of economic destruction in the Republican Party.

Eat up America. This is government that you voted for in 2010.

Full article here




Steve Benen: Before we get into Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade United States debt, it’s worth appreciating the events that immediately preceded the announcement.

Officials from Standard & Poor’s provided documents to the Treasury Department, explaining the downgrade. Obama administration officials noticed a problem: the S&P numbers didn’t add up:

…..A Treasury staff member noticed the $2 trillion mistake within the hour, according to a department official. The Treasury called the company and explained the problem. About an hour later, the company conceded the problem but did not indicate how it planned to proceed, the official said. Hours later, S.& P. issued a revised release with new numbers but the same conclusion.

Got that? S&P prepared an analysis to justify a specific conclusion. The analysis was off by $2 trillion. Treasury explained to S&P that the analysis wasn’t even close to being accurate, which led the ratings agency to concede they’d made a mistake.

And a few hours later, S&P decided to reach the same conclusion anyway. The agency wanted to proceed with a downgrade; whether its numbers added up was irrelevant.

That certainly inspires confidence in the integrity of Standard & Poor’s decision making, doesn’t it?

I’m reminded of something Joe Klein said in April, after S&P first started making threats about this.

….. Hey, weren’t you the same guys who gave AAA ratings to the repackaged subprime mortgage-backed securities that, in truth, were utter dreck? And didn’t that help cause the 2008 economic collapse? And didn’t subsequent accounts reveal that you were in bed with the banks whose products you were supposed to be rating? I mean, you guys are still in business? Amazing.

Full post here



Paul Krugman: OK, so Standard and Poors has gone ahead with the threatened downgrade. It’s a strange situation.

On one hand, there is a case to be made that the madness of the right has made America a fundamentally unsound nation. And yes, it is the madness of the right: if not for the extremism of anti-tax Republicans, we would have no trouble reaching an agreement that would ensure long-run solvency.

On the other hand, it’s hard to think of anyone less qualified to pass judgment on America than the rating agencies. The people who rated subprime-backed securities are now declaring that they are the judges of fiscal policy? Really?

Just to make it perfect, it turns out that S&P got the math wrong by $2 trillion, and after much discussion conceded the point – then went ahead with the downgrade.

More than that, everything I’ve heard about S&P’s demands suggests that it’s talking nonsense about the US fiscal situation. The agency has suggested that the downgrade depended on the size of agreed deficit reduction over the next decade, with $4 trillion apparently the magic number. Yet US solvency depends hardly at all on what happens in the near or even medium term: an extra trillion in debt adds only a fraction of a percent of GDP to future interest costs, so a couple of trillion more or less barely signifies in the long term. What matters is the longer-term prospect, which in turn mainly depends on health care costs.

So what was S&P even talking about? Presumably they had some theory that restraint now is an indicator of the future – but there’s no good reason to believe that theory, and for sure S&P has no authority to make that kind of vague political judgment.

In short, S&P is just making stuff up – and after the mortgage debacle, they really don’t have that right.

So this is an outrage – not because America is A-OK, but because these people are in no position to pass judgment.


I ignore Krugman’s political views, he’s fast becoming the left’s Bachmann (clueless and marginally bonkers), but when he concentrates on an area he actually knows something about (economics) he can, occasionally, be interesting. I’ve read him before going on about Standard and Poors so I reckoned he wouldn’t be impressed with the downgrade news. He’s, eh, not!


UPI: …. another government official said the White House had told S&P the company’s thinking was “based on flawed math and assumptions.” And S&P acknowledged “its numbers are wrong.”

An administration official told NBC News after the credit rating was lowered, “It’s amateur hour at S&P.”

The official said the administration showed S&P where its computation errors occurred.

Rep. Barney Frank, the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, said on MSNBC the decision was “just a political judgment by a group of incompetents.”

“This is the rating agency that took money from people who were selling junk bonds and told other people to buy it,” Frank said, accusing S&P of overvaluing private debt while consistently undervaluing public debt. They are as responsible for the financial crisis as anybody else. There is zero chance of (the United States) defaulting,” Frank said.


‘why newt must run’

August, 2010 – Arianna bumps in to Newt & Callista Gingrich and Barbara Walters in Amalfi

This is a comically great find by Politicususa (see here) …. hey, 16 years later she’s got her wish!

Why Newt Must Run

by Arianna Huffington (Nov 27, 1995 in The Weekly Standard)

…Running for president would undoubtedly be the biggest gamble of Gingrich’s political career. And there is absolutely no self-interested reason for him to do it. He has said that he would run only if there were a clear moral imperative for him to do so….

….Precisely because Gingrich is right about the moral crisis the country is facing …. there is a moral imperative for him to fill the leadership vacuum and address the growing devastation.

…the Gingrich of November 1996 could be a far different, far more inspiring public figure. Gingrich may be a lightning rod, but he also embodies the revolution like no one else. He is its most articulate, self-confident, and unapologetic voice, and he burns with conviction that America can and will be a better place because of it …. he can rediscover the youthful realization that drove him to dedicate his life to politics in the first place: that at certain critical moments in history, effective leadership is all that stands between a civilization and its collapse.

There are times in life when risking everything is more prudent than protecting what you have. For Gingrich, this could be one of them. And if Gingrich fails to accept the mission, the mission does not go away. The hole in the heart of the Republican revolution remains, waiting for a leader to fill it.

See the full Weekly Standard article here and the Politicususa post here







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