As most of you know, I was hoping for a “Yes” vote in the Greek referendum, especially as the proposal which the Tsipras government put forth this week encompassed most of the demands which Greece’s creditors had been making.
The Syriza proposals were approved by the creditors, and sent to the Eurozone finance ministers. And then Germany got in the act.
In an act of suicidal hubris, Germany is demanding nothing short of humiliation for Greece. Even though I had hoped for a Yes vote, this petty revenge is unbelievable from a country which plunged Europe into two World Wars. It is Germany’s gambit to establish the EU as merely a Greater German Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Here is where we stand at the moment.
Translation: Trust has been lost; Doubts of Greece’s willingness to reform.
Translation: Greece has driven a wedge between France and Germany
James Jameson, heir to the Jameson Irish Whiskey company, once bought a 10-year-old slave girl for six handkerchiefs because he wanted to sketch the event as cannibals killed, mutilated, and finally, ate her According to a report from The New York Times, Jameson had a fascination with cannibalism and wanted to experience the act firsthand. Jameson was on a trip in Africa in 1890 when an opportunity to fulfill his sick fantasy presented itself because he and his translator happened upon a cannibalistic tribe. Jameson consulted the tribe’s chiefs who told him if he wanted to witness the event, he’d have to buy a slave girl to be killed. Jameson returned a few minutes later with a 10-year-old girl he bought from a nearby slave trader for six handkerchiefs. The translator then approached the chiefs and said, “This is a present from a white man who desires to see her eaten.” According to an eye witness report of the scene, the cannibals tied the girl to a tree and stabbed her twice in the belly. The natives then cut pieces off of her body as Jameson sat sketching in his notebook. Jameson and his translator then made their way to chief’s hut where Jameson finished his sketches in watercolor.
In 1919, in the wake of World War I, black sharecroppers unionized in Arkansas, unleashing a wave of white vigilantism and mass murder that left 237 people dead. The visits began in the fall of 1918, just as World War I ended. At his office in Little Rock, Arkansas, attorney Ulysses S. Bratton listened as African American sharecroppers from the Delta told stories of theft, exploitation, and endless debt. A man named Carter had tended 90 acres of cotton, only to have his landlord seize the entire crop and his possessions. From the town of Ratio, in Phillips County, Arkansas, a black farmer reported that a plantation manager refused to give sharecroppers an itemized account for their crop. Another sharecropper told of a landlord trying “to starve the people into selling the cotton at his own price. They ain’t allowing us down there room to move our feet except to go to the field.” No one could know it at the time, but within a year these inauspicious meetings would lead to one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. Initiated by whites, the violence—by any measure, a massacre—claimed the lives of 237 African Americans, according to a just released report from the Equal Justice Initiative. The death toll was unusually high, but the use of racial violence to subjugate blacks during this time was not uncommon. As the Equal Justice Initiative observes, “Racial terror lynching was a tool used to enforce Jim Crow laws and racial segregation—a tactic for maintaining racial control by victimizing the entire African American community, not merely punishment of an alleged perpetrator for a crime.” This was certainly true of the massacre in Phillips County, Arkansas.
Justice Department to seek emergency stay to allow immigration action reut.rs/1Eep37b
1. The private sector has added 10 million jobs over 54 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 142,000 in August, mainly reflecting a 134,000 increase in private employment. Private-sector job growth was revised up for July and down for June for little total revisions. Over the past twelve months, private employment has risen by a total of 2.4 million.
3. The last time the economy added 10 million private-sector jobs over four-and-a-half years was November 1996 to April 2001. There are some notable differences between the current stretch of job gains and the one that began in 1996. In particular, the manufacturing sector has added more than 700,000 jobs over the last four-and-a-half years, while it lost more than 400,000 jobs during the 1996-2001 period. 4. On a not-seasonally-adjusted basis, local government educational services employment rose by more than 200,000 in August, continuing a recent trend that has seen an increasing number of these employees return to work before September.
MarketWatch: U.S. Manufacturers Surge Again In August, ISM Finds
U.S. manufacturing companies grew in August at the fastest pace since March 2011, a survey of executives found. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index climbed to 59% last month from 57.1% in July. That easily beat the 56.1% forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch. Readings over 50% indicate more companies are expanding instead of shrinking.
Bloomberg: Chrysler Luring Toyota Owners Helps Lift U.S. Share
Chrysler is on an unprecedented winning streak. As Jeep benefits from consumers’ renewed attraction to SUVs, the company also has been aided by strong demand for Ram pickups and Town & Country minivans. That helped propel its U.S. sales up 12 percent last month, the largest increase of any major automaker, according to the average of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be Chrysler’s 53rd straight month of rising sales — about 4 1/2 years — after almost being given up for dead before its government-sponsored bankruptcy in 2009.
Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia Oil Sales To U.S. Imperiled By Shale Boom
After years of keeping the price of crude sold to the U.S. low enough to maintain market share, Saudi Arabia is losing ground as the shale boom leaves U.S. refiners with ample supplies of inexpensive domestic oil. Arab Light crude for sale in the U.S. averaged 48 cents a barrel less than Light Louisiana Sweet, a Gulf Coast benchmark, in August, the narrowest discount in data compiled by Bloomberg back to 1991.
The U.S. imported 878,000 barrels of Saudi crude a day in the first four weeks of August, the least since 2009. Shale drilling has boosted U.S. oil output to the highest level since 1986. As refineries turn to lower-priced domestic oil to make fuel at a record pace, the Saudis and other foreign suppliers are left with dwindling slices of the market. In June, imports from Saudi Arabia accounted for the smallest share of crude processed at U.S. refineries since February 2010.
Jeffry Bartash: U.S. Factory Orders Jump 10.5% In July On Aircraft Contracts
Orders for goods produced in U.S. factories leaped 10.5% higher in July, as expected, owing to a big surge in contracts for commercial aircraft, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected orders to climb nearly 11%. Factory orders also rose by a revised 1.5% in June instead of 1.1% as initially reported.
When I took office, the American auto industry – the heartbeat of American manufacturing – was on the verge of collapse. Two of the Big Three – GM and Chrysler – were on the brink of failure, threatening to take suppliers, distributors and entire communities down with them. In the midst of what was already the worst recession since the Great Depression, another one million Americans were in danger of losing their jobs.
As President, I refused to let that happen. I refused to walk away from American workers and an iconic American industry. But in exchange for rescuing and retooling GM and Chrysler with taxpayer dollars, we demanded responsibility and results. In 2011, we marked the end of an important chapter as Chrysler repaid every dime and more of what it owed the American taxpayers from the investment we made under my Administration’s watch. Today, we’re closing the book by selling the remaining shares of the federal government’s investment in General Motors. GM has now repaid every taxpayer dollar my Administration committed to its rescue, plus billions invested by the previous Administration.
Less than five years later, each of the Big Three automakers is now strong enough to stand on its own. They’re profitable for the first time in nearly a decade. The industry has added more than 372,000 new jobs – its strongest growth since the 1990s. Thanks to the workers on our assembly lines, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient cars in the world are once again designed, engineered, and built right here in America – and the rest of the world is buying more of them than ever before.
When things looked darkest for our most iconic industry, we bet on what was true: the ingenuity and resilience of the proud, hardworking men and women who make this country strong. Today, that bet has paid off. The American auto industry is back.
For our autoworkers and the communities that depend on them, the road we’ve taken these past five years has been a long and difficult one. But it’s one we’ve traveled together. And as long as there’s more work to do to restore opportunity and broad-based growth for all Americans, that’s what we’ll keep doing to reach the brighter days ahead.
“Each of the Big Three automakers is now strong enough to stand on its own … The American auto industry is back.” —President Obama
The Treasury Department announced on Monday that the government had sold its remaining shares of General Motors stock.
The government has thus exited one of the most controversial investments made during the midst of the financial crisis, when it stepped in to rescue the Detroit automakers – a decision that as many as three in four Americans opposed at the time.
Taxpayers recouped about $39 billion on the investment, the Treasury Department said, having spent about $50 billion bailing out the automaker.
All in all, taxpayers have ended up in the black on the crisis-related bailouts, Treasury said: It has recovered $433 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program after initially investing about $422 billion.
10:40: Delivers remarks at Austin Straubel International Airport, Green Bay
11:45: Departs Green Bay
1:15: Arrives Las Vegas
2:10: Delivers remarks at Cheyenne Sports Complex, Las Vegas
3:25: Departs Las Vegas
5:55: Arrives Denver, Colorado
7:0: Delivers remarks at Coors Events Center, Denver
8:45: Departs Denver
1:05: Arrives Columbus, Ohio where he will stay overnight
Steve Benen: If the White House hopes to see initial unemployment claims drop just before the election, officials got their wish. The new figures from the Department of Labor – the last report before Election Day – show a move in the right direction:
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 363,000 in the week of Oct. 21-27, keeping them in a range that indicates little change in U.S. hiring patterns over the past few months. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to fall to 365,000. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 372,000 from an original reading of 369,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Toledo Blade: In the final few days of the presidential contest, Mitt Romney evidently recognizes that his opposition to the federal rescue of General Motors and Chrysler is costing him voter support he needs in Ohio and Michigan. So the Republican nominee is conducting an exercise in deception about auto-industry issues that is remarkable even by the standards of his campaign.
…. Mr. Romney’s own words make clear he is no friend of the auto industry, on which Ohio relies for one of every eight jobs. Voters in Ohio and Michigan — and the nation — need to remember that.
NYT Editorial: When General Motors tells a presidential campaign that it is engaging in “cynical campaign politics at its worst,” that’s a pretty good signal that the campaign has crossed a red line and ought to pull back. Not Mitt Romney’s campaign. Having broadcast an outrageously deceitful ad attacking the auto bailout, the campaign ignored the howls from carmakers and came back with more.
Mr. Romney apparently plans to end his race as he began it: playing lowest-common-denominator politics, saying anything necessary to achieve power and blithely deceiving voters desperate for clarity and truth.
….. Mr. Romney is providing a grim preview of what kind of president he would be.
Greg Sargent: The chatter continues this morning about GOP Governor Chris Christie’s astonishingly effusive praise of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy. After they toured the damage yesterday, Christie thanked Obama for their “great working relationship” and claimed Obama “sprung into action immediately.” The day before, Christie praised Obama’s storm response as “outstanding,” adding: “He deserves my praise, and he will get it regardless of what the calendar says.”
What’s striking about this is how directly it undermines one of the central arguments Mitt Romney is making against Obama, with only five days left until Election Day … Romney has been closing out the campaign with a series of ads claiming that he will work with Democrats to get things done in Washington and arguing that Obama utterly failed to persuade Republicans to work with him….
Now Americans are being treated to images of a Republican Governor extensively praising Obama for working with him cooperatively and displaying leadership and a propensity for quick action at a time of crisis.
2:0: Michelle Obama speaks to grassroots supporters in Cincinnati
9:25: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event in Seattle
CBS have the first speech in their schedule, not sure whether the second one will be shown
Detroit News: General Motors said its September sales rose 1.5 percent to 210,245 vehicles, marking its best September since 2008.
Chrysler Group LLC beat analyst expectations as its September sales rose 12 percent, while Ford Motor Co. sales remained flat in September compared to the same month a year ago.
GM said passenger car sales jumped 29 percent from the same month a year ago, while sales of mini, small and compacts shot up a combined 97 percent.
….. Chrysler reported its best September sales total in five years. The Auburn Hills automaker sold 142,041 vehicles last month; September also marked the 30th consecutive month that Chrysler has experienced year-over-year sales gains.
CNNMoney: American Express will refund $85 million for what government officials called deceptive practices involving about 250,000 customers.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Monday that American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) subsidiaries illegally charged late fees, deceived customers by promising non-existent money rewards, and discriminated against new applicants over the age of 35.
“Laws were violated at all stages of the game,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray in a statement …. In addition to refunding customers, American Express will pay a $27.5 million penalty…
Quinnipiac: An 18 point lead among women puts President Barack Obama ahead of Gov. Mitt Romney 49 – 45 percent among likely voters nationwide, and voters expect 54 – 28 percent that the president will win the debates, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.
…. “It is very difficult to win an election when you are getting shellacked among women,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac.
Michael Cohen (The Guardian): Two conventions, two Americas. Seldom has the divide been greater – Witnessing both conferences is to see anger from the Republicans and abiding hope from the Democrats
…. the philosophical and tonal divide between them has never felt broader. Quite simply, Democrats and Republicans operate in two completely distinct realms, one that is defined by an attachment to reality and one that is increasingly detached from it.
…. Republicans reside in a fantasy world where government plays no role but that of malevolence, where the free market is the salvation to all that ails this nation and where the country is locked in a Manichaean struggle between the forces of freedom and a failed, socialist interloper named Barack Obama.
…. For four decades, Republicans have relied on an undercurrent of white resentment toward social and economic change to maintain their pre-eminence in national politics. But with an African-American president and the country moving closer to “minority-majority” status, that dominance is slipping away and it feeds the sense of anger and desperation they tried to keep hidden in Tampa, but that all too often crept to the surface….
…. the contrast between the hues in Charlotte and Tampa was remarkable. The Democratic party is a party that looks like the palette of the American experience, not just in skin colour, but in class level. The Republican party (the one in the Tampa convention hall) is one that looks like Sunday brunch at a country club.
AP: Ford is adding 1,200 workers to a suburban Detroit factory to build the Fusion, a sign of confidence that the revamped sedan will be a big seller.
Ford Americas President Mark Fields told workers at the Flat Rock plant Monday that the Fusion’s market segment is growing two times faster than the rest of the U.S. auto industry. The new Fusion goes on sale this fall.
…. Ford will hire the 1,200 new workers starting next spring. It will also invest $555 million in new equipment at the plant.
President Obama demonstrates size of bounce received by Romney after Republican convention:
Florida, Sept. 9
R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion” was used in the Fox News coverage of the Democratic National Convention last night. R.E.M. today, through its music publisher, Warner-Tamerlane Music, demanded that Fox News cease and desist from continuing its unlicensed and unauthorized use of the song. Michael Stipe said, “We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage. Our music does not belong there.”
Steve Kornacki (Salon): Barack Obama is winning …and he has been pretty much all year
The final evidence isn’t in yet, but there are strong indicators that Barack Obama received a real boost from the Democratic convention – bigger than the paltry bump Mitt Romney got out of his party’s gathering and potentially big enough to push Obama’s national lead to heights not seen since Romney emerged from the GOP primaries back in the spring.
Gallup’s daily trendline, which remained flat during and immediately after the Republican convention, has spiked in Obama’s favor over the last few days; as of Sunday afternoon, his lead was five points. He’s also pulled a few points ahead in Rasmussen’s daily poll, which has tended to be more Romney-friendly than other surveys, grabbed a four-point lead in a Reuters/Ipsos poll, and seen his job approval rating crack the 50 percent mark. A PPP poll released Sunday night also showed Obama hitting 50 percent in Ohio…..
The movement in Obama’s direction reinforces a point that many neutral campaign observers have been reluctant to make for months now: The presidential race is not, and has not been, a virtual tie – Obama is, and has been, winning.
The Oval: President Obama celebrated working people on this Labor Day, but also blitzed Mitt Romney’s economic plan with football metaphors.
“There’s a flag on the play,” Obama told crowd of auto workers in Toledo, Ohio, at one point.
Riffing on Romney’s weekend claim that the economy needs “a new coach” in the White House, Obama said that “the problem is that everybody’s already seen his economic playbook … we know what’s in it.”
The “first down” is tax cuts for the wealthy that will lead to tax hikes for the middle class, Obama said. “Second down” is an audible” ending financial and environmental regulations. Romney’s “third down” is a “Hail Mary” of cuts that would “end Medicare as we know it.”
Obama’s suggestion for the fourth down of the Romney plan: “Punt it away! … It won’t work! It won’t win the game!
“You don’t need that coach,” he said of Romney. “That’s a losing season!”
President Obama and Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson will both receive the Medal Of Distinction at Barnard College Monday:
“I am deeply moved to join with President Obama to celebrate the next generation of leaders coming up among Barnard women, and to share the Barnard Medal of Distinction with him,” said Wolfson. “And I will thank the President for doing what we elect presidents to do – showing moral leadership in standing up for freedom, fairness, and families – and for speaking in such personal terms about the journey he and so many Americans have made to understand who gay families are and why marriage matters. In explaining his change of heart, the President spoke in heartfelt words that rang true, because he described the very same journey that so many Americans – a majority now – have made.”
Greg Sargent: The Romney campaign and some on the right are having a grand old time blasting Obama for supposedly saying late yesterday that he ”forgot” about the recession. Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul claims Obama has “now admitted that he’s forgotten about the recession.”
This is an absurd distortion. But it’s worth dwelling on, because it says an enormous amount about what this presidential camapign is all about.
Here’s Obama’s actual quote: “It was a house of cards, and it collapsed in the most destructive worst crisis that we’ve seen since the great depression. And sometimes people forget the magnitude of it , you know? And you saw some of that I think in the video that was shown. Sometimes I forget. In the last six months of 2008, while we were campaigning, nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs. Eight hundred thousand lost their jobs in the month that I took office. And it was tough. But the American people proved they were tougher.”
…. What Obama actually said, of course, is that sometimes he forgets about the magnitude of the crisis that hit before he took office and continued into the early months of his term. The irony here is really rich: It’s actually the Romney campaign that is heavily invested in getting voters to forget the magnitude of the crisis Obama inherited.
Glenn Kessler (The Fact Checker): Mitt Romney’s claim of credit for the auto industry turnaround…. What should we do when a politician keeps repeating a Pinocchio-laden claim — or even makes its worse?
….. Given the likelihood that discredited claims will be repeated — often — in this election cycle, we are going launch a new category called “repeat offender.” We still have to create a graphic, but in the meantime we are going to increase Romney’s Pinocchio rating for his auto bailout claims from Two to Three Pinocchios.
Romney has been consistent on his position that a managed bankruptcy was the best course of action. But he keeps digging a bigger hole for himself when he claims that the path he recommended — which included no public assistance — would have been successful from the start. Both Presidents Bush and Obama rejected that advice, and there is little evidence the industry would have survived without the breathing room provided by public funds.