Visual source: Newseum
Paul Krugman pounds Europe's austerity-mongers again, although the voters did their own pounding:
What’s wrong with the prescription of spending cuts as the remedy for Europe’s ills? One answer is that the confidence fairy doesn’t exist — that is, claims that slashing government spending would somehow encourage consumers and businesses to spend more have been overwhelmingly refuted by the experience of the past two years. So spending cuts in a depressed economy just make the depression deeper.Harold Meyerson gives ill-timed austerity a kick, too:
Moreover, there seems to be little if any gain in return for the pain. Consider the case of Ireland, which has been a good soldier in this crisis, imposing ever-harsher austerity in an attempt to win back the favor of the bond markets. According to the prevailing orthodoxy, this should work. In fact, the will to believe is so strong that members of Europe’s policy elite keep proclaiming that Irish austerity has indeed worked, that the Irish economy has begun to recover.
But it hasn’t.
Nor is the emphasis on growth over austerity limited to the left. Italy’s technocratic prime minister, Mario Monti, who was installed to put his nation’s fiscal house in order, now argues that growth must precede austerity. The millions who marched down Europe’s boulevards on May Day concur. A mass movement for Keynesian economics is sweeping Europe, though Merkel’s Germany still is determined to thwart it — at least, until its order books grow skimpy.E. J. Dionne speaks up for the financially troubled The American Prospect.
The United States has austerity demons of its own, of course. While the private sector has rebounded somewhat from the 2008-09 collapse, creating 4 million jobs since the turnaround began in 2010, state and local governments have shed 611,000 employees — including 196,000 teachers — since President Obama took office, The Post’s Zachary A. Goldfarb reported. The shrinking of government ranks high among the drags on the U.S. recovery. The 2009 stimulus provided funding to states and cities that enabled them to keep many workers on the job, but when that funding began running out in 2010, layoffs, particularly among teachers, redoubled.
Doyle McManus wants more transparency on drone attacks:
Drone strikes are approved, [chief counter-terrorism advisor John] Brennan said, only if it's impossible to capture a suspect, only if innocent civilians won't be hurt ("except in the rarest of circumstances") and only "if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing."Why? Because it's the kind of talk that sets the BS antennae to vibrating in all but the most gullible.
So why don't I find this reassuring?
Debra Saunders points out what she calls a partisan double-standard:
"Should Mitt Romney win the election," [Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies] observed, he doubts many on the left "who have refrained from criticizing President Obama for such things as the use of drones will extend the same courtesy" to Romney.Pardon us, we'd rather not.
There is only one way to find out.
Greg Mitchell says, sure, the French can elect a socialist, but could the U.S. when the closest a socialist running as a Democrat came to winning a state was 1934:
Of all the left-wing mass movements that arose in the early years of the Great Depression, Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California (EPIC) crusade proved most influential, and not just in helping to push the New Deal to the left. The Sinclair threat—after he easily won the Democratic gubernatorial primary—so profoundly alarmed conservatives that it sparked the creation of the modern political campaign, with its reliance on hired guns, advertising and media tricks, national fundraising, attack ads on the screen and more.The Editorial board of The Independent warns "If, as it appears, Mr. Hollande won French minds, but not their hearts, he may be in for a hard time."
Profiling two of the creators of the anti-Sinclair campaign, Carey McWilliams would later call this (in The Nation) “a new era in American politics—government by public relations.” It also provoked Hollywood’s first all-out plunge into politics, which, in turn, inspired the leftward tilt in the movie colony that endures to this day.
The waves of protests and rallies on May Day 2012 had barely cleared out when police happened upon more than 100 undocumented immigrants locked in isolated houses near the Texas border. After being trapped for days deprived of food and water, they were turned over to the border patrol. May First is supposed to be a day to remember the struggles of labor and the poor, but these migrants were forgotten, like so many of the border's economic refugees.Tracy Clark-Flory addresses proposals laws forbidding teachers' "condoning" of "gateway sexual activity":
May Day has historically had a pro-migrant message, from its origins in 19th-century working-class Chicago, to its revival in 2006 as a day of protest for immigration reform. But this year, even with the added momentum of Occupy Wall Street, the pro-immigrant mobilizations were relatively modest, according to advocates, though the struggles facing immigrants are growing more dire.
Even the acknowledgement of hormonal changes and natural urges is dangerous. Earlier this month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a bill that removed not only contraceptives but also puberty — puberty! — from the list of required topics in sex-ed classes. The concept of puberty itself makes natural what abstinence-only advocates desperately want to seem unnatural.It's not the sex-ed they don't like. It's the sex.