Friday’s employment report wasn’t bad. But given how depressed our economy remains, we really should be adding more than 300,000 jobs a month, not fewer than 200,000. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, we would need more than five years of job growth at this rate to get back to the level of unemployment that prevailed before the Great Recession. Full recovery still looks a very long way off. And I’m beginning to worry that it may never happen.Actually, we've got something far more expensive and far more complicated and far more devastating to deal with than World War II: climate change. Unfortunately, too damn few people want to treat climate change with the seriousness of that war or put any a fraction of what was spent to win that war against adapting and preventing things from getting worse. Doing so would produce those jobs. Millions of them. But, as Krugman says, stimulus is a dirty word.
Ask yourself the hard question: What, exactly, will bring us back to full employment? [...]
Someday, I suppose, something will turn up that finally gets us back to full employment. But I can’t help recalling that the last time we were in this kind of situation, the thing that eventually turned up was World War II.
Daniel Ellsberg at the Washington Post writes—Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S.:
Yet when I surrendered to arrest in Boston, having given out my last copies of the papers the night before, I was released on personal recognizance bond the same day. Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. Helping to end that war was my preeminent concern. I couldn’t have done that abroad, and leaving the country never entered my mind.Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones writes that the coal industry knows environmentalists are winning, which is the whole point behind its "war on coal" message. But it's not working.
There is no chance that experience could be reproduced today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon’s era—and figured in his resignation in the face of impeachment—but are today all regarded as legal (including an attempt to “incapacitate me totally”).
Zaid Jilani at In These Times writes—Actually, If You’re a Progressive, You Have To Be Critical of the NSA:
If progressives really were to accept the principle that we should defend government no matter what it does just so some people in the Tea Party don't use that same message to attack food stamps or some other program we favor, we'd soon find ourselves with a ridiculous and counter-productive message. We as progressives would not only be defending programs that empower people, like Medicare, but also ones that oppressed people, like the government-imposed Jim Crow laws. We'd have to be in favor of wasting money on the F-22 if we advocate for a national high-speed rail system.Jon Healey at the Los Angeles Times, who apparently hasn't been watching too closely, wonders how lawmakers can get so wacko:
Reflexively backing government, no matter what it does, is not progressive. Progressivism isn't just about supporting government—it isn't now, nor has it ever been. We don't cheer on massive government subsidies for oil companies, Big Pharma, or for-profit colleges. We don't support all government spending—like the costly and illegal war in Iraq.
In fact, it's important that the movement proactively stand against abuses by the government, if for no other reason than political self-preservation. That's the difference between American progressives—for whom basic freedoms of privacy, speech, and due process have always been an important principle—and the authoritarian Left that ruled countries like the Soviet Union.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill Friday that would have declared virtually every federal gun law invalid and subjected federal agents to state charges for enforcing them. Among other things, the measure would have invalidated federal rules banning the possession of machine guns and silencers, requiring gun dealers to be licensed and mandating a waiting period on gun sales.Ruth Coniff at The Progressive cheers for women who might take on three Republican governors in Ohio, Wisconsin and Texas, each of whom is determined to make women's lives miserable.
But the Republican-dominated state legislature passed the measure, House Bill 436, by more than the two-thirds majority required to override the veto. So it may be just a matter of time before Nixon, a Democrat, finds himself leading the state of "Missuzi."
John Nichols at The Nation writes—America's Most Dynamic (Yet Under-Covered) Movement: Overturning 'Citizens United':
The most under-covered political movement in the United States—and there are a lot of under-covered political movements in the United States—is the broad-based national campaign to enact a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court rulings that ushered in a new era of big-money politics.Noam Scheiber at The New Republic wants Barack Obama to use the leverage he says the president still has in the less than 1,275 days left in his term to kick ass:
On the eve of the nation’s Fourth of July celebrations, Oregon became the sixteenth state to formally call for an amendment.
We’ve seen it time and again—with the stimulus and health care bills in 2009, the expiring Bush tax cuts in 2010, the debt-ceiling and deficit negotiations in 2011, and the fiscal cliff in late 2012. The administration has been too solicitous of delicate congressional sensibilities, too reluctant to initiate confrontation, too skittish to see through any high-stakes game of brinkmanship.Daniel Howden at The Independent writes—Separate and unequal: Apartheid's legacy lives on:
South Africa's system of apartheid was built on the simple, if false, assertion of "separate but equal". It was something that even its most complacent supporters knew to be a lie. The reality was an economy of exclusion and such an effective concentration of land, wealth and economic power in the hands of the few that it has proven remarkably resistant to change. A short drive through the country nearly 20 years after the system was formally dismantled reveals that the architecture of separate but unequal remains.Dean Baker at The Guardian writes—Upbeat June Jobs Report Still Leaves U.S. Economy in a Deep Hole:
The 195,000 new jobs reported for June was somewhat better than most economists had expected. The job gains, together with upward revisions to the prior two months' data, raised average growth for the last three months to 196,000. While this may lead some to be dancing in the streets, those who actually care about the economy may want to hold off.
First, it is important to remember the size of the hole the economy is in. We are down roughly 8.5 million jobs from our trend growth path. We also need close to 100,000 jobs a month to keep pace with the underlying growth rate of the labor market. This means that even with the relatively good growth of the last few months, we were only closing the gap at the rate of 96,000 a month. At this pace, it will take up more than seven years to fill the jobs gap.
It is easy to miss the size of the jobs gap since the current 7.6% unemployment rate doesn't seem that high. However, the main reason that the unemployment rate has fallen from its peak of 10% in the fall of 2009 is that millions of people have dropped out of the labor force and stopped looking for jobs. These people are no longer counted as being unemployed.