Open Thread: Are we at a point of no return?

Paul Krugman outline's the healthcare proposal now on the table and questions why the Blue Dog Democrats are opposing it. An Incoherent Truth . He states the case:

Right now the fate of health care reform seems to rest in the hands of relatively conservative Democrats — mainly members of the Blue Dog Coalition, created in 1995. And you might be tempted to say that President Obama needs to give those Democrats what they want.

But he can’t — because the Blue Dogs aren’t making sense.

Open Thread: "We are, or at least we used to be, a nation of moral ideals".

Starting off with Paul Krugman's Op Ed,Reclaiming America’s Soul,  the quote above is from him.

What about the argument that investigating the Bush administration’s abuses will impede efforts to deal with the crises of today? Even if that were true — even if truth and justice came at a high price — that would arguably be a price we must pay: laws aren’t supposed to be enforced only when convenient. But is there any real reason to believe that the nation would pay a high price for accountability?

... snip ...

We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward — because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.

Open Thread: Blowing Bubbles

Erin Go Broke -- in this Op Ed Paul Krugman riffs on the slogan Erin Forever (Erin go bragh). Once a model for free-market enthusiasts it is now plunging rapidly into depression:

How did Ireland get into its current bind? By being just like us, only more so. Like its near-namesake Iceland, Ireland jumped with both feet into the brave new world of unsupervised global markets. Last year the Heritage Foundation declared Ireland the third freest economy in the world, behind only Hong Kong and Singapore.

One part of the Irish economy that became especially free was the banking sector, which used its freedom to finance a monstrous housing bubble. Ireland became in effect a cool, snake-free version of coastal Florida.

And the problem wasn't an excess of deficit financing:

Open Thread: Financial Chicanery 101: Video of Two Sunday Shows

Since I've posted this I've come on another major piece on what's happening with the banks. New also a discussion of the implications of the ongoing Oligarchic Coup in the U.S. (with comparisons to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.). I am including it at the bottom of this thread. Please also take a look at Kuttner's latest, cited at length in my comment. carol.

Paul Krugman interviewed on This Week with George Stephanopoulis.

Robert Kuttner Releases Purported Memos Between the President and Raum Emanuel

The lead story in today's Huffington Post, is a post by  Robert Kuttner White House Confidential, in which he releases to memos, supposedly exchanged between President Obama and Rahm Emanuel regarding the failure of the Adminsitrations policie's dealing with the banking crisis. Taken together they are a damning critique of a policy that threatens to simultaneously sink the economy further and weaken the political clout of the Adminstration.

Paul Krugman Analyses What "Centrist" Cuts in Stimulus Package Will Mean to the U.S. Economy. The News Is Not Good

In today's New YorkTimes, Krugman puts a job-loss number to cuts in the Obama Stimulus Package. He estimates that at least 600,000 American jobs will be lost over the next two years if the "centrists" are allowed to dictate terms of a "compromise" bill.

Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.

Jane Hamsher in the Washington Post discuss some background to the present attempt to make Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Democrats who put together the original package, look bad. Rahm Throws Pelosi Under the Bus to Save Stimulus Bill.

Are biofuels fueling the environmental crisis

Alarm is mounting with the news of the Antartic ice-cap melt Unless Al Gore is biding his time because he is still a potential dark horse in the present election campaign (something I very much doubt) I think this would be a good time for him to step forward as a spokesman for the energy policy in the next administration. Perhaps Clinton and Obama could agree that whichever wins they will propose his appointment to the cabinet to carry forward a program that they both endorse.