Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finally, Proof of Intelligent Life in the Media

This video could be about almost anything, and it would be just as relevant, as long as it contained -- which this one does -- that kernel of truth so regularly missing from the media.

Now, was that so hard?

Update: I was told that I already knew that The Onion is a satire site.

How to Ruin the World

The Wiz
I remember well back in my teaching days I was leaving the parking lot of my gym when I heard a report that Alan Greenspan had just told Congress in one of his regular appearances that adjustable-rate mortgages were a good product for some consumers.

Knowing that at the time interest rates on 30-year mortgages were at historic lows, ARMs had only one way to go -- up. So, my immediate reaction was -- and it became my mantra -- that if I, a high-school teacher in Napa, knew that the idea was preposterous, surely a Fed chairman should. Guess not.

Okay. ARMs might work for some people, but for a whole lot more ARMs are a short plank over a deep ocean of hurt. But Alan Greenspan's well out of it now, and left to debate with himself where his models failed him.

So here we are in 2011 and the political leaders of the world are hellbent on AUSTERITY as the only way to solve our difficulties. UK and the Conservative-Liberal Democrats coalition went all in on austerity, and both UK institutions and its economy have been slowly crumbling ever since.

Greece had gotten into quite a bit of sovereign debt -- with banks in the eurozone and the U.S. holding the bag -- so Germany and the rest of the "good economies" of the EU demanded severe austerity or they'd pull the plug on Greece -- by which, arguably, they meant themselves.

There's a clear equation regarding using austerity to cure economic difficulties on the country scale (macroeconomics) and that is:


If a high-school teacher in Napa... Anyway, during the whole trumped up debt crisis in Congress this summer, I kept waiting for the media to say, "Wait a minute, we might choke off the recovery if we...", but no, they were busy covering the "If both sides refuse to compromise, then..." trope. Now we finally get the New York Times to agree that maybe the austerity glide path leads to the wrong Never Neverland.

Watching the markets over that last couple of months has really amounted to watching the media and the "experts" talk back and forth about how Germany needs to, Germany finally gets it, Germany is doing too little too late, Germans hate bailing out the slacker southern countries, Germany will hold its collective nose and, Germany will blah blah blah.

In the end, Germany and the ECB will have to give in and change or watch the eurozone implode, which it might now anyway because Germany did too little too late.

Oh well, at least we helped the slacker southern countries, or PIIGS as we call them, avoid moral hazard! You know, like we did with the banks...

God, I wish I knew how to quit you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Okay, I'm a Radical Leftist. So What?

Back in my "student radical" days, I attended peace rallies in Berkeley (once or twice), went to demonstration planning meetings (mostly run by "outside agitators," meaning Vietnam veterans), and jumped in front of marching troops and got thrown out of Santa Clara University (suspended actually). I was a major hippie on my campus and was even the subject of at least one term paper for a sociology class -- dude told me I was the best-known hippie on campus. Yikes. I'm finally the best!

All around me, though, were SDS guys who talked armed revolution and "one of these days we're going to need those guns in my trunk!" I just wanted to stop the war, smoke dope, and listen to the Beatles. Two out of three ain't bad.

BTW, the guy who was the most Bill-Ayers of all of us sat out his suspension from Santa Clara over in Europe, came back and finished up his under-grad stuff before finally listening to his dad and going to law school. The last time I saw him he was wearing a shirt and tie, smoking a pipe, married to his Vidal-Sassoon-haircut wife and waiting to join his new firm that specialized in -- wait for it -- corporate law. Maybe he just wanted to fix things "from the inside."

Hippie life in Marin County in the 1970s
Fine. I settled into Marin County north of SF, founded a decent band and had a good run for a few years. I espoused my liberal views to anyone who was interested and voted for Barbara Boxer like clockwork. Big whoop.

Now here I am years later in Sonoma County, still a radical leftist, but what does it amount to?

  • I favor nurturing parenthood over patriarchal authoritarianism.
  • I believe in social justice -- and demonstrate it when the rare opportunity presents itself.
  • I believe that workers have the right to organize in order to negotiate from strength.
  • I believe that all of us, from the least successful to the most, owe a debt to the society that enabled our success, though some who have been denied success for systemic reasons related to poverty or race, for instance, might be owed some extra help to overcome those obstacles.
  • I believe in public service and exemplified that belief by spending some years as a teacher.
  • I am in favor of a woman's right to choose, strict gun control, well-regulated markets, and a progressive income tax structure that works to level the playing field and make sure those that profited the most from what society provided offer a fair share back.
  • I love social structures like social security, single-payer healthcare, workman's compensation, unemployment insurance, and all the safety net our society can provide for those in genuine need.
Sermon on the Mount
I could go on, but you can no doubt fill in the blanks. You know roughly where I probably stand on a number of related issues and practices. The most important takeaway I would hope you'd get from the above is that there is nothing particularly radical about where I'm coming from.  In fact, as I've said before, most of my beliefs -- though I'm a confirmed atheist -- would be very familiar to the average Christian, at least the kind of Christian that lives according to the precepts of Christ as enumerated in the gospels.

When I defend Christianity, I'm reminded of the quote from Gandhi: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

I don't want to argue the shortcomings of fundamentalist Christians because, again, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, which is essentially about the hypocrisy of belonging to a church but not living the life its core tenets dictate. If Christ is your personal savior, act like it. Don't spend your days planning which country would be cool to blow up next.

Pick your philosophy of life: whether you're Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, or humanist, the basic core tenets of how to play nicely in your society are essentially the same. How to live peaceful, happy, healthy, successful lives just isn't rocket science. It's also no mystery how to screw things up, unfortunately. There's one important caveat: some people, for whatever reason, are so motivated by the need for personal gain and success that they have absolutely no interest in the health and happiness of others.

Anyway, there's nothing particularly radical about my leftist beliefs. I believe in a society that works to assure the success, peace, and security of as many of its citizens as possible, and whose citizens know that responsibility must be shared and shared willingly.

I don't sound very radical to me. I sound like a good, honest, decent American. With the usual faults...

The Road Not Taken

Monday, September 26, 2011

Obama's a Centrist -- I Know because I'm a Radical Leftist

Paul Krugman's post on his blog today rang true: when people cry out for a centrist alternative, what they really are asking for are the policy positions of the Democratic Party. As Krugman quoted from Greg Sargent's post at WaPo:
One of the two parties already occupies the approximate ideological space that these commentators themselves are describing as the dream middle ground that allegedly can only be staked out by a third party.
That party is known as the “Democratic Party,” and it alreadly holds many of the positions these commentators want a third party to espouse.
I'm old enough to remember my first active campaigning. I went door-to-door for LBJ in 1964. It was as much against Barry Goldwater as for LBJ, partly because the "Daisy Ad" and partly because the John Birch Society and the red-baiters seemed so nasty. It was also because we thought Johnson would complete Kennedy's legacy concerning civil rights, which he did.

I'm also old enough to remember when there were plenty of moderate and even liberal Republicans, folks like Mitt Romney's dad George Romney, as well as Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, and Earl Warren, not to mention Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. A case can be made that Nixon was to the left of Obama and even Bill Clinton, though no one would mistake Nixon's antisemitism and racism for liberalism.

George and Mitt Romney
I remain the same radical leftist I became in my college days, and that ain't Barack Obama, although, let's face it, even radicals like myself have little choice but to favor the weak tea that is most of the Democratic ideals today. I'm for single-payer health care, most cradle-to-grave ideals of the European social democrats, all the liberal values such as strict gun control, a women's right to choose, decriminalization of drug use, elimination of the death penalty, and a major shrinking of the defense budget in concert with a major expansion of spending on education. Of course I'm in favor of anything that makes the tax code more progressive, and if I had my way every worker in America would be a union member.

So when you read a column calling for a centrist "third way," please realize that the position is already taken. It's today's Democratic Party. If you're against socialists and tax-and-spenders, rail against me -- or the dozen or so of us who have survived-- and not Barack Obama. He's a true centrist that should be the default candidate of anyone to the left of today's Tea-Party-controlled Republican Party, which is pretty much everyone who isn't registered Republican.

I remember when my brother Bill uttered his famous, eye-opening "I'm to the right of Genghis Khan" comment and afforded me the shocking realization that all children of progressives don't automatically become progressives. What I realize now, sadly, is that today's Republican Party is to the right of Genghis Khan, making the statement superfluous.

G. Khan, Republican

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Death Penalty is Immoral

Troy Davis, scheduled to die as I type this.
On the left side of my blog run my general principles, which frame my approach to living in this world and interacting with others. There are other, more specific principles in particular areas of life that should be enumerated, explained and defended. I'd like to make these part of the permanent record of this blog, too, and featured prominently. I'll probably add them as I write about them.

Let's call this new group My Human Rights Principles. The first speaks to the most basic right of all.

  1. The death penalty is immoral and should be abolished everywhere, including the U.S.
There is never a justification for the premeditated killing of anyone. Self-defense, I feel, is rarely if ever premeditated and certainly never coldly calculated. War is so complex an issue that I don't feel it weighs on this one and is wrapped up in the self-defense discussion (at least when it involves a justifiable defense of a nation, with wars of choice or aggression being tantamount to murder and thus unjustifiable).

In my life, the only time my stand against the death penalty was strained was in the case of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. His act, so unjustifiable and so vile in killing 164 men, women, and children, was heinous and his very public lack of remorse was clear.

When he was executed, I didn't mind. I had no regrets and felt better for his passing. That's, however, because I'm a weak and imperfect soul, not because it turns out the death penalty is somehow justified in his case. It only demonstrates that good men and women find it hard to mourn the loss of a vicious psychopath. It doesn't make us right. It's a clear reminder of why we should struggle to defend our principles, even in the face of our human frailties.

I briefly felt the same ambivalence toward Osama bin Laden's death, but I'd grown since my visceral reaction to McVeigh's death. I had come to know that it was wrong, and if I had the power, I'd have stopped it. I also know that bringing bin Laden to justice -- and not executing him -- would have served our national interests far more than the cowboy way we dealt with him in Pakistan. We never benefit from our violence, and if that is not clear in the short run, it surely becomes clear in the long run.

We can be made to pay for our acts of revenge; we can never be made to pay for mercy and forgiveness, for we are rewarded by their very acts.

Update: The U.S. Supreme Court has opted to not intervene, leaving Troy Davis no further appeals.

Update 2: Troy Davis pronounced dead, by lethal injection, this evening at 11:08 PM ET.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Maybe We Got a Spokesperson (That's What I'm Talkin' About!)

Vis-à-vis everything I been saying:

(cross-posted by Thers via Atrios)

Maybe Scott Brown can get afraid about now.

The Intersection between Markets and Democracy

Adam Smith's "invisible hand" -- real or an hallucination?
I've devised a defining pair of principles of mine that markets are capitalistic and governments socialistic by their very nature. That's a very important matched set, I believe, for us to use as a guiding light. Now let's bring coherence to the way we look at -- and design, if that's our job -- policy for the betterment of the human condition. Of course, it's important, even vital, that one's goal is the betterment of mankind rather than, say, getting over on everyone else so we can, like, be livin' la vida loca. There may be are many people whose goals are centered on exactly that. More about them later.

Adam Smith, whose early 19th-century tome, The Wealth of Nations, put forth what was his sine qua non notion that an "invisible hand" directed members of a market to do what is best for all participants in that market because what's good for the market is a priori what's good for the individual. In other words, everyone knew better than to bring poisoned corn to market because no one would ever buy it again, assuming the buyer wasn't dead and the seller wasn't hanged.

If there's an "invisible hand" causing markets to act rationally -- and there's no larger law for markets to follow, from a conservative point of view, than that a market a priori behaves rationally -- that hand kinda sorta disappeared in 1929 if not before (I assume that rationality wasn't around much in the various market "panics" of the 19th century). Now we've got the rationale, mind you, for regulation, what so-called freshwater economists (conservative, non-Keynesian) dread most.

Let's stop there and take a look at government, especially the democratic type. Assuming a democratic government, we should expect, in fact demand, that government to be socialist in nature. What else? The government should function to better the circumstances of the governed, and the governed being society would suggest anything that would improve the life of that society to be socialistic.

John D. Rockefeller
Back to markets: members of any market would wish to, through profits from the sale of their products, accumulate capital for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to make capital investments in order to earn more profits, and so on. Markets in a free enterprise system -- usually functioning best in a democratically governed society -- do well behaving thus in their capitalistic way.

Okay, we got two sets of beasts -- full of "animal spirits" as Keynes would say -- one working to better society (the broadest view of an economy) and the other working to better oneself or family (the narrowest view of an economy). Here's where conflict arises.

If the capitalists wish their markets to prosper, they wish them unimpeded. If government wishes their governed to prosper, they wish the greater good be for the greater number. The capitalists wish to accumulate wealth, and the government -- if not a tool of the capitalists -- wishes to distribute the wealth.

I may have offered a tell -- for you poker players -- and exposed my predilection, but that's not so important. I simply hope to have presented the validity of my principles, because if they are valid, the policy choices of all the players should be clear, or at least transparent.

It's a whole different matter how those policy choices are made and on which side of these divergent principles they land.

Morning market, Wajima, Japan, 2011

Class Warfare and Job Creators, Take 2

Via Krugman we get this too-simple-to-screw-with chart:

Click for larger version

I know there is more than one way to look at statistics. Conservatives look at this and say, "They've finally got it right." The lower classes look at this and say, "They've finally got it all."

The war is over. Now, tell me again, when are the rich the job creators going to start creating jobs?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Okay, Rich Investor Job Creators: Where Are the Jobs?

Companies sitting on piles of cash.
Every conservative on message has been maintaining for almost as long as Barack Obama has been in office that the real job creators are the rich folks on whom Obama has tried but failed to raise taxes. Since he hasn't managed to raise their taxes, and especially since many large-cap companies in a whole host of different sectors are sitting on wads of cash, some $1.26 trillion and counting, I have to wonder just what the conservatives' message actually means.

We all know that according to every Republican Congressional leader and every Republican candidate for president, the real job creators are the wealthy who spur growth and thus new jobs through investments. And since they own the vast majority of stock in the Fortune 500 companies, they hold, as stockholders, vast sway over the decisions these companies make.

So here's my question: if we're in this near-perfect storm of the wealthy in America accumulating wealth at a faster clip that perhaps anytime since 1929 along with corporations with their coffers filled to bursting, why aren't jobs being created all over this country? Where are the jobs?

Come on people, this is Conservative Dogma 101. The wealthiest in this country are the job creators and tax increases are the dirty, filthy job killers -- and there aren't any tax increases -- so why aren't jobs bursting out all over the place?

Look at this chart showing the accumulation of wealth at the top of the American food chain:

Click for larger view

Timothy Noah at Slate explains how the growing wealth gap has become what it is today:
Income inequality in the United States has not worsened steadily since 1915. It dropped a bit in the late teens, then started climbing again in the 1920s, reaching its peak just before the 1929 crash. The trend then reversed itself. Incomes started to become more equal in the 1930s and then became dramatically more equal in the 1940s. Income distribution remained roughly stable through the postwar economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Economic historians Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo have termed this midcentury era the "Great Compression." The deep nostalgia for that period felt by the World War II generation—the era of Life magazine and the bowling league—reflects something more than mere sentimentality. Assuming you were white, not of draft age, and Christian, there probably was no better time to belong to America's middle class.
The Great Compression ended in the 1970s. Wages stagnated, inflation raged, and by the decade's end, income inequality had started to rise. Income inequality grew through the 1980s, slackened briefly at the end of the 1990s, and then resumed with a vengeance in the aughts. In his 2007 book The Conscience of a Liberal, the Nobel laureate, Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman labeled the post-1979 epoch the "Great Divergence."
It's generally understood that we live in a time of growing income inequality, but "the ordinary person is not really aware of how big it is," Krugman told me. During the late 1980s and the late 1990s, the United States experienced two unprecedentedly long periods of sustained economic growth—the "seven fat years" and the "long boom." Yet from 1980 to 2005, more than 80 percent of total increase in Americans' income went to the top 1 percent. Economic growth was more sluggish in the aughts, but the decade saw productivity increase by about 20 percent. Yet virtually none of the increase translated into wage growth at middle and lower incomes, an outcome that left many economists scratching their heads.
A look at the chart below shows that the average citizen is not only scratching his head but also often blissfully ignorant of the true state of things in our economy:

Click for larger view

Rick Lane, a senior vice-president at Moody's, explains the business climate in a recent NPR report:
Lane notes that many companies were unable to get credit during the last financial crisis, and they're trying to be more prudent about how they spend money now.
"So I think one of the reasons that is contributing to many companies holding onto cash would be the very vivid memories of the severity of the downturn that commenced in mid-2008," he says.
Companies can borrow money very cheaply right now, so instead of paying off their debts, they can sit on cash as long as possible. But there's a more basic reason companies are hoarding money: The U.S. economy simply isn't growing enough.

The labor market is weak, which hampers consumption, notes Charles Biderman, chief executive officer of the research firm TrimTabs. "So without growing income, where's the money to buy more stuff?" he says. "Absent a change in demand, the fact that companies have all this cash, well, good for them. It's not going to help us."
If, then, we've got this divergence of reality in which the wealthy have money falling out of their pockets and the Fortune 500 companies are bursting with cash and yet we're bleeding jobs all over the place, something about Conservative Dogma 101 isn't exactly ringing true.

Anybody have a different view? Or should we stop listening to these charlatans and start listening to different voices?

Update: Okay, I left out -- with reason -- the common fallback conservative position: It's the uncertainty, stupid. First, Kevin Drum:
The uncertainty meme is just mind boggling. Businesses always have a certain amount of regulatory uncertainty to deal with, and there's simply no evidence that this uncertainty is any greater now than it usually is. (It is, of course, entirely believable that business owners who spend too much time watching Fox or reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page might believe otherwise, but that's a whole different problem — and one that Imrohoroglu should spend his time debunking, not promoting.) The only significant real uncertainty that American businesses face right now is financial uncertainty: that is, whether there will be enough consumer demand next year to justify hiring more workers and buying more equipment today. PPACA and carbon taxes rank very far down the list.
 Next, let's have Matt Yglesias react:
Policymakers can’t make it cease to be the case that the future is uncertain. Policymakers can observe, however, that if economic actors’ level of uncertainty about the future increases that would manifest itself as an increased demand for money. Increased demand for money is a funny beast. Normally if demand for one kind of good or service falls, demand for other goods or services has to rise. But if what people demand is money itself then we find ourselves mired in a general glut, a shortfall of aggregate demand. Which is to say you’d be in just the normal Keynesian situation and you’d want to get out of it in just the normal Keynesian way—looser monetary and fiscal policy to bolster aggregate demand, soak up the excess capacity, and return us to a low-idleness equilibrium
Finally, let's hear it from Dean Baker:
The NYT told readers that the Obama administration wants to increase the demand for goods and services, "which could then give employers the confidence to hire." Actually, an increase in the demand for goods and services forces employers to hire at the risk of losing business.
If a restaurant doesn't have enough staff to serve its customers, it will lose customers. If a factory doesn't have enough workers to fill its order then it loses orders. Increased demand forces businesses to use more labor.
Confidence may affect the extent to which firms actually hire more workers, as opposed to increasing the number of hours worked per worker. The latter still remains well below its pre-recession level. This is a strong piece of evidence that a lack of demand, not confidence, is the main factor impeding business expansion.
 One final hammer, Bruce Bartlett with his It's the Aggregate Demand, Stupid. Yeah, Bruce Bartlett who worked for Reagan and Bush I. Who needs Paul Krugman when you've got conservatives (old school) on your side? (Sorry, sneaked that in.)

In other words, since 2009 businesses cite "Poor Sales" most, meaning low demand!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Class Warfare: Why Do Only Conservatives Utilize This Trope?

When a conservative, usually a politician, utters the term "class warfare," he or she is about to obscure meaning in order to misdirect, confuse, and dismay. What's especially irksome is that very few television and radio moderators ever call them on it, e.g. "What do you mean by class warfare, and why does it only work one way, that is it's class warfare only if we suggest taking money from the rich to give to the poor? Why is taking money from the poor to give to the rich not class warfare?"

Why don't conservatives ever say, "That's class warfare! Give that money back to the poor!"


Here's ever-reliable Very Serious Person Lindsey Graham on CNN. Pay attention to exactly what he says, which is that it's unfair for people who have the most money to have to pay the most in taxes. He then points to the 47% who don't pay federal income taxes. The clear implication is that we should tax the middle class and the poverty class more. Who's declaring war on whom? Money quote:
Graham: When you pick one area of the economy and you say we're gonna tax those people because most people aren't those people, well, then that's class warfare.
 In spite of the bamboozlement language, is there any clearer expression of the conservative philosophy as it exists today? Remember, the wealthy pay far lower taxes now than at any time in the last 80 years, and that includes the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II years. So the idea of restoring equity to marginal tax rates is, for conservatives, class warfare.
And yet the war that Lindsey Graham, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Eric Cantor want to declare is on the lower classes. Can anyone deny that? Orrin Hatch speaks for them all:

Friday, September 16, 2011

You Say Potato, I Say No Potato!

Actually, since it's John Boehner, I guess it's more accurately "Hell no, potato!!

 President Obama has again put forward a reasonable plan to create jobs with short-term stimulus and targeted tax cuts while paying for it though long-term changing of tax rates and closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy. This is econ 101, it's not voodoo economics or, as Paul Krugman and others call it, zombie economics.

How does Obama plan to pay for it? Days after he sent the jobs bill to Congress, he mapped out his plan for paying for it, sending a message straight to the Super Committee charged with finding the rest of the savings needed to complete the deficit reduction package. The plan was not designed to please Republicans:
(ABC News) The White House outlined $467 billion in savings to pay for the American Jobs Act through a series of tax policy changes, Office of Management and Budget Chair Jack Lew announced Monday at the White House daily briefing. While the president’s bill has a $447 billion price tag, Lew explained that the extra $20 billion is designed as a cushion to ensure the bill is “fully paid for” as the president has repeatedly promised.
Among the offsets suggested by Lew:
– New limits on deductions for income over $250,000. This would raise $400b over ten years.
– New formulas for taxing the income of hedge fund managers’ could raise $18 billion.
– Oil and gas measures, Lew said, would raise $40 billion.
– Limiting tax deductions for corporate jets would raise $3 billion.
The president hopes the special congressional supercommittee already searching for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction will “overachieve” and consider these proposals or find different means of offsetting the nearly half a trillion he needs to pay for a job creation bill.
John Boehner wasted little time shooting down both the jobs plan and Obama's way of paying for it:
Republicans have already said they do not support many elements of Obama's $447 billion jobs package and will not back the tax increases he has proposed to pay for it.
Boehner's comments indicated that the bill is unlikely to emerge from Congress in anything like its current form.
Even as Boehner said there were some opportunities for common ground, he indirectly criticized the temporary tax breaks that other senior Republicans had said they might support.
Boehner attacked "short-term gimmicks" and said a proposed tax credit for businesses that hire new workers would have little impact if employers were worried about other government policies. Washington's energies would be better channeled toward reducing regulations on business, he said.
"Let's be honest with ourselves. The president's proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America," he told the Economic Club of Washington.
Boehner said a newly created committee of Democrats and Republicans should try to simplify the tax code as it works to trim at least $1.2 trillion from annual budget deficits over 10 years.
But that overhaul should not bring more revenue to the government and the committee should focus only on spending cuts and benefit reforms to trim deficits, Boehner said.
In short, Obama wants to create jobs. Boehner wants to reform the tax code, which largely means lowering taxes on the rich, permanently. Raising taxes is off the table. Therefore, Obama's bill is off the table.

 I'm reminded of the great line from Cool Hand Luke: "What we have here is failure to communicate."


In the end, my only hope is that Obama draws a line in the sand, one that Democrats can stand behind for the 2012 election. If he caves or "negotiates" with Republicans, then this whole exercise in laying out a jobs plan, for which Obama dramatically threw down the gauntlet before Congress in a televised joint-session, will have been theater and nothing else. And theater with a denouement that fizzles, like so many other boring, disappointing prior performances.

(Thanks BuzzFeed)

I say once more to Obama, with low expectations, "Hang tough!" What have you got to lose?