Celtic Graveyard Scotland wallpaper

Celtic Graveyard Scotland wallpaper

Democrats are not perfect when it comes to privacy rights ( one of the reasons for the never ending intra-party battles between conservative Democrats and progressives), but denying those rights are not part and parcel of the Democratic philosophy as they are with conservatism, A Pressing Need to Revive Privacy Rights

There are other sources we can look to for change:

• A vigorous line of Supreme Court dissents to key Fourth Amendment cases, which articulate the problems with current doctrines and provide the groundwork for the court to eventually shift or reverse course.
• Many U.S. states have rejected the Supreme Court’s approaches to privacy law, in some cases because of state constitutions that provide more explicit privacy protections than the U.S. Constitution, but in other cases because state judges have simply gone the other way. The spread of alternative interpretations of privacy rights within the states could gain influence at the national level, as has happened before on other issues.
• Conservative justices like Justice Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have taken positions on privacy issues that suggest they might be open to strengthening the Fourth Amendment in some ways, raising the possibility of the kinds of Supreme Court coalitions necessary to change the direction of federal jurisprudence.

Unfortunately president Obama does not see appointments to the courts with the same priority as conservatives. Which helps explain why he has not pushed past conservative road blocks to his judicial or government post appointees – Weakening America: Mitch McConnell Shows How

As you may have heard elsewhere, the Obama Administration has been relatively slow in vetting and choosing nominees for many of its important posts — but then has encountered extreme slowness from the Senate in approving the appointments once they get made. If you go to this White House site, you’ll find a searchable, sortable list of all 820+ nominations and appointments made so far in the Administration; about 240 have not even come up for a Senate vote. If you go to this U.S. Senate site and click on the link for “Executive Calendar,” you’ll get a long PDF showing in its “nominations” section the scores and scores of people who have come through committees but not received a vote on the Senate floor. (Direct link to the PDF here.)

On Thursday afternoon, just before its Memorial Day recess, the Senate had planned to consider about 80 of these nominations as a group. They all had been through financial and security vetting; they had been through committee consideration; they were headed for jobs that in many cases now stood vacant; they were ready to go. Sen. Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, moved for approval by unanimous consent, apparently believing that a deal to clear out the huge backlog had been struck. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, begged to differ. He was still sore about the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Therefore he wouldn’t agree to the en-bloc vote.

McConnell helped Bush get a recess appointment for a mining executive to be the Mine and Health Safety Administrator. The kind of administrator that looked the other way for companies like Massey. In order to convince their followers that government is in every situation a bad thing, Mitch and company have to make sure that government does indeed not work. Conservatism, the movement of crony-fied self fulfilling prophesies.

Oops! Legal Expert Tells Jamie Colby Fox’s “Breathless” Coverage Of Sestak Is “Much Ado About Nothing”

A professor specializing in election law visited On The Record last night (5/28/10) and told substitute guest host Jamie Colby that no statutes were broken in the Sestak affair, that the statute Fox News personnel keep obsessively citing, Section 600 of the U.S. Code was not designed to prevent the kind of political deals that might have been made between the White House and Sestak and, for good measure, added, “The coverage on your network sounds pretty breathless. It seems to me that this is really much ado about nothing.”

Once in a while Fox will call in an expert on something thinking they will get an echo of the point of view they’re pushing and will surprised that not everyone in America drinks the kool-aid.

Showdown at the GOP Corral Western conservatives and Southern conservatives battle for the soul of the Republican Party.

The new Western conservatism is not simply a reincarnation of the old Goldwater version. Lacking anti-communism as an organizing principle, it has been forced to invent a collectivistic demon, depicting Obama’s centrist liberalism as socialism with American face. Where the old Western conservatives had serious thinkers lurking in the background—Harry Jaffa, the Straussian political philosopher, wrote Goldwater’s famous convention speech—the new wave is authentically anti-intellectual. At the same time, Western conservatism has become more inclusive. The embodiment of its frontier spirit is now a woman who proclaims, “There’s plenty of room for all Alaska’s animals—right next to the mashed potatoes.”

Palin and Beck are terrific entertainers and the Tea Party is a great show, all of which has made the conservative movement fun to watch lately. But cowboy-style constitutional fundamentalism is unlikely to prove a winning philosophy for Republicans beyond 2010. For that, they need a conservatism that hasn’t been in evidence lately—a version that’s not Western or Southern, but instead tolerant, moderate, and mainstream.

Weisberg’s history and observations seem spot on. Though his mild concern trolling will no doubt fall on foil covered hard heads.

Joan Walsh continues to be worth checking in with. The meme from far right or moderates that Obama getting more emotive will somehow plug the leak is tiresome and bizarre, Peggy Noonan says his presidency is doomed. Even Democrats want him to be more “emotional.” This is getting silly

From cable television, 24/7, we’re told that even if there’s nothing more Obama and his administration could do to stop the leak and contain the damage, he’s at fault because he’s just not feeling our pain. On MSNBC Friday morning I watched former Rep. David Bonior, last seen peddling John Edwards to Democrats, complain about Obama’s cool. “He’s got to get emotional,” the Democrat (who was there to balance the anti-Obama ranting of Pat Buchanan) insisted.

During national disasters I tend to find presidents that run around like chickens with their heads cut off not the least bit reassuring. I thought Frank Rich was going down that road, but it turned out he only took half a step in that direction, acknowledging the battle of public perceptions versus reality, Obama’s Katrina? Maybe Worse

The Obama administration has been engaged with the oil spill from the start — however haltingly and inarticulately at times. It was way too trusting of BP but was never AWOL. For all the second-guessing, it’s still not clear what else the president might have done to make a definitive, as opposed to cosmetic, difference in plugging the hole: yell louder at BP, send in troops and tankers, or, as James Carville would have it, assume the role of Big Daddy? The spill is not a Tennessee Williams play, its setting notwithstanding, and it’s hard to see what more drama would add, particularly since No Drama Obama’s considerable talents do not include credible play-acting.

[   ]…This is why the more revealing strand of Rand Paul’s post-primary victory romp may have been his musings about BP, not civil rights law — although they are two sides of the same ideological coin. He called out Obama and his administration for sounding “really un-American” in their “criticism of business.” He asked that we stop the “blame game” over the disaster and instead just accept the fact that “accidents happen.” Much as Paul questioned the federal government’s role in ordering lunch counters to desegregate, so he belittled its intrusion into BP’s toxic private enterprise. But unlike the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the role of government in corporate regulation is a continuing battle, not settled law.

Well Rich has done it now. He has pissed off a right-wing libertarian. Liberty Pundits writes Frank Rich’s Unrequited Obama Love And Facing Hard Truths

You see where I’m going here. The problem with guys like Frank Rich is that he has no stop on the jobs the Federal government should do and not only that, he’s all for taxing the productive and businesses to fulfill his pet projects and big government desires to Right All Wrongs.

Whether they are right-wing libertarians or conservatives they  love their straw man arguments. Absolutely nowhere in Rich’s column does he propose, argue and even suggest the government should “Right All Wrongs”. Only the government has a role and responsibility to work on some solutions to some problems that are too large for individuals or business to handle. Not all libertarians are that lazy and moronic.


Camas Prairie Landscape Idaho wallpaper, Conservative’s National Security Reputation Coming Undone

Camas Prairie Landscape Idaho wallpaper

Contrary to conventional wisdom there is never going to be a deadline reached at which the legacy of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be forgotten. Not because some of us might justifiably have a grudge. But because their legacy lives on with real life consequences. George and Dick were sold to us as the A-Team. They knew what was best for the economy, their stellar national security and foreign policy expertise were the standard by which all future policies would be measured. Even given the span of two terms Bush and Cheney’s policies, trumpeted regularly by his supporters on TV and in print, turned out to be dismal failures. Then and now Dick Cheney, who has the gull to pop up occasionally and offer up his expertise, was a former Secretary of Defense under Reagan ( where he cut ten divisions from the armed forces) was always cast as the national security expert. On that basis, or that continued misplaced perception, many conservatives would like to see him as president in 2012. Out of office in 2009 Dick Cheney said this about President Obama’s national security policies,

As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. [. . .] He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war.

For seven years Cheney and like-minded sycophants used similar language to attack anyone that dared disagree with the mighty voice of right-wing authority on all things pertaining to terrorism. Critics of the Bush administration were more than wrong they were terrorist sympathizers. There was always that arrogance of absolute tactical and moral authority. To their credit it was a clever tactic. Stick to a message that appealed to the base fears of much of the public and repeat daily. Silencing the Lawyers

A total of 779 prisoners have been held in Guantánamo in connection with the war on terror. Five hundred seventy-nine were released, most by the Bush Administration, a quiet recognition of errors made in the decisions to detain them. A large number of those still detained are contesting their imprisonment through habeas corpus—under which the government must make a minimal showing that it has a reasonable basis for holding the prisoner. In roughly three-quarters of these cases so far (36 out of 50 decided), which are being heard before largely Republican-appointed, conservative federal judges in Washington, the court has found that the United States has no reason to hold the prisoner.

[   ]…What happened to the 600–800 Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders for whom the prison was originally conceived? We now have a pretty good idea. In the late fall of 2001, military operations in Afghanistan were successful, and Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership figures had fled to two last redoubts—the city of Kunduz in the northeast, and the Tora Bora region along the Pakistani frontier. But for reasons known only to him, Vice President Dick Cheney ordered a halt to the bombardment of Kunduz and opened an air corridor to allow the Pakistani military to airlift the Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders out of Kunduz. The maneuver was ridiculed by one U.S. military official present at the time as “Operation Evil Airlift.” The United States quickly moved to fill Gitmo with nobodies.

The Conservative A-Team of terror fighting let Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora, squandered victory in Afghanistan and assisted Al Qaeda. To shore up their reputations as the national security pros the Bush administration threw a combination of predominately low-level stooges and innocent bystanders into Gitmo. Some lawyers have been successful at pushing the cases of those detainees for whom the reasons for detainment are dubious. The mythical legacy of Bush-Cheney and the conservative movement as the Gurus of national security has and continues to come undone. What can conservatives do to stop the ever widening erosion of their national security credentials. They can persecute the lawyers, who are proving to Bush appointed judges no less, for exposing the ineptitude and lawlessness of the Bush administration’s actions in the “war on terror”.

Instead, influential Republicans in Congress are crying out for an investigation of the lawyers. Florida Republican Jeff Miller has secured a provision in the current defense appropriations act (PDF) requiring that the Defense Department’s inspector general “conduct an investigation of the conduct and practices of lawyers” who represent clients at Guantánamo if there is some reason to believe that they “interfered with the operations” at Gitmo or “violated any applicable policy of the Department.” Of course, as Steven Vladeck has explained, in the thinking of the Bush era, prisoners were to be held at Gitmo without access to attorneys or the ability to make legal arguments, so everything that the defense counsel did amounted to “interference with the operations”–starting with securing a series of Supreme Court decisions holding that those operations were illegal.

The defense counsel working at Guantánamo have been subjected to a barrage of officially sponsored indignities. They have been tarred with ethnic slurs and accusations of homosexuality, accused of undermining national security, subjected to continual petty harassment. They have also had their livelihoods threatened through appeals to their paying clients. These events have been reported as separate incidents in the press, but this conduct results from a carefully orchestrated Bush Administration policy that goes under the rubric of “lawfare.” With the Bush Administration out of power, these efforts have been taken up by former Vice President Dick Cheney, his daughter, and a collection of Republican hacks. There’s nothing remotely “disgraceful” about the efforts of defense counsel to identify witnesses and collect evidence, and to prove torture if indeed torture was used. That’s the essence of justice. Congressman Miller is afraid that the truth of what happened to these prisoners will be fully exposed and that they may be proven innocent.

Color Smoke Jazz wallpaper

Color Smoke Jazz wallpaper

If president Obama can be impeached for Sestak does that mean we can retroactively impeach Reagan. Ol Raygun should have been impeached for Iran-Contra and the HUD scandal – Morris fabricates “impeachable offense” out of alleged Sestak job offer

Reagan adviser reportedly offered CA senator a job with the administration “if he decided not to seek re-election.” A November 25, 1981, Associated Press article (from the Nexis database) reported that President Reagan’s political adviser Ed Rollins planned to offer former California Sen. S.I. Hayakawa a job in the administration in exchange for not seeking re-election.

To save time we could also impeach Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Sestak “bribe”-gate: Judd Gregg did it first

If that’s the case, we should probably appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Sen. Judd Gregg committed extortion when he demanded that the White House force a Democratic governor to appoint a Republican to his seat if they wanted him to be their commerce secretary.

As someone from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said, the Sestak offer, if it did happen is just another day inside the Beltway. That Sestak stayed in and as of today is favored to win the general election is probably the cause for the Right’s sudden infatuation with ethics.

Andrew Breitbart is a loon and a conservative quickly becoming famous for his cowardice so it is not much of a shock he lacks the humility to admit when he’s wrong. Is Breitbart ever going to get up the nerve to ask the NY Post for a correction?

In the wake of James O’Keefe’s New Orleans guilty plea, Breitbart’s site is pulling down out of storage one of its old talking points and pretending it’s a very big deal that when the O’Keefe story first broke in January some news outlets got a key fact wrong: O’Keefe was never charged with trying to wiretap, or bug, Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phone.

[   ]…But here’s the evergreen problem with the correction tact: lots of right-wing sites got the exact same fact wrong about O’Keefe and the alleged wiretapping and bugging charges [emphasis added]:

-“Filmmaker who targeted ACORN arrested for trying to bug La. senator’s office” (NY Post)

-“Feds Cuff ACORN ‘Pimp’ in Attempt to Bug Sen. Landrieu’s Phones”  (NRO’s The Corner)

-“James O’Keefe Arrested for Attempting to Bug Senator Mary Landrieu’s Offices?” (Ace of Spades)

-“ACORN Sting Man James O’Keefe Arrested for Allegedly Trying to Bug Mary Landrieu’s Office.” (The Lonely Conservative)

-“James O’Keefe arrested for attempting to bug Mary Landrieu’s office” (Another Black Conservative)

The high and mighty guardians of right-wing citizen journalism like Ace, the Lonely Conservative and the holy grail of wingnuttiness – The National Review were wrong? How could that be. Not admit they were wrong? What would we expect from sites that sold America the lies about Iraq, defended deadbeat Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and deregulating Wall St and letting oil companies like BP do whatever they wanted because all corporation are naturally fountains of virtue and goodness. That Breitbart will not hold his team of titanic liars to any ethical standards sounds about right since they never had any standards.

O’Reilly tells African-American Columbia University professor that he looks like a ‘cocaine dealer.’ This coming from someone one of America’s highest paid perverts.

Republicans have this product they really really want to sell America. It contains petty spite, bile and mindless vindictiveness that makes Les Miserable seem like a quaint fairytale. Everything that happens on Obama’s watch is his Katrina. get a speck of dust in your eye. That’s Obama’s new Katrina. Traffic light at 5th and main burn out? Obama’s Katrina. Kevin Drums replies to the latest attempt, Why BP is the Anti-Katrina

This conflates two very different things. Katrina was an example of the type of disaster that the federal government is specifically tasked with handling. And for most of the 90s, it was very good at handling them. But when George Bush became president and Joe Allbaugh became director of FEMA, everything changed. Allbaugh neither knew nor cared about disaster preparedness. For ideological reasons, FEMA was downsized and much of its work outsourced. When Allbaugh left after less than two years on the job, he was replaced by the hapless Michael Brown and the agency was downgraded and broken up yet again.

[  ]…The Deepwater Horizon explosion is almost the exact opposite. There is no federal expertise in capping oil blowouts. There is no federal agency tasked specifically with repairing broken well pipes.

Lets read between the lines of what people like Yuval Levin, Rush Limbaugh and others are saying. They want to establish a multi-billion dollar oil spill response team to be part of FEMA thus letting BP and other oil companies off the hook for their negligence.  Dear American Tax Payer the rabid right has another gift for you based on their twisted upside down inside out ideology. A policy that is not based on what is best, but rather on the tenant of spite. Even a Republican chaired Senate committee found the Bush administration response to Katrina lacking, but that does not mean, to the right-wing mind, that conservatives and their ideology we not thoroughly discredited and the Republican party highly embarrassed. It means such discredit and embarrassment will not go unpunished even if the lies and twisted logic are old reliables from the conservative dirty politics playbook. One of the liberal blogs on my blogroll even played along – they’re mad as hell that Super Obama didn’t put on his cape and spin the earth in reverse to stop that leak. Said blog was also woefully short on the details which would make that feat possible. Never let actual prescriptions get in the way of a pseudo populist rant. Does this sound like what the Obama administration did in the Gulf, White House Issues Defense Of Bush’s Handling of Storm

Three days after Hurricane Katrina wiped out most of New Orleans, President Bush appeared on television and said, “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” His staff has spent the past six months trying to take back, modify or explain away those 10 words.

[  ]…The video leaves little doubt that key people in government did anticipate that the levees might not hold. To critics, especially Democrats but even some Republicans, it reinforces the conclusion that the government at its highest levels failed to respond aggressively enough to the danger bearing down on New Orleans.

Does Peggy The Loon Noonan or the editors at the Rupert Murdoch’s Wall St Rag read her columns before they publish them, The spill is a disaster for the president and his political philosophy.

I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president’s political judgment and instincts.

BP too cheap to buy a proper safety valve. That’s a failure of Obama’s political philosophy. President helps pass at least some of the historic health care reforms he promised and that help get him elected – that is an unforced error? I think BP’s safety engineers used the same math Peggy uses. Immigration reform? We could have had that three years ago except the xenophobes that control the Republican party killed it. Notice a pattern with Peggy. Conservative ain’t in no way never responsible for nuttin. Another way of saying looking for an adult in the Republican party is a long arduous journey.

Republicans Are Very Sad Obama Not Their Puppet and Recovery Act is Working

conservative toon

GOP press release

The right-wing National Review on September 7, 2009 – Why the Stimulus Failed

Conservatives have correctly declared President Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” a flop. In a January report, White House economists predicted the bill would create (not merely save) 3.3 million jobs. Since then, 2.8 million jobs have been lost, pushing unemployment toward 10 percent. (emphasis mine)

Today May 26, 2010 – Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output

Looking at recorded spending to date as well as estimates of the other effects of ARRA on spending and revenues, CBO has estimated the law’s impact on employment and economic output using evidence about the effects of previous similar policies on the economy and using various mathematical models that represent the workings of the economy. On that basis, CBO estimates that in the first quarter of calendar year 2010, ARRA’s policies:

* Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.2 percent,
* Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points,
* Increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million, and
* Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 1.8 million to 4.1 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers.)

Gosh, how could that happen. Conservatives are always right? Even in 2009 Matt Yglesias noted the financial wizards at The National Propagandist Review were both wrong in their math and their reasoning, Is Stimulus Impossible

The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Reidl explains in National Review that it’s not possible for stimulus to work:

The idea that government spending creates jobs makes sense only if you never ask where the government got the money. It didn’t fall from the sky. The only way Congress can inject spending into the economy is by first taxing or borrowing it out of the economy. No new demand is created; it’s a zero-sum transfer of existing demand.

So suppose this engineer Henry Ford wants to build a car factory, but he doesn’t have the money it costs to build a car factory, so he borrows the money from a coal dealer named Alexander Malcomson—is that a zero-sum transfer that doesn’t create jobs?

We can probably all agree in good times – ordinary times – it is best not to spend this kind of money to create jobs, but these are not ordinary times. There is an element of the mystical in right-wing thinking when it comes to the economy and job creation via government spending. One they fail to acknowledge that a school teacher or construction worker that kept their job or got a job because of the Recovery Act, spends their pay check on rent, groceries and assorted goods which helps other people keep their jobs. Two, people with jobs pay taxes in some form – sales, income etc. Investing in people is as old as Adam Smith and the whole concept of a capitalist economy. Conservatives tend toward the view that your average American is a lazy bum that does not deserve a helping hand – different from a handout – even in the worse of times. One gets the impression they read A Christmas Carol and thought Scrooge and his partner were heroes.

It is a little frustrating posting on the GOP meeting on Capital Hill at which President Obama made an appearance. So far all we have are accounts filtered through Republicans in attendance. Obama, Republicans Clash In Private Meeting

It was billed as a high-noon cease-fire between President Obama and Senate Republicans, but the rare, private Capitol Hill meeting instead turned into a heated shootout at the notion that anyone in the room has bipartisan intentions this election year.

When Obama appealed for bipartisanship on legislation in the six months remaining before Election Day, freshman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) confronted him, the senator later told reporters.

“I told him I thought there was a degree of audacity in him even showing up today after what happened with financial regulation,” Corker said after the meeting. “I asked him how he was able to reconcile that duplicity, coming in today to see us.”

I’m not sure how Corker could justify the term ‘duplicity’ in the context of the president being either deceitful or misleading about financial reform. There were sound bites from other senators, but Corker stands out above what was largely whining and the usual right-wing spin on the facts. Bob was in on the financial reform negotiations. In a march 31st report – GOP on bank reform: Weak bill not weak enough. Will consumer protection go the way of the public option? Sen. Corker says he can’t support Dodd bill

Then contemplate Wednesday’s news: Republican Senator Bob Corker, reports the Wall Street Journal, says “I have no plans to support the current legislation. I hope we’ll get back to the negotiating table.”

Corker did not specific exactly why he would not support the Dodd bill in its current form, but it’s a good bet that his reasons don’t align with the weaknesses pointed out by Konczal and others. For example, Corker has long been on record opposing a strong and independent consumer financial protection agency. In general, the Republicans are worried that regulatory reform will be too restrictive.

The White House, reports the Journal, doesn’t want to budge. Their political judgment is that Republicans are making a big mistake aligning themselves with the financial sector.

Mr. Gibbs said the principles for new rules outlined by President Barak Obama were “nonnegotiable with the president” and “nonnegotiable with the American people.”

We’ll see how long this hard line stands. In the Times, David Leonhardt suggests that the consumer financial protection agency is banking reform’s equivalent to the public option sought by health reformers. If that’s the case, then the agency would seem to be a prime candidate for sacrifice in order to garner one or two precious Republican votes.

Almost two months ago Corker signaled he would not vote for Wall St reform and a consumer protection provision was one of the points he went out of his way to make. He tried to weaken the bill’s protections, which many of us think do not go far enough in regulating credit default swaps, and when Dodd would not weaken it further, Corker publicly said it was too weak. All this during the time President Obama was on public record as opposing weakening the Senate bill. Only a Republican like Corker can stake out two opposing positions on a bill, know the president’s stance, and then accuse the president as being duplicitous more here – Bob Corker Wins GOP Hypocrite Award for Opposing the Same Financial Reform he Helped to Weaken Because Suddenly it’s too Weak. With Corker’s  public opposition to the consumer protection part of the Senate bill we’re supposed to believe Corker wanted these stronger provisions as proposed by the Roosevelt Institute,

* Hard limits related to both size caps relative to GDP and leverage ratio must be specified in the bill. This will put a floor to the difficulty of resolution and the damage to the economy.
* The Volcker Rule should be accepted outright, rather than through the decision of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
* The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection must have full rule-making authority over non-bank lenders, including auto lenders.
* The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection must keep its lack of preemption over state regulation.
* The derivatives section should be included to require all standardized derivatives to trade on an exchange with clearing, keeping with the original financial regulatory reform language introduced by President Obama in June of 2009.
* The Financial Stability Oversight Council should not have the ability to alter the derivatives rules, override the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection or change other regulations by a vote.
* Early remediation requirements should be defined as to intervene earlier than the event of financial decline for a large systemically risky financial firm with a rule written by Congress.
* There should be more focus on investing in high end, internationally focused position monitoring for large systemically risky financial firms.
* In the light of recent scandals, there should be extra language included that targets fraud in accountancy and directly addresses issues of off-balance sheet reform.

So all the all the Senate banking Committee has to do is include these stronger provisions and Corker and Republicans will be on board. Right? If not we can all look forward to Bob Corker’s re-election campaign commercials where he says financial reform was not liberal enough for him to vote for.

In researching Corker’s positions on WallStReg he has been back and forth on the Volcker rule and on consumer protection, together with some equally murky statements on his expectations of what good WallStReg look like. As Republican doublespeak goes , I will concede he is better than average.

Gold Doubloons and Pirate Map wallpaper, Say it isn’t so – Wall St Hates President Obama

compass and gold chest

Gold Doubloons and Pirate Map wallpaper

John Heilemann is a thoroughly entrenched member of the Beltway mentality. Judging by his and political hack Mark Halperin’s book “Game Change” anonymous and unverifiable quotes and gossip pass for journalism. We’re all more or less forced to pay attention to Halperin and Heilemann because their respective employers – Time and New York Magazine, in addition to their frequent appearances on TV – provide them with a huge megaphone. Thus Heilmann’s piece on Wall St and Obama ( including Democrats) is a bit of a surprise in its portrait of the people who knee capped the economy sending over 10% of the work force into unemployment and millions into foreclosure. That Heilmann doesn’t blame the all powerful  low-income Americans is a surprise after the Game Change debacle. Obama Is From Mars, Wall Street Is From Venus – Psychoanalyzing one of America’s most dysfunctional relationships

The speed and severity of the swing from enchantment to enmity would be difficult to overstate. When Obama was sworn into office, Democrats on Wall Street rejoiced at the ascension of a president in whom they saw many qualities to admire: brains, composure, bi-partisan instincts, an aversion to class-based combat. And many Wall Street Republicans—after witnessing the horror show that constituted John McCain’s response to the financial crisis—quietly admitted relief that the other guy had prevailed.

Today, it’s hard to find anyone on Wall Street who doesn’t speak of Obama as if he were an unholy hybrid of Bernie Sanders and Eldridge Cleaver. One night not long ago, over dinner with ten executives in the finance industry, I heard the president described as “hostile to business,” “anti-wealth,” and “anti-capitalism”; as a “redistributionist,” a “vilifier,” and a “thug.” A few days later, I recounted this experience to the same Wall Street CEO who’d called the Volcker Rule a testicular blow, and mentioned I’d been told that one of the most prominent megabank chiefs, who once boasted to friends of voting for Obama, now refers to him privately as a “Chicago mob guy.” Do all your brethren feel this way? I asked. “Oh, not everybody—just most of them,” he replied. “Jamie [Dimon]? Lloyd [Blankfein]? They might not say Obama’s a socialist, but they come pretty close.”

[   ]…Another, not inconsistent, theory is that the money changers aren’t merely forgetful but mildly deluded. “They’ve created a narrative where irrational actions by a few people plus the nature of government intervention forced them to do things inconsistent with their free-market philosophy and regular way of handling their business,” offers a Democratic financier. “So, yes, they took the TARP money, but only because they had to. None of them are sitting there saying to themselves, ‘You know, I was responsible for this crisis. Therefore, I’m really grateful to the government that it stepped in.’ This is not the narrative they have in their heads.”

But one of the city’s most successful hedge-fund hotshots offers a different surmise: “The majority of Wall Street thinks, ‘Hey, you lent us money. We did a trade. We paid you back. When you had me down, you could have crushed me, you could have done whatever you wanted. You didn’t do it! So stop your bitching and stop telling me I owe you, because I already paid you everything! The fact that I’m making money now is because I’m smarter than you!’ I think that’s where you’ve got this massive disconnect. In simple human terms, the government is saying, ‘I saved your life, and all you did was thank me once. You should be calling me every day: Thank you. Thank you.’ The guy who saved the life expects more. And the guy whose life is saved says, ‘I already thanked you!’ ”

Heilmann says that the Obama administration could well claim to have not just thrown Wall St a life jacket, but kept the world’s financial system from failing. An event that would have many of those Wall St whiners looking for jobs with real world compensation. Ironic that Heilmann is saying it, because no one n this administration seems to know how to highlight its successes to the public. I can understand some, though not all progressive complaints about how disappointing the administration’s economic policies have been, but I can’t understand how the Right can call Obama a socialist when he in fact saved capitalism. Except for what appears to be some mild financial reform, Democrats have rebuilt the economic house that Republicans burned down. Maybe that’s the reason for the Right’s outrage, at the psychological level they resent the hell out of having their fat pulled from the fire by a Democrat. Conservatives have never been big on humility or gathering wisdom from experience so they’ve dived head long into denial mode. That and they just enjoy the politics of character assassination. I’ll give Heilmann the last word,

Whatever the effects of the bill, among them will be neither an end to the too-big-too-fail doctrine nor any curb on what the sharpest Wall Streeters see as the central threat to the system’s stability: excessive financial leverage. Geithner, Summers, and Obama had little interest in tackling those matters, not because they are indentured servants to Wall Street but because at heart they are all technocrats who believe the system doesn’t need to be rebooted or downsized, merely better supervised.

The Right has already conveniently forgotten that Bush and Republicans were the ones that started the bail-outs of Wall St and Detroit. Actions now portrayed as a socialist grab for power over private enterprise. Now Republicans drenched in flop sweat hoping the public doesn’t tie all the pieces together and see the glowing neon moderation where the extreme Right see a war on free enterprise. That and they hope the economy doesn’t continue it’s recovery, no matter how slowly. Paul Krugman’s latest column is on the same article, The Old Enemies

And oil and gas companies, always Republican-leaning, have gone all out, bestowing 76 percent of their largess on the G.O.P.

These are extraordinary numbers given the normal tendency of corporate money to flow to the party in power. Corporate America, however, really, truly hates the current administration. Wall Street, for example, is in “a state of bitter, seething, hysterical fury” toward the president, writes John Heilemann of New York magazine. What’s going on?

One answer is taxes — not so much on corporations themselves as on the people who run them. The Obama administration plans to raise tax rates on upper brackets back to Clinton-era levels. Furthermore, health reform will in part be paid for with surtaxes on high-income individuals. All this will amount to a significant financial hit to C.E.O.’s, investment bankers and other masters of the universe.

Now, don’t cry for these people: they’ll still be doing extremely well, and by and large they’ll be paying little more as a percentage of their income than they did in the 1990s. Yet the fact that the tax increases they’re facing are reasonable doesn’t stop them from being very, very angry.

[  ]…From the outside, this rage against regulation seems bizarre. I mean, what did they expect? The financial industry, in particular, ran wild under deregulation, eventually bringing on a crisis that has left 15 million Americans unemployed, and required large-scale taxpayer-financed bailouts to avoid an even worse outcome. Did Wall Street expect to emerge from all that without facing some new restrictions? Apparently it did.

Goodness forbid people who get bonuses in the millions have to pay Clinton, or Reagan era tax rates. Grab the pitchforks. But wait Republicans bellyache, these poor beleaguered soldiers of capitalism add so much value to the economy, Earned Success?

It’s very hard to make a serious argument that the top 1%’s skyrocketing income has been due to the “creation of value in our lives or in the lives of others” and that they have been creating so much more value in the 00s than they were 30 years ago. This point becomes stronger when you realize that many of the top 1% or the top .1% are in finance, a field whose exploding profits seem to be closely linked to the subsequent destruction of so much value in the national and world economy. And, to lay it on a bit thicker, there’s interesting research from Robert Gordon — who, full disclosure, was my intro macroeconomics professor earlier this year — that a good portion of increasing income inequality within the top decile has been due to increases in CEO pay which have very little relationship to the creation of value in the sense Brooks is talking about:

There is a handy-dandy chart at the link. Let’s acknowledge that some modern labor could be defined as brain power, at least to the degree one has an aptitude and ability to be trained in complex financial transaction – we’re not talking physics and differential equations here. Even than it is ludicrous to think 1% of the working population creates the bulk of the nation’s wealth. The Great Recession should have taught even the most hard-headed Wall St worshiper that Citibank, Goldman and AIG’s financial division among others, were not making these bizarre derivative bets with their money (assets) they were making them with the average working American’s money and the supreme confidence they would never have to pay off if their bets went south.

Libertarianism and Conservatism Sharpen Liberals Swords

To paraphrase an old adage, your sword is only as sharp as your opponents. In that sense liberals should be thankful of the opportunity provided by Rand Paul and his supporters to show how ludicrous the Paul brand of libertarianism is. Paul’s politics seem to be a blend of conservatism and libertarianism. That said some of the best criticism of Paul has been by way of libertarians and people who lean libertarian. Cato Scholar Scolds Rand Paul, Gives OK to Soup Nazi

“I think Rand Paul is wrong about the Civil Rights Act,” libertarian Cato Institute scholar Brink Lindsey wrote in an e-mail. “As a general matter, people should be free to deal or not deal with others as they choose. And that means we discriminate against those we choose not to deal with. In marrying one person, we discriminate against all others. Businesses can discriminate against potential employees who don’t meet hiring qualifications, and they can discriminate against potential customers who don’t observe a dress code (no shirt, no shoes, no service). Rand Paul is appealing to the general principle of freedom of association, and that general principle is a good one.

“But it has exceptions. In particular, after three-plus centuries of slavery and another century of institutionalized, state-sponsored racism (which included state toleration of private racist violence), the exclusion of blacks from public accommodations wasn’t just a series of uncoordinated private decisions by individuals exercising their freedom of association. It was part and parcel of an overall social system of racial oppression,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey defense of the Soup Nazi is where most of us would agree and have probably all seen some degree of that behavior – which proprietors are free to exercise. If some one comes into your business and acts in a way that is rowdy or does not fellow some basic rules ( shirt and shoes) they can refuse service. Those that provide public accommodations (private clubs are exempted from the Civil Right Act) they cannot decide to not serve a whole class of people like those with Italian surnames or Protestants or tall people.

“We have to start with some historical context,” e-mailed George Mason Law professor David Bernstein, who is also a blogger at The Volokh Conspiracy. “If segregation and discrimination in the Jim Crow South was simply a matter of law, federal legislation that would have overturned Jim Crow laws would have sufficed. But, in fact, it involved the equivalent of a white supremacist cartel, enforced not just by overt government regulation like segregation laws, but also by the implicit threat of private violence and harassment of anyone who challenged the racist status quo.”

“Therefore, to break the Jim Crow cartel, there were only two options: (1) a federal law invalidating Jim Crow laws, along with a massive federal takeover of local government by the federal government to prevent violence and extralegal harassment of those who chose to integrate; or (2) a federal law banning discrimination by private parties, so that violence and harassment would generally be pointless. If, like me, you believe that it was morally essential to break the Jim Crow cartel, option 2 was the lesser of two evils. I therefore would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” Bernstein concluded.

Jim Crow laws were a run round Emancipation. What the south saw as an escape clause to not fully integrate African-Americans into society. The argument that Rand and like-minded libertarians and conservatives make is the marketplace is best left to handle the wholesale exclusion of a class of people from society. The market place had not worked before emancipation and had a hundred years after Jim Crow. The market place was not a powerful enough force to stop discrimination.

Many business owners in the south supported the Civil Rights Act. The problem was that if an individual business started serving black patrons or allowing them to sit up front, that business opened itself up to boycotts and  vandalism. If the Big Bad Govmint makes them open their doors to more revenue then they could just shrug to their racist patrons hey what can I do.

This article has caused me to wonder if Rand is a racist or is like many conservatives who are not particularly racists, but embraced the Southern Strategy and associate with racists to win, The roots of Rand Paul’s civil rights resentment

Specifically, both the Kentucky Republican Senate nominee and his father, Ron Paul, have been closely associated over the past two decades with a faction that described itself as “paleolibertarian,” led by former Ron Paul aide Lew Rockwell and the late writer Murray Rothbard. They eagerly forged an alliance with the “paleoconservatives” behind Patrick Buchanan, the columnist and former presidential candidate whose trademarks are nativism, racism and anti-Semitism.

Conason links to a couple of articles that are very damning of the Pauls. One is this article at The New Republic, Angry White Man – The bigoted past of Ron Paul.

The people surrounding the von Mises Institute–including Paul–may describe themselves as libertarians, but they are nothing like the urbane libertarians who staff the Cato Institute or the libertines at Reason magazine. Instead, they represent a strain of right-wing libertarianism that views the Civil War as a catastrophic turning point in American history–the moment when a tyrannical federal government established its supremacy over the states. As one prominent Washington libertarian told me, “There are too many libertarians in this country … who, because they are attracted to the great books of Mises, … find their way to the Mises Institute and then are told that a defense of the Confederacy is part of libertarian thought.”

I’m not so sure Reason is especially enlightened since they regularly run with Glenn Beck’s meme that President Obama is some kind of socialist and Secretaryof National Security Janet Napolitano is an authoritarian thug . But there are degrees of libertarian crazy and Reason is not as unhinged as Lew Rocckwell or the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Conanson includes this link to Reason – Who Wrote Ron Paul’s Newsletters? – Libertarian movement veterans, and a Paul campaign staffer, say it was “paleolibertarian” strategist Lew Rockwell

Ron Paul doesn’t seem to know much about his own newsletters. The libertarian-leaning presidential candidate says he was unaware, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, of the bigoted rhetoric about African Americans and gays that was appearing under his name.

It is a good rule of thumb not to attach the sins of the parents to the children. In this case it looks as though the virulent strain of libertarianism to which Randy ( His name is actually Randall and the Rand nickname an apparent affectation) subscribes is a mirror of his father’s beliefs, Rand Paul Keynoted 2009 Rally for Far-Right Constitution Party

So it isn’t altogether surprising that Rand Paul could be found, in April 2009, at a rally held by a political party that’s been heavily influenced by a movement whose founder, Rousas Rushdoony, advocated executing homosexuals by stoning, wanted to reimpose the institution of slavery, and maintained that the Sun rotated around the Earth.

On April 25, 2009, Rand Paul was the featured guest speaker at The Constitution Party of Minnesota’s “event of the year.”

The Constitution Party is closely linked to the Christian Reconstruction movement which has advocated Holocaust denial, racism, creationism ( to the point they believe the Sun rotates around the Earth) and has claimed that slavery is a good thing which benefited African-Americans. Further more that civil rights were a way of enslaving whites. Its is possible to associate with such fringe groups without buying every ideological piece of bat sh*t crazy they’re selling. On the other hand what does it say about someone’s character that they want power so much they are willing to show some support for them.

A brief discussion here of the larger implications of what Paul and his supporters believe and the implications for middle and working class Americans – Wage slavery

With due respect to Mark (here and here), I think that Rand Paul’s real problems in 90-percent-white Kentucky will stem from the implications of his radical libertarianism for working-class whites, not African-Americans.

Jonathan Singer at mydd.com asks four questions that Paul couldn’t answer in a way that would make him both truthful and electable:

1. Do you believe the federal minimum wage is constitutional?
2. Do you believe federal overtime laws are constitutional?
3. Do you believe the federal government has the power to enact work safety laws and regulations?
4. Do you believe that federal child labor laws are constitutional?

Here’s where the Tea Partiers have made their mistake, and fallen into thinking they’re more popular than they are. Americans are “anti-government,” but not in the way that extreme libertarians are.

An easy test of libertarians in the Paul mold versus the average workers is to ask the large coal miner contingent in Kentucky if they feel they would be better off without safety regulations or Worker’s Compensation. Do they think that Massey truly looks out for miner’s interests and those of their neighbors that live next to enormous coal slag pits.Would corporations like Massey look out for their employees left on their own. Would they look out for consumers if not compelled by regulation to do so.

One of the things I would like to see in polls in which they ask people about BIG government is to define what they think that is. BG has become a catch-all term for the grips we all have, but obviously differ in the particulars. Conservatives loved government during the Reagan and Bush 43 years – it was like they were in a giant candy store and they made tax payers for the next two generations pick up the tap. After they trashed the store, a Democrat is elected and conservatives and various anti-govmint miscreants suddenly went in search of their small government roots. Now we’re all supposed to believe after Nixon, Reagan, both Bushes and their expanded government kleptocracy they have finally, once and for all going to be the party of small  effective government. That’s cute, but why vote for a party that has lied its way into power for fifty years, when one can vote for a party that has actually shrunk government. And Democrats manage to do that without the insane pseudo-political theories that include thinking the Civil Rights Act belongs on the list of terrible tragedies of American history. Yet another reason to do away with calling Cons Republicans. There used to be a mix of liberals and conservatives in both parties – NRSC Calls Dem Condemnation Of Paul Civil Rights Act Statements ‘Ironic’

“As a side note, I would point out the irony – which seems to have been lost in some of the news coverage — that the same party seeking to manufacture this issue today, is in fact the same political party which led the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act in 1964,” NRSC spokesperson Brian Walsh wrote.

The true history of the Civil Rights act, according to Princeton university Sean Wilentz, is not exactly worthy of glib emails from the GOP.

“Everybody knows that in 1964, a proud southern Democratic President, Lyndon Johnson, pushed hard to secure the Civil Rights Bill, with the aid of a coalition of northern Democrats and Republicans,” Wilentz said. “This sent the defeated segregationist Southern Democrats (led by Strom Thurmond) fleeing into the Republican Party, where its remnants, along with a younger generation of extremist conservative white southerners, including Rand Paul, still reside.”

Here is another Paul defender that quotes Ayn Rand sycophant Milton Friedman, Milton Friedman on Racial Discrimination – David Henderson

Is there any difference in principle between the taste that leads a householder to prefer an attractive servant to an ugly one and the taste that leads another to prefer a Negro to a white or a white to a Negro, except that we sympathize and agree with the one taste and may not agree with the other? I do not mean to say that all tastes are equally good. On the contrary, I believe strongly that the color of a man’s skin or the religion of his parents is, by itself, no reason to treat him differently; that a man should be judged by what he is and what he does and not by these external characteristics. I deplore what seem to me the prejudice and narrowness of outlook of those whose tastes differ from mine in this respect and I think less of them for it. But in a society based on free discussion, the appropriate recourse is for me to seek to persuade them that their tastes are bad and that they should change their views and their behavior, not to use coercive power to enforce my tastes and my attitudes on others.

Just another don’t do anything about injustice, because fighting injustice is far worse than the injustice. Whatever intellectual gravitas libertarians had, the Pauls, Rockwells and the intellectually lazy like Henderson are going to destroy it.

Last one. Libertarianism: Not Ready For Primetime. Never Will Be.

The only good ideas in libertarianism are those that are already part and parcel of liberalism. The rest is poppycock. But someone who suffers fools far better than I has written a useful takedown in case you think there’s any there there. The nub:

never, and I mean never, has there been capitalist enterprise that wasn’t ultimately underwritten by the state. This is true at an obvious level that even most libertarians would concede (though maybe not some of the Austrian economists whom Rand Paul adores): for the system to work, you need some kind of bare bones apparatus for enforcing contracts and protecting property. But it’s also true in a more profound, historical sense. To summarize very briefly a long and complicated process, we got capitalism in the first place through a long process of flirtation between governments on the one hand, and bankers and merchants on the other, culminating in the Industrial Revolution. What libertarians revere as an eternal, holy truth is in fact, in the grand scheme of human history, quite young. And if they’d just stop worshiping for a minute, they’d notice the parents hovering in the background.

Libertarians like Paul are walking around with the idea that the world could just snap back to a naturally-occurring benign order if the government stopped interfering. As Paul implied, good people wouldn’t shop at the racist stores, so there wouldn’t be any.

This is the belief system of people who have been the unwitting recipients of massive government backing for their entire lives. To borrow a phrase, they were born on third base, and think they hit a triple. We could fill a library with the details of the state underwriting enjoyed by American business — hell, we could fill a fair chunk of the Internet, if we weren’t using it all on Rand Paul already.

At the block quote link Gabriel Winant points out that many libertarians are stand-up folks and some are very bright, but having a code of ethics and being bright doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of be self deluded and having some bounce off the walls wacky ideas.

Aquariums Leaping Gold Fish wallpaper

water fish splash

Aquariums Leaping Gold Fish wallpaper

Some old news worth remembering since the Republican attitude about government and governing has not changed. During the Bush-Cheney era it is important not to forget Conservatives were in charge of the presidency and Congress for six of those years. Bush was not awful in a vacuum. If governing from the executive branch sucked, the founders had a solution for that, Congress. As a last resort, the Supreme Court. If conservatives cared about government working well they certainly had the constitutional power and the legislative votes to keep the ship on course – many of these Republicans are still in office – Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, James Inhofe, John McCain, Jim DeMint, Paul Ryan. Republicans let Bush-Cheney do as they liked because on a fundamental ideological level they saw nothing wrong with governing disastrously. If the plans worked that was fine – see how great we are. If their plans failed that was fine – see government is incompetent by its very nature. As excessive as Bush’s grab at executive power was, he never used that power to correct any government wrongs – hire some green horn Republican cronies to oversee the rebuilding of Iraq with the resulting catastrophe? That’s fine because hey its just governing and we all know how unimportant governing is. In Lets’ Just How Bad Was the Bush Administration?

What’s striking to me about both of these stories is that if there was any part of the government that the Bush Administration, including George W. Bush himself, cared about getting right, one would have thought it was detention of terrorist suspects and prosecution of the war in Iraq.  Of course, we’ve also seen reports of the president’s passive indifference in the cases of New Orleans and the financial crisis.  It does raise the question of just how many more of these types of stories have not yet been uncovered, or at least publicized.  There are a lot of federal agencies, and a lot of them aren’t exactly going to be in the news unless something terrible happens on their watch.  Just how much disarray was there?  I can’t emphasize enough that I’m not talking here about ideology, or even positions on issues of public policy.  This is about basic competence in managing the government, and strong signs that it was sorely lacking for eight years.

I’m not in complete agreement with every point of Bernstein’s analysis, but his larger question about Republicans and their views about competence are  a sharp indictment of the comic tragedy that is conservatism. The general consensus among conservatives is that Bush is to be commended for his governing from the “gut” style and what Bush lacked in intellectual heft was made up for by Dick. Few presidents have been geniuses but they have to be smart enough to know smart when they see it. So Bush doesn’t deserve a pass regardless of what part of his body he didn’t govern from. Cheney smart? Even if we pretend that torture is legal and moral it was hard ignore that it played into terrorist propaganda central as a major recruitment tool. And how does Cheney get away with being the anti-terrorism guru when he doesn’t know how many people are held in Gitmo or any facility or why they are there or where their paperwork is or why he let some out and kept others – one of those gifts that they left for the Obama administration to sort out.

Many panties in a twist in right-wing libertarian and conservative circles as they swear the gov’mint is coming after bloggers. As much as I enjoy the spectacle I’m afraid it’s just another “death panel” scare, The DISCLOSE Act and Blogs

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air says “the purposeful lack of exemption for bloggers looks ominous,” and he is calling the bill “an attempt by Congress to step around the First Amendment and regulate political speech that threatens incumbents.”

Kaptain Ed wakes up paranoid and dreams of plots when he goes to sleep. Real threats to his rights like the Patriot Act he drools over.

Craig Holman at Public Citizen, on the other hand, says the bill “leaves in place the carefully worked out provisions of FEC regulations that exclude blogging and similar internet activity from the definitions of ‘expenditure’ and ‘public communication’ under campaign finance laws. The additional reporting requirements of the DISCLOSE Act do not change the existing exemptions for Internet communications and blogging under federal campaign finance law at all.”

As OC notes it would help dampen the paranoia if Congress would double down on the “internet websites”
exemption rather than making people with short attention spans read back to an old bill referenced in the new bill.

Irony of the day: Fox is running this story in their “Science” section – Global Cooling Is Coming — and Beware the Big Chill, Scientist Warns. Gee, I wonder if that story is to counter this new report – National Academy of Sciences Urges Action on Climate and the fact that contrary to the Fox report and the scientist quoted by Fox – 2010 on track for warmest year on record. It would elevate the discussion if conservatives would learn the difference between climate and weather.

Way too much discussion over a relatively unimportant figure in politics. Rand Paul has even less cultural and political influence than his father. Rand does not seem to be a cross burning racists as much as a typical child of the elite. He was brought up in and lives in a financial, social and mental bubble. The kind which makes him feel a sense of entitlement and relatively obvious to the struggles of people outside his socio-economic class. In that sense, Randy fits in with conservatism very well.  Rand Paul: Republican Senate Candidate and Ignorant Disablist

So wounded was he by this scourge that he founded a group called Kentucky Taxpayers United, presumably consisting of people who hope to cease being Kentucky Taxpayers and be left in peace to enjoy only those amenities of life each of them has provided for hirself individually, with no governmental support of any kind.

Of course, this might require Dr. Paul to give up his medical practice. The internet tells us that Dr. Paul has devoted his career to doing eye surgery. The commonest eye surgery done is LASIK, I believe. The Excimer laser used in this procedure was developed at the Northrop Corporation Research and Technology Center of the University of California, and I would hazard a guess that there was some, perhaps considerable, gummint research funding involved somewhere in the process.

Libertarians and conservatives couldn’t get up and go about their day if medical science ever finds a cure for the self delusions they use as a crutch.

Conservatives Wonder Out Loud – Why Doesn’t Obama Understand He Should Be Our Puppet

Conservative Knuckle Dragging Chapter 2

Since freedom of the press is one of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms about which Thomas Jefferson said “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” one would think President Obama’s signing of the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act would be relatively noncontroversial and reason for bipartisan celebration. Yet, no. Once again in less than a week President Obama did not call BizarroWorld Central and ask for a Republican puppeteer to say the politically correct words as Obama moved his lips, Remarks by the President at the Signing of the Freedom of the Press Act Oval Office

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, hello, everybody.  I am very proud to be able to sign the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, a piece of legislation that sends a strong signal about our core values when it comes to the freedom of the press.

All around the world there are enormously courageous journalists and bloggers who, at great risk to themselves, are trying to shine a light on the critical issues that the people of their country face; who are the frontlines against tyranny and oppression.  And obviously the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.

What this act does is it sends a strong message from the United States government and from the State Department that we are paying attention to how other governments are operating when it comes to the press.  It has the State Department each year chronicling how press freedom is operating as one component of our human rights assessment, but it also looks at countries that are — governments that are specifically condoning or facilitating this kind of press repression, singles them out and subjects them to the gaze of world opinion in ways that I think are extraordinarily important.

Oftentimes without this kind of attention, countries and governments feel that they can operate against the press with impunity.  And we want to send a message that they can’t.

So this legislation, in a very modest way, I think puts us clearly on the side of journalistic freedom.  I want to thank Adam Schiff in the House and Senator Chris Dodd in the Senate for their leadership.  And I particularly want to thank the Pearl family, who have been so outspoken and so courageous in sending a clear message that, despite Daniel’s death, his vision of a well-informed citizenry that is able to make choices and hold governments accountable, that legacy lives on.

So we are very grateful to them.  I’m grateful to the legislative leaders who helped to pass this.  It is something that I intend to make sure our State Department carries out with vigor.  And with that, I’m going to sign the bill.

The far Right conservative Commentary writes, Obama Won’t Say Who Killed Daniel Pearl

At a signing ceremony for the Freedom of Press Act, it is ironic and shameful that Obama could not bring himself to identify the killers who beheaded the man who fearlessly reported on the jihadist terrorists.

[  ]..If you didn’t know already, you’d never figure out that he was talking about the Islamic fundamentalists who butchered Pearl. ( between paragraphs are just excerpts from the speech above).

[  ]…But of course they can and do, safe in the knowledge that they will pay no price so long as this administration is in power. Has Obama done anything about the suppression of media critics in Egypt (other than prepare a lucrative financial package for the Egyptian government)?

The president could not identify by name because there is some uncertainty as to who the exact person(s) is. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to Pearls’ murder, but he was waterbroaded 183 times and was probably crazy – at one time stating he said a lot of things to stop the torture. So no one is sure whether he did it or had someone do it for him or whether he was involved at all ( the right still perpetuates the myth that water boarding worked because KSM talked). The Freedom of the Press Act was named in Pearl’s honor but was not just about militant jihadist’s suppression of press freedoms, but rather freedom of the press as a human right regardless of the politics of the oppressor. Commentary and the Weakly Standard seem to think the only suppression in the world, the only press suppression that matters is militant jihadist suppression. That kind of tunnel vision is typical of the bed wetting Isalmophobia that has plagued the far right for years – about the same time they thought 9-11 was a tragic event that did not happen to America, just the Republican partay.

The remark about Egypt is part of the creepy campaign by the folks that lost Bin Laden at Tora Bora to dump all the evil in the world in Obama’s lap. Forget that Egypt has been the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid for years – certainly under Bush-Cheney. During the Bush-Cheney era Bush described Pakistan like this – Bush hails Pakistan as strong ally in terror fight

President George W Bush has upgraded relations with Pakistan by formally naming it as a major non-Nato ally.

The move is in recognition of Islamabad’s contribution in the fight against al-Qaeda, and is being seen as Washington’s way of saying thank-you.

Pakistan will now enjoy a special security relationship with the US.

Islamabad welcomed the move, calling it as a success for the country’s foreign policy and a recognition of the bold policies of President Musharraf.

Eligible for benefits

“I hereby designate the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as major non-Nato ally of the United States for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act,” President Bush’s statement said.

Pakistan has always been a problem – War on terror loses ground – Al Qaeda is regrouping in Pakistan, an ally the U.S. must work with but doesn’t trust. CIA officers are frustrated. July 27, 2008. They have a military dictatorship – seeming to ignore the Bush doctrine of spreading democracy – on the other hand supporting that regime, while also applying pressure on the human rights front has been the better alternative. The other alternative is risking the militant jihadist taking over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. The neocons were supposed to be the pros on foreign policy and they could not solve this riddle so applying a different standard to the Obama administration is just more of the knuckle dragging hypocrisy we’ve heard for the last ten years.

Black and White Dallas Skyline wallpaper, The New New Kool Konservatism

Black and White Dallas Skyline wallpaper

Conservatives reinvent themselves regularly. It may not seem that way to those outside the circle jerk, but they see themselves as pioneers always breaking new ground. The new ground always looks, acts and smells like the old ground because ultimately they cannot be something they’re not, Can Ricochet Make Conservatism Fun Again?

Ricochet is the brainchild of two established conservatives, former Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson and Hollywood producer-pundit Rob Long. “Rob and I felt there was plenty of space in the online world for a center-right website with a sense of fun, of talking back and forth among conservatives,” says Robinson. The left outweighs the right-wing in cyberspace, he says, even with everything from The Weekly Standard to ‘Townhall.com’ populating the web.

Conservatism is everywhere. Those that have cable can consume it 24/7 from Fox to the 700 Club to conservative pundits on CNN . Conservatism is still a staple of radio. Moderates are successful on the net, but there is no shortage of far Right magazines, blogs, organizations, Tweets  and forums. The old school broadcast media rarely challenge the conventional center-right mentality that has pervaded news coverage for years. Rupert Murdoch – Australian media mogul, right-winger and expert at dumping down the news has outlets everywhere from the WSJ to the NY Post.   The morning news shows are not much more than watered down infotainment. Moderates can take some solace in the never ending barrage of the conservative message. Republicans have to repeat the message constantly or as George W. Bush once said “”to kind of catapult the propaganda” because the right-wing message is so dependent on appealing to base emotions rather than facts and the common good.

In that vein, most of Ricochet’s contributors are familiar names. In addition to frequent National Review writers Robinson and Long, John Yoo, Victor Davis Hanson, Shelby Steele, Claire Berlinski and Mark Steyn will grace Ricochet’s virtual pages.  Several conservatives have griped privately that these names are hardly in need of more outlets for their commentary, so it is unclear what, if anything, the site will bring new to the ideological table.

And indeed, of the 15 Ricochet podcasts released to date, hosted jointly by Robinson, Long and the ubiquitous Steyn (who often fills in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio show), little new ideological ground is broken. Tellingly, one episode features a session bashing conservative apostate David Frum as a “country-club Republican” who cedes too much ground to the Democrats, and doesn’t do enough “fighting, screaming and hollering,”

So Ricochet promises to be a kooler version of – more of the same old. Much like the tea nuts were a reinvention of conservatism – only its just conservatism with even less facts and more insanity. Andrew Breitbart’s “Big” franchises on the net were also supposed to be “cool” reinventions of conservatism,

“I want it to be an international movement. This is the same battle that Ronald Reagan and millions of other people fought in the 20th century; it just has a 21st century New Media battleground. The Cold War is now a New Media War.” conservative propagandist Andrew Breitbart on CBN, 2010.

Despite the Orwellian control of so much of the media – in addition to good old mailing lists and sugar daddy millionaires –   Ricochet is just another group of conservatives convinced they are but poor victims whose point of view is not being heard.

Has anyone seen Sean Hannity’s moral conscience it seems to be missing – Hannity’s double whammy: falsely claims Obama is cutting troops’ pay and military spending

GOP’s “Second Opinion” on Health Care Same as First

Back in March, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his party’s fall campaign to undo health care reform, declaring, “I think the slogan will be ‘repeal and replace’, ‘repeal and replace.'” But a funny thing happened on the way to November. Surveys from Kaiser and Deloitte showed Americans strongly supported individual provisions of the new law, while Republicans’ own polling revealed independents hated “repeal and replace.” This week, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed Americans want to give the new law a chance by a 55% to 42% margin. So the GOP is rolling out a new slogan on health care: “Second Opinion.” Unsurprisingly, it’s the same as their first.

Whether they’re plain old right-wingers or tea gagging right-wingers they better hope the summer passes quickly because it looks like as people start to benefits from the inital phase of health care reform – they are going to notice that it ain’t got no death panels – and most of it is common sense reform that is long over due.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) Hypocritically Supports Chamber Using Taxpayer Bailout Funds To Lobby Against Wall St Reform

Historically, the Chamber’s role is to help big business achieve its goals — fighting the minimum wage, opposing health reform, pushing for outsourcing — while hiding the corporate identities of its funders. As ThinkProgress originally reported, many backers of the Chamber with a stake in financial reform are banks that were bailed out by taxpayer TARP funds. For instance, CitiGroup is a Chamber member that was bailed out by taxpayers and still has not repaid the money.

ThinkProgress recently caught up with Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) to ask him about firms who are using bailout money to lobby against financial reform. Pawlenty became defensive when asked about this, eventually arguing that the Chamber has a right to use taxpayer money in lobbying

Pawlenty’s has a paid up membership in the Republican Wingnutus Hypocritus Club.

Another thing that scares the hell out of Republicans is American going back to work because Democrats saved the economy – Repairing The Job Machine – More jobs might be created this year than during George W. Bush’s presidency

If the economy produces jobs over the next eight months at the same pace as it did over the past four months, the nation will have created more jobs in 2010 alone than it did over the entire eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency.

That comparison comes with many footnotes and asterisks. But it shows how the economic debate between the parties could look very different over time — perhaps by November, more likely by 2012. More important, the comparison underscores the urgency of repairing an American job-creation machine that was sputtering long before the 2008 financial meltdown.

I won’t steal Ron’s thunder and post all the stats. He is cautious, as the White House has been, to claim the employment situation is rosy. Long term it might take years before we see the rate of job growth of the Clinton years. New technology, such as the greening of the economy, might be the kind of big economic boost that pushes us out of the ditch Republicans drove us into.