Currier and Ives winter sleigh ride – About Those Lame Duck Democrats

Currier and Ives winter sleigh ride

As I write this DADT was repealed by the Senate a few hours ago and it looks like America has a good chance of doing the right thing by 9/11 responders by passing the Zadroga Bill. First DADT repeal – Senate Repeals ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

By a vote of 65 to 31, with eight Republicans joining Democrats, the Senate approved and sent to President Obama a repeal of the Clinton-era law, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a policy critics said amounted to government-sanctioned discrimination that treated gay, lesbian and bisexual troops as second-class citizens.

Mr. Obama hailed the action, which fulfills his pledge to reverse the ban, and said it was “time to close this chapter in our history.”

“As commander in chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best-led and best-trained fighting force the world has ever known,” he said in a statement after the Senate, on a preliminary 63-to-33 vote, beat back Republican efforts to block final action on the repeal bill.

John McCain(R-AZ) who likes to use words like honor and integrity a lot acted without those qualities in claiming, “I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage,”. In other words if the Senate had voted yesterday to desegregate the military or admit women to military service academies and widen their role in the military, McCain and the conservative hate mongers at The Family Research Council would vote no. So much for the lame duck Democrats meme. It was a difficult and dirty compromise but Democrats have passed legislation to help working families, the unemployed, toss DADT on the dust bin of history and have a fair chance of helping 9/11 responders despite Republican obstructionism – Democrats Confident that 9/11 Health Bill Will Pass

Senate Republicans last week derailed a bill that would provide $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors, but Gillibrand(D-NY) today voiced confidence that the Senate will pass the bill in the next week, now that lawmakers have agreed on how to pay for the measure.

“We have the votes we need,” Gillibrand said today at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “We’ve had indications from several Republicans that they very much want to vote for this bill.

“They would like to vote for a stand-alone bill,” she said. “There is general agreement on a new pay-for that we’re going to offer, so the hope is to get to the bill as soon as the START bill is completed.”

Since the Zadrogo Bill has been put up as a stand alone bill it looks like a couple Republicans felt they could risk crossing over as long as the money for the bill could be found. Considering Republicans just found almost a trillion dollar give away to America’s billionaires a few, the $7.4 billion for the heroes of 9/11 is a bargain.

About the same Obama was elected and gun sales skyrocketed conservatives suddenly discovered this thing called the deficit. That deficit (and liberalism) were almost as big a threat to the nation as terrorists ( Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo actually said that President Obama and the deficit were a greater threat to our way of life). Colorado Senate candidate and tea bagger favorite Ken Buck ( he lost so we dodged that bullet) said, “I believe that, because if we continue to spend the way we’re spending, we will not have the ability to focus on those external threats that you just mentioned.” Suddenly there was a choice between adding a trillion dollars ( some estimates are $900 billion) to the deficit or increasing taxes on the top 2% income bracket. What did the the party of Tancredo and Buck’s party vote for. To increase the deficit – Springtime for Hypocrites

The hypocrisy of the centrists: Just two weeks ago, the deficit was the great evil, and all the VSPs insisted that we needed fiscal austerity now now now. Then, magically, a big tax cut — increasing federal debt by more than the original Obama stimulus, and substantially raising the probability of making unaffordable tax cuts permanent — was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Why, it’s almost as if all the concern about the deficit was a front for opposing anything progressives might want, to be dropped as soon as debt was being run up on behalf of conservative goals. But that can’t be true, can it?

Going into the new year Krugman’s hypocrites will have control of the House and 49 Senate seats. The Whoopee Cushion Congress. Conservatives will play lots of games, makes lots of promises which they weasel out of, cry like spoiled brats when they don’t get their way, make analogies that would embarrass a semi-rational adult and proceed with their war on the middle-class.

Since Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have decided to ignore all rational proof that the private sector banks, deregulation and failure to enforce regulation were the main causes of the housing bubble and financial crisis, its time for a trip in the way-back machine – Bush White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire

So Mr. Bush had to, in his words, “use the mighty muscle of the federal government” to meet his goal. He proposed affordable housing tax incentives. He insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meet ambitious new goals for low-income lending.

Concerned that down payments were a barrier, Mr. Bush persuaded Congress to spend up to $200 million a year to help first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs.

And he pushed to allow first-time buyers to qualify for federally insured mortgages with no money down. Republican Congressional leaders and some housing advocates balked, arguing that homeowners with no stake in their investments would be more prone to walk away, as Mr. West did. Many economic experts, including some in the White House, now share that view.

The president also leaned on mortgage brokers and lenders to devise their own innovations. “Corporate America,” he said, “has a responsibility to work to make America a compassionate place.”

And corporate America, eyeing a lucrative market, delivered in ways Mr. Bush might not have expected, with a proliferation of too-good-to-be-true teaser rates and interest-only loans that were sold to investors in a loosely regulated environment.

“This administration made decisions that allowed the free market to operate as a barroom brawl instead of a prize fight,” said L. William Seidman, who advised Republican presidents and led the savings and loan bailout in the 1990s. “To make the market work well, you have to have a lot of rules.”

But Mr. Bush populated the financial system’s alphabet soup of oversight agencies with people who, like him, wanted fewer rules, not more.

Like Minds on Laissez-Faire

The president’s first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission promised a “kinder, gentler” agency. The second was pushed out amid industry complaints that he was too aggressive. Under its current leader, the agency failed to police the catastrophic decisions that toppled the investment bank Bear Stearns and contributed to the current crisis, according to a recent inspector general’s report.

As for Mr. Bush’s banking regulators, they once brandished a chain saw over a 9,000-page pile of regulations as they promised to ease burdens on the industry. When states tried to use consumer protection laws to crack down on predatory lending, the comptroller of the currency blocked the effort, asserting that states had no authority over national banks.

Where do disgraced stenographers for right-wing conservatism go. On the payroll at Wing-Nut Welfare. In the case of former NYT reporter Judith Miller that would be Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. Where she wrote a recent column on the movie “Fair Game”. “Fair Game” is about the outing of CIA NOC agent Valerie Plame. Judith Miller Got it Wrong… Again

Judith Miller demonstrated in her recent WSJ story about my film, Fair Game, the same cavalier attitude towards the facts that led to her departure from the New York Times in disgrace. And we should never forget that Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame to Miller in June 2003 — more than two weeks before Richard Armitage outed Plame to Novak. Somehow Miller neglected to mention that in her op-ed piece. But she also forgot about that before — in her early grand jury testimony — until she was forced to come clean about it in a subsequent grand jury appearance and under oath at Libby’s trial. Miller’s belated testimony helped convict her “source” Libby, but not until she did everything she could, as a forceful proponent of the war in Iraq, to avoid telling the truth to the American public.

And so here we go again.

Judith Miller writes that her supposed anonymous sources told her that Valerie Plame did not play a “key role” in the CIA’s effort to penetrate Iraq’s presumed WMD program. In truth, Valerie Plame was head of operations for the CIA’s Joint Task Force on Iraq (JTFI). My sources: former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and U.S. attorney Pat Fitzgerald.

Former United States Deputy Secretary of State Armitage came out of the blue ever so sadly to confess that he was the one to reveal Plame’s identity. He was meant as a red herring to distract from the Miller-Libby-Cheney connection. Miller only has two options at this point in her pathetic career. Show some integrity and patriotism and come clean or continue to cover for her first round of lies with recycled lies. She has chosen the latter. Even in writing an opinion column for the WSJ the editors should still hold her to some standard of truth. They chose not to as befits a Murdoch enterprise.


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