Friday, May 15, 2009

Last Call

Steve King, with a little help from FOX News, calls for Pelosi to step down as Speaker.

Naturally the Very Serious Village Agenda has now been set for the Sunday Shows, which will now be all about "Should Nancy Pelosi resign as Speaker because NANCY IS A LIAR" rather than "Should Congress investigate how we f'ckin tortured people to build a fake case for war in Iraq?" Gosh, I know which one of those questions I want answered.

But of course, the Village still answers to idiots like Steve King.

Where There's Smoke, There's Carbon Emissions

Looks like the only way to get cap-and-trade legislation passed is to make major concessions to the energy and the auto industry (the one making billions in profits that can certainly afford to be magnanimous and the other getting billions in free gubment cash, who should basically consider it the price of assistance.) Both of these industries should really shut it and accept these new regs wholesale, but wouldn't you know it, they still have the best lobbyists in town.
Details of the compromise are still emerging, but already the chief sponsors of the measure — Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) — have been forced to lower carbon-reduction targets, cut renewable fuel standards and dole out billions of dollars in benefits to the nation’s largest polluting industries. Many environmentalists say the compromise comes at the too-high cost of undermining the bill’s very purpose, which is to slash emissions dramatically enough to prevent a warming planet from heating further. Some are asking Democrats either to bolster the environmental protections or to scrap the proposal altogether.

“We are not prepared to ‘give away the farm’ just so that we can say that we helped to get legislation passed,” Janet Keating, executive director of the West Virginia-based Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, said in a statement Friday. “There are some costs that are too high to pay when it comes to the environment, clean air and clean water. We urge Congress to either fix the Waxman-Markey bill or dump it and start over.”

The saga highlights the thorny congressional climate change debate, where partisan politics takes a backseat to regional interests, and the influence of the energy lobby is king. Indeed, the concessions from Waxman and Markey to this point have been made to satisfy Democrats representing regions heavy with coal, oil and automaker interests.

The resulting dynamic is one of multi-layered tension that pits industry against environmentalists, regional interests against national and global interests, and congressional lawmakers against emission reforms that might help the planet, but could also cost jobs in their districts.

“I’m just trying to take care of the principal concerns that would impact my region, in particular my district,” Rep. Charles Gonzales, a Houston-based Democrat who’s pushing for more benefits for oil refineries in the House bill, told Politico Thursday.

In the eyes of many environmentalists, that brand of regional protectionism might yield short-term gains for some areas of the country, but will come at the cost of a deteriorating globe. They’re asking what good is it to protect polluters in a world where you can’t drink the water or breath the air, and the oceans are swallowing the coasts?

Which is of course, The Whole Point.

And people wonder why nothing gets done in this country. Even when a party has 60 Senators, a huge majority in the House, and a President...the lobbyists still run the freakin country.

Eye Of The Storm

Howard Davidowitz scares the crap out of you.

Davidowitz, who is nothing if not opinionated (and colorful), paints a very grim picture: "The worst is yet to come with consumers and banks," he says. "This country is going into a 10-year decline. Living standards will never be the same."

This outlook is based on the following main points:

  • With the unemployment rate rising into double digits - and that's not counting the millions of "underemployed" Americans - consumers are hitting the breaks, which is having a huge impact, given consumer spending accounts for about 70% of economic activity.
  • Rising unemployment and the $8 trillion negative wealth effect of housing mean more Americans will default on not just mortgages but student loans and auto loans and credit card debt.
  • More consumer loan defaults will hit banks, which are also threatened by what Davidowitz calls a "depression" in commercial real estate, noting the recent bankruptcy of General Growth Properties and distressed sales by Developers Diversified and other REITs.

As for all the hullabaloo about the stress tests, he says they were a sham and part of a "con game to get private money to finance these institutions because [Treasury] can't get more money from Congress. It's the ‘greater fool' theory."

"We're now in Barack Obama's world where money goes into the most inefficient parts of the economy and we're bailing everyone out," says Daviowitz, who opposes bailouts for financials and automakers alike. "The bailout money is in the sewer and gone."

Just getting warmed up, folks.

What Atrios Said

The ease Republicans have in shifting the conversation from "torture is illegal" to "NANCY KNEW," as if the latter, even if true, in any way changed the former. They kick the soccer ball, and the press follows. After all these years I'm not entirely sure why that is, but there you are. And, you know, disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has precisely zero power but his every pronouncement is treated as Incredibly Important News. Any journalists want to explain why?
And yet, the same media players who think the job of political reporting means "America has an absolute right to know what every Republican thinks about every little thing" are the same ones who can't figure out why their circulation and ratings have fallen precipitously.

When you're more interested in pretending 21% of America equals the vast majority of media consumers, don't be surprised when the other 79% ignores you.

[UPDATE] What Josh Marshall said, too.
Here's where we are. There are various documents and recollections from around through the news ether. Pelosi's accusers are saying she knew more than she admits. She says that many of these claims are false and the documents perhaps erroneous, and that she's been consistent and true to her opposition to torture. And then she says, and I think there should be a broad-ranging Truth Commission to investigate what happened, who's telling the truth and who isn't. You can see it here at about 3:45 in.

That says it all. She wants it all investigated. The whole point of this storm about Pelosi is that her critics want her to be embarrassed and stop supporting a Truth Commission or any sort of examination of what happened. But she's not. She still says there should be an investigation. Her critics still want the book closed. That says it all. She'll have to stand or fall with the results of an actual investigation. Her opponents on this are simply risible hypocrites.

It doesn't matter if anyone actually tortured anybody and the Speaker of the House is calling for a massive investigation to prove she is right cause NANCY IS A LIAR, see?

There doesn't need to be an investigation. We can take it as fact that NANCY IS A LIAR simply because the Republicans say she is...and that's good enough for our liberal media. As far as they are concerned, the case is closed, baby.

It seems my clever plan for the Republicans to immolate themselves in the truth has fallen prey to the fact that the media wants nothing to do with immolating Republicans.

The Other Shoe Drops On Obamacare

Me, four days ago:
Obama's health care announcement that several health care industry groups are signing on to pledge to reduce health care costs by $2 trillion over 10 years has garnered a lot of praise, but many people besides myself are wondering what the other shoe dropping is.
Health care industry, today:
Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.

“There’s been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members,” said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association. “I’ve spent the better part of the last three days trying to deal with it.”

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said “the president misspoke” on Monday and again on Wednesday when he described the industry’s commitment in similar terms. After providing that account, Ms. DeParle called back about an hour later on Thursday and said: “I don’t think the president misspoke. His remarks correctly and accurately described the industry’s commitment.”

The Washington office of the American Hospital Association sent a bulletin to its state and local affiliates to “clarify several points” about the White House meeting.

In the bulletin, Richard J. Pollack, the executive vice president of the hospital association, said: “The A.H.A. did not commit to support the ‘Obama health plan’ or budget. No such reform plan exists at this time.”

Moreover, Mr. Pollack wrote, “The groups did not support reducing the rate of health spending by 1.5 percentage points annually.”
Hello, shoe! Meet Obama's face and the asses of 50 million Americans with no health care! For once, AmSpec has a point: if you wanted to kill Obamacare, making sure the health care industry and the White House no longer trust each other is a great way to scuttle the plan.

Nobody could have predicted, etcetera. Bonus points for the Wingers now saying Obama is a dirty, filthy liar.

Choosing Pro-Life

A new Gallup poll shows that for the first time (and with an impressive nine point margin) more Americans say they are pro-life than pro-choice.

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.


The new results, obtained from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.

The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion.

The article goes on to note that the major change from this year to last year is the number of Republicans who call themselves pro-life, that number is up significantly. The number of Democrats and Independents calling themselves pro-life is about the same.

Even if you assume that the number of Republicans has fallen (and Independents have grown) that still means the total population has made a major shift towards the abolition of abortion, despite making a major shift away from the Republican Party.

Certainly that's possible. Those still calling themselves Republicans are much more likely to be pro-life, but amazingly enough Barack Obama's election didn't change abortion views among Democrats or Independents.

If Gallup asked enough Republicans to get 1/3 of the poll sample, when 1/3 of the population isn't Republican (it's closer to 20% these days) that could be skewing the numbers somewhat.

Still, I don't think that accounts for the entire shift. I think America is growing more pro-life, frankly.

Both parties should take notice.

[UPDATE] Steve Benen doesn't buy it. He has a point to an extent, pro-choice forces have gotten complacent. It could be an outlier.

Cause And Defect

Malkinvania on Arlen Specter's EFCA compromise efforts:
Card check = massively boosting union rolls = massively boosting Democrat voter rolls = permanent GOP minority.

What a way for Arlen Specter to perpetrate his final betrayal.

Which is funny, because if we're going to be completely and cynically political about stuff like this, you guys had your chance in 2007 with Bush's guest worker program, but you vowed you would never, ever allow it to happen and it was defeated. Coulda been a lot more Hispanic voters for the GOP, you know.

I guess they'll want to vote Democrat then. Might counteract all the pissed off autoworkers out of job this year who might not be so friendly to the Dems in 2010.

You Don't Say

Barack Obama yesterday:
President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

And the sun is hot and made of fire too. No offense Barry, but the reason we're having to borrow so much from China is the fact you're giving trillions of freakin' dollars to insovlent banks.

I appreciate the candor, because he's right. Amazingly enough as President, you have the ability to do something about it.

Try it.

The Road To Car Tomb, Part 4

Regarding the hundreds of thousands of employees of Chrysler and GM dealers that are going to lose their jobs: Nearly 900 Chrysler dealers got the UPS Letter Of Death yesterday, and some 1,100 GM dealers will be notified today and GM plans to cut another 1,500 dealers before the end of the year.

Odds are pretty good both Ford and foreign automakers are going to follow suit to stay competitive now that GM and Chrysler have opened the door. Ford has been making small dealership cuts, but this gives them cover to make some major slashing.

I'm betting none of those dealer employees are particularly motivated to vote for Democrats in 2010.

Just a hunch.

President Georack Odubya

Wednesday night, Rachel Maddow and Jon Turley ripped into the President on his "photo finish" about face on detainee pictures.

As both of them note, this is turning into a regular feature of the Obama Odubya administration.

Couple that with today's expected announcement that the President is going to reauthorize military tribunals for some Gitmo prisoners rather than try them in a court of law, and given the fact Democrats rejected the President's call for money to close Gitmo until he has a definite plan to deal with the detainees, you just have to wonder.

We needed a strong President ready to do both the popular and unpopular things because they were the right things to do. Instead, surprise! He's a politician.

He is still better than Dubya. He's still not good enough for all the problems we have. He's what we do have to work with, but the country deserves better, and will only get the better when we demand it.

New badly overdue tag for when Obama pulls this garbage: President Odubya.

[UPDATE] The erstwhile Double G drops the hammer on Obama again and again and again on this, as he deserves to be hammered.


Related Posts with Thumbnails