Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Last Call

When Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal op-ed page just isn't wingnutty enough for your business news needs, there's Investor's Business Daily's editorials.  Phyliss Schlafly, George F. Will, Michael Gerson, Larry Kudlow (and that's just this week), plus their idea of a "liberal" to balance all that out is...E.J. Dionne.

The best part by far however is cartoonist Mike Ramirez.

Clearly, The WSJ isn't fair and balanced enough for these guys.

Oh Danny Boy, The Teabaggers, The Teabaggers Are Calling...

Via Kevin and the Rumpies, we learn Dan Riehl once again comes down firmly on the side of being a complete asshole.  First, Tuesday's "We Will Never Accept That We Lost In 2008" rally included these fine folks showing true compassion to a man suffering from Parkinson's disease Islamahomofascist traitor.

That sets up Danny Boy here to give his response to the video, via Instaputz (I'm not linking to this jagoff.)
If he has points he wants to make about whatever his situation may be, he's entitled to make them and be heard. But if he wants to use himself as a prop like that and get right in people's faces, then he better be prepared to take what comes back and deal with it without playing the victim. It doesn't appear to me that anyone went looking for him.

A protest like that is no place to go shopping for sympathy and that appears to be precisely what he did. The dude has Parkinsons! He should shake it off and move on. This debate isn't about only him and we don't even know what his whole story is. I imagine we may if the Left gets ahold of him and he passes their screen test.
Yes, obviously the man was a clever ACORN operative in an insidious sting operation, coated in anger-inducing hallucinogens and using Cold War-era Soviet techniques to manipulate the crowd into hating him, where it was clandestinely captured on the Socialist Youtube in order to discredit these brave patriots of liberty and freedom.

The possibility that "a man suffering from Parkinson's disease wanted to put a human face on the need for health care reform to try to convince a bunch of Teabagger assholes that lack of reform will have a human cost" simply just doesn't occur to Dan here.

He should just shake it off like a Real American.

Larry Kudlow: Good News, The Recession's Been Over For 9 Months

Because the massive disinflationary pressures of the continuing housing and commercial real estate slump are really just an illusion.  Larry Kudlow:
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor economic recovery, nor rising gold and commodities, nor $2.2 trillion in money-creation will stop the Federal Reserve from remaining ultra-easy.

This is what I call being militantly dovish. 

That’s how I’m reading yesterday’s FOMC announcement

Here’s my basic criticism of Bernanke & Co.: The emergency is over, folks. The recession ended last June. An emergency zero interest rate is no longer necessary

Now, I know the Fed believes it can drain cash and raise rates when the exact right time comes to stop inflation. But as Milton Friedman taught us years ago, monetary lags are long and variable. Turning an ocean liner around takes time. In other words, it might require what amounts to an “inside straight” for the Fed to pull off this monetary miracle. 

The Fed is still targeting unemployment — a lagging indicator — rather than gold and commodity prices, which are leading inflation indicators. As a result, the central bank did not indicate even a hint of restraint at its Tuesday meeting. 

Bravo to Kansas City Fed head Tom Hoenig for his dissent — his second in a row. But unfortunately, the extended-period language he objects to is still there. 
After all, why should the government be worried about unemployment?  Larry Kudlow's got a job, after all. But seriously, has Kudlow been checking the housing and CRE markets lately?  Greece and the Euro?  China?  Even with all this free money, the banks aren't loaning it out to people.  Once again, Kudlow's spouting the Republican Neo-Hoover line:  cut off the recovery to stop inflation!

Producer prices were down another 0.6% last month.  Seems like the only inflation we've got around here is in health insurance premiums.

But is all seriousness, do you think the recession ended last June?  That's good news for the Dems if Kudlow's right, it means Obama's fixed the economy and that the Republicans don't have an issue in November.

You know, unless you think Kudlow's an idiot or something...

Cleaning Up The Mess, Part 5

You stay classy, Israel!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's brother-in-law Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi on Wednesday called U.S. President Barack Obama an anti-Semite in an interview with Army Radio.

"It's not that Obama doesn't like Bibi," he referring to Netanyahu using his nickname. "He doesn't like the nation of Israel."

Netanyahu was quick to distance himself from Ben-Artzi's remarks, saying he completely disagrees with his brother-in-law.  

Netanyahu said he has a deep appreciation for President Obama's commitment to Israel's security, which he has expressed many times, and also for the deep ties between the two countries.

Ben-Artzi was interviewed on Army Radio to provide background on the prime minister. He told the interview, "Look how symbolic it is that your son took part in and won a Bible quiz, whose theme this year is Jerusalem and its connection to Israel, and you, his father, are being tested and asked to prove the strength of the nation of Israel's ties to Jerusalem."

He went on to say that Obama's anti-Semitism stems from years of indoctrination by controversial preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama distanced himself from during the election campaign.

"When there is an anti-Semitic president in the United States, it is a test for us and we have to say: We will not concede. We are a nation dating back 4,000 years, and you in a year or two will be long forgotten. Who will remember you? But Jerusalem will dwell on forever." 
Obama's not anti-Semitic .  He just has a low bullshit tolerance, like myself.  Not all Wingnuts are American.

He's such a horrible person, he keeps giving you guys billions yearly.  Yeah, he's a real schmuck alright, that American President...

Dennis The Menace Comes Around

Apparently President Obama's visit to his district on Monday was enough to change Dennis Kucinich's mind.
Kucinich said that ultimately he couldn’t escape the argument that “something is better than nothing.”

“People are looking for some hope that maybe something can be changed,” he said, suggesting that he may have been persuaded by Obama’s frequent argument that passing reform is essential in order to prove to Americans that government is not entirely dysfunctional.

Kucinich conceded that he decided to swallow the bill because failure would be a threat to Obama’s overall agenda. He said he has “a real desire for our president to succeed,” adding that “one of the things that bothers me is the attempt to deligitimize this presidency.”

Kucinich said Obama had offered him nothing concrete in exchange for his vote. “There was no Nebraska or Louisiana type deal,” he said.
Now, I'd like to believe Kucinich maybe reads Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight and got wind of Nate's analysis that being a Democrat in a blue district voting against five out of ten of President Obama's major pieces of legislation so far means he's actually the least valuable member of the caucus and Dennis had a real change of heart here.

The reality is probably something a bit more mercenary.

He's still a useful idiot for the Republicans and is still the original firebagger, but this time at least he decided not to screw his party and President over.  Oh, and rest of the country, too.

Feeling Randy, Part 4

Time's Jay Newton-Small takes a look at Rand Paul here in KY.
Rand Paul is either the Republican Party's best hope to keep a Senate seat in Kentucky or its worst nightmare.

Here's a little window into why:

"There are Tea Party-like candidates running across the country," notes Paul, who is running for the seat soon to be vacated by Jim Bunning. "Some people say I chastise the Republican Party too much. But I think it'll take an outsider. This is the year to do it. You need someone who will just say no. We could destroy our country with all these deficits. A lot of Republicans have been the problem. It's not all on [President] Obama, though he did make it a lot worse."

Paul, the Bowling Green ophthalmologist whose chief claim to fame is that his father is the world's most famous Libertarian, now leads a race he was never supposed to enter. And he leads it by as much as 20 points. In doing so he is upsetting not only expectations in Kentucky but overturning the local power structure: He's outraised Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the hand-picked favorite son of Sen. Majority leader Mitch McConnell.

And he has done so running nearly as much against the GOP as he is against the Democrats and Barack Obama. Not surprisingly, his campaign is being watched closely by Republicans who worry about the size and strength of the tea party movement — and the drain insurgencies such as Paul's could have on their coffers.

"The biggest crowds I've been to in Kentucky have been Tea Party crowds, they're two to three times bigger than any Republican crowds," Paul says.

Paul, 47, is not a terribly charismatic speaker and his political experience consists of filling in for his father on the 2008 campaign trail. If elected, Paul says he'd work to reduce the deficit, lower taxes, strip the regulatory code and introduce legislation to limit congressmen and Senators to 12 years in office — a move that would take a constitutional amendment to enforce, but the suggestion is always one of Paul's biggest applause lines. Sarah Palin and Steve Forbes have endorsed him.
To recap, Rand Paul argues that the Republicans haven't opposed Obama enough, and that the banks that nearly destroyed this country have too much oversight.   Once again he seems to be running on that tried and true Paulite formula:  30% good ideas, 70% nutbar insanity.  I like the term limit idea myself.  I'm all for that.  The rest...not so much.

But honestly, my fellow Kentuckians, do you honestly believe that the financial crisis was caused by too many laws regulating banks?

And as much as I think Trey Grayson's a slimy little git, he's not Raud Paul, thank god.  He's getting Scozzafavaed on a daily basis however, and the Hoffman Effect is going to give this seat to the Dems, hopefully.

Bunning Blocks The Plate AGAIN

Jim Bunning is turning into a one-man Daily Show punchline as he continues to block Obama's nominees.
The Kentucky Republican battled Democrats on the Senate floor Tuesday to block two nominations to relatively backbench positions -- because he is opposed to a tobacco-related law passed by the Canadian Parliament (that's right, the Canadian Parliament). The use of such delaying tactics is not unprecedented in Senate history, but holding up such minor business stretches the purpose of the Senate's open debate rules to the breaking point.

"This is a perversion of the filibuster and a perversion of the role of the Senate. It used to be that the filibuster was reserved for matters of great principle," said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) from the well of the Senate. "Some of my colleagues seem more interested in using every procedural method possible to keep the Senate from doing anything than they are in creating jobs or helping Americans struggling in a difficult economy."
Bunning, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, is blocking the nominations of Michael Punke and Islam Siddiqui. Punke was nominated to be the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and was unanimously recommended by the Senate Finance Committee three months ago.

Siddiqui has been tapped to be the Chief Agriculture Negotiator. With the position unfilled, the U.S. is at a trade disadvantage with other countries. A coalition of 42 food and agriculture groups wrote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in January to urge his confirmation.

The Senate is backed up with 88 unconfirmed nominees, 83 more than the Bush administration faced at this point in its tenure.

"I think you get the picture that this is a list of systematic efforts to undermine the ability of the executive branch to do its job," said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), urging the nominees to be moved through if there are no real objections. "So I call upon my Republican colleagues who are conducting this attack on the president and his team to honor their constitutional responsibilities to advise and consent, to this list, and if there are a couple key nominees that you have serious concerns about, then indeed let's have that debate here on the floor."
Both Al Franken and Jeff Merkley are right.  Republicans don't want a debate.  They don't want the government to work at all, and they want to blame the Democrats when it fails to do so.  If the Republicans can't run the country, then the country doesn't run.  They're perfectly fine with that.

Are you?

Endless Moral Hazard

Digby notes:
I don't have money so it doesn't really matter to me except in the big macro-economic sense that it worries any citizen. But if I had some serious money in the markets, I'd be worried about this too:
I think the reaction to the Lehman scandal (not particularly strong generally) is very telling. The investor class should, much more than me, care that a major company was engaged in accounting fraud and should worry, much more than me, that other companies are doing the same. That they aren't says a lot about how the game really works.
I realize that "market psychology" is important and that much of the market's success or failure is based on tinkerbell logic, but this is ridiculous. At some point the numbers do matter. When these people commit fraud the whole thing falls apart no matter how loudly you clap. I would think that the people with real money would want the market to be honest, but I guess they all think they are smarter than everyone else and won't be among the losers. Faith-based.
What they really believe in is that Obama and Congress will bail them out again.  That's the only thing that matters.  If they don't, America ceases to exist overnight.  They have us by the balls and will continue to do so until we demand the game ends.

Right now we live in a time of endless moral hazard.  The banks will continue to gamble with trillions. Congress refuses to stop them.  It really will take another economic collapse event before they'll act.  Because by then, well, the pitchforks really will be out.


The Slaughter Rule, Part 2

So, I'd like to know when the Supreme Court will strike down the unending tyranny of the Republicans when they used the "Slaughter Rule" supposedly treasonous and unconstitutional "deem-and-pass" provision 35 times in 2005-2006.  Norman Ornstein:
Any veteran observer of Congress is used to the rampant hypocrisy over the use of parliamentary procedures that shifts totally from one side to the other as a majority moves to minority status, and vice versa. But I can’t recall a level of feigned indignation nearly as great as what we are seeing now from congressional Republicans and their acolytes at the Wall Street Journal, and on blogs, talk radio, and cable news. It reached a ridiculous level of misinformation and disinformation over the use of reconciliation, and now threatens to top that level over the projected use of a self-executing rule by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times, and was no stranger to the concept of “deem and pass.” That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by WSJ editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld). Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration. I don’t like self-executing rules by either party—I prefer the “regular order”—so I am not going to say this is a great idea by the Democrats. But even so—is there no shame anymore?
No.  Once again, when the Republicans do it dozens of times, it's liberty.  When a Democrat does the same thing once, it's unconstitutional treasonous tyranny that must be resisted by revolution in the streets.  Yes, it's a shifty idea that exposes the problems in congressional rules.  You know what? So does threatening to filibuster every piece of legislation the Democrats propose without actually having to filibuster it.

Republicans have done this before time and time again  It was upheld as legal.  This argument just ended.  Period.

You Say You Want A Revolution

Well, at least Michele Bachmann isn't alone in her advocacy as a sitting member of Congress calling for a revolution against the government she represents.  Iowa's Steve King also wants America to take to the streets to protest the horrors of...a majority rule in a representative democracy! (scary organ music, lightning)
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) urged a smaller-than-expected crowd of Tea Party protesters on Tuesday to launch a Velvet Revolution-style uprising against the federal government, saying the parallels are striking between America's current government and Eastern European communist rule.

Speaking to the Huffington Post shortly after his speech, King declared that a peaceful uprising, a la the successful overthrowing of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia on the streets of Prague in 1989 "would be fine with me."

"Fill this city up, fill this city, jam this place full so that they can't get in, they can't get out and they will have to capitulate to the will of the American people," he said.

"So this is just like Prague under communist rule?" the Huffington Post asked.

"Oh yeah, it is very, very close," King replied. "It is the nationalization of our liberty and the federal government taking our liberty over. So there are a lot of similarities there."

Earlier, King implored the crowd to bring the nation's capital to a sort of paralysis. Warning, erroneously, that the health care bill would fund abortion and fund care for 6.1 million illegal immigrants, he demanded that concerned citizens "continue to rise up."

"I look back 20 years ago in the square in Prague... when tens of thousands showed up there and they shook their keys peacefully and they took over their country and they achieved their freedom back again," he said. "If you can keep coming to this city, fill up the congressional offices across the country but jam this city. If you can get on your cell phones, and get on your Blackberries and your email, and ask people to keep coming to this town. Storm this city, fill up Washington D.C., jam this capital so they can't move. And if tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of you show up, we will win. We will defeat this bill and you will have your liberty back." 
Because expanding health care coverage and working to lower costs is completely and exactly like Communist single-party rule.  After all, we've been under the yoke of Communism for 45 years now, just like the Czechs, and it's absolutely fair for the losing side in a democratic election to claim their liberty is being destroyed because their side lost the elections and then impose their minority will on the majority side's winners just because they don't like the legislation that the minority side's leaders are openly lying about in order to drum up dissent.

Democrats lose a democratic election, they organize and win the next election.  Republicans lose a democratic election, the Democrats must be illegitimate tyrants and the government must be thrown down and destroyed, because God doesn't allow Republicans to lose.  Viva La Revolucion!

Again, I ask when King and Bachmann will be resigning their government positions, along with the rest of the GOP, in order to protest this illegitimate government they so clearly despise and want to see put to the torch by the American people.

Start your New Velvet Revolution there, folks.


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