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July 01, 2011


Old Salt

Brad DeLong;

Confessions of a Financial Deregulator

Back in the late 1990’s, in America at least, two schools of thought pushed for more financial deregulation – that is, for repealing the legal separation of investment banking from commercial banking, relaxing banks’ capital requirements, and encouraging more aggressive creation and use of derivatives. If deregulation looks like such a bad idea now, why didn’t it then?

The first school of thought, broadly that of the United States’ Republican Party, was that financial regulation was bad because all regulation was bad. The second, broadly that of the Democratic Party, was somewhat more complicated, and was based on four observations:

· In the global economy’s industrial core, at least, it had then been more than 60 years since financial disruption had had more than a minor impact on overall levels of production and employment. While modern central banks had difficulty in dealing with inflationary shocks, it had been generations since they had seen a deflationary shock that they could not handle.

· The profits of the investment-banking oligarchy (the handful of global investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Chase, among others) were far in excess of what any competitive market ought to deliver, owing to these banks’ deep pockets and ability to maneuver through thickets of regulations.

· The long-run market-return gradient – by which those with deep pockets and the patience to take on real-estate, equity, derivative, and other risks reaped outsize returns – seemed to indicate that financial markets were awful at mobilizing society’s risk-bearing capacity.

· The poorer two-thirds of America’s population appeared to be shut out of the opportunities to borrow at reasonable interest rates and to invest at high returns that the top third – especially the rich – enjoyed.

These four observations suggested that some institutional experimentation was in order. Depression-era restrictions on risk seemed less urgent, given the US Federal Reserve’s proven ability to build firewalls between financial distress and aggregate demand. New ways to borrow and to spread risk seemed to have little downside. More competition for investment-banking oligarchs from commercial bankers and insurance companies with deep pockets seemed likely to reduce the investment banking industry’s unconscionable profits.

It seemed worth trying. It wasn’t.

Rob Crawford

Hope it is not written by Gibbons as part of a series...


(What? You didn't mean that type of gibbon?)

Rob Crawford

Dammit, people! You know speaking its name summons it!

Remember the WOT?  Oh yeah, a Dem is Prez

Analysis: Hariri tribunal indictments to widen political strife

Mariam Karouny
Reuters US Online Report World News

Jul 01, 2011 15:05 EDT

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Indictments by a U.N.-backed court seeking the killers of statesman Rafik al-Hariri, which Lebanese officials say accuse Hezbollah members, will widen the country's political rift and increase sectarian tension.

The long-awaited indictments will embolden the opposition led by Hariri's son, Saad, whose unity government was toppled by Hezbollah and its allies in January after he refused demands that he renounce the tribunal.

However, analysts say the increased tension is unlikely to turn violent or lead to a repeat of the 2008 sectarian clashes in which at least 85 people were killed and which brought the country to the brink of another civil war.

Hariri's March 14 coalition, which includes Christian and Druze figures, will step up pressure on Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whose cabinet is dominated by Shi'ite Hezbollah and its allies, to hand over suspects.

"The opposition is going to be fierce and will be focused on him (Mikati) more than anyone else. They consider him the soft spot in the government facing the Sunni street," Lebanese analyst Nabil Bumounsef said.

"He is exposed. The conflict between the opposition and the majority will increase.. March 14 will escalate, he will be in the middle," he added.

Hezbollah, a powerful militant movement supported by Syria and Iran, has for months been at odds with Saad al-Hariri, backed by the West and the Sunni Arab kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Tiny Lebanon, with around four million people, has always been a battleground for bigger regional powers. Syria, which had a military presence for 29 years until 2005, remains the most influential external player in Lebanon's sectarian politics.

But most regional and international powers which have a say in Lebanon's politics are themselves facing problems and are unlikely to want to shoulder the additional burden of getting embroiled in another Lebanese crisis.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, a strong backer of Hezbollah, is struggling to contain a 14-week uprising against his rule, while Saudi Arabia's elderly King Abdullah has already had to address turmoil in neighboring Yemen and Bahrain.

"If you look around you nobody wants a fight. The region is boiling in sectarian tension. So Saudi does not encourage Hariri to spark anything. It is not in its interests," a Lebanese official said.


In Lebanon itself, ordinary Lebanese showed little interest in the indictments handed over on Thursday. Life on the streets was normal on Friday, a contrast from when Mikati was appointed to form the government in January and Hariri supporters took to the streets in protest.

"Nobody in Lebanon -- the majority nor the opposition -- has the interest or the capability to make problems in the street," said Bumounsef.

Hezbollah denies any role in Hariri's killing and has said it will never allow any of its members to be handed over to the tribunal for trial.

The content of the indictments, which were not officially released, came as little surprise. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said last year the tribunal would target the group, and Lebanese and foreign media had mentioned two of the names which officials say were listed in the indictments.

But officials allied to Hezbollah, which say the tribunal is an Israeli tool, said they were alarmed by the timing of the indictments which were handed over as Mikati's cabinet, which was formed just two weeks ago after months of wrangling, met to agree its policy statement.

Lebanese governments traditionally deliver a policy statement before heading to parliament for a vote of confidence. The vote is expected next week.

"It is clear that the tribunal works based on politics. Its indictments and everything else related to it are designed to deliver a message," said one of the officials. "They wanted to sabotage the government and put it in an awkward position."

The carefully-worded statement "stressed the (importance of) truth in the crime against Rafik al-Hariri" and said it would monitor the progress of the court.

Mikati urged Lebanese to be "reasonable and far-sighted" to ensure that "those who want to target the country and push us toward strife miss their chance."


The 2005 assassination of Hariri, seen as a Sunni leader, plunged Lebanon into a series of crises which included killings, brief internal fighting and a 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006.

The main question is whether Lebanon is going to hand over the suspects for trial.

Hezbollah, which is both a political party and a heavily armed group, is highly secretive about its military wing, making the mission of security forces to find the suspects -- let alone arresting them -- almost impossible.

"The group will not confront the state. If they want them, they need to find them first," said a Hezbollah ally.

Few people have heard of the names of the suspects or know exactly what positions they hold, even though two of them are believed to be senior figures. Even fewer people know if they were inside Lebanon.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Lebanon will cooperate with the tribunal, but held out little prospect that the security forces would track down suspects.

"We can implement (the indictments) in the ways we see appropriate," he said. "There are many wanted people in Lebanon. We raid their place of work and residences and we don't find them, but we are carrying out our duties.

"We will go and raid and if we find them we will bring them and if we don't find them we will tell the judicial authorities we did not find them."

2013; Year of Retribution

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a criminal investigation into the deaths of two prisoners in U.S. custody overseas following a U.S. Justice Department review of CIA interrogations.
The department determined that an expanded criminal investigation into allegations of CIA mistreatment of other detainees isn't warranted, Holder said in a statement today.

The probe is examining the 2002 death of Gul Rahman in a facility in Afghanistan and 2003 death of Manadel al-Jamadi at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity and wasn't authorized to comment publicly. Holder didn't identify the detainees and Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Flotilla Gorillas

The corn-fed conservative narrative is that Obama must change, not Israel.

Israeli's either taught the GOP or vice versa.

"We don't move, you do"

It’s the Policies, Not the PR
July 1, 2011 3:08 P.M.
By Tevi Troy
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent is reporting that “Obama’s top presidential campaign advisers are putting together a plan to go on the offensive against critics of his stance on Israel.” This suggests to me that the Obama team is extremely worried about Obama’s vulnerability in the Jewish community, as well they should be. According to the piece, Obama’s advisers, including David Axelrod, are “assembling a team of high profile surrogates who are well respected in the Jewish community to battle criticism in the media and ensure that it doesn’t go unanswered.”

I can’t say I blame them for trying, as there have been a number of worrisome signs for the Obama team regarding the Jewish vote and diminished Jewish fundraising enthusaism for Obama. Sargent notes that even Alan Solow, a long-standing Obama ally, has stated that “I can’t deny that people express to me concerns about the president’s policies.” They can go on the offensive all they want, but if Obama really wanted to shore up support in the Jewish community, he would have to change his policies towards Israel, and not his messaging.

Rob Crawford

Scratch a "progressive" and an antisemite bleeds.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Southern California looks to secede from Calif.

As Insty would say, "faster please."


"What Part of 'Republican Form of Government' Don't You Understand?"

Mark Tushnet

That was Jack Balkin's reaction to Bush v. Gore, and I confess that it's mine to the emerging Section 4 argument about the debt ceiling. To repeat my structural point: With enough political wind behind it, any constitutional argument is plausible/credible/winning. And to add one: The Section 4 argument is Heller for liberals.* With no more than a one sentence dictum in a plurality opinion available, the Section 4 argument reverts to text and original understanding, bolstered by imputed general principles underlying our form of government.**

Are there no living constitutionalists in foxholes? Actually, what would living constitutionalism mean here?

Which gets me, sort of, to the merits. What does it mean to say that Section 4 makes a debt ceiling unconstitutional? Something like this, I think: The Treasury must continue to make interest payments on already incurred debt. Fine, as the Republicans have said (and so, they say, they aren't questioning the public debt). The government's collecting taxes, and the Section 4 argument means that the United States has to use those taxes to pay the interest. But, the Treasury responds, Congress has required us to spend money on a bunch of other things, and the Take Care Clause requires that we make those payments as well. But, the Treasury continues, the taxes that are coming in aren't enough to do both. Section 4 doesn't have priority over the Take Care Clause (at least not in the versions of the Section 4 argument I've seen).

So, what to do? Obviously, ask people to lend the Treasury the money to pay both the debt and the cost of existing statutes. But, one might think, the Treasury lacks statutory authority to incur debts for the United States beyond the limit set by the debt-ceiling legislation. After all, the Constitution also says that "no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law," and borrowing money commits the government as a whole to appropriating money to repay it. This means, one might think, that Section 4 protects existing debt but has no bearing on limitations the debt-ceiling statute places on future borrowing.

But, the "Section 4" argument has to continue, that's not quite right. We know that the Executive Branch does have the power to impose an obligation on Congress to appropriate money -- when it engages in an unconstitutional taking of private property, the Executive Branch implicitly commits Congress to appropriating the constitutionally required just compensation. (Jacobs v. United States, if anyone cares.) So, the co-existence and equal status of Section 4 and the Take Care Clause authorize the Treasury to go on to the markets and borrow enough money to pay the debts and the cost of existing statutes.

Now, what are lenders going to require as the interest rate? I think people are assuming that the interest rate demanded will be quite high. But, if the Section 4/Take Care argument is right, it shouldn't be.***

Living constitutionalism, anyone?

* Brad DeLong, citing Bruce Bartlett, says that it's not only liberals who refer to Section 4. On these matters, though, Bartlett's an apostate conservative.

** The dictum plays the role United States v. Miller played in Heller.

*** DeLong's recounting of discussions within the Treasury Department indicates, correctly, that the interest rate question depends on uncertainty about the legal status of what I'm now calling the Section 4/Take Care argument. Yet, if that argument takes hold, uncertainty ought to dissipate (to the level associated with anything predicated on future legislative action -- "political risks," as I understand the jargon).


Congrats to your daughter and to you! This is well-deserved wonderful news!

Ain't it the truth

As usual, Paul Krugman calls it like it is.

This is actually a fairly familiar thing from my years as a pundit: the surest way to get branded as not Serious is to figure things out too soon. To be considered credible on politics you have to have considered Bush a great leader, and not realized until Katrina that he was a disaster; to be considered credible on national security you have to have supported the Iraq War, and not realized until 2005 that it was a terrible mistake; to be credible on economics you have to have regarded Greenspan as a great mind, and not become disillusioned until 2007 or maybe 2008.


I know Rob, it's like that line from "the Mummy' when the museum curator warns them;
'You must not read from the Book' (of the Dead,) subsequently Imhotep and the 10 plagues arise.

Jane says obamasucks

I'm blaming Ignatz

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Via Gateway Pundit:

The Jerusalem Post reported:

The Greek coastguard intercepted a boat carrying US activists soon after they set sail from Greece on Friday to join a pro-Palestinian flotilla to Gaza, one of the activists said.

The boat, dubbed The Audacity of Hope, had just left Perama port, near Piraeus, for the open seas, a Reuters witness said.

Minutes earlier, organizers said that the ship’s passengers were preparing to “non-violently resist any efforts to stop the boat,” saying moments later that the boat “is about to set sail,” followed by a message saying that the ship had departed. Through the boat’s twitter feed, organizers said that a Greek Coast Guard vessel approached The Audacity of Hope as it was pulling away from the dock but then sped away.

A flotilla of boats planning to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip is expected to sail next week, after repeated delays that activists blame on Israeli sabotage. Israel has denied the accusations.

UPDATE: From the US to Gaza website:

A second Greek Coast Guard boat with more heavily armed forces arrived. There were more discussions between the Greeks and the captain of our boat, and in the end the decision was made to return to shore. We are not certain which dock they will be going to. Please keep the pressure on the Greek government!
Rob Crawford

I'm blaming Ignatz

I think the problem is more due to meth and bovine spongiform encephalitis.

Or maybe kuru.


IS ALEC writing legislation for your state?

by Mary
Most likely.

This is an excellent description from a New Hampshire State Rep describing how corporate America is writing the laws that govern your state.

June 25 — To the Editor:

Do you know who is writing your legislation, the bills that are about to become law in New Hampshire? Do you know why the same bills that are being passed in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina and many other states sound so familiar to us in New Hampshire? Why our House of Representatives and Senate are passing the same legislation?

It is because of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the voice of corporate special interests in state legislatures. Its chief contributors are Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and many others.

Here is how ALEC works: It hosts conferences for right-wing state legislators who possess no staff of their own, including New Hampshire legislators. The group lavishly wines and dines lawmakers while giving them a chance to "collaborate on legislation" previously researched and introduced by the policy groups of its corporate members. For example, Speaker of the House William O'Brien wouldn't sign off on the budget until he returned from a meeting in Washington, D.C., with the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and the tobacco industry. Then, in the budget meeting, he demanded that the N.H. tobacco tax be cut by 10 cents a pack. This is going to cost New Hampshire at least $30 million in lost revenues during the next biennium. According to ALEC in 2009, there were 826 "model bills" introduced in state legislatures, 115 of those bills were enacted into law.

ALEC's next conference is in New Orleans in August. It would be interesting to see how many of our N.H. tea party, Free Staters, Libertarians, and right-wing extremists attend this conference. All expenses for the legislators are paid by ALEC's corporate members.

Here are some of the things for which ALEC is responsible: It released a "State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare," presenting several examples of model legislation including bills to partially privatize Medicaid. ALEC'S Health and Human Services task force is led by representatives of PhRMA, the drug industry, and the board includes Bayer. The group's model bill, the "Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act," has been introduced in 44 states. Their sources of ideas come from pro-corporate groups such as the previously mentioned Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the James Madison Foundation, the same groups Speaker O'Brien saw on his recent trip. All are intent on crafting legislation that destroys our democracy.

The N.H. House recently passed a Voter ID bill and a bill to the repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Both bills are directly attributable to ALEC. Using false allegations of "voter fraud," right-wing politicians are pursuing policies that disenfranchise Democratic leaning voters, including students, the elderly and the poor, who are unlikely to have drivers' licenses and other forms of photo ID. By undermining the right to vote, ALEC's model "Voter ID Act" gives the advantage to Republicans. In New Hampshire, it is now easier to buy a gun than it is to vote. The ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force is co-chaired by Sean Parnell of the Center for Competitive Politics, one of the most pro-corporate election groups promoting total destruction of campaign finance reform.

In summary, ALEC does not serve the public interest in New Hampshire. It serves corporate America. It pays for access to legislators in every state, who then introduce to their Houses and Senates bills that gut environmental laws, create a regressive tax system, eliminate workers' rights, undermine universal and affordable health care, privatize public education, and try to eliminate voting rights.

Because you were mad at the federal government, you took your anger out on your state lawmakers. Now you know who you really voted for in the 2010 election. In case it crossed your mind how it was possible for freshman legislators to write such sophisticated and damaging bills, you now know that it is ALEC and its corporate lobbyists who are really writing your legislation. In the "Live Free or Die" state, is this what you want? Yes, elections do have consequences! Voter, beware!

ALEC is responsible for the anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona and now in Georgia, the anti-union legislation in Wisconsin, Florida, New Jersey, and any number of other states, making sure your healthcare will be dominated (pdf) by private healthcare companies, destroying regulations that help keep our food safe and our environment healthy.


Kirk's line, 'Khan, I'm laughing at your brilliance' comes to mind, when confronting
the netrooters

hit and run

Yay Stephanie!!!

My door is always open for a side trip to and from the school. Can't wait! Bring your sticks should you be so inclined,we've got a couple decent courses out near where I live.

Hey,look . . . some folks like the little video I did. Yay me! (thanks for pointing it out and linking, c-cal)

Want Vs Need

Article by: BAIRD HELGESON, MIKE KASZUBA , ERIC ROPER and RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER , Star Tribune Updated: July 1, 2011 - 1:52 PM
Dayton renewed his call to tax the rich; GOP pointed to harm of long-term debt. The governor and legislative leaders worked into the evening in a last-ditch bid for resolution.

1534 comments resize text printbuy reprints

Talks imploded Thursday between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders in the final hours before a midnight deadline, and Minnesota began a historic government shutdown.

"This is a night of deep sorrow for me," Dayton said in an address at 10 p.m. that was punctuated by jeers and hisses from Republicans, including some lawmakers.

The governor said his last offer would have raised income taxes only on those earning more than $1 million a year -- an estimated 7,700 Minnesotans, or 0.3 percent of all taxpayers, according to the Revenue Department.

Republicans rejected the proposal, Dayton said, because they "prefer to protect the richest handful of Minnesotans at the expense of everyone else."

Republican leaders made their own statement, saying Dayton's proposal for dealing with the projected $5 billion deficit would cause irreparable harm to the state's economy for generations.

"We will not saddle our children and grandchildren with mounds of debts, with promises for funding levels that will not be there in the future," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove. "This is debt that they can't afford. It's debt that we can't afford right now."

Earlier, as it became clear there would be no deal, Republicans staged a sit-in in the legislative chambers, demanding Dayton call a special session to keep the state running.

"Our guys, obviously, are very comfortable with where we are," Zellers said, standing in the Minnesota House chamber at 8:30 p.m.

The political fight that has dominated the Capitol since January now will play out in public, as both sides try to win over Minnesotans in the hope that public sentiment will force the other side to a deal.

Dayton struck a combative stance, saying the July 4th holiday "reminds us that there are causes and principles worth struggling for" and worth "suffering temporary hardship to achieve."

The union-backed Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a key factor in Dayton's campaign last year, will run radio ads over the weekend in Bemidji, Brainerd and Duluth, focusing on reaching Minnesotans vacationing at the lakes. The group also created the website www.shutdownshame.com to highlight the effects of the Republican budget.

Soon after talks broke down, both sides lifted their self-imposed news blackout and began releasing details of their final budget offers.

The GOP proposed delaying another $700 million in payments owed to schools, which would add to the more than $1 billion the state already owes K-12 schools.

Republicans also offered to issue "tobacco bonds" of an unspecified amount to cover any remaining budget gap. Sources said Dayton considered the offer, but he criticized it as unwise borrowing late Thursday.

Policy as a bargaining chip

Talks may have also broken down because an earlier GOP offer asked Dayton to accept controversial policy positions the Republicans pushed for this year, including photo ID requirements at the polls and abortion restrictions. An offer sheet provided to the Star Tribune said the policy adoptions were in exchange for "new revenue in a compromise offer."

That deal also would have required tuition caps to be put in place at the University of Minnesota and MnSCU as well as a 15 percent reduction in the number of state workers by 2015. Tendered Wednesday night, the offer would have required a special session Thursday.

Throughout a long day of negotiations Thursday, anxiety was palpable across the Capitol.

Legislators coming to the building were greeted by hundreds of union protesters, urging the two sides to break the deadlock.

Gathering on the Capitol steps, some protesters held signs saying "I am a Proud Public Worker" and "Government Shutdown -- Harming Countless Minnesotans Is Not OK." Some held babies and others umbrellas to protect them from the burning summer sun. They chanted and held other signs like "Great wealth = Great responsibility."

Earlier in the day, Dayton was spotted through his office window at the head of the table, flanked by Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo. They sipped Diet Coke and bottled water as they occasionally passed pieces of paper and computer printouts to one another, nodding and smiling slightly as one of the participants made a point.

As the afternoon wore on, legislators admitted it was tough to keep their calm as the state careened toward a political meltdown that could cost them re-election.

Early in the morning, Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Republican who chairs the House Education Finance Committee, posted on his Twitter account: "You can't spell FAILED without DFL!"

It was a blistering attack at a time when most legislators had dialed down the partisan bickering. An aide to Garofalo said he wouldn't comment on the posting.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Introducing Thad McCotter.

Learn How to Speak Democrat (Video from House floor)


Thanks for the congrats on the scholarship. She is terribly excited about it.

We went up there with the understanding that they were going to play 9 and go from there. After dinner the first night there, he offered it on the spot, with no playing involved. He said he was impressed with her knowledge of how to play and her 'adult' and 'mature' attitude about her play. She told him that she was using golf to further her education and not using education to further her golf.

The most disconcerting part of the visit...

The anecdotes that started with this phrase "I was talking to Jack Nicholas and he said..."

I knew he played on the tour at the same time, (he finished 3rd at the Masters in the 70s), but it was surreal to hear that phrase.


Thanks for that Sara. : )


I accept full responsibility for summoning Beelzebub from its crypt.


Their sources of ideas come from pro-corporate groups such as the previously mentioned Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the James Madison Foundation, the same groups Speaker O'Brien saw on his recent trip. All are intent on crafting legislation that destroys our democracy.

Yeah, no hyperboly there. All those evil libertarian groups are tryitng "destroy our democracy!!!111!!!!"

Obama's internals must be looking pretty bad this week. The man child's press conference seems to have hurt him even more, based on the desperation of the troll's postings.


So, that Carle fellow, is the new Drumheller, as the 'debrief' by Spencer
"I want to throw you, through a plate glass
window' Ackerman, would indicate.


Notice how progs consider being free-enterprise as being "pro-corporate", which is really quite a different thing.

They're entirely pro-corporate themselves, as long as the government chooses the winners and losers, and as long as the government follows progressive ideals.

The old-fashioned idea of not interfering with people's ability to make money for themselves -- well, they don't even have a word for it, so it is not surprising that they cannot recognize that as an actual goal of their political opponents.

Try Hang Gliding

"I think the problem is more due to meth and bovine spongiform encephalitis."

I think he just went ahead and did it. Tired of his mother nagging him to get out of the house, he finally snapped. Telling him to "At least change your underwear every once in awhile," put him over the top.

With his mother rotting away in the basement he is now free to leave his droppings in peace.


Goldman, BP, GE, and another 'horseman of the apocalypse' not be named later, Morgan


Here's a video of our own ChaCo!

and thanks for the McCotter link, Sara. He can be great.

Melinda Romanoff

JP and Stanley, narciso, but don't leave out BofA and the rest of the PDs.


Bryan Preston dispatches the dang fool idiocy of Chaitred, in the Tatler:

For what it’s worth, if we get to d-day on the debt ceiling and the nation defaults, that won’t be because of anything Congress has or has not done. Default will only occur if Obama’s Treasury Secretary chooses to default. And he would only do that if the president so orders.

It seems to me that as related to the current debate, Sections 4 and 5 work together to stop one administration or Congress from repudiating the debts piled up by their predecessors, while keeping the regulatory control of the nation’s debts in the hands of Congress. That, if I’m right, is the foundation of our nation’s ability to borrow money against our future ability to pay it back. In other words, and this is a position I’ve just arrived at within the past day as the topic of the 14th Amendment has come up, you can’t really separate Sections 4 and 5. They work together.

Want Vs Need

Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, noted yesterday:

Contrary to Republican dogma, polls show that the American people strongly support higher taxes to reduce the deficit and improve income inequality. Following are 19 different polls since the first of the year that say so."

a Washington Post/ABC News poll from last month that found 61% of the country believes higher taxes will be necessary to reduce the deficit.

Melinda Romanoff


It's completely the Administration's call and is what's keeping me up at night. Especially that Cloward-Piven thingie with some Soros/Strong love thrown in.


Right I forgot about the firm, that now makes AP Gianinni cry.

Want Vs Need

Daily Howler

Even with the day’s most crucial issues, your biggest newspapers mainly pretend to explain what is happening. These papers exist to give the impression that public discussion exists.

Consider this worthwhile editorial in Wednesday morning’s New York Times. In it, the editors discussed the ongoing debt limit fight.

What made this editorial stand out? Omigod! It included some very basic facts about a critical issue! The logic was weak in the following paragraph. But it included key facts:

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (6/29/11): Nor will a spending-cuts-only approach fix the deficit. If the Bush tax cuts are extended beyond their expiration at the end of 2012, lost revenue from the cuts—plus related interest costs—would account for 45 percent of the projected $11.2 trillion in deficits in this decade.

Really? Almost half of the coming decade’s projected deficits would be caused by the Bush tax rates? You still might be able to “fix the deficit” with “a spending-cuts-only approach.” But surely, a well-informed citizen should be aware of that fact.

The editors had offered a fact—a fact which tends to cut against the Republican stance. As they continued, they offered several more facts. Despite the way the editors framed it, these facts make both parties look bad:

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (continuing directly): The Republicans’ fierce opposition is even more absurd when you consider the relatively modest tax increases proposed by Democrats.

Ending unnecessary subsides for oil companies would raise $40 billion over 10 years, while a tax accounting change that would also apply mainly to oil companies could raise $72 billion over five years. Getting rid of a tax break for corporate jets would raise about $3 billion. Closing a loophole that allows private-equity money managers to pay tax at about the lowest rate in the tax code would raise about $20 billion over 10 years.

The Democrats’ most ambitious proposal would limit the value of various write-offs for taxpayers making more than $500,000. That could possibly save upwards of $100 billion over a decade. Those are all workable ideas, but they do not add up to much in the context of a deal that is aiming for $2 trillion to $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

The editors understate the absurdity here. At his Wednesday press conference, Obama focused on a proposal concerning corporate jets. As the editors note, this proposal would raise $3 billion over ten years—but the federal deficit for this year alone is roughly five hundred times that large! Absent some wider explanation, we’re watching Obama in Wonderland when such proposals are hotly advanced. But then, the same can be said of that proposal concerning “unnecessary subsides for oil companies.” (Until now, it has routinely been said that the Democratic proposal in this area would being in $21 billion over the next ten years—roughly $2 billion per year.)

If you have any sense of numbers, Obama almost seems to be making Potemkin proposals. Is anything real any more?

Why do we cite that editorial? Only to ask a basic question: Why aren’t these basic facts being limned on the Times’ front page? We’ve commented on this phenomenon before. How weird is it when a reader must hunt through this newspapers’ editorials hoping to gain the rare random facts?

Why aren’t these basic, critical facts being widely explored on page one?

We don’t know how to answer that question, but those front-page explorations simply haven’t occurred. As a society, we drift along in a state of cluelessness even concerning these critical budget issues. Potential disaster looms in the next few weeks; even that can’t persuade our Potemkin newspapers to publish thoughtful front-page serials exploring these basic issues.


True, if he's willing to hold the families of American hostages in three theatres of operation, in order to exact that most Lilliputian of deals,in the spring, everything is on the table.

Melinda Romanoff

The Primary Dealers, especially the European ones, made off like bandits in the QE2, but then again, they're the ones with the superior holes in their balance sheets. They have all bought up as much Greek debt as they can, so as to stuff the ECB with it as collateral for their overnight and week to week funding. This stuffing is why the swap lines with the Fed were renewed for another year, since it is the only one that can print money. The losses repaired by the Fed's QE2 only will go so far to cover their malfeasance. When Greece defaults, and it will, the last lug nut will spin off the donkey cart that is the EU banking system. Extend and pretend is not a solution, but merely some bondo and a coat of paint.

It is no way over, and my fear is the Administration's going to try and milk this dead cow again.


Contrary to Republican dogma, polls show that the American people strongly support higher taxes to reduce the deficit and improve income inequality. Following are 19 different polls since the first of the year that say so."

a Washington Post/ABC News poll from last month that found 61% of the country believes higher taxes will be necessary to reduce the deficit.

Notice the false equivilance set up here. Just because people think higher taxes will be necessary, doesn't in any way mean they support the idea of raising taxes.

Melinda Romanoff

The short term political goal of the administration, and friends, is to get Duke&Duke to agree to any tax hike, not caring where. Then they can spike the ball on the political win which assuredly will lead to electoral victory over the hypocritical GOP.

The spike will be televised.

MITT or PAWS?  (paper or plastic?)

Mitt Romney has predicated his entire campaign around the notion that Barack Obama has made the economy worse—and that he, Mitt Romney, is the guy who can make things better. It's a refrain he's used in just above every stump speech he's given of late, but two days ago in Pennsylvania, he suddenly denied ever using it:
When NBC producer Sue Kroll asked the former Massachusetts governor why he believes that Obama's policies have made the economy worse -- when the economy is now growing (and not shrinking like it was in 2009), when the Dow is climbing (and no longer in a free-fall like it was in '09), and when the unemployment rate is down a full percentage point from where it was in Oct. '09 -- Romney gave this answer:
I didn't say that things are worse.
On Monday he said:

The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.
That's pretty much been Romney's mantra throughout his campaign. As Greg Sargent puts it:

Uh, hello press corps? Romney has now flip-flopped on a central campaign message.
That's absolutely right. It not only undercuts the entire rationale he's offered for his candidacy, but it calls into question his veracity. At a minimum, it's a major political story, certainly bigger (though less amusing) than Michele Bachmann's John Wayne Gacy gaffe.

Romney has made these kinds of strange statements before. For example, in late April he claimed America wasn't at war—that we are in the midst of a "peacetime" economy. Now he not only says that Barack Obama didn't make the economy worse, he also claims that he's never said that Obama made the economy worse. That's a big deal. And it's such a strange and self-destructive thing to say that I'm now beginning to rethink whether Romney is in fact the GOP's strongest candidate. With unforced errors like these, it's only a matter of time before he says something that puts him in Sue "Chickens for Checkups" Lowden territory.

Or this Schlemiel?

What if You Held a Class War and No One Showed Up?

— By Kevin Drum| Fri Jul. 1, 2011

National Review's Robert Costa interviews rising right-wing attack dog Marco Rubio:

Rubio tells us that he will respond to Obama’s recent press conference, where the president reveled in class-warfare bluster....“Talking about corporate jets and oil companies,” Rubio says, missed the point. “Everybody here agrees that our tax code is broken,” he says, and he is open to discussing tax reform. “But don’t go around telling people that the reason you are not doing well is because some rich guy is in a corporate jet or some oil company is making too much money.”

Watching Obama brandish such talking points made Rubio wince. “Three years into his presidency, he is a failed president,” he says. “He just has not done a good job. Life in America today, by every measure, is worse than it was when he took over.”

“When does it start to get better?” Rubio asks. “When does the magic of this president start to happen?”

Today is one of those days where I hardly know how to react to things anymore. Part of me shrugs at this stuff: politics is politics. Of course Republicans are going to call a Democratic president a failure. What else would they do?

But then, for about the thousandth time, my mind wanders over the past ten years. Republicans got the tax cuts they wanted. They got the financial deregulation they wanted. They got the wars they wanted. They got the unfunded spending increases they wanted. And the results were completely, unrelentingly disastrous. A decade of sluggish growth and near-zero wage increases. A massive housing bubble. Trillions of dollars in war spending and thousands of American lives lost. A financial collapse. A soaring long-term deficit. Sky-high unemployment. All on their watch and all due to policies they eagerly supported. And worse: ever since the predictable results of their recklessness came crashing down, they've rabidly and nearly unanimously opposed every single attempt to dig ourselves out of the hole they created for us.

But despite the fact that this is all recent history, it's treated like some kind of dreamscape. No one talks about it. Republicans pretend it never happened. Fox News insists that what we need is an even bigger dose of the medicine we got in the aughts, and this is, inexplicably, treated seriously by the rest of the press corps instead of being laughed at. As a result, guys like Marco Rubio have a free hand to insist that Obama — Obama! The guy who rescued the banking system, bailed out GM, and whose worst crime against the rich is a desire to increase their income tax rate 4.6 percentage points! — is a "left-wing strong man" engaged in brutal class warfare against the wealthy. And Rubio does it without blinking. Hell, he probably even believes it.

We are well and truly down the rabbit hole. The party of class warfare for the past 30 years is fighting a war against an empty field and the result has been a rout. I wonder what would happen if the rest of us ever actually started fighting back?


I'm going with the bgates tax increase, er, revenue enhancement. Eliminate the state tax deduction and all taxpayers from high-tax states will pay more federal taxes. Since these are also the states most likely to vote Democrat in the presidential election, it's fair.

Grover Norquist

" it's fair."

It's still a tax increase.


No, it's closing a loophole, much like with the '86 tax reform, particularly the alteration of the real estate interest
deductability provisions, which was the last bloc pulled, in the Chenga, that became
the S&L debacle.

Captain Hate

The short term political goal of the administration, and friends, is to get Duke&Duke to agree to any tax hike, not caring where.

With the history of the gutless Repukes as a guide, that's an excellent strategy.


Closing loopholes is always fair, by definition, because loopholes are unfair to people who can't take advantage of them. Deductions, for example, are unfair. People should have to pay the same tax as everyone else. Otherwise, it's unfair.

Grover Norquist

"No, it's closing a loophole"

Does it result in higher taxes"

.....tax increase.


Poor Kevin has a bad memory:

But then, for about the thousandth time, my mind wanders over the past ten years.

And of that decade the Democracts controlled at least one of the houses of Congress for much of the time, and had total control of congress and the White House for two years.

Republicans got the tax cuts they wanted.

And they passed because Democrats voted with Republicans to pass them.

They got the financial deregulation they wanted.

Of course, the deregulation he is referring to here took place in the 90s, and were signed into law by Bill Clinton.

They got the wars they wanted.

With authorization votes by both houses of Congress, one of which was controlled by the Democrats when they took those votes.

They got the unfunded spending increases they wanted.

Yeah, cause that 24% spending increase pushed through by Pelosi and Reed and signed off on by Obama producing $1.5 Trillion deficits aren't that important, it was those Bush deficits that were 1/3 as large that did all the damage

And the results were completely, unrelentingly disastrous. A decade of sluggish growth and near-zero wage increases.

Yeah, that 4% unemployment was so awful to deal with last decade. Glad we made it through those tough times.

A massive housing bubble.

Brought to you by the Democratic cronies at Fredi and Fanni and stoked by Democratic bankers on Wall Street.

Trillions of dollars in war spending and thousands of American lives lost.

Once again, aproved by a Democratic Party controlled Senate

A financial collapse.

Which probably would have been a painful but short term recesion, if Obama and the Dems hadn't shoved a $1 Trillion giveaway to Dem party cronies down America's throat under the guise of a "stimulous package" and then shoved a disaster of a Health Care bill down the nations throat right after it.

A soaring long-term deficit.

Of which the Dem controlled Congress and President Obama added over $3 Trillion to in just two years.

Sky-high unemployment.

Which even Obama's econimic team predicted would be much lower than it is right now if we had done nothing, rather than shoving the "stimulous" and Obamacare through.

All on their watch and all due to policies they eagerly supported.

Well, last time I checked, almost no Republican's supported either the "Stimulous" or Obamacare. And it was the Bush Administration that wanted to tighten regulation on Fannie and Freddie.

And worse: ever since the predictable results of their recklessness came crashing down, they've rabidly and nearly unanimously opposed every single attempt to dig ourselves out of the hole they created for us.

And if anything the Dems had done in the last two years had worked, we wouldn't be in this mess.

In fact though, the situation is exactly the reverse of what poor Kevin Drum describes. Republicans accurately predicted that the "Stimulous" would fail because it was based on very faulty ideas. Republicans also predicted that passing Obamacare would be an economic disaster, and the massive number of waivers that have been required and the economic stagnation that has resulted proves them correct.

But Drum's frustraitions are understandable. After 2 years of total control by the Democrats, and the absolute destruciton it has rained down on the US economy, he can either face the fact that his ideology is deeply flawed, or he can just blame Republicans for everything, even all the stuff the Democrats did.


Ah yes, Captain, now I don't know all the details, re; Mittens but if you're making the comparison to Wilson and Callaghan, with Obama, you don't go 'splunge' specially when the facts on your side.

GOP the Party of New and Creative Ideas

Pajama Pantload has a new, innovative way
to reduce the deficit, creates jobs (chuckle) and send us down the road to riches !!!!!

House Speaker John Boehner should give in to President Obama’s demand for greater tax revenues as part of a deal — along with massive spending cuts — to cap the debt ceiling.

In fact, one could argue that the single most effective action that Republicans could take right now would be to jack up tax revenues. Under this plan, the rich would pay substantially more into the U.S. Treasury.

How can a conservative Republican back such a plan?

Because it works, but perhaps not the way the president might wish.

You see, the best way to boost tax revenues is to slash tax rates immediately, and in the long-term.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, should tell Barack Obama: “Mr. President, you help us cut the tax rates, and we’ll man the wheelbarrows to tote the surplus tax receipts into the Treasury vault.”
***it's coming, you don't want to skip next graf.

If the president really wants to pay down our debt, and get rid of annual deficits, the fastest way to do that is to cut spending and increase revenue. And the best way to accomplish the latter is to unleash prosperity through REDUCING the TAX rate paid by individuals and corporations. Of course, corporate taxes are also paid only by individuals (shareholders, customers, employees), since a corporation is a fictional entity composed of individuals that must recover increased expenditures through higher prices, lower dividends, or spending reductions, of which wages comprise the lion’s share.

As we boost tax revenues by slashing tax rates, confidence will grow among our global creditors (like China) as they see our commitment to fiscal restraint and our burgeoning ability to cash their mature T-bills. As our facility to repay debt increases, our cost of borrowing decreases.


China to cut tax on luxury goods: report
Updated: 2011-06-20 13:38 Comments(5) PrintMail Large Medium Small
BEIJING - China, already the world's second-largest luxury goods market, will soon slash import duties on opulent items to encourage wealthy local shoppers


Or you coluld look at this:

A higher minimum threshold for personal income tax is only a matter of time, as China's living standards improve along with its robust economic growth.

But Chinese legislators should keep in mind that a sense of urgency in this regard could make a big difference to the pace at which China embraces balanced and consumption-led growth.

Policymakers have tried to rein in the steady decline in people's incomes as a share of the country's ever-bulging gross domestic product (GDP), which is badly needed for the country to boost domestic consumption into a key growth engine as soon as possible.


That last is from the national news, is China.Org, the new name for Xinhua?



-- China's official media warned Wednesday that the gap between rich and poor has become alarmingly wide during two decades of economic liberalization, contributing to spreading unrest in towns and villages across the country.

While the income disparity, particularly between farmers and city dwellers, has been widely discussed and reported, simultaneous and extensive reports by the New China News Agency and the Communist Party's main organ, the People's Daily, suggested that officials wanted to call particular attention to the problem.

Riots and other violent protests, which the government acknowledges are increasing dramatically, have become a major issue for President Hu Jintao's government. Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao have made calls for "harmonious society" and "social stability" watchwords of their speeches over the last year.

The reports on income inequality seemed to attribute violence to economic rather than political causes and warned that more unrest could be coming. Following this reasoning, the Standing Committee of the People's Political Consultative Conference, one of China's two legislative bodies, declared in July that the widening income gap "is the root cause of disharmony."

Some senior officials in Hu's government think that the economic reforms begun in the 1980s have gone too fast and that more attention should be paid to the people left behind, according to Chinese academics with ties to the government. Yang Zhaohui, a political specialist at Peking University, said the focus on income disparity shows that the government and Communist Party take the issue seriously.

"I think the purpose of these signals is to give the society a warning," Yang said. "The government might bring out some policies to mitigate the problem."

Since taking over 2 1/2 years ago, Hu and Wen repeatedly have emphasized concern for the poor, but without repudiating the movement toward a market economy. They have, however, sharply curtailed the sale of state-owned enterprises. Shutting down money-losing government factories may make sense economically but often results in large-scale layoffs. Those layoffs frequently generate protests by workers suddenly deprived of the health care, lodging and other benefits they were accustomed to under the socialist system.

The reports on Wednesday gave added weight to the subject by citing the Study Times, official organ of the Communist Party's prestigious Central Party School for training young officials. In an article last week, Study Times suggested that a major reason for the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity was the alliance between party officials and private businessmen that has grown since the party abandoned doctrinaire socialism and made swift economic growth its main mission.

"There are many people, especially upstarts, who gained wealth through collusion with officials in power-for-money deals," said the writer, Che Haigang.

Chinese often complain about such corruption and about alliances between politicians and private businessmen who have stakes in joint economic development projects. This concern is frequently mentioned by rioters and demonstrators.

The Party School paper based its comments on a Labor and Social Security Ministry study published last month that said China's income gap could cause "destabilizing social phenomena."

According to U.N. statistics, the poorest 20 percent of China's 1.3 billion citizens account for only 4.7 percent of total income, while the richest 20 percent account for more than half. Moreover, that gap has been widening steadily over the last three years. It was cited as China's most serious social problem in a survey conducted by the Central Party School last year.

Danube of Thought

Hit, you're a goddam genius.


This blog is so polluted I am calling Al Gore.

Goodnight all I am reading Tom Clancy just to get my hrad uncluttered.


Well, with just a couple changes, it pretty well describes Chicago and Washington DC under Obama.

Chinese Americans often complain about such corruption and about alliances between politicians and private businessmen who have stakes in joint economic development projects, such as Affordable Houseing projects and Green Energy programs. This concern is frequently mentioned by rioters voters and demonstrators. taxpayers.


Which one, JiB, the one with Blackthorn, seems to be aiming for Tolstoy length, with
none of it's depth, the new one with Telep,
has some promise.

Danube of Thought

Outta here.

hit and run


Enjoy your martinis.

I'm currently putting together a vid on the "corporate jets" press conference. Not sure exactly where it will end up . . . but it will end up somewhere.

Even if the whole world has moved on by the time I can get to it.

By the way -- Granny Jan stops by occasionally here. You really should watch those videos. Awesome.

Thomas Collins

Congrats, H&R. Ditto to DOT's comment.


Well, this will cheer you up.

What monsters the Democrats are. We are ruled by the criminally insane. What a vicious idiot we have running State.

It s just amazing the damage these people can do. They have completely undone the WOT. In fact they have left us in a much worse position. Do not tell me that they are not o the take from our enemies abroad.

That we tolerate outrage after outrage does not speak well of us.

I do not thin that we will ever recover from these years. It is as though we have lost a war and are an occupied country.


For reasons passing understanding, I get the Mediaite feed, and among it's 'unintentional
humor offerings, there is Rick Sanchez defending Jon Stewart, against criticism for
his attack on Cain,

Old Lurker

JiB good luck with Clancy. He was first but now ALL my guy thriller authors are into this co-author thing and they all are terrible. Just selling their names and their reps.


Yes, Hit!! I love Granny Jan and Jihad Kitty! They really are great chroniclers of the blathering Dick aren't they?

Rob Crawford

What monsters the Democrats are. We are ruled by the criminally insane. What a vicious idiot we have running State.

Yeah, but Republicans have appropriated all the symbols of patriotism, right? Not like (as ace said) the Democrats abandoned them, or work for the benefit of our enemies, or oppose all the Founders stood for...

Rob Crawford

He was first but now ALL my guy thriller authors are into this co-author thing and they all are terrible.

Was Clancy or Cussler first?

The franchising BS didn't help, but he lost me when his first post-9/11 book peddled the "hijacked religion of peace BS".

hit and run

Yes, Hit!! I love Granny Jan and Jihad Kitty!

Indeed. Anyone who doesn't click the link above doesn't love America.

hit and run

Well. mrs hit and run and the kids leave for Texas in the morning. Driving with the bestest sis in law evah! They'll be stopping for the night somewhere around Mobile, AL tomorrow night. Wish I could drive with them. We hits love those long car rides. I'm jealous they get to make this trip without me.

But in sunnier news...

I will be unsupervised!

There are a lot of trees out in the woods that need to be chainsawed.

hit and run

Wait. In that quick take on my family leaving I left out the most important part.

I will miss them.

I am really trying not to think of being away from them for a month. It's a kick in the gut.


Let me point out to people who comment on kind TM's blog that I bypass as untrustworthy any comment whose name changes.

Basically, if commenters don't establish a named reputation as worth reading, you don't get read. Screw all of you who think it is "funny" to change your sig beyond what is clear and obvious. Keep it up and you become scroll on by material.

hit and run

Harrumph. Apparently not only am I not needed to help pack -- but I am a hindrance to an efficient operation.

Not that I would argue with that...


Our editorial on O's speech: Focus on spending, not taxing

There is not a revenue problem in this country. There is a spending problem. In this speech, the President ought not threaten to hold our financial reputation hostage until we let him keep spending.

Obama wants more money for his spending machine, and the answer is "No!"

Army of Davids

Thomas Donahue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on the mandates, new taxes, uncertainties and new regulations that ObamaCare puts on business....."it's a job killer"


Just leaving Almaty Kazahkstan in about an hour.

Old soviet capitol in surprising beautiful territory just at the base of 20,000 foot mountains to the south west of China and the north west of the Hindu Kush.

Here's a shot of their neat old Russian Orthodox Church.

And here's a shot of what the general area looks like. Very much like the mountains just west of Denver, absent any significant building out on the plain for a thousand miles.


Melinda Romanoff


Fly safe. And thanks for the Imperial Architecture Photographic tour.

The yellow on the cathedral should signify the house of the sponsor, but I can't remember any more. Peter, maybe?


daddy old son, you are a lucky man....Almaty looks incredible. Have a great flight and can't wait for the next dog n trail adventure.

We have the front door open to allow the air flow through and are listening to the neighbors house apes going nuts. They range from 3- 7 and it usually sounds like the Spanish Inquisition when they get riled up, which begins @ 6:30am and last to @ 8:30 so far....

The house apes are beginning to be called to their respective perches, where they will reside in dreamland until mom and dad take off the duct tape.

The moms and dads are hiding at the moment within the safe confines of the local restaurants and medicating themselves for the battles ahead. My heart goes out to them. Really...

The 4th looms, and all is well for now...


hmmm matt. I wish I knew what you meant there.

Daddy- beautiful beautiful


gorgeous, daddy. Thanks for sharing.

Charlie (Colorado)

Daddy, you're right, that's a gorgeous town, and it does look like home.


She preferred to lean against a tree or stalk back and forth along a riverbank, as she has become accustomed to over many years of frightening hikers in the Pacific Northwest.


I read this wonderful passage as we were traveling along the Columbia River and beside the forests approaching Portland OR and broke out laughing so hard I startled my better half--who was doing the driving of our Big Foot RV.


The whole idea that Obama inherited a country in financial collapse is THE LATEST BIG LIE. Its sad to see so many Republicans and independence have fallen for this lie.

The FACT is even Obamas own economic team didn't think we were anywhere near collapse until Obamas policies completely failed - then they had to find someone else to blame on their way out the door.
Here is their chart, PRE FAILURE, and then what Obama caused by his bad policies.


There was absolutely no projection that
the economy was collapsing. That didn't start until after they completely failed.



Telep and its pretty good but I'll bet Carlos Slim won't read it. My new fave is Daniel Silva and his guy Gabriel Allon.

Noticed as soon as I left last night the troll did also. But its not me:)


From Pops's link. StimuluS: Economic or otherwise, the real purpose is always hidden.


Yes, I'm looking forward to Silva's latest, as well, JiB


It would be one thing if Congress had never passed a debt ceiling extension before, but the last extension (and all those before it) codified by act of Congress that there is a debt ceiling .. and what it is.

Agent J. (formally known as "J"..

The End is near!

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