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July 08, 2011

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Powerline, Ho!

Said the lender to thee:
'Never a borrower be.
I'm gonna gitcha'.
========

Extraneus

TM, check your Minuteman email.

Melinda Romanoff

DoJ declines to file charges against a Federal Prosecutor caught with child pornography on his office computer.

(Duped on another thread, and you can not make this stuff up fast enough!)

Threadkiller

Dual-bama doesn’t like the 14th getting mentioned. Originally he wanted to be known as a 14th amendment citizen:


"The truth about Barack’s birth certificate

Lie: Obama Is Not a Natural Born Citizen

Truth: Senator Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, after it became a state on August 21st, 1959. Obama became a citizen at birth under the first section of the 14th Amendment

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”


But they scrubbed that text and replaced it with this:
”The Truth About Barack’s Birth Certificate

Smears claiming Barack Obama doesn’t have a birth certificate aren’t actually about that piece of paper — they’re about manipulating people into thinking Barack is not an American citizen.

The truth is, Barack Obama was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961, a native citizen of the United States of America.

Next time someone talks about Barack’s birth certificate, make sure they see this page.”


Didn’t he know a 14th Amendment citizen is synonymous with a “Natural born” citizen? Why would the constitutional law professor make the scrub?

Danube of Thought

The second bit of text seems fully consistent with the first.

Who's "they?"

Threadkiller

Why change it?

Threadkiller

"They" are the operators of Obama's personal campaign website.

narciso

They really have stretched the 14th Amendment
to the breaking point, on all fronts.

Minor v. Happershot rules.

Further to confuse 'native born' with 'natural born'.

I think the issue is actually pretty clear, TK, but it won't become clear to the general populace until his allegiance is questioned on other grounds, of which there are plenty.
================

George Ditter

I thought the point of the "Debt Ceiling" was to limit the amount of debt "authorized by law." On the other hand, I think that the NY Times is on to something here in its misgivings about representative government and they should expand on that theme so we all can learn how our betters would govern us.

Danube of Thought

"Why change it?"

What's the most nefarious reason you can think of? And do you seriously think that his campaign people at this point are worried ,about whether he's eligible to be president?

Appalled

Funny thing -- if Harry Reid ever bothered to pass a budget, or try to pass a budget, Obama would probably have a lot more capital and support to pull this off. Usually, I hate it when the GOP plays the debt limit game, because I find putting debt payments at any kind of risk irresponsible. But, when the governing party decides not to expose its spending plans to public scrutiny and debate, the GOP has a reasonable question to ask -- what else are you going to do to force a discussion of a crisis? This time, the GOP did put a spending plan on the table, and the Dems chose to attack the plan, without really proposing their own.

I hope there is a broad compromise. I don't see how that compromise does not avoid revenue raisers (aka tax increases for somebody). I suppose I might be engaged in my usual battle against everyone in defending it.

But, let cherish this brief moment of agreement and togetherness.

old maltese

'Straightjacket'? Oh, my, whence the New York Times?

He pledged allegiance, but to what?

Yes, I think they are worried about his eligibility. And next year they'll be even more worried.
==============

Threadkiller

You didn't answer my question.

The first version was very well written; why change it if, as written, it legitimized his qualification?

Thomas Collins

See LUN (via Instapundit) on how the GOP could be rolled by a massive budget agreement in the context of raising the debt ceiling. Basically, the argument is that an overall deal will take taxes off the table for 2012, because the GOP will have agreed to tax increases. As to entitlement reform, it is likely that there will be no real reform, just an annoucement of big spending cuts that aren't really cuts and won't stick during the budgetary process anyway.

The article also discusses how Jeff Sessions and six other GOP Senators are trying to head off a phony megadeal. All I can say is good luck to the Magnificent Seven, and I hope more GOPers catch on to the Dem scammers.

Cecil Turner

I hope there is a broad compromise. I don't see how that compromise does not avoid revenue raisers (aka tax increases for somebody). I suppose I might be engaged in my usual battle against everyone in defending it.

Anybody with enough G2 to read a chart knows the problem is spending, and in particular, the rising cost of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The Dems have been demagoguing these programs for years, and avoiding any real attempt to reform them. Any reform--even a very slight one, which is, best case, all we're going to get here--represents real progress. Raising taxes merely allows them to ignore the problem for longer, and directly adds to the uncertainty already plaguing the marketplace (a mere six months after the last bipartisan compromise on the subject).

My position: cut something. Leave taxes alone. The compromise from the GOP side is agreeing to raise the debt limit.

Melinda Romanoff

TC-

The tactic has been noted and declared in the press, as a warning shot.

We'll see how it plays out.

Thomas Collins

Appalled, don't you think the "grand compromise with revenue raisers" approach was tried in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA)? And is there any reason to believe that what happened with the TEFRA approach won't happen again (most of the revenue raisers stay in place, and most of the spending cuts don't happen)? As to cutting marginal tax rates in return for the elimination of tax benefits, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 did just that, and the tax rates have inched up while most of the benefits eliminated in the 86 Act haven't reappeared.

Appalled

Cecil:

If one or the other side gets rolled, my guess is that uncertainty in the hiring markets will get rolled, because business will sit on their hands until 2012, expecting the deal to get changed. I think compromise means compromise -- both sides having to eat a lot of spinach. And, while changes to entitlements are what are needed, I would be cautious about a deal that mostly touches that. Cuts made to appease wild Republicans can be restored in later years, with no actual impact on anything. Frankly, in serious cuts in the near term might be a better measure on how seriously all this is being taken.

maryrose

Where is Conrad's budget that we were promised would be unveiled this week? It has been over 800 days since the dem-controlled senate passed a budget for our country. Where is it?

Porchlight

I'm with Cecil. The Dems blew their chances of compromise (or victory) on this when they cynically decided not to pass a budget for two years. Now they're trying to demagogue the Republican approach even though the voters made it clear in the last election that they preferred that approach.

More importantly, this ship of state sinks soon if spending is not cut.

JM Hanes

A slap in the "constitutional law professer's" face from Laurance Tribe and Justice Scalia -- what a great week!

Does anyone besides TM read the Times' print edition? I note that both Tribe's opinion and the Times' editorial were published yesterday. It's probably too much to ask, but given my abiding interest in major league irony, I wonder if they landed on the same page -- or, giving op-ed new meaning, faced off on either side of the center fold.

Not that there wouldn't be irony enough in just pointing out that the Leal opinion was published yesterday too.

All of which also tends to confirm my longstanding belief that the jejune members of the Times' editorial board do not read their own newspaper.

Ignatz

Kind of interesting to watch the former "third rail" of politics becoming a common theme of reform for both sides as its problems continue to emerge like Godzilla out of Tokyo Bay.
Demagoguery meets the unmovable object of mathematics and will eventually be proven to be quite resistable.

maryrose

Appalled:
The repubs are not going to be rolled this time and that is why all you get from Obama are false promises and backended cuts in the far distant future after he becomes toast in 2012. It is also why all you hear from dems and the dem congress members is high pithched screaming. Obama will blink first, because he is in reality a mere mortal and is re-election is the ONLY think that matters to him.

narciso

That's been Taranto's line on many of the BEOTW, JM.

Danube of Thought

"You didn't answer my question."

I can't possibly know their reason, which is why I wondered if you thought there was a nefarious one and, if so, what it might be.

You didn't answer either of my questions.

Clarice

JMH, My husband brings the print ed home from work each day and I'd look that up for you but, unfortunately, I used it to carry dirt and dead flowers when I transplanted something new in my front door planter.

Ignatz

--If one or the other side gets rolled, my guess is that uncertainty in the hiring markets will get rolled, because business will sit on their hands until 2012, expecting the deal to get changed.--

IMO, the problem in the labor markets is not so much uncertainty, which is always with us in some form, but the absolute certainty that there is no demand for labor, nor is there investment to create supply to create a demand for labor.
And it's fairly certain that after 2 1/2 years of imbecilic policy the hyena in the WH aint going to be changing his spots.

Danube of Thought

"I don't see how that compromise does not avoid revenue raisers"

Is there an extra negative floating around in there?

Threadkiller

JMH, I did not read the Tribe opinion as a slap in Obama's face. It directed blame at “Several law professors and senators, and even Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner" for the suggestion, and not Obama.

Obama is uilizing "A core function of the Constitution" which "is to 'force us into a conversation' about our future"

What a good guy.

Melinda Romanoff

His dog ate it.

Threadkiller

I asked first. :-)

Please speculate.

narciso

He was doing a 'Kingsfield' just not to Obama.

matt

it's been very light blogging, but just finished a piece on how China has been marginalizing the United States with our help along the way. LUN.

Tricklin down' on Y'all

"anti-tax straightjacket" or as it affectionately called;

Grover-alls

JM Hanes

"What's the most nefarious reason you can think of?"

Because it was constitutional law embarrassment to President Professor?

Halliburton Hiring Police in Your Community !!

Jeralyn Meritt

The Justice Policy Institute has released a new report on how private prisons game the system, creating a perceived need for their services. How they do it: Lots of money spent on lobbying and campaign contributions.

You can read the full report here. The upshot:

“Research has shown that private prisons do not save taxpayer dollars and can in fact cost taxpayers more than public prisons. Additionally, privatizing prisons may undermine cost effective sentencing reforms and increase recidivism rates. Despite these well -documented concerns, private prison companies continue to promote policies that put money in their pockets and people behind bars.”

What would be better than private prisons? [More...]


Reducing the number of people entering the justice system, and the amount of time that they spend there (Lowering the prison populations could render private, for-profit prisons unnecessary and "improve public safety and the lives of individuals."
Invest in front-end treatment and services in the community, whether private or public.
One more quote:

Taxpayers lose when their money is used to generate profits for shareholders and to promote policies that increase incarceration; communities lose when policies proven to be ineffective for public safety are pushed through state legislatures, and people involved in the criminal justice system lose when they are locked up in underfunded and sometimes unsafe facilities.”

Voting against their own interests

Koch Brothers Promise False "Hope of the Future" to Those They Cheat "of the Enjoyment of the Present"
Submitted by BuzzFlash on Fri, 07/08/2011 - 10:39am. Guest Commentary
STEPHEN PIZZO FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

One of father's favorite nostrums was that "the more things change the more things stay the same." I got a fresh lesson in that truism when I turned to an old book and it gave me the first clear understanding of the mass movement we have come to know as The Tea Party. It also opened up for me the wider implications of our current "Great Recession" and events like it worldwide.

The book was written in 1951 by crusty old philosopher/longshoreman, Eric Hoffer, clearly a man both of, and beyond his time. As I read his short book, "The True Believer: Thoughts on Mass Movements," last night I marked a few paragraphs I felt could be pulled right out of today's papers.

Here are few, which I hope enlighten you as much as they enlightened me. My annotations are in BOLD.

-----

What sparked the Tea Party movement?

"The reason that inferior elements of a nation can exert a marked influence on its course is that they are wholly without reverence toward the present. They see their lives and the present as spoiled beyond remedy and they are ready to waste and wreck both; hence their recklessness and their will to chaos... They also crave to dissolve their spoiled, meaningless selves in some soul-stirring, spectacular communal undertaking - hence their proclivity for united action."

What motivates they middle class/working class Tea Party folk?

"For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking. Experience is a handicap.

"Their innermost craving is for a new life - a rebirth - or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause. An active mass movement offers them opportunities for both. If they join the movement as full converts they are reborn to a new life in its close-knit collective body, or if attracted by sympathizers they find elements of pride, confidence and purpose by identifying themselves with the efforts, achievements and prospects of that movement."

But what's with guys like Dick Army, Freedom Works and Michelle Bachmann's support of the Tea Party?

"It is true that among the early adherents of a mass movement are also adventurers who join in the hope that the movement will give a spin to their wheel of fortune and whirl them to fame and power. ..(but) When a mass movement begins to attract people who are interested in their individual careers, it is a sign that it has passed its vigorous stage; that it is no longer engaged in molding a new world but in possessing and preserving the present. It ceases then to be a movement and becomes an enterprise... Mass movements are usually accused of doping their followers with hope of the future while cheating them of the enjoyment of the present."

But why follow the very conservatives who cause their misery in the first place?

The despair brought by unemployment comes not only from the threat of destitution, but from the sudden view of a vast nothingness ahead. The unemployed, therefore, are more likely to follow the peddlers of hope than the handers-out of relief.

JM Hanes

Appalled:

"I hate it when the GOP plays the debt limit game, because I find putting debt payments at any kind of risk irresponsible."

And enabling the borrowers does not? It's not like Democrats aren't playing the debt limit game for all it's worth. Two to tango.

"I don't see how that compromise does not avoid revenue raisers (aka tax increases for somebody)."

Republicans have already identified $200 billion in revenues to be had by simply closing existing loopholes (while Obama goes to rhetorical war on corporate jets) rather than picking an arbitrary number, raising taxes to meet it, watching Democrats thrill to the prospect of "borrowing" all that new money from the debt defraying "lockbox" to foot the bills for programs old and new -- and in a novel development, tasking the IRS administer program eligibilities instead of coming up with ways to streamline the existing code (which I believe Republicans have always claimed will also increase revenues, while and/or by simultaneously stimulating the economy).

"I suppose I might be engaged in my usual battle against everyone in defending it."

That sounds suspiciously like preemptively defending your own position by implying that the ostensible objections to come will just be thoughtless political knee-jerks.

The Psychology is well, fundamental

Three Fundamentals of the Right

Michael Lind


In contradiction to the hostility to Darwinism shared by many of its constituents, the American right is evolving rapidly before our eyes. The project of creating an American version of Burkean conservatism has collapsed. What has replaced it is best described as triple fundamentalism -- a synthesis of Biblical fundamentalism, constitutional fundamentalism and market fundamentalism.

Following World War II, the American right was a miscellany of marginal, embittered subcultures -- anti-New Dealers, isolationists, paranoid anticommunists, anti-semites and white supremacists. Russell Kirk and others associated with William F. Buckley Jr.'s National Review sought to Americanize a version of high-toned British Burkean conservatism. While the eighteenth century British parliamentarian was embraced by conservatives for his opposition to the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, a champion of the rights of Britain’s Indian, Irish and American subjects, could also be claimed by liberals like Yale Law School’s Alexander Bickel, who preferred gradual, cautious reform to radical social experimentation. In its liberal as in its conservative forms, Burkeanism disdains reaction and radicalism alike, and favors change in lesser things when necessary to maintain the continuity of more fundamental institutions and values.

The religious equivalent of Burkean politics is orthodoxy, not fundamentalism. Orthodoxy means the continuity of a tradition, as interpreted by an authoritative body of experts, such as priests, rabbis or mullahs. The term "fundamentalism" originated in the early twentieth century as a description of reactionary evangelical Protestants in the U.S. who rejected liberal Protestantism and modern evolutionary science and insisted on the inerrancy of the Bible. The phrase is nowadays applied indiscriminately and often inaccurately to various religious movements, some of which, in the Catholic, Jewish and Muslim traditions are better described as ultra-orthodox.

America’s Burkean conservatives like Kirk tended to favor Catholicism or the Anglo-Catholic school within the Anglican church. For them, establishment and hierarchy were terms of praise. But once white Southerners captured the Republican party and the conservative movement, the High Church right that found Kirk and Buckley among its college of cardinals gave way to the political equivalent of the Foot-Washin’ Baptists.

Today Protestant fundamentalism is associated with the Scots-Irish in the Bible Belt from West Virginia to Texas, but its ancestry lies in now-secular New England and the Midwest and it migrated southward only after the Civil War. As Burke observed at the time of the American revolution:

"All Protestantism…is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance: it is the dissidence of dissent and the protestantism of the Protestant religion."

It is also the populism of Populism. As an intermediary between the soul and God, the church hierarchy has been all but replaced by the Bible in fundamentalist Protestantism. Nor is there any need for theologians to expound the Bible, which was conveniently written in English so that it can be understood by any plain American.

The increasingly-Southernized American Right has transferred the fundamentalist Protestant mentality from the sphere of religion to the spheres of law and the economy. Protestant fundamentalism is now joined by constitutional fundamentalism and market fundamentalism.

In all three cases, the pattern is the same. There is the eternal Truth that never varies -- the will of God, the principles of the Founding Fathers, the so-called laws of the free market. There are the scriptures which explain the eternal truths -- the King James Bible, in the case of religious fundamentalism, the Constitution or the Federalist Papers, in the case of constitutional fundamentalism, and Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom in the case of market fundamentalism (The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand can be substituted for Hayek, on request).

"There’s only one book you ever need to read," a Bible-believin' Texan Baptist once assured me. He was two books short of a populist conservative bookshelf. But in the age of post-intellectual, fundamentalist conservatism, three books are sufficient to make anyone the equal of the most erudite intellectual. The books need not actually be read, and for the most part probably are not; it is enough, in argument, to thump the Bible, and to thump "The Road to Serfdom" and "Atlas Shrugged," too.

The mentality of fundamentalism, not Burkean conservative traditionalism, underlies the rewriting of American constitutional history by the Straussians associated with the Claremont Institute in Cailfornia and of American economic history by conservative propagandists like Amity Shlaes. Burkeans viewed the history of British and American freedom as a gradually unfolding process of -- dare it be said?--evolution, in which useful innovations, after suitable probation, could be incorporated as elements of the tradition. This "Catholic" view of political history is incompatible with the "Protestant" view of right-wing political fundamentalism, which transfers the script of radical Protestantism to the realms of political history and economics.

History, to the fundamentalist mind, is a story of original perfection, followed by betrayal and restoration. The early Christian church was perfect; it was corrupted and betrayed by medieval Catholicism; and it was restored to its original purity by radical Protestant reformers. In the same way, the American constitution was not a flawed compromise among rival states and factions, to be improved by later amendment, but a document of superhuman wisdom, created in a kind of secular Pentecost at Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. To believe today’s constitutional fundamentalists, the true constitution was betrayed around 1900 in the name of the "living constitution" by progressives and liberals, who play the villain’s role in political history that the evangelicals assign to the Catholic Church in Christian history.

Modern American market fundamentalism, too, is recognizably modeled on the fundamentalist Protestant version of church history, even though market fundamentalists need not be Christian conservatives. Ignoring the long history of tariffs, land grants, military procurement and mixed public-private corporations in the United States, the market fundamentalists pretend that the U.S. was governed by the laws of the market until Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal replaced capitalism with socialism (or statism, or fascism, or whatever Amity Shlaes or Jonah Goldberg want to call it). Russell Kirk wrote that any true conservative would be a socialist before he would be a libertarian. But then he was a Burkean High Church conservative.

The rise of triple fundamentalism on the American right creates a crisis of political discourse in the United States. Back when conservatism was orthodox and traditional, rather than fundamentalist and counter-revolutionary, conservatives could engage in friendly debates with liberals, and minds on both sides could now and then be changed. But if your sect alone understands the True Religion and the True Constitution and the Laws of the Market, then there is no point in debate. All those who disagree with you are heretics, to be defeated, whether or not they are converted.

For their part, progressives have no idea of how to respond to the emergent right’s triple fundamentalism. Today it is the left, not the right, that is Burkean in America. Modern American liberalism is disillusioned, to the point of defeatism, by the frustration of the utopian hopes of 1960s liberalism in the Age of Reagan that followed and has not yet ended. Today it is liberals, not conservatives, who tend to be cautious and incremental and skeptical to a fault about the prospects for reform, while it is the right that wants to blow up the U.S. economy and start all over, on the basis of the doctrines of two Austrian professors and a Russian émigré novelist. Barack Obama, who would have flourished in an age when conservatives and liberals shared a common Burkean sensibility, finds himself as baffled and flustered by the tribunes of the Tea Party as Edmund Burke would have been by the young Marjoe Gortner.

The era of triple fundamentalism on the American right is bound to come to an end. Sooner or later, dogmatism and reality will collide, and it is not reality that will crumple like tinfoil. The only question is how much damage will be done to the American polity before the revolution of the saints fizzles out.

Rob Crawford

On the other hand, I think that the NY Times is on to something here in its misgivings about representative government and they should expand on that theme so we all can learn how our betters would govern us.

Isn't that Friedman's job? It seems like every other week he's telling us how wonderful it would be if this were a dictatorship.

BTW, folks, there's another reason the cut-and-paste troll is doing this -- it drives up Tom's bandwidth costs.

Tom, post the idiot's IP/IPs.

Rob Crawford

I hate it when the GOP plays the debt limit game, because I find putting debt payments at any kind of risk irresponsible.

I hate it when the left insists on spending money we don't have to buy votes.

And, BTW, there was never any danger that debt payments couldn't be made. Ya might wanna stay informed about these things.

JM Hanes

Threadkiller:

"JMH, I did not read the Tribe opinion as a slap in Obama's face. "

Well, you're a better man than I, because I didn't actually read the Tribe opinion at all. :-) I'll stick my head out on a pretty sturdy limb, though, and say that there will always be someone between President Plausible Deniability and the slap, but his thin skin will feel it. Someone with Tribe's ambitions is also entirely likely to hedge his bets with a little sucking-up.

Upon reflection, Geithner has apparently decided he's not a 14ther either. If all the putative economic giants who have deserted the White House had bigger buses, Obama would be a Pennsylvania Ave pancake.

JM Hanes

"Grover-alls"

Now, that there is funny! And in a post short enough to notice, too.

Danube of Thought

I speculated and came up empty. Seems of no significance to me.

Appalled

JMH:

It's not like Democrats aren't playing the debt limit game for all it's worth. Two to tango.

The congressional GOP, in the 90s, gave us government shutdowns, debt limit threats, and the impeachment crisis. In other words, the debt limit fights is just one of those Jacobin stunts the would-be Robspierres of Gingrich's 1994 class kept pulling. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Sorry 'bout that. I think the Tea Party GOP is a more mature bunch -- I am genuinely impressed by Ryan and Bohener. And I think this debt situation is different -- it is more serious. Also, the Dems have gone out of their way to avoid passing a budget -- and that's contemptable.

Republicans have already identified $200 billion in revenues to be had by simply closing existing loopholes (while Obama goes to rhetorical war on corporate jets) rather than picking an arbitrary number

200 billion just isn't that much. As for an arbitrary number -- there is no deal, and we haven't seen it yet. So it's hard say anything. I do not know how a budget gap gets plausibly closed without more money coming in from somewhere. I could be wrong. The Ryan budget managed it, but with changes to Medicare that the Dems are unlikely to accept if they have any control.

That sounds suspiciously like preemptively defending your own position by implying that the ostensible objections to come will just be thoughtless political knee-jerks.

That's a little...no, actually, a lot, harsh. A no-tax deal requires either adoption of the Ryan Plan, or serious hacking away at Social Security that's unlikely from the Democratic side. Do you truly believe that either will be accepted by our President? He's got to make the GOP accept something seriously distasteful to them, or he loses his party.

I prefer a deal to perfection, and think the people ought to see what running the government they want really costs. YMMV.


Jack is Back!

Are there really three equal branches of government? From time to time, It doesn't appear so. This is one of these times where we have two branches arguing over or trying to exercise perceived power of the purse-strings (ie. the national debt and controlling its barometric pressure). If they (the admin) try to pull a fast one and disregard Congress does that mean the SCOTUS steps in to equalize the power by returning to status qou? Is that where this is headed to the SCOTUS?

Rob Crawford

JiB -- SCOTUS isn't necessary to enforce the debt ceiling.

Congress has the power to impeach and convict.

Tonto

You know, I used to be annoyed by The Spammer's ridiculous posts, but now I smile to myself as I SOB ... If his posts were a perfume it would be called "Progressive Desperation," although I'm confident many here would come up with a more apt/pungent name.

Porchlight

I prefer a deal to perfection, and think the people ought to see what running the government they want really costs.

Tell it to the guy you voted for. Does he know what the government he wants really costs? Does he care? The evidence says maybe on 1, definitely not on 2.

Murdoch Hacking is a BFD !!!

NYT


British Tories Squirm as They Feel the Heat in Murdoch’s Embrace
By JOHN F. BURNS and JO BECKER
Published: July 7, 2011
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LONDON — When David Cameron became prime minister in May 2010, one of his first visitors at 10 Downing Street — within 24 hours, and entering by a back door, according to accounts in British newspapers — was Rupert Murdoch.
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Parbul TV, via Reuters
The Labour Party, now led by Ed Miliband, was once a Murdoch friend.
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Anatomy of the Phone-Hacking Scandal

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Key Players in the Phone-Hacking Scandal
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Scandal Shifts Britain’s Media and Political Landscape (July 8, 2011)
Move to Close Newspaper Is Greeted With Suspicion (July 8, 2011)
At the Paper, Shock, Anger and a Retreat to a Pub (Free Beer) (July 8, 2011)
A Tenacious Rise to the Top in the Brutal Men’s World of Tabloids (July 8, 2011)
Related in Opinion
ROOM FOR DEBATE

Who Will Win the Media Battle of Britain?
A phone hacking scandal provokes a public outcry, a political uproar and a media power struggle.
Fourteen months later, with Mr. Murdoch’s media empire in Britain reeling, Mr. Cameron may feel that his close relationship with Mr. Murdoch, which included a range of social contacts with members of the Murdoch family and the tycoon’s senior executives, has been a costly overreach.

Those concerns were intensified by the arrest on Friday of Andy Coulson, the former editor of The News of the World and, until he resigned in January this year, Mr. Cameron’s media chief at Downing Street.

Mr. Cameron hired Mr. Coulson in 2007 after scandals had rocked the newspaper. And he repeatedly defended him even as signs accumulated that Mr. Coulson had greater awareness of the newspaper’s phone-hacking practices than he had acknowledged.

Some of Mr. Cameron’s political opponents have cast the embrace of Mr. Murdoch as a mistake that could combine with other recent miscues by the Cameron government to seriously weaken the prime minister’s party, the Conservatives. But those critics, including the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband, have to cope with the awkward fact that the Labour Party was just as closely linked with Mr. Murdoch, if not more so, during the 13 years that Britain was led by Mr. Cameron’s predecessors as prime minister, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Since he began building his media empire in Britain 40 years ago, Mr. Murdoch, who was born in Australia, has been a figure of towering political importance, credited by many British politicians with the power to make and unmake governments as well as influence government policies that affect the fortunes of his newspaper and television interests.

Mr. Murdoch has used his clout to try to curb the powers of media regulatory bodies and expand his control of the dominant pay-television network British Sky Broadcasting, which the British government is still weighing. But he has also voiced strong opinions on matters of wider significance, like British politicians’ flirtation with the idea of abandoning the pound for the euro, an idea Mr. Murdoch vehemently opposed.

His decision to switch his British newspapers’ support to Mr. Cameron and the Conservatives last year after backing Labour in three elections, many political analysts say, made a crucial difference in returning the Conservatives to power."

"....crucial difference in returning the Conservatives to power"

That should be under the Masthead,

Melinda Romanoff

Rob-

Could you e-mail the owner of this blog, please?

Thank you.

Melinda Romanoff

tonto-

Sorta like mental laryngitis.

Cecil Turner

The Ryan budget managed it, but with changes to Medicare that the Dems are unlikely to accept if they have any control.

Nonsense. The Ryan budget doesn't balance, nor even come particularly close. And without changes to medicare "the Dems are unlikely to accept" (especially considering their going-in position is no changes whatsoever), there is no chance of sustainable government spending.

I prefer a deal to perfection, and think the people ought to see what running the government they want really costs. YMMV.

Again, silly. There's no chance of "perfection" . . . we're not going to see a deficit less than a trillion this year, no matter what they do. The question is whether we can get some meaningful cuts in spending, or not. And raising taxes on corporations and small businesses is exactly the wrong answer, especially now. The stupid ones the Dems are suggesting (corporate jets? You're kidding, right?) would actually be counterproductive.

Cecil Turner

A no-tax deal requires either adoption of the Ryan Plan, or serious hacking away at Social Security that's unlikely from the Democratic side.

This is also completely wrong. There is no requirement for any particular number in savings on this deal . . . the Dems have simply refused to consider any cuts in the programs that obviously must be cut. (And understand, when we say "cut" we mean "reduce rate of increase" . . . there is no stomach in either party for actual cuts.)

If they did nothing more than index the SS COLA to the chained CPI--a move that pretty much everyone agrees with--they could walk away from this with a win-win-win. But they'd rather have an issue--and continue racking up trillion-dollar deficits--in hopes of saving their phoney baloney political futures for another cycle . . . while the economy drives off a cliff.

"No taxes up my sleeve....Presto !   no growth

My questions are simple: Why was it politically possible for Ronald Reagan to increase taxes so massively? Why is doing so impossible now? What has changed?
Today, tea party conservatives would be begging Sen. Jim DeMint to primary the Gipper.
Polls indicate that the majority of the American people would support tax increases to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. Why, then, is that course of action impossible? If the will of the people no longer matters, do we still live in a democracy?

If the debt ceiling is not raised and economic Ragnarok ensues, we must all do everything in our power to insure that the Republicans bear the brunt of the blame. And I say that as someone who thinks that Obama has been one incredibly shitty president. Somehow the message has to get through: We must raise taxes and institute a jobs program to decrease unemployment and increase demand.

We are in these straits only because Bush waged wars without raising revenue to pay for those wars. Too many people agreed with Dick Cheney's insane dictum that "deficits don't matter." If the public understands that military action always has a hefty price tag, and that the day will come when the piper will require payment, this country will embark on fewer reckless adventures.

Taxes on the wealthy were much higher in previous years, when the country was more prosperous. Much of our current debt would disappear if Congress would rescind Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.

Tax cuts have been tried. They did not work.

When the Wall Street collapse hit in 2008, Bush responded with tax cuts, the only ideologically permissible weapon in his arsenal. The economy continued to suffer massive job losses.

Obama's stimulus package primarily consisted on tax cuts (a fact which most Americans do not know); those tax cuts did not help.

Obama made a deal to keep the Bush tax cuts in place. Result: unemployment rose.

Last December, he signed legislation giving more tax cuts to businesses, on the theory that those cuts would accelerate hiring. Did the trick work? Did you feel a rush of acceleration?

If we raised taxes to the level they were at throughout most of the Reagan era, our debt would be manageable.

The lesson of recent history is clear: Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't freakin' work.

Libertarian refuse to accept the lessons of lived experience; they have their beloved theory, and for them, theory is enough. Libertarians are magicians who keep reaching into the top hat, absolutely confident that -- one of these days -- they will find a rabbit in there.

Appalled

Cecil:

I'm not going to predict a deal, other than it will have revenue increases. I probably will like a deal, unless it is clearly phony (which is possible). The bigger the deal, the better off we are, because it will be more likely to make the deal sustainable.

But it's going to have increased revenues. It just is. Deal with it. The alternative, literally, is continuation of the current spending, with increased uncertainty about what happens next. Which is just swell for our sputtering recovery.

Cecil Turner

But it's going to have increased revenues. It just is. Deal with it.

They've already agreed on user fees and some (land?) sales, so the revenues part is a pretty sure bet. The debate is over tax increases. And if it has any significant tax increases, it ought not pass.

The alternative, literally, is continuation of the current spending, with increased uncertainty about what happens next.

I thought the alternative was "default" (though not actual default on debt, because that's prohibited).

PD

"Economists 'Stunned' by Jobs Miss, Blame ADP"

Why, of course.

matt

it's getting biblical out there. Leftists screaming epithets. Lightning bolts from the heavens...dogs and cats living together...LUN

GMAX

The tell on the Democrats losing the PR debate over raising taxes was this ridiculous 14th amendment blather. If they were winning hearts and minds, they would never have allowed these wild and poorly reasoned thoughts to percolate out into the public.

The Democrats will cave and there will be no tax rate increases on anybody. The mistake of subsidizing pouring corn into our gas tank, raising both food prices and reducing gasoline mileage simultaneously, will be corrected, methinks. Some other loopholes may get fixed as well. But there will be no tax rate increase, nor should there be. We have the high ground here.

Melinda Romanoff

PD-

That, I believe, was Joe LaVorgna of DbK, explaining away as to why, after the ADP release yesterday, he revised up his NFP est. from 100K to 170K and was off by 972%.

(He did it last month too.)

PD

"President Obama said after the dismal jobs report that Americans expect Washington "to act on every single good idea that's out there" to try to help the economy."

It'd be a good idea for him to resign.

JM Hanes

Michael Lind

..... needs to get his head out of his own ..... books more, but I'll admit to an abiding fascination in watching blindly self-serving liberal intellectuals trying to describe the conservative elephant in their rooms. It always makes one grateful for the fundamental one-man/one-vote premise of democracy. I imagine Lind secretly praying that his novel brand of evolution will take care of that problem, because it's not the spectre of fundamentalism which really scares the bejesus out of his ilk, it's the dread pirate of populism -- a term which can only be used sparingly, when Democrats are claiming to be the voice of the people. Lind apparently hasn't realized that Anti-Southernizationism has lost a great deal of its retro luster too, evolving, right under his nose, as vast numbers of Yankee ex-pats have forded the Mason-Dixon looking for a better life.

I bet Amity Shlaes and Jonah Goldberg would enjoy the shout out, though.

GMAX

let cherish this brief moment of agreement and togetherness.

Lets not. There is nothing particularly virtuous about compromise. In fact, if you betray a core principal, I would cetainly argue that is the opposite of virtue. Treacherous?

Anyway, we have taken the measure of our counterparty, and find them to be fools, knaves and liars who can not be trusted to hold up their end of a bargain.

So show we the spending cuts, and perhaps if they actually happen and are not ephemeral, and are proven to be insufficient, there will be enough goodwill established to entertain such a distastful path.

Banksters Free Money

THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2011

More Goldman Sachs Secret Borrowings
I have tried to keep track of all the money that Goldman Sachs has borrowed from the Fed and from other sources. Here is the list so far:

1. $ 10 billion TARP funds (just so everyone will be in the same boat!);
2. 12.9 billion from AIG TARP funds used for GS counterparties;
3. 1.9 billion of the AIG funds used for its own purposes;
4. 5 billion loan from Buffet;
5. 589 billion PDCF short term loans from the Federal Reserve;
6. 193 billion TSLF
7. either 53.4 billion or 30 billion from ST OMO (shingle-tranche open-market operations)

It adds up to a total of $865.2 billion (and we shouldn't be surprised if there are more secrets out there to be disclosed and the sum reaches 1$ trillion.)

If you want to see a chart of the money that Goldman Sachs has borrowed over the years, see here.

Just think, if that money had been used to increase employment, help homeowners, assist states that need help, etc. instead of creating all those billionaires and millionaires with their fat salaries, bonuses and stock portfolios!

jimmyk

I'm so tired of the abuse of the word "compromise." There is no natural baseline from which to split the difference. The Republicans should stake out a position of massive tax cuts, shutting down the departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy, and ending all farm subsidies. Then "compromise" from that.

jimmyk

I find putting debt payments at any kind of risk irresponsible.

Why? The private sector does it all the time. If we've learned anything from the past few years, is that the failure of creditors to impose debt limits, and to impose constraints on borrowers, is truly irresponsible.

Janet

Wow Matt!!

Jim Miller

JM Hanes - The NYT editorial "Negotiating on a Knife's Edge", and Tribe's latest op-ed were both published today -- in the edition sold here in Seattle. The editorial was the lead editorial on the editorial page and Tribe's op-ed was facing it on the op-ed page.

But I wouldn't make too much of this, because one of the uses of the op-ed page is to present opinions that differ from those held by the editorial writers.

The timing may be a nice coincidence (or even not a coincidence), but nothing more.

But it is fun, from time to time, to spot an editorial that misses facts published in the news pages of the paper. Or to see them switch editorial positions, depending on the tactical needs of the left wing of the Democratic party.

fdcol63

Compromise in this instance is like being in an already filled-to-almost-sinking lifeboat.

No matter how well-intentioned the request to add new people to the boat is, adding just a few more will surely sink the lifeboat, killing everyone else onboard.

Banksters Free Money

Matt Taibbi


JP Morgan Chase Fine: Another Slap on the Wrist for Wall Street

POSTED: JULY 8, 12:05 PM ET


SEC Enforcement Director and former Deustche Bank general counsel Robert Khuzami

Courtesy of my good friend Eric Salzman comes this latest outrage – SEC Enforcement Director and former Deustche Bank general counsel Robert Khuzami boasting about the latest slap on the wrist directed at a major bank, this time a $228 million fine of JP Morgan Chase for a bid-rigging scheme involving municipal bonds. The Chase ruling is the latest to come down in a series of fines involving a number of banks, including Bank of America and UBS.

This is one of the best examples we’ve had yet of the profound difference in the style of criminal justice enforcement for the very rich and connected, versus the style of justice for everyone else. This scam that Chase, Bank of America and UBS were involved with was no different in any way, really, from old-school mafia-style bid-rigging scams.

What these banks did is they got together and carved up territory between them, arranging things so that they wouldn’t be bidding against each other in municipal debt auctions. That means the 18 different states involved in these 93-odd deals all got screwed out of the best prices, leaving the taxpayers in those places severely overcharged for their public borrowing.

This is absolutely no different from what mafia groups in New York used to (and probably still do) do for public contracts – the proverbial five families would get together, divide up the boroughs and neighborhoods between them, and each family would individually buy or intimidate their way into the bidding process, corrupting the game so that the public had to overpay for their garbage collection or their construction labor or whatever. The only difference here is that we’re talking about debt, not garbage. But the concept is exactly the same; it’s the same crime.

If Khuzami’s defendants had been a bunch of Italians from Howard Beach, they would be facing RICO charges and would be looking at years in prison, plus seizure of all their ill-gotten gains, in addition to civil suits and penalties.

As it is, as my friend Eric points out, the endgame for banks like Chase is, “Admit nothing, pay two hours of revenue and all good!”

You don’t have to take my word for it. Go back for yourselves and look through bid-rigging cases in the past. If you see a bunch of Italian names in the list of defendants (see here for instance), you can pretty much guarantee that there’s a RICO prosecution involved.

But if the defendants are a bunch of Ivy-League educated bankers from Wall Street, what we end up getting is a negligible fine (officials will brag about this $228 million, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the banks make scamming communities and governments) and, as always, no admission of guilt. This is how the SEC’s own press release reads:

Without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC’s complaint, JPMS has consented to the entry of a final judgment enjoining it from future violations of Section 15(c)(1)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 …

That the settlement includes language like this is another gift to the banks. Allowing Chase to settle without admitting guilt leaves the conned states and localities facing an uphill climb in any attempt to recoup more money through litigation.

The Chase/UBS/BofA case is a close relative of cases like the Jefferson County, Alabama business, in the sense that the game here involves corrupt local officials selling out to banks, with both parties making the taxpayer the mark in a scheme to overcharge him for debt he never voted to incur. It is a classic modern Wall Street scam, in that people in these states were victimized without ever even knowing that they were robbed.

How would the California resident have any way of quantifying how much money he personally loses when Chase cheats his state out of true bids in municipal bond auctions? When his taxes get raised five years from now to pay off this artificially inflated debt, will he have any clue what’s behind the increases? By the time anyone figures it out, in the very rare case that anyone does, it's five or ten years after the banks have paid out the bonuses to the guilty parties.

Moreover, this particular scheme also targets the federal government, which normally taxes the proceeds of investment earnings from tax-exempt bonds. Now, they collect less in taxes. You can bet, when the Tea Party starts calling for NPR and food stamps to be sacrificed to reduce the deficit, that nobody will be bringing up the tax revenue Chase, UBS and BofA swindled the Treasury out of in these bid-rigging schemes.

This kind of thing goes on all the time and it’s only in the most extreme cases, like for instance when people in Alabama end up paying 500 percent of their normal sewer bill to pay off some dirty financing deal, that we ever find out about it. It’s not going to stop until people start doing hard time for these crimes, and it looks like we’re still a very long way from that.

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Jack is Back!

BFM,

And which political party benefits most from those Wall St. bankers?

hit and run

I love Fridays.

JiB stop. And email me. jomhitandrun at gmail dot com

Extraneus

The compromise should be that Republicans agree to a few trillion more in the debt limit, and Democrats agree to pass a balanced budget amendment, so this carp stops right here, once and for all.

The Balanced Budget Amendment is already written, so there's no reason they couldn't do both in the same bill within a matter of days.

narciso

The Verum serum link, works best, Matt for those who 'Abandon all Hope' to go to Politico.

hit and run

Posted by: JM Hanes | July 08, 2011 at 03:58 PM

Heh. I like that I can zoom in on the radar to your exact location to keep track of your weather. Let's see....it should be raining there in 5...4....3....2....

Just be sure to send some this-a-way.

narciso

The EPA has gone all Luigi Fricotti on Texas,
'that's a nice state you got there, it's a shame, something were to happen to it' (h/t
the Tatler)

Appalled

GMAX:

Of course, there are a number of core priciples at play here. One of them is you pay for the government services you demand. Second is you pay your debts.

Lincoln and Reagan knew how to compromise, while keeping their goals in view, and the country is the better for it. The most famous non-compromiser I know is Woodrow Wilson, and we know how well that turned out.

Danube of Thought

200 billion just isn't that much

It depends on when it occurs, and over how much time. These clowns routinely quote "reduction" figures for the next ten years in total, and an Obama favorite--trotted out yet again--is to quote a twelve-year figure, with a huge amount of the reduction occurring in those final two years.

This is all phony as a three-dollar bill; none of it will bind any future congress. The only thing that counts are reductions that are effective immediately, and structural changes to the entitlements. I don't hold out much hope for either; some Senate Dems are already threatening to filibuster any deal that modifies Social Security in any way at all.

Gotta keep your eye on the ball at all times with this bunch.

Ranger

Funny, but this sounds much more like a description of Obama's 2008 campaign, than of the Tea Party:

"For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking. Experience is a handicap...

The despair brought by unemployment comes not only from the threat of destitution, but from the sudden view of a vast nothingness ahead. The unemployed, therefore, are more likely to follow the peddlers of hope than the handers-out of relief.

Funny how a dedicated lefty can read through all that and not spot the clear connection to Barry's grand Hope and Change-athon from less than three years ago. And that "Experience is a handicap" definately fits the youth mobilization of Barry's grand crusade of Hope and Change.

JM Hanes

Appalled:

"In other words, the debt limit fights is just one of those Jacobin stunts the would-be Robspierres of Gingrich's 1994 class kept pulling. It left a bad taste in my mouth."

I'd say get over it; this is not your daddy's 90's anymore. If you're claiming history as your guide, however, perhaps you need reminding that Speaker Boehner was one of the small gang who famously tried to oust Newt Gingrich, and was exiled from leadership (where he held spot #4) completely a result.

Unsurprisingly, the way Boehner runs the House bears utterly no resemblance to Gingrich and the circus he presided over. Nor do his negotiations within his own conference, between the two parties and with the White House. His past service as Republican Chair of the House Conference suggests he knows a thing or two about brokering deals, and his record as Speaker to date is pretty damn good.

The knee-jerk here looks like your own superficial analogy, to me, in which neither side of your equation bears close inspection. I'm not seeing stunts, I'm seeing the most serious, forward looking, Congressional leadership we've had in decades. Yes, the stakes are high; that's why looking for a comfortable exit (or Obama's cynically rhetorical "balance") will ultimately exacerbate, not resolve, the underlying structural problems.

Clarice

I agree that Boehner has done a masterful job holding his side together and sticking with a viable, important agenda.

JM Hanes

Jim Miller:

Thanks for the passalong! I will continue to delight in the irony. That's the only real significance I'm attaching to the juxtaposition and/or the timing. Just gathering rosebuds.....

....and mixing metaphors.

hit and run

There are full-sized pics,but too big to fit here.

I say Kate faced those harsh western Canadian winds with aplomb.

Oh Canada...we stand on guard for thee!

glasater

That naughty photographer--heh What a great catch!

Extraneus

This one should fit.

MayBee

Men do love a yellow dress.

Extraneus

Well it's just not fair that Pippa gets all the good press.

hit and run

mrs hit and run: "Do you think I look good in this dress?"

Me: "Honey, you'd look good in nothing."

Janet

She has lovely legs. Jim Ryan will love that pic! ...and the yellow dress is very pretty. So fresh & simple.

Rick Ballard

I really think that Boehner should compromise with the President. I would propose a $700 billion increase in the debt limit in exchange for $350 billion in actual cuts from current budget level to be applied in '12. Let the Dems pick 50% of the cuts and the Reps pick the rest.

What could be more fair?

Melinda Romanoff

Rick-

I'd flip the numbers, but that's just me being greedy.

Gmax

Dress, Maybee? Was there a dress in the photo? Seriously, you say?

Gmax

One of them is you pay for the government services you demand. Second is you pay your debts.

My demands are and have been quite modest. Form a standing army and print a common currency and then foremost get the hell out of the way.

We are not talking about past debts, its the 40% of every current dollar that you want to borrow for bullshit programs that I object so strongly.

We have tried the raise taxes and cuts will come later routine. This time its going to be cuts first and then lets talk.

Hide and watch if you doubt me in the least.

Rick Ballard

Mel,

I figure $700 billion would get Uncle Sugar out to March of '12. I'm sure that the President will have worked his wonders to the point where raising the debt limit any further will be completely unnecessary (after all, we'll be in the 3rd year of his masterful diligence at that time).

If the economy has not responded to the extraordinary attention given it by the Blightbringer at that point then I would think that a $350 billion increase in the debt ceiling coupled with $700 billion in actual near term cuts would be entirely appropriate.

Extraneus

Jim Ryan will love that pic!

If he's who he says he is, he'll love all three.

Rupert's Rupture

Is there a UK equivalent to Sarbanes/Oxley?

London police are investigating the possibility that an executive working for Rupert Murdoch's News International deleted "millions of emails" in an attempt to thwart a phone hacking probe, reports said Friday.

On two separate occasions, a senior executive is thought to have erased "massive quantities" of messages, according to The Guardian.

One of the massive deletions may have happened in January, just as police were launching "Operation Weeting" to look into charges that reporters at News of the World hacked voicemails.

While Guardian didn't name the senior executive, current News International CEO Rebekah Brooks was editor of the British tabloid at the time.

News International chairman James Murdoch had pledged that the company was proactively cooperating with police.

"Currently, there are two major and ongoing police investigations," he said in a statement. "We are cooperating fully and actively with both. You know that it was News International who voluntarily brought evidence that led to opening Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden. This full cooperation will continue until the police’s work is done."

matt

was at the healthy food market at lunch today to pick up a salad, and Lordy, there was a young woman with legs from here to yonder...thanks for the oblique memory trigger....summertime is good.

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Wilson/Plame