This is not the time to pursue an economic agenda based on liberal social goals.Is it ever with these twits? Onward and forever to tax-cutting and cannibal capitalism!
Creepier still is what he actually has to say, conflating the evils of lobbyists who have a worse reputation than lawyers lately, Wall Street bankers who as a group are probably less popular that the C+ Augustus still aggravatingly living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. that Chucky has been fellating O' these many years, and the entire city of Detroit with its principle industry as both a wholly subsumed nationalized colony of Washington DC with its hand out like any common
For the hat-trick, he looks in his crystal ball and declares any attempt to assist the auto industry in modernizing and greening our future stinks of the Soviet Union's completely planned Diktats on every factory floor, then pronounces the entire effort doomed to the same failure.
All this because we might want GM, Ford and Chrysler to build affordable, fuel efficient hybrid cars if they want a loan. (And they should look really cool too, but that's just me.)
The ruling Democrats have a choice: Rescue this economy to return it to market control. Or use this crisis to seize the commanding heights of the economy for the greater social good. Note: The latter has already been tried. The results are filed under "History, ash heap of."I smell fear. Fear that events and the excesses of those who share Krauthammer's dementia are truly irrelevant, increasingly so in a world that is passing them by. The more they sink into the "ash heap" of their "commercial republic," the more outlandish the rhetoric will become.
I've no doubt Charlie will be deriding President Obama in stark terms in short order. He'll compare Obama to Stalin for instituting virtual gulags for FOX reporters who never get to ask a question at press conferences. He'll demand the Democrats provide bridge loans to house the refugees of a Purity Purge as soon as he doesn't retain every single incompetent US Attorney hired by AG Gonzales based their use of smiley-faces instead of periods at the end of each sentence in their essay on "What I Did Over My Summer Vacation To Make George W. Bush Even More Awesome." Obama will walk on sour wine and only heal
No doubt my crystal ball is fractured just as much as Krauthammer's. The problem is that he looks through his murky lens to see the past, and the present -- wrongly.
Just keep this in mind with all this talk of nationalization and socialism right now, communists didn't "loan" capital to industry. They just took over, declared the state the owners and ultimate authority over everything. They didn't just hand over rubles to company managers, with or without conditions. For the various bailouts to be anything remotely resembling what the Bolsheviks did, we would have to completely replace the management of those companies with federal bureaucrats and destroy shareholder equity.
Indeed, there wouldn't be any stock market for Chuckles to get his skirts all twisted over when it bolts up and down on the latest message from Obama or Secretary Paulson. Under Soviet-style socialism, for those who either don't know nor care to grok, you don't play with fractions of ownership rights in corporations like so many casino chips. You eliminate corporations altogether.
Not to put too much an edge on it, when President Obama decides to "buy" GM et al., I'll worry about our new socialist overlords. Telling the automakers that they only will get the USA as a co-signer on their loan application if they promise to use the money for good -- good for the USA btw -- is just plain old-fashioned horse trading, capitalism in it's purest form.
There are no free lunches, right? You want something from me, I get something in return -- and if you want it bad enough I can demand very favorable terms. What part of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" stuff don't these Free Marketeers understand? I mean, Detroit doesn't have to take the deal and can take their chances.
And what's not to be thankful about. Everybody well fed, praising the cook even though I did manage to absolutely ruin on of the pies. (The sweet potato and pumpkin were exquisite, but the apple-raisin blew chunks.) The kids were playing and doing their snoopy dance, grandson refusing to eat anything that isn't wrapped in cellophane and driving the daughter-in-law batty (the kind of stuff I live for).
On the annoying side, Jon Swift's satire can mess with your head. If indeed, he's being satirical.
This year as President Bush pardoned two turkeys, who surprisingly had nothing to do with the Savings and Loan scandals of the 1980s, he remarked that it was his “last Thanksgiving as President.” But it might be the last Thanksgiving any of us celebrate since there is a good chance that when Barack Obama takes over, he will abolish Thanksgiving along with other holidays liberals hate such as Columbus Day, Christmas and the Fourth of July.Spare yourself clicking the link if you're usually the brunt of everyone's April Fools pranks (which reminds me of this outstanding list of some of the best ever) or in any way susceptible to outrage when conservative trolls spoiling for a tussle prove their ignorance by painting a liberal straw-man and then knock it down with a Hummer.
He's really good, had me fooled for a while. It's like reading all those asses at The Corner or Hot Air or other retarded conservatives TBogg and Sadly No skewer on a regular basis -- but of course Cliff at SN! was intimately familiar with the real comic genius when it comes to the true meaning of Thanksgiving, GayPatriotWest, who really has no clue how funny he is.
Count me among the easily duped. Since getting banned early in my blogging career at Dean's World, I've avoided more exposure to right wing blogs beyond those on the left who make sport of ridiculing them, unless you start with "Shorter Dim Bulb Wingnut..." or "This guy's a real tool..." So, sadly yes, I too can fall prey to a lack of ironic appreciation no doubt caused by my Bush Derrangement Syndrome. Count me among the easily duped.
Down with Tryptophan!
Mind you, the fact that you have to go up in space to use it makes the desire to have one no less intense -- even more so. Still want!!!
All my wishes are coming true! Either it's time to play the lottery or finish that stable for all the ponies I'm getting for Christmas.
What's next? I do have my Secret Santa List if anyone's feeling especially generous.
- Rush Limbaugh develops incurable laryngitis.
- Karl Rove gets caught in a gay prostitution/drug ring with Dick Morris.
- Hannity without Colmes becomes such a ratings disaster he gets canceled, replaced by the Sarah Palin animal appreciation hour -- Pet-n-Palin.
- Bill O'Reilly get's kidnapped and no one will pay the ransom.
- John Yoo get's hit by a bus.
Oh hell, I really don't need all that. I'd settle for just John Yoo getting hit by a bus.
[cross posted at E Pluribus Unum]
My son has asked me on more than one occasion recently, "So what do we do now?" Usually, in that conversation, I start out apologizing to him for the mess my generation has left him to deal with. Which leads to him asking his question.
What I tell him is that we don't really have a good idea yet because we haven't yet hit bottom. We don't know quite how big this whole thing is. Every so often we think we have an idea, then a guy like Krugman puts in his two cents and then we get scared all over again.
"No analogy is perfect," I say, "But It's kind of like an enormous explosion has occurred. We've been thrown in the air."
"It's going to hurt when we hit the ground," he says.
"Well, yeah, eventually. But at this moment we don't even know yet if we're still going up or if we've started coming down. It's hard to say because we've lost our bearings in the shockwave after the explosion. All we know is that we're suspended somewhere between the earth and the sky."
"Not a happy place. Then what?"
"Well, at some point we're going to come all the way down to earth. We'll land -- with a crunch -- in some sort of blast crater."
"No shit sherlock. But even then we won't know how big and deep the crater is until we start trying to climb out of it. It'll be like rock climbing a sheer wall. Brutal."
"I'm so glad I asked."
"You asked and I'm telling."
"So once we've climbed out then we're out of trouble?" he asks.
"Not exactly," I say. "Only after we've climbed all the way out and walked away and then looked back, will we be able to begin to understand how bad this thing really was...and what we can do to make sure it doesn't happen again."
"No wonder Krugman is so freaked out."
"Yeah. And he's not the only one."
Obama's agenda is farther to the left than anything we've seen since atBoo!
least Lyndon Johnson, and Congress has never in its history seen a
Democratic Party so united in its leftward tilt. It doesn't matter
whether Obama has centrists and moderate Republicans as part of his
coalition. What matters is if he can unite (enough of) this country
behind a common purpose to get things done.
It strikes me as surreal that the Village has a profound lack of faith that our system of jurisprudence is capable of addressing what is to be done with the outlaw prison in Gitmo -- yet those same folks panicking at the thought a judge and jury of ordinary citizens deciding the fate of some 250 souls idling away in US occupied Cuba will insist that the bankruptcy courts should determine the fate of 2-5 million workers and their families in the auto industry and related support companies.
It's the same as it ever was -- outcome based decisions on which process to use, legislative or judicial, is nothing new. It's one of the reasons the abortion issue is so contentious. The two usual means of policy change have long since been foreclosed to the pro-life fundamentalists, the courts have ruled and the majority of the public has spoken through their elected legislators, so social conservatives have made a concerted effort to restructure the nature judiciary itself in hopes of changing that one policy through the back door.
Steve Benen points out that it doesn't stop at the bench, but now the Bush administration has also stacked the justice department with an assortment of fools and fundies to carry on their agenda well after the "thumpin'" they received over the last two election cycles.
And yes, I know abortion isn't the only thing they care about, that they have a profound interest in undercutting unions and empowering the executive branch (and guns, gays and god) -- but abortion will always be their litmus test for loyalty. If it weren't, we would be talking about "former" Vice Presidential candidates Lieberman or Tom Ridge and not Sarah Palin.
But isn't it interesting that so many conservatives are untroubled by the thought of Chapter 11 for GM and friends, (and we're talking about bankrupting an entire industry, not just an individual company) knowing that the UAW will have their contract torn up in the process; yet are willing to tear up the Constitution itself rather than hold fair trials for people we've held incommunicado and without charge for half a dozen years.
Contracts, laws, the Constitution, all to be thwarted at will -- the conservative movement is a band of pirates who look at mere words on parchment as guidelines, like their Pirate Code, to be ignored whenever convenient. There really is nothing more dangerous to our society's institutions than anarchists with vast wealth and a propaganda megaphone.
I just wanna know how'd they know I used a Mac.
INTP - The Thinkers
They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
It's troubling though. People just can't handle too much turmoil in their lives, even when it saves them money. Just ask this nice lady I met at the gas station.
I'm in line at the cashier, just stopping in to grab some smokes. (I hear they're bad for for me. Who knew?) This woman comes in and tells the girl behind the counter that the pump is broken.
"There's something wrong with pump 2. It only will go up to 17, then shuts off. I can't get any more gas out of it."
The checkout girl looks confused when a helpful guy right in front of me says, "Maybe it's full." Sure enough, unless her Ford Escort's gas tank is bone dry, a Twenty buys more gas than it can hold. She went out to test the theory.
She came back a little red-faced to collect her change -- change she never would have believed in.
See, we don't have one of those cool Air America stations many big city folks can rely on for their daily dose of progressive propaganda. But I can usually get my fix when I'm away from my computer streaming Thom Hartmann and Randy Rhodes by tuning into the weak signal from AA's Detroit affiliate, WDTW.
Alas, AM radio still works under quirky 1930's regulations and even more irrational physics and weather rules that require most broadcasters to reduce their signal power as the sun sets -- and this led to a pleasant discovery this week.
WNWT, 1520AM out of Rossford, Ohio (just across the Maumee River) is programming one of the most eclectic mix conservative and liberal talk radio shows I've ever heard on one channel.
I couldn't quite pull in the last hour of Ed Schultz out of Detroit through a growing roar of static the other day as it got prematurely dark, and decided to search for something else before giving up and switching to music. But I'm a talk radio junkie and held out hope for a miracle. My search for something other than right wing pontificators for once was not in vain.
You'll understand my delight that I can now hear some liberal voices, loudly and in the clear, if you consider that i can get Limbaugh, Hannity, and Michael Savage on six different stations in this area. Now they've got some interesting competition.
As I said, it's a weird mix at WNWT -- which stands for "News, Weather and Talk" as far as I can tell. They're doing their best to be equal opportunity annoyers. At the top and bottom of the hours, the "News" feed is from CNN, but the "Weather" comes from the local FOX affiliate (cuz you know, reality has a liberal bias, but weathermen just make shit up).
Near as I can tell, they've elected to offer the lighter side of the polarized political radio spectrum and avoiding the most belligerent voices. No Rush or Schultz. No Hannity or Rhodes.
Bill Press starts the morning from 6am to 9am (who seems to have the only full airing of his 3 hour show), followed by the first 2 hours of Stephanie Miller -- which dovetails nicely with my progressive wake up and drive the kids to school routine and is the same as the Detroit station without the static. Stephanie's third hour is pre-empted by two hours of (still trying to be) funny conservative Dennis Miller.
The Millers segue into consumer finance guy, Clark Howard, leading into CNN's Lou Dobbs at 3pm (who knew he was on the radio) then Keith Olbermann's old partner from Sports Center, Dan Patrick who's still the most entertaining sports talker since the last thing he likes to talk about is sports -- just fun.
Dr. Laura and Larry King are on in the evenings, who are innocuous enough. Unfortunately, late night is turned over to the moron twins, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck (whose name they spell wrong), and according to their web site Nancy Grace is also on the talking sound machine from 1am to 2am. But who listens to the radio after dinner time anyway?
Dr. Dean Edell (if that's really how the good doctor spells his name) is scheduled to be on between 5-6am, just before Bill Press, but this morning (vampire that I am) I was delighted to hear the end of Rachel Maddow's show instead -- and there's a blank bit between 3am and 5am on their program guide, so maybe that's in flux.
All in all, as an experiment in program diversity, this seems a noble and novel exercise. Indeed, if Al Franken as the 60th Senator is given the ironic honor of introducing the return of the Fairness Doctrine, it may be the way of the future. I hope it works, and I'll be listening.
In a stunning development, we pass on the news that the University of Michigan Wolverines will not be making the trip to Columbus to play The Ohio State University Buckeyes for the first time in the century old rivalry
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Holy Toledo.
Michigan's K.C. Lopata missed a 26-yard field goal with 4 seconds left, giving the Rockets a 13-10 win over the once-mighty Wolverines.
After two days of punishing losses, Wall Street surged on Friday
afternoon after news reports said that President-elect Barack Obama had
tapped Timothy F. Geithner, the president of the New York Federal
Reserve, to be secretary of the Treasury.
Put that "Heh" in your "Indeedy."
Yeah, life's not fair, so suck on that.
A standing ovation for a convicted felon who should never been allowed inside the Senate chamber let alone honored like he was man of the year...
A trillion for banks and AIG with no oversight, no plan, and no clue exactly what would happen if they didn't get their extortion money. (Brad has the right idea on this.)...
The markets (along with everyone's retirement plans and any hope of financial security) are still tanking, losing half their value so far with no idea where the bottom is. Citigroup may be next, Boeing in trouble ...
Faux outrage over private jets. Union busting and style over substance driving decisions when we know exactly what kind of turmoil ensues if the American auto industry is allowed to die. Who can compete when burdened with health care costs foreign competitors' governments cover when they too were hit by Wall Street craziness, the credit squeeze, and the failure of those "pro-business" conservatives to insist that the industry abide by reasonable mileage standards and competitively retool for 21st century transportation needs.
Funny how we got a bailout of the bankers and brokers in a heartbeat that the public didn't really like, let alone understand. Everyone knows what kind of deep doodoo we're in if GM goes under, and they can't get a loan for 3% of what we've thrown at Freddy, Fanny, all the banks and AIG. No wonder the GOP is hated more each day and everyone is just holding their breath until January 20th.
I guarantee Joe the Plumber never heard of AIG before this year -- but he knows the Rust Belt will be hemorrhaging jobs if we stop making American cars. If there has ever been a clearer example of the Villagers on the Potomac being far more concerned about wealth over workers, I can't think of it. Two months seems like an eternity.
The only real variable is that we just don't know exactly how many unemployed millions will be walking midwestern streets as that southern rump party and that C+ Augustus in the White House watch approvingly as Detroit dies just as sure a death as New Orleans when Katrina struck. A million unemployed here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking real Depression.
Why should they care when they've got friends who can spend $20 million on fireworks just to get their parties started and have brand new Nieman Marcus Christmas catalogs to drool over.
(Yeah, I'm back, and pissed. You should be too.)
[cross posted at E Pluribus Unum]
I've followed the progress of bailout talks with the Big Three with greater than average interest. Detroit is my town. I grew up in Detroit. I'm a product of Detroit public schools -- and I'm a better man for it. My kids were born and raised there; and members of my immediate family still live there. And I was there last weekend which is what got me thinking about what's eventually going to happen to my old hometown.
So here's the thing: there is no one without blame for how we got here. And consequently, everyone will have to sacrifice something to make it right before it's all over.
Bankruptcy: in fact if not in name
As Marcy pointed out, Chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization, not annihilation) is simply not an option for GM or any of the others. When a firm reorganizes it counts on credit to help tide it over during the transition period. But as we know, there is no money available from the normal sources. GM is out of cash; it cannot borrow, so it's on the brink. In situations like this, Chapter 7 (liquidation) is the only likely alternative. In this scenario, GM would be carved up like a Christmas goose and all the good stuff (electric cars) would probably go to foreign corporations like SAIC.
So what to do?
It seems like the Feds are ambivalent about a bailout, but call it what you will: it's a better alternative than actual bankruptcy. In return for the money, some oversight body (other than bankruptcy court) will have to guide the automakers through reorganization by attaching all sorts of conditions to the granting of the bailout monies. It'll be a roaring nightmare of regulations and micromanagement but there isn't a better -- or more likely -- alternative to it.
In terms of management...
...I say load them into the tumbrels and head for the guillotines. These are the guys who never met a long-term strategy they didn't hate. They fought increased fuel economy standards like 28 day old zombies (although they weren't alone -- more on that below). They killed the electric car. They were descended from the crowd that fought seat belts and emission standards. They deserved to finally pay for their sins. Shareholders will also take a hit. And if, for example, municipal pension funds are hard-hit, that will have to be part of a larger solution for bailing out cities and states.
What about unions?
Now, the temptation will be to point the finger at unions as well -- after all, "more work for less pay" isn't exactly a brilliant long-term strategy. But the fact is, the unions have already negotiated agreements with the Big Three that has put them on the glide path to parity with the Japanese automakers operating in the US -- probably by 2010 from what I can gather.
Health care and pensions
More importantly, whatever plan that gets crafted is going to have to address -- and respect -- the legacy costs of pensions and health care for union autoworkers who worked hard, played by the rules and have every right to expect that they will be taken care of. This would be the time to finally pass something along the lines of the Health Care for Hybrids Act, Obama's long-ago proposed legislation that would allow automakers to receive federal assistance to help pay their legacy health care costs -- if they invest some of their savings in building more fuel-efficient automobiles.
Speaking of fuel-efficient automobiles...
...I'm tired of all the players -- management, unions, and Republican AND Democratic enablers in Congress (I'm talking to you, John Dingell) and even consumers saying it cannot be done. I say throw out all the old assumptions and start from scratch.
Fact is, we cannot afford to ride that freaking oil-price roller coaster ONE MORE TIME. Yeah, gas costs less than half of what it did 10 weeks ago -- so freaking what? You're going to start driving SUVs again? Nuh-uh. Know what? That's how addicts talk. Time to go to rehab. Time to wake up from that amnesiac coma and smell the coffee. "Drill baby drill" is an idiotic solution to our problems. Better to massively subsidize the manufacture, distribution and sales of something along the lines of plug-in hybrids than ride the price of oil into the toilet one more time.
President-Elect Obama was right:
[T]here is so much more to do...[L]et us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century...what change will they see? What progress will we have made? This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.
Naomi Klein rightfully identifies the (bad) changes that historically follow massive shocks to the system. this time we need to engineer good change to follow the massive shocks that we are living through now.
Let's answer this call, let's meet this challenge -- our kids are counting on us to get it right this time.
Thanks to all my Facebook and Twitter pals for the birthday wishes.
I admit, I'm just not fired up enough. It's an obvious result of America becoming AWESOME again, like I thought of her when I was a kid. (Hat Tip: Oliver) I'm not pissed enough and the GOP fear machine has been rendered impotent. Walking around happy is a lousy incentive for writing.
I can't get worked up right now over that sludge still sleeping at the White House, or his nasty little dog. He's doing what he's always done, filling up the bureaucracy with incompetent ideological cronies, and twiddling his thumbs while scarfing escargot while the
country world goes to hell. Generally being the same old ass he's always been.
Hillary? Sec State?!! Good pick, excellent in fact. But I can't get worked up over her or her usual detractors since they've already swung into enough of a tizzy for all of us. She's survived far worse and came out on top. It's not the Limbaughs of the world that should be quaking thinking about her foggy bottom, but Putin and Ahmadinejad.
Lieberman? He only has himself to embarrass now. Ditto Ted Stevens. Saxby Chambliss only matters if Al Franken sqeaks out a win on the recount -- and only then will Lieberman matter. But even then he really doesn't matter. He's a loser and is done when his term is up.
Sarah Palin and her cheerleader in chief, Bill Kristol, are in grave danger of becoming irrelevent. But fear not. Swine like that have a way of stinking up the place whether they're inside the tent or just snorting around the outside, trying to dig their way back in. Never fear, they'll be endless sources of outrage and stupidity for years to come.
The last thing I need right now is something harshing my Obamabuzz -- like the city of Toledo becoming a ghost town if we stop making cars here. But I'm still of good cheer, because Obamaphoria is our real hope.
I say this as someone who used to be one of John's biggest supporters ... Go Away! You're harshing my Obamabuzzzzz.
This is like a smarter, better groomed, more articulate and male version of Sarah Palin trying to rebuild a hopelessly damaged public image. Sad to see, and even less interesting than the ongoing Palin train-wreck.
And of all things, what did they talk about?
Edwards, Rove: Palin should study up for 2012 run
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and Republican strategist Karl Rove don't see eye-to-eye on much, but in a spirited debate Thursday they agreed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin needs to hone her knowledge of foreign policy and geography if she runs for president in 2012.
Two failed has-beens debating another epic failure, and giving out advice on rehabilitating a public persona. Is there enough salt to rub in all the wounds this opens up on both sides of the aisle. It's only 11am and I need a stiff scotch.
See boys, here's the deal. As much as a catastrophe Sarah Palin is, she can still fill a room -- or a stadium. She's got seven-figure book deals just waiting for her. She can dominate any news cycle with a wink and a hair flip.
She's now, you guys are history. You're embarrassing yourselves. Are you guys just jealous that more people are interested in her ongoing flame-out instead of your own miserable failures? This is just pathetic.
Anyone else get a weird Pontius Pilate vibe from this story earlier this week of Bush washing the sins of the last eight years from his hands?
"Obama!" Bush exclaimed, according to Obama's account of the meeting in his second memoir, "The Audacity of Hope." "Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama. We saw him on TV during election night. Beautiful family. And that wife of yours -- that's one
The two men shook hands and then, according to Obama, Bush turned to an aide, "who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president's hand."
Bush then offered some to Obama, who recalled: "Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt."
That or maybe the guy's got a bit of OCD. Think: Mr. Monk Runs The Free World.
You're looking at the coolest, most far out objects ever photographed.
These three planets, exoplanets orbiting a star 25 light-years away in the constellation Pegasus are the most distant cold-body objects you've ever seen with your very own eyes -- "the first pictures ever taken of planets outside our solar system."
The search for exoplanets has up to now depended on detecting either the wobble they induce on their parent star or, if their orbits are side-on to telescopes, watching them dim the star's light as they pass in front of it.(HT: Zatoichi)
Being able to directly detect the light from these planets will allow astronomers to study their composition and atmospheres in detail.
I'm From Alaska, And I'm Here To Help . . . Also.
My Palinfreude™ (Yes Skippy, I coined that word!) sense has been tingling off the charts. She's everywhere, won't go away, and continues to leave confusion and turmoil in her wake.
Lemme try and help. This will tax my nascent Jedi abilities, but here goes.
Skippy, I know there is no try, there is only do ... also.)
Red State's Dan McLaughlin makes a noble and convincing defense of Sarah Palin, essentially making the reasonable case that she cannot be as astonishingly stupid as we are led to believe. Essentially, the idea that she doesn't know the countries that make up North America, or that Africa is a continent, or that she is in any way responsible for that $150,000 wardrobe is the result of malicious elements within the McCain campaign who are more interested in deflecting blame for their disastrous campaign and discrediting the Alaskan Governor's future influence on the party.
Perpetuating this defense, getting into the weeds if you will, only serves to highlight the dysfunction within what's left of the GOP. Culturally she is a laughing stock. Her reputation has reached a punch-line status George Bush and Dan Quayle took years to attain, and she did it within a couple of months. Rehabilitate her at your own risk.
Whether she did or did not know this or that will never erase the moose in the helicopter spotlight look on her face when she couldn't/wouldn't tell Katie Couric what magazines she read.
Should the damage control parties succeed in a partial triage of her reputation, making her palatable enough to remain on the national stage, her baggage will remain regardless of the objective truth or the essential fairness of it all. She wasn't ready, might be some day, but the damage has been done. It's too late.
But that not the whole story. Her politics, the appeal of her core beliefs is so narrowly focused to such a dwindling segment of the population -- on top of a caustic and dangerous tone descended directly from the Gingrich/DeLay style of scortched earth conservativism -- dooms her and her faithful followers to distracting nuisance status, marginalized in an era requiring national unity to address a nation on the brink of several disasters.
No doubt, she'll retain the support of the kooks. And that's fine. All the better to identify and separate them from the herd. See, I personally think that a sane and reasonable conservative opposition is a good thing -- at least compared to what we've been subject to for the last several decades.
As we've seen the last eight years when the extreme right wing gets ahold of the GOP leadership, as repulsive the extreme is to the "center," they do have the ability to capture that 50% +1 needed to foist their poison on the rest of us -- with horrendous consequences. That's a fete the extreme left has never duplicated despite the vile shouts of socialist, communist and liberal-fascists at the mere suggestion of a 4% tax hike on millionaires from basement headquarters that shall remain unlinked. When the great pendulum of the political winds blow right again, in four years or four decades, I'd rather the conservative faction be a reasonable facsimile of sane than the nutbags we've suffered lately.
Sarah Palin does not fit the definition of sane, at least in the sense that her rhetoric permits reasoned compromise or inclusive policies. Bottom line, her brand of parochial and religious based intolerance is unacceptable in a leadership role in a nation as diverse as ours.
That, and she's fucking goofy.
Hilzoy is understandably alarmed and puzzled by some of the mischief that has come to light regarding the never ending AIG bailout, which at $150 billion is about to become the single most costly "investment" the government has ever made to a single corporate entity.
Hilzoy's confusion/outrage stems from Treasury Secretary Paulson reinterpreting a provision of the tax code which slipped through with little notice while Washington was consumed with the $700 billion bailout debate and the election drama. The result is a $140 billion windfall to the American Banks.
Andrew C. DeSouza, a Treasury spokesman, said the administration had the legal authority to issue the notice as part of its power to interpret the tax code and provide legal guidance to companies. He described the Sept. 30 notice, which allows some banks to keep more money by lowering their taxes, as a way to help financial institutions during a time of economic crisis. "This is part of our overall effort to provide relief," he said.Now Hilzoy reminds us that she's not a lawyer, let alone a tax lawyer, yet insists that this just doesn't seem right, especially when you read the whole Washington Post story -- if you can keep awake long enough to weed through something most people simply hate. I feel her pain. Americans justifiably have a Pavlovian sleep response to the word "taxes," so I'll forgive you if this doesn't make the top of your reading list today.
The key question is: does the Secretary (or the President or any part of the executive branch) have the authority to simply repeal acts of Congress? In this age of signing statements, the answer may be self-evident, but I guess not.
More than a dozen tax lawyers interviewed for this story -- including several representing banks that stand to reap billions from the change -- said the Treasury had no authority to issue the notice.I'm not a tax lawyer either, but I think I can put this in terms we can all appreciate. Tax law was a required course when I was an eager legal beagle. My tax law professor said you could tell the tax lawyers from the rest of the profession by the size of their biceps -- Popeye-like from carrying around those huge books. (And here I always thought you could tell by the thickness of their glasses.)
Several other tax lawyers, all of whom represent banks, said the change was legal. Like DeSouza, they said the legal authority came from Section 382 itself, which says the secretary can write regulations to "carry out the purposes of this section."
Section 382 of the tax code was created by Congress in 1986 to end what it considered an abuse of the tax system: companies sheltering their profits from taxation by acquiring shell companies whose only real value was the losses on their books. The firms would then use the acquired company's losses to offset their gains and avoid paying taxes.
Lawmakers decried the tax shelters as a scam and created a formula to strictly limit the use of those purchased losses for tax purposes.
But from the beginning, some conservative economists and Republican administration officials criticized the new law as unwieldy and unnecessary meddling by the government in the business world.
"This has never been a good economic policy," said Kenneth W. Gideon, an assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy under President George H.W. Bush and now a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a law firm that represents banks.
The opposition to Section 382 is part of a broader ideological battle over how the tax code deals with a company's losses. Some conservative economists argue that not only should a firm be able to use losses to offset gains, but that in a year when a company only loses money, it should be entitled to a cash refund from the government.
During the current Bush administration, senior officials considered ways to implement some version of the policy. A Treasury paper in December 2007 -- issued under the names of Eric Solomon, the top tax policy official in the department, and his deputy, Robert Carroll -- criticized limits on the use of losses and suggested that they be relaxed. A logical extension of that argument would be an overhaul of 382, according to Carroll, who left his position as deputy assistant secretary in the Treasury's office of tax policy earlier this year.
Yet lobbyists trying to modify the obscure section found that they could get no traction in Congress or with the Treasury.
"It's really been the third rail of tax policy to touch 382," said Kevin A. Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
The United State Tax Code of 1986 As Amended (coincidentally that was the year I took tax law) is a two volume monster that reflects the revenue statutes as passed by Congress. The companion to The Code is a four volume set of Federal Tax Regulations that track and interpret The Code. The Regulations were christened The Gospel According to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue by my professor. Each of these six books is three inches thick and filled with the most mind-numbingly confusing edicts imaginable.
Now I had the privilege of clerking for two gentlemen while I was in law school, both of whom were CPA's and attorneys -- tax lawyers. Between running errands for them, updating their tax law library was part of my responsibilities. See, the Code as well as the Regulations were much like the Pirate Code -- more like a set of guidelines. The real "law" came in the form of daily IRS rulings, weekly updates and slip opinions from the tax courts that I had to collate daily and insert in their proper place on a wall-sized bookshelf filled with court opinions and tax practice guides. After wearing out my nicest shoes in three months and aware that my brain was in danger of seizing up for good, I moved on to more invigorating pastures in the legal field.
But when you think about it, the IRS Commissioner as well as the Treasury Secretary have immense discretion when it comes to enforcing the tax laws. Just like a police officer who has the discretion of giving you a warning or impounding your car when s/he stops you for a rolling stop at an intersection, the members of the executive branch have complete discretion on whether to arrest you if they're a cop, prosecute you if they're the district attorney, or even reduce your sentence at the probation department and let you go under the executive's pardon authority.
So if the Federal Government decides it's just going to let someone slide on tens of billions of dollars worth of tax liability, who's going to complain? Certainly not the tax payer who otherwise owes the money and who is always free to write a bigger check than required to the treasury. Congress can jump up and down all it wants, declaring this or that illegal, but if the executive decides not to make that its priority, decides not to enforce that law, the courts aren't going to interfere between the two political branches and second guess the executive's discretion. In fact, it's doubtful that anyone would have standing to sue the Secretary or Commissioner in this case, including a Congressman/woman let alone a lowly taxpayer who isn't directly affected.
Think about it this way. If you don't pay your taxes this year (presuming you owe any) and the IRS sues you, the prosecutor on behalf of the Commissioner can cut you a deal, like forgiving some or all of the interest or penalties if you pay up in full on the courthouse steps. Clearly this is a reduction in revenue that Congress did not specifically authorize. Indeed, by providing for interest and penalties, Congress authorized exactly the opposite result. Anyone want to second guess the executive authority in that case? It is really no different legally if the Treasury forgives the banks their tax haven schemes to ease the overall economy's current crisis.
It's not rocket science. They're the government. They do what they want. You just had your accountability moment and the consequences will begin January 20th.
What fun to see an anonymous false flag operation smearing the two most likely Republican contenders for the next presidential cycle. If this keeps up, you know where this is going in 2016 . . .
Thanks Hillary, for paving the way.
Even as he watched his political legacy severely tarnished, Republican strategist Karl Rove brought some unintended humor to election night -- stating in his capacity as a Fox News analyst that America "had an African-American first family" for many years, citing "The Cosby Show" as an example.Barack Obama, the made
On an even lighter note, I had to share this new Republican advertisement for their movement -- to a country more to their liking.
"Something has to happen for us to make fun of. Unlike the actual news, what we say is based in fact." From Daily Show writer J. R. Havlan, about the inevitability of comedians making fun of Obama. [NYT] (via)
Speaking of the real news reporting on what the fake news says about the real news, the Daily Beast exposes a mole inside the New York Times.
As one McCain advisor put it to me: "In the last six weeks there was a remarkable echo. You could listen to arguments made by folks inside of the campaign who were close to Bill Kristol and then open up the New York Times and read them in Kristol’s columns. It was 'set Sarah free,' coupled with an agenda designed to appeal to the religious right and the more raucous elements of the party. They got their way often enough, and we started noticing that at many of the Palin functions it was non-stop 'Sarah, Sarah,' while John McCain all but vanished. Were they trying to get McCain elected in 2008, or to help Palin on the way to the Republican nomination in 2012? You can’t get yourself into a situation in which anyone can credibly ask that question."There's gonna be a reckoning on this, if not at the Times (circulation is circulation, contracts are contracts) at least within the GOP hierarchy.
Most revealing quote of the Times investigating the fake news being reported in their real paper was of course on a fake news show:
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported rumors of Scheunemann’s firing, and quoted an anonymous McCain aide as saying Scheunemann was feeding a "constant stream of poison" to Kristol. Scheunemann denies he had been fired. But Scheunemann admitted to CNN that his email had been temporarily disconnected..
How did Kristol respond? Appearing on Fox News, Kristol protested his loyalty to John McCain and called the anonymous staffers who had criticized him "paranoid." He explained that the campaign had started looking through staffers’ emails to see "who was allegedly leaking stuff, negative stuff." Presumably, he means leaking to Bill Kristol.
"Appearing once again on The Daily Show, Bill Kristol, Jon Stewart's favorite whipping boy ('Bill Kristol, aren't you ever right?'), on Thursday night defended the McCain-Palin ticket, at one point informing the show's host that he was getting his news from suspect sources. 'You're reading The New York Times too much,' he declared. 'Bill, you WORK for The New York Times!' Stewart pointed out."Oh those "Stinkers" at the New York Times can make the whole bunch smell bad . . . also.
Finally, there remains a great deal of us political junkies who may be having a hard time weaning ourselves from the last two years of the single most intense and captivating Presidential campaign of all time. Cold turkey is a hard option for any addict. For those who need one last fix, or the political equivalent of a methadone clinic . . . GEORGIA BITCHES!!
She epitomizes everything that is wrong with conservatives. We never should forget that the hypocrisy, tribal authoritarianism, religious zealotry, intolerant social moralizing, divisive rhetoric, cultist devotion to parochial values, anti-intellectualism and token outreach to women and minorities is embodied in her epic failure.
- Rahm Emanuel uses Tabasco Sauce for eye drops.
- Rahm Emanuel can get Blackjack with just one card.
- Republicans created the automobile to escape from Rahm Emanuel...Not to be outdone, Rahm Emanuel created the automobile accident.
- When Rahm Emanuel was born, the only person who cried was the doctor. Never slap Rahm Emanuel.
- Rahm Emanuel can sneeze with his eyes open.
- Rahm Emanuel got a perfect score on his SAT's, simply by writing Rahm Emanuel for every answer.
- Rahm Emanuel wears Orion's Belt around his pinky toe and he eats with the Big Dipper.
- Rahm Emanuel eats lightning and farts thunder.
- Lightning never strikes twice in one place because Rahm Emanuel is looking for it.
- Rahm Emanuel once played rugby by himself. He went undefeated.
- On Valentine's Day, Rahm Emanuel gives his wife the still beating heart of a Republican.
I wish I could say I wrote these. I did not. Unfortunately I cannot remember who did. If you know, don't tell Rahm Emanuel.
A Republican congressman from Michigan, Thaddeus McCotter, told theWhat on earth will these authoritarians do with no authority to tell them what to think?
Washington Times: "We're rock bottom. We are now free to start thinking
again, acting again, and doing the right thing by what our constituents
and our country need."
But isn't it nice to see some of them acknowledge that one thing they haven't done for years and years is think. No wonder Teh Stoopid burns.
I needed to get some sleep, see. I had a date with the future today. I had to get my daughters up and ready for the new day and I had my four year old grandson to enjoy. He's mine today, and on the most beautiful November morning I ever remember, this little boy and I went to the park.
YouTube has the speeches, the papers captured all the stats. I'll catch up later. I had something more important to do than diving into the hows and whats and to renew the fight against the deniers on the right, those incapable of introspection or self-respect.
We caught some of the radio talkers this morning as we drove, but walking along the shore of a lake was more important. Obama's victory is nothing short of revolutionary, something that might only be compared to the 1964 election, something that happened when I was about my grandson's age. We were much more interested in chasing a bunny through the evergreens, walking up to a flight of Canadian geese grazing, spotting a duck, spying some seagulls soaring like they were a kite on a breeze, and throwing driftwood sticks back in the water.
I've have a keen awareness of the transformational nature of last night's events and what it will mean for my grandson's future; a future that looks much more bright today. And I know how important the election of 1964 was, how transformational the Civil Rights Bill was as today we witness its fruits, but I didn't when it happened. I was just a little boy. My grandson will come to learn what a difference today makes too, someday.
But today, holding hands with Grandpa as we shuffled through piles of crunchy, colorful leaves, kicking them as high as we could -- that was the most important thing of all.
Ohio, New Mexico and Iowa are the red states that are now blue so far. Still waiting for VA, NC and FL, which only add insult to injury. We won this thing. We just don't know by how much.
Toledo Braces For Unruly Mobs
The Toledo Blade reports that Police Chief Mike Navarre has no reason whatsoever for instructing officers to carry riot gear on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Unlike the the Halloween disaster when hoards of masked youth harassed area residents for candy on Friday, Navarre wants the police force to "be prepared" and to "keep an eye on things" despite there being "no specific information about potential civil unrest in Toledo" and no plans to schedule additional officers to work during this election day and evening.
Hopefully this type of vigilance will prevent any more incidents of lawless driving by fake plumbers riding their fifteeen minutes for all they're worth. I know I feel safer already now that, you know, the cops are finally keeping an eye on things -- and are ready to go all Rodney King on anyone who doesn't look like a middle-aged skinhead with the temerity to litter.
Hillary Clinton's spokeswoman would not confirm that this was good news for the New York Senator.
Posted by Mark Adams, Senior Illegal Correspondent
Cross Posted at America Street
This Is Of Course Good News For Hillary Clinton
Despite entrance polling that showed a surprising groundswell of support for Ron Paul and an investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General into the voter registration activities of ACORN volunteers at a local pre-school, the people of this tiny hamlet so far north the Mayor can see Canada from his house have voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama by a 70% margin.
A last minute appeal to the Supreme Court to keep the polling center open for more than three minutes was denied and the results of the election were announced despite the protest of the village's one and only minority voter who claimed discrimination in the process was unfair to Native Americans. Erik "The Short" Palin, half-brother of the "First Dude" of Alaska who claims Eskimo ancestry was hoping to be the first (non-early) voter for his Sister-In-Law in the "Lower 48" (Guam opened it's polls 7 hours earlier, closed polling at 5am EST, and shows Obama winning 62%, McCain 37%, Barr 1%).
Unfortunately, the lesser known Palin brother was unable to properly reset his alarm clock from Daylight Saving Time on Sunday like the rest of the country and showed up ten hours late to the polling center. He was given a provisional ballot instead which was immediately challenged by Democratic Party lawyers.
Posted by Mark Adams, Senior Illegal Correspondent
Cross Posted at America Street
[cross posted at E Pluribus Unum]
I just wanted to take a few moments to tell you about the excitement in Baton Rouge about getting out the vote now in the last 72 hours before the election.
This past Wednesday, Obama HQ in Baton Rouge had an organizational meeting that was kicked off by gathering several dozen people to watch Obama's infomercial. Following that, the local organization asked everyone to find four people to each take a two hour shift during the upcoming weekend.
A word about this simple technique: it is what distinguishes the Obama ground game from almost all others that came before it. In the past, the conventional way of getting volunteers was for it to be organized from the top down. In Obama world, the grassroots volunteers find others like themselves to pitch in.
Miss Julie and I went to work and were able to find eight of our friends (in addition to us) to each take a shift making phone calls and canvassing through Election Day.
Our first day was Saturday when we called for two purposes: Finding yet more volunteers (shelf life of volunteers is relatively short) and calling to remind people to vote on Nov. 4. We were pretty good at this already, having done it last weekend at a local house party organized by MoveOn. At that event we were calling to find volunteers to work in Virginia; this time it was all local to East Baton Rouge parish.
Lots of people say they hate making phone calls like this but honestly, the way it was organized, it was very easy. The trick was to get started and get your momentum going. Once you're going, don't stop. In this way, the time passes quickly and you meet some terrific volunteers and you also talk to some wonderful people on the phone. Lots of enthusiasm all around. And the best part? It keeps you from fretting about every little wobble in the polls, and every silly story in the press. And you're part of history.
I went in again yesterday, Sunday, and spent another two hour shift phoning. Miss Julie will do the same on Monday (I can't -- I'm having a root canal in the morning). In the meantime, our friends have been phoning and some will even be canvassing on Tuesday.
Bottom line: it isn't too late to volunteer. Anyone reading this should consider doing whatever you can on Monday and Tuesday. Call your local Obama HQ -- now! -- or visit my.barackobama.com for details on who needs your help in your area.
Do it, even if it's for an hour or two between now and the election. You really can change the world -- one person at a time.
The desperate Wingosphere has latched on to an out of context quote by Barack Obama "discovered" in an interview posted online since January by the San Francisco Chronicle, spreading what no doubt will be a very effective last minute fear tactic designed to influence any vacillating members of the low-info, Appalachian coal mining, don't-need-much-of-an-excuse-to-vote-against-the-black-guy voters in Southern Ohio and Western PA and VA. (Hidden in plain sight.)
MoveOn.org was livid with Obama because of his stance on coal. This lie that Obama is anti-coal is so Rovian you almost have to admire the last minute smear attack on what was an Obama weakness that only in Appalachia is a strength. Genius or dumb luck, this one is really something else. If there was more time, it's a backfire issue that would reveal Obama at his reaching-over-the-aisle best. Now it's just a rhetorical hand grenade.
I remember last spring when coal, specifically Obama's flip-flops on liquefied coal technology became a big frickin' deal to a lot of my John Edwards supporting friends in Blogtopia. So stark the differences between Obama and Edwards, many of the enviro-bloggers were convinced that Edwards would win the primary on this issue alone. No really, especially since one of Obama's co-sponsors on the bill promoting the use of the dirtiest of all fossil fuels as a transportation gasoline substitute -- guaranteed to make global warming worst, not better -- was Larry "Wide-Stance" Craig.
That's right, Obama is so opposed to the coal industry, wants to funnel huge amounts of tax dollars to them. Obama supports of federal money for coal as an "alternative fuel."
I understand how Sarah Palin and her supporters could miss this obscure bit of news, buried on the Front Page of the New York Times. They don't read and they don't care.
Prodded by intense lobbying from the coal industry,
lawmakers from coal states are proposing that taxpayers guarantee
billions of dollars in construction loans for coal-to-liquid production
plants, guarantee minimum prices for the new fuel, and guarantee big
government purchases for the next 25 years¦
Among the proposed inducements winding through House and Senate
committees: loan guarantees for six to 10 major coal-to-liquid plants,
each likely to cost at least $3 billion; a tax credit of 51 cents for
every gallon of coal-based fuel sold through 2020; automatic subsidies
if oil prices drop below $40 a barrel; and permission for the Air Force
to sign 25-year contracts for almost a billion gallons a year of
coal-based jet fuel.
The Friends of the Earth environmental group endorsed John Edwards, and not Obama or Clinton in no small part because of this coal thing.
Q: What is your position on Coal toWe thought this was the ultimate stupid move for someone vying for the Democratic nomination. You should see my email:
Liquid technology? One Democratic presidential candidate cosponsored
a bill to provide taxpayer subsidies for this technology. Edwards
opposes CtL. What does using, let alone subsidizing, CtL really mean
for our environment?
A: Liquid coal is a bad idea for our
country and planet. It contributes twice the amount of carbon emissions
to our atmosphere that petroleum does, consuming an inordinate amount
of water per unit of fuel, and requiring the expansion of ecologically
and socially disastrous mining practices. Unlike Clinton and Obama,
Edwards is the only leading candidate to oppose coal-to-liquid
So why then, environmentalists ask, is Obama backing a law supporting the expanded use of coal, whose emissions are cooking the globe? It seems the answer is twofold: his interest in energy independence -- and his interest in downstate Illinois, where the senator's green tinge makes the coal industry queasy.See, Edwards was much more enviro-friendly than either Clinton or Obama, as note at the time by Politico, much to the delight of the green contingent of Edwards' supporters. I wasn't really all that green for an Edwards backer, but I noted the argument, which is why I know the latest stuff about Obama out to bankrupt the coal industry is pure fantasy. We were bitching that Obama was in the pocket of Big Coal.
The coal industry praises Obama's reintroduction, with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), of the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 last week, which would provide incentives for research and plant construction. The industry says the technology, which converts coal into diesel engine fuel, would reduce America's dependence on foreign oil through a new, home-mined fuel that burns as cleanly as gasoline.
The Edwards website is history, but I'm sure there's evidence in the Way-Back Machine. Edwards never directly mentioned his opposition to coal-to-liquid; his energy proposal included other means to utilize coal while reducing emissions, that and the absence of coal to liquid are indicated below in some of the Press Releases I saved when Obama's stance on Liquid Coal became an issue. This was supposed to show a contrast with Obama:
Edwards opposes coal-to-liquid technology as a viable clean fuel alternative. John Edwards’ energy plan includes utilizing coal in a “major role” so that the U.S. and the world can meet its energy needs, but he has advocated for carbon capture methods so that hazardous carbon emissions are dramatically reduced. Edwards advocates for coal gasification technology and carbon sequestration technology in energy production, a method supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council to combat global warming.As you can tell, we actually thought this was a smoking gun kind of issue, that the Al Gore wing of the Democratic Party could not possibly support Barack Obama mainly due to his friendly attitude on coal. For Sarah Palin and her drooling Wingnut circus to claim he's out to destroy the industry is ludicrous.
EDWARDS PROPOSED INCREASED INVESTMENT FOR SAFE STORAGE OF CARBON DIOXIDE FROM COAL POWERED PRODUCTION
2007: Edwards Called For New Coal Power Plants To Have Coal Capture Technology So That Emissions Are Stored And Not Released Into the Atmosphere. “Edwards believes we need to find a way to use coal without heating the planet. As president, Edwards will require that all new coal-fired plants be built with the required technology to capture their carbon dioxide emissions, so plants built today will be able to permanently and safely store their carbon emissions tomorrow. He also committed to investing $1 billion a year in research and testing to jumpstart the means to store large amounts of carbon dioxide safely underground.” [Edwards for President press release, 3/26/07, http://johnedwards.com/news/headlines/20070326-cleaner-coal/]