Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window - Steve Wozniak

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tort UnReform

Let it not be said that the Democrats are ignorant of the problems of malpractice suits:

A friend points out a little nugget of absurdity and political mendacity in the Pelosi health-care bill. Remember Obama’s effort to try a “test” for tort reform? (We don’t actually need a test, since it has worked to lower medical malpractice coverage and help increase access to doctors in states that have tried it.) Well, Pelosi’s bill has an anti-tort-reform measure. On pages 1431-1433 of the 1990 spellbinder, there is a financial incentive for states to try “alternative medical liability laws.” But look — you don’t get the incentive if you have a law that would “limit attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.”

That’s what the trial lawyers get for the millions spent in supporting the Democratic party, and that’s what tort “reform” in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of health-care legislation amounts to. States will be strong-armed into repealing existing caps in order to get the Fed’s money. Sweet, huh? Well, unless you thought the aim was to reduce medical costs. No, this will go a long way toward ensuring that tort lawyers remain rich, malpractice insurance remains high, and unnecessary defensive medicine remains a fixture of the health-care system. Nice going, Nancy!

I recently moved from Texas, which has the best malpractice environment, to Pennsylvania, which has one of the worst.  The difference in physician availability and retention is stunning.  We’ve had more problems finding doctors in ten months in Pennsylvania than we did in four years in Texas.  It’s probably not all the punitive damage caps.  But it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Now the Democrats want to undo this.  That’s their idea of reform.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/30/09 at 08:17 PM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Kumar caught in a WH scandal?

It looks like even Kalpen Modi, a.k.a Kumar, ended up dirty when working for this WH. Guess that escape from Gitmo or that midnight run to White Castle after some heavy partying didn’t prepare em for the crap he would end up in. Seriously, isn’t there anyone that deals with these people and doesn’t end in trouble? Check it out:

Former actor and present White House associate director of public engagement Kalpen Modi was directly involved in planning the controversial conference call hosted by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) flack to encourage tax-supported artists to create propaganda for President Obama, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The emails reveal that Modi worked with now-former NEA national communications director Yosif Sargant in planning the August 10 conference call that was first revealed by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood.com web site. Participants in the conference call were encouraged to use their talents to generate public support for the Obama agenda in Congress.

At least Harold was smart enough to know that this WH was going to be trouble and chose to do something more enjoyable. Like that dwarf told Kumar in that Epic Movie scene: “TAKE THAT KUMAR, WOOHA!”

Posted by AlexinCT on 10/30/09 at 08:00 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Edmunds Ahoy

Edmunds.com recently published an analysis of the Cash-for-Clunkers program, concluding that the economic impact was minimal.  You know what comes next from the Least Confident Administration Ever.

It is an odd, and we’d say regrettable, pattern of this White House that it lets itself get dragged down into fights with specific media outlets.

George W. Bush experienced acrimony with the New York Times, but for the most part, other than general frustrations of a conservative administration, complaining about a liberal media, it was no big deal.

But in addition to Fox News, now The White House is going after highly-respected and influential car site Edmunds.com.

They’re actually using The White House blog to dispute the site’s analysis of Cash-For-Clunkers (via Detroit News).

The post is snarkily titled: “Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Edmunds.com Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers”

They have a copy of the post, which reads like something I would write on a slow blog day.  It’s snarky and sarcastic.  Even worse, it’s snarky about something that ended months ago.

Why are these guy so think-skinned? This a pattern of behavior that been going since they got into office nine months ago.  It’s not a Big Communist Conspiracy to destroy the First Amendment or anything.  But it is childish and bizarre behavior from people who, quite frankly, have more important things to worry about, like the health care turd currently squishing its way through the Congressional water pipes.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/30/09 at 04:28 PM in Politics   Cult of Personality  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

About that economic recovery…

That economic news we got about how the recession is now over seems a bit premature. Especially when that claim came with all those “buts” attached. This number is drastically inflated by such things as the “Cash for Clunkers” and the stimulus patronage pay-off programs which temporarily flushed large sums of money into an anemic economy. But what’s worse is that some are already seeing the arrival of another housing crash. Have a look at that graph. That doesn’t bode well for the collectivists claiming they have fixed things.

image

We even have the Foundation for Economic Education, publisher of the Distress Index, saying not so fast! And even worse, many are predicting the death of the dollar. Of course, the more I hear about this stuff, the more I wonder if the collectivists are doing what they are doing by design. Crash the system and reboot it the way they want it and all that. And with the media blatantly doing propaganda for the collectivsts and pretending all is well when it definitely feels and looks like it isn’t even close to that, who knows.

Posted by AlexinCT on 10/30/09 at 08:44 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Puppet Regimes

Remember the bad old days during the Cold War of puppet regimes?  Seems like what’s old is new:

The interim government of Honduras has yielded to international pressure and agreed to allow the return to power of Manuel Zelaya, the ousted President who was toppled in a military coup four months ago.

The breakthrough came after renewed pressure from senior US officials who travelled to Honduras this week for a last-ditch effort to end the crisis.

“It is a triumph for Honduran democracy,” said Mr Zelaya after the rival sides agreed to a deal under which he may be reinstated as President within days.

Roberto Micheletti, the president of the interim government that took power after the coup on June 28, announced that he had agreed to reinstate his political rival.

The deal is that the military will be under control of the courts, not Zelaya.

I can’t express how disgusted with this I am.  Zelaya was legally removed from office.  His exile was probably illegal and the crackdown on pro-Zelaya newspapers certaintly was.  But there is no way he should be returned to power.  The man is no longer President.  This was not a coup but a legal removal from office.

Zelaya claims that, in January, he will step down in favor of the new President.  I’ll believe that when I see it.  Exit quesiton: if Zelaya does not step down, will Obama react with the same vigor to which he reacted to his legal removal from office?  After all, he’s been silent on Chavez and Ortega.  Will we insist on open and fair elections?  After all, we didn’t in Venezuela or Nicaragua.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/30/09 at 07:41 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The government takeover of healthcare bill is so good…

That Nancy Pelosi has decided none of the peasants should bother to try and read it. Only for VIPs. Why the hell would anyone care what’s in that 1990 page abomination anyway? The government is going to fix it all and that’s all we need to know. Now shut up and give away more of your paycheck to your betters. And the left loves to tell us how bad Bush was. Obama and the demcorats have done more damage and stupid things in but 9 months than Bush id in 8 freaking years. And that’s saying something. Looks like Carter will soon be able to enjoy the title of “second worse president” after the current idiot.

Update: The CBO has chimed in on this new bill which not only keeps the death panels and the horrible government take over plan which started off as the “public option” and has been renamed a couple of times by Nancy Pelosi in the hopes of confusing people, but according to the CBO will cost over $1 trillion. What the CBO likely doesn’t mention are the massive increases in taxes - which will impact everyone paying insurance premiums right now for private plans without doubt - and the massive reduction in services from other government run healthcare systems in order to meet this new price tag and hide the fact that this thing will suck up a couple of trillion or more dollars. And considering how well the CBO has predicted the cost of these boondoggles, and how much more they have cost - Social Security was supposed to cost $9 billion at its peak and we all know that it costs tens of times more just as an example - this plan is likely to costs us a couple of tens of trillions. That is, unless government starts putting more than those senior citizens through death panels. Maybe people will also get their healthcare denied based on ideology. Not a far stretch considering how criminal activity is simply ignored by both the AG and the MSM when democrats and their allies do it. Even more fun is the fact that we will begin paying for this mess next year, but see nothing of the sort in healthcare services or policy until 2016 at the earliest. At the risk of getting Ed Kline’s panties in a bunch, let me again say this collectivist shit is nothing but a recipe for disaster.

Posted by AlexinCT on 10/29/09 at 04:26 PM in Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

No way!

Back a while I pointed out how job creation by the stimulus patronage bill was piss-poor at best, but it now looks like news is coming out that the WH overstated the number of jobs created by the stimulus patronage bill by 20%!

WASHINGTON (AP) - An early progress report on President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports. The government’s first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts. The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

A simple “WTF?” isn’t enough. If we have less than 25K jobs, and I bet that number drops even lower, created so far, that means that less than 600K jobs total will be created by the allocated $339 billion, pushing the “per job” cost close to $650K! This is not just ridiculous, it is criminal.

In the mean time the number of jobs lost is fast approaching 5 million, and the real unemployment number – the people out of work and collecting unemployment, working part time, or simply abandoning any effort to work – is over 16%. Of course the solution by the collectivists was not to make changes to spur economic growth of any kind and create jobs, but to choose the path that makes the most people dependant on them and their largesse at the expense of the tax payer. A move touted with much fanfare and beating of drums, but which has come to a grinding halt because the republicans want real relief – the tax reduction kind – which is anathema to collectivists and their power grab agenda.

In the mean time, the MSM is reporting economic growth. Let’s wait for the revised numbers. They have always swung back the other way and been anything but good. Still hasn’t stopped these propagandists from trying though. What a difference the letter behind the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. makes, huh? More cowbell!

Update: Looks like the blame game and the fantasies are being exposed. Let’s face it: the collectivists flushed down close to a trillion dollars ($1.25 trillion when all is said and done and we supposedly pay it all off) in a scam that simply served to funnel said cash into the pockets of operatives, lobbyists, agents, and donors, with the intent of having them load up the campaign coffers of democrats for the 2010 election, and we the tax payers are off much worse for it. And they now say the cure is for them to flush down a ton more, take over 1/5th of the economy, take away even more money from the productive, and to literally give government power over all aspects of our lives. I bet that we would have had a better economic result if the democrats had just followed the stupid Bush model of mailing checks for a few hundred dollars to all citizens - including the ones that paid no taxes - instead of this. Never thought I would argue these refunds or stimulus checks were a good thing. Well, in this case I guess they are still not a good thing. In fact, they are still a stupid idea. Just not as stupid as the stimulus patronage payoff.

Posted by AlexinCT on 10/29/09 at 07:50 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Domino Theory

Just in case you were wondering, Honduras did the right thing:

Last week, President Ortega inadvertently provided the best defense yet of the Honduran decision this summer to remove Manuel Zelaya from the presidency. Nicaragua has a one-term limit for presidents, and Mr. Ortega’s term expires in 2011. However, the Nicaraguan doesn’t want to leave, and so he asked the Sandinista-controlled Supreme Court to overturn the constitutional ban on his re-election.

Last week the court’s constitutional panel obliged him. The Nicaraguan press reported that the vote was held before three opposition judges could reach the chamber in time for the session. Three alternative judges, all Sandinistas, took their place and the court gave Mr. Ortega the green light. Mr. Ortega has decreed that the ruling cannot be appealed.

Ortega has apparently learned his lesson from the “disastrous” open elections that swept the Sandys from power in 1990.  He is borrowing a page from Chavez and Mahmoud, having kept the 2008 municipal voting totals secret and blocking local and international observers.  There is very little doubt that the 2008 election was rife with fraud and little doubt that next election will be too.

Honduras, having watched this go on in two neighboring countries, decided not to fuck around.  The minute Zelaya started going the Chavez route, they headed him off at the pass.  And our government’s legal entities have concluded that they acting well within their constitutional authority (although the later crackdown on dissent was wrong).  So whose side are we going to take again?

Update: The Democrats now want the Library of Congress to withdraw its report that concluded the Honduran Congress acted within its power.  What is it with these people?  They can’t tolerate any dissent.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/29/09 at 07:38 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How To Run An Economy

Two disturbing reports about the Bush-Obama handling of the financial crisis.  First, you remember AIG?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday that it had no choice but to instruct American International Group last November to reimburse the full amount of what it owed to big banks on derivatives contracts, a move that ended months of effort by the insurance giant to negotiate lower payments.

Fed officials offered the explanation in a rare response to a media report after Bloomberg News said that the New York Fed, led at the time by then-President Timothy F. Geithner, directed AIG to make the payments after it received a massive government bailout. The officials said AIG lost its leverage in demanding a better deal once the company had been saved from bankruptcy.

Lawmakers and financial analysts critical of the payouts say it amounted to a back-door bailout for big banks. AIG, the recipient of a $180 billion federal rescue package, ended up paying $14 billion to Goldman Sachs over months and $8.5 billion to Deutsche Bank, among others. Before the New York Fed intervened, AIG had been trying to persuade the firms to take discounts.

They estimate this cost us about $13 billion, depending on how low AIG could have negotiated their contracts.  Yes, that’s Goldman Sachs, whose former chairman was on the NY Fed board and whose previous chairman and CEO was Bush’s treasury secretary at the time.

Then there’s this:

If you worry about the abuse of executive power and declining respect among elected officials for the rule of law, you should watch this eloquent illumination of what really went down in the Chrysler bankruptcy earlier this year. The speaker is Richard Mourdock, Treasurer of the state of Indiana. The setting is a Cato Institute policy forum on October 15 about the “sordid details of the Bush/Obama auto industry intervention.”

As state treasurer, Mourdock is the person responsible for investment decisions concerning Indiana’s state employee pension funds, some of which owned a small share of Chrysler’s $6.9 billion in secured debt and some of which opposed the administration’s offer of $.29 on the dollar for that debt. Though these small secured holders were publicly castigated by President Obama as “unpatriotic” and unwilling to sacrifice for the greater good, Mourdock led the effort to stop the “sale” of Chrysler all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is the problem with a political economy.  This is the problem with bailouts.  Suddenly, the rule of law and any economic sense are out the window. Instead of debts being wound down through the law and negotiation, they are unravelled through political battles and influence.  In this case, powerful banks and auto unions were enriched at the expense of pension funds and the taxpayer.

This isn’t a Republic or Democrat issue; it’s an American one.  Both our political parties have participated in this orgy; both have been happy to pillage the powerless in favor the powerful.  The issue crosses such ideological lines that I’m even going to agree with Arianna Hufington:

I plan to make the point that what we have right now is not actually capitalism—it’s corporatism. It’s welfare for the rich. It’s the government picking winners and losers. It’s Wall Street having their taxpayer-funded cake and eating it too. It’s socialized losses and privatized gains.

Speak it, sister.  Whatever one may think of capitalism, this isn’t it.

Update: Speaking of economic interference, Johnathan Macey has a must-read about what happened the last time Congress decided to limit executive pay.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/28/09 at 10:54 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Well blow me down!

It looks like the collectivist robber barons are about to again learn about the law of unintended consequences. New York state is one of those “fleece the rich” North Eastern blue states with punitive “progressive” taxation that does not apply to a few lucky people like Charles Rangel, and this is what it has resulted in:

New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in alarming numbers—and costing a fortune in lost tax dollars, a new study shows. More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country. The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City—meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out. “The Empire State is being drained of an invaluable resource—people,” the report said.

think the collectivists running that freak show will figure out their policies drove away the productive or will they decide that the answer to their decreasing revenue problem is to fleece the productive even harder? I am voting for the later.  And it doesn’t stop there. Here is the bad news:

What’s worse is that the families fleeing New York are being replaced by lower-income newcomers, who consequently pay less in taxes. Overall, the ex-New Yorkers earn about 13 percent more than those who moved into the state, the study found. And it should be no surprise that the city—and Manhattan in particular—suffered the biggest loss in terms of taxable income.

Who would have thunk it? When you fleece the productive to buy votes from the unproductive, your productive people will bail and more of those non-productive people will move in to suck at the government’s teat. I see a pattern here. Even the USSR which had a prison state and didn’t allow the people to leave could not make this crap work. The Chinese are playing a shell game and for now things are going the way of the communists running that state as well. But sooner than later they too will realize the model they have is unsustainable when people want freedom. Especially with the US going more collectivist than they are and depriving them of a market to dump their stuff. Anyway, there was good news for New Yorkers:

The study also had some good news. The peak loss of New Yorkers was in 2005, when nearly 250,000 residents left the state. But last year, only 126,000 left, the lowest figure over the eight-year period.

I wonder how many of those 126K that left were millionaires fleeing that new millionaire tax. I bet that hurts even if there are a few dozen of them.

Posted by AlexinCT on 10/28/09 at 02:42 PM in Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Public Option Reloaded

Sullivan today, on the “public option” re-appearing in an “opt-out” form:

The Dish always thought it was viable because the logic behind it makes sense to anyone with a brain, because it would save money, because it is actually popular and because the opt-out option squares the circle nicely.

Almost every single word that sentence is dripping in bullshit.

First, the public option will not save money.  Not without either rationing or forcing providers to participate at low reimbursement rates.  The latter would constitute an indirect subsidy worth hundreds of billions of dollars.  As Samuelson, in a must-read article says:

The promise of the public plan is a mirage. Its political brilliance is to use free-market rhetoric (more “choice” and “competition") to expand government power. But why would a plan tied to Medicare control health spending, when Medicare hasn’t? From 1970 to 2007, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose 9.2 percent annually compared to the 10.4 percent of private insurers—and the small difference partly reflects cost shifting. Congress periodically improves Medicare benefits, and there’s a limit to how much squeezing reimbursement rates can check costs. Doctors and hospitals already complain that low payments limit services or discourage physicians from taking Medicare patients.

As I have pointed out, Medicare’s supposedly low overhead is based on borrowing infrastructure from other agencies and—most notably—running their insurance plan so badly that it is a cesspool where corrupt agents can become millionaires and honest docs are hurting.  The public option is likely to be worse than this.  We’ve seen a preview of it in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—the “public option” mortgage companies that were at the heart of the housing crisis, had to be bailed out to the tune of hundreds of billions and dollars and, unlike the TARP companies, are being allowed to pay out huge bonuses to their execs.  That latter point is something to bear in mind.  Once Fannie Med is created, it will, like the mortgage companies, produce a raft of highly-paid government-controlled jobs for political cronies.

Second—is the public option popular? If that’s so, why are the Democrats desperately trying to rename the public option to something less politically lethal?  Even if it is popular, that doesn’t mean anything.  If I argued that gay marriage bans should be passed because they’re popular, I doubt that Sullivan would agree.

Finally, there’s the claim that this is “squaring the circle” politically.  Translation: if Republicans hate the public option, then red states can choose to opt of the system; therefore there should be no objection.

But that is a massive misrepresentation.  Red states will have the option not to get the insurance.  But they will not have the option to evade the cost shifting the plan is likely to create.  They will not have the option to avoid the direct and indirect subsidies that Fannie Med is almost certain to require.  They will not have the option to stick with insurance companies that are bankrupted or interstate companies that dump their private insurance or terrible business practices that become the industry standard (as has happened with Medicare).  The “opt out”, such as it is, is the opportunity to get out of the benefits of the public option will still bearing the costs.  That’s like a store offering to let you “opt out” of having to take home their merchandise while they continue to run up your credit card.

I guess I’m just not “anyone with a brain”.  But I’m not alone in my brainlessness.  Apart from Samuelson, there’s Roger Pilon, Michael Cannon, Megan McArdle, Greg Mankiw and Peter Suderman and Ronald Bailey.  Even Tuesday Morning Quarterback is in on the action, arguing that our first step should be to replace comprehensive healthcare with major medical.

So other than being completely wrong about everything, it’s another great post from Sullivan.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/27/09 at 11:41 AM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Now, Let Me Be Clear, Watch This Drive

This made me laugh:

President Barack Obama has only been in office for just over nine months, but he’s already hit the links as much as President Bush did in over two years.

CBS’ Mark Knoller — an unofficial documentarian and statistician of all things White House-related — wrote on his Twitter feed that, “Today - Obama ties Pres. Bush in the number of rounds of golf played in office: 24.

Took Bush 2 yrs & 10 months.”

Bush’s golf outings never bothered me and Obama’s don’t either.  But it is amusing to hear the thunderous silence from those who howled every time W picked up a 5-iron.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/27/09 at 08:38 AM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Explosion

The Democrats are budgeting and—surprise!—they are spending enough to make Republicans look responsible.  Almost.

The White House disclosed the other day that the fiscal 2009 budget deficit clocked in at $1.4 trillion, amid the usual promises to do something about it. Yet even as budget director Peter Orszag was speaking, House Democrats were moving on a dozen spending bills for fiscal 2010 that total 12.1% in more domestic discretionary increases.

Yes, 12.1%.

Remember, inflation is running close to zero, or 0.8%. The good news, if we can call it that, is that Senate Democrats only want to increase nondefense appropriations by 8% for 2010. Because these funding increases become part of the permanent baseline for future appropriations, the 2010 House budget bills would permanently raise annual outlays for discretionary programs by about $75 billion a year from now until, well, forever.

...

All of this largesse is also on top of the stimulus funding that agencies received in 2009. The budget for the Environmental Protection Agency rose 126%, the Department of Education budget 209% and energy programs 146%.

House Republicans on the Budget Committee added up the 2009 appropriations, the stimulus funding and 2010 budgets and found that federal agencies will, on average, receive a 57% increase in appropriated funds from 2008-2010.

Remember those deficit projections Obama was making?  Those were based on the idea that spending would remain tied to the rate of inflation—and that the “stimulus” would be allowed to expire.  But we’re now seeing that not only is the stimulus going to stay with us forever (as I and every other conservative/libertarian pundit said at the time) we’re going to get an endless series of stimuli that will boost spending and boost spending and boost spending until ... well, it’s not really clear what until.  Until the Chinese stop loaning us money, I guess.

Update: Oddly enough, Congress has found one budget item they’re not sure about—defense.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/26/09 at 07:35 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Expose the cockroaches.

Despite the democrat controlled congress’ best efforts to hide the massive corruption and their role in the financial crisis we are currently seeing dragged out because of the collectivist policies intended to expand their power & government instead of fixing anything, some of their craven acts of corruption can not be wished away. This story is of particular importance and concern to me because one of the key players is none other than one of my state’s senators, Chris Dodd, a man that has never met a corrupt scheme or tax he didn’t like, and which is front and center in many of the current congress’ schemes to defraud the tax paying American people. Because they care about the people, of course. The democrat controlled congress, which constantly used their propaganda arm - the MSM - to tell us all about the “culture of corruption” on the other side, while not just ignoring real corruption amongst their own, but actively covering for it, without shame or remorse, seems to have lost a fight:

At last, there’s some good news for taxpayers in the Countrywide Financial loan scandal. On Friday night, House oversight committee chairman Edolphus Towns (D., N.Y.) and ranking member Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) reached an agreement to subpoena documents from the “Friends of Angelo” program. Named for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, the program provided VIP mortgages to “friends” including Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad.

Said Mr. Towns, “In line with the commitment to an ethical and accountable Congress, the subpoena to Countrywide covers records that could show special treatment for Members of Congress.” This is significant, because a compromise plan floated last week would have authorized a subpoena covering—don’t laugh—all federal officials except members of Congress.

Even more important is the fact that these crooks are front & center in the blame game, and are demanding the right to “fix” the problem they blame everyone but themselves for.

As the largest subprime lender and valued partner of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Countrywide was at the core of the mortgage meltdown. The political class wants to blame the mania and panic on the bankers, but the bankers couldn’t have made the subprime lending mess without plenty of political help from Congress. To ensure that this disaster is never repeated, it is critical that Congress uncovers the facts about the extraordinary efforts by Countrywide and Fannie and Freddie to influence federal housing policy.

Let me say it again: even more important, it is critical for the American people to see that these scams could not have been run without the help of the politicians, whom often were the movers & shakers that pushed for the system that ended up imploding on us. Especially since these politicians are now pointing fingers elsewhere and demanding to be allowed to write even more law around these problems while ignoring the fundamental underlying problem caused by their ideological economic policies that fly in the face of reality.

Posted by AlexinCT on 10/26/09 at 06:37 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

As The New York Times Turns

Jeez, I leave the country for a couple of weeks and things go crazy.  Not one but two pro-Obama publications are—gasp!—criticizing him for embracing Bush policy.  The latter is the “legitimate” New York Times (as opposed to the illegitimate Fox News), usually a reliable source for using xeroxed Democratic press releases as news articles or editorials:

The Obama administration has clung for so long to the Bush administration’s expansive claims of national security and executive power that it is in danger of turning President George W. Bush’s cover-up of abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism into President Barack Obama’s cover-up.

We have had recent reminders of this dismaying retreat from Mr. Obama’s passionate campaign promises to make a break with Mr. Bush’s abuses of power, a shift that denies justice to the victims of wayward government policies and shields officials from accountability.

They detail several troubling actions by Obama—most notably the continuing threats against the UK for making the Binyam Mohamed documents public.  These documents detail the extreme torture—way beyond waterboarding—that Mohamed endured in Pakistan, Morocco and a CIA black site.  It has also claimed that any lawsuits over Bush-era policies can simply be dismissed by invoking national security concerns.

I’m going to do something rare—agree with the NYT.  While Obama has made some notable changes in torture policy and surveillance, he has mostly given a new veneer to the old policies.  I doubt this is based on principle.  In the short history of this Administration, we’ve seen that political concerns trump everything.  The Obama Administration does not want to hand the GOP ammunition to claim they are “weak” in the WOT.

The problem with that is that they are going to get accused of weakness anyway.  Just last weak, Dick Cheney accused them of “dithering” on Afghanistan for pursuing the exact same policy Bush had.  This was a laughable accusation from an Administration that insisted everything was wonderful in Iraq until they lost the 2006 election.

In general, you can’t dictate policy by the fear that the opposing party will impugn you because they are going to impugn you anyway.  That’s the nature of politics.  The parallel I would make is to when the GOP tried to outspend and out-socialized the Democrats.  No matter how much they spent, they were still accused of “gutting” important social programs and starving grandma to death.  So what was the point of compromising their principles?

As I said last week—what are the Democrats planning to do with their power?  It seems like they’re mostly going to sit around and whine about Fox News.  I suppose that’s an improvement on their usual policies.  But there are some things that actually do need changing.  And the Bush tendency toward secrecy, executive privilege and blanket security claims is one of them.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/26/09 at 06:07 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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