Tag: Nancy Pelosi

Trump’s Deal

So, here’s the thing. Yesterday, Trump, during intense negotiations over the debt ceiling, basically caved into the Democrats:

President Trump struck a deal with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to increase the debt limit and finance the government until mid-December, blindsiding his own Republican allies as he reached across the aisle to resolve a major dispute for the first time since taking office.

The agreement would avert a fiscal showdown later this month without the bloody, partisan battle that many had anticipated by combining a debt ceiling increase and stopgap spending measure with relief aid to Texas and other areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. But without addressing the fundamental underlying issues, it set up the prospect for an even bigger clash at the end of the year.

Mr. Trump not only accepted the spending-and-debt plan advanced by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leaders, but also aligned himself with them on immigration. A day after rescinding President Barack Obama’s program protecting younger illegal immigrants on the grounds that it went beyond a president’s authority, Mr. Trump said he wanted to work with Democrats to legalize the program.

“We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” Mr. Trump told reporters after the Oval Office session without mentioning that Mr. Ryan and other Republican leaders had also attended. Regarding the immigration program, Mr. Trump said, “Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I.”

Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi pressed for a three-month deal to keep the government running and raise the debt ceiling along with the hurricane aid to give Democrats leverage later this year when other matters, including a longer-term government funding deal, could be negotiated between the two parties. By ensuring that all the pending issues converge at the end of the year, Democrats hope a longer-term agreement on fiscal matters could include immigration, health care and any number of other issues.

So instead of siding with the Republicans to push for an 18-month debt ceiling hike that would push the issue past the 2018 elections, Trump decided to deal with Pelosi and Schumer to put us on the path to yet another fiscal crisis in December. I’m normally one for compromise. That’s how government has to work. But when you compromise, you should get something. Trump’s gain was a Harvey relief package that was going to pass anyway. He didn’t get immigration reform or a Wall or tax cuts or anything else. But he gave the Democrats the crisis they need to force their issues to the floor in December. Mainly, as far as I can tell, so that he could boast about having made a deal.

Here’s the thing. For years, Republican leadership have been pilloried and blasted for making deals with Obama. The debt ceiling deal, the fiscal cliff, the sequester — the deals that cut the budget deficit in half by keeping spending flat for six years. These were supposedly the actions of “RINOs”. Yet these deals were way more favorable to conservative interests than the one Trump just cut. And yet the same people who blasted Republicans for “giving in” to Obama are praising Trump for bypassing Republican leadership.

The revelation I have had since 2016 … and a big reason my blogging has tailed off … is because I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t really care about issues. They care about identity. And nowhere is this more distilled than in the ongoing presidency of Donald Trump. The support for Trump is not based on issues or philosophy or conservatism. It’s based on one or both of two Cults of Personality: one based on worship of Trump; the other based on hatred of Obama. Cutting deals, no matter bad they are, is suddenly OK.

The Holdout Soldiers

Speaking of tribalism …

Daou has become a reliable holdout soldier for Clinton, constantly insisting that she’s really awesome, trying to tie every story back to her and demanding that the world embrace her. But this tweet (and the sentiment behind it) is illustrative of something deeply stupid in American politics and in the Democratic Party in particular.

I was recently chatting with a British friend about the snap election. He predicted that Theresa May would be out of power by Christmas at the latest, July at the earliest. The reason, he said, is that the Conservatives tend to be fairly ruthless about leadership. When a politician leads them to disaster — as May has — that politician does not tend to last very long.

I agree with the prediction but I wouldn’t use the word “ruthless”. I would use the word “smart”. Parties have limited political capital. When a politician starts becoming a liability, the party should not expend one ounce of that capital propping that wounded duck up. Dump them and invest that energy in someone new. It doesn’t matter if the damage to the politician is “fair” or not. What matters is that you are wasting time and energy complaining to the refs instead of trying to move the ball downfield.

Maybe the criticism of Clinton and Pelosi is unfair (I happen to think it’s very fair). But that doesn’t matter a wit. Neither of them is a young once-in-a-generation political talent. Or a political talent at all. Defending them isn’t about fairness or political wisdom. It’s about tribalism. It’s about defending “their side” from the awful awful Republicans. It’s about not letting the Republicans “win” by not letting them dictate who runs your party.

But here’s the thing … denying the Republicans a “win” on Pelosi and the Democratic leadership has given the Republicans win after win at the ballot box. The Democratic leadership is old and out of touch. The most popular Presidential candidates right now — Warren, Pelosi, Clinton, Biden, Sanders — are all on the wrong side of 70 and have big political liabilities. This leadership, which the base seems to love so much, has led the Democrats to one of the lowest political ebbs in history — Republicans in both houses, Trump in the White House, most state legislatures and governorships controlled by Republicans, a party confined almost entirely to big cities and the coasts. For Pete’s sake, why are you wasting energy defending these people? The batting coach of the Tampa Bay Rays is held more accountable than these jack-a-napes.

Granted, some of the young Democrats — Preening Preet Bharara, Fascist Kamela Harris, Dumbell Andrew Cuomo — aren’t exactly inspiring. But there have got to be young political talents out there who can rebuild the Democratic brand. Take Jon Ossoff. He was wet-behind-the-ears but he moderated a bit and could get elected (maybe in the district he lives in). In my own state, Tom Wolf just worked with Republicans to pass what was once unthinkable: a massive reform of state employee pensions that will cap our future liabilities and keep us from becoming Illinois with mountains. There are thousands of Democratic politicians out there and 60 million people who voted for them. There’s got to be someone better than these old farts.

If there were any accountability in the Democratic Party, Pelosi would have been forced out after 2010 and the entirety of the leadership would have been forced out after 2016’s disaster. But the Democrats don’t seem to want to face reality.

One of the reasons the Republican Party has been successful is that they’ve been better at holding their leadership accountable for what happens in the polls. Newt, for example, was forced out in 1998 after a poor mid-term performance. They’re not perfect — there’s far too many former whatevers running around Fox News. But they are better. And they have been way better at promoting the young wave of conservatives like Rubio, Haley, Martinez and Jindal.

Look, I’ve been following politics for a long time and I know how the Cult of Personality works. But the Cult of Personality afflicting the Democrats right now is deeply deranged. It’s one thing to have a Cult of Personality around successful politicians like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. But building one around losers like Pelosi, Hillary and Schumer? What the hell is that even about?

Around the country, Democrats are lamenting their losses, wondering why they can’t win. They’ve resorted to blaming Republicans and voters for being awful people. They’ve been throwing up their hands and saying, “How can you appeal to racist sexist bigots?” That’s comforting, I guess. But the country isn’t really that awful. Your leadership is.

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2012

For five years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly makes me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

We’ll start with the Turkeys of the Year. For reference, the past winners are:

2007: Alberto Gonzalez, Nancy Pelosi, Hugo Chavez

2008: Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s critics, Hillary Clinton, Congress, Joe Biden

2009: MIke Steele, Glen Beck, the State Department, Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan.

2010: Janet Napolitano and TSA, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, MSNBC, Lower Merion Schools, California Voters.

2011: Nancy Pelosi, Republican Presidential Field, Occupy Wall Street, Anthony Weiner, the Eurozone. Note my prediction: “I suspect Santorum will be the next flavor of the month. This will last until people remember that he’s Rick Santorum.”

For this year, I’m going with:

The Culture Warriors: Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lost imminently winnable seats because of dumb things they said about rape. At the precise time the GOP was pulling away from the “War on Women” baloney, they made half the nation facepalm. There were others, notably unopposed Paul Broun, whose comments about creationism so angered the voters that some wrote in votes for “burning bag of dogshit”. Suburban Republicans shifted on gay marriage, likely costing the GOP votes. Mitt Romney may have lost the election; but he outpolled the GOP in many regions because of turkeys like Akin and Mourdock poisoning the brand.

Unions: They poured immense resources into Wisconsin and, even with the media and the President on their side, the year will end with the Republicans in control of both the legislature and the governor’s office. Their effort to hijack the Michigan constitution failed. Their strike in Chicago, intended to rally people to their cause, instead enraged the American electorate. The Hostess situation may yet be resolved. But even Democrats are reading the writing on the wall with future pension obligations. This may be the year the country realized how bad the situation has gotten. And every windy pronouncement from the like of Richard Trumka gets progressively less threatening and more humorous.

The Poll Unskewers: Nothing represented the denial of reality in certain circles more than the poll unskewing. Obama took a big lead in the polls after the conventions, Romney closed the gap during the debates and then Obama pulled away in the last two weeks. But there were certain factions of the commentariat that refused to accept this; that insisted that Romney was winning the whole time.

The ringleader, when he wasn’t hurling gay slurs at Nate Silver, was predicting a Romney landslide. Bloggers routinely quoted whatever outlier favored Romney while ignoring every other poll (and many liberals quoted whatever poll was best for Obama). Peggy Noonan said Romney would win because she felt it in the force. This opened with the quote: “nobody knows anything”. But people did know things. Nate Silver wasn’t the only one who could read the polls. Even RCP predicted an Obama win.

This reached an apotheosis with 18 of the most extraordinary minutes of television I’ve ever seen when first Megyn Kelly, then the Fox analysis team and eventually Michael Barone staged an intervention for Karl Rove as he kept insisting that Ohio couldn’t be called. This was especially strange because, as this drama was unfolding, Nevada and Colorado were called meaning Obama could win without Ohio, Virginia or Florida.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: Ms. Verbal Diarrhea, as I’ve come to call her, can always be relied on to say something dumb, ignorant, false or all three. From feigning ignorance about Obama’s kill list to falling off the balance beam on the Wisconsin recall to getting eviscerated by Anderson Cooper. Not a week goes by without her being a source of entertainment.

Oh shit, she’s an actual elected official? She’s the chair of the DNC? Damn. How’d they win again?

MSNBC: Even Pew noticed how ridiculously biased they are. SNL burned them well after the first debate but nothing was as hilarious as the reality of the first debate aftermath, when the MSNBC staff looked they might go Jonestown on us.

Dishonorable Mention: David Petraeus, John McCain, Nancy Pelosi, the Miami Marlins, Lance Armstrong, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Brian Ross (for IDing the wrong guy in Aurora), Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, Facebook’s IPO, Obamacare, Joe Biden, Francois Hollande, Eric Holder.

Now the Golden Drumsticks, awarded to those who best exemplified what is right with this country. Here are the past awards, the first round from WVR.

2007: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, David Petraeus, Juan Carlos, Burma’s monks

2008: US Military, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Republican Governors, Barack Obama

2009: The American Fighting Man, Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, George W. Bush

2010: The Tea Party, Chris Christie, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Next Wave of Republicans, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, The American Soldiers

2011: Seal Team Six, Mark Kelly, The Arab Spring (ugh), the Technicians at Fukushima

For 2012:

Down Ballots: Marijuana won in Massachusetts, Washington and Colorado and came close in Arkansas. Gay marriage won in Minnesota, Maine, Washington and Maryland. Unions were turned away in Michigan. Eminent domain reform triumphed in Virginia. Former drumstick winner Jeff Flake won in Arizona. And Republicans kept the House. If you ignored the White House race — and really, who among us didn’t want to — it was not a bad year for a conservative-libertarian.

The Sandy Responders: Hurricane Sandy was a Katrina-level event but we have not seen the chaos and destruction we saw then. The response seems to be lagging only when you fail to consider the incredible scale of the disaster. Let me put it this way: the response to Sandy has been so good I pulled Mike “16 Oz” Bloomberg off the list of turkeys.

The real heroes, of course, have been the people of New York and New Jersey who have pulled together, looked out for each other behaved admirably.

Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods: The CIA read the Benghazi situation badly, failing to call for military help. But Woods and Doherty read the situation correctly, ignored the stand down order and eventually lost their lives in the sudden second attack on the CIA annex. Whatever you think of the Benghazi situation, I don’t think anyone can question the bravery of these two men.

Mathew Inman (aka the Oatmeal): Ordinarily, I’d be content with him being the best web comic out there (XKCD being a close second). But when he responded to douchebag censorious threats by raising $200,000 for charity, he showed how people should respond to legal thuggery and generalized jackassery.

Honorable Mention: the American military, Ron and Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Gary Johnson, the new wave of Republican governors and conservative writers, Paul Ryan, the US Olympic team.

The Right Wing Meltdown: Knock It Off

It’s been downright painful watching conservatives come to grips with the reality that Obama was re-elected. A couple of my favorite sites are about ready to go all Jonestown about it and I haven’t bothered to give them more than a cursory glance for the past week.

Everywhere it’s “Why, why, why?” and “We have to change everything we believe!” and “We just had bad luck, it means nothing, nothing I tell you!” and even “We have to secede, obviously.”

It’s a collective temper tantrum. Liberals think it’s all hilarious, I might add.

At the risk of sounding like a big twat (ha, ha, ha: shut up), I’ve never been more ashamed of us as a movement or group or what-have-you. This is not the End of America, for fuck’s sake. If you’re waiting for the collective breakdown and war (or, worse, hoping for it), settle down.

It’s not Morning in America either, mind you. Let’s not kid ourselves. This country is in for a brutal decade. But that doesn’t mean that America is fatally wounded. Our country has made a shitload of really bad decisions, run up too much debt, and divided itself on some ridiculous issues that never should have become government problems. We have the bad misfortune to be home when the papers are being served.

We’re getting ready for the next act of The Great Devaluation.  Real estate and college got overvalued, made a bunch of people rich, and then it turned out to be unsustainable in the first act.  We’ve been in shit, but only ankle-deep.  The next wave hits EVERYBODY where it hurts: Our money.  We don’t have enough and what we do have is going to be worth less, if not worthless.  Stocks are going to take a major hit, companies are going to tighten their belts, and more.  This is all coming about because we built everything on crap and let our “leaders” get away with mortgaging our future with insane entitlements, limitless wars, and low taxes.    Well, welcome to the future.

Emigration isn’t an option for me and I’m not really jazzed about the idea of joining up with some asshole warlord in Civil War Episode II: Attack of the Self-Entitled Douchebags.  If you’re good with all that, then go ahead and start digging your bunker and just start waiting.  I don’t care.

The Democrats are not up to the task of handling what’s happening and frankly, I don’t think the GOP was either.  It’s too late and I think this is one of those disasters of American history that just has to happen before we can move on, like Pearl Harbor (the actual event, not the film).  I don’t know how else we break our bad habits without imposed austerity.

Now, plenty of pundits and politicians are getting their silly asses on television talking about how we need to change this and that.  Stop apologizing for rape, let the Mexicans run wild, and admit that the wage gap is deliberately caused by evil, stinky men instead of market forces.  If you want to keep going for the two party system of Democrat and Democrat-lite, that’s a personal choice.  I don’t think we need to go that far.

It is time to compromise though.  I still don’t know how to work out a “peace accord”, but I do know that we can call a truce and take the time to retrench without retreating

First, taxes must go up on high earners.  We have to give that away and I see no way we win the Battle of Fiscal Cliff without some casualties.  Coddling the rich isn’t doing us any good if they can’t even buy a Romney presidency.   It’s totally symbolic, it’s not going to help the deficit or jobs, and it’s against our beliefs.  Too bad.  We’re taking a break from worshipping the wealthy while the American people enjoy having their demagogues to spread the wealth pain around.  I still think letting all of the Bush tax cuts expire is fitting, but we should “let” the Democrats talk us out of it if they throw in something worthwhile.

Second, it’s time to end the War in Afghanistan and reduce and reorient the military to stick with what it has done best since the 19th Century: Defend North America.  Yeah, I’m going all Pat Buchanan on this.  Israel: I am really and truly sorry.  But if we’re really heading into a Civil War, it would probably be better to have our guys back here, right?

Next, let’s bite our tongues when the President takes full credit for the deal.  Let him have this last big fuckin’ deal.  I think Boehner sucks, you do too, but lets go easy on him this one time.

The unsustainability of Medicare, Social Security, and ObamaCare is not going to be seriously addressed or resolved by the federal government at this time.  Everything I’m proposing here is with the assumption that it won’t.  We get to watch and let the Democrats totally own the disaster.  When it’s time for them to give some things up and save what’s left of the Obama legacy, they’ll know.

The one issue I don’t think we should compromise on is any immigration reform that requires amnesty for those already living here.  I think America’s natural xenophobia will kick back in as those lettuce-picking jobs start looking better and better as the unemployment starts to dry up.  Be patient on this one.


Finally, screw the Constitution of the United States of America.   I think it’s time we all acknowledged that the Constitution needs a redo.  It is failing us and the American people clearly don’t believe in it or care anymore except when they want to cherry-pick one amendment or another to suit their causes.   It is almost a dead fucking letter and there are no longer any peaceful means of binding our current government back to it.

You want to scare the hell out of the DC establishment?  It’s time to call for a Constitutional Convention, through the states.  They laugh at your pathetic secession petitions but they’ll stop laughing and choke when they realize that we’re about to change the rules to fuck them over.  This isn’t a temper tantrum.  It’s a cold, dead-eyed threat of a long-term solution.  Start demanding this at every turn.  Americans are going to love the idea soon enough, if the doomsayers are right.

Conservatives and progressives simply do not agree on what kind of country we should be and what the Constitution means and independents in the middle are too brain-dead and disengaged to care.  We’re not going anywhere as a people until we firmly establish a new concept of the relationship between the federal government, the states, and the people.   Our government cannot do it at this point.

The Culture Wars were driven by the Supreme Court making these decisions for us and they’ve done an awful job.  They’re completely unpredictable and they barely even use the Constitution as the basis for rulings anymore.  Congress has ignored its fiscal duties and its members serve to benefit themselves.  The Presidency is imperial in everything but name.  Whole industries are crippled with executive orders and psychotic bureaucrats.  This has to stop.  We need to accept that the old Constitution has done nothing to restrain all three out-of-control branches of government and quit acting like the Founding Fathers were flawless gods.   What they created was beautiful, but it isn’t working anymore.

We stop the Right Wing Meltdown.   The game is still on and what is happening in Congress is everything right now (even though the Petraeus thing is the most awesome scandal of my lifetime).  My advice is to comment on the Jonestown Blogs that the histrionics are done and it’s time for a Constitutional Convention.  Start getting that into the public consciousness now.

I’ve been preaching the importance of staying on task ever since last Tuesday’s electoral calamity.  This isn’t because of my sunny disposition or optimistic outlook.  I have neither.  It’s because the United States needs a vibrant pro-Liberty movement and we’re it.

No more embarrassing theatrics.  Do it FOR THE CHIIIIIIILDREN, you bastards.

I invite all denunciations and mental health referrals.   Sometimes, you just gotta rant.

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2011

For four years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly makes me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

We’ll start with the Turkeys of the Year. For reference, the past winners are:

2007: Alberto Gonzalez, Nancy Pelosi, Hugo Chavez

2008: Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s critics, Hillary Clinton, Congress, Joe Biden

2009: MIke Steele, Glen Beck, the State Department, Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan.

2010: Janet Napolitano and TSA, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, MSNBC, Lower Merion Schools, California Voters:

For this year, I’m going with:

Nancy Pelosi: This is her third award in five years. Nancy is the gift that keeps on giving, even after you’ve tried to return it to the store. To steal a joke from Bill James’ glorious Historical Baseball Abstract, Nancy is a complete five-tool silly person. She can run silly, hit silly, throw silly, field silly and silly for power. She is silly to all fields. She can silly behind the runner as well as anyone, and you talk about pressure … man, you never saw a politician who was sillier in the clutch. She is the Albert Pujols of idiocy. This is a woman who was cornered in an interview with Jon Stewart, claiming the Democrats didn’t pass a budget because Republicans would’ve filibustered it (memo to the former Speaker: budget bills can’t be filibustered. You might remember this because you passed Obamacare as a budget bill.) This is a woman who thinks unemployments benefits will reduce the deficit. There is not a month that goes by without Pelosi saying something that makes the Right Wing roar with laughter.

The Republican Presidential Field: You know it’s been that kind of year when the winner of every Republican debate is Barack Obama. You know it’s been that kind of year when the highlights of Mitt Romney clinching the nomination doesn’t include footage of Mitt Romney. About a year from now, we’re going to look at the list of people who, at one time, led the polls — Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich — and wonder how the Party of Reagan went so wrong. Newt’s Fannie Mae and healthcare mandate past will soon doom his candidacy. I suspect Santorum will be the next flavor of the month. This will last until people remember that he’s Rick Santorum.

And, really Donald Trump deserves his own entry. None of us were fooled that he would really run for President. And he showed himself thoroughly unfit. To me, the iconic image of Trump was his stoney face while being roasted during the White House Press Corps dinner. Presidents need to be able to laugh at themselves. Reagan could. Both Bushes could. Clinton could. Obama can. Even Nixon could laugh at himself. Taking yourself so seriously is a sign that you belong nowhere near power.

Occupy Wall Street: This is painful because I had hopes for them. I think the issue that motivates them — entrenched corporate power and wealth — is legitimate. I think it’s appalling that the banks paid so small a price for so big a catastrophe. But they’ve ruined whatever good will they had with criminal and anarchistic behavior, vague or far Left demands and mindless provocation.

Let me put it this way. A few weeks ago, the Left was crowing because OWS had higher favorability numbers among the public than the Tea Party. They’re not crowing any more because the latest poll shows them as far less popular. It took the Tea Party two years to tire the public; it took OWS about two weeks. And that was with media coverage in their favor.

Anthony Weiner: I still can’t make up my mind which is stupider: texting pictures of your dick to strangers? Or lying about it and making fools of your political allies? He’ll be back, probably with a commentary gig on MSNBC or something.

The Eurozone: If we get into a second Great Depression, it will be because of these guys. Everyone knows what needs to be done. No one can do it. But at least we know that drinking bottled water may prevent dehydration.

Dishonorable Mention: Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Sullivan, Bill Maher, Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen, Harold Koh, the NBA, the NCAA, Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Eric Holder and the ATF, the Supercommittee.

Now the Golden Drumsticks. Here are the past awards, the first round from WVR.

2007: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, David Petraeus, Juan Carlos, Burma’s monks

2008: US Military, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Republican Governors, Barack Obama

2009: The American Fighting Man, Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, George W. Bush

2010: The Tea Party, Chris Christie, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Next Wave of Republicans, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, The American Soldiers

For 2011:

Seal Team Six: The biggest story of 2011 may be their execution of Osama bin Laden, carried out with incredible skill and courage. And a big bite of this goes to Obama, who gave the order.

Mark Kelly: Gabby Giffords is not all the way back, yet. Her interview, inspiring as it was, shows some remaining cognitive and functional difficulties. But that she has come so far is a God-damned miracle. On the day she was shot, I was convinced we’d next see her in a coffin or a permanent vegetative state. A lot of the credit goes to her husband, who has been a class act and shown his wife a devotion that should make us all proud. Bonus points to the parents of little Christina Green, who refused to politicize the most tragic fatality of that awful day.

The Arab Spring: It may still all end in tears and Islamofascism. But let’s be hopeful: the protesters who shook or toppled regimes in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are what OWS deludes themselves that they are: real people putting their lives in danger to oppose brutal powerful dictators.

The Technicians at Fukushima Daichii: They made mistakes early on, but they risked their lives and their health to try to deal with this disaster. And really, the entire nation of Japan deserves recognition for responding to one of the biggest natural disasters in history with resolve, hard work and dignity.

Honorable Mention: John Boehner, Paul Ryan, the students of Penn State, the Shuttle program, Peter Schiff, Reason magazine, Hillary Clinton.


Are you angry at Congress? Get angrier, my friends:

Peter Schweizer is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University. A year ago he began working on a book about soft corruption in Washington with a team of eight student researchers, who reviewed financial disclosure records. It became a jumping off point for our own story, and we have independently verified the material we’ve used.

Schweizer says he wanted to know why some congressmen and senators managed to accumulate significant wealth beyond their salaries, and proved particularly adept at buying and selling stocks.

You know where this is going, don’t you? Congressmen of both parties have engaged in massive insider trading — swapping health stocks during the healthcare debate, shorting banks stocks when they were warned of the pending financial meltdown, buying up land right before a road is scheduled to be built.

The thing is, as Stephen Bainbridge and Walter Olson have noted, this is all perfectly legal. Congress is not bound by insider trading laws nor are they obligated to put their funds in blind trusts. They can even be given IPOs.

And former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband have participated in at least eight IPOs. One of those came in 2008, from Visa, just as a troublesome piece of legislation that would have hurt credit card companies, began making its way through the House. Undisturbed by a potential conflict of interest the Pelosis purchased 5,000 shares of Visa at the initial price of $44 dollars. Two days later it was trading at $64. The credit card legislation never made it to the floor of the House.

Efforts to fix this have gone nowhere fast, with both parties. But it gets worse:

In the past few years a whole new totally unregulated, $100 million dollar industry has grown up in Washington called political intelligence. It employs former congressmen and former staffers to scour the halls of the Capitol gathering valuable non-public information then selling it to hedge funds and traders on Wall Street who can trade on it.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: if OWS really opposes corruption and corporatism, they should occupy Washington. Let’s see how much sympathy the Democrats have for the movement when it’s taking dumps in their yard.

Was the WH behind the S&P and Moody credit rating hit job?

When I saw the news yesterday that Moodys put the US rating on a downgrade watch and that was also followed immediately by Standard & Poor’s pushing the same narrative, I immediately became suspicious of the timing and this idiotic warning. Remember that Moody and S&P where the people that kept telling us that all those mortgage security packages, replete with bad loans almost guaranteed to go south, repackaged through Freddie and Fannie, where great investments up until the whole house of cards came crashing down. I smell a rat here, and think this whole concerted attempt by these two to push us into giving the democrats what they want – more debt – isn’t a coincidence at all.

I am still surprised at the fact congress has not subpoenaed the management of S&P and Moodys to figure out what they knew. At a minimum it would prove – if they are going to make the claim they just didn’t know better – they have no fucking clue what they are talking about, or worse, and this is what I suspect happened, they would have to come clean on why they continued to pretend the buckets of shit where being lauded as a buckets of gold. Whether it was done so the fat cats could keep getting bigger houses, faster cars, and nicer fortunes by selling that junk off to everyone, or simply because they figured that nobody would ever catch on, if they knew and let it go on, it was criminal.

Enter Tim Geithner, whom I remind you was the Chairman of the New York Fed when everything was collapsing back in 2008, and for not catching on that the world was melting down around him, got rewarded for his that and his lack of concern about paying taxes like the rest of us by Obama, to the post of Secretary of the Treasury. Let me also point out that Tim has some real cozy relations with both the heads of Standard & Poors and Moodys. So, you can see how I am now immediately suspicious about this concerted effort by these two to convince people that allowing the democrats to force us to rack up trillions more in debt is better for our rating than putting an end to their insane fiscal policies.

What I suspect we have here is Obama telling Timmy to call his buddies and then telling them to help these collectivist tax-and-spend-command-economy nutjobs push their agenda, by making this ludicrous announcement in the hopes it forces the republicans to break down and give in to the Obama/democrat bullshit promise of cuts in the far away future – which guarantees they won’t happen ever – and tax increases that will hit the economy even harder, and that’s just plain wrong. But will the media figure this out and report this or just go right along and continue to shill for Obama and the democrats? I know, rhetorical question. For all their talk about the evil capitalists and the evils of capitalism, these collectivists sure seem to be in bed with the biggest and baddest of them all, and these bastards sure seem willing to say whatever lies it takes to help keep them in business.

UPDATE: More details about the real reason that our rating will be hammered and confirmation that what I was thinking was the reason behind S&P and Moddy doing their announcements come from this WSJ article. Some prime quotes:

So the credit-rating agencies that helped to create the financial crisis that led to a deep recession are now warning that the U.S. could lose the AAA rating it has had since 1917. As painfully ironic as this is, there’s no benefit in shooting the messengers. The real culprit is the U.S. political class, especially the President who has presided over this historic collapse of fiscal credibility.

Moody’s and the boys are citing the risk of a default on August 2 as the proximate reason for their warning. But Americans should understand that the debt ceiling is merely the trigger. The gun is the spending boom of the last three years and the prospect that Washington lacks the political will to reduce it in the years to come.

On spending, it is important to recall how extraordinary the blowout of the last three years has been. We’ve seen nothing like it since World War II. Nothing close. The nearby chart tracks federal outlays as a share of GDP since 1960. The early peaks coincide with the rise of the Great Society, the recession of 1974-75, and then a high of 23.5% with the recession of 1982 and the Reagan defense buildup.

From there, spending declines, most rapidly during the 1990s as defense outlays fell to 3% of GDP in 2000 from its Reagan peak of 6.2% in 1986. The early George W. Bush years saw spending bounce up to a plateau of roughly 20% of GDP, but no more than 20.7% as recently as 2008.

Then came the Obama blowout, in league with Nancy Pelosi’s Congress. With the recession as a rationale, Democrats consciously blew up the national balance sheet, lifting federal outlays to 25% in 2009, the highest level since 1945. (Even in 1946, with millions still in the military, spending was only 24.8% of GDP. In 1947 it fell to 14.8%.) Though the recession ended in June 2009, spending in 2010 stayed high at nearly 24%, and this year it is heading back toward 25%.

This is the main reason that federal debt held by the public as a share of GDP has climbed from 40.3% in 2008, to 53.5% in 2009, 62.2% in 2010 and an estimated 72% this year, and is expected to keep rising in the future. These are heights not seen since the Korean War, and many analysts think U.S. debt will soon hit 90% or 100% of GDP.

The problem is G-O-V-E-R-M-N-T S-P-E-N-D-I-N-G, which has gone up by an insane factor since democrats took the levers of government over after making the ridiculous promise that they would be more fiscal disciplined than their predecessors, not the fact that government, now run by command economy collectivists completely detached from reality and spending at record numbers that make the people they replaced look like pikers, isn’t stealing even more money from the productive sector to buy votes. That’s why we can not let them win this fight. Cuts now, no taxes. The big government gravy train must go the way of the Dodo bird.

Democrats Punt … Again

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are now going on two years since the Senate passed a budget. And Harry Reid is just fine with that:

Passing a yearly budget for the federal government is a fundamental responsibility of Congress. Lawmakers do not have to spend their time naming post offices or passing health care reform. But they do have to pass a budget. In 2010, neither the House nor the Senate did so. It’s not that members just didn’t get around to it, which would have been scandalous enough. No, Reid and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi feared that passing a budget would hurt their chances in the November midterm elections. So they did nothing and took a beating at the polls anyway.

Now Pelosi is out of the picture. But Reid is still at it. The Republican-controlled House has passed a budget, but Reid will not produce a Democratic spending proposal. And if Reid doesn’t want to pass a budget, then a budget won’t be passed; the majority leader controls what is and what is not considered in the Senate.

“There’s no need to have a Democratic budget, in my opinion,” Reid told the Los Angeles Times last week. “It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.” Instead, Reid wants to wait to see if the deficit-reduction meetings led by Vice President Biden bear any fruit. Before that, Reid wanted to wait for the Gang of Six — now nearly defunct — to come up with something.

This is simply appalling. I’m guessing what happened here was that the Democrats produced a budget that reduced the deficit mostly through tax hikes and then chickened out on actually presenting it. Right now, they’re milking anti-Republican sentiment, culminating in last night’s win in NY-26. They’re running with their Mediscare tactics. And … that’s it. That’s all they are prepared to do.

There are plenty of people criticizing the Republican plans to privatize Medicare and cut spending without any tax hikes. But here’s the thing: at least the Republicans proposed a budget. At least they’re trying to get out deficit under control. Whatever you may think of their plan — and I have issues with it — at least it’s a plan. That’s a a massive improvement over the big democratic pile of fucking nothing.

Here’s a question for the floor: why do we even have a Congress anymore? They won’t vote a war up or down; they’ve punted much of their law-making ability to the bureaucracies; they won’t pass a budget; they want to repass the Patriot Act with zero changes. As far as I can tell, their primary duties are appearing on TV and collecting campaign contributions.

What are we paying them for? Why do we even have these clowns around? They have made themselves irrelevant and immaterial.

Politically connected won’t have to pay for Obamacare

While people are already getting fuming mad at news that some doctors are now super screening patients, in this case obesity, I am certain we are not going to hear a peep from the MSM about the fact that a ton of new Obamacare wavers went out to people in Pelosi’s district. If you still think that these “social justice” hucksters aren’t really the most craven form of low lives, making themselves rich by extending favors to their chosen, while screwing over the ones they don’t like, basically picking the winners and losers whether they deserve it or not, and don’t really give a rats ass about anyone else but their clique, you need a brain exam.

What we have here are the politically connected getting breaks from government, while everyone else that doesn’t pay-to-play gets hosed. Of course, your leftist will tell you this is only done by republicans, when what and the amount of it that the democrats do, make the republicans look worse than amateurs. Their special interests and the high payers get the breaks, us suckers, well, look at the facts:

Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

That’s in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services approved.

As that Orwell book’s pig said: “Some people are just more equal than others” and anyone that considers these class warriors as being noble or fighting for the little people deserves to be fleeced by them. Of course, they will then just blame Bush and keep living in ignorant bliss. Us fools pay so these collectivist elites can live large. IN-FUCKING-SANE!