Friday, June 18, 2010
Yesterday morning, I happened to be fortunate enough to hear, live, Texas GOP Representative Joe Barton, castigate Wonderboy's "shakedown" of BP for $20B. Here's the video from YouTube.
Late yesterday, the media reported that John Boehner threatened Barton with his 'ranking member' status on the committee if he didn't retract his statement.
Personally, I found Barton's original statement to be refreshing. Joe Biden's objection to it tells you Barton was on the right track.
After so many lies and outrageous statements from Frisco Nan these past few years, why would John Boehner care what Barton said? Especially when it was true, even though Barton prefaced it with many disqualifiers, distancing it from the GOP or his role as a House member.
Boehner seems to have his head up his ass on this. And so much else. The GOP House leadership should be proud that one of their own had the guts to call Wonderboy's thuggery for what it is, and uphold the rule of law in our republic.
Not take Barton to the woodshed and demand that he retract a statement which reflects reality.
This is the sort of behavior, by Boehner, to which I referred in my prior post, when I wondered whether a change in party domination of the House will really change anything of importance.
Lanny then launched into an anti-BP tirade, complete with the absolutely inane and senseless demand that each BP office worker everywhere in the world should have been sent to the Gulf Coast to clean up the mess "that they created."
This is the sort of thinking that led Mao Tse Tung to put university professors to work in rice paddies back in the 1960s. Charming, Lanny...just charming.
Lanny repeated this demand a few minutes later, claiming that this was essential for both BP penance and to aid the cleanup.
Never mind that Wonderboy has refused help from several European nations. Offers of equipment, expertise, and overall aid to mitigate the oil gusher disaster.
The discussion then turned to Wonderboy's phrase "whose ass to kick."
After carefully avoiding using the actual word, Becky Quick turned abrasive and angry when Lanny insisted on trivializing the presidential use of the word "ass" by saying it about half a dozen times. Realizing it was upsetting Quick, he used it a few more times, laughing as he did so.
Quick got about as surly and ugly as I've ever seen her on air. Lanny was unrepentant and pooh-poohed anyone who thought that it is unpresidential to use foul language in public, and especially on air.
All in all, Lanny gave a hilariously idiotic performance. His BP employee resource allocation plan is about the dumbest thing possible. How does he think the company would continue to operate its energy production properties and various financial and other critical functions? Mind you, he didn't exempt those people. He literally said 'every BP worker at a desk in an office.'
Priceless. Pricelessly stupid and pointless. It just shows how completely ignorant Davis is of how businesses actually operate.
Here it is.
Pretty raw stuff. But effective for putting today's governmental power in perspective, isn't it?
We fought a war to become independent of a government that was less controlling and more responsive than the one we now actually elect.
Something's very wrong with this picture. I wish I could believe electing a Republican majority in the House next November will fix it, but I don't think that is enough. It's going to take non-partisan, citizen legislators and some serious Constitutional re-writing- not just a few scattered amendments- to put the federal genie back in the bottle.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Cannato's subject, and the subject of the book, The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and his Struggle to Save New York, from which, apparently, the piece was distilled, is the former Republican mayor of New York. But the larger subject is Wonderboy's national scale of ambition and solutions of the same ilk as the ill-fated Lindsay's.
It's a wonderful article.
"Remember John Lindsay? Fewer people do these days. The late mayor of New York was a national figure in the 1960s, as likely to be seen on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson as he would on the streets of the city. The tall, handsome Republican epitomized a new era of liberal politics that many hoped would transform not just the city, but also the country.
Yet the reality of governing soon swamped Lindsay and his idealistic dreams. His idea of New York as "Fun City" turned out to be a bitter joke, as the streets became dirtier and more dangerous, businesses and residents left, and the city lurched toward fiscal insolvency. When Lindsay left office at the end of 1973, New York was continuing its steep decline, his political career was over, and he faded into obscurity.
No one can blame Lindsay for all of the city's problems. He was a decent man who attracted a lot of good people into government. He ran a relatively honest administration. He was an active spokesman for cities and cared deeply about their survival. Yet he failed to stop the city's decline and to rejuvenate New York, thus breaking promises he made in his 1965 election campaign."
I certainly recall Lindsay, although, at the time, I was a young midwesterner. It is, ironically, just as Cannato wrote, that I remember Lindsay on Carson, or being lampooned by the comic.
"The original urge to celebrate Lindsay now undoubtedly was tied to the hope that the presidency of Barack Obama would usher in a new era of liberalism—in which Lindsay would perhaps be seen in a different light. What the organizers of the exhibit failed to anticipate was that by mid-2010, many of the shortcomings of Barack Obama would look suspiciously like the failings of John Lindsay.
Lindsay represented a new kind of liberal politics, a top-down coalition of affluent white liberals, young people and minorities that was less attentive to the needs of the working- and middle class. This has come to mark the modern Democratic Party (which Lindsay joined in 1971), but has too often proved to be a weak governing coalition.
Like Mr. Obama, John Lindsay had a messianic quality. He was the shining knight sent to slay the city's "power brokers." Sure of the rightness of his policies, Lindsay spoke in moralistic tones. But he could be prickly and thin-skinned and quick to impute base motives to political opponents. Well into his mayoralty, he continued to blame many of his problems on his predecessor. "
Wow, is Cannato on target here, eh? Whether it is healthcare, energy, or banking, Wonderboy may as well have suspended the first amendment, so often does he demand that those who disagree with him shut up. Imputing, as did Lindsay, purely political motives to anyone who publicly disagrees with our new black Messiah. And then there's that blame thing. The other evening, Wonderboy was at it again, carefully claiming that the government's MMS service was 'captured' for a decade- no more, no less. Meaning only during President George W. Bush's term of office.
How convenient."Lindsay promised an activist government to meet the needs of New Yorkers. That meant more spending, and more taxes to pay the bills—Lindsay created the city income tax and commuter tax. In his second term, the economy slowed and New York lost 250,000 private-sector jobs, but spending continued and the number of city workers swelled. As revenues dried up, short-term borrowing increased. In 1975, the city nearly defaulted on its loans. The dreams of an activist government came crashing down in a mountain of debt."
This is just too perfect, isn't it, as an analogy to today's federal government? Spend, spend, spend like there's no tomorrow, no matter how many private sector jobs are lost. Nevermind, we'll hire them as federalistas, and make them union, to boot!
"For many New Yorkers, the dream had faded much earlier. In February 1969, a snowstorm brought the city to a halt. It took days to clear the snow from the residential streets of Queens.
The public frustration over the slow snowstorm cleanup was a symbol for larger frustrations with Lindsay: that he was out of touch with the concerns of average New Yorkers and that an administration that promised transformative change could not perform basic functions of city government.
One has to wonder whether the BP oil spill is President Obama's snowstorm."
Again, wow! And Wonderboy's recent attempts at damage control don't appear to be working. He wants to try to show he's in control, but he really doesn't have a clue about what's going on with the undersea oil gusher. And everyone knows this.
"The book on Barack Obama is far from closed. Yet the current spotlight on Lindsay reminds us of the troubles that befell an earlier charismatic liberal who promised an energetic government and enlightened leadership, but who left New York deeply polarized and struggling with debt."
Sobering, isn't it? Cannato is remarkable in recalling and framing this now-nearly-forgotten, smaller scale example of Wonderboy's reckless approach to politics and 'governing.' If you could call it that.
Of course, unlike New York City, which had to be bailed out by the MAC, a sort of receivership of the city until it could pay its bills, there is nothing on the planet large enough to rescue the entire US economy, which are the stakes Wonderboy has gambled in just over a year's ineptitude in the White House.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Feinberg last worked to damage private enterprise as the First Rookie's "pay czar," a totally unconstitutional invention used to strong-arm those banks unwise enough to have taken TARP money. Including those forced to take it, such as Chase and Wells Fargo.
As I write this, on day 58 of the BP oil gusher crisis, Wonderboy's scheduled 30 minute meeting with senior BP executives has lasted for over four hours. You might wonder why it took the smartest president in history 57 days to manage to squeeze a meeting with the chairman and CEO of BP into his schedule.
Probably because Wonderboy is a campaigner and speechifier, not a problem-solver. And the BP mess is a problem. Thus, a situation from which to distance himself for as long as possible. Until, that is, the poll numbers have gotten so bad that he has been forced to even give an Oval Office address to explain his dismal, inept performance.
But, back to corporate mugging.
One CNBC guest put it eloquently this morning when he suggested that BP decide how to manage its financial exposure to the Gulf incident, and let investors appropriately set the company's share price in reaction to those management choices.
As I finish this post, the BP officials are speaking after the meeting. Reports now claim that BP agreed to a $100MM initial fund, with the earlier-rumored $20B commitment, and a third party to administer it. The BP chairman has announced the suspension of BP's dividend for the remainder of 2010.
Mugging on a smaller scale, but mugging, just the same. Were BP's rights to continue exploring and producing oil and gas in the US used to intimidate the firm into this settlement? Will we ever know this, if they were?
Time will tell.
But this much is certain. Rather than invite BP to work with the administration early on to stop the oil gusher, clean up the damage, and make arrangements to pay for the costs of these efforts, Wonderboy instead chose to bully, intimidate and generally threaten a private, publicly-held corporation to do government's bidding without appeal.
As a recent Wall Street Journal editorial noted, this is how third world countries operate. Not how the world's companies and investors have come to expect the United States to behave.
Until Wonderboy & Co. came to town.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Speaking of Blanch Lincoln's narrow escape from defeat by her more liberal challenger in Arkansas, "Red" John Harwood, NY Times political columnist and CNBC political reporter, solemnly gave Lincoln's re-election prospects.
On a day when Fox News featured guest pundits giving Lincoln's Republican opponent a 25 point lead in the polls, Harwood pronounced Lincoln as having "a 50-50 chance" of re-election.
How blatant and misleading can you get?
But that's what passes for political coverage on CNBC, the business cable news network owned by GE. The ailing, diversified conglomerate mis-led by Jeff Immelt reflects his politics all down the network lineup- MSNBC, NBC, and CNBC. All displaying a massive liberal tilt in political coverage and commentary.
That's why, when I watch CNBC in the morning, I mute the channel whenever Harwood has a segment, or frequent liberal guests Howard Dean or Ed Rendell appear.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Without going into too many details, Waters' is seeking to enshrine racial and gender preferences both in a new staff position in each region's Reserve bank, to be confirmed by the Senate, and, then, by extension, in the credit allocation policies each Reserve bank will implement.
In a related step, of which I was aware, one of the bills seeks to make the president of the NY Fed an administration appointee, thus removing more independence from the nation's central bank.
The most chilling part of the editorial was the passage citing Bernanke's Fed as instructing the Regional Fed banks to remain silent on Waters' legislation.
As the article noted, the mere appearance of the legislative changes to the Reserve banks in one house's version have been sufficient to muzzle the central bank.
This is not trivial. It's also why we don't want multi-thousand page, or even hundred-page bills being passed. Waters' ideas are toxic and stupid. Their passage will continue the nonsensical preferences with which Congress saddled Fannie and Freddie, to all of our regret and great expense.
This is one part of FINREG that has to be stopped. It wouldn't hurt if Waters could be given a new career, come November, either. That way, at least we'd be safe from her constant meddling in matters of which she displays no ability to actually understand.