Tuesday, March 24, 2009

News Is Looking Good

So far the new guy is doing pretty good on the things that I care about. I'm not predicting the economy, but there are encouraging signs, well they're working on it and I have no reason to think they'll fail to at least make it not as bad. How's that for unfettered optimism?

This morning's Post had several stories that brightened my day. One was about the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Environmental Protection Agency's new leadership, in a step toward confronting global warming, submitted a finding that will force the White House to decide whether to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the nearly 40-year-old Clean Air Act.

Under that law, EPA's conclusion -- that such emissions are pollutants that endanger the public's health and welfare -- could trigger a broad regulatory process affecting much of the U.S. economy as well as the nation's future environmental trajectory. The agency's finding, which was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget without fanfare on Friday, also reversed one of the Bush administration's landmark decisions on climate change, and it indicated anew that President Obama's appointees will push to address the issue of warming despite the potential political costs. EPA Presses Obama To Regulate Warming Under Clean Air Act

The Bush administration actually had people at EPA re-write the scientists' reports to remove evidence of global warming. I can't believe that a scientific topic like that became political, but it did. It seems like a simple principle: let's take care of our planet. But taking care of the planet would be expensive for business, and so the politicians who represent corporate excess tried to deny that a problem existed.

Now all that is turning around.

Here's another one:
A federal judge ordered the Food and Drug Administration yesterday to reconsider its 2006 decision to deny girls younger than 18 access to the morning-after pill Plan B without a prescription.

U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman in New York instructed the agency to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds within 30 days and to review whether to make the emergency contraceptive available to all ages without a doctor's order.

In his 52-page decision, Korman repeatedly criticized the FDA's handling of the issue, agreeing with allegations in a lawsuit that the decision was "arbitrary and capricious" and influenced by "political and ideological" considerations imposed by the Bush administration. FDA Ordered to Rethink Age Restriction for Plan B

It's one thing to oppose abortion, the religious radicals argue that it is equivalent to murder and it is a major theme, one of the major themes, of the Republican base. But Plan B is not abortion, it's just the same stuff in regular birth control pills, but stronger. It does not interrupt a pregnancy and is not murder by any definition.

If you are one of those people who thinks that teenagers should not be having babies then you should applaud this decision. Though the ruling applies to seventeen-year-olds, it is significant that the judge wants them to consider making Plan B available to all ages without a prescription. That would mean that a girl who needs it can get it.

Hey, here's another one -- all of these are from this morning's paper:
Ten months after R. Gil Kerlikowske became Seattle's police chief, two of his officers arrived at the home of JoAnna McKee, where she ran a co-op giving medical marijuana to patients and teaching them to grow their own. Neighbors, the police told her, had been complaining. Soon, a "cease and desist" order was tacked to her door.

But instead of shutting down the Green Cross Patient Co-Op, Kerlikowske's director of police-community partnerships made a suggestion: Move it from her West Seattle house to a commercial area. She found a nearby storefront, and under Washington state's medical marijuana law, people could once again bring doctors' orders to get relief from pain. "The police could have come in here like gangbusters," McKee said. "But they didn't. It was a case of let's see whether we can work this out so everybody could get what they want."

That episode the summer of 2001 typifies the approach to illegal drugs that Kerlikowske, nominated by President Obama to lead the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, has displayed during nearly nine years as Seattle's top law enforcement officer. In a city with greater tolerance for drugs than much of the United States, he has seldom bucked the prevailing local sentiment. Seldom, though, has he been out front. Community Policing Defines Nominee to Lead Drug Office

This is just a human-interest story about Obama's new drug czar. It appears to be possible that he has a somewhat objective view of drugs. Uh, for a cop. We already heard the new Attorney General say that the federal government would not get involved in medical marijuana cases. The so-called "war on drugs" is one of the biggest embarrassments of US policy over the past decades. It is ineffective, makes criminals out of innocent people, it's expensive, and it creates enemies around the world. It looks like we are seeing a reversal of a lot of standing policies and procedures, moving in the right direction.

Before you get through the first section of the paper, though, you will see this one, a beautiful headline that sort of summarizes the kinds of obstacles the new President will be facing. This is about the President's ambitious plan to save the economy:
Some Experts Say Rescue Program Might Not Work

Is that great or what? I don't usually use this kind of language, but let me say: Holy moly! "Some experts" think the plan "might not work!" Now there's news for you.


Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Thanks for the good news! Here's some more! Bank Gives Back in Oregon

March 24, 2009 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jane, you ignorant schmuck. Did you know that President B.O. has a problem with the constitution?:

"With the braying of 328 yahoos -- members of the House of Representatives who voted for retroactive and punitive use of the tax code to confiscate the legal earnings of a small, unpopular group -- still reverberating, the Obama administration yesterday invited private-sector investors to become business partners with the capricious and increasingly anti-constitutional government.

This latest plan to unfreeze the financial system came almost half a year after Congress shoveled $700 billion into the Troubled Assets Relief Program, $325 billion of which has been spent without purchasing any toxic assets.

TARP funds have, however, semi-purchased, among many other things, two automobile companies (and, last week, some of their parts suppliers), which must amaze Sweden.

That unlikely tutor of America regarding capitalist common sense has said, through a Cabinet minister, that the ailing Saab automobile company is on its own: "The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories."

Another embarrassing auditor of American misgovernment is China, whose premier has rightly noted the unsustainable trajectory of America's high-consumption, low-savings economy.

He has also decorously but clearly expressed sensible fears that his country's $1 trillion-plus of dollar-denominated assets might be devalued by America choosing, as banana republics have done, to use inflation for partial repudiation of improvidently incurred debts.

From Mexico, America is receiving needed instruction about fundamental rights and the rule of law.

A leading Democrat trying to abolish the right of workers to secret ballots in unionization elections is California's Rep. George Miller who, with 15 other Democrats, in 2001 admonished Mexico: "The secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose."

Last year, Mexico's highest court unanimously affirmed for Mexicans the right that Democrats want to strip from Americans.

Congress, with the approval of a president who has waxed censorious about his predecessor's imperious unilateralism in dealing with other nations, has shredded the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Congress used the omnibus spending bill to abolish a program that was created as part of a protracted U.S. stall regarding compliance with its obligation to allow Mexican long-haul trucks on U.S. roads.

The program, testing the safety of Mexican trucking, became an embarrassment because it found Mexican trucking at least as safe as U.S. trucking.

Mexico has resorted to protectionism -- tariffs on many U.S. goods -- in retaliation for Democrats' protection of the Teamsters union.

NAFTA, like all treaties, is the "supreme law of the land."

So says the Constitution.

It is, however, a cobweb constraint on a Congress that, ignoring the document's unambiguous stipulations that the House shall be composed of members chosen "by the people of the several states," is voting to pretend that the District of Columbia is a state.

Hence it supposedly can have a Democratic member of the House and, down the descending road, two Democratic senators.

Congress rationalizes this anti-constitutional willfulness by citing the Constitution's language that each house shall be the judge of the "qualifications" of its members and that Congress can "exercise exclusive legislation" over the District.

What, then, prevents Congress from giving House and Senate seats to Yellowstone National Park, over which Congress exercises exclusive legislation?

Only Congress's capacity for embarrassment.

So, not much.

The Federal Reserve, by long practice rather than law, has been insulated from politics in performing its fundamental function of preserving the currency as a store of value -- preventing inflation.

Now, however, by undertaking hitherto uncontemplated functions, it has become an appendage of the executive branch.

The coming costs, in political manipulation of the money supply, of this forfeiture of independence could be steep.

Jefferson warned that "great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities."

But Democrats, who trace their party's pedigree to Jefferson, are contemplating using "reconciliation" -- a legislative maneuver abused by both parties to severely truncate debate and limit the minority's right to resist -- to impose vast and controversial changes on the 17 percent of the economy that is health care.

When the Congressional Budget Office announced that the president's budget underestimates by $2.3 trillion the likely deficits over the next decade, his budget director, Peter Orszag, said: All long-range budget forecasts are notoriously unreliable -- so rely on ours.

This is but a partial list of recent lawlessness, situational constitutionalism and institutional derangement.

Such political malfeasance is pertinent to the financial meltdown as the administration, desperately seeking confidence, tries to stabilize the economy by vastly enlarging government's role in it."

March 24, 2009 6:17 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

you forgot the one about President Obama not being a U.S. citizen and Michelle Obama being an angry Angela Davis clone created in a factory paid for by George Soros

March 24, 2009 8:07 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

That was sarcasm by the way

March 24, 2009 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the unconstitutional aspect of Obama's agenda is documented with examples

Barry just plain doesn't like the constitution

March 24, 2009 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Just because George Will says something is unconstitutional, doesn't mean it is. It's not rightwing pundits who make that determination, but the Courts, like they did for portions of the Patriot Act.

"NEW YORK - A federal judge struck down parts of America's top anti-terror law as unconstitutional Thursday, saying courts must be allowed to supervise cases where the government orders Internet providers to turn over records without telling customers.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said the government orders must be subject to meaningful judicial review and that the recently rewritten USA Patriot Act "offends the fundamental constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers."

The law had been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, which complained that the revised law allowed the FBI to demand records without the kind of court order required for other government searches.

The ACLU said it was improper to issue so-called national security letters, or NSLs — investigative tools used by the FBI to compel businesses to turn over customer information — without a judge's order or grand jury subpoena. Examples of such businesses include Internet service providers, telephone companies and public libraries.

Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, said the government had no immediate comment on the ruling.

Jameel Jaffer, who argued the case for the ACLU, said, "We're very pleased with the decision."

He said the revised law had wrongly given the FBI sweeping authority to control speech because the agency was allowed to decide on its own — without court review — whether a company receiving an NSL had to remain silent or whether it could reveal to its customers that it was turning over records.

In 2004, ruling on the initial version of the Patriot Act, the judge said the letters violate the U.S. Constitution because they amounted to unreasonable search and seizure. He found that the nondisclosure requirement — under which an Internet service provider, for instance, would not be allowed to tell customers that it was turning over their records to the government — violated free speech.

After he ruled, Congress revised the Patriot Act in 2005, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directed that Marrero review the law's constitutionality a second time.

Marrero originally ruled in a case pertaining to an unidentified Internet service provider that received one of the letters, in which the FBI claimed that phone or Internet records were "relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."

The ACLU complained that Congress' revision of the NSL law did not go far enough to protect people because the government could still order companies to turn over their records, and remain silent about it, if the FBI determined that the case involved national security.

The judge said the way the law was written "reflects an attempt by Congress and the executive to infringe upon the judiciary's designated role under the Constitution."

He added: "It is axiomatic that in our system of government it is the province of the courts to say what the law is. When Congress attempts to curtail or supersede this role, it jeopardizes the delicate balance of powers among the three branches of government and endangers the very foundations of our constitutional system."

March 25, 2009 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barry doesn't like the constitution. George Will didn't ask you to take his word for it. He gave several compelling examples about which you apparently have no retort.

Barry is also finding that he has to do many things he criticized George Bush for doing, like cutting taxes, running a deficit, surging troops into a foreign country and this:

"Civil liberties advocates are accusing the Obama administration of forsaking campaign rhetoric and adopting the same expansive arguments that his predecessor used to cloak some of the most sensitive intelligence-gathering programs of the Bush White House.

The first signs have come just weeks into the new administration, in a case filed by an Oregon charity suspected of funding terrorism. President Obama's Justice Department not only sought to dismiss the lawsuit by arguing that it implicated "state secrets," but also escalated the standoff -- proposing that government lawyers might take classified documents from the court's custody to keep the charity's representatives from reviewing them.

The suit by the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation has proceeded further than any other in challenging the use of warrantless wiretaps, threatening to expose the inner workings of that program. It is the second time the new Justice Department has followed its predecessors in claiming the state-secrets privilege, which would allow the government to exclude evidence in a civil case on grounds that it jeopardizes national security."

Nice to see the big B.O. facing reality but it might also be nice to see him apologize to George Bush rather than his tirade of last week.

Did you catch Mr Hussein Obama backtrack on stem cells last night? After saying not long ago that we should just let scientists make their own rules, he's now suggesting that he will oppose allowing the creation of embryos just for research. Yes, science has to adhere to moral standards.

Oh, Obama's getting there.

March 25, 2009 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" - do you honestly believe that you score any points here? Your allegations that the President "doesn't like the Constitution" are without evidence, incendiary, and puerile. Why not put all of the free time you seem to have in great abundance into developing your own Blog site where you and your ilk can moan and whine and tear your hair and beat your breasts and fabricate your own lies and sop up each other's misery?
You take up entirely too much space here spewing your inanities -and too many of us who view this site as focusing on other issues are tired of your screeds. Go away!

March 25, 2009 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

After saying not long ago that we should just let scientists make their own rules, he's now suggesting that he will oppose allowing the creation of embryos just for research.

Obama has always opposed the creation of embryos for research. If you can find a quote of him saying otherwise, post it and the link to the source. Otherwise the readers here will know you are a liar.

What are you, Jon Ward's tiara toter? Jon asked Obama about stem cell research last night, and received a thoughtful reply.

John Ward, Washington Times? Where's John?

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

OBAMA: There you go.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Sure.

QUESTION: In your remarks on stem cell research earlier this month, you talked about a majority consensus in determining whether or not this is the right thing to do, to federally fund embryonic stem cell research.

I'm just wondering, though, how much you personally wrestled with the morality or ethics of federally funding this kind of research, especially given the fact that science so far has shown a lot of progress with adult stem cells, but not a lot with embryonic?

OBAMA: OK. No, I think it's -- I think it's a legitimate question. I -- I wrestle with these issues every day.

As I mentioned to -- I think in an interview a couple of days ago, by the time an issue reaches my desk, it's a hard issue. If it was an easy issue, somebody else would have solved it and it wouldn't have reached me.

Look, I believe that it is very important for us to have strong moral guidelines, ethical guidelines, when it comes to stem cell research or anything that touches on, you know, the issues of possible cloning or issues related to, you know, the human life sciences.

I think those issues are all critical, and I've said so before. I wrestle with it on stem cell; I wrestle with it on issues like abortion.

I think that the guidelines that we provided meet that ethical test. What we have said is that, for embryos that are typically -- about to be discarded, for us to be able to use those in order to find cures for Parkinson's or for Alzheimer's or, you know, all sorts of other debilitating diseases, juvenile diabetes, that -- that it is the right thing to do.

And that's not just my opinion. That is the opinion of a number of people who are also against abortion.

OBAMA: Now, I am glad to see progress is being made in adult stem cells. And if the science determines that we can completely avoid a set of ethical questions or political disputes, then that's great.

I have -- I have no investment in causing controversy. I'm happy to avoid it if that's where the science leads us. But what I don't want to do is predetermine this based on a very rigid ideological approach, and that's what I think is reflected in the executive order that I signed.

QUESTION: I meant to ask -- just to follow up -- do you think that scientific consensus is enough to tell us what we can and cannot do?

OBAMA: No. I think there's -- there's always an ethical and a moral element that has to be -- be a part of this. And so, as I said, I -- I don't take decisions like this lightly. They're ones that I take seriously, and -- and I respect people who have different opinions on this issue.

But I think that this was the right thing to do and the ethical thing to do. And as I said before, my hope is, is that we can find a mechanism, ultimately, to cure these diseases in a way that gains 100 percent consensus. And we certainly haven't achieved that yet, but I think on balance this was the right step to take.

And just so Mr. Ward and everyone else realizes, there's been little progress with the embryonic stem cells strains so far because those that Bush allowed to be used for research were all contaminated with mouse cells.

an August 13, 2004, report on stem cell research by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted that scientists question the "quality, longevity, and availability" of the outdated stem cell lines currently eligible for federal funding, noting that lines "developed in the early days of human stem cell research using older 1990s techniques ... are harder to work with, not well characterized, and somewhat unstable."

The CRS report also detailed scientists' concerns about the use of nonhuman -- in this case mouse -- cells for "transplantation, implantation, or infusion into a human recipient." The problems associated with the use of mouse feeder cells -- which were used for all the federally funded stem cell lines -- have been widely reported; Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) even mentioned that the cell lines were "contaminated by mouse cells" in a 2004 presidential debate. In 2003, a John Hopkins University medical ethics panel determined that treating human patients with the available stem cell lines would be unethical and risky. According to the panel's press release: "Ethically and scientifically, potentially exposing study participants to a mouse virus -- which people's immune systems might be unable to combat -- is not a risk worth taking in the face of safer alternatives, the panel unanimously agreed."

March 25, 2009 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Your allegations that the President "doesn't like the Constitution" are without evidence,"

The column I posted by George Will had several examples. Argue with it if you will but don't pretend the evidence wasn't presented. You're embarassing your lunatic friends here.

"Obama has always opposed the creation of embryos for research"

Bea..Bea..crazy old Aunt Bea.

Sir B.O. made a major moral blunder when he declared that not long ago that science should be free to determine ethical questions on its own. Even the most liberal of observers recognize he either didn't think before he spoke or is a scary creep.

Think President Frankenstein.

March 25, 2009 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah it's a big ole plot by PRESIDENT OBAMA and the gays to destroy Jebus. Shhhh

March 25, 2009 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" - I will never bow down at the alter of that pompous, pseudo-intellectual, and intolerant George Will - even if you do slavishly adore him. Anything he has to say is questionable...trying to make it into "fact" is like trying to convince us that George Bush was the greatest President of the United States. You live in a delusional state...begone!

March 25, 2009 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want to see evidence of President Frankenstein? Go to any US military hospital and visit the maimed soldiers who are missing parts and then remind yourself who needlessly put them in harms way.

March 25, 2009 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I will never bow down at the alter of that pompous, pseudo-intellectual, and intolerant George Will - even if you do slavishly adore him. Anything he has to say is questionable...trying to make it into "fact""

I remember many times I've disagreed with George Will. I've even done it in person while we both waited for our turn at the barbershop.

Still, he's made a case here with examples provided. No one's just accepting a pronouncement by him as fact. The one seeking to have their assertion accepted as fact without any basis is this commenter.

It's interesting how the TTF mind works. If they can't deal with the arguments made by an individual, and there are a number of individuals whose arguments TTF can't deal with, they simply refuse to discuss it and act like everyone should accept their assessment without questioning.

Ironically, this is what they accuse their opponents of doing.

btw, you misspelled altar, you freakin' idiot!

"You want to see evidence of President Frankenstein? Go to any US military hospital and visit the maimed soldiers who are missing parts and then remind yourself who needlessly put them in harms way."

Obama is currently surging troops into Afghanistan. You think troops won't come back that way?

Remember, most of the Democrats you slavishly adore voted to support the war in Iraq at its inception.

That's the facts. Thanks for providing an opportunity to teach them on teachthefacts.org.

You're really supporting the site.

March 26, 2009 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Well at least Will admitted the FACT that "reconciliation" -- [is] a legislative maneuver abused by both parties to pass budget bills. Too bad he was incomplete in what he told the readers about that little "maneuver" he was lamenting as and example of lawlessness, situational constitutionalism and institutional derangement.

Here are some FACTS for you. The Washington Post has compiled an easy to view record of "reconciliation" votes for the 104th-109th Congresses. Note: the 107th Congress, with the fewest (two) "reconciliation" votes, is the only year covered that did NOT have GOP majorities in both houses. I don't recall Will ever bitching about this "reconciliation vote maneuver" when Bush & Company did it over and over again, do you?

Remember, most of the Democrats you slavishly adore voted to support the war in Iraq at its inception.

They were conned by the lies and misinformation spread by the Bush/Cheney White House.

CBS News reported these FACTS:

Study: "False Pretenses" Led U.S. To War:
Journalism Groups' Research Finds 935 False Statements By Bush Administration

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2008

AP) A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.

"The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world," Stanzel said.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Mr. Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al Qaeda or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al Qaeda," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Named in the study along with Mr. Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Mr. Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al Qaeda, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al Qaeda.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

"The cumulative effect of these false statements - amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts - was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.

"Some journalists - indeed, even some entire news organizations - have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.

March 26, 2009 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Anonmoose has created and argues against this straw man called a "typical TTFer", much in the same way Rush, Sean and their listeners talk about "liberals."

If you get to define the other guys' opinions, you can "score" whatever points you want to on them. The problem is that you have no credibility.

March 26, 2009 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oh oops barryo. I found some more data for you, courtesy of Mr. Olbermann over at MSNBC, where they still report FACTS:

Number two, Senators Kit Bond of Missouri and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, reacting to the deduction of Chris Matthews that Mr. Obama might have to use the voting rules of budget reconciliation to get some aspects of his spending plan fast. Budget reconciliation can be done in a straight majority vote, not the veto proof 60-vote style.

Says Senator Bond, “in this post-partisan time of Barack Obama, we are seeing a little Chicago politics. They steam roller those who disagree. Then, I guess, in Chicago, they coat them in cement and drop them in the river.”

But Senator Gregg said it was, instead, like, quote, “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.” Nice job on talking points, boys. Also nice amnesia. Since 1980 Republican Senate majorities have used budget reconciliation to pass things like Bush budget cuts by that simple 51-49 vote a couple of times, like in the spending and budget bills in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2005. That's a lot of Democrats you threw in the Chicago River, senator.

And since you find my comments about economics so funny, you ought to get a real bellyshaker out of this conversation Rachel Maddow had with Democratic Senator Dorgan of North Dakota last night:

All right, 10 years ago. The year the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was born. This bill was introduced by three Republicans: Gramm, Leach, Bliley, duh. And it removed a Great Depression era regulation that had said that banks, and investments banks and insurance companies all had to be separate.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley cleared the way for big financial companies to be all of those things wrapped into one. Big companies with huge internal incentives to take risks, companies that were so complicated they couldn‘t really be regulated, and companies that were so big that the government felt that they could not be allowed to fail.

At the time, in 1999, when this was being debated, Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan from North Dakota saw it coming, like he should have a psychic show in Vegas-level saw it coming. On May 6th, 1999, on the Senate floor, Mr. Dorgan said, quote, “This bill will, in my judgment, raise the likelihood of future massive taxpayer bailouts.” $1 trillion is massive, right?

Well, to the “New York Times” on November 5th, 1999, Senator Dorgan said, quote “I think we will look back in 10 years‘ time and say, we should not have done this, but we did because we forgot the lesson of the past, and that which is true in the 1930s is also true in 2010.”

So here it is 2009, and I‘m thinking—dude, at the time we worried about Y2K.

Joining us now Cassandra, I mean, Democratic senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan.

Senator Dorgan, thank you so much for joining us.

SEN. BYRON DORGAN, (D) NORTH DAKOTA: Hi, Rachel. How are you?

MADDOW: Great. Thank you.

You‘ve been getting accolades in the blog world and now on this show, for having been right in 1999 when you rang alarm bells over the deregulation. At that time, when you were saying, we are going to look back at this in 10 years and say this was a big mess, did you really foresee there would be a crisis this big?

DORGAN: Well, I‘m not—I‘m not necessarily sure I saw this big a crisis. But I said at the time, the banks—I said, if you want to gamble go to Las Vegas. I mean, this was not about a crystal ball. It was just common sense at that time.

You know, in the 1930s, we saw banks merge with, you know, real estate and security risks and the whole thing collapsed, ‘20s and ‘30s, and—so, we put in place, I wasn‘t here, but they put in place laws like Glass-Steagall to prevent all of that. And then, 1999, we were told, that‘s so old fashioned. Let‘s strip that away and allow big financial holding companies, one stop financial shopping.

And I thought it was nuts. I mean, how on earth could we forget the lessons that were so important that we learned so well and with such pain about seven decades prior?

MADDOW: Ten years ago, when Gramm-Leach-Bliley passed and gutted that important—that essentially gutted Glass-Steagall, an important law that just described, Lawrence Summers was treasury secretary at the time. And he said when that deregulation bill passed, that it was historic legislation that would enable American companies to compete in the new economy.

DORGAN: Yes, well .

MADDOW: I have to ask you, if it sort of freaks you out that he‘s now one of the main guys trying to get us of out of the mess that this deregulation caused?

DORGAN: Well, I sat across the table from him at the White House two days ago. You know, there is a culture. And the culture is that Wall Street knows best. You know, there were only eight of us in the United States Senate that voted no. This was a huge deal to repeal the protections that were put in place after the Great Depression, a huge deal. Eight of us voted no.

This allowed these huge financial holding companies, allowed to bring significant risk into the banks, and, you know, they just ran hog wild. And now, we‘re in a situation in 2009 where we‘ve seen this financial crisis and collapse, massive taxpayer bailouts. You know, now, the question is: How do we put this back together and get out of this deep hole?

MADDOW: That‘s exactly right. And what‘s coming next is the discussion of not just how to rescue us but how to put the financial system back together in a way that it doesn‘t happen again and that these lessons are learned.

I was struck in looking at the “New York Times” coverage of Gramm-Leach-Bliley passing in 1999, Phil Gramm of Texas who wrote that bill said, “We have a new century coming, we have an opportunity to dominate that century the same way we dominated this century. Glass-Steagall came at a time when the thinking was that government was the answer. In this era of economic prosperity, we have decided that freedom is the answer.”

That was what he said in 1999 when this passed. We know what the disastrous results of that were. Who is going to lead the cause, I think, of convincing the American people and really convincing Congress that we sort of need to believe sometimes that government is the answer? There is a philosophical status of this legislation .


MADDOW: . as well as just a strategic one.

DORGAN: Well, and the other thing, immediately after this legislation passed, it stripped away all those protections and allowed all the big banks to marry up and decide that they loved each other and want to get together and merge, immediately after that, George W. Bush came to town as a new president and he hired regulators who were willing to boast about being willfully blind. They didn‘t want to regulate. They said, you know what, it‘s a new day. There‘s a new sheriff in town, the sheriff is not interested in watching what you do.

And the result is, we saw, you know, all of these credit default swaps and CDOs, all these exotic financial instruments, these derivatives—you know, in 1996, I wrote the cover story for “Washington Monthly” magazine on the subject of derivatives and pointed out there were tens of trillions of dollars of derivatives out there. The title of my cover story for the “Washington Monthly” magazine was, “Very Risky Business.”

And I had four different bills to try to regulate derivatives and hedge funds. I hope now, perhaps most people will understand in the Congress and, I think, the American people understand, we need regulation. It‘s not a four-letter word. We need effective regulation.K

MADDOW: I have this kooky idea that people who were right when everybody else was wrong and we did the wrong thing—I have this kooky idea that the people who are right are the ones who should be allowed to decide what happens next time. So, could you like sort of being in charge of figuring out what regulations we need the next time around just when this comes up in the Senate a couple of times ?

DORGAN: I‘d be happy to.

MADDOW: All right.

DORGAN: I‘d be happy to. But let me tell you what else we need, we need a select committee in the United States Senate with subpoena power that gives us the narrative of what happens so that everybody understands what happened. We need a financial crimes prosecution task force down at the Justice Department right now, working on these issues, and we need to restore a portion of the Glass-Steagall Act to say to banks: You‘re over here and the riskier things are over here and we are not going to bring you together again—never again.

MADDOW: Democratic senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan—it‘s a real pleasure to have you on the show, sir. Thank you for being here.

DORGAN: Thanks, Rachel. I enjoy your show.

MADDOW: Thank you.

March 26, 2009 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonmoose has created and argues against this straw man called a "typical TTFer","

Well, TTfers have some things in common, Robert.

Irrationality and a need to take baths. If they clean themselves up a little and try to argue on the basis of logic, they might be presentable.

"I found some more data for you"

Bea...Bea....the crazy old bat keeps on trying.

Give her credit. Give her credit.

I'm glad she could let us all FULLY share a moment in her life, when they let her watch the Rachel Maddow show.

Did you notice Dorgan saying this:

"You know, there were only eight of us in the United States Senate that voted no."

Ut oh. You know what that means.

Sir B.O. never voted against the majority of his party so he definitely would have voted to deregulate.

March 26, 2009 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike you, Mr./Ms/Mrs/ "Anonymous" I realize that I am not perfect and do once in a while mistype words. Your unctuousness and smarmy superiority complex is actually what is freakish!. Your rampant proclivity to put down people and to dehumanize them is, admittedly, unsurpassed. You should be proud of that character trait!!

March 26, 2009 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you the freakin' idiot who misspelled "altar"?

I just insulted you because your point was so crassly hypocritical

criticizing someone who had provided solid examples while you provided none

you should be ashamed of yourself

March 26, 2009 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Salon reports who should be ashamed of themselves:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin really doesn't like many of the people who staffed John McCain's presidential campaign last year, and the feeling seems to be mutual.

In a speech she gave to the Alaska GOP last week, Palin told the story of the lead-up to her debate with Joe Biden, saying, "So I'm looking around for somebody to pray with, I just need maybe a little help, maybe a little extra. And the McCain campaign, love 'em, you know, they're a lot of people around me, but nobody I could find that I wanted to hold hands with and pray." According to CNN's Political Ticker blog, when the audience started laughing, Palin said she meant no disrespect to the McCain campaign. She added that she just prayed with her daughter Piper instead.

Some of the campaign aides -- ones who traveled with her and worked directly with her, not those who were in closer contact with McCain -- were offended when they heard of this remark, they told CNN.

"This set off a nerve for sure with a lot of people," one unnamed former staffer said. "It's yet another example of the few staff still loyal to Palin questioning their loyalty and ardent defense of her over the several months since the campaign."

Another former aide reportedly said, "It's about us people who were on the plane, who showed extreme loyalty to Palin, continually getting thrown under the bus or slapped in the face by her comments, whether she means it or not." This same aide added that Palin's comments "cause you to question not only your loyalty but her judgment as a leader."

It's interesting to observe how the rats on the sinking GOP ship turn on each other and resort to personal attacks. They should all be ashamed of themselves.

March 27, 2009 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You crazy old bat, Sarah was simply sharing her assessment of a very unique experience.

She and McCain always were an odd couple.

Four years from now, we'll see her in a whole new light.

Oh, how shameful.

March 27, 2009 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

barryo, who has never claimed to have any personal knowledge of Palin said Sarah was simply sharing her assessment of a very unique experience.

McCain campaign staffers who actually did work and travel with Palin, and therefore have first-hand knowledge of her said "This set off a nerve for sure with a lot of people," one unnamed former staffer said. "It's yet another example of the few staff still loyal to Palin questioning their loyalty and ardent defense of her over the several months since the campaign."

Another former aide reportedly said, "It's about us people who were on the plane, who showed extreme loyalty to Palin, continually getting thrown under the bus or slapped in the face by her comments, whether she means it or not." This same aide added that Palin's comments "cause you to question not only your loyalty but her judgment as a leader."

Nice spin barryo, but let's stick to the facts. Her "assessment" caused formerly loyal McCain/Palin campaign workers to "question...her judgment as a leader," just like the nearly 69.5 million Americans who voted against her last November.

IMHO the more she speaks, the more people begin to question her judgment as a leader.

March 29, 2009 12:14 PM  

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