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Friday Talking Points [120] -- Republicans Chicken Out

[ Posted Friday, April 23rd, 2010 – 01:53 PDT ]

Democrats had a pretty good week last week. As attention shifts away from unpronounceable volcanoes (more on them in a moment) to the struggle in the Senate over Wall Street reform, the two parties almost seem to have changed their normal methods of playing the political game. The Republicans are all over the map on the issue, and extremely worried about the impression by angry voters that they are doing Wall Street's bidding -- as well they should be. Republicans are, one day, loudly denouncing the reform bill, using their standard Big Lie technique... and then, the next day, saying a deal is very close, and even voting for strong reform in committees. Republicans (some of them, at least) are chickening out of the upcoming partisan battle the Republican leadership seems to want over the issue (more on chickens later on, too). Democrats have, so far, managed both to admirably stay on message and showed an amazing amount of backbone in countering specious Republican arguments. And, so far, polls show the voters are solidly on the Democrats' side on this one, and just not buying what Republicans are telling them. As I said, we seem to have entered BackwardsLand, or something.

What I think is happening in the Republican camp is that they woke up this week to the fact that they are truly painting themselves into a corner. Imagine yourself literally painting a floor, backing your way into a corner while the rest of the room glistens with fresh paint. At some point, you are going to raise your head, look around, and realize what a stupid mistake you've just made. I believe the Republicans just passed that point in time.

It's not a full Republican rout yet, but it is getting awfully close (such a rout may be scheduled for next week). And Democrats will have a few intra-party fights before this thing is done, as well (and "as usual"). But for now, Democrats are truly sitting in the catbird seat (I have never understood this metaphor, personally -- what the heck is a catbird, anyway? -- but it seemed awfully appropriate here, so you'll have to forgive me).

Cats and birds aside, here is the corner Republicans currently stand in, while paint slowly drips from their metaphorical brush -- on the one hand, Republicans really really don't want to hand President Obama any sort of major political victory, six months from a midterm election; but, on the other hand, they also really really don't want to be seen as the toadies of Wall Street, because that could hurt them among their own base. There's a lot of anger out there at Wall Street, and such anger is actually pretty bipartisan in nature. Republicans, it should be noted, certainly fed the flames of this anger about a year and a half ago, when TARP and "bailouts" were the big issues of the day. They are now reaping this particular whirlwind, as their own voters watch to see what they do on Wall Street reform.

Call it the death of the "Party of No," at least for the time being. Republicans have, of late, gotten so knee-jerk about opposing anything Obama or the Democrats propose, that they naturally assumed it would be a good thing to block the reform bills (or delay them endlessly). But now, they're not so sure. Which means that it's about time for them to trot out the canard: "We forced the Democrats to fix the bill, and now we can support it." Watch for this, appearing sometime next week. Because Democrats would like nothing more at this point than for Republicans to filibuster the bill and block it completely, because that would instantly become the main campaign theme Democrats use for the upcoming election. This is another facet of the Republicans becoming aware of their corner-painted status. They're starting to worry that their bluff may be called, which would be bad news for them out on the campaign trail.

I know it sounds wildly optimistic, and even downright laughable, but I can see a scenario where the Wall Street reform bill ultimately passes the Senate with an enormous majority -- perhaps even as high as 80 or 90 "aye" votes. True bipartisanship -- born of politicians' fears of facing an angry electorate! Hey, it could happen.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Speaking of fears of getting booted out of office, we've got to at least give a tip of the old hat to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week. Reid, fighting for his political life in Nevada, has been nothing short of amazing in the past week. He strongly and forcefully attacked Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's ridiculous "up is down" talking point that somehow the bill would lead to more "taxpayer bailouts," when nothing could be farther from the truth. Reid, not normally known for such ferocity, has actually done a pretty stellar job leading Senate Democrats for the past week. So Reid is worthy of at least an Honorable Mention. Give 'em Hell, Harry!

President Obama gave a good speech to the tycoons of Wall Street this week, as well. Good to see such coordinated Democratic leadership from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and at the beginning of the legislative battle, too! So we'll give Obama an Honorable Mention as well (and encourage everyone to read the full text of his speech, by the way).

But the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week goes to none other than Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, for the derivatives reform bill she just got out of the Senate committee she chairs. Not only could this be one of the strongest reforms to make it into the final Senate bill, but Lincoln also managed to convince a Republican (Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa) to vote for it as well.

Lincoln wins this week not so much for her actual bill, as for her legislative fighting style. When Republicans tried to peddle the notion that somehow they were for "stronger" reform, Lincoln, in effect, answered back with: "You want strong reform? OK, let's pass some really strong reform!"

This, to be blunt, has not been the usual Democratic tactic so far. Normally, Democrats bargain as if they had a very weak position -- even when they, in fact, have a very strong position. This leads to watering down bills into legislative cotton candy -- bright and sugary, but with no real substance.

Lincoln is showing Democrats the way to go when Republicans balk (especially when they're trying to convince everyone they want "stronger" reform) is to immediately strengthen the bill -- and then dare Republicans to either back down and suddenly support the original bill, or keep their principles intact by voting for the stronger bill. "Put up or shut up," in other words.

Now, Blanche Lincoln is normally known more for her Blue Doggish ways, and her (at times) outright opposition to the Democrats' agenda. But she is facing a strong primary challenger from her left this time around, precisely because of this Blue Doggery (Blue Doggerel?). So, in an effort to placate her base (she's facing debates this weekend with her primary challengers), she's suddenly the champion of very strong Wall Street reform. Politicians do this all the time, and if nothing else, it shows how valuable it is to challenge entrenched politicians in primary races -- even if Lincoln wins her primary, she likely would not have been so strong on the issue if such a challenge had not existed from her left.

So, while Blanche Lincoln has previously won four MDDOTW awards here, we are happy to announce that this week, she has earned her first Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award, and heartily wish she keep up the good work, and refuse to compromise on the strong derivatives reform bill she just got out of her committee, when the final Wall Street reform bill negotiations take place.

[Congratulate Senator Blanche Lincoln on her Senate contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

On the down side of the week was the increasingly weird details of Eric Massa's meltdown becoming public. Massa, you'll remember, stepped down from the House of Representatives a while back because apparently he couldn't keep his hands off his male staffers (insert your own joke, there, if you wish).

But hey, we all figured, the guy at least did the right thing and immediately resigned... well, "immediately after the story was going to become public," but still, the way politicians measure these things, a fairly respectable ending to the story, right? Well, no. Now he and one of his top staffers are trading accusations about money paid to the staffer as Massa was resigning. Massa bizarrely maintains that the staffer somehow forged his signature to get a $40,000 payout from Massa's campaign. But the staffer's story is kind of odd as well, since nobody on the campaign staff seems to think he did anything at all for the campaign to earn the money. Now the F.B.I. has gotten involved, meaning the story is not going to quietly die away any time soon.

Which is just what Democrats don't need, heading into an election.

But, until someone determines who is lying and who isn't in the whole sordid affair, we'll have to pass on handing Massa any further Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week awards. For now. But we fully reserve the right to do so later, when the truth becomes known.

Instead, this week's real MDDOTW award has to go to Pennsylvania state Representative Babette Josephs this week. Because, in one of those "we're not in Kansas any more" moments, Josephs is accusing Democratic primary challenger Gregg Kravitz of "pretending to be gay" or perhaps "pretending to be bisexual." In other words, she's making the shocking accusation that the guy might (gasp!) not be gay.

As I said, the irony is so thick you can cut it up and serve it on toast, here. This has to be the first time in American politics that one politician attempts to smear another by "outing" them as a heterosexual. We've come a long way, haven't we?

Now, the district these two are fighting for is in Philadelphia, and has the charming nickname "the Gayborhood" -- the Castro Street of Philly, apparently. So the demographics aren't exactly, well... Kansas. Or Altoona, for that matter. Josephs was quoted saying:

"I outed him as a straight person... and now he goes around telling people, quote, 'I swing both ways.' That's quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy's a gem."

Um, well, no. You're the "gem" here, actually, Babette. She went on to accuse Kravitz of cheating in the election, driving the smear home:

"There will be cheating if he can get away with it, because he already has tried to lie to people about a whole bunch of stuff, including his sexuality."

For turning a smear on its head, and using it in an oh-so-modern way by accusing a political opponent of being (gasp!) straight, and for the personal nature of the attack, we hereby award the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award to Babette Josephs.

[Contact Pennsylvania state Representative Babette Josephs on her official site, to let her know what you think of her actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 120 (4/23/10)

Kind of a mixed bag of handy talking points for Democrats everywhere this week. And most of them seem to be running a bit long, so I'll dispense with the introduction, after encouraging you to make it to the end, since the last one's a doozy (among some other real doozies) this week.

 

1
   Have a happy government-regulated day!

At times, I have to turn one of these talking points over to someone who boldly writes a comment to a previous article I've written, just for the sheer talking-points-worthiness of the text of their commentary. This is indeed such a time. Wednesday, I wrote about a new (and very cool) map of where the registered Tea Party members are located in this country, and there was plenty of the usual back-and-forth in the comments which followed. But this particular comment stood out, because it is one of the best and most forceful explanations of what should be the core Democratic stance on "big government" versus the "small government" rhetoric which has (sadly) dominated our political discourse for so long. Democrats used to actually champion all this sort of stuff, on a regular basis, out there on the campaign trail. It is my firm belief that they can again learn to do so, particularly given such stellar examples as this, to emulate. You've got to counter the standard conservative "always shrink government" rhetoric, with an explanation of why you believe government has a rightful place and a rightful purpose in our capitalist society. And it's been a long time since I've read such an excellent example of how to so effectively do this. From Huffington Post commenter "DrCardio," here's how Democrats should be making this argument, so that everyone can understand how government can be seen as a force for good. Democrats everywhere need to make this point, whenever possible. "Regulation" is not a bad or even obscene word. Make this case! "More government" does not always equate to "less freedom" -- government is instead the referee who calls "Foul!" when capitalism starts to run roughshod over The People, and that is indeed a good thing:

I prefer having my government regulate my chicken breasts before I grill them, and then take them down into the government-regulated mines, where I can safely earn money to put away in a government-regulated bank, so that I can afford health insurance from a government-regulated market for my kids with pre-existing conditions, who attend government-regulated schools. Then, I will drive home in my government-regulated car, with government-regulated battery technology, down government-regulated roads, across government-regulated bridges, protected by government-regulated police officers. And the recent government-regulated tax break was awesome. I can now afford to paint my government-regulated house with government-regulated paint so that my children don't get lead poisoning overnight. I'm thirsty, time to drink some government-regulated water, brush my teeth with government-regulated toothpaste and sleep; as I have to wake up early for my government-regulated flight. I wish a safe return to our government-regulated troops abroad, and a great government-regulated day for the rest of us!

 

2
   The war on volcanoes

Nobody else seems to be picking up on this, which is just a crying shame. Because Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal deserves all the ridicule we can all possibly heap on him, at this particular point in time. With all the cutting humor you can bring to bear, too. Heck, even drag the Democratic/Republican view of government (in general) into the mix, it's certainly fair game here.

[As a total "aside," it has been hilarious (I have to say) to watch American television "journalists" shy away from even attempting to pronounce the name of the volcano in Iceland which has been causing all the trouble. To be fair, the volcano's name is "Eyjafjallajokull," which seems to be missing a few crucial vowels (or something). Americans -- even those paid hefty salaries to spend twenty seconds practicing a foreign name like this so they can read it correctly on the television news (who have universally failed to even bother doing so, I might add) -- are so parochial at times, n'est pas?]

[As a second "aside," if you like the following talking point, you simply must check out the article "Now for the War on Volcanoes" which inspired it, by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, as it is the funniest article I have seen from the "mainstream media," in quite some time. Truth be told, it is actually hilarious, so please do check it out.]

But seriously, folks, I cannot believe I am the only one who has connected these two particular dots. It seems pretty obvious, to anyone who can remember as long as one year into the past. Oh, but I forgot, that leaves out television "journalists" pretty much across the board, doesn't it?

[Snerk, snerk... sorry... to quote the noted ethicist JarJar Binks: "How wude!"]

But enough of this nonsense, and irreverent tangential "asides;" let's get to the meat of the talking point itself:

"You know, last year after President Obama's first speech to a joint session of Congress, the governor of Louisiana gave the Republican response, and I think it points out something fundamentally different between Democrats and Republicans. Jindal, at the time, decried the stimulus plan for being "larded with wasteful spending,' including such shockers as '$140 million for something called volcano monitoring.' Jindal followed this Republican punchline up with the statement 'instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.' Now, in the past week, due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland, the worldwide airline business has lost perhaps two billion dollars. But it did not lose a single plane. And you know why that is? Because governments pay for such 'wasteful spending' as volcano monitoring. Even though two billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, imagine the catastrophe that might have happened if the airlines and the air traffic controllers had not had that data -- dozens, perhaps hundreds, of planes crashed, with thousands dead. That is exactly why Democrats defend such government spending -- because providing that safety net saves lives, whether it is through 'wasteful' volcano monitoring, or assuring parents that the lunches their children are served at school are not full of poison. I really do wonder why journalists such as yourself, [insert name of blow-dried cheerful idiot in front of you, at the time], don't pick up your phone and give Governor Jindal a call right now, to ask him how 'wasteful' he thinks government-sponsored volcano monitoring is, this particular week. Why haven't you called him up and asked him that very question?"

 

3
   We all live on the slopes of this volcano

Since volcanoes are in the news (even those with unpronounceable names, as it were), make some political hay while the sun shines!

"This week we all saw how a volcano's eruption in Iceland had economic consequences far removed from the actual volcano itself. This is a good metaphor for what we're trying to do with Wall Street reform. Because while many Americans see the issue as something which only affects Wall Street itself, we have seen in the recent past how an 'eruption' on Wall Street devastates Main Streets which are thousands of miles away. We need to pass strong Wall Street reform because we simply cannot leave things as they were before the economic collapse. Because we are all living on the slopes of this particular volcano, if you will."

 

4
   Call a lie a lie

President Obama gave a pretty good speech yesterday, castigating the movers and shakers on Wall Street. He said a few things which need pointing out here, although the whole speech is well worth reading, if you have the time.

The first of these was to pile on to Mitch McConnell's false talking point. Note to other Democrats: this is how to treat a lie. Call it a lie. Point it out, in no uncertain terms.

"Now, there is a legitimate debate taking place about how best to ensure taxpayers are held harmless in this process. But what is not legitimate is to suggest that we're enabling or encouraging future taxpayer bailouts, as some have claimed. That may make for a good sound bite, but it's not factually accurate. In fact, the system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly taxpayer bailouts. Only with reform can we avoid a similar outcome in the future. A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts. That's the truth."

 

5
   The absolute tyranny of the F.D.I.C.

Obama closed on a high note, as well. He reminds everyone that any change is always seen by some as radical and dangerous, but that most changes become not only accepted over time, but actual bedrocks of our system. Some might see the Time quote as a cheap trick, but I don't -- I see it as an effective way for Obama to lead in to his closing summary. Which is why I've included the whole thing here, as a talking point.

I read a report recently that I think fairly illustrates this point. It's from Time magazine. And I quote: "Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed... would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system... Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U.S. banking to its lowest level." That appeared in Time magazine -- in June of 1933. The system that caused so much concern and consternation? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation -- the F.D.I.C. -- an institution that has successfully secured the deposits of generations of Americans.

In the end, our system only works -- our markets are only free -- when there are basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excess, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system. And that is what these reforms are designed to achieve: no more, no less. Because that is how we will ensure that our economy works for consumers, that it works for investors, that it works for financial institutions -- that it works for all of us.

This is the central lesson not only of this crisis but of our history. It's what I said when I spoke here two years ago. Ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We rise or we fall together as one nation. So I urge you to join me -- to join those who are seeking to pass these commonsense reforms. And I urge you to do so not only because it is in the interests of your industry, but because it is in the interests of our country.

 

6
   Ending the Republican disenfranchisement, once and for all

Washington, D.C. is a rather odd place, legally. It exists in a sort of Limbo, or frozen netherworld located somewhere between federal law and local law. Since D.C. is not officially a part of any state, it is technically a "federal district," kind of like an urban National Park where lots of people and businesses live. This tension is long-standing, and stems from the fact that while D.C. has wrested the right to have their own city council, their budget (unlike any other American city) has to be approved by Congress. Which leaves the city open to all sorts of mischief-making by national politicians. And, for that matter, outright federal abuse. The most disgusting example of which was just recently effectively overturned. While it remains to be seen whether Republicans in Congress will raise a stink over this, the argument against them is so strong, it's a wonder more Democrats don't stand up for it... but then, since it has to do with medicinal marijuana (a subject where the depths of spinelessness of all national politicians -- of either party -- has yet to truly be plumbed), maybe it's not so hard to understand why more Democrats don't make this argument, when given the chance:

"You know what, the term 'disenfranchisement' is bandied about these days, mostly from the Tea Party branch of the Republican Party, and I'd like to shine a light on a real example of the dictionary definition of disenfranchisement -- which is, of course, 'taking voting rights away from citizens.' This happened back in 1998, and has just this week been effectively rectified, twelve years later. In 1998, the citizens of the District of Columbia were given the chance to vote on an initiative which would have legalized medical marijuana in D.C. The results of that election were blocked, by the power of the House of Representatives, following Bob Barr's lead. You heard me right -- an election happened in America, and the federal government barred the results from that election from even being counted. The A.C.L.U. later determined that the pro-legalization vote was on the order of 69 percent "for;" but, due to Bob Barr's intervention, that result was never officially counted. It took until the year 2009 for Congress to overturn Barr's enacted quasi-legal de facto disenfranchisement -- and the effort was (surprisingly enough) helped along by the very same Bob Barr who authored the offending law in the first place. Because recently, Bob Barr has actually started lobbying for marijuana rights, under the traditional conservative theme that the federal government has no place in private decisions such as these -- a position also echoed by the conservative icon Barry Goldwater, for that matter. This past week, the D.C. Council voted to approve medical marijuana, only twelve years after one of the grossest displays of federal overreach and unconstitutional disenfranchisement of American citizens as has ever happened in this great country. I rejoice that the votes of the citizens of the District are finally being honored, and that today's Republicans wouldn't dream of the extreme and un-American methods Bob Barr (who has now seen the error of his ways) used back then, and that this blatant disenfranchisement of D.C. voters has now finally come to an end."

 

7
   Do you have change for a chicken?

This falls into the "you just can't make this stuff up" file. No, seriously.

One of Harry Reid's challengers is a Republican woman named Sue Lowden. And she's got a good idea how to fix America's health care system -- return it to bartering with your doctor, and offering him or her a chicken in payment for a checkup.

No, really, that's what she said -- and then later defended. I told you, you just can't make this stuff up. Meaning the talking point just writes itself. Add your own chicken joke at the end, if you wish ("Why did Sue Lowden cross the road?" maybe...). Ahem.

"The woman challenging Harry Reid for his Senate seat in Nevada just showed America exactly how Republicans want to change our health system in America -- take it back to the 1800s, and offer your doctor a chicken for his services. Seriously? This is the woman who wants to represent Nevada in the Senate? If you don't believe me, and think I'm somehow making this up, I encourage you to visit the new website the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has set up in response to this insanity -- Checkups for Chickens! Because this is apparently the Republican answer to health insurance -- don't carry a health insurance card in your wallet, just carry around a couple of chickens, in case you have a medical emergency."

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

62 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [120] -- Republicans Chicken Out”

  1. [1] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Awesome. Love TP #1 and #2. That quote about government is absolutely brilliant.

    I just can't believe you didn't mention Joe Biden's appearance on The View.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWy981LfHi8

    He was brilliant joking about dropping the F-bomb and talking genuinely and with respect about the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. This one goes out to Elizabeth who first started me liking Joe Biden.

    Even if he has a rep for the occasional gaffe, Democrats should get this guy out there as much as possible making their case.

    -David

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    David,

    It's probably a good thing that Chris didn't mention Biden - it would probably have been a snide and/or snarky remark of some kind. Just kidding, Chris! :-)

    Besides, there'll be lots of opportunities to move Biden up the MIDOTW leaderboard. :)

    But, I couldn't agree more with your assessment that Biden needs to be out there, front and center, more often.

    As much as I wanted to see him in the thick of things in this administration, he is necessarily and substantially more restrained in what he can say as Vice President. Which renders me a bit nostalgic for the Senator Biden I knew before he took the reigns of the vice presidency. Because I've lost my primary source for a wealth of information and insight on any number of foreign policy related issues.

    So, tell me David, are you a fellow Geithner fan, too!?

  3. [3] 
    Scott wrote:

    The best golfer is still black, the best rapper is still white, and now we're outing people for being straight. Interesting time these.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Chickens for Health Insurance is infinitely better than what CrapCare has brought us..

    And even more so, what CrapCare HASN'T brought us..

    According to the HHS own report, Health Care costs will RISE under CrapCare...

    Hmmmmm

    Maybe that's why 75% of Americans were against CrapCare...

    Michale.......

  5. [5] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hey Elizabeth-

    I have to admit I don't know much about Geithner. Other than what you hear in the news. I usually try to reserve judgment until after I hear someone speak.

    What do you like about our Secretary of the Treasury?

    -David

    p.s. I have to say I was quite impressed w/ Sherrod Brown. Very down to earth. He spoke for about 5 minutes. Thanked everyone and said a few things about the financial reform bill and his banking amendment and then spent the rest of the time talking with anyone who wanted to talk with him.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    David,

    That’s a great question!

    I've been very impressed with his many appearances before various congressional and oversight committees and how he has presented testimony and engaged with committee members. He has testified with candor and clarity, with a little bit of humour thrown in for good measure. He has gone out of his way to be responsive to all committee members and available to work with them.

    He is very professorial without being condescending. His interactions with members of Congress have always been respectful and patient - even when they accuse him of being a former Wall Street banker or when they quite rudely cross-examine him about what his father did for a living to prove somehow that he is out of touch with ordinary Americans or when they just ask idiotic questions that only betray their own lack of understanding.

    The only time I have seen Geithner fight back was when he was accused of not caring about the American people and what they have been through these last many months and then it was only do defend his own staff and president who have been working tirelessly for many long months on behalf of small businesses and families.

    I like the fact that he is a brilliant and intelligent man and he has chosen to spend his entire adult life working in the public sector. God knows what he will do after his stint as treasury secretary but, I can tell you what he won’t be doing - he won’t be heading to Wall Street, that is for sure!!! I'm hoping he'll spend some time writing his memoirs.

    I also like the fact that he has an international background and I believe he is fluent in Mandarin. In fact, I think Geithner and Biden are kindred spirits in this administration - I can imagine that they have some very interesting conversations whenever they happen to be in the same room together.

    It is largely because of Geithner’s leadership and his quick and decisive action to put out the fire of the financial crisis - and to do so all at a cost that will be considerably less for the taxpayer than most could have predicted - that the economy is beginning to turn around. When all is said and done, Secretary Geithner should receive the unending praise of a grateful nation for all of his efforts.

    I hope you will have an opportunity to check out some of his congressional testimony and, more importantly, his Q&A sessions with House members and senators ... and the chair and members of the TARP oversight committee, too! I found these hearings pretty easily over at c-span.org.

    I hope you're not sorry you asked! :)

    P.S. Sherrod Brown seems like one of the good guys!

    Are you sorry you asked!!? :)

  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Heheheh. Not at all, Elizabeth. You hear so much that's bad about people in government from our "news" that sometimes you forget just how brilliant some of these people are.

    It's one of the reasons I like reading Chris' MIDOTW and MDDOTW pieces because he helps cut through the crap to find the good ones and shine a light on some of the more devious ones :).

    But back to Geithner. For people like Geithner about the best he's going to expect if he does a great job is that people won't complain about him. But if anything happens, he has a good chance of being a scapegoat. What a job!!

    His Wikipedia entry is pretty impressive though.

    Perhaps w/his background in Asia and Asian languages he can help make some progress with the Chinese on letting their currency float. I'd like to see this because I think it would help raise the standard of living for the Chinese people.

    And I'd like to pursue this policy rather than past policies where, in order to compete, there's been a bit of a war waged on the middle class.

    I'll have to check out some of his testimony.
    -David

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    "The provision, sought by Berkshire and pushed by Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson in the Senate Agriculture Committee, would largely exempt existing derivatives contracts from the proposed rules. Previously, the legislation could have allowed regulators to require that companies such as Nebraska-based Berkshire put aside large sums to cover potential losses. The change thus would aid Berkshire, which has a $63 billion derivatives portfolio, according to Barclays Capital.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703441404575206252252365076.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

    And now we see, once again, how ya'all's Democrats are interested in REAL financial reform..

    Except, of course, if it inconveniences a major Democratic Donor and lobbyists...

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    I prefer having my government regulate my chicken breasts before I grill them, and then take them down into the government-regulated mines, where I can safely earn money to put away in a government-regulated bank, so that I can afford health insurance from a government-regulated market for my kids with pre-existing conditions, who attend government-regulated schools. Then, I will drive home in my government-regulated car, with government-regulated battery technology, down government-regulated roads, across government-regulated bridges, protected by government-regulated police officers. And the recent government-regulated tax break was awesome. I can now afford to paint my government-regulated house with government-regulated paint so that my children don't get lead poisoning overnight. I'm thirsty, time to drink some government-regulated water, brush my teeth with government-regulated toothpaste and sleep; as I have to wake up early for my government-regulated flight. I wish a safe return to our government-regulated troops abroad, and a great government-regulated day for the rest of us!

    In other words, that guy doesn't want to have to think for himself.

    He just wants to live in a world where his entire existence is determined by someone else. What he does and when he does it is completely in the hands of his government....

    I truly find such an attitude to be completely alien...

    It sure is a good thing the likes of George Washington or John Adams didn't think like that.

    We would likely not be here today being able to type these words on CW's forum.....

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Brace yourself and don't fall out of your chair.

    That description is of the regulated world in which we currently live and have been living for some time now. See, it's not that bad and certainly not alien.

    But, you knew that! :)

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    See, it's not that bad

    Really??

    So, ya'all are saying that this country is not all that bad???

    :D

    But don't you think such regulation can be taken to extremes???

    You think it's perfectly fine for the government to tell you that you MUST buy such and such, that you can't have x grams of salt, that you MUST drive such and such a car??

    Seriously, is that the 1984 society that YOU want to live in???

    Like I said, it's a good thing that George Washington and John Adams weren't happy with such government "regulation"... If they had been happy with such interference, this country would never have come to be...

    Think about it...

    Where does it end???

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, in essence what ya'all are saying is that, since a "little" government regulation is OK and fine, then a LOT of government regulation must be REALLY primo...

    Is THAT what ya'all are claiming??

    No wonder ya'all are up in arms and hysterical about the Tea Party.... :D

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale, there is only one person around here who likes taking things to their extreme. And, that person is you, my friend.

    You have the increasingly annoying habit of taking everything we say and distorting it out of all proportion and, when that's not enough (which is always) you go on to put words into our mouths that we would never in a million years even think of.

    Enough!!!

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Exactly WHICH things are being taken to extreme??

    Everything I have pointed out is ripped from today's headlines or commentaries...

    So, pray tell.. Please point out exactly WHICH things I have taken "to extremes"??

    I am also constrained to point out that a decade ago, the US government owning banks and car companies and health care would have been considered "extremes"...

    And yet, here we are, as that "government regulated-xxx" diatribe clearly shows...

    Ya'all seem very happy with more government regulation... I have asked REPEATEDLY, where does it end??

    And I am met with.... {{chiiirrrpppp chirrrppppp}}

    Does ANY of you think there is such a thing as TOO MUCH government regulation???

    Or is that only reserved for Republican Administrations???

    Just curious....

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Exactly WHICH things are being taken to extreme??

    See the second half of comment #11 and all of comment #12 ... for starters. But, having a look at any one of your last many posts would suffice, too.

    And, in the meantime, I'll look forward to having a civil conversation with you at some point in the very near future. But, right now, all of your constant efforts to exaggerate everything we say and/or present it completely out of context is giving me a headache.

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'll look forward to having a civil conversation with you at some point in the very near future

    By "civil" you mean I agree with everything you say... :D

    Second half of comment #11 says :

    Like I said, it's a good thing that George Washington and John Adams weren't happy with such government "regulation"... If they had been happy with such interference, this country would never have come to be...

    That pretty much sums things up..

    Imagine if Washington and Adams said, "oh well, the British regulations seem fine with us.. After all, god knows we wouldn't want to actually THINK for ourselves and all.. We MUST have Crown regulation, after all..."

    As for comment #12...

    Either you dispute that ya'all are hysterical about the Tea Party or you argue as to the level of government regulation that is preferred..

    As to the Tea Party hysteria...

    While "hysteria" is open to interpretation, it's clear from the comments about the Tea Party in this forum that the general consensus is to knock the Tea Party et al as much as possible.. Without cause, I might add..

    As to the government regulation issue, NO ONE seems to want to chime in on that issue...

    I wonder why?? :D

    But the simple fact is, the Obama administration is attempting to regulate in areas that were unheard of, even in the Bush Administration..

    I'll say it again and I challenge you to dispute the claim..

    If the Bush Administration (or ANY GOP Administration, for that matter) had attempted the type of regulation and government control that the Obama Administration has done, ya'all would have flipped yer wigs..

    So, this begs the question....

    Why is such government regulation fine under a DPer administration but cause for open revolt and violence, when under a Republican Administration??

    You said you want "civil" conversation.. So do I..

    But "civil" conversation begins with the acknowledgment of the facts..

    And the facts, in this instance, show a real, systematic and ongoing hypocrisy with the issues at hand on the part of the Democratic Party and their supporters..

    Either you are for more government regulation or you are against it..

    It's like David's slam against the GOP for wanting to stop debate on the Wall Street regulation issue. Yet ya'all saw absolutely NO PROBLEM with the DP stopping all debate on CrapCare and forcing it thru parliamentary tricks and subterfuge...

    It is THIS exact type of partisan bigotry that I am addressing...

    This idea of PARTY UBER ALLES....

    THAT is the problem with this country..

    Not Republicans...

    Not Democrats....

    But the idea that "THEY are wrong and WE are right"...

    THAT is the problem...

    And the more that everyday people like you and I ignore that, the bigger the problem gets...

    You want civil??

    Then you have to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, the Democratic Party, including Biden and Geinther, are part of the problem rather than part of the solution...

    If ya'all can't acknowledge that, then there is no hope for anything civil...

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    For the record, let me re-iterate that the commentaries with regards to the Tea Party have been fair and non-partisan, for the most part....

    My issue has been with the comments regarding the Tea Party that border on....

    "Oh Peter?? He was borderline for a while.. Then he crossed the border.."
    -Egon, GHOSTBUSTERS II

    ..... on partisan bigotry...

    The Tea Party simply do not deserve such accusations and anyone who views their movement from a completely politically agnostic perspective would acknowledge this..

    Just had to add this caveat before TPTB rained down on m' arse... :D

    Michale....

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    You ... you are ... INCORRIGIBLE!

    And, I mean that sincerely ... I'm not trying to be facetious here.

  19. [19] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Elizabeth,

    Sometime, I'd suggest you might be interested in Ann Coulter's book "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)".

    Not because she makes any good points, but because reading this book was what helped me first understand conservatives and their strategy.

    The strategy is simple. They want to piss you off.

    To quote: "You must outrage the enemy. If the liberal you're arguing with doesn't become speechless with sputtering, impotent rage, you're not doing it right."

    What this means is that conservatives who follow in the footsteps of Coulter have no interest in actually discussing issues. They know where they stand. Where's the need for discussion? It's simply about winning and making fun of liberals.

    I've talked to many conservative friends who will admit, that when it comes down to it, they don't believe most of what they actually say. But they say it anyways to bait liberals.

    Now I like making fun of liberals as much as anyone - damn hippie communist pinko illegal-immigrant femi-nazi queers - but when it comes down to policies that affect our country, I think there needs to be some actual discussion.

    So I'd suggest this strategy. Figure out who is willing to have these conversations. Some conservatives actually are. But if you encounter a conservative who is interested in nothing more than baiting you, they're not worth the energy of getting worked up over. Because this is what they want.

    Treat everyone with respect, but don't get worked up if you encounter a conservative saying something outrageous. If the nonsense is too much (and it gets crazy), sometimes you may have to walk away.

    Here's another quote from Ann who was kind enough to publish this strategy: "Start with the maximum assertion about liberals and then push the envelope, because, as we know, their evil is incalculable. They stand for the godless rule of dictators. They support abortion, adultery, and everything bestial in society. They support al Qaeda and the Taliban as they once supported Stalin and Mao."

    Huh? You get the picture. It doesn't have to make sense. So long as it makes you mad.

    Check out some Coulter. (Just don't buy it new, get it from the library or there's plenty of copies at the used book store. I think I picked one up for a $1 or so)

    Once you realize that many conservatives will try to say shocking things just to bait you (most don't even truly believe what they're saying - but like liberal baiting as a sport, especially if it helps them win), it's easier to understand conservatives.

    Know you probably know this, but am saying anyways as I always feel there are far better ways to spend your time than getting worked up - like helping elect better representatives.

    Cheers
    David

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    David,

    That's some very sound advice! Well, except for the part about reading her book. I'm pretty sure I'll never do that. :)

    And, truth be known, I can be good at the baiting game, myself. Just ask Michale!

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    This is the exact reason why we are always at loggerheads.

    You simply can't grasp the concept that you (and DP'ers in general) just MIGHT be wrong.

    So, your response to logical and rational yet passionate argument is to come up with some fanciful conspiracy theory complete with ulterior motives and secret agendas..

    Truth be told, I have never read any of Coulter's books nor listened to her shows. While I think she is sometimes kinda hot (Michelle Malkin is hotter though) that's about the extent of my
    admiration of Coulter.

    And, I DO truly believe everything I post or else I wouldn't post it.

    The problem you have (and Liz as well) is that you simply CANNOT address the facts of the issues that I raise. Therefore ya'all do an end run and make stuff up about me personally thereby exposing the utter fallacy of an argument that ya'all can't even make.

    Here is a perfect example..

    I have asked ya'all several times about how you feel about government regulations. I asked ya'all a series of "ARE YOU HAPPY WITH" questions that were completely ignored. Yet YOU turn around and ask me a different series of ARE YOU HAPPY WITH questions which I answered. Because that is what respectful persons do when they are discussing and debating. They answer questions..

    But ya'all simply ignore the questions that ya'all can't answer. Or don't WANT to answer because they expose the fallacy of your argument.

    I post logical rational yet passionate arguments for the fact that water is wet and the sky is blue. But because ya'all want to believe that water is dry and the sky is purple and you refuse to even CONSIDER the possibility that you are wrong, you just ignore any questions that refutes your position and then make up crap like, "Oh he's just trying to piss us off. He can't REALLY believe that stuff."

    News flash for ya, bucko.. :D I DO believe it.

    And the fact that ya'all can't rationally and logically dispute my claims, but rather have to make personal attacks (something I would have thought was beneath ya'all) simply re-enforces said belief..

    Liz,
    Well, except for the part about reading her book. I'm pretty sure I'll never do that. :)

    Yes.. Gods know you wouldn't want to actually read anything that you disagree with.

    Heaven forbid you should actually be exposed to facts and issues that contradict your world view...

    I have a Net-Friend whose tag line was "I live in my own little world, but it's OK. They know me here."

    Seems to fit the denizens here, eh?? :D

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Yes.. Gods know you wouldn't want to actually read anything that you disagree with.

    Oh, now you know that's not true. I read pretty much everything you post here! :)

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh, now you know that's not true. I read pretty much everything you post here! :)

    Touche'

    Ya got me on that one.. :D

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    akadjian wrote:

    And, I DO truly believe everything I post or else I wouldn't post it.

    I never said you didn't.

    Then you have to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, the Democratic Party, including Biden and Geinther, are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    We have, Michale. Over and over. But there are good Democrats and bad Democrats, just as I'm sure you think there's good Republicans and bad Republicans. I believe we need to elect better Democrats. Un-elect the Ben Nelson's, for example. And elect Democrats who will work to find a balance between people's interests and business interests.

    I'm not sure what else you're arguing for. I do judge people on a per case basis just like you do.

    No one is saying "Democrats GOOD, Republicans BAD" like you keep saying.

    I'll vote Republican or Independent when I find people that share my view of government - as a moderating force to make sure our economy works. But most of the Republicans like this have been drummed out of the party by extremists.

    I guess you're just upset with us that we don't share your conservative view, Michale - that all government is bad and is trying to keep people down. I'm thankful for things like the USDA who regulates the food I eat. Because w/o organizations like this, there's nothing to stop businesses from selling us rat meat to make a profit.

    So not all regulation is bad. Now does it sometimes go too far? Sure. But there's no reason to throw out the baby w/ the bathwater.

    There's lots of good examples where regulation has helped our country.

    So when you try to argue that all government and all regulation is bad, we find your argument extreme. And unsupportable. Especially since we know about your passion for the military.

    I appreciate you pointing out examples such as Ben Nelson's Warren Buffett clause, though, because the Dems were forced to yank this from the bill. This is an excellent example of how bringing something to people's attention can help make better legislation. I'd love it if the media would publish the pork both parties try to slide by.

    But if you're going to say "All government and all regulation is bad", we will just have to agree to disagree. Because there are many instances where regulation and government is good.

    Do you really believe that all government and all regulation is bad?

    Cheers
    -David

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I am in complete agreement with what David just posted.

    And, I would just add that the reason I ignore a lot of your questions is because they put words into our mouths that we would never say, number one ... and, number two ... they presume that there are only two views allowed with no room for discussion of any middle ground.

    Here is a perfect example.

    So, in essence what ya'all are saying is that, since a "little" government regulation is OK and fine, then a LOT of government regulation must be REALLY primo...

    Is THAT what ya'all are claiming??

    And, what makes it even more infuriating is that you know very well who you are dealing with here and that we are not claiming that kind of nonsense.

    Since we're on the topic of regulation, I'm thinking that, when all is said and done, and a Wall Street reform bill makes its way to the big final vote in the House and Senate, it will be a fairly well balanced set of proposals for ensuring the stability of the financial system.

    Because, if it's not an effective bill, then Secretary Geithner simply won't let President Obama sign it! :)

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    I never said you didn't.

    Post #19 was a poorly disguised jab at me. Why else would you bring it up in response to post #18??

    (aside to CW.. These numbers are kewl!! :D)

    The simple fact is ya'll take exception with my posting style in an effort to deflect attention away from the questions you can't answer..

    We have, Michale. Over and over.

    Really?? Please point out the post # where it was stated that Biden, Geinther et al could be part of the problem..

    Because I haven't see it...

    Un-elect the Ben Nelson's, for example.

    But you see, that is EXACTLY my point.

    According to ya'all, Ben Nelson was the hero of the hour when he saved CrapCare... But NOW that he does something ya don't like, he is a "bad Democrat"...

    You don't see the blatant hypocrisy in such a position??

    No one is saying "Democrats GOOD, Republicans BAD" like you keep saying.

    Yer kidding, right?? No one has said that Republicans are bad??? Tell me yer kidding...

    I guess you're just upset with us that we don't share your conservative view, Michale -

    No, I am "upset".....

    "Kitrich, you have never seen me upset."
    -Tom Cruise, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

    ..... because you try to lump me in with the likes of Ann Coulter, rather than address the questions and issues I raise. You claim that I really don't believe what I post and that I just post what I post to piss ya'all off.

    Frankly, it's insulting. I expect crap like that from Shirley...

    I'm thankful for things like the USDA who regulates the food I eat. Because w/o organizations like this, there's nothing to stop businesses from selling us rat meat to make a profit.

    And I'll ask again for the umpteenth time. Maybe "umpteenth" is the charm..

    WHERE does such regulation end?? What, in your opinion, would be TOO much regulation?? Is there even such a thing, in your opinion as TOO MUCH regulation??

    But if you're going to say "All government and all regulation is bad", we will just have to agree to disagree. Because there are many instances where regulation and government is good.

    And yet, during the Bush years, ya'all couldn't yell loud enough and often enough against "regulation" and "government"...

    And therein lies my point..

    Because it seems apparent that the "many instances" of good government regulation are those instances imposed by a DP government.

    If it's a GOP government that is imposing regulations, ya'all climb the walls..

    Is this or is this not a factual statement, allowing for the hyperbole, of course.. :D

    And, what makes it even more infuriating is that you know very well who you are dealing with here and that we are not claiming that kind of nonsense.

    My unfamiliarity with your limits is your fault, not mine. I have asked time and time again, what do you view as "TOO MUCH" regulation and you have ignored the question.

    So, don't blame me because I take your silence to indicate that, in your mind, there is no such thing as TOO MUCH regulation.

    In other words, if you want me to accurately portray your position in my efforts to refute said position, then it seems that the ball is in your court, in that regard. No???

    Since we're on the topic of regulation, I'm thinking that, when all is said and done, and a Wall Street reform bill makes its way to the big final vote in the House and Senate, it will be a fairly well balanced set of proposals for ensuring the stability of the financial system.

    What do you base this on?? The track record that is CrapCare???

    Because, if it's not an effective bill, then Secretary Geithner simply won't let President Obama sign it! :)

    Would that be Tim "I Never Had A Real Job" Geithner??

    The same Geithner that was one of the main players in the recent economic implosion??

    THAT Geithner???

    Oh yes.. Let's put the guys who CAUSED the problem out of greed in charge of fixing the problem.

    THAT will be effective. :D

    Regardless, I have a proposition for ya'all..

    Let's not question each other's motivations or posting style and just address the issues raised..

    Howz that???

    Michale.....

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I base my views of Wall Street reform on the many, many, many hours of testimony by Geithner before various congressional and oversight committees. I think I have watched most of it over the past 14 months.

    You say that Geithner has never had a real job. Do you really have that little regard for public service?

    I think that if you had the time to read what Geithner has proposed for Wall Street reform - which is more effective and either the House or Senate bill - or closely followed what he has been doing over the last couple of years, then you would be duly impressed.

    Your implication that Geithner is motivated by greed and that he caused the financial crisis is nonsense. Does he share some of the blame for not doing enough? Absolutely! There is quite enough blame to go around and around again. But, you paint a picture of Geithner that is demonstrably false and patently unfair.

    And by the way, there are many Democrats and Republicans and Independents who are part of the problem - without a doubt. But the likes of Biden and Geithner are way down on that list, and rarely on it at all.

  28. [28] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Post #19 was a poorly disguised jab at me. Why else would you bring it up in response to post #18??

    Because I think it's important to remember not to get upset when conservatives make extreme arguments like:

    Either you are for more government regulation or you are against it.

    And then turn around and say "What's the right level of regulation?"

    The first statement is extreme. The second question is quite interesting. Yet also contradicts a belief in the first statement because it assumes that there can be a good level of regulation.

    If you want to talk about an appropriate level of regulation, then let's talk. If we're talking about economic regulations, I'd say that regulations should work to balance the interests of consumers and business owners.

    But you can't have this conversation at the same time you're trying to say "Either you are for more government regulation or you are against it."

    This is an example of a statement I don't think you really believe. But in the heat of trying to win an argument, you're willing to say it.

    So I'll ask again, do you really believe that all government and all regulation is bad?

    And, since I've stated my position on economic regulations, what do you believe?

    Cheers
    -David

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    You say that Geithner has never had a real job. Do you really have that little regard for public service?

    Actually, *I* never said that Geithner never had a real job..

    GEITHNER said that Geithner never had a real job. :D


    Your implication that Geithner is motivated by greed and that he caused the financial crisis is nonsense. Does he share some of the blame for not doing enough? Absolutely! There is quite enough blame to go around and around again. But, you paint a picture of Geithner that is demonstrably false and patently unfair.


    In March 2008, Geithner arranged the rescue and sale of Bear Stearns.;[11][20] In the same year, he played a supporting role to Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, in the decision to bail out AIG just two days after deciding not to rescue Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy. According to some observers, Geithner severely damaged the U.S. economy.[21]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Geithner

    Geithner was one of the principals that caused the economic meltdown and made a killing in the process...

    He is not worthy of praise nor respect, especially in light of the incompetence he has displayed since being made SecTreas....

    He is the epitome of the Wall Street type. The kind that Obama says are the "bad guys"...

    David,
    Because I think it's important to remember not to get upset when conservatives make extreme arguments like:

    This implies that you think I am a conservative making an extreme argument..

    I am demonstrably an Independent, not a conservative. My arguments may sometimes be facetious or hyperbolic, but only to make a point. They are NEVER extreme any more so that other Independents arguments are "extreme". Independents who, I might add, are the reason we have Obama in the White House in the first place.

    Ya'all didn't seem to mind the Independents then, eh??

    Either you are for more government regulation or you are against it.

    Actually, that statement is accurate, as far as it goes.

    Now, if I had said, "Either you are for government regulation or you are against it." THEN you would have a basis for a counter argument.

    But if you take the here and now as the baseline for government regulation, the statement "Either you are for more government regulation or you are against it." is a logical and rational position.

    I am also constrained to point out that, when you take my statement IN THE CONTEXT OF your position vis a vis DP'er government regulation vs GOP'er government regulation, the statement becomes even MORE relevant and logical.

    In other words, I am trying to understand why you think that DP government regulation is OK, but GOP government regulation is not OK...

    If you are against government regulation when a GOP government is at the helm, you SHOULD be against government regulation when a DP government is at the helm.

    No??

    So I'll ask again, do you really believe that all government and all regulation is bad?

    I believe that the government's footprint in our lives should be as small and unobtrusive as possible and be designed to protect the individual.

    Allow me to give you an example.

    Regulations to prevent food companies from delivering spoiled rancid un-eatable food.

    Good...

    Regulations to insure that the salt content is low, that the caloric content is low and that everything is healthy and good for us.

    Bad....

    Government regulations designed to safe-guard our borders and actually ENFORCE our immigration laws.

    Good....

    Government meddling in state affairs because they (the government) is too incompetent to actually ENFORCE our immigration laws and solely for the purpose of pleasing a political constituency in a vain effort to curry more favor for upcoming elections...

    Bad...

    Now, here is a very straightforward question for you to answer.

    Would you agree or disagree with my assessment of what constitutes good and bad governmental regulation?

    And, since I've stated my position on economic regulations, what do you believe?

    I believe that regulations that maximize the free market potential while maintaining a common sense approach to enforcement is what is required.

    Unfortunately, in the case of the currently proposed regulations, they are being designed by the very people who broke the system and are being designed to favor a political party, NOT the American people.

    Case in point is the Cornhusker Kickback II which, despite claims to the contrary, is STILL very much a part of the current legislation ideas being bandied about in the Senate.

    The long and short of it is, I do believe that Democrats do have some good ideas for this country.

    The problem is, to date the Democratic Party's ideas have, by and large, served the Democratic Party at the EXPENSE of this country.

    CrapCare is but one example...

    Michale......

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I'm afraid that you know very little, if anything, about Tim Geithner. It's always best to refrain from commenting on subjects we know so little about, lest we lose all of our credibility.

    And, that's all I'm going to say about that.

    See ya in the next go around! I may need a couple of weeks in Hawai'i first, though ... you know, to decompress ...

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm afraid that you know very little, if anything, about Tim Geithner. It's always best to refrain from commenting on subjects we know so little about, lest we lose all of our credibility.

    {{{sssiiiggghhhh}}}

    Of course.. That's it...

    I must know "very little, if anything" about the subject...

    The problem here is that you look at what people say and take it as gospel..

    I look at what people do and the results it has..

    So far, Geithner has said a lot of good things... He can spiel a spiel, to be sure..

    But his actions speak far FAR louder than his words..

    For those who are willing to but listen..

    Geithner is nothing but a Wall Street insider, a greedy opportunist who wants to make more money on Wall Street at the expense of Main Street...

    Have fun in Hawaii... :D

    Michale....

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Have fun in Hawaii... :D

    I wish! I just had a trip to Hamburg canceled because of you know what and I'm waiting for it to be rescheduled.

    I'm saddened that you would think I would be swayed by mere words. Absolutely saddened. :(

    Actually, it is the quick and decisive action that Secretary Geithner has taken to stabilize the financial system that has successfully averted the collapse of the global financial system.

    And, so I would have to agree with you that Geitner's actions speak louder than his words.

    All you have to do is think back to where we were 14 months ago and where we are now. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

    You keep calling Geithner a greedy oportunist and imply that he doesn't care about Main Street. I'd really like to know what you are basing that assessment on.

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here's a perfect example of government regulation gone wild...

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-happy-meals-20100427,0,6290206.story

    Liz,

    I wish! I just had a trip to Hamburg canceled because of you know what and I'm waiting for it to be rescheduled.

    Ouch... That's gotta hurt.. :( Sorry to hear that...

    Actually, it is the quick and decisive action that Secretary Geithner has taken to stabilize the financial system that has successfully averted the collapse of the global financial system.

    And yet, the economy is still in the toilet.

    All the Obama administration was prop up a bad system. Ittle bitty band-aids that help mask the problem, but never really offer a REAL solution.

    Surely the better plan would have been to LET the whole thing collapse. And then work from the bottom up to create a better system.

    All you have to do is think back to where we were 14 months ago and where we are now. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

    And where we are now is looking at the same old problems and the same old "solutions" with a partisan twist...

    You keep calling Geithner a greedy oportunist and imply that he doesn't care about Main Street. I'd really like to know what you are basing that assessment on.

    Initially, Senator Chris Dodd was identified by Treasury Department spokesmen as being responsible for the inclusion of the provision exempting such bonuses from the executive pay limits clause of the TARP. However, on February 14, 2009, the Wall Street Journal published an article, Bankers Face Strict New Pay Cap [63], discussing a retroactive limit to bonus compensation inserted by Chris Dodd into the TARP bill that passed in the Senate.

    The same article went on to mention that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers "had called Sen. Dodd and asked him to reconsider". When the bill left conference, Dodd's provision had been removed and replaced with the explicit exemptions lobbied for by Geithner and Summers.

    As Dodd explained in his March 18 interview on CNN, [64] at Geithner and the Obama Administration's insistence he removed the language he had himself inserted and replaced it with Geithner and Summers' loophole, which thus allowed the bonuses which formed the basis for the AIG scandal.

    Michale.....

  34. [34] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Liz,
    Sorry to hear about the volcano canceling your travel plans. I'm scheduled to fly into Iceland in less than 2 weeks so have my fingers crossed.

    Michale, well now you're talking ...

    I believe that the government's footprint in our lives should be as small and unobtrusive as possible and be designed to protect the individual.

    I don't necessarily believe the answer to everything is smaller government. But this is an excellent phrasing of the conservative view - conservative w/ a small 'c', not referring to any specific party.

    I'd like to see a more effective government that achieves a balance between individual rights and community.

    And this is why I think progressives need to do a better job talking about the value of government. For example, our government may be the only institution large enough to take on and regulate Wall Street.

    The biggest trouble I have though with most Conservatives with a big 'C', Michale, and I am specifically not referring to you here is that they tend to use this "small government" argument only when it benefits large Corporations (with a big 'C'). You will see this time and time again when they want to deregulate a market. Eg. the energy market, the telecommunications market, the financial market, etc, etc.

    That is, they want a small government when it's going to benefit them, and then they want a large government when they're in trouble (e.g. the bloody bailout mess).

    So rather than talk about the size of government , I'd talk about the value and effectiveness of government.

    Less isn't always the answer. If we'd of kept Glass-Steagall in place, we probably wouldn't have had the crisis.

    I believe that regulations that maximize the free market potential while maintaining a common sense approach to enforcement is what is required.

    As for the "free market". Isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place?

    I believe in markets as well, but you have to have working markets. And you know what happens when you completely deregulate a market? It becomes a black market that primarily benefits the very wealthy. A dysfunctional market.

    A market where the top 6 banks have assets equal to over 60% of GDP. This is up from less than 20% in the 90s.

    So if "maximize the free market potential" means create a market that works for all, I'm with you. But if it means deregulate everything as it's been used in the past, I think we need a different direction.

    Cheers
    David

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    The problem with all the regulation and legislation that is coming down the pipe is that it doesn't benefit you and me, it doesn't benefit John Q Public and it doesn't benefit this country.

    It only benefits the Democratic Party..

    The crass and political maneuver to put amnesty immigration on the fast track is simply the latest example of this...

    And don't you find it ironic that DP Congressional Leadership is doing fund raisers with Wall Street types even now???

    Doesn't that strike you as being just SLIGHTLY odd???

    As I said earlier.. Why slave yourself to a Party who only serves itself??

    You say you believe in the Democratic Party because of their ideals and principles??

    Are there any evidence of these of late???

    Not even close...

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    David,

    I hope your flight to Iceland is uneventful. I've lost track of the volcano over the last few days but I've got a link to a webcam showing 3 views of it ...

    http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-thorolfsfelli/

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Here's a little something just for you - a little bedtime reading, if you will, courtesy of the conservative columnist, David Brooks ... one of my personal favourites.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/opinion/20brooks.html?pagewanted=print

    As you read it, don't be too surprised if you start to think that you and Secretary Geithner have a lot in common in terms of the role of government. At least this article rises far above the mindless babble about Geithner that can so easily be found throughout the media and blogosphere, liberal and conservative alike.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

  38. [38] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Thanks, Elizabeth! It would be great if we could somehow see the volcano w/o being impacted by it - I've inquired about helicopter tours. Here's a couple of my favorite pictures:

    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/photographing-icelands-fiery-volcano/

    Michale-
    It only benefits the Democratic Party.

    Huh?

    Like Healthcare Reform just did wonders for Democratic Party. They took a huge political hit for this that Republicans will certainly play up to political advantage in the next election.

    You're back to your "hyperbole" Michale which seems an awful lot like making broad unfounded statements :)

    I'm just glad you're not asking us to take you literally.

    As for evidence of Democratic ideals, there's lots to go around. The proposal to break up the big banks is my favorite:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2010/0427/The-weak-spot-in-the-financial-reform-bill

    I'd think this is one you might even support. I'll share more in future posts.

    "Slave yourself to a Party that only serves itself" is a good one though. I literally laughed out loud. Especially since you so admire the ability of conservatives to support their leadership no matter what they say. So let me get this straight ... When conservatives support their party, it's leadership. When progressives stand together, it's "slaving yourself" to a party. Brilliant! Absolutely hilarious as always Michale.

    -David

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Like Healthcare Reform just did wonders for Democratic Party. They took a huge political hit for this that Republicans will certainly play up to political advantage in the next election.

    In that case, pushing thru CrapCare despite the overwhelming opposition of the American people was the lesser of two evils.

    DP'ers reasoned that they were damned if they did but more damned if they didn't...

    Now the whole country is damned because they did...

    "Slave yourself to a Party that only serves itself" is a good one though. I literally laughed out loud. Especially since you so admire the ability of conservatives to support their leadership no matter what they say. So let me get this straight ... When conservatives support their party, it's leadership. When progressives stand together, it's "slaving yourself" to a party. Brilliant! Absolutely hilarious as always Michale.

    Glad to be amusing..

    But you are comparing apples and Eskimos..

    You are talking about Party Leadership..

    I was referring to every day Americans like you and I...

    I am also constrained to point out that there have been MANY commentaries and comments speaking of the GOP's ability to come together and stay together. Many on here are on record as saying the DP should emulate such....

    So I am not alone in my "admiration" of that ability, no??

    But as to us lowly peons, it's in OUR best interests not to let the Partys get to full of themselves..

    We see what happens when people put Party before country.

    Incompetent leaders like Barack Obama are elected...

    Michale....

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    You're back to your "hyperbole" Michale which seems an awful lot like making broad unfounded statements :)

    And, just for the record..

    If the GOP did this or that, "ya'all would be climbing the walls"...

    That's hyperbole...

    Saying the Democrats in Congress don't really give a rat's ass about this country or the American people, they just care about the Democratic Party is simply a statement of fact..

    Nothing else explains the passing of the abomination that is CrapCare...

    Michale...

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just in case ya'all missed it.. :D

    Allow me to give you an example.

    Regulations to prevent food companies from delivering spoiled rancid un-eatable food.

    Good...

    Regulations to insure that the salt content is low, that the caloric content is low and that everything is healthy and good for us.

    Bad....

    Government regulations designed to safe-guard our borders and actually ENFORCE our immigration laws.

    Good....

    Government meddling in state affairs because they (the government) is too incompetent to actually ENFORCE our immigration laws and solely for the purpose of pleasing a political constituency in a vain effort to curry more favor for upcoming elections...

    Bad...

    Now, here is a very straightforward question for you to answer.

    Would you agree or disagree with my assessment of what constitutes good and bad governmental regulation?

    Michale.....

  42. [42] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Saying the Democrats in Congress don't really give a rat's ass about this country or the American people, they just care about the Democratic Party is simply a statement of fact.

    The 'ole Democrats hate America argument. *yawn*

    Well, I'll just leave you to your rage on that one.

    Here's another example of good Democratic principles. Blanche Lincoln's proposal to regulate the derivatives market. About time!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63Q52C20100427

    -David

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    The 'ole Democrats hate America argument. *yawn*

    Now look who's putting words in other people's mouths, eh?? :D

    Did I say anything about "hate"??

    No, I didn't. You did.

    However, you are somewhat correct in one manner. I should have phrased it more specifically..

    By and large, the Democrats in Congress care more for their Party than they do for their country.

    If a piece of legislation needs to be ram-rodded thru by hook or by crook to benefit the Party at the expense of the Country, then that is the path that, again by and large, DP'ers in Congress will choose..

    Is there any other explanation for CrapCare?? A piece of legislation ALL OF YOU were against, until it came to a point that it would help the Democratic Party..

    Still waiting for a response regarding what constitutes GOOD and BAD government regulation.

    Based on your posts to date, I can only assume that you believe that GOOD regulation = Democrat regulation and BAD regulation = Republican regulation.

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Is there any other explanation for CrapCare?? A piece of legislation ALL OF YOU were against, until it came to a point that it would help the Democratic Party.

    I thought we'd already established that passing this legislation certainly did not help the Democratic party.

    So I'm not sure what you're basing any of this "hyperbole" on.

    Still waiting for a response regarding what constitutes GOOD and BAD government regulation.

    I believe I already stated my position on economic regulation. That's what got most of this conversation started. But here it is again:

    [Economic] regulations should work to balance the interests of consumers and business owners.

    And I'd add "to ensure a working economy."

    Based on your posts to date, I can only assume that you believe that GOOD regulation = Democrat regulation and BAD regulation = Republican regulation.

    Republicans believe in regulation? I thought they believed that the market would sort everything out and that, by and large, markets should be deregulated. That's at least the position they've been pushing for as long as I can remember.

    Ok ... kidding. I'm guessing conservatives believe in some level of regulation, but you very rarely hear them talk about it. So it's hard to know what they believe. What you do hear them talk about a lot though - even today after the economic crisis - is deregulation and "free" markets.

    Now the market is a good thing, but I believe that proper regulations ensure honest transactions and build trust in markets. Without them, markets do not work.

    Cheers
    David

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    I thought we'd already established that passing this legislation certainly did not help the Democratic party.

    No..

    You have stated it... But that is far from it being established.

    From the small bump in the polls and the rhetoric from DP leaders, it's clear that the general belief is that passing CrapCare has helped the Democratic Party.

    Or, is it your position that all the DP leaders are simply full of crap?? :D

    [Economic] regulations should work to balance the interests of consumers and business owners.

    And I'd add "to ensure a working economy."

    So, what's your take on the Obama Administration trying to regulate salt content??

    What's your take on the LA County that is making it a crime to include toys in Happy Meals??

    What's your take on the on the Cap & Tax legislation pending??

    Do any of those "balance the interests of consumers and business owners"??

    Or do they just feed the Democratic Party??

    Now the market is a good thing, but I believe that proper regulations ensure honest transactions and build trust in markets. Without them, markets do not work.

    Markets also don't work when innovation is stifled by the whims of politically motivated legislation forced thru by corporate and Party interests, right??

    Michale.....

  46. [46] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Since the topic of the day is financial reform and this is what I think most people care are interested in, I'm going to focus on financial reform.

    For the record, though, I don't really care one way or the other about the FDA regulating salt content in processed foods. If this gets you bent out of shape, though, why not invest in a salt shaker? :)

    Back to financial regulations ...

    Some of the things in the financial regulation bill:
    - A regulated market for derivatives
    - An independent consumer protection agency to make sure that information given to consumers is accurate and not misleading
    - Closed regulatory loopholes for derivatives and other new Wall Street products
    - An amendment to put a cap on the size of the largest banks (this would essentially break up the biggest banks)
    - The Volcker Rule - creates a separation between tax-insured banks and riskier securities trading units - would end the Goldman Sachs conflict of interest issue

    Overall, the goal is to prevent systemic risks and another bank bailout.

    So Democrats have put this on the table. Republicans have asked to change some language in the bill around how and when regulatory agencies can assist banks. And Democrats have agreed to do this and it looks like it will be brought to the floor for debate.

    It seems like a strong step in the right direction.

    However, if you dislike this bill so much, how would you suggest changing it to make it better?

    Put the salt and your Happy Meal toys away and let's hear some ideas.

    Cheers
    David

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since the topic of the day is financial reform and this is what I think most people care are interested in, I'm going to focus on financial reform.

    Translation:

    Financial reform is "popular" and is an easy topic to defend. I really don't want to get into the REAL "reform" agenda that the Democratic Party has, as then I would be forced to defend the indefensible..

    :D

    That's kewl, David. I'll allow you your safe harbor...

    So Democrats have put this on the table. Republicans have asked to change some language in the bill around how and when regulatory agencies can assist banks. And Democrats have agreed to do this and it looks like it will be brought to the floor for debate.

    It seems like a strong step in the right direction.

    Agreed...

    However, if you dislike this bill so much, how would you suggest changing it to make it better?

    I never claimed I dislike the bill... I simply said that, as it was at the time, it was serving the the interests of the Democratic Party and NOT the country.

    Now that the GOP has extracted concessions from Democrats, it can proceed as a truly bi-partisan measure...

    Since we are agreed on that, what would you like to tackle next???

    Immigration or Jobs??? :D

    Michale.....

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    It WILL be interesting to see if the Democrat's XMAS Eve Hero of CrapCare, Ben Nelson goes along with the new financial reform legislation, eh?? :D

    Michale.....

  49. [49] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Regulations to insure that the salt content is low, that the caloric content is low and that everything is healthy and good for us.

    This is a classic example of everyone is talking about. Pushing something to extreme instead of honestly discussing it. First, the bill is about the salt content in manufactured food. No where in that bill are they preventing you from buying all the salt, butter and heavy cream you can and stuffing down your gullet. Yet, you phrase it as Everything when that is hardly close to the truth. Personally I don't mind that regulation at all. In this case salt is used as a cheap flavor enhancer that is causing health problems. Similar in my mind to the transfat bans that have started popping up.

    Second you refer to the What's your take on the LA County that is making it a crime to include toys in Happy Meals??. First off we are talking about Santa Clara county. This is also referred to as The Silicon Valley. Pretty dam far from LA both geographically and culturally. Second, it is a Local issue. Funny, you would rant about it and yet complain about Washington up in arms about the Arizona immigration ban. Bit of hypocrisy, no?

    And, just for the record..
    If the GOP did this or that, "ya'all would be climbing the walls"...

    That's hyperbole...

    Please tell how it is that you rarely if ever Climbing the walls over anything the GOP does make you not guilty of the exactly the same hyperbole?

  50. [50] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Michale,
    Michale- it's good to see that we share some common goals when it comes to financial reform.

    And I'd like to thank anyone who called or wrote their Senator on behalf of getting this bill to the floor. I have to give credit to George Voinovich, our other Senator from Ohio, for being one of the first to say that this issue deserves debate.

    One other note I thought I'd share briefly. I was happy to see that United Healthcare eliminated rescission reform ahead of the healthcare legislation implementation. This is a great thing to see.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/unitedhealthcare-implements-rescissions-reform-policy-change-is-effective-immediately-2010-04-28?reflink=MW_news_stmp

    G'night
    David

    p.s Also the Montreal Canadiens just beat the Washington Capitals (the #1 seed) in game 7 in the opening round of the playoffs! This was one of the most amazing playoff first rounds ever. Jaroslav Halak played like a god - with 41 saves after a record setting 53 saves on Monday night!

  51. [51] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    FIFTY comments?!?

    Jeez. You folks need to move on to the current week. This thread's getting too long. OK, I'm not going to have the stamina to answer everyone here, so here's a few snippets.

    David [1] -

    I did miss Biden's appearance on The View, but I heard it was good. He got off a really funny line the other day "I've been sleeping with a teacher for years" that I wanted to point out, because it's such a Bidenesque comment -- funny, self-depreciating, and down-home humor, all rolled into one!

    Liz [2] -

    Hey, I love Joe Biden! Compared to Darth Cheney or (shudder) Sarah Palin, Biden is about 10,000% better! Best veep we've had since Gore.

    From what I hear, Biden's got his nose to the grindstone, and is taking point on winding down the troop levels in Iraq. Serious work, and I couldn't think of a better guy to lead the effort, personally.

    Scott [3] -

    Yeah, the irony's thick on the ground, indeed!

    David [5] -

    I am envious of your meeting with Sherrod Brown. Plus, I love his "Tom Waits" gravelly voice. As I mentioned, he was the only sitting Congressman (House at the time) to endorse my book, so I have a special liking for him, personally.

    Liz [6] -

    Giethner knows Mandarin? Wow. That's impressive, I didn't know that.

    Michale [8] -

    Get with the times. I raked Nelson over the coals for this yesterday. I am astonished you haven't commented on it yet, truth be told. When Dems behave badly, I jump on them for it, you've got to give me that. But you failed to note that he was the only Dem to do so, while EVERY Republican voted the same way (for different reasons). I also read Nelson and his wife own $6 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock. Not so surprising, is it?

    [9] -

    Really? You find it tyrannical that government has removed lead from your paint? You find it tyrannical that government protects you from car companies selling defective products -- or ANY corporation selling you deadly products? There's a difference between "regulating the greediest impulses of business" and "government takeover," even if the Right doesn't want to make that distinction. DrCardio summed this up beautifully, which is why I used his comment. Government does do some good stuff. Please let me know, specifically, which items on his list you would prefer to let private industry self-regulate on? Want to buy some lead-based paint, in other words, without our telling you that it is poisonous? Seriously, to protect your freedom, which item on his list would you take out of the hands of government, and hand over the regulation of to Goldman Sachs, right now? Think they've got your best interests at heart?

    [11] (continued) When has the government ever told you that you can't buy a certain car? Or anyone in America?

    Liz [13] -

    Hear, hear! What she said, Michale!

    Michale [14] -

    Name me one person who has been told by the government what car they can and cannot buy. And, I hasten to remind you, the first car company bailout EVER happened under Saint Ronald of Reagan. Remember Chrystler? Lee Iacocca? It wasn't called "a takeover" by the Right at the time, though, and the money was paid back and the company remained private. As is happening now -- didn't GM just pay off a "bailout" loan five years early?

    [16] As for the Founding Fathers and federal laws, I suggest you google "whiskey rebellion" and "Shay's rebellion" before putting too many words in the mouths of the Founding Fathers. And, as for regulating industry, and what they will do without such regulations, I suggest "The Jungle" as light bedtime reading.

    [16/17] OK, I was going to scold you, but you clarified. I have (except possibly the first week they emerged) been respectful to the Tea Partiers, since I have been impressed with their growth from nothing to a political force. Thank you for the distinction.

    David [19] -

    I hadn't heard of the Coulter book, but I do have several similar books from the Right. They're all ripping off a book Michael Moore wrote (I believe) which tried to do the same thing from the Left -- I believe he put it (haven't actually read it, I admit) as "here's how to talk to your relatives when you go home for Thanksgiving." His, however, was an intelligent attempt to frame the issues in language that conservatives respect and react to -- but proving, every time, that what they really believed was (gasp!) actually liberal. I forget the name of the book, however, sorry.

    Michale [21] -

    OK, in all honesty, while Ann Coulter looks (to me) like some sort of incompetently-assembled FemBot, the cheerleading video of Michelle Malkin was kind of hot, I have to admit. Forgive me, female readers....

    As for answering your question, please answer mine, in regards to exactly which government regulations TP#1 referenced that you would be happy to turn over to Wall Street instead of government, in the hopes that self-regulation will keep you safer than the government regulations in place now.

    Liz [22] -

    OK, now THAT was funny! Michale, here's a quote for you: "Burn!!" ("That 70s Show").

    David [24] -

    You raise two excellent points. For Michale, it's true -- he styles himself as an independent thinker, but without extending the same courtesy to others. If any Democrat anywhere (or any member of the Lefty media) says something, it is immediately applied as a tar brush to taint all Democrats everywhere. But when it comes to the Right, it's all "isolated incidents" and "special cases."

    Michale, in the spirit of making life easier on everyone, please consider when posting the following: "I am an independent, and take people on a person-by-person basis. Therefore, I will extend the same respect to people who don't agree with me. I will assume that when Democrats behave like whores (e.g. Ben Nelson) that this doesn't mean that "the whole Left" or even "all Democrats" or "all people commenting here with a lefty viewpoint" totally agree with that person. Don't generalize so much, in other words. Democrats and independents alike can think for themselves. And we're fully capable of ripping into fellow "Democrats" or "Lefties" when they are obviously crossing a line. Proving that we do occasionally put principle above Party. All I'm asking is that when Democrats behave badly (and they will), give us a chance to condemn them as well, before lumping us all in with their actions. And if you don't believe me, see Tuesday's column, written before I read any of your comments on Nelson. Even the Democrats on this site are pretty free-minded, you have to admit to yourself.

    David -

    Second comment, the Nelson thing was never "in the bill" and thus never needed to be "yanked." Nelson did his "Cornhusker Kickback" routine, and Reid and the other Dems told him to get lost. It's a subtle point, but an important one, I believe. Dems learned their lesson from the first Cornhusker Kickback. See this week's columns for further commentary.

    Liz [25] -

    Thanks for making the point I just made above, in a much more timely fashion.

    OK, (whew!) I'm halfway through. I'm going to post this so I don't lose it, and answer the rest in another post.

    - CW

  52. [52] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Before anyone jumps on me, I should clarify my comment above to David [19] -- I have indeed read this book, but should have said "don't own a copy of it, forget what the title is" instead.

    And one more thing... AHA!!! Everyone made fun of the comment numbers, but now they are coming in handy, eh? Ho ho! The programmer wins this round, in the end. Personally, I have to say that the comment numbers make it a lot easier to answer such long threads of comments. So, thank you, Michale, for admitting this in [26]. That's all I have to say on the subject. Hrrmph.

    OK, Michale [26] -

    Biden I don't think has been any part of this particular problem, but (sorry, Liz) I had heard that Geithner wasn't happy with Blanche Lincoln's strong derivatives bill, for what it's worth. But Reid and Dodd and Lincoln won the day, and the strong language Lincoln passed (WITH a Republican vote!) will be included in the bill introduced to the floor. So, happy now?

    And when did I ever say Ben Nelson was the hero of any particular hour?

    Heh. No, we say "Republicans are bad" every week here, on Fridays. Heh heh.

    Shirley? Oh, you're just begging for this one:

    "...and stop calling me Shirley!"
    -Airplane

    Heh. Couldn't resist.

    Seriously, though, your argument has a major flaw. You say:

    And yet, during the Bush years, ya'all couldn't yell loud enough and often enough against "regulation" and "government"...

    And therein lies my point..

    Because it seems apparent that the "many instances" of good government regulation are those instances imposed by a DP government.

    If it's a GOP government that is imposing regulations, ya'all climb the walls..

    But can you name me one true "regulation" (the way we've been using it in this discussion) that Bush proposed that Democrats were against? I bet you can't, unless it was a "regulation" which was actually a "de-regulation".

    [29] See above -- what exactly is a GOP "regulation"? Seems an endangered species, personally.

    And how, by the way, do you reconcile "government's footprint in our lives should be as small and unobtrusive as possible and be designed to protect the individual" and your critique of TP#1? Doesn't seem consistent, to me. TP#1 is exemplifying "designed to protect the individual," which is why I liked it so much in the first place.

    Oh, we're on salt again? Please cite any such proposed government regulations to "insure that salt content is low, that the caloric content is low and that everything is healthy and good for us." My bet is, you can't. Because it's hyperbole, and not reality.

    How, exactly, are the currently proposed regulations on the financial system "being designed to favor a political party, NOT the American people." More hyperbole.

    Cornhusker Kickback II, as you (and I, independently, I assure you) both called it, was NEVER a part of the Dodd bill. Nelson tried to force the issue, and was rebuffed by his fellow Dems. Your statement is factually inaccurate.

    Liz [30] -

    You're going to the islands? I am envious! Aloha!

    [32] - Oh, wait, now it's Hamburg? As I said, the last time I was there, "Ich bien ein Hamburger!" Something, tragically, was lost in the translation....

    :-)

    But the key question is: can you pronounce the name of the Icelandic volcano which screwed up your travel plans? Enquiring minds want to know.

    David [34] -

    Good luck with that volcano!

    Michale [35] -

    OK, you've just got to be kidding, here. How, exactly, is instituting a new independent consumer financial products agency benefiting the Democratic Party, and not the millions of Americans who take out mortgages and credit cards and other financial products? You lost me, there.

    The GOP went to Wall Street two weeks before the congressional battle was joined. Mitch McConnell went, and the only other Republican he took with him (to get his marching orders from Wall Street) was the guy responsible for raising campaign cash for Senate Republicans. Do you not see this? Is it not obvious?

    Liz [37] -

    David Brooks is one of those "common sense" conservatives the Republican Party is currentlly purging itself of. I'll check out the article, but I guarantee if it makes sense that "purist" Republicans will denounce it.

    David [38] -

    Any volcano photos you manage to get, I'll gladly host them here. I'll contact you via email on this subject.

    Michale [45] -

    Please provide a cite for "the Obama Administration trying to regulate salt content." Likewise for (Santa Clara) county "making it a crime to include toys in Happy Meals" -- SC Cty is trying to pass a law which says that any toys included in kids' meals has to be less than a certain calorie count, and healthy.

    How, in your wildest dreams, does the energy bill "feed the Democratic Party"? I mean, seriously.

    David [46] -

    Excellent... just, excellent...

    Michale [47] -

    What exactly is "popular reform" as opposed to "real reform"? I'm confused. Please spell this out, in detail. How is anything the Democrats have proposed "serving the interests of the Democratic Party and NOT the country"... again, in detail, if you please.

    BashiBazouk [49] -

    Thank you for bringing some sanity to the salt wars. I mean, really...

    David [50] -

    I can't believe I'm at the end. You're right, Voinovich was a key voice in the intra-party debate among the Republicans -- who was pushing to get it onto the floor, over Mitch McConnell's objections. As for joy on beating the Capitals, well, I grew up in the DC suburbs, so I can't share your joy. However, the San Jose Sharks made it to the second round (although they face the RedWings, sigh), which is a MAJOR accomplishment, post-season, for the Sharkies...

    :-)

    Ohmigod, am I actually done here?

    Woo hoo!

    - CW

  53. [53] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Chris,

    You're a better man than I, Gunga Din. I've tried in the past to make suggestions for Michale to tone down; but since he seems to have ignored them I simply skip over all his comments. I have a pretty good idea what he'll be railing against with his "I'm right and everyone else is drinking the Obama Koolaid." His logic never fails to unimpress me. Thank you for addressing this, even though it won't take (see previous sentence). Sorry Michale, your fifteen minutes are up :-)

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'll get to all the rest later tonight.. Promise.

    But THIS is simply too good to pass up... :D

    Sorry Michale, your fifteen minutes are up :-)

    Yea, people around here have been telling me that since 2005.. Shirley has been telling me that for at LEAST a couple years as well..

    And yet... Here ya are... Espousing how "unimpressed" you are :D

    Look for my "railing" comments later tonight.. :D

    Michale.....

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, this is gonna be a long one.. :D

    But, of course, no one reads me, right?? :D hehehehehehehe

    And awaaaaayyyyyy we go...

    In no particular order...

    @Kevin,

    I'll say to you what I always should say to Shirley when he "ignores" me..

    To paraphrase...

    "Quit trying to {{ignore}} me and {{ignore}} me!!"
    -Morpheus, THE MATRIX

    This childish playground act from ya'all is ever so tiresome.. "Nyaaa Nyaaa Nyaaa Nyaaa.. Michale's a poopy head so I am ignoring him!! Nyaaa Nyaaa Nyaaa Nyaaa.."

    I've tried in the past to make suggestions for Michale to tone down;

    Just as I tried ever so many times to get ya'all to "tone it down" during ya'alls daily, sometimes HOURLY rants about the Bush Administration...

    I am just one person.. Imagine having to deal with a dozen or more ranting hysterically and irrationally about "midnight knocks at the door" and Americans being rendition'ed from BumFuq, New Mexico..

    At least my "rants" against Obama and his incompetent administration have at least SOME foundation in reality..

    Ya'all were way out in left field on many of ya'all Bush bashing.

    I stood the heat in ya'alls kitchen.. You could at least show me the same courtesy...

    @ Bashi & CW

    First, the bill is about the salt content in manufactured food.

    And that is exactly what *I* am talking about.. *I* WANT salt in my manufactured food. It saves me the trouble of having to add it..

    Who the HELL is Obama et al to tell me I must have less salt in my manufactured food?? Leave *my* salt alone, dammit!!!

    CW,

    What exactly is "popular reform" as opposed to "real reform"? I'm confused. Please spell this out, in detail. How is anything the Democrats have proposed "serving the interests of the Democratic Party and NOT the country"... again, in detail, if you please.

    CrapCare...

    'nuff said...

    Please provide a cite for "the Obama Administration trying to regulate salt content."

    FDA To Regulate Salt
    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=FDA+to+regulate+salt&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=a86c207b1c79523e

    ." Likewise for (Santa Clara) county "making it a crime to include toys in Happy Meals" -- SC Cty is trying to pass a law which says that any toys included in kids' meals has to be less than a certain calorie count, and healthy.

    And you don't find that a bit odd??

    Basically the COUNTY GOVERNMENT (not the parent mind you, but the COUNTY GOVERNMENT) is telling a child, "You eat healthy stuff or you don't get a toy!!"

    A> The county government is interfering with a private business and

    2> The county government is interfering with parental rights..

    And ya'all don't see a problem with that???

    How, in your wildest dreams, does the energy bill "feed the Democratic Party"? I mean, seriously.

    Do you mean the Cap & Tax AKA Scheme & Ream??? I just want to make sure we are talking about the same thing before I unleash the inner Michale... :D

    The GOP went to Wall Street two weeks before the congressional battle was joined. Mitch McConnell went, and the only other Republican he took with him (to get his marching orders from Wall Street) was the guy responsible for raising campaign cash for Senate Republicans. Do you not see this? Is it not obvious?

    And Democrats held Fundraisers with Wall Street bankers as recently as a couple days ago...

    Not to mention that WALL STREET is signing off on Obama's so-called "regulation of Wall Street" and Wall Street firm's stocks are actually RISING...

    I don't dispute that the GOP is in bed with Wall Street. But what ya'all refuse to concede is that SO IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!!

    It's one big frakin' orgy... (don't get me started on THAT subject!!! :D)

    My only complaint is that ya'all cheer on the Democrats and castigate the Republicans but they all are doing the same thing. Cozying up to big money and screwing you and me and everyone else..

    The difference here is I don't like being screwed by EITHER Party.

    Ya'all don't seem to mind it if it's coming from the Dems...

    And when did I ever say Ben Nelson was the hero of any particular hour?

    You... Not that I can readily point to.. But there was definite euphoria over Nelson's heroic Xmas Eve save of CrapCare amongst the rank and file Democrats.

    Com'on.. Be honest.. Weren't you the SLIGHTEST bit relieved when Nelson swooped in and saved CrapCare???

    Would you have preferred he voted NO and killed CrapCare right then and there??

    Of course not...

    For CrapCare, Nelson was the hero of the hour around here...

    Now, because he is simply doing what Democrats (and Republicans) do (which is protect their biggest donors), NOW he is Public Enemy #1...

    And yet, if something comes down the pipe that is ALSO real important to Democrats (Scheme & Ream, Illegal Immigrant Amnesty, Etc Etc) and he saves the day, then he will be a hero amongst Dems again...

    It's simply IMPOSSIBLE to keep track of who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, because they change by the week...

    Shirley? Oh, you're just begging for this one:

    "...and stop calling me Shirley!"
    -Airplane

    Heh. Couldn't resist.

    I am but here to entertain... :D

    But can you name me one true "regulation" (the way we've been using it in this discussion) that Bush proposed that Democrats were against? I bet you can't, unless it was a "regulation" which was actually a "de-regulation".

    Oh yer kidding, right???

    Hmmmmmmmmm I am using the very broad form of regulation as to include things like.. Oh I dunno..

    THE PATRIOT ACT

    THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT

    WARRANTLESS WIRE TAPS

    etc etc...

    Things that Democrats (including ya'all) couldn't scream loudly and long enough about...

    I am just one person bitching about the Obama Administration... Imagine MY perspective when I had a dozen or more "Michales" bitching about the Bush Administration...

    What can I say.. I like a challenge.. :D

    Biden I don't think has been any part of this particular problem, but (sorry, Liz) I had heard that Geithner wasn't happy with Blanche Lincoln's strong derivatives bill, for what it's worth. But Reid and Dodd and Lincoln won the day, and the strong language Lincoln passed (WITH a Republican vote!) will be included in the bill introduced to the floor. So, happy now?

    As long as it's understood that Geithner is part of the PROBLEM and therefore should not be part of the solution...

    Biden?? He is just too easy a target... Out of respect for Liz, I DO try not to pick on Biden. yea, I know.. I should try harder... :D

    Name me one person who has been told by the government what car they can and cannot buy.

    The Obama Administration is putting into place fuel and emissions standards that will basically be the death of some larger SUVs that simply can't meet those standards..

    So, in effect, Obama is telling me what I CAN'T drive by making what I may **WANT** to drive unavailable..

    Once this continues along it's logical progression to it's natural conclusion, I will only be able to drive matchbox cars that run on rubber bands...

    OK, now THAT was hyperbole, but it makes the proper point...

    {Biden is the} Best veep we've had since Gore.

    That's like saying John Q is the best citizen we have had since Jeffery Dahmer... :D

    OK, in all honesty, while Ann Coulter looks (to me) like some sort of incompetently-assembled FemBot,

    Coulter CAN look scary.. But there have been a few shots when she looked REALLY hot..

    But of course, I don't look at someone's political affiliation to make that determination.. :D

    the cheerleading video of Michelle Malkin was kind of hot, I have to admit. Forgive me, female readers....

    Apparently, neither do you.. :D

    Call me racist, but I have always had a thing for Asian/Oriental women..

    Democrats and independents alike can think for themselves. And we're fully capable of ripping into fellow "Democrats" or "Lefties" when they are obviously crossing a line. Proving that we do occasionally put principle above Party. All I'm asking is that when Democrats behave badly (and they will), give us a chance to condemn them as well, before lumping us all in with their actions. And if you don't believe me, see Tuesday's column, written before I read any of your comments on Nelson. Even the Democrats on this site are pretty free-minded, you have to admit to yourself.

    But the problem I have with it is the fact that today's Corporate Whore Democrats was yesterday's Hero Democrat..

    Now, I have said it before and I'll say it again. YOU, personally, are the exception that simply emphasizes the rule..

    Everyone now is saying what a scumbag Ben Nelson is... But when he saved CrapCare, he was the Dem hero... Now, you personally may not have stated as such, but that was the general feeling around this forum...

    Ben Nelson saved CrapCare so Ben Nelson was a "good Democrat"....

    But now, Ben Nelson is voting AGAINST the Democrats. All of the sudden, Ben Nelson is a BAD Democrat..

    And then, down the road, when Ben Nelson is the savior of, oh say, Scheme & Ream, then Ben Nelson will be a "good Democrat" again....

    What is more galling then the blatant and nauseating hypocrisy is that ya'all (again, not YOU personally, but the "lefties" here in the forum) don't even SEE the hypocrisy...

    "We are at war with Eurasia.. We have always been at war with Eurasia.."

    ....has now become...

    "Ben Nelson is a bad Democrat. Ben Nelson has always been a bad Democrat."

    Again, while I may rail and lump you in with all your commenters, it is actually THEM that my responses are directed at..

    While I do sometimes take issue with what YOU yourself post, I do endeavor to make the distinction between you and your commenters.

    Perhaps I have not done as good a job at that as I could have. I will strive to do better..

    The biggest bone of contention that has come to pass is the issue of CrapCare..

    It was probably one of the VERY few times that ALL OF US agreed on anything...

    CrapCare was crap.. Hell, David even NAMED it CrapCare fer chreest's sake!!

    So, we were all agreed that CrapCare was crap and all was good and right with the world...

    Then what happened...

    All of the sudden, I was the only one against CrapCare!??

    What happened??

    Did anything change with CrapCare?? Did it undergo a metamorphosis that made it, all of the sudden, GOOD for this country and GOOD for Americans???

    No.. CrapCare was the same old crap it has always been..

    Then what changed??

    Why did everyone just drop this euphoric bi-partisan agreement and embrace that crap which was universally agreed to be... CRAP...

    What changed is what it could do for the Democratic Party...

    It actually came to pass that passing CrapCare would be BETTER for the Democratic Party than NOT passing Crap Care...

    And with that little epiphany, ya'all suddenly embraced the CrapCare bandwagon...

    Note that CrapCare was and is still crap. It was and is still bad for this country. It doesn't reign in costs and it doesn't prevent denial based on pre-existing conditions. These findings come FROM THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ITSELF...

    So, in a nutshell, ya'all decided that Party was more important than Country...

    When it came right down to it, ya'all stood up and said, "I AM A DEMOCRAT FIRST AND AN AMERICAN SECOND."

    And I found such actions to be somewhat unsettling...

    But hay.. Who cares, right?? No one reads what I post anyways, right?? :D

    Anyways, just let me close by saying to all those who might have the inclination to "ignore" me.. By all means, if you feel that my words are so provoking and unsettling that you have to commit your own private censorship, I encourage you to do so...

    But please.... This public declaration "Michale is a and I am just going to ignore him" or even worse, this "I will address Michale but I will call him by a different name so I am not REALLY addressing him" is immature and frankly should be beneath the maturity and intelligence level I have come to expect from people in this forum..

    Like I said above, if you really must ignore me, if you really feel that you cannot respond in a logical and rational manner, then

    "Quit trying to ignore me and ignore me!!"

    We ain't in kindergarten anymore people and this ain't the playground..

    Man up...

    If I missed anything that anyone wants followed up on, please let me know...

    Danke...

    Michale....

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I think it may be time for a word limit!!!

    Just kidding, Michale. That was fun. Even the bit about Biden! :)

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    If I can't educate, at least I can entertain.. :D

    I'll be here all decade.. :D

    Be sure and tip yer waitresses..

    Michale.....

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here is an excellent in-depth article regarding the crisis that we face as a country.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704302304575214613784530750.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion

    One particular quote seems very apropos to our discussions here..

    But while the Democrats worry about the prospects of the Democrats and the Republicans about the well-being of the Republicans, who worries about America?

    That's the problem I see, in a nutshell...

    It doesn't seem that anyone cares about the country anymore. Everyone is preoccupied with how well their Party is doing. To hell with the country..

    Give you a prime example...

    Would any of you support legislation that would be devastating to the Democratic Party, would favor greatly the Republican but is stone cold great for the country??

    I can count how many of ya'all would say YES on one finger.. :D

    The answer (and non-answers) would be very enlightening, no?? :D

    Michale.....

  59. [59] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, re-reading my question, I see there is a level of un-fairness about it that leaves out the issue of the legislation itself.

    So, let's say that the legislation itself is something you would generally agree with.

    Just wanted to clarify that..

    Michale.....

  60. [60] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    One point (in a rush... today's FTP day...).

    Ben Nelson wasn't hailed as any kind of hero here, neither was Joe Lieberman (the two most egregious "I'll only vote yea if you do THIS" Democrats). I went back and checked (see today's FTP, where Nelson moves into second place on the all-time MDDOTW list), and you're right I didn't give him a MDDOTW when he actually pulled his Cornhusker Kickback stunt. But, in my defense, that's because it happened in the midst of the two-week end-of-year special columns. I gave him grief about it when he was just threatening it (see: FTP [96]), and many times after it happened. Even though it (and Lieberman) put the Dems over the top in the Senate, there were plenty of Dems disgusted at the way it happened, and not cheering either of them as "heroes" in any way.

    Sorry, but Nelson's bugged me for a while, so just had to say that.

    More later, gotta write the article now...

    -CW

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    As I said, YOU are (usually) the exception that proves the rule. :D

    But my point is still valid.

    No one (sans one, maybe) was condemning Nelson when he saved Crapcare, ironically enough for doing the exact same thing he is being condemned for now....

    But, in my defense, that's because it happened in the midst of the two-week end-of-year special columns.

    But that is a double-edged sword as it also might explain why you didn't give Nelson kudos for saving CrapCare.. :D hehehehehehe sorry, cheap shot.. :D

    Again, I accept you at your word that you don't think of Nelson as a "hero" for saving CrapCare..

    But would you have preferred he voted against it??

    This whole CrapCare issue is a BIG part of why I am so bitchy lately..

    I feel I got the rug pulled out from me.. AGAIN..

    First Obama with his "I am a different kind of politician" bullshit and then again when ya'all switched allegiances on CrapCare...

    Makes it hard NOT to be cynical, ya know what I mean? :D

    Michale.....

  62. [62] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Ya get busy with work and see what happens. Ya miss out on all the fun.

    Nice Matrix reference Michale in #55. Love that flick.

    As far as the CrapCa ... err healthcare bill ... goes :), I can't speak for others, but I can tell you how I feel about it. I think it could have been a lot better.

    But I think it's a start. And I sincerely think Obama is trying to balance the interests of the public with the interests of businesses. Not always easy.

    What makes it even harder is if you truly strike this balance, you've probably managed to tick off people on both sides.

    I think this is what's happened. Because I don't see the healthcare industry jumping for joy. They're apprehensive because insurance companies see only risk in change. And a lot of people have questions as well.

    So maybe it's a decent balance. Regardless, I think it's a start and I also think they felt that the only way to ever get a better bill was to pass something. Even if they had to swallow some tough pills in the here and now. But we'll see.

    And ... I just don't see any good coming out of my complaining about it anymore right now. It's passed for now. But I'll be right there arguing for a stronger single payer system if and when this returns.

    My 2 cents for the night on healthcare ...
    -David

    p.s. "Good for the country" is extremely subjective. I'm not sure how you can claim that any one person or group knows absolutely what's best for the country. Take offshore oil drilling for instance - whether you're for it or against it you still believe your view is in the best interests of the country. But this is a subject for another time.

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