Friday, February 12, 2010


Jon Stewart mocks Republican who fear being "trapped" into discussing healthcare reform with the President.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Apparent Trap
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

In a similar vein, the Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel is outraged that the Democrats might argue with Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan's plan for getting rid of Medicare and Social Security. How dare they! It's too bad George Bush wasn't able to push through his plan for privatizing social security. Then Wall Street could have loaded every retiree in the country up with mortgage backed securities.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Justice Thomas Defends Plutocracy

Justice Defends Ruling on Finance

“If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association.”
“But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?” Justice Thomas asked, suggesting that the answer must be the same.

There is no reason the answer needs to be the same.  If you put yourself in a corporate form, you are setting up a different type of entity than a partnership with different legal relationships. The rights and responsibilities in a partnership flow directly through to the partners. The partners are the owners and the managers. They enjoy any profits that the partnership generates and they are liable for any losses that it incurs.

Shareholders stand in a completely different relationship to a corporation. The whole point is that the actions of a corporation are not the actions of the shareholders. The corporation is a statutory person that acts on its own behalf in its own interests. The shareholders are not bound by what the corporation does and they do not bear responsibility for its decisions. The shareholders' ability to influence the management of a corporation is extremely limited.

What we have learned over the last two years is that corporate management is able to work a great deal of mischief. It can structure its compensation such that it reaps huge rewards even when the corporation loses money while placing the risk of loss on the shareholders and society in general. Now they have another tool to wield power.

I regularly contribute money to a retirement plan that invests the money in mutual funds. It is absurd to think that I am exercising my right to freedom of association with the other shareholders of the corporations in which the mutual fund managers invest. It is even more absurd to suppose that my right of association necessitates giving the management of those corporations greater freedom to use company assets to increase their political influence.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Why the Economy is So Screwed Up

A drop in stock prices is “more than a warning sign,” Greenspan said yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “It’s important to remember that equity values, stock prices, are not just paper profits. They actually have a profoundly important impact on economic activity.”

This seems to have things wrong way round.  Economic activity should be what determines stock prices.

How Does Pat Robertson Know the Devil Kept His Part of the Deal?

Pat Robertson was universally criticized for his assertion after the earthquake in Haiti that the island republic was suffering the consequences of a deal its founders made with the devil in order to win independence.  Even if it were historical fact (about which I remain skeptical) that the slaves in Haiti performed some Satanic ritual prior to overthrowing their French oppressors at the end of the eighteenth century, I have wondered how does Robertson knows that Satan agreed to help them and how he knows that Satan kept his part of the bargain.  It just does not seem to me to be the kind of fact that can be verified historically.

On the other hand, I can certainly understand why such a story would have appealed to to American slaveholders.  It would have provided a convenient way to reconcile their insistence that Blacks were incapable of directing their own affairs with the fact that the Haitian slaves had successfully overthrown their European masters to establish their won country. No doubt the story also appealed to twentieth century segregationists like the televangelist's father, U.S. Senator Absalom Willis Robertson of Virginia.

While it would be nice to dismiss Robertson as an ignorant old crackpot, I cannot help but recall that he is the founder of Regent University and that 150 of Regent's graduates served in the Bush administration.  No doubt these are the kind of experienced public servants that the Tea Party crowd will turn to should the Republicans retake the White House in 2012.

How Dumb is Palin?

I really don't care whether Palin writes notes on her hand, but her I was amazed by her attempt to explain why it was OK for Rush Limbaugh to call a particular group of people retards while she wanted Rahm Emmanuel fired for calling the exact same group of people retards.

From her interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

PALIN: ... Rahm Emanuel — I think he has some indecent and insensitive ways of being, including his language and as I said for a variety of reasons giving the president poor advice, I think, and his heavy-handedness. I think he should step down.

I'm not politically correct. I am not one to be a word police, but I do believe that his insensitivity, in a time when I had just promised in my GOP Convention speech that those with special needs and families and those who love those with special needs would have a friend and an advocate in the White House if John McCain and I were so blessed as to be elected — that didn't stop me — because our votes didn't carry the day. We didn't win.

That didn't stop my passion, my commitment to reaching out and to helping the special needs community when they asked for it. And they did ask for it on this one. They reached out to me and said, "Can you kind of highlight the problem that we have in the White House with both the president and his chief of staff being so insensitive to the special needs community?" And I said, "I'm here. Send me. I will do so."

WALLACE: OK, but Rush Limbaugh weighed in this week and he said this, "Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards 'retards.'"

PALIN: He was satirical in that.

WALLACE: Wait, let me finish. "I mean..."

WALLACE: OK, but Rush Limbaugh weighed in this week and he said this, "Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards 'retards.'"

PALIN: He was satirical in that.

WALLACE: Wait, let me finish. "I mean..."


WALLACE: "... these people, these liberal activists, are kooks." Should Rush Limbaugh apologize?

PALIN: They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was using satire to bring attention to what this politically correct...

WALLACE: But he used the "R" word.

PALIN: Using satire. Name-calling by anyone — I teach this to my children. You teach it to your children and your grandchildren, too. Name-calling by anyone — it's just unnecessary. It just wastes time. Let's speak to the issues and, again, let's move on.

WALLACE: But you know what some people are going to say, Governor, and have said? They say, "Look, when it's her political adversary, Rahm Emanuel, she's going to call him out. 'He's indecent, apologize.' But when it's a political friend like Rush Limbaugh, 'Oh, it's satire.'"

PALIN: I didn't hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with "f'ing retards." And we did know that Rahm Emanuel — it's been reported — did say that. There's a big difference there.

. . . . . .

For stupidity, I think this rates right up with "Alaska's proximity to Russia gives me foreign policy experience."  This was also an obvious question that any sentient being could have anticipated, but Palin simply blurts out an answer that makes her look like a hypocritical fool. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Batshit Crazy Republicans

According to a recent poll of self-identified Republicans:

39% think that Barack Obama should be impeached with 29% unsure;

21% believe that ACORN stole the 2008 election with a whopping 55% unsure;

63% think that Obama is a socialist;

53% think that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Obama.