Saturday, April 17, 2010


Booman: Accountability Now
First Goldman Sachs, now Blackwater:

Federal prosecutors charged the former president of Blackwater Worldwide and four other former senior company officials on Friday with weapons violations and making false statements in the first criminal inquiry to reach into the top management ranks of the private security company.

The executives were some of the closest advisers to Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince, and helped him steer the company during its swift rise to become the leading contractor providing security for American diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan, working for the State Department, the C.I.A. and the Pentagon.

Okay, I am going to admit that I thought both Goldman Sachs and Blackwater were effectively untouchable. One has all the money and the other has all the guns. So, color me impressed by today's news. A little bit more of this and I'll have to start reconsidering my biggest gripe with the Obama administration.

Booman: Things Heating Up for CIA Officials

Something is going to go down soon with regard to the destroyed torture tapes. People don't get granted immunity for no reason. It doesn't look too likely that Porter Goss is going to go down for it, but it's not out of the question. However, this may be a reprise of the Plame case where the prosecutor finds it too difficult to prosecute the underlying crime and instead opts to nail people for perjury. And I have no way of telling who lied to the prosecutor or the FBI and whether they might get caught for those lies.

It would be nice, however, to see someone very high up get a taste of prison life for their involvement in torture. That would be the least we should expect.

John Cole: You Call That a Defense?

Yesterday, I errantly stated the following:

The message is clear- you torture people and then destroy the evidence, and you get off without so much as a sternly worded letter.

If you are a whistle blower outlining criminal behavior by the government, you get prosecuted.

I was running under the assumption that the leaks Drake was accused of making were the NYT/wiretapping stuff. It turns out it was this:

But the description applies to articles written by Siobhan Gorman, then a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, that examined in detail the failings of several major N.S.A. programs, costing billions of dollars, using computers to collect and sort electronic intelligence. The efforts were plagued with technical flaws and cost overruns.

Commenter Stuck says the following:

This is mismanagement, and has nothing to do with civil liberties as such. Second, as I stated in my first comment, GG, an experienced lawyer uses the term “Whitleblower” a legal term for people who follow whistle blower laws. This guy leaked classified info to a reporter just like Libby with Plame, and as far as we know, didn’t go to congress first and follow the law. That may sound like splitting hairs, but it would be another kettle of fish if Obama was prosecuting an actual Whistleblower, or punishing them in any way, as opposed to prosecuting a guy who broke his oath and the law, and was too stupid to cover his tracks.

That’s the defense? This is even worse- they are now throwing the full weight of the government into the prosecution of a man who… embarrassed them.

I simply don’t understand why people do not see the problem here. We are told we have to move forward, and we can not look backward, and we have to ignore the criminal and immoral behavior of those who served in roles in the last administration for the good of the country. We have to overlook illegal and secretive wiretapping, we have to overlook the institution of a torture regime, it would be wrong to go back and prosecute those leaders who engaged in all of these things, lied to Congress, and covered up their behavior.

On the other hand, some guy who embarrassed us? Fuck him- we’ll go after him with guns a blazing. No concerns about looking backward there. No need to move forward on this one. We’ll bring the whole weight of the government down on this guy.

Mind you- I have no problem prosecuting leakers. None. My problem is the disparate application of “justice.” The powerful and the elites consistently avoid any scrutiny or face any prosecution for their crimes and misdeeds, but those lower down the rung are vigorously prosecuted. Had there been a widespread effort to investigate and prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration, I would have said nothing about Drake. It is the inconsistent application of the law that infuriates me.

How many days in court or jail did the people who codified into policy what happened at Abu Ghraib spend? None? Yet Charles Graner is still rotting in jail? Few bad apples, dontcha know!

Banksters rob billions, military contracters rob billions, and on and on and on, and nothing is done. But the little guys get this:

A homeless man robbed a Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered to police the next day. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

Roy Brown, 54, robbed the Capital One bank in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 2007. He approached the teller with one of his hands under his jacket and told her that it was a robbery.

I just don’t get how anyone can support the prosecution of Drake when no one else has been held accountable for their behavior during the Bush years.

Blue Texan: Beltway Democratic Consultants’ Brilliant Advice to Obama: To Win in 2010, Govern Like a Teabagger

If Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell hadn’t identified themselves as “Democratic pollsters,” I would’ve thought their op-ed — which is about how Obama and the Democrats can avoid a “bloodbath” in November — was a first-rate piece of concern-trolling by someone like Karl Rove or Glenn Reynolds.

Because that’s exactly the way it reads.

To turn a corner, Democrats need to start embracing an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate. It should be somewhat familiar: It is the agenda that is driving the Tea Party movement and one that has the capacity to motivate a broadly based segment of the electorate.

Yeah, Obama should really heed those Teabaggers, that hugely unpopular movement teeming with angry right-wingers who hate socialism but love entitlements, who oppose big government unless it benefits them, who wrongly believe taxes have gone up, think Obama’s not a US citizen, who run bestiality-loving bigots for major offices — and who love George W. Bush and worship at the altar of Sarah Palin.

Yes, by all means — embrace their completely incomprehensible, wingnutty agenda Mr. President. Victory will be yours!

They [Democrats] must adopt an agenda aimed at reducing the debt, with an emphasis on tax cuts, while implementing carefully crafted initiatives to stimulate and encourage job creation. This is the agenda that largely motivated the Clinton administration from 1995 through 2000 and that led to a balanced budget and welfare reform.

Reducing the debt through tax cuts. Fucking genius.

And by the way, that agenda that the Clinton administration pursued from 1995-2000 really did wonders for the Democratic Party, didn’t it? Do these guys remember 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004?

If you wonder why too many Democrats in Washington still completely suck, it’s because there are still guys like these two assclowns running around getting paid to advise them.


Looking ahead to SCOTUS fight

April 16: George Washington University Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley talks with Rachel Maddow about the confirmation hearings for Goodwin Liu to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and what indications he sees for how President Obama's Supreme Court pick will be received.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday Bidness

Steve Benen:
* Wow: "Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail. The move marks the first time that regulators have taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market. Goldman itself profited by betting against the very mortgage investments that it sold to its customers."
John Cole: Sociopaths

Sen. Bob Corker, one of the people who helped draft the resolution aspect of the financial reform legislation and who knows full well that McConnell is lying, joined every other Republican in signing a letter opposing the bill. “Moderates” Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe signed as well. In for a penny, in for a pound.

This is not an opposition party, it is a suicide cult. Except they are holding the gun to your head and apparently are not having second thoughts about pulling the trigger.

DougJ: Nuclear waste dump

I’m trying to get a feel for the Goldman investigation. Felix Salmon takes a detailed look at the charges here and sums up:

The scandal here is not that Goldman was short the subprime market at the same time as marketing the Abacus deal. The scandal is that Goldman sold the contents of Abacus as being handpicked by managers at ACA when in fact it was handpicked by Paulson; and that it told ACA that Paulson had a long position in the deal when in fact he was entirely short.

(note: the Paulson here is not Hank, it is the hedge fund Paulson and Co.)

Essentially, Goldman was selling investors CDOs that Goldman thought were worthless and was lying about who assembled the CDOs along with what the actual assembler really thought of the CDOs’ contents. The former is legal, the latter may or may not be.

Goldman exemplifies need for GOP-opposed reform April 16: Rachel Maddow talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson about the SEC's lawsuit against Goldman Sachs and the seemingly ill-advised Republican opposition to financial reform.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

After reports surfaced yesterday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is going after Goldman Sachs, both sides of the political divide tried to seize on the news to make a larger point. Only one side made sense.

For Democrats, the case was pretty easy -- Goldman Sachs' alleged wrongdoing only reinforces the obvious need to pass Wall Street reform, bringing new safeguards and accountability to the financial system. For congressional Republicans, the argument was a little trickier.

Republicans sought to tie President Barack Obama to Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs after it was hit with civil fraud charges.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a statement after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against the Wall Street titan, calling the firm a "key supporter" of the president's bid to reform the nation's financial regulatory system.

"These are very serious charges against a key supporter of President Obama's bill to create a permanent Wall Street bailout fund," Boehner said Friday in the statement. "Despite President Obama's rhetoric, his permanent bailout bill gives Goldman Sachs and other big Wall Street banks a permanent, taxpayer-funded safety net by designating them 'too big to fail.' Just whose side is President Obama on?" [...]

Boehner's office also pointed to Goldman employees having collectively contributed more than almost any other company or institution to Obama during the presidential campaign.

Boehner's analysis of the legislation is, on its face, idiotic. But putting the obvious legislative nonsense aside, I can't quite wrap my head around Boehner's political point.

To hear the dimwitted Minority Leader put it, the Obama administration and Goldman Sachs are close allies, and the administration-backed reform bill is intended to help firms like Goldman Sachs. And we now know for sure that administration officials are carrying water for Goldman Sachs because ... they just charged Goldman Sachs with fraud.


I'm trying to imagine the conversation in Boehner's office when the statement was being written. Which genius on Boehner's staff discovered that the Obama administration is going after Goldman Sachs, regardless of its campaign contributions to Obama, and thought, "A ha! Now we've got 'em!"

Let me try to explain this is a way even Boehner can understand: when the Securities and Exchange Commission accuses a major Wall Street firm of fraud, that's not good for the firm. If the administration were trying to do favors for Goldman Sachs, it wouldn't file a civil lawsuit against the firm.

"Just whose side is President Obama on?" Well, as of yesterday, he doesn't appear to be on Goldman's side. Given that Republicans are trying to shield Wall Street for accountability and safeguards, the better question is, "Whose side is Boehner on?"

Beutler (TPM): Republicans And Democrats Dig In For Bruising Fight Over Wall Street Reform

It's shaping up to be a clash of the titans.

On the one hand, Senate Democrats aren't stepping back an inch from their pledge to move ahead with financial regulatory reform, with or without Republicans, by the end of next week. In fact, just today, President Obama threatened to veto a final bill if it's weakened too much during the legislative process.

But on the other hand, Republicans have coalesced around a strategy of uniform opposition to the Democrats' draft legislation authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd.

So we're at an impasse.

Democrats don't want to deviate far from the Dodd draft, and they love the politics of putting Republicans and Wall Street on the same side of a battle line. They hope the optics there will be so bad, that Republicans will ultimately be shamed into caving. But ultimately Dems need 60 votes simply to debate the bill, and if the Republicans stick together in the face of a likely political backlash, there won't be a bill. And nobody knows dedication like the Senate GOP.

Assuming Dodd, and his counterpart Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) don't reach some sort of agreement this week, this can only play out in a handful of ways:

--One or two Republicans could break off next week and allow the bill to come to the floor.

--If that doesn't happen, Democrats could stick to their guns, until political pressure forces the GOP's hand.

--The political food fight could continue, while in the background Democrats and Republicans reach a compromise of some kind.

--Despite the...highly questionable...nature of the claim, Republicans could win the spin war and convince the public that the Dems' bill really will lead to "endless" taxpayer funded bailouts.

--Republicans can go down swinging, and no bill will pass.

Now, it's important to note that Republicans are mainly taking issue with the sections of the bill that deal with "Too Big To Fail" institutions. And Obama linked his veto threat to a separate section of the bill that addresses derivative trading. And though Republicans also oppose Dem proposals for regulating derivative swaps, it's conceivable that an agreement will be reached whereby Republicans give Dems ground on derivatives, while Democrats inch toward the GOP position on resolution authority, etc. Today, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln unveiled far-reaching legislation to regulate the derivatives market.

It's also important to note, as I did in this post, that while the GOP's tone is pretty extreme, they haven't vowed to use Senate filibuster rules from preventing the bill from coming up for debate. So there is some wiggle room.

But with rhetoric this heated, it's hard to imagine the two factions joining hands to sing kumbaya before this comes to a head.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Right-wing terror celebrated despite history

April 15: Rachel Maddow highlights the pride and passion of right-wing extremists whose violent rhetoric has a history of deadly violence.

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John Cole: They Never Learn

So CBS decided to give Ben Domenech an online column, and guess what happened:

The White House ripped CBS News on Thursday for publishing an online column by a blogger who made assertions about the sexual orientation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, widely viewed as a leading candidate for the Supreme Court.

Ben Domenech, a former Bush administration aide and Republican Senate staffer, wrote that President Obama would “please” much of his base by picking the “first openly gay justice.” An administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing personal matters, said Kagan is not a lesbian.

CBS initially refused to pull the posting, prompting Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director who is working with the administration on the high court vacancy, to say: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” She said the network was giving a platform to a blogger “with a history of plagiarism” who was “applying old stereotypes to single women with successful careers.”


The Post’s Web site briefly hired Domenech as a conservative blogger in 2006. He resigned three days after his debut after a flurry of plagiarism allegations that were trumpeted by liberal Web sites. The sites found signs of plagiarism in a movie review he wrote for National Review Online and, earlier, in his writing for the College of William & Mary’s student newspaper.

And thus ends our bi-annual Ben Domenech drama, until he is hired by ABC News in 2012 and we have another “incident.”

John Cole: Kthug Unloads on McConnell

Nice to see in print:

So proposed reform legislation gives regulators “resolution authority,” which basically means giving them the ability to deal with the likes of Lehman in much the same way that the F.D.I.C. deals with conventional banks. Who could object to that?

Well, Mr. McConnell is trying. His talking points come straight out of a memo Frank Luntz, the Republican political consultant, circulated in January on how to oppose financial reform. “Frankly,” wrote Mr. Luntz, “the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.” And Mr. McConnell is following those stage directions.

It’s a truly shameless performance: Mr. McConnell is pretending to stand up for taxpayers against Wall Street while in fact doing just the opposite. In recent weeks, he and other Republican leaders have held meetings with Wall Street executives and lobbyists, in which the G.O.P. and the financial industry have sought to coordinate their political strategy.

And let me assure you, Wall Street isn’t lobbying to prevent future bank bailouts. If anything, it’s trying to ensure that there will be more bailouts. By depriving regulators of the tools they need to seize failing financial firms, financial lobbyists increase the chances that when the next crisis strikes, taxpayers will end up paying a ransom to stockholders and executives as the price of avoiding collapse.

I said basically the same exact thing yesterday.

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Tax Day Tea Party rallies unburdened by facts

April 15: Rachel Maddow reviews some of the key arguments presented by Tea Party speakers at Tax Day rallies around the country and contrasts those arguments with the actual facts about the taxes Americans pay. The Washington Posts's Ezra Klein joins for analysis.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Venn Diagram with One Circle

They are at it again.

For right wing, Islam behind every curve

April 14: Kent Jones reports on the latest right-wing outrage over a round logo, this time for the Nuclear Security Summit.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A new New York Times/CBS News poll was released last night, taking a closer look at those who identify with the so-called Tea Party "movement." The results confirm much of what we already know -- this is a confused contingent of conservative white people older than 45 -- but there were a few interesting tidbits.

Tea Partiers are obviously not part of the American mainstream. Its activists are to the right of the Republican Party, they have favorable opinions of George W. Bush, and rely heavily on Fox News. They don't like health care reform, worry about government spending, and think the government does too much to address the problems of the African-American community.

For all the recent talk about Dems and independents connecting with the right-wing movement, Tea Partiers "usually or almost always vote Republican." And for all the hullabaloo about the groups' rallies, only 4% of the general public has "given money or attended a Tea Party event, or both."

But the kicker is the predictable limits of the extreme ideology.

[I]n follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security -- the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on "waste."

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

"That's a conundrum, isn't it?" asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. "I don't know what to say. Maybe I don't want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security." She added, "I didn't look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I've changed my mind."

The point, of course, is not to pick on one confused person who sounded foolish when put on the spot. The point is Jodine White of Rocklin, Calif., is fairly representative of the larger movement.

If you were to make a Venn Diagram of the issues Tea Party members care about, and the issues Tea Party members are confused about, you'd only see one circle.

These folks claim to be motivated by concerns over taxes, but Tea Partiers tend not to know anything about the subject. They claim to be angry about the Affordable Care Act, but they don't know what's in it. They claim to hate expensive government programs, except for all the expensive government programs that benefit them and their families.

It's inherently challenging to create a lasting, successful political movement predicated on literally nothing more than ignorance and rage. In the case of Tea Partiers, we're talking about a reasonably large group of people who seem to revel in their own ignorance, but nevertheless seek an active role in the process.

Following up on an item from a few weeks ago, this is important to the extent that there are still some who believe the political mainstream should do more to listen to the Tea Party crowd and take its hysterical cries seriously. But how can credible people take nonsense seriously and hope to come up with a meaningful result? How can policymakers actually address substantive challenges while following the advice of angry mobs who reject reason and evidence?

The bottom line seem inescapable: Tea Party activists have no idea what they're talking about. Their sincerity notwithstanding, this is a confused group of misled people.

  • from the comments:

    If you were to make a Venn Diagram of the issues Tea Party members care about, and the issues Tea Party members are confused about, you'd only see one circle.

    And if you were to show that Venn Diagram to a Tea Partier, they would have no idea what you're talking about.

    Meanwhile, this is precisely what the GOP is hoping for — willful ignorance that can be manipulated easily through the media. The sad fact is that the Tea Partiers are exactly the same as the fundamentalist Christians. They can be made to believe anything as long as it's fed to them through their own specific ideological bendy straw. "God hates fags. The GOP loves God. You hate fags. Vote Republican!" "Taxes pay for things dark-skinned people use. You hate dark-skinned people. The GOP hates taxes. You hate taxes. Vote Republican!"

    It's the Southern Strategy all over. Just a new set of idiots. Make a Venn Diagram of Fundies and Tea-baggers and the overlap is the sweet spot where all the donations will come from.

    Posted by: chrenson on April 15, 2010 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

    Not just mislead. Ignorant. By choice. They follow Fox like it's gospel. They don't read. They don't research. They take it on biblical faith that Fox is honest and for true.

    Yeah, they are mislead. But they like it that way. Which is what makes it that much more disgusting, disheartening, and depressing.

    Posted by: MsJoanne on April 15, 2010 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

    This reminds me of that study some researchers did a few years back, in which they demonstrated that incompetent people are incompetent, in part, because the same set of skills needed for competency are those needed to recognize competency. Hence they regularly overestimated how well they had performed tasks, whereas competent people tended to be fairly accurate in their own self-performance assessments.

    I always thought the biggest mystery about that research was: why did a group of presumably well-educated researchers feel the need to conduct a test to demonstrate that clueless people are clueless because, in fact, they have no clue?

    Same thing here. Though I suppose they assumed it would be helpful to get it on the record that teabaggers are a bunch of angry old white people who have no idea what they're talking about.'s not helpful, because we already knew it, and we're not the ones who need to accept reality. The teabaggers themselves won't believe it, because despite what their lyin' eyes tell them when they look around at teabagger events and see only old, white, angry people, Fox and Rush etc. are telling them they're a majority of voters and are representative of the electorate as a whole. And since that's what they'd prefer to believe, they'll continue to believe it.

    Posted by: Jennifer on April 15, 2010 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Sully: "Activist Judges"

John Cole thinks Republicans generally "care about what they want right now, and if they don’t get their way, you are an activist judge":

For me, the clearest example of the lie regarding judicial activism is the way that Republicans treated Judge Greer in the Terri Schiavo case. The Republican Judge Greer made the fatal mistake of actually calling balls and strikes and correctly according to Florida law, ruled against the fringe right and the Schiavo dead-enders, and for doing what conservatives claim they want- strict interpretations of the law, Greer was subjected to a smear campaign so fierce that included his being asked to leave his church.

In other judge news, Lexington examines the case against Elena Kagan.

Sully:"A Half-Term Former Governor With A TV Show"

David Brooks wants everyone to stop talking about her:

She is not going to be the leader of any party and doesn’t seem to be inclined in that direction. The Sarah Palin phenomenon is a media psychodrama and nothing more. It gives people on each side an excuse to vent about personality traits they despise, but it has nothing to do with government. She is in 2010 what Jerry Falwell was from the mid-1990s until his death — a conservative cartoon inflated by media. Evangelicals used to say that Falwell had three main constituency groups — ABC, CBS and NBC.

I understand why David would rather she go away; but like his dismissal of the power of the Christianist right in American conservatism and culture, this dismissal of Palin misses, I think, several critical things.

The first is the psychological appeal of the beautiful female warrior. Palin is not appealing to the Republican super-ego (in so far as one has survived the last ten years); she is directly, umbilically connected to the Republican id (and some other male organs). Her appeal is visceral not rational. And if modern post-Nixon Republicanism has always had a thread of class resentment sustaining it, Palin concentrates it into a heady brew. If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth.

Secondly, she fuses both Tea-Party anti-government sentiment with neocon conviction about the necessity for American empire. Of course, none of this makes any sense, but Palin, unlike some of her rivals who feel some kind of lingering need to relate their policies to fiscal and global reality, is a thoroughly post-modern creature. She creates her own reality, and that is an incredibly important talent for a party base that desperately wants to live in another reality (a kind of souped-up version of 1950s culture and late nineteenth century economy). Her book - a fictional account of an imagined life - sold well with the GOP base because they too want a fictional account of America's current standing in the world and an imagined set of viable policy positions. She so lives and breathes this magical-realist culture she doesn't need to channel it. She knows we can keep social security and Medicare and global power for ever and balance the budget without any taxes - because that is what she wants to know. And she has never let reality get in her way. Reality is one of those doors she keeps crashing through.

Thirdly, she has a child with Down Syndrome. If you see Trig as a political tool, the near-appalling exposure of him in the campaign and book tour is not so bizarre. For a pro-life base that suspects that all Republican leaders, including even Bush, are phonies on the life issue, Palin has, in their eyes, walked the pro-life walk. Since this issue motivates the base in deeply powerful ways, Palin's ace has always been her youngest son. He proves her political authenticity - or at least seems to.

Who else puts all this together for the GOP? No one. Huckabee is crippled by a record of spending and leniency. Romney is crippled by being Mitt Romney and Mormonism. Pawlenty: seriously? Santorum? Ditto. Brown? We are beginning to see the depth of his predicament. DeMint? Rubio? C'mon.

Yes, many tea-partiers do not think Palin is "qualified" to be president. But primaries are won by enthusiasm and star power. Palin has both. And she has money. And, most important, she has a media machine dedicated to promoting her outside of any real scrutiny or questions. She has never faced a real press conference and speaks to "pre-screened" questioners at debates and speeches. She is a test-case of how willfully divorced from reality a segment of America can remain, and how irrelevant reality is for today's niche-targeted media. All of this makes Palin the most potent force in American politics since Obama.

Acknowledging that requires a grasp of the depth of the crisis on the right. I think David still under-estimates how deep that crisis is. I think he still thinks the current Republican party is salvageable as a credible governing force. I don't.


QOTD, cleek:
GOP says “Hate!” tea partiers ask “Yes sir! Hate whom, sir?”
John Cole: Ending One Myth

Great catch by Digby in the Tea Partier poll I talked about last night:

Here’s an interesting factoid that tracks with my intuition about these people: they blame George W. Bush and Wall Street far less for the economic situation than the rest of the country does. They hold Obama and congress mostly responsible. But then, if you listen to wingnut gasbags and FOX news crazies all day, that’s what you would think.

Any illusions that these people are angry at Wall Street or big business needs to be dispensed with ASAP. They don’t blame the money people at all.

88% of them think the government’s stimulus program has either had no impact on the economy or made it worse.

Of course they don’t. This is just a Republican operation, plain and simple, and you’ll watch the tea partiers go to bat for their Republican and Wall Street masters the next couple of months as we try to pass Financial reform.

For chrissakes- the tea party idea came from Rick Santelli- a broker. Anyone who thought these guys were mad at Wall Street was engaging in magical firebagger thinking, and some of us told you that from the get-go.

E.J. Dionne:

You might imagine that if a terrorist attack killed an American public servant and threatened the lives of 200 people, it would have been big news for weeks and an enduring symbol of the risks taken by those who serve their country.

Yet when an American named Joseph Stack flew a plane into an office building in Austin in February, killing Vernon Hunter, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran, the news reports were remarkably muted, and the story quickly disappeared.

Hunter worked for the Internal Revenue Service, which was housed in the Austin building, and according to Stack's suicide note, the IRS was his target.

On or about April 15, the Web and the commentary pages overflow with assaults on the IRS that cast its employees as jackbooted thugs, to use an old phrase, and our tax system as a form of oppression comparable to the exertions of the worst Russian czars and the most fiendish modern totalitarian dictators.

We should call this propaganda what it is: a sweeping falsehood that libels the work of committed federal employees such as Hunter.

Who are the men and women of the IRS? They are the people who collect the revenue that allows the government to finance our troops who are in harm's way, help our wounded warriors, pay Grandma's Medicare bills, cover the costs of keeping our food and drugs safe, and do so many of the other things the vast majority of us want our government to accomplish.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

digby: Nuts
I thought I'd seen some insensitive, childish and ignorant behavior by Republicans but this may just take the cake:
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.

"Is it scary? It sure is," said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. "But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?"
Maybe they can pass the bill on April 19th --- the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. They can call it McVeigh's Law.

This is simply more Sore Loserman politics of the crudest sort. They don't like the results of the election so they want to raise an army to fight it. They simply don't think elections are meaningful if they don't win them. And they can't wait until 2012 to put Palin in the White House.

Still, don't kid yourself, if Republicans win again, we'll hear this from them, just as we heard in 2004:
"I'm ecstatic," said Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Mr. Reynolds and his Senate counterpart, George Allen of Virginia, said the returns validated the approach of Congressional Republicans and should make it easier to pursue the economic, environmental and social agenda they favor, an agenda they blamed Mr. Daschle for helping to block. Mr. Allen said he hoped Democrats would see Mr. Daschle's defeat as a warning from voters that they did not favor the use of Senate procedural tools to stall legislation and White House nominees.

"Elections have consequences," Mr. Allen said. "There are messages and lessons that I hope members of the Senate will understand."
or this:
Rock-ribbed Republican Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, proffered a solution, tell[s] us that Democrats must accept the finality of their powerlessness."Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans. Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they've been fixed, then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful. They don't go around peeing on the furniture and such."
We didn't like that very much and so we worked hard to boot them out of office at the first opportunity. Silly us. We should have issued death threats and raised an inner city army instead. Apparently, that's how it's done in America in this new century. Live and learn.
  • Hunter adds:

    Every damn militia in existence for the last century and a half seems to base itself around an abject terror that if they don't have really big guns, and lots of them, black people might hurt them by eating at their restaurants or marrying their lily-white daughters or providing them comprehensive health insurance or something. If there's anything else that "state sovereignty" means to these people, you'd be hard pressed to squeeze it out of them -- and it certainly hasn't been for lack of trying, over these many months. You'd have to look under a freaking microscope to find some fundamental domestic policy difference from the Bush years to the Obama years that would actually affect any of the people bitching about it and waving their guns around, but they're still damn convinced their freedom is at stake. Death panels are coming to... take your sovereignty... by... I don't know, let's say instituting a five percent tax break on solar panels or something. Apparently everything from health insurance regulation to asking questions about the financial industry to not properly supporting the right Afghani opium lords all represent six or seven concurrent American apocalypses already, so who the hell knows what this particular sect of Oklahoma City tea party zealots consider to be that nebulous bridge-too-far that makes them want to take up arms against the Feds and their fellow Oklahomans.

    And yes, if you're talking about forming an armed militia to wave guns around to protect your state's "sovereignty" against the scary gubbermint, you're officially an idiot. At best.

    In the end, this is all part and parcel of that stupid-ass "Obama is coming to take your ammo" bullshit that went around the first year of his presidency. No reason for it, no hint that the big, scary Obama was going to do as much as institute a one-penny tax per metric ton of armaments, but all these conspiracy-addled losers ate it up. It's an entire movement of gullible dumbasses.

In New York, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino has a habit of generating controversy. He recently insisted, for example, that the Affordable Care Act will be deadlier than the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

But Paladino, a right-wing favorite of the Tea Party, now has an even bigger controversy to deal with.

Carl P. Paladino, a Republican candidate for governor from Buffalo, drew fire on Monday for racist and sexually explicit e-mail messages that a left-leaning Web site claimed he had sent to friends and business associates in recent years.

The messages, which were published on, a Web site devoted to politics in western New York, included pornographic images and what appeared to be a video of Africans dancing in traditional dress that was titled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal."

Another, a picture of a cargo plane crashing into the ground behind a group of black people, was prominently captioned with a common racial epithet for African-Americans.

That last one, sent last summer, shows an airplane landing behind a group of black men. The caption on the email reads, "Holy Sh*t. run ni**ers, run!"

Paladino's campaign manager said the candidate "regrets" some of the messages, but blamed Democrats of trying to "smear" Paladino with emails Paladino sent. (No, I don't understand the argument either.) The far-right Republican yesterday also tried to blame Democrats for drawing attention to his own disgusting messages.

The right-wing candidate is facing some GOP primary challengers, but Paladino has positioned himself to their right, and claims to be the only gubernatorial hopeful who "agrees 100 percent with conservative values." Of course, "values" is subjective -- Paladino, who is married, fathered a child with his mistress in the '90s.

Nevertheless, the emails should effectively drive Paladino off the political stage. The head of New York's Democratic Party said in a statement that the emails "disqualify him completely from public service."

Tea Parties created as a political ploy April 14: Politico's Ken Vogel talks about a report which contains information from a 2009 memo in which Republican consultants encouraged the formation of Tea parties to raise money for their PAC and to use for propaganda purposes.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Another Lieberman Betrayal
Joe Lieberman thanks God that the Republicans are doing well at the polls and seem poised to make significant gains in the midterm elections. Now, I wonder why Mr. Lieberman is willing to make remarks like that. I can see how it plays well with the kind of Connecticut voters he needs to win reelection. He probably cannot win another term unless the Republicans once again field a joke of a candidate (or no candidate at all). But, on the other hand, if the Republicans took back the Senate, Lieberman would lose his chairmanships of the Homeland Security Committee and the Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland. And why does he feel so comfortable talking shit about Democrats? This is why the party needs to enforce some discipline. Without it, you get absurdities like a member of your own caucus publicly cheering for your caucuses decimation. I suggest the Democrats find a woodshed and put an end to this depressing nonsense.
mistermix: Hopey But Not Changey

Here’s a good McClatchy story on the recent Republican Leadership Conference meeting in New Orleans:

GOP hopes to go from Party of No to Party of Choice

How’s that hopey-changey thing working out?

Those are just a few of the headlines with “GOP” in them at the same site, going back to last Wednesday.

Amato (C&L): Too funny

DrGeneScottWhiteboard - Copy_b4962.jpg

Digby makes an excellent connection between Glenn Beck and Dr. Gene Scott. If you haven't seen Scott's broadcasts before, check out her post, it's a very bizarre experience. He's no longer with us, but when he was alive he would go into these religious rants for a while that included black boards and whatnot and then your TV suddenly cuts to hot young girls riding around on horses with a telephone number scrolled across your screen to send in money.

I'm waiting for Beck to run a donation scroll on his broadcast. Yes, I know he pushes gold all the time, so it wouldn't shock me if he eventually does it.

Of all the various elements of health care reform, perhaps the most popular were protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Before the Affordable Care Act, this group faced harsh penalties from insurers, either paying exorbitant rates, or finding themselves unable to find any coverage at all.

Democratic policymakers corrected this, and even many Republicans have said they have no intention of reversing course on this. Missouri's Roy Blunt (R), however, has a unique approach to the issue. Here's what he told an ABC affiliate in Missouri last week:

"Access for kids who have pre-existing conditions, who would be against that?" the House Republican said. "But access for adults, who have done nothing to take care of themselves, who actually will have, as I've just described, every incentive not to get insurance until the day that you know that you're going to have medical expenses, that's, that's a very different kind of story."

So, as far as Roy Blunt is concerned, if you're an adult and you've overcome cancer, and you want health insurance, perhaps you should have taken better care of yourself. As for Blunt's reference to "incentives," he seems to be endorsing the individual mandate -- which he happens to oppose.

Keep in mind, Blunt isn't some random back-bencher -- he's the chair of the House Republicans' Health Care Task Force.

He's also in the midst of a very competitive Senate race in Missouri, where voters may find Blunt's callous, far-right line on health care -- he's also said Medicare never should have been created -- slightly problematic.

Think Progress: Uninformed Limbaugh Wonders ‘Where Was The Union’ At Non-Union Mine Disaster

Last Friday, Rush Limbaugh asked why a coal miner union didn’t protect the 29 miners who were killed when Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV, exploded under unsafe conditions:

Was there no union responsibility for improving mine safety? Where was the union here? Where was the union? The union is generally holding these companies up demanding all kinds of safety. Why were these miners continuing to work in what apparently was an unsafe atmosphere?

Listen here:

There’s a simple reason the union didn’t protect the miners: the Upper Big Branch Mine, like nearly all of the mines under Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s control, is non-union. In fact, the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) “tried three times to organize the Upper Big Branch mine, but even with getting nearly 70 percent of workers to sign cards saying they wanted to vote for a union, Blankenship personally met with workers to threaten them with closing down the mine and losing their jobs if they voted for a union.”

Blankenship rose in Massey’s ranks by breaking its union mines in the 1980s. Blankenship said then that busting unions is “invaluable” to profits, as non-union companies can “sell coal cheaper and drive union coal out of business.”

Union mines have a significantly better safety record than non-union mines especially for major disasters, as union miners can refuse unsafe work and report dangerous conditions without fear of retaliation. In addition to preventing Blankenship-style intimidation, the proposed Employee Free Choice Act would increase whistleblower protections for non-union and union workers alike. Under Blankenship’s direction, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Mining Association have spent millions to oppose passage of such legislation for worker rights, comparing it to a “firestorm bordering on Armageddon.”

Immediately following the tragedy, the UMW sent trained support personnel to the disaster site. “We are all brothers and sisters in the coalfields at times like this,” UMW President Cecil Roberts said in a statement offering the assistance, which was refused by Massey company officials.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Ezra Klein: Contracts are sacred only when rich people are getting paid

Shahien Nasiripour reports that J.P. Morgan plans to go hard against policies to modify underwater mortgages because contracts are sacred documents premised on the borrowers' "promise to repay."

This struck one union employee as a bit odd: After all, the business community is constantly demanding that autoworkers and steelworkers and other well-compensated laborers change their contracts to remain more in sync with the times. In those cases, contracts don't appear to be all that sacred, and employers' aren't seen as having some cosmic "promise to repay."

"Next time big business or Republican Governors or Mayors are talking about how working families need to 'sacrifice' or 'give back' for the good of the community by altering their contracts," e-mailed the AFL-CIO's Eddie Vale, "let's remember what happens when the shoe is on the other foot."

John Cole: The “Sanctity of Contracts”

This is rich:

With millions of homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure during this recession, megabank JPMorgan Chase plans to argue against the Obama administration’s latest weapon in its fight to stem the problem—principal cuts for struggling borrowers—by citing the sanctity of contracts and the borrower’s “promise to repay.”

In testimony to be delivered Tuesday afternoon, David Lowman, chief executive officer for home lending at the “Too Big To Fail” behemoth, will fight back against the program which calls for lenders and investors to decrease the outstanding debt owed on a home mortgage. While his competitors at Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup plan to dance around the issue—judging from their prepared remarks—Lowman cut right to it: borrowers don’t deserve it.

Ok. Let’s go back two years and not do ANYTHING to help out the banks during the crisis and see if JPMorgan Chase sinks or swims under the load of their “sanctified contracts” without taxpayer largesse and huge government intervention at taxpayer expense. And let’s see how many homes JPMorgan Chase has foreclosed on the owners and then abandoned in areas like Cleveland, leaving the wrecked and unclaimed homes to be looted, vandalized, and serve as crack and crime dens up and until the taxpayers are forced to deal with it. Let’s make them live up to their sanctified god damned contracts and take responsibility for their mess. Let’s see how profitable they are without no-interest and extremely low interest loans from the Fed which they turn around and lend to consumers for a hefty profit.

I hate these assholes. And yet I can guarantee there will be someone in the comments defending these guys. You hippies are just being irrational and lashing out!


In politics, memories can be short, but Americans have not yet forgotten the fact that the financial industry's recklessness nearly collapsed the global economy. And yet, congressional Republicans can't stop trying to curry favor with the industry.

Last month, it was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) embarrassing himself. This month, it's his Senate counterparts.

As a financial reform bill starts to take shape in Washington, two key lawmakers came to New York City last week to explain what it means for Wall Street, and how financial executives might help prevent some of its least market-friendly aspects from becoming law by electing more Republicans, FOX Business Network has learned.

About 25 Wall Street executives, many of them hedge fund managers, sat down for a private meeting Thursday afternoon with two of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in Congress: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and John Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas who runs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, one of the primary fundraising arms of the Republican Party.

It appears to have been rather shameless -- Democrats, the GOP leaders said, are going to try to punish the irresponsible industry that caused the crash, and prevent similar crises from happening again. McConnell and Cornyn want to stop these efforts, and need the industry's help -- if Wall Street will work with Republicans, and elect a whole bunch of GOP candidates, the industry will be better off without all of those pesky regulations imposing oversight and accountability.

McConnell and Cornyn, in other words, are going out of their way to characterize Republicans as the Party of Wall Street. It's an exceedingly odd strategy, given the larger landscape.

John Cole: And Yet, No One is In Jail

Best and the brightest:

It was like a hidden passage on Wall Street, a secret channel that enabled billions of dollars to flow through Lehman Brothers.

In the years before its collapse, Lehman used a small company — its “alter ego,” in the words of a former Lehman trader — to shift investments off its books.

The firm, called Hudson Castle, played a crucial, behind-the-scenes role at Lehman, according to an internal Lehman document and interviews with former employees. The relationship raises new questions about the extent to which Lehman obscured its financial condition before it plunged into bankruptcy.

While Hudson Castle appeared to be an independent business, it was deeply entwined with Lehman. For years, its board was controlled by Lehman, which owned a quarter of the firm. It was also stocked with former Lehman employees.

None of this was disclosed by Lehman, however.

Look- I know I’m just a layman, but this sounds like EXACTLY what Andrew Fastow, the Chief Financial Officer at Enron, did for years before Enron finally crashed and burned. He’s in jail.

But these guys raped everyone, walked away with millions, and are probably thick as thieves with a new crowd in some other organization where we are told it would be Stalinesque to tax their bonuses.

Greg Sargent:

* The White House’s hard pivot to the economy (with a brief interruption for a nukes summit) continues today as Obama meets with Congressional leaders to turn up the pressure on financial reg reform. The White House framing:

The President will discuss the choice he sees in the debate — whether to stand with the American people or stand on the side of the status quo. The President believes momentum is on the side of greater accountability for Wall Street and strong protections for consumers, and the bipartisan meeting is an opportunity to discuss the urgent need to enact strong financial reform.

* Bipartisan? Okay, but this one is shaping up like a rerun of a bad movie: Richard Shelby, a lead GOP negotiator on financial reform, says that not a single Republican Senator is prepared to support the measure, at least in its current form.

* Signaling a more aggressive posture, the White House accuses Republicans of reading from Frank Luntz’s false talking points urging GOPers to link the legislation to big bailouts.

Ezra Klein: Sen. Mark Warner: Mitch McConnell 'either doesn't understand or chooses not to understand'

When Sen. Mitch McConnell said that the Senate financial-regulation bill meant "endless taxpayer-funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks," he was, knowingly or not, taking aim at a policy that had been jointly developed by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) (pictured above) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). The two lawmakers began collaborating last spring, when they started holding joint briefings on the financial crisis. Eventually, Sen. Chris Dodd tasked them with handling the problem of what happens when too-big-to-fail firms, well, fail. He tasked them, in other words, with handling the problem of endless bailouts.

After months of meetings, the two finalized an agreement in February. That's the "resolution authority" part of the bill, which begins in section 201. And in an interview in his office this morning, Warner was not too happy with McConnell's characterization of their work. "It appears that the Republican leader either doesn't understand or chooses not to understand the basic underlying premise of what this bill puts in place."

"Resolution," Warner continued, "will be so painful for any company. No rational management team would ever choose resolution. It means shareholders wiped out. Management wiped out. Your firm is going away. At least in bankruptcy, there was some chance that some of your equity would've been retained and you could come out in some form on the other side of the process. The resolution that Corker and I have tried to create means the death of the company. The institution is gone."

Another element of the Republican critique concerns the $50 billion "orderly liquidation fund" that the FDIC will raise by taxing the banks. The idea of this fund is to create holdover money so the bank doesn't collapse while regulators are trying to unwind it. Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee, called it a "slush fund" and said that “the mere existence of this fund will make it all too easy to choose a bailout over bankruptcy.”

"Again," says Warner, "it's either that they don't understand or they choose not to understand. There's nobody in the financial sector who believes this. They'd laugh at the proposition that $50 billion is enough to get you through the resolution process if a couple of firms go down. What we've heard time and again is that the challenge in a crisis is to buy enough time to keep the lights on for a few days till you get the FDIC in here. You could make it smaller. Corker and I spoke about $25 billion. But this is funded by the industry."

"And here's the hypocrisy of the Republican leader's comments," continues Warner. "I can guarantee you that if there had not been some pre-funding, the critique would've been: 'Look at these guys! They've left the taxpayers exposed! What's going to keep the lights on for these few days? It's going to be Treasury funds or Federal Reserve funds. The taxpayer will be exposed!' ”

"If you haven't spent time with these issues," Warner sighed, "it's easy to pop off with sound-bite solutions that don't work."

John Cole: The Dodd Is Fired Up

I’d like to see what the Dodd looks like all pissed off:

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Ct., delivered a blistering 20-minute speech that included the revelation of a political talking points memo from a Republican strategist that was virtually verbatim to the criticism voiced Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

McConnell had accused Dodd of drafting partisan legislation, even though the Banking Committee chairman has worked for roughly half a year with key Senate Republicans and incorporated many of their ideas into his bill. McConnell also said the bill continues controversial bank bailouts, which it does not.

“It’s a naked political strategy,” thundered a visibly upset Dodd. He held up a leaked memo attributed to GOP strategist Frank Luntz that advises Republican lawmakers to accuse Dodd and other Democrats of perpetuating bailouts for giant banks.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The bill as drafted ends bailouts,” Dodd said, describing how regulators would get new powers to dissolve large financial institutions, even healthy ones if their size is deemed to threaten the broader financial system.

I’m sure McConnell sat their with pursed lips looking a little perplexed, because Senators usually don’t call each other liars. Normally, they are all on the same payroll, so decorum is never breached.

Beutler (TPM): Game Of Chicken: Democrats And Republicans Square Off Over Regulating Wall Street (VIDEO)

Senate Democrats, guided by the White House, wasted little time responding to Republican opposition to their financial regulatory reform proposal. A day after GOP came out swinging against a bill authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, Democrats had a simple message for the minority: your time is running out. This touches off a game of chicken over the first big issue Congress will address after health care reform. And the question of whether the two parties can reach agreement over a growing number of disagreements remains in serious doubt.

This morning, Dodd took the the Senate floor to sound the warning to the GOP. "My patience is running out," he bellowed after issuing a withering critique of Republican leaders for grounding their opposition to his reform bill in a political strategy memo authored by conservative strategist Frank Luntz. Dodd has been negotiating with his counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), but those talks may not last much longer.

If they're to be successful, somebody's going to have to give. The Obama administration is driving a very hard line on financial reform. They have made it clear to leading Democrats in Congress time and again that they will not tolerate making major concessions to the GOP, particularly if those concessions aren't guaranteed to win any votes. Most recently, according to Republican and Democratic sources, the Obama administration put the kibosh on negotiations between Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln and her counterpart Saxby Chambliss, who were negotiating a compromise on derivative regulation that the White House and Dodd found unacceptable. With Lincoln facing a stiff primary challenge, the administration made it very clear they wouldn't abide by her expected proposal.

"As the bill moves to the floor, we will fight any attempt to weaken it," warned Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in a Washington Post op-ed yesterday. "The American people have suffered through too much to enact reform that does too little."

And sure enough, yesterday, Lincoln--typically one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate--announced that she was putting forth derivatives regulation language that exceeded the White House's expectations.

But that also served to widen the divide between Republicans, who oppose requiring all derivatives to be traded and cleared on an open exchange, and Democrats, who will likely need 60 votes to break a filibuster if they want their bill to actually pass.

It's not just derivatives either. Republicans hold that Dodd's bill does nothing to address the problem of institutions that are too big to fail, and will perpetuate future bailouts. Among other things, they oppose the creation of a $50 billion fund, raised by imposing a fee on large financial institutions, that would cover the cost of winding down failed firms. Better, they say, to avoid the perception that any funds can be used to wind down institutions, and to let them fail.

"In ordinary bankruptcy, you can get debtor-in-possession money," Shelby told reporters yesterday.
"Companies have assets and through a bankruptcy court or a resolution court they can do this."

As for institutions that are already too big to fail, Republicans are mostly mum, though Shelby hinted that he (though not necessarily other Republicans) would support breaking them up pre-emptively.

The White House has left congressional Democrats little wiggle room on these issues. Republicans say they want to turn this into a political issue. There's no doubt some truth to that, but the White House also wants a bill, and they're banking on the idea that Republicans won't unilaterally kill a bill that restricts the excesses of Wall Street: perhaps the only institution in America more hated than Congress.

Video of Dodd's speech below:

John Cole: Prepare For a Lengthy Double-Dip Recession

Because Larry Kudlow is predicting a recovery:

Conservatives shouldn’t fight the tale of the tape.

Sometimes you have to take out your political lenses and look at the actual statistics to get a true picture of the health of the American economy. Right now, those statistics are saying a modest cyclical rebound following a very deep downturn could actually be turning into a full-fledged, V-shaped, recovery boom between now and year-end.

I’m aiming this thought especially at many of my conservative friends who seem to be trashing the improving economic outlook — largely, it would appear, to discredit the Obama administration.

Don’t do it folks. It’s a mistake. The numbers are the numbers. And prosperity is a welcome development for a nation that has suffered mightily.

Credibility is at issue here.

Conservative credibility.

Capitalist credibility.

We’re screwed. And since when does conservative credibility matter a whit- you just lie, get the bobbleheads to repeat it, and when it turns out you were lying all along, you’ll have already moved on to the next lie. Credibility is for chumps and Democrats.

Think Progress: Bachmann: ‘We’re hoping that President Obama’s policies don’t succeed.’

Before President Obama took office in January 2009 in the midst of an economic crisis, Rush Limbaugh was rooting for his failure, declaring “I hope Obama fails.” Though some GOP leaders claimed that “no one wants” Obama “to fail,” Limbaugh’s comments were endorsed by many leading conservatives. In an interview with radio host Scott Hennen yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said that conservatives were hoping “that President Obama’s policies don’t succeed”:

HENNEN: I’m proudly accepting that label of rooting for failure for his policies, not for any one personal individual or anything else, but, I mean, should we, is that what Republicans are doing? Are we rooting for failure? Is David Axelrod right?

BACHMANN: We’re, we’re, we’re hoping that President Obama’s policies don’t succeed, exactly as you said. And of course, David Axelrod unfortunately seems to be wanting to smear people who disagree with the president. We’ve seen that over and over at Tea Party events, at gatherings where people say, “look, I don’t like this idea of out of control spending and accumulating deficits that our kids have no possibility of paying back.” And to think that those of us, we who disagree with that very ill-thought out idea are being smeared, I think that’s really wrong.

Listen here:

Bachmann is free to disagree with Obama’s policies, and it’s not surprising that she thinks they are the wrong policies to pursue. But considering that the goal of something like the stimulus is to create jobs and help the economy recover, it’s odd that Bachmann would actively want Obama’s policies to fail. She might think it will fail, but why would she want it to fail in creating jobs? Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert has argued that because of “the right-wing’s obsessive campaign against Obama,” they “latch onto this idea that the economy is being driven off a cliff, which means that basically” they are “now rooting for bad news.”