4th of July celebrations may keep me from my blog post so I want to take a moment now to wish everyone a very happy holiday.
Also, to all the Tea Party Protestors out there, keep up the good work!!!
(646): We get up to three...
8 minutes ago
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's staff contacted federal regulators last fall to ask about the bailout application of an ailing Hawaii bank that he had helped to establish and where he has invested the bulk of his personal wealth.Read the whole thing here in the Washington Post.
The bank, Central Pacific Financial, was an unlikely candidate for a program designed by the Treasury Department to bolster healthy banks. The firm's losses were depleting its capital reserves. Its primary regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., already had decided that it didn't meet the criteria for receiving a favorable recommendation and had forwarded the application to a council that reviewed marginal cases, according to agency documents.
Two weeks after the inquiry from Inouye's office, Central Pacific announced that the Treasury would inject $135 million.
Many lawmakers have worked to help home-state banks get federal money since the Treasury announced in October that it would invest up to $250 billion in healthy financial firms. But the Inouye inquiry stands apart because of the senator's ties to Central Pacific. While at least 33 senators own shares in banks that got federal aid, a review of financial disclosures and records obtained from regulatory agencies shows no other instance of the office of a senator intervening on behalf of a bank in which he owned shares.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Jim Inhofe, who earlier said a criminal investigation “probably should be’’ conducted into allegations the EPA suppressed a climate change report, conceded Tuesday he is not qualified to make that determination.
“I have no way of knowing,’’ the Oklahoma Republican said.
Inhofe, however, stood by his prediction that a historic climate change bill narrowly approved by the House last week faces certain defeat in the Senate.
“It’s dead in the water,’’ he said.
Inhofe said the much-anticipated conclusion of a Senate race in Minnesota that will give Democrats the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican filibusters would not be enough to save the climate change bill.
“I’ll tell you what a lot of people are thinking, and that is it looks like things are going to be over and we are going to get the clown from Minnesota,’’ he said.
“They are not going to get more than 35 votes.’’
Asked if he was referring to Al Franken as the clown from Minnesota, Inhofe confirmed he was.
But when it comes to health care reform, with every passing day, Obama seems less God and more demagogue, uttering not transcendental truths, but bald-faced lies. Here are the top five lies that His Awesomeness has told--the first two for no reason other than to get elected and the next three to sell socialized medicine to a wary nation.Let's put it this way, if you have to fudge or outright lie in order to convince someone to do anything, then what you are asking them to do is wrong.
Dear Mrs. Murray,Look Senator, the science DOES NOT support Waxman-Markey. Vote yes on this bill and there are many folk, including me, who will work tirelessly to vote you out of office.
Thank you for contacting me about global warming and related legislation. I appreciate hearing your views on this important issue.
In order to best protect America's citizens and environment, I believe that we need to develop a comprehensive energy policy that both reduces our emissions and utilizes alternative sources of energy. Doing so would not only help to preserve the environment, but would also create green jobs and ultimately lower domestic energy costs. Any discussion of our national energy policy must also consider the international scope of this challenge as individual nations confront problems such as the finite supply of fossil fuels, overhauling outdated energy infrastructures, and many other important environmental challenges.
Members of the relevant Congressional committees are currently working on legislation that would address climate change on a national level, and I look forward to participating in this debate during the 111th Congress. Though the science surrounding this issue supports the need for dramatic changes in policy, any comprehensive legislation to address climate change must balance this interest with the need to keep our economy viable during this challenging time.
Thank you again for your input on global warming. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor related legislation and will consider your views as the Senate debates and votes on relevant legislation. I very much look forward to serving the Commonwealth during the 111th Congress.
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator
Actually, there is a way he can win. If he is seen as the centrist on this ("even Obama has problems with it . . .") then after a couple of tweaks he can announce himself satisfied, and all of a sudden the center ground on the bill shifts further to the left. Yet the job-killing threat will still be there; such is the nature of the beast. We can't allow Obama to be the arbiter of what is an acceptable bill. We must continue to make the case that there is no such creature. Trade war isn't the central problem (although it's a pretty big one); the central problem with this bill is that it is a tax on energy, and a tax on electricity in particular. We can't let Obama change the subject.
The tragedy of bad ideas unfolds from a moral flaw in a worldview or philosophy as inevitably as classical tragedy unfolds from a flaw in individual character. Tragedies of bad ideas are the most common, pervasive and destructive man-made mass disasters. Yet our thinking class has become powerless to oppose them or even recognize them for what they are.
The reason is that too many of our intellectuals are themselves ensnared in a bad idea. That idea is multiculturalism -- the notion that no system or government is inherently better than any other, that the rules of morality are just a doctrine written by history's winners. Thus there are no enduring human truths, only "narratives" by which almost any beastliness can be explained away if committed by a people with a claim to having been victimized by a dominant culture.
This bad idea has all but silenced our nation at a moment when the world most needs our voice. Thousands of people in Iran are marching in the streets, protesting a sham election, heroically risking life and limb to try to tear some little breathing space in the smothering shroud of theocracy. Yet President Barack Obama, the leader of the most powerful free nation on earth, responds with mealy-mouthed strategic dithering. The man who in his recent speech in Cairo drew an absurd moral equivalence between Western errors and Islam's unstinting history of oppression has condemned the Iranian government's violent reaction to the demonstrations but remains canny and vague in his support of the protestors.
This is too shrewd by half. There comes a time in the affairs of men when bad ideas can be -- and therefore must be -- powerfully opposed by good ones.
Compare, if you can bear it, President Ronald Reagan's response to the 1982 crackdown on the Polish union Solidarity by the Soviet Union: "The struggle in the world today for the hearts and minds of mankind is based on one simple question: Is man born to be free, or slave? In country after country, people have long known the answer to that question. We are free by divine right." In less than a decade, in startlingly large measure because this one idea found so mighty a voice, the Soviet Union was gone.
One Democrat was upset that his leaders would needlessly force vulnerable Dems to vote for a bill that will come back to haunt them. Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor (D) voted against the measure that he says will die in the Senate.From your lips to God's ear Rep. Taylor.
"A lot of people walked the plank on a bill that will never become law," Taylor told The Hill after the gavel came down.
The real bubble is a consequence of big government. The more the citizenry expect from the state, the more our political class will depend on ever more swollen Gulf Emir-size retinues of staffers hovering at the elbow to steer you from one corner of the fishbowl to another 24/7. "Why are politicians so weird?" a reader asked me after the Sanford news conference. But the majority of people willing to live like this will be, almost by definition, deeply weird. So big government more or less guarantees rule by creeps and misfits. It's just a question of how well they disguise it. Writing about Michael Jackson a few years ago, I suggested that today's A-list celebs were the equivalent of Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria or the loopier Ottoman sultans, the ones it wasn't safe to leave alone with sharp implements. But, as Christopher Hitchens says, politics is show business for ugly people. And a celebrified political culture will inevitably throw up its share of tatty karaoke versions of Britney and Jacko.
The news that President Obama's much vaunted transparency promises have already gone the way of all flesh comes as no surprise to me. The farce on the House floor yesterday was a good example of why they couldn't survive. For those who missed it (and Andy's post doesn't quite convey the whole story of the farrago), Rep Mike Pence started the debate yesterday morning by pointing out that the House leadership had dropped a 300-page amendment to the already 1200-ish page Waxman-Markey energy tax bill at 3:09 in the morning. Clearly, debate started before anyone had had a chance to read it properly, but the House leadership just didn't care. Then, mid-afternoon, Reps Louie Goehmert (who did a splendid job all round) and Energy & Commerce Ranking Member Joe Barton (who clearly couldn't believe what was going on) raised a series of Parliamentary Inquiries as to whether there was a copy of the amended bill anywhere in the House for members to read. Chairman Markey was dismissive, saying there was a copy on the wesbite, which, Rep Barton pointed out, was not much help to members on the floor of the House actually, you know, debating the bill. Eventually the Chair, who was very fair throughout the afternoon, admitted that the Clerk was in the process of integrating the amendment into the hard copy in the House. So for most of the day the House was debating a bill that didn't actually physically exist, never mind having had a chance to read, digest and consider it.
Let me just state this as simply as I can: this is a gross abuse of the Parliamentary process and represents nothing less than contempt for the people of the United States of America.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened this year. As I suggested during the Stimulus idiocy, a simple constitutional amendment might help:Before voting on any Bill, a Senator or Representative shall certify to the President of the Senate or Speaker of the House respectively that they have read the Bill in full.One reader had similar ideas, suggesting (link may be broken):“No bill shall be deemed to have passed the House of Representatives or the Senate unless such bill shall have received a majority of yeay votes from the membership of each House; yeay votes shall only be counted from members who swear under penalty of perjury that they have read the entirety of the text of each bill.”Another reader agreed, saying,I say "Amen". Some would complain that this would slow Congress down, allowing only for a few bills to be passed per session. To which I say "Amen", yet again. It's like putting money in the bank and making even more with compounding interest. One good things leads to more good things with this. Excellent idea, Iain. Where do we get the process started?Good question. On the principle that social media is the future of political campaigning, I've set up a website for Read The Bill, which is currently just a skeleton, although I'll copy these posts there. I also think a pledge by lawmakers that they will read a bill and not vote for any rule to allow debate on a bill they haven't read might be a useful idea, and that might be a good way to start. Ideas are welcome - head over there and sign up. Let's see if we can reach critical mass.
I add here that this is a purely personal idea, not affiliated with CEI or National Review (unless they want to come on board) and is intended as a completely nonpartisan initiative. I cannot believe that liberals of good faith are happy with the idea that our Congress is routinely voting on bills they haven't read. So I hope some liberals will come on board and will help promote the idea as well. This is an initiative on behalf of the people, so let's see what the people say, and where they lead us.