Archive for June, 2010

Taxpayers eat a $123 million cow patty that Broun helped to bake

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, has denounced President Obama as a socialist and Marxist. He denounced the bailout as “a huge cow patty with a marshmallow in the middle of it, and I’m not going to eat it.” He champions “proven free-market principles” and has sponsored what he calls “the JOBS Act.” which he claims “would leave more money in the hands of small businesses and individuals, without spending a penny of taxpayers’ hard earned money.”

Broun was also a major investor in McIntosh Commercial Bank, based in Carrolton. His brother, Conrad, was a founding director of the bank. After losing $28 million over the previous two years, the bank was closed in March by the FDIC. At the time of its closing, it had $88 million in bad loans on its books.

So who’s at fault in the collapse of the bank?

As if you didn’t know.

“The federal government is closing these banks down when there is absolutely no reason to do so,” Broun told the AJC. “It’s just totally wrong.”

“Sheila Bair …

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Congress close to financial reform; GOP recoils

For months, Congress has debated how — and in some case whether — to tighten regulation of Wall Street in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Throughout the process, Republicans have been doing the banksters’ bidding, fighting hard to defend the overdogs and the uptrodden.

Early this morning, however, House and Senate negotiators finally settled their differences, producing financial reform legislation that both chambers are expected to adopt next week and send to the president for his signature.

The response from the GOP was immediate.

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton issued a heartfelt apology to Goldman Sachs, AIG and Bernie Madoff, proclaiming it a “tragedy of the first proportion.” Newt Gingrich, on Fox News, explained how this confirms the existence of a secular-socialist conspiracy. “Frankly,” he said, “‘Chavez’ and ‘Hitler’ have the exact same number of letters as ‘Barack’.”

Glenn Beck kept crying, Bill Kristol kept pressing his case that the best way to fix the economy was to …

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Barack Obama: A superhero, a joke or … both?

To start this Friday on a lighter note, this is pretty funny:

Back when I was in college (Carnegie Mellon class of 2000), a friend who was attending the University of Chicago gave me a placard that was posted hither and thither on Chicago’s South Side: a dorky-faced guy with a ridiculously toothy grin smiling out at us. It read

“Barack Obama
for State Senate”

My buddy Josh and I thought this was hilarious. Over the years, we turned the guy on the placard into a superhero. We’d be studying for one hard exam or another and would say to one another: “You know who could ace the piss out of this test right now?” The other would respond, “Barack Obama!” to which the first would respond, inevitably, “… for state senate!”

Or we’d be at the gym: “Man, these weights are tough! … Know who could lift them without breaking a sweat?” “Barack Obama!” “… for state senate!”

The years go by. It’s 2004. There’s a dude up on the stage at the Democratic …

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For most Americans, Afghan war is already over

NOTE: This includes material posted earlier. It is published here as the electronic version of today’s AJC column.

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal had to go.

“I welcome debate among my team, but I won’t tolerate division,” President Obama explained. And if you had any doubt about the gravity of McChrystal’s mistake, well, most Republican leaders applauded Obama’s decision. These days, that says a lot.

In his remarks, Obama also took time to address an even more important question: Should America stay or should we go? On that point, he was equally adamant: The personnel may change, but the policy in Afghanistan remains the same. We stay.

“We have a clear goal,” Obama said. “We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity. We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on Al Qaeda and its leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same.”

As if to reinforce that message, Obama appointed Gen. David Petraeus to …

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Here’s the bottom line – literally – in gay/military debate

The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder (frank language warning!) looks into the info nugget that General McChrystal voted for Obama. Citing several McChyrstal staff members, he reports that the general “was a hard core operator, aggressive as hell, a JSOC ninja — but he was also a social liberal who tolerated, nay, welcomed gay people into his inner circle, who disdained Fox News, and who grew increasingly frustrated with his reputation as Dick Cheney’s hired assassin.”

Ambinder says he’s not surprised. Within the special forces community, he says, people don’t seem to care much about sexual orientation:

“As one former member of a special missions unit put it to me recently, “It’s really about competence. If you’re competent, it doesn’t matter who you are.” And then, switching instantly from an analytical posture to a machismo mode, he said, “If a guy saves my ass, he sure as hell can look at it.”

That’s the bottom line.

So to …

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A lot of damage in Gulf can’t be counted, compensated

Allen Kruse ran a charter-boat operation out of Gulf Shores, Ala., taking tourists and fisherman out to fishing grounds now closed because of the oil spill. Even after the leak is sealed and the oil disappears, the chance that the fish will reappear in numbers large enough to sustain that kind of livelihood looks pretty dim.

The Washington Post tells the rest of the story:

Two weeks and two days ago, with his fishing grounds closed, Kruse, 55, took a job working for BP’s cleanup crew. For the very people who’d caused the mess.

Other boat captains said Kruse, like them, found the effort confusing, overly bureaucratic and frustrating. He told them to keep their heads down, not to worry about the hassles. But those close to him saw he was losing weight.

On Wednesday morning, Kruse drove to his boat as usual. As the deckhands prepared for the day’s work, Kruse, as the captain, was supposed to turn on the generator. But after a few minutes, the crew members said, they didn’t hear …

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A self-made man of independence takes his stand

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David Jungerman is a 72-year-old Missouri farmer — a rather cantankerous 72-year old Missouri farmer. Not long ago, he hired someone to paint a pithy message on the side of an old trailer.

“Are you a producer or parasite,” the sign reads. “Democrats — party of parasites.”

Then Jungerman planted the trailer on his property along U.S. 71 south of Kansas City, where thousands could see it every day, because he wanted to protest those who “always have their hand out for whatever the government will give them.”

Some didn’t like it. At least one jerk didn’t like it a lot, and tried to burn it down. Twice. Local Democratic leaders have condemned the attempted arson.

But as it turns out, this stalwart champion of personal independence, this stubborn opponent of government handouts, has himself sought out and received federal handouts. And not just a little. Since 1995, the Kansas City Star reports, Jungerman has collected more than $1 million in federal farm subsidies. He of …

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McChrystal ousted, replaced by Petraeus

President Obama dismissed Gen. McChrystal today.

“I welcome debate among my team, but I won’t tolerate division,” Obama said, noting the strict code of conduct required of our military. “The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted privates and to general officer who command them.” He stressed the importance of the chain of command “and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.”

McChrystal, who met the president briefly this morning, released a statement confirming his resignation and reiterating his support for U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

Obama replaced McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus. His standing and reputation should reassure leaders in Afghanistan and in NATO capitols while minimizing the chaos inevitable in a change of command.

Given the circumstances, the situation has been handled about as well and as swiftly as possible.

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BP escrow account a harbinger of Nazi-like dictatorship?

In a far-off time now almost lost to memory, John McCain was a maverick, John Edwards was the champion of the little guy and, ever farther back, Thomas Sowell offered conservative thought with some intellectual rigor behind it.

For all three, that era ended a long time ago. Here’s the latest from Sowell, under the headline “Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?”

“… during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law “for the relief of the German people.”

That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others.

If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.

The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP’s money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a …

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Would conservative court dare overturn Roe? Of course!

From Politico:

“Former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger predicted Tuesday night that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision that gives women abortion rights.

The noted liberal scholar said the 1973 decision has become a “trophy” that the court’s conservative bloc could overturn if a Republican president chooses a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy.

“I absolutely believe it,” Dellinger said during a forum cosponsored by POLITICO.

“For a while I thought that one could simply chip away at a lot more and more regulations that sort of protected access (to abortions) for the most affluent women but really made it impossible for women who were vulnerable to geography, poverty (and) youth,” he added. “But now I think that, actually, it is such a symbol of a kind of jurisprudence that conservatives have set themselves in opposition to.”

I concur. I often see conjecture, from liberals and conservatives both, that legal …

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