erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Friday September 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

“Bad time to be a politician. Dibs on shooting/hanging the President.”

-- a commenter on the far-right website, responding to an article about the problems leftists will have when/if they try to rescind the Second Amendment, as reported in Rick Perlstein's Nation article, “Stack Them In the Streets Like Cordwood”: The Gun Control Debate and Our Civic Life," Sept. 13, 2013. Some of the other comments, which Perlstein also quotes, are equally awful, with worse spelling. Perlstein's research indicates that the site, which seems a fringe organization, actually draws almost as many readers as The Nation.

Posted at 12:21 PM on Sep 13, 2013 in category Politics
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Wednesday September 04, 2013

Where Andrew Sullivan is Wrong on Syria, Obama

From Andrew Sullivan's site, which I subscribe to. First he quotes a Washington Post/ABC News poll:

Only 32 percent said Obama had explained clearly why the U.S. should launch strikes. Back in March 2003, as the Iraq War started, 49 percent said that President George W. Bush had compellingly made his case for what was then at stake.

Then he adds this:

So Obama has much less domestic support than Bush, no backing from the Brits, open hostility by the UN for immediate war, and an obviously conflicted administration. This is a war even less likely to succeed than Iraq and even less popular.

The war in Iraq didn't fail because of an erosion in domestic support; it failed for other reasons that were reflected in an erosion of domestic support. 

This is not an argument in favor of missile strikes in Syria, by the way. I don't know enough on that subject to even begin discussing it.

Posted at 10:32 AM on Sep 04, 2013 in category Politics
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Monday August 12, 2013

And for Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles

Here's a portion of Rand Paul's recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek:

You’re a big reader of Austrian economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, who don’t believe in stimulus and say the economy can return to health only through austerity.
You can stimulate prosperity by leaving more money in the hands of those who earn it. If you want to stimulate the economy in Louisville, leave more money in Louisville and send less to Washington. My plan has a 17 percent flat tax with very few deductions, and it would leave $600 billion in the economy. But it would work better than a government stimulus because of the Milton Friedman proposition that nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely as they spend their own. I think you’d have a boom like you’ve never seen in this country.

Who would your ideal Fed chairman be?
Hayek would be good, but he’s deceased.

Nondead Fed chairman.
Friedman would probably be pretty good, too, and he’s not an Austrian, but he would be better than what we have.

Dead, too.

That's pretty funny. I agree with Paul's first sentence, btw, but I assume we mean different things by “those who earn it.” I also like the chutzpah in this sentence: “I think you’d have a boom like you’ve never seen in this country.” Really? So the economic history of this country, thus far, has been a disappointment to you? And with you at the helm things would finally take off? What a sweetheart.

Paul Krugman takes him down another peg.

Posted at 01:53 PM on Aug 12, 2013 in category Politics
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Wednesday August 07, 2013

By the Time I Get to Arizona, 2013

Pres. Obama traveled to Arizona today to talk about his recent housing proposal and was met by protesters outside Desert Vista High School in Phoenix.

From the Arizona Republic:

Obama foes at one point sang, “Bye Bye Black Sheep,” a derogatory reference to the president's skin color, while protesters like Deanne Bartram raised a sign saying, “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!” ...

Deanna Bartram, a 17-year-old University of Arizona student from Black Canyon City, lashed out at people who call her racist for not supporting Obama. She believes Obama supporters use the “race card” against her because they disagree with her political message.

“Obama is ruining American values. He is ruining the Constitution. He needs to go back to where he came from because obviously, he is a liar,” she said. “I am not racist. I am part Indian. Obama’s half Black, half White.”

“He’s 47 percent Negro,” shouted Ron Enderle, a 77-year-old Chandler resident who said that he and his son served as Marines and his grandson is currently serving in the Marines.

Chuck D could not be reached for comment.

By the way: Isn't it “Bye Bye Black Bird” and “Bah Bah Black Sheep”?

Posted at 04:42 PM on Aug 07, 2013 in category Politics
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Wednesday July 17, 2013

Ranking Filibusters: More Reasons Why the GOP Sucks

Hendrik Hertzberg on the New Yorker site breaks down the three types of filibusters used to stall executive action and the legislative process, and ranks them from most defensible to least defensible:

Senate filibusters allow a minority of the Senate, against the wishes of the majority, to do three things. Torpedoing a President’s nominee for a post in his Administration is the most indefensible of them. The President is separately (and more or less democratically) elected. He has a presumptive right to staff his Administration with like-minded officials. Also, an executive nomination is like a law that has a sunset provision: the appointment expires automatically when the Presidency changes hands. Filibusters of ordinary legislation are slightly less indefensible, because a law can always be repealed by a future Congress. (Of course, repealing a law is as subject to filibuster sabotage as passing one.) Filibusters of judicial nominees, especially of Supreme Court Justices, are actually the least indefensible of the three. The judiciary is the joint creation of the Presidency and the Senate (“advise and consent”). And judicial appointments are for life. They don’t expire every four years like Cabinet and other executive-branch appointees. They can’t be repealed. Once judges or Justices are on the bench, they’re there for good. (Or for ill.) The only way they leave office is if they die, retire voluntary, or are impeached—and the last impeachment of a Supreme Court Justice was two hundred and eight years ago. With judicial appointments, the stakes are higher. So it almost makes sense, arguably, for the barrier to be higher, too.

How easy would it be to employ the so-called nuclear option and get ride of filibusters altogether? Pretty damn easy:

On the floor, a Democratic senator would have raised a point of order. He or she would have asked the presiding officer (Vice-President Biden would want to be in the chair for this one) to rule that requiring a sixty-vote “cloture” before a nominee for an executive position can be confirmed or rejected by a simple majority is unconstitutional and, therefore, is out of order. The presiding officer would have so ruled. A Republican would have appealed the ruling. The ruling would have been upheld—by a simple majority. Presto chango.

Hertzberg is for employing the nuclear option, by the way. But he thought Harry Reid's compromise wasn't bad.

Now play ball.

Posted at 02:41 PM on Jul 17, 2013 in category Politics
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