erik lundegaard

Politics posts

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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Tuesday May 21, 2013

501(c)(4)

If I were the I.R.S., I would be investigating Tea Party claims, too. From Jeffrey Toobin's post, “The Real I.R.S. Scandal,” on the New Yorker site:

It’s important to review why the Tea Party groups were petitioning the I.R.S. anyway. They were seeking approval to operate under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This would require them to be “social welfare,” not political, operations. There are significant advantages to being a 501(c)(4). These groups don’t pay taxes; they don’t have to disclose their donors—unlike traditional political organizations, such as political-action committees. In return for the tax advantage and the secrecy, the 501(c)(4) organizations must refrain from traditional partisan political activity, like endorsing candidates.

I don't get why this isn't the story.

On the other hand, this may be a boon: a call to visit your local Tea Party office if you're ever in need of social welfare. I'm sure, as a social welfare organization, they'd be willing to help.

Posted at 06:37 AM on May 21, 2013 in category Politics
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Saturday April 27, 2013

White House Correspondents Dinner: Obama with an Edge

I'm generally not a fan of this thing, at least not since Stephen Colbert skewered both George W. Bush and the press corps back in ... was it 2006? ... but Pres. Obama rocked it tonight with an edge. My favorite line:

I know Republicans are still sorting out what happened in 2012, but one thing they all agree on is they need to do a better job reaching out to minorities. And look, call me self-centered, but I can think of one minority they could start with. (Laughter.) Hello? Think of me as a trial run, you know? See how it goes.

My second-favorite came after this joke about the edifice Obama is building next to the George W. Bush Presidential Library:

The Blame Bush Presidential Library

That's good. But this is the one that stuck in it in there. It's not the easy joke. It's the sharp joke that follows the easy joke:

I'm also hard at work on plans for the Obama Library. And some have suggested that we put it in my birthplace but I'd rather keep it in the United States. (Laughter.) Did anybody not see that joke coming? Show of hands? Only Gallup? Maybe Dick Morris?

I wish they'd cut to Nate Silver at that point. If he was there.

I haven't even gotten into the whole Daniel Day-Lewis starring in Steven Spielberg's “Obama,” or the beautifully serious way with which he ended it, but the whole thing made me think, once again, I'm glad I'm living in a country where Barack Hussein Obama is my president.

Here's the whole deal:

Posted at 10:36 PM on Apr 27, 2013 in category Politics
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