Not Obama’s debt

June 10, 2009

Leonhardt’s article (and amazing graphic) is everywhere today.

Andrew Sullivan brings it full-circle:

It is not Obama’s debt – or, rather, he owns about 10 percent of it. It’s Bush’s. And like everything Bush did, he left the wreckage for others to handle after he left the stage. And the bribing, war-making, spending and borrowing didn’t even win him any durable popularity. They sold this country, its reputation and its treasure for a one-off re-election.

Dishonoring Reagan

April 27, 2009

The most damning argument yet against Bush torture apologists:

The UN Convention on Torture, which Ronald Reagan signed and championed, is very clear and its definition of what torture is obviously broad and inclusive. There’s actually a good discussion of it at Hot Air, which reproduces the legal definition thus:

Article 1.
1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2.
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Map to the Bush legacy

April 3, 2009

Absolutely hilarious.  There is just so much to remember.. maybe I will make it out to SMU some time.

A couple gems:



h/t C&L

Fed’s new tools

March 27, 2009

I told my friend last year the only good thing Bush did was to appoint Bernanke.

This isn’t a very popular opinion I know. But I am convinced that without “helicopter-Ben’s” creative ways to flood the markets with cash the crisis would have been much, much worse.

Will they avert an inflationary hangover?  Based on how they’ve performed so far, I have a good feeling the Fed will find a way.  So Janet Yellen’s recent remarks caught my attention:

The central bank is in talks with Congress about some new tools that would help the Fed’s exit strategy, Yellen said.
One idea would be to allow the Fed to issue debt to sop up excess reserves.
“Issuing such debt would reduce the volume of reserves in the financial system and push up the funds rate without shrinking the total size of our balance sheet,” Yellen said.

Poignant prose

January 18, 2009

Coming close to destroying a superpower and the global economy virtually single-handedly is not bad for someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth who never held a steady job until the age of 45 – until “turd blossom” Karl Rove, the little, fat, bald Machiavelli, engineered him as the ultimate, corporate-pleasing, Southern Strategy lethal weapon, and Bush family consigliere James Baker turned a massive electoral fraud, mostly in Florida and Ohio, into a hijacked mandate via the Supreme Court.

Asia Times

Anything you want Olmert

January 13, 2009

That the Israeli prime minister can just call up our president and order that we do X or Y is outrageous.

I don’t know what share of Jewish vote Obama needs for reelection, but this is something else that needs to change starting next Tuesday.

Oh and Olmert needs to shut up.

Rewriting history

January 3, 2009

I’ve already discussed Bush’s current effort to ‘rebrand’ his tenure on the way out (so history will judge ever more kindly).

Another effort going on in parallel is to discredit Obama’s skill in winning the election.  For examples see Mark Halperin claiming the media was in love with Obama, or Kuhn’s opinion in RCP that Obama won by pure chance.

So to help history in ‘making its judgment’ let me reprint here my Digg comment from 10/15/08 on why McCain would lose:

1) Palin drove away the independents (actually I blame the party for this: They wouldn’t accept Lieberman, then Kristol ‘found her’). Her ineptitude undermined his own BO-lacks-experience message.
2) Obama’s fund raising blowout: He’s outspending McCain on ads in most markets by a factor of 3 (thanks to all of you who pitched in).
3) Obama ran a disciplined, strategic (vs. tactical) and carefully managed campaign (e.g. he never went after Palin even when everyone was scared and pushing him to do it), with an unprecedented outreach, registration and GOTV operation.
4) McCain’s successive stunts made him look anything but reassuring. Again, he undermined his own message (‘steady hand at the tiller’).
5) The economy (get the bums out), and McCain’s own admission it wasn’t his strong suit.
6) Obama and Biden’s performance at the debates was spotless: No heavy punches, just a reassuring and educated message that connected with people. McCain sounded like a broken record.
7) McCain’s campaign was a disaster in general: He was a snoozer at the podium, his surrogates shot themselves one by one (some were let go!), no message discipline, he lied unabashedly way too early and went negative only after he lost his credibility, etc, etc.
8) Netroots influenced the news cycle heavily, to BO’s advantage.
9) Ultimately I believe many people just didn’t know BO like those of us that have been supporting him for years, but once they heard him directly they actually discovered he could be trusted, and his depth and judgment far outweighed his lack of experience. This was inevitable.
10) Bush came out of hiding to try and drum support for the rescue bill. Seeing him on TV day after day just reminded us all how much we hated the last 8 years.

The fact that Obama’s win wasn’t a bigger landslide, even with his spectacular campaign, and McCain’s disastrous one, was a testament to two things: Racism, and the GOP’s ability to scare voters (and Obama’s color -black-, name -Hussein-, provenance -Chi’s South Side- and education -Harvard- making for the perfect boogie man).