Policy of the One Percent, by the One Percent, for the One Percent

From “The 1 Percent’s Solution,” Paul Krugman, NYT:

“Thus, the average American is somewhat worried about budget  deficits, which is no surprise given the constant barrage of deficit scare stories in the news media, but the wealthy, by a large majority, regard deficits as the most important problem we face.  And how should the budget deficit be brought down?  The wealthy favor cutting federal spending on health care and Social Security — that is “entitlements” — while the public at large actually wants to see spending on those programs rise.

“You get the idea:  The austerity agenda looks a lot like a simple expression of upper-class preferences, wrapped in a facade of academic rigor.  What the top 1 percent wants becomes what economic science says we must do.

“[T]he years since we turned to austerity have been dismal for workers but not at all bad for the wealthy, who have benefited from surging profits and stock prices even as long-term unemployment festers.

“And this makes one wonder how much difference the intellectual collapse of the austerian position will actually make.  To the extent that we have policy of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent, won’t we just see new justifications for the same old policies?”

 

God, She’s Become Annoying

Here’s Peggy Noonan* at the opening of the Bush library:

“President Obama was more formal than the other speakers and less confident than usual, as if he knew he was surrounded by people who have something he doesn’t.”

Carter, Clinton, Bush 41, and Bush 43 are all so different from one another.  You know, Peggy, the only thing I think they all have that Obama doesn’t is white skin.

Whenever she writes about the President, she really turns into a nasty piece of work.

*  “The Presidential Wheel Turns,” WSJ

Assad Paints Obama into a Corner with His Red Line

President Obama said that if Syria’s Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, that would be crossing a “red line” for the U. S.  Well, now it seems that Assad has used sarin, and Obama needs to put up or shut up.

Not just Republicans like John Boehner, John McCain, and Buck McKeon (Chairman of the House Armed Services Committees) are saying the Prez needs to do something or look weak, Dem Sen. Dianne Feinstein is too.

Makes for an Awkward Christmas Card

House Speaker John Boehner’s daughter, Lindsay Marie Boehner, is engaged to a Jamaican construction worker, Dominic Lakhan, who has been arrested for marijuana possession.  Boehner opposes marijuana legalization, even for medical purposes.  And he’s probably not thrilled to have a son-in-law with flowing dreadlocks in the family Christmas card that goes out to his conservative donors and constituents.

Who Put Tamerlan on Watch List?

Yesterday I read that the FBI put Tamerlan Tsarnaev on the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), a list of about 700,000 names compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center.*

Today, I’m reading that the FBI didn’t put him on the list after getting the warning from Russia, but the CIA did six months later, after getting the same warning.**

All I’m really sure of at this point is that, once again, our bureaucracies are trying to make sure someone else takes the fall.

Janet Napolitano says that Tamerlan “pinged” the system when he left for Russia, but didn’t “ping” when he came back, after visiting Islamic terror havens Dagestan and Chechnya, because his time on the list had expired.  If spending seven months in those places isn’t enough to keep you active on the list until they can check what you did there, what is?

Also, the WaPo story says that given the timing of the CIA’s putting Tsarnaev on the TIDE, he might still have been on the list when he came back, so that Customs should have notified the FBI.

We’re getting lots more finger pointing than answers.

* See “Why the FBI Didn’t Catch Tamerlan Tsarnaev,” Philip Bump, The Atlantic Wire

** See “CIA  pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list,” Greg Miller, WaPo

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

I own a house in New Hampshire (near Scott Brown, unfortunately) and will move there in the next year or so, so I think of Republican Kelly Ayotte as one of my senators.

I am thrilled to see that her favorables have plunged 15 points since she voted against the Manchin-Toomey background check bill.  She’s to the right of Pat Toomey on guns?  Really?

I saw this as a very calculated, unprincipled vote, and I hope it comes back to bite her in the tush.

Ayotte feared a primary from her right, feared NRA 30-second ads.   Maybe she’ll be done in by a primary  from her left instead or just a plain old loss in the general.

 

Rand Paul Is Just Really Stupid

After the Obama Administration said they reserved the right to kill a terrorist American citizen on American soil with a drone under “extraordinary circumstances,” Rand Paul took to the Senate floor for a 13-hour filibuster.

Today he said, “If someone come out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

President Obama was talking only about terrorists, Rand Paul is talking about every petty crook in this country.  How incoherent and nonsensical is his position?  What was that filibuster all about?

It’s now pretty obvious that Rand Paul doesn’t hate drones, he just hates President Obama.