Peter Wallison is a disingenuous weasel.

Peter Wallison was on the Diane Rehm show recently telling in no uncertain terms how the current economic crisis is the result of bad government regulation and cannot be laid at the feet of Wall Street. Wallison is one of the most powerful Washington insider lawyers, a former general counsel to the Treasury (under GHWBusch) and for years, a champion of deregulation.

One thing about a lie… if there is any truth to it, it is easier to sell… and there is certainly some truth to Wallison’s claim about the housing crisis. The Clinton Administration espoused a policy of making money more available to low income people to buy houses and encouraged FannieMae and FreddieMac to support those efforts. The housing industry loved the idea and pushed for more of the same. George W. Busch promised poor people houses (“really nice houses”) and got Freddie AND Fannie to lower their approval standards. This meant very little supervision of the quality of housing loans. To grease the skids, deregulation of banking lead to the creation of instruments that guaranteed every loan regardless, and so everyone thought there was no risk in making loans to unqualified buyers because the loans were insured.

All these bad government-generated policies created the bubble that burst in 2008. HOWEVER, in the 30 years that Peter Wallison has been a prominent Beltway insider you have never heard him speak out about the dangers of relaxing these regulations and the potential mess that could happen if Freddie and Fannie lowered standards. In fact, what you will find is Peter Wallison out on the playing field, funded by a pile of Wall Street lobby money, working to deregulate banking and fighting hard against the handful of responsible legislators and government bureaucrats who sought in vain to put on the brakes.

Wallison is using a typical GOOP tactic. Claim that government does not work, then prove it by putting in place a government that does not work. Hamstring government by putting incompetent dumbasses (Dubya) on the job. Weaken government by under-funding it and refusing to approve presidential appointments.

The High Cost of a College Education

Just a footnote about why education costs so much. Two years ago Kansas University hired a new football coach with a five-year contract worth $10 million. Last weekend they fired Turner Gill after completing two years and winning only five of 24 games. Now the University owes Mr. Gill $6 million.

Here is a list of college football coach salaries compiled by USA Today.

Herman Cain: Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Herman Cain says he is reassessing his candidacy in light of a new revelation by an Atlanta woman who says he had a long-term affair with her. Nonsense! Herman hang in there!

First of all, the front runner in the GOOP primary is none other than Newty Gingrich, the whore master of the South. He abandoned his first wife on her death bed to go frolic about with some Capitol Hill Hottie… who became the second Mrs. Newty. THEN, he messed around with another Capitol Hill Hottie… and abandoned the wife number 2… to marry Hottie number 2.

Herman, there is a track record here to run against. Which of you is more despicable, the rich capitalist who sleeps around occasionally on his wife of 43 years and exchanges job advice to young women for blow jobs OR the thrice married political hack known throughout Washington as a dangerous guy to get too close to if you are an attractive young woman selling a piece of legislation? You could win here, Herman, on Newty’s track record alone.  And … think!  Newty’s current wife is looking a little frazzled around the edges. Does Newty have another scandal in the wings. Who knows?

And remember the rest of the field. Boring, boring and not interesting. And did I say stupid? That would cover Rick Perry. Ditzie describes Michelle Bachman. Marginal whacko takes out Ron Paul. How many GOOP primary voters are going to support pulling out of Iraq and legalizing dope? And just marginal covers everyone but Romney… a flip flopping liberal in Mormon underwear if ever there was one. Herman, you still have a chance!

And finally, remember Bill Clinton. In 1992 Clinton was just starting the get traction in the Democratic Primaries when the Jennifer Flowers story broke. Clinton looked like toast, but hard work and a loyal wife made a difference and gave Bill a satisfactory second place showing in the New Hampshire primary (behind Paul Tsongas, the native son). The rest is history.

Herman, pick up the mantle of the Comeback Kid.  Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Journalists with Shit for Brains

The stupidity of the popular press and its willingness to blithely spread complete horseshit as though it were scientific truth is brought to me today in a story from the fashion page.

It seems a young woman in Germany who is both a biochemist and fashion designer has developed a new fabric made from milk. The stuff, called Qmilch, is apparently washable like cotton but otherwise has the characteristics of silk. As a result, it has great potential. Moreover, it is totally sustainable and not nearly as bad for us as those other common fabrics, according to the Associated Press. “Currently, apparel depends heavily on byproducts from oil, or natural resources such as water— used in the thousands of gallons to produce just a bolt of cotton.” Really?

Cotton is a highly resource-intensive product but milk just comes out of the cow and hardly has an impact on the environment? Gee. I would have thought that most of what cotton uses in the way of water is rainwater, perhaps assisted by some irrigation using resources we have been using for a thousand years. (The Nile, for example.) I would also think that cotton, being a plant and all, would consume carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, thus reducing the carbon footprint of cotton.

On the other hand, I would guess that cows breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Moreover they poop a lot and fart a lot. Pooping and farting cows generate methane, which pollutes the atmosphere. In fact, as I recall, the single biggest cause of air pollution in Australia is sheep which, I suspect, don’t poop or fart as much as cows. Moreover, milk is a significant source of nutrition. When we turned corn production from growing food (a lot of it eaten by cows) to growing fuel, we significantly increased the price of food. Poor people go hungry. There were riots in Mexico over the price of tortillas and a significant increase in the price of high fructose corn syrup, which is at the core of most processed foods. We have all paid a little for that. What will happen when we turn cows to the task of churning out prom dresses?

You have to wonder what moron writes this stuff. When I was a cub reporter I was expected to be more discerning than this, and editors were expected to exercise some superior wisdom in guiding their young writers to thinking critically about what they write. Today, any shit for brains punk can get a journalism degree and editors are only slightly elder shit for brains punks who have not been able to find a better paying job tending bar.

Herman Cain is a Fool

What is interesting about Herman Cain’s five minute embarrassment over Libya policy is that he stumbled around long enough to come up with an answer that the main stream press now seems to be accepting as reasonable… even if its bullshit.

After rummaging through all that stuff “twirling around in” his head, Cain concluded that what Obama had done wrong in Libya was that he failed to research the rebels well enough. Cain said he would have done a better job of that.  The GOOP cannot admit that Obama has been right about most of his foreign policy decisions, and so every candidate has to say something about what Obama  did “wrong.”  Like most answers given with no purpose other than a political purpose, this is bullshit on its face.

Obama had not much choice in choosing the opposition in Libya. They stepped up to the plate and chose themselves. Moreover, Obama did not jump in with both feet and offer support.  He wisely stood aside and let the Europeans do it. All he did was offer the Navy and a bunch of weapons, which were used by NATO as NATO saw fit.

Was anyone vetting the potential new leaders of Libya? Probably, but there was little choice about who we ended up with, and most of that choice was in the hands of France and Britain, where it should have been. (And we may have done more sorting out than we can admit to… who knows how many undesirables were weeded out by the CIA?)

None the less, no one has demanded that Cain explain what he would have done better than Obama in the way of researching the opposition, and whether anything he found in doing that research would have changed his policy towards the new government there.

For once why doesn’t the main stream media just call a fool a fool.

Obamacare Measures Supremes’ Loyalty

Hype about the Supremes agreement to hear the Obamacare cases has me thinking about true loyalties among the Supremes. You would like to think the highest court in the land is a bastion of integrity and loyalty to the law and the Constitution. That of course is bullshit.

News of Clarence Thomas and Antonio Scrolio having dinner with the Federalist Society law firm that represents the opposition to Obamacare is no surprise. These guys are unprincipled scum. Thomas in particular owes most of his fortune to right wing zillionaires. His wife earns big bucks running one of the Koch Brothers’ lie machines, and his personal career is indebted to Monsanto. Scrolio is a blowhard “intellectual” whose adoption of the “originalist” doctrine to the service of modern corporations has proven what a farce it is. Their devotion to right wing ideology is unshaken and certainly they are guaranteed votes against health care.

Can’t be too sure about the others. Anthony Kennedy still tries to be a centrist on some issues. Like the court’s four “liberals” he will have a hard time voting against the precedent in which Obamacare is grounded. So we may count on a five vote margin right there.

I am thinking we might also see a vote or two from the young corporate appointees, Roberts and Alito. These guys never knew a rich corporate advantage they could not like, and certainly there is one in Obamacare. Above all, the bill grants the insurance industry an entire new market… millions of uninsured who will HAVE to be insured under the new law. While the insurance industry made lots of noises against the bill, most of that was posturing. The most powerful lobby in Washington could have killed the bill. The fact that they did not is a sure sign it has a lot of goodies in it for them.

Thus, there is a good chance Obamacare will remain standing after Supremes vote. It may even be by a comfortable margin.

Joe Pa, not Pope PA

A loyal following sheltered from the light of reason by habit and blind faith; an aged and out of touch leader, male employees with a penchant for young boys and middle management willing to look the other way: who knew Penn State Football and the Catholic Church could have so much in common.

Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno’s former defensive coordinator, has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys across a 15-year period. The ancient leader, Paterno AKA Joe Pa apparently has known of the problem since at least 2002, and failed to call in police; two top university officials, Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business, and Tim Curley, the athletic director, have been charged with perjury and failure to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations.

And talk about an atmosphere that failed to protect the children victims; at least one assistant coach witnessed the rape of a 10-year old boy in the showers and some of the university’s janitors testified to a grand jury about Coach Sandusky’s activities… most of the action happened in the gym … but they never reported it to the university.

To the credit of the Penn State community, they are demanding resignations from the top. It appears today that Paterno is about to go. (The man is 84 and many believe long past retiring, but the Lions are 8-1, having lost only to Alabama, currently the highest rated team in the country.) More resignations are being demanded by an outraged public.

Compare that to the Church, which in the last decade has blown smoke over the abuse of more children than graduated from Penn State in the same period. No one is asking the Pope to leave, promises to clean up the mess are proven to be false and only diligent application of criminal sanctions appears to be having a positive effect.
Perhaps when it comes to faith, college football is more reliable than ancient religion.

Occupy Wall Street

Things I think while worrying about when the government will become so threatened by the Occupy Occupation that someone… probably more than one someone… will be killed in an effort to quell enthusiasm for the movement. …

I was thrilled at the site of Oakland shutting down the waterfront; thousands, including a troop of veterans, marching in the streets of New York; more thousands standing up in Tulsa and Denver and Rochester and Atlanta. I feel guilty not being there… maybe I will join.

Kudos to Rachel Maddow for an excellent tutorial on the 1946 general strike!

The movement appears to sustain itself on the energy of a handful who are coordinating and organizing and channeling the energies of all these righteously angry Americans. The level of organization is remarkable. It brings to mind the work of the folks who coordinated the Battle in Seattle, the 1999 shut down off the World Trade Organization talks (see the movie if you have not). Whoever is keeping this together… more power.

I was concerned a couple of nights ago when spokes volunteers started talking like old line commies. The Oakland woman talked about how Capitalism is a failed system. In Rochester the group refused to meet with the mayor because the collective wanted to be addressed as a whole. We all agree pure capitalism is a myth. However, I still believe regulated capitalism is the most effective path to prosperity and justice.

On the other hand, I admired the position of the New York spokes person who responded to a question about rumors of the police sending homeless and indigent persons to Zucotti Park. “It’s irrelevant,” he said, “homeless and indigent people are citizens too. They are homeless and indigent because they have been marginalized by the system. They are part of us. They are welcome.”

Most surprisingly, the main stream media seems to have concluded that the Occupy Occupation does have a coherent message. Opposition to undue influence of the rich and corporate interests on government seem to be universally accepted by the press as the reason for the protest. A fairly good summary however they arrived at it.

Waiting for that Kent State Moment

Laurel Krause has spent a great deal of her life reminding us that four students were murdered at Kent State University by the National Guard. Among them was her sister, Allison. The Krause family has recently uncovered information making it clear that the Kent State murders were planned by the government and carried out with the assistance of a government agent who carried a pistol on campus and provided the sound of “sniper fire” that gave the National Guard an excuse to fire on the students.

The government had plenty of reasons for killing students that day. President Richard Noxin was tired of anti-war protests, which he was certain could topple his presidency. Killing a few students (they also killed students at Jackson State College in Mississippi), Noxin reasoned, would dampen down the fires. He called on his friend James Rhodes, a like-minded GOOPer and governor of Ohio.

The FBI helped out by placing a student photographer on campus with a gun. At just the right moment, the photographer fired four shots. The Guard, fearing a sniper, murdered four students.

This is important today because I expect it to happen again. Today we have protests around the country raising uncomfortable questions for the money establishment and the Obama Administration which has supported the bailouts and refused to investigate potential fraud and corruption on Wall Street. Some communities are doing their best to break up the protests. Nashville. Atlanta, Oakland, Rochester, are moving quickly to arrest and harass citizens exercising their right to speak.

The police state has had little success yet, but they have yet to be “provoked.” This is not 1932 and Barack Obama is not Herbert Hoover. He can’t send in the army to break up Coxie’s encampment. He needs a modern Terry Norman to show up with his pop gun to shoot down a cop and give the establishment an excuse to shoot protesters.

It is not good waiting for that Kent State Moment. I wish I had more confidence in our government than that.