Friday, June 09, 2006

Miscellany

Back above water, briefly. And so a few tidbits. First out of the gate is the ineffable William Jefferson, formerly the proud owner of oodles of cold cash in his freezer, who refuses to resign from the House Ways and Means Committee on the grounds that he has not been charged with a crime. And so the Goddess of the Culture of Noncorruption, the stalwart Nancy Pelosi, whose campaign mantra for this fall's House races has been destroyed singlehandedly by Jefferson, now is trying to find a way to remove him. Alas, the Congressional Black Caucus is in no mood to cooperate. And so if the Republicans are smart, they will refrain from charging Jefferson with anything until the election is past, thus preserving the most amusing spectacle seen in the Beltway since, well, a few weeks ago, when the Honorable Rep. Patrick Kennedy was tucked into bed by the Capitol Hill cops. It just doesn't get any better than this.

Speaking of Patrick, is he not a godsend for that other giant among Congressional intellectuals, Cynthia McKinney? How are they going to charge Her Black Highness with assault when White Bread Patrick got off with a teddy bear, warm milk, and a bedtime story about a 3am vote on the floor of the House? Yes, racism accusations are a dime a dozen, worthy of all the contempt that we habor for them; but---let us be honest---they are useful indeed when threatened against guilt-ridden liberal elites inside the Beltway.

Speaking of intellectuals, we now have Bill Lockyer and Fabian Nunez, respectively the Attorney General (and Democratic nominee for State Treasurer) and Speaker of the State Assembly, calling for "temporary" price controls on gasoline during "abnormal market disruptions." It is not clear what "normal market disruptions" might be, but, anyway, this would apply only to California, of course; beyond the obvious effects in terms of gasoline lines, the larger effect would be to shift supplies out of California to other states, thus lowering their prices. And so the cheers you hear for this bill are those not of California gasoline consumers, already the victims of so very much government compassion, but instead of consumers in the rest of the west. Yes, the boutique gasoline regulations will temper this effect somewhat, but far from fully. Can these people possibly be that stupid and that cynical? Well, actually, yes. Emphatically. And that stalwart defender of Milton Friedman's principles, Governor Arnold, has not yet taken a position on the bill.

I see that repeal of the death tax failed to achieve cloture in the Senate. Can it possibly be the case that the remaining red-state Democrats are happy about this? This behavior on the part of Harry Reid and the Senate Democratic leadership suggests to me that the degree to which they are beholden to the DailyKosMoveOn.OrgMichaelMoorePaulKrugmanBarbraSteisand crowd is worse than anyone imagined. Do they want a party only of leftists? Apparently, yes indeed.

May the Ayatollah Zarqawi be blessed with the 72 virgins promised somewhere in the fine print, and may they be the losers in the past pageant stampedes for Miss Burkha. Anyway, all the reports claim that Zarqawi's location was divulged by an inside source; even if not true, this is useful disinformation, in that it might create suspicions and greater compartmentalization than otherwise would be the case. But everyone---from DoD spokemen to Iraqi government officials---are claiming this. Loudly. Which leads me to doubt that it is true; if it were, it would be far more effective to let the fact of such treachery leak out. That it has been broadcast from the rooftops loudly and often looks like someone protesting too much. The other hypothesis is that it is true, and the CIA in its usual incompetence has spread the word stupidly. Only my plumber knows, and he's not talking.

12 comments:

James Elliott said...

Speaking of intellectuals, we now have Bill Lockyer and Fabian Nunez, respectively the Attorney General (and Democratic nominee for State Treasurer) and Speaker of the State Assembly, calling for "temporary" price controls on gasoline during "abnormal market disruptions." It is not clear what "normal market disruptions" might be...

My guess would be that "normal market disruptions" occur in non-election years. Especially when one happens to be running for, say, Treasurer... I am so disappointed in California politics right now. I could smack Phil Angelides and Steve Westly right in the kissers. However, it was fascinating to watch Jerry Brown absolutely spank his primary opponent for the attorney general nomination without, as far as I can tell, lifting a finger or spending a dime. The only upside is my hometown of San Jose's mayoral race, where a former partner in my father's old law firm, whom I've known for my whole life, is one of the two candidates in the runoff election in November.

Can it possibly be the case that the remaining red-state Democrats are happy about this?

Or it could be that they recognized that the repeal means precisely jack and squat to and for their consituents. Except for Reid, whose Las Vegas casino-owners and Wayne Newton probably would've liked it. The estate tax doesn't mean anything substantially to 99.5% of the electorate; they would receive absolutely no benefit from its repeal.

Tlaloc said...

"I see that repeal of the death tax failed to achieve cloture in the Senate. Can it possibly be the case that the remaining red-state Democrats are happy about this? This behavior on the part of Harry Reid and the Senate Democratic leadership suggests to me that the degree to which they are beholden to the DailyKosMoveOn.OrgMichaelMoorePaulKrugmanBarbraSteisand crowd is worse than anyone imagined. Do they want a party only of leftists? "

It's only the far left that doesn't want to repeal a tax on the very wealthiest during a period of huge debt?

Devang said...

tlaloc, you forget what DeLay said in 2003, "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes."

That's the moral clarity and the intellectual honesty of the modern Republican.

Tlaloc said...

Kevin drum has a better bit of Delay lunacy:

Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills.
-Tom Delay after columbine

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_06/008999.php

Devang said...

The guy was slime, a scumbag if you will. All quotes aside, his defense is indefensible in my mind. I was talking about taxes, but even that point brings up the holy grail. Reality-based politics. Makes me want to watch Guliani Time again.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You'd be surprised how many GOPers are also glad to see him go, Mr. Devang. You'll miss him more than we will, I assure you.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The estate tax doesn't mean anything substantially to 99.5% of the electorate; they would receive absolutely no benefit from its repeal.

Well observed, Mr. Elliott. In the end, it's symbolic.

I myself am pretty immune to "tax fairness" arguments, even if they are philosophically legitimate.

We as a people gotta pay our bills.

Which is why I also object to collectivists making tax increases a moral issue.

Please do continue to pleasantly surprise me.

James Elliott said...

"We as a people gotta pay our bills."

I agree. While I feel a moral obligation to pay my taxes - something I learned from my father, whose estate would benefit from a repeal of the estate tax - I do not argue it on moral grounds, because that opens up the flip side as equally legitimate; and as we've seen all too recently, such debates tend to be intractable.

tbmbuzz said...

tlaloc, you forget what DeLay said in 2003, "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes."

That's the moral clarity and the intellectual honesty of the modern Republican.



Since the theory (proven many times) is that tax cuts stimulate the economy, the "moral clarity and intellectual honesty" are entirely consistent. This is basic conservatism, which does not necessarily translate to Republican politics, particularly inside the Beltway. Delay's so called intellectual dishonesty is grounded more in the fact that when it came to the bottom line, he was just another power-greedy, spend-the-people's-money politician. Neither Democrat nor Republican politicians can claim any moral high ground here.

Devang said...

Apart from the fact that trying to win the war is more important than anything else, starting with winning the Iraqi hearts and minds, you wouldn't let Bush get away with a statement saying, we lost the war, but look, I cut taxes! Lets look at the past war's we've won, no tax cuts... hmmm. What's being pushed isn't basic conservatism, which would involve accountability above all else.

I don't even think supply-side economics would be taken seriously if it wasn't for a few unrepentant supply-siders and their associated think tanks. Most economists I've read conclude the tax cuts have far far more to do with the deficit than the economic growth (which is natural, and slower than normal in our case, after a recession). If you still believe otherwise, how I ask is the budget deficit helping the economy through higher interest rates?

As far as morals go, the Republicans actually seem to wear them on their lapels. They're the bigger hypocrites, and the Democrats are the wannabes.

In all three cases, the Republicans continue to push ideology over reality, perfectly showcasing their moral clarity and intellectual honesty.

James Elliott said...

Well, Devang, you've just opened a can of worms, what with Alan Reynolds and Benjamin Zycher in the wings here.

Me, I've never understood the logic of supply-side economics; it's always seemed more ideological than anything else. But I'm man enough to admit that I don't have much of a head for economics; of course, I also think that separating the economics from political-economy was an act of sheer sophistry. But I'm cantankerous like that.

Devang said...

I don't have much of a head for economics either, but then economics is only a semi-serious field isn't it :) I'm kidding... kidding.