Search Results

HOWIE CARR IS MERCILESS: Lefty media rushes to puff up Elizabeth Warren.

Want to write a puff piece about the fake Indian, Elizabeth Warren?

Take a ticket!

It used to be that the Boston Globe practically had a monopoly on slobbering, unctuous flattery of the erstwhile Native American, the first woman of color at Harvard, emeritus.

It wasn’t enough for the Boring Broadsheet to pretend that the New England Historical and Genealogical Society hadn’t busted her melanin-impaired grift, or to peddle fake statistics about her scam DNA test. No, the bow-tied bumkissers also penned hagiographies of her dead dog (Otis), her new dog (Bailey) and her campaign headquarters in Charlestown (complete with a cameo appearance by Bailey).

But the Globe is one busy Democrat fanzine these days, what with having to break out the pom-poms for, among others, Ed Markey (he may be a doddering old fool, but he’s our doddering old fool), JoJoJo Kennedy (look, a Kennedy! And he has red hair!), and of course Seth Moulton (America’s loss is Essex County’s gain, or something).

So when it comes to open and gross cheerleading for Lieawatha, there’s an open lane, and boy, are the Democrat operatives with press passes rushing to fill the void.

The thesis is that Fauxcahontas is, well, thoughtful and substantive, plus you always have to mention, as the New Republic gushed, “her passion, her intellect and her lack of artifice.”

Here’s how Lieawatha’s thoughtful, substantive policies work: Bernie Sanders goes in front of some whining group of self-proclaimed victims demanding handouts, and promises them, say, $10 trillion.

So the fake Indian follows and says, I’ll raise you, Bernie – how’s $20 trillion in handouts sound?

Pretty much.

FLASHBACK: Ted Kennedy on the Rocks.

In December 1985, just before he announced he would run for president in 1988, Kennedy allegedly manhandled a pretty young woman employed as a Brasserie waitress. The woman, Carla Gaviglio, declined to be quoted in this article, but says the following account, a similar version of which first appeared in Penthouse last year, is full and accurate:

It is after midnight and Kennedy and Dodd are just finishing up a long dinner in a private room on the first floor of the restaurant’s annex. They are drunk. Their dates, two very young blondes, leave the table to go to the bathroom. (The dates are drunk too. “They’d always get their girls very, very drunk,” says a former Brasserie waitress.) Betty Loh, who served the foursome, also leaves the room. Raymond Campet, the co-owner of La Brasserie, tells Gaviglio the senators want to see her.

As Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. She lands on her back, scattering crystal, plates and cutlery and the lit candles. Several glasses and a crystal candlestick are broken. Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd’s lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers, supporting his weight on the arms of the chair. As he is doing this, Loh enters the room. She and Gaviglio both scream, drawing one or two dishwashers. Startled, Kennedy leaps up. He laughs. Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room. Kennedy, Dodd and their dates leave shortly thereafter, following a friendly argument between the senators over the check.

Eyewitness Betty Loh told me that Kennedy had “three or four” cocktails in his first half hour at the restaurant and wine with dinner. When she walked into the room after Gaviglio had gone in, she says, “what I saw was Senator Kennedy on top of Carla, who was on top of Senator Dodd’s lap, and the tablecloth was sort of slid off the table ’cause the table was knocked over—not completely, but just on Senator Dodd’s lap a little bit, and of course the glasses and the candlesticks were totally spilled and everything. And right when I walked in, Senator Kelly jumped off…and he leaped up, composed himself and got up. And Carla jumped up and ran out of the room.”

According to Loh, Kennedy “was sort of leaning” on Gaviglio, “not really straddling but sort of off-balance so it was like he might have accidentally fallen…He was partially on and off…pushing himself off her to get up.” Dodd, she adds, “said ‘It’s not my fault.’ ” Kennedy said something similar and added, jokingly, “Makes you wonder about the leaders of this country.”

Giving Kennedy the benefit of the doubt, it’s quite possible he did not intend an assault but meant to be funny, in a repulsive, boozehead way. Drunks are notoriously poor judges of distance, including the distance between fun and assault.

Read on for a second incident involving a drunken Ted at the same DC restaurant that occurred two years in 1987, the same year that Kennedy was gearing up his verbal assault on Robert Bork, the moment that created our modern dysfunctional political system.

MICHAEL SCHWARTZ: Censure Dianne Feinstein.

In substance, she “deliberately misled and deceived” her fellow senators, with the “effect of impeding discovery of evidence” relevant to the performance of their constitutional duties. No one should know better than Feinstein herself that such deceptive and obstructive conduct, widely regarded as “unacceptable,” “fully deserves censure,” so that “future generations of Americans . . . know that such behavior is not only unacceptable but also bears grave consequences,” bringing “shame and dishonor” to the person guilty of it and to the office that person holds, who has “violated the trust of the American people.” These quoted words all come from the resolution of censure Feinstein herself introduced concerning President Bill Clinton’s behavior in connection with his sex scandal. She can hardly be heard to complain if she is held to the same standard.

Comparison with other past censure cases only makes Feinstein’s situation look worse. The last three senators censured, Thomas Dodd, Herman Talmadge, and Dave Durenberger, were all condemned for financial hanky-panky: converting campaign contributions to personal use and the like. They were all found to have brought the Senate into “dishonor and disrepute” even though nothing they had done implicated the Senate’s performance of its constitutional duties. Feinstein, in sharpest contrast, sought to keep her committee from timely and properly investigating an apparently serious charge of misconduct, and is still doing so, even in the face of criticism from all (or most) quarters.

As the second-richest member of the Senate, with a net worth of $94 million, Feinstein is presumably above the temptations to which Dodd, Talmadge, and Durenberger succumbed. She does, however, face a difficult reelection campaign, with a serious enthusiasm gap on her left, the California Democratic party having refused to endorse her bid for a sixth term in office. Her conduct in arranging matters to make her appear the champion of an allegedly abused constituent, and perhaps positioning herself as the woman who sank the Kavanaugh nomination, can only help on that flank. Is a nakedly political motive for senatorial misbehavior any less reprehensible than a financial one?

No.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Circus of Resistance.

After the latest hysteria dies down, this chapter in the ongoing psychodrama will be revealed for what it is: a fantasy of a wannabe coup that is not going to happen. The commentariat’s silly claim that the op-ed was “extraordinary” and “newsworthy” is laughable. There are hundreds of “senior officials” all throughout every presidency, no doubt more so in the outsider Trump’s, who are disgruntled. On any given day, any newspaper could root out a “senior official” to write anonymously anything it wished to fit a preconceived narrative. What is extraordinary is not an op-ed from some sort of a mad David Stockman taken to the woodshed or defrocked Don Regan losing a war with Nancy Reagan, but that the New York Times hunted down someone of #theResistance to create a hysteria that an unhinged Trump must be removed.

By the scale of past White House melodramas, this is no big deal. It is not as if an off-the radar, rogue band in the White House was caught selling arms to Iran and using the profits to fund resistance to Daniel Ortega’s Marxist regime in Nicaragua. The gossip about Trump’s mental processes are no more dramatic than the rumors were about a doddering Reagan in his second term, which later were trafficked by his own son, Ron Jr. (“Father had Alzheimer’s in office”). Trump is not, in Woodrow Wilson fashion, near comatose and locked up in a White House bedroom, while Melania takes over the country. His aides are not covering up the fact that Trump’s blood pressure is peaking at 250 over 150, or that some mornings he cannot get out of bed—as was true of FDR as he campaigned for a fourth term in 1944.

There’s no refuting VDH’s facts or reasoning, although you might take issue with his assertion that the hysteria will die down. Certain stories or tactics will come and go, but the hysteria isn’t going anywhere but up.

CHANGE (IT BACK): Congress Is Poised to Pass Dodd-Frank Rollback for Smaller Banks.

The Senate approved the legislation earlier this year, so the House vote could result in the bill going to President Trump for his signature.

The legislation is symbolically important because Republicans have been railing against the Dodd-Frank law as an example of federal overreach.

But the legislation does little to alter the oversight of the country’s biggest banks. Instead, it strips away regulatory requirements that smaller banks have said are burdensome and unnecessary.

The effort has enjoyed rare bipartisan support. When the Senate voted on the bill in March, 16 Democrats voted alongside all 50 Republicans to pass it. Progressive Democrats have sharply criticized it.

Progressives usually find themselves opposed to actual progress — they’re on wrong side of history, you might say.

THAT AUTO MAKE ‘EM THINK: The Senate voted 51-47 (with Sen. Manchin of West Virginia siding with the GOP) today to disapprove CFPB action restricting auto loan financing practices. This is important for several reasons. First, the action circumvented notice-and-comment, being a guidance document rather than a rule. Secondly, the CFPB was forbidden from regulating auto loans by the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB. Thirdly, the guidance was several years old, which normally means that the Congressional Review Act doesn’t apply. In this case, however, the CFPB never bothered to submit the guidance for review, so the CRA clock was still ticking. My colleague John Berlau congratulates Sen. Moran (Kansas) for bringing this up here.

Of course, if an agency doesn’t bother to follow the law and submit its rules and guidance to the Congress, the rules probably shouldn’t be valid anyway.

HEH: Mick Mulvaney says it’s Elizabeth Warren’s own fault he doesn’t have to answer her questions.

“I encourage you to consider the possibility that the frustration you are experiencing now, and that which I had a few years back, are both inevitable consequences of the fact that the Dodd-Frank… Act insulates the Bureau from virtually any accountability to the American people through their elected representatives,” Mulvaney wrote.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Keith Ellison Thinks ‘Frosted’ Glass Is an Assault on Government Transparency — The Minnesota Representative took CFPB Director Mike Mulvaney to task for ‘frosted’ glass office.

CHANGE? Democrats Hoping for a Shocker in Trump Country. “Conor Lamb is running as a pro-gun, pro-union, pro-drilling Democrat in a region where voters have defected from the party en masse. Republicans hope that tying him to Nancy Pelosi is all that’s needed to hold onto this seat—and perhaps the House majority.”

Josh Kraushaar:

This slice of western Pennsylvania is filled with politically homeless voters, once-reliable Democrats who have grown alienated by their party’s drift leftward. Many of these up-for-grabs constituents don’t fit any neat political typologies: They’re gun-owning seniors who want to make sure their entitlement programs are protected. They champion the fracking boom that has revitalized the region’s economy, but also care about clean air and water. They’re compassionate towards immigrants, but want them to learn English and assimilate into American society. A majority voted for Walter Mondale in 1984, but became Donald Trump supporters in 2016.

These are the type of voters that Democrats need to win back if they hope to hold governing majorities into the future. And these Pennsylvanians will soon be rendering a critical verdict that will be heard around the country in a closely watched congressional election on March 13: Can the party win back some of these blue-collar voters that have been drifting unmistakably towards Republicans?

Running “moderates” all across the nation helped the Democrats win the House in 2006 — moderates who went on, by and large, to vote in favor of ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, etc.

NEW CIVILITY WATCH:

CBS This Morning co-host John Dickerson on Friday touted Democratic talking points regarding a government shutdown. Talking to Senator Cory Gardner, Dickerson tried to explain away demanding a DACA fix in return for keeping the government open. He lectured the Republican: “Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging.”

Yes, Dickerson is paraphrasing Samuel Johnson, but murdering Republicans seems to be a recurring fantasy for the CBS anchorman:

Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.

Headline, John Dickerson’s column at Slate, January 18, 2013.

Earlier:

NBC’S RACHEL MADDOW SHOW SPARKED FBI INVESTIGATION INTO DEATH THREATS AGAINST MCCONNELL, PRUITT.

● Rand Paul: Recovery after attack ‘was a living hell.’

Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai canceled his appearance at CES because of death threats.

Terry McAuliffe says he’d punch Trump: ‘You’d have to pick him up off the floor.’

As Steve says, come and see the violence inherent in the leftism.

THE WAGES OF BARNEY FRANK AND ELIZABETH WARREN: A Wall Street Journal op-ed by a former Barney Frank staffer, Dennis Shaul, bewails a great mistake by the Democrats: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Richard Cordray’s resignation as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides a great opportunity for President Trump to appoint a new director who can undo an unfortunate legacy of bureaucratic overreach and political bias. More important going forward is what we have learned from our experience with the CFPB to prevent future similar missteps.

The first lesson is that Congress should never again create an “independent” agency with a sole director, particularly one not subject to the congressional appropriations process. Under the law, the CFPB—unlike the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and other independent agencies—is funded by the Federal Reserve, a move specifically designed to avoid congressional oversight.

I had the privilege of working as an aide to then-Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee when the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which created the CFPB, was written. I realized that no bill is ever perfect and the CFPB would have its imperfections. The authors wanted the bureau to be a fair arbiter of protecting consumers, instead of what it has become—a politically biased regulatory dictator and a political steppingstone for its sole director, who is now expected to run for governor of Ohio.

An independent federal agency should be nonpartisan. A bipartisan commission on the model of the SEC and FCC would allow for better and more evenhanded decision-making. To show how partisan the CFPB became under Mr. Cordray’s leadership, not one of the agency’s employees made a contribution to Donald Trump’s campaign, while a multitude contributed to Hillary Clinton. The new director will have a partisan staff.

Yes, Trump’s in charge, not Hillary. Tsk. The essay goes on to list several egregious examples of CFPB overreach.

This one, for example:

The CFPB, like other agencies, collects fines and fees. Astonishingly, Congress does not require them to be transferred to the federal Treasury. Mr. Cordray has boasted of collecting billions of dollars on behalf of consumers, but portions of that money ultimately go to favored consumer groups—a continuing problem of ideological preference.

Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren helped create and build this hideous government monster. Yes,”a politically biased regulatory dictator.” Tsk again.

WELL, WELL: Congress joins Trump war on regs, cuts a year’s worth in one week.

Congressional lawmakers have gone all in on President Trump’s bid to slash Obama-era regulations, targeting $19 billion in rules and the elimination of enough red tape to free up 5,200 federal workers, according to a new analysis.

The cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee this week amount to a year’s worth of regulations under the Obama administration, said the report from American Action Forum.

Analyst Sam Batkins wrote, “The suite of appropriations bills released this week goes further, curtailing more than $19 billion in total regulatory costs and eliminating 10.4 million hours of paperwork, the equivalent of eliminating all regulations from 2006 and freeing 5,200 employees from paperwork compliance.”

His report, provided to Secrets in advance of its release today, said that the committee’s funding bills target regulations in the areas of financial services, agriculture and energy. The biggest ticket item: “Repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill’s Volcker rule, which originally estimated $4.3 billion in costs and 2.3 million new paperwork burden hours.”

Batkins, AAF’s director of regulatory policy, explained that Congress can be very slow in cutting regulations, but added that appropriators are moving with unusual speed at the same time Trump’s team is also targeting rules within federal agencies for elimination.

Faster, please. Related: Could Trump Really Be Draining The Swamp? The water appears to be receding at key Beltway bureaucracies.

The Senate still hasn’t voted on ObamaCare reform, U.S. workers are still waiting for tax cuts to drive economic growth and President of the United States Donald Trump is trading insults with the co-hosts of an MSNBC talk show. Yet Mr. Trump appears to be making progress in what might have seemed the most difficult task given to him by voters in 2016: reducing the power of Washington’s permanent bureaucracy.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t exactly dying to move to Washington to run a federal department, but he seems to have warmed to the task. Max Bergmann, a former Obama Administration official now at the leftist Center for American Progress, writes in Politico that the “deconstruction of the State Department is well underway.” Discounting for the usual Beltway hyperbole, this probably isn’t as good as it sounds.

All kidding aside, the State Department is one federal agency that was actually contemplated by America’s founders. Conducting foreign policy is an important and necessary task for our central government. But like so much of the Beltway bureaucracy State has been overfunded and undermanaged for years. Now, despite what you may have read about untouchable bureaucrats unaccountable to the public they are supposed to serve, Mr. Tillerson has found ways to clean house. . . .

The former Obama appointee is apparently so unnerved by the Trump-Tillerson era at State that he lets slip the fact that the career staff didn’t think much of the previous management either, and that the conservative critique of the department is at least partly true.

More, please.

WINNING: House panel passes Republican measure gutting Dodd-Frank reforms.

In a party line 34-to-26 vote, the panel voted to remove restrictions the Obama administration placed on banks if they agree to hold a higher level of capital.

The measure, called the Financial Choice Act, would repeal the Volcker rule that prohibited banks from speculating in the markets.

Republicans blame Dodd-Frank for the weak economy and a lack of lending to small businesses. Democrats argued that problems in the law could be improved with minor adjustments.

The measure would effectively neuter the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans have opposed the agency since it was created.

Repealing the Volcker rule may or may not be wise, but taken as a whole Dodd-Frank put Washington and Wall Street into bed together like never before.

REGULATORY CAPTURE: Dodd-Frank could be driving small banks to consolidate, but protecting big banks from competition.

EIGHT YEARS AGO, ON INSTAPUNDIT:

SIDING WITH THE LITTLE GUY!

Intermittently, and for the TV cameras, you might be able hear a Sen. Dodd or a Sen. Schumer raise their voices in indignation over the predations and the self-dealing of the moneychangers. But then you remember that this is the same Chris Dodd who accepted two “courtesy” mortgages from Countrywide’s Anthony Mozillo, and that this is the same Chuck Schumer who backed Wall Street deregulation as he was collecting fat checks from the Street to fill the coffers of his Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Yeah, it’s almost like they’re two-faced weasels or something.

At least we got rid of Dodd.

BYRON YORK: Time for Trump to hit campaign trail.

At the moment Trump is in what might be called the executive-action phase of his presidency. Beyond fighting for his Cabinet appointments on Capitol Hill, everything Trump has done has relied solely on his executive power as president. At some point he’ll have to move into a legislative phase, with the introduction of bills dealing with health care, taxes, immigration, and more.

But for now, Trump has a number of executive actions to point to: orders to 1) reduce the regulatory burdens of Obamacare; 2) freeze federal hiring; 3) pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; 4) approve the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; 5) strengthen enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws; 6) authorize planning for a U.S.-Mexico border wall; 7) tighten White House ethics rules; 8) reduce the number of federal regulations; 9) weaken Dodd-Frank financial regulations; and 10) temporarily suspend immigration from some terrorism-plagued nations.

It’s a pretty solid list. The last, called a “Muslim ban” by detractors, has attracted the most attention — and litigation. But each item on Trump’s list would be worth a White House rollout and promotion campaign.

Instead, Trump threw them out in a firehose of appearances, tweets, and controversy. And Trump regularly distracted from his own message by doing something to set off what might be called the Daily Agitation — the frenzy of media and opposition politicians reacting to whatever the president has said most recently.

The “frenzy” had the advantage of keeping his opponents one step behind, at least initially. But opposition has been solidifying, particularly the town hall protests against ObamaCare repeal. Yes, they’re largely astroturf, but Congress does appear to be going all wobbly.

A counter-“resistance” will be most effective if it includes a grassroots, Tea Party-type element to stand in contrast to Soros-funded street thugs. But the counter-resistance can’t be effective at all without Trump making good use of the bully pulpit, too. That’s going to require the White House to run more smoothly than we’ve seen so far, and for Trump to adopt more consistent messaging, but it’s also the fun part of being president — and would take good advantage of Trump’s campaign-trail flair.

Trump won in large part because he was the fun candidate, opposed to Hillary Clinton’s dour sense of entitlement. He can still use the Fun Element to his advantage now that he’s the President.

OF COURSE IT DOES: Gravy Train Flows Wide And Deep At Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Agency.

The Senate majority and minority leaders are paid $193,000 annually. Two hundred and one CFPB employees outdo Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer in pay.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin receives $223,000 per year, but that’s less than what 54 CFPB employees are paid.

Another 170 CFPB employees earn more than the secretaries of defense and state, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence. All cabinet salaries are capped at $199,700, but not at the bureau. Thirty-nine CFPB employees earn more than the $230,000 paid to Vice President Mike Pence.

A total of 198 CFPB employees also earn more than their ultimate boss, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellin, who is paid $201,700.

Overall, 449 CFPB employees get at least $100,000 per year and 228 CFPB are paid more than $200,000, according to publicly available 2016 data.

These findings are part of a Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group salary analysis for the consumer agency that was founded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and then-President Barack Obama in 2011. The agency was created under the Dodd-Frank Act to serve as a consumer agency protecting the poor against financial fraud.

You can’t make an omelet without slushing a few funds.

FLASHBACK: 100 percent of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s donations went to Democrats.

TOO BIG TO… WHAT? Donald Trump Plans to Undo Dodd-Frank Law, Fiduciary Rule.

Mr. Trump will use a memorandum to ask the labor secretary to consider rescinding a rule set to go into effect in April that orders retirement advisers, overseeing about $3 trillion in assets, to act in the best interest of their clients, Mr. Cohn said in the White House interview. He said the rule limits consumer choice.

Mr. Trump also will sign an executive order that directs the Treasury secretary and financial regulators to come up with a plan to revise rules the Dodd-Frank law put in place.

Mr. Cohn said the actions are intended to pave the way for additional orders that would affect the postcrisis Financial Stability Oversight Council, the mechanism for winding down a giant faltering financial company, and the way the government supervises big financial firms that aren’t traditional banks, often referred to as systemically important financial institutions.

“This is a table setter for a bunch of stuff that is coming,” he said.

The changes Mr. Cohn described are sure to face a fight from consumer groups and Democrats, who say postcrisis regulations are protecting average borrowers and investors from abusive practices, while making the financial system more resilient and bailouts less likely.

I’ve often said that Dodd-Frank officiated the shotgun marriage between Washington and Wall Street. The divorce, if there’s to be one, promises to be bitter, messy, and perhaps very expensive.

SIZE MATTERS NOT: Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary says banks should not be overseen based on size alone.

Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said banks should be regulated based on their “complexity and activity, not simply size” and addressed other regulatory issues in written answers submitted to members of the Senate Finance Committee after his confirmation hearing last week.

“I believe in a regulatory framework that is determined by complexity and activity, not simply size,” he wrote, addressing a question about the $50 billion asset threshold at which banks face tougher regulation under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. Many lawmakers and regulators want to change the line.

Mnuchin’s proposal seems more sensible than just moving the “too big to fail” line up or down.

PAYBACK’S A… YOU KNOW: Republicans Explore Budget Maneuver to Chip Away at Dodd-Frank.

They are exploring use of a tactic known as reconciliation, a procedural shortcut tied to the budget, which would allow them to make legislative changes to the 2010 regulatory-overhaul law with just a simple majority in the Senate. Republicans are likely to hold 52 seats in the 100-seat chamber, meaning they could pass such changes with just GOP votes.

They would otherwise need 60 votes to get the legislation through the Senate, putting them in the difficult position of needing support from some Democrats, who generally oppose rolling back the landmark law.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) is leading the charge to use reconciliation to pare back pieces of the law, which President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly said he wanted to scale back or scrap.

“We need to make a number of really substantial reforms to Dodd-Frank,” Mr. Toomey said in an interview Wednesday. While he said he would prefer to make legislative changes with Democrats’ support, he is open to more partisan methods. “I am very much in favor of making sure we have all the tools to do this,” he said.

Republicans are weighing using the tool to chip away at two Dodd-Frank creations in particular: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Financial Research.

The upcoming session of Congress promises at the least to be wildly entertaining.

TOO BIG TO SUCCEED: GOP, Business Groups Launch Campaign to Constrain CFPB.

The trade group for credit unions has demanded that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau immediately “cease its pending rulemaking” affecting its members, seeking to give the new administration a chance to cast a more skeptical eye on the proposals than the current Democratic White House would provide. The agency has “stifled” the industry’s ability to serve its customers, Jim Nussle, head of the Credit Union National Association, said Friday.

“I am encouraged that the Trump administration seems eager to combat this regulatory overreach, and I look forward to working with them in those efforts,” Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe told The Wall Street Journal Monday. Mr. Ratliffe last year sponsored legislation jointly with a fellow Texas Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz, to abolish the agency, which was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and championed by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Aside from enshrining “Too Big to Fail” as a national policy, running roughshod over checks and balances, and cementing the incestuous relationship between Washington and Wall Street, Dodd-Frank has been a smashing success.

BIGOTRY RAMPANT INSIDE AGENCY OBAMA CREATED TO FIGHT FINANCIAL BIAS: Employees of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are coming forward in droves talking about widespread racial, gender and ethnic discrimination within the workforce there, according to Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group.

Things are so bad in one key division of CFPB that workers there refer to it as “The Plantation.” One in four of the black, Asian and female CFPB employees surveyed by the Government Accountability Office said they had been discriminated against by managers on at least one occasion.

“Now five years old, CFPB was intended as a model for government when Obama joined with one of his top appointees, Elizabeth Warren, in designing and proposing the bureau in 2010. Warren later became the progressive Democratic senator from Massachusetts. The bureau was created under the Dodd-Frank Act, and among its purposes was to root out discrimination in the financial marketplace,” Pollock reports.

In its five year existence, CFPB has done little other than compile two huge intrusive databases containing billions of bytes of information about individual Americans financial position. Because it was created as part of the Federal Reserve, the CFPB is beyond the financial and regulatory oversight of Congress.

“You have a lawless agency when it comes to its own employees,” attorney David H. Shapiro, a former U.S. Attorney who for the last 40 yeas has represented individuals in civil rights law and discrimination cases, told Pollock.

 

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: What’s Killing Jobs and Stalling the Economy: A toxic regulatory brew, from Dodd-Frank to state licensing laws, has poisoned the formation of new firms that drive growth.

When thinking about what has stymied the U.S. economy, I sometimes recall a biology lesson about the role that cell death plays in explaining embryonic development and normal growth of adult tissue. In economics, as far back as Joseph Schumpeter, or even Karl Marx, we have known that the flow of business deaths and births affects the dynamism and growth of a country’s economy. Business deaths unlock resources that can be allocated to more productive use and business formation can boost innovation and economic and social mobility.

For much of the nation’s history, this process of what Schumpeter called “creative destruction” has spread prosperity throughout the U.S. and the world. Over the past 30 years, however, with the exception of the mid-1980s and the 2002-05 period, this dynamism has been waning. There has been a steady decline in business formation while the rate of business deaths has been more or less constant. Business deaths outnumber births for the first time since measurement of these indicators began.

Equally troubling, the latest analysis of Census Bureau data by the Economic Innovation Group points to the increasing concentration of new business formation in a smaller number of U.S. counties. The findings show that 20 counties account for half of new businesses and that most counties had fewer business establishments in 2014 than in 2010. Even accounting for so-called dynamic counties, the total number of firms in the U.S. remains lower than it was in 2004.

As the Economic Innovation Group shows, the 1990 recovery registered a net increase of over 420,000 business establishments, or a 6.7% increase. The numbers for the 2000 recovery were 400,000 and 5.6%. Since 2010, the number of new business establishments has grown by only 166,000 or 2.3%.

It’s not an accident.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Former top deputy at consumer bureau quietly joins Capital One.

Another high-ranking official at the Obama administration’s financial protection agency has gone to Wall Street this month, The Hill has learned.

Meredith Fuchs, who most recently served as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) acting deputy director, has gone to the credit and banking giant Capital One.

She now serves as the bank’s senior vice president and chief counsel on regulatory issues, her recently updated LinkedIn page says. There have been no press releases from the agency or Capital One announcing her move.

Capital One and the CFPB did not immediately return a request for comment.

It is the latest in a slew of departures from the young agency, which was created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in 2010.

Since it opened its doors in 2011, at least 45 CFPB employees have left the agency for the private sector, snapped up by companies including JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, PayPal, Bank of America and BlackRock.

Just another argument for enacting my revolving-door surtax. And let’s face it — Elizabeth Warren and the other champions of this “consumer protection” agency knew this was going to happen all along. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!

TO BE FAIR, SHE GENUINELY IS A TOOL OF WALL STREET: Hillary’s Wall Street Trust Gap.

Hillary Clinton has an opinion piece in the New York Times on her plans to rein in Wall Street and protect the public from excessive risk-taking. And the most interesting line in it has nothing to do with tax loopholes or Wall Street or inequality or financial regulation at all. “My comprehensive plan has already won praise from progressives like Sherrod Brown and Barney Frank,” she writes, before delving into “what it would do.”

Why all the progressive shout-outs? I do not think it is because Clinton seems to be moving to the left on financial regulation. The plan that she put out in October was already pretty lefty: It imposes a “risk fee” on the largest financial institutions, creates a new high-frequency trading tax, beefs up the Volcker Rule, and on and on. All of that is on top of the existing Dodd-Frank legislation, by the way, which she promises to defend and strengthen.

Rather, it seems to be an attempt to convince the left that she is really on their side. This is a candidate who has racked up millions of dollars in speaking fees from financial firms, along with millions more in campaign contributions. That is to say nothing of the money raked in by her husband. (Or the culpability-by-osmosis many progressives assign to her for the regulatory policy decisions made by Bill’s administration.) All those dollars have left her open to skepticism from progressives and to repeated broadsides from Bernie Sanders, among others. “The truth is, you can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money,” Sanders says in one advertisement, even if he refrains from saying Clinton’s name.

Clinton has thus far not always responded elegantly or convincingly to the charge that she’s on Wall Street’s side.

That’s’ because, as I said, she really is a tool of Wall Street. And she’s not as good a liar as Bill.

ROLL CALL: Democrats Would Stop a Rider-Riddled Omnibus.

Democrats on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are prepared to unite again and protect the Obama administration’s agenda in the December spending debate.

That was the message from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid as the bipartisan budget deal heads to the White House. The Nevada Democrat told CQ Roll Call he has some advice for House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and other appropriators about how to draft an omnibus.

“The president, Pelosi, Reid, my entire caucus has agreed to hold hands. We are not going to approve anything that has all these ideological, short-sighted, crazy ideas; to do away with women’s health, to do away with clean air, to attack Dodd-Frank and all these,” Reid said. “We’re not going to do that. We’re going to stick to that.”

Reid’s comments came in a wide-ranging interview Wednesday in his Capitol office.

Don’t do an omnibus. Fund departments individually. Put the riders on funding for Obama constituencies: Let him veto and shut down the Department of Education if he wants. Who cares?

UNEXPECTEDLY: How Dodd-Frank explains our weak recovery.

A NATION OF MEN, AND NOT LAW: To be precise, a nation of one man/person, the President. A Hillary Clinton presidency would be more of the same. Daniel Henninger nails it in his latest column:

To the list of questions Hillary Clinton will never answer, add one more: Would a second Clinton presidency continue and expand Barack Obama’s revision of the American system of government that existed from 1789 until 2009?

The central feature of Mr. Obama’s rewrite of what one might call the Founding Fathers’ original vision has been to abolish Congress. Yes, the 535 men and women elected to Congress still show up at the old Capitol building, as they have since November 1800. But once past passage of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, the 44th president effectively retired Congress from its historic function. If you put the president behind the wheel of a car in front of the White House to visit Congress, he’d probably get lost. . . .

Barack Obama, channeling decades of theory, says constantly that the traditional system has failed. He said it in his 2011 Osawatomie, Kan., speech: “It doesn’t work. It has never worked.” He has attacked Congress repeatedly as a failed institution, teeing it up for mass revulsion just as he did the 1%.

With Congress rendered moribund, the new branch of the American political system is the federal enforcement bureaucracy. The Department of Health and Human Services’ auto-revisions of the Affordable Care Act are the most famous expressions of the new governing philosophy. But historians of the new system will cite the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights’ 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter on sexual harassment as the watershed event.

This letter—not even a formal regulation—forced creation of quasi-judicial systems of sexual-abuse surveillance on every campus in America. The universities complied for fear of lawsuits from enforcers at the Departments of Education and Justice.

Yep. It’s not just about a “power grab” from a “do nothing” Congress. It’s about a fundamental transformation of a constitutional republic into a progressive’s wet dream of government-by-bureaucracy.

BLUE ON BLUE: Obama On Trade Deal: Elizabeth Warren Is “Absolutely Wrong.”

President Obama slammed Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s comments that a free-trade deal the president is negotiating would roll back Wall Street regulations, saying the Massachusetts Democrat is “absolutely wrong” and that “her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”

Obama, who made the comments to Yahoo News, is fighting resistance from the Democratic Party’s progressive wing over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement the United States is working on with Japan, Australia and nine other nations.

Warren has claimed Obama might use the trade agreement to undo the so-called Dodd-Frank regulations on banks and financial institutions. But Obama called the accusation ludicrous, saying the 2010 law is one of the top achievements of his presidency.

To be fair, “top achievements of his presidency” is setting the bar awfully low.

JOEL KOTKIN: The Empire Strikes Back.

In his first six years in office, President Obama has performed well for those who wrote those checks. He brought in Wall Street insiders such as Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers to concoct his economic policy, which brought a recovery to the financial plutocracy before virtually anyone else. Wall Street was back by 2009; the rest of us have had to wait for 2015.

Obama and the Democrats in Congress also handed the big banks a nice gift in the form of the Dodd-Frank Bill which helped them achieve that “too big to fail” status and has accelerated the growing consolidation of the American financial system. Indeed, since Dodd-Frank was passed smaller banks’ share of banking assets has dropped twice as quickly as before, notes a recent Harvard Kennedy School of Government study. Smaller and community banks – historically more likely to loan to small businesses – have seen a 50 percent drop in their share of lending while the the five largest banks now control over 40 percent of lending, twice their share 20 years ago.

The big banks were saved as well by Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to engage in tough prosecutions of Wall Street’s biggest malefactors, in part, he explained, due to their enormous size.

Essentially, he has argued the giant banks, nurtured by the government, are too big to not only fail but see their executives placed in the docket.

To be sure, President Obama’s occasional populist rhetoric did offend many on Wall Street, which in 2012 shifted much of its support to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who, after all, was one of their own. Obama still did fairly well on Wall Street. In his two campaigns he ended up raising almost twice as much from Wall Street as his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Now that there are no new campaigns to fund, Holder is beginning to discuss prosecutions of grandees again, no doubt unsettling some on Wall Street and its associated hangers-on. But, even so, Treasury remains under the thumb of yet another insider, former Citibank executive Jacob Lew.

Yeah, if you want the big banks controlled, you’re better off voting for a non-establishment Republican.

ED MORRISSEY: The Spectacular, Too-Big Failure Of Dodd-Frank. “One of the factors driving that consolidation was ‘economies of scale,’ the GAO found in an earlier study. The FDIC noted that was a particularly strong factor for banks that did more than $100 million a year in lending. Dodd-Frank actually made this worse, thanks to the massive amount of new regulation and its attendant compliance costs. The impact fell hardest on community banks, which made them less competitive and more likely to be consolidated.” Funny how whenever they roll out something that’s supposed to help the little guy, it winds up giving more money and power to Wall Street and the big banks.

LIKE MOST THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED UNDER OBAMA: New study finds that Dodd-Frank has promoted industry consolidation and killed community banks.

IT’S COVERUPS ALL THE WAY DOWN: Whistleblower: Pelosi Covered Up Role In Crisis. “We’ve long suspected the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission wasn’t honest in examining events before the meltdown. But an ex-commissioner says the probe was actually a full-blown political cover-up. In a just-released book, former FCIC member Peter Wallison says that a Democratic Congress worked with the commission’s Democratic chairman to whitewash the government’s central role in the mortgage debacle.”

The book is Peter Wallison’s Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again

UPDATE: From the comments:

The pattern of reviews on Amazon for Wallison’s book hint at a coordinated attack on a book and a subject which is a sacred cow to liberals. He criticized the Dodd-Frank act. He dares to skewer the holiest of holys, the no-down-payment-low-interest subprime loan as being a major factor in the meltdown.

Interesting to note: The praise for the book comes from those who are noted as having made a “verified purchase.” The disgruntled reviewers blatantly parrot one another in talking point fashion in an effort to discourage anyone from buying / reading this book.

How about that?

TRANSPARENCY: No Author, No Law.

The reason behind Dodd-Frank’s rendition of this common requirement is straightforward: If Wall Street conglomerates are able to use our bank deposits — which are meant to be kept safe — in addition to their own money to gamble on speculative derivative instruments, then (a) there will be much more gambling of precisely the kind that brought us the 2008 crash; and (b) we taxpayers, rather than Wall Street, will cover the losses that the next crash occasions. We will, in other words, be bailing out Wall Street all over again — socializing losses even as Wall Street continues to privatize gains for itself.

This is, of course, perfectly disgusting. But what is yet worse is that no one will “own” it — presumably because it is so disgusting. We still do not know who inserted the provision, nor do we know why. All that we know is that whoever did it did it both (a) surreptitiously, apparently in hopes no one would notice, and (b) at the last minute, in connection with a continuing resolution cum omnibus spending bill, apparently in hopes of holding continued government operation itself hostage to the provision’s getting through.

Perhaps I am overreacting, but it seems to me that the way in which this provision has found its way into the cromnibus legislation is deeply subversive of our democracy. The aim, after all, is apparently both (a) to circumvent what would otherwise be a necessary agreement secured both transparently and free of budgetary time pressure, and (b) to render the party or parties whose consent is thus circumvented unaware of the guilt or identity of the guilty party.

Every provision of every bill should be directly traceable to individual members of Congress.

That said, so long as we’re in the current boat, could some InstaPundit reader who works on Capitol Hill insert language in the next debacle of a bill that retroactively frees me of income tax back to 2010, and gives me the right to commandeer federal jets for my personal travel? I’d kind of fancy taking Air Force One on one of my dive trips. Also, I’ll bet that would encourage better oversight in the future. . . .

SO I GUESS SHE’S ONE OF THOSE ANARCHIST, TERRORIST, HOSTAGE-TAKING GOVERNMENT-SHUTDOWN TYPES NOW: Elizabeth Warren tells Democrats to oppose spending bill over Dodd-Frank change.

But remember: When Democrats Do It, It’s Not A Government Shutdown.

DEROY MURDOCK: The Silence Of The Colored People.

Voters on Election Day chose Tim Scott as South Carolina’s U.S. senator. They also sent Utah’s Mia Love and Texas’ Will Hurd to the U.S. House of Representatives. Thus, the 114th Congress will include three black Republicans. This is a new high-water mark for black Americans.

Too bad the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People couldn’t care less. (America’s oldest civil-rights organization still plasters that retrograde expression all over its logo and website.)

NAACP has yet to congratulate, acknowledge, or even attack Scott, Love, and Hurd — now America’s three most powerful elected black Republicans. What you hear is the silence of the Colored People. Despite 10 separate requests for comment on this “advancement of colored people,” I could not squeeze a consonant out of NAACP’s Baltimore headquarters, its Washington, D.C. office, or even its Hollywood bureau. . . .

NAACP did issue a November 14 press release expressing its “strong support of the new Qualified Residential Mortgage rule” under the behemoth Dodd-Frank financial services law. The group praised the rejection of new down-payment rules for home loans. Who needs strong credit standards? What could go wrong?

NAACP has offered communiqués praising Obama’s new draconian carbon-dioxide regulations and even applauding LaJune Montgomery Tabron for becoming president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. As for three black Republicans getting elected to Congress? Crickets.

The NAACP is just a race-based arm of the Democratic Party. Since nothing it says about these winners can help the Democrats, it says nothing.

BYRON YORK: The Audacity of Greg Orman.

For many Republicans, the real problem is not that Orman is a cipher. It’s the suspicion that his entire campaign is a ruse. . . .

Yes, Orman can be slippery on some big issues. What would he do about Obamacare? Nobody really knows, except that Orman would not repeal the health care law. He’s been unclear about the Keystone pipeline, and fuzzy on immigration, too.

But on some other important issues, Orman has taken a clear stand. For example, at the debate, Orman proposed doing the following: 1) Relax Dodd-Frank restrictions on community and regional banks. 2) Review all government regulation every decade to rescind regulations that inhibit business growth. 3) Lower the corporate tax rate. 4) Lower overall tax rates. 5) Raise the Social Security eligibility age for younger Americans. 6) Cut the abuse of Social Security disability payments.

It’s all the kind of thing one often hears from Republican candidates. . . .

Then there is Orman’s own political history. He ran briefly against Roberts as a Democrat in 2008, but now says he is neither Democrat nor Republican. But he has made campaign contributions to Democrats over the years, among them Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, and Al Franken. At the debate, Orman noted just one Republican to whom he has given — Scott Brown, briefly the GOP senator from Massachusetts.

Later this week, there will be a fundraiser in New York for Orman, sponsored in part by big-money Democratic donors like Jonathan Soros, Joe Gleberman, John Petry, and others. Put it all together, and Orman seems to be the candidate that Democrats really, really want to win the Senate race in Kansas.

How do we know it’s a bad year for Dems? Even Democrats are running as Republicans.

RICH BAEHR: Republicans are scrambling to save a seat that they thought was in the bag. As with Mississippi, they should have encouraged their doddering incumbent to retire, and encouraged someone strong to run. Instead, they defended a lousy incumbent and alienated a lot of their base.

THE NRSC’S WORK PROPPING UP DODDERING NONRESIDENT PAT ROBERTS WORKING OUT AS EXPECTED: In Kansas, Incumbent Pat Roberts Down 5 Points Against “Independent” Candidate. “This all raises a bigger question as to Roberts’ viability. He’s just a horrible campaigner, and doesn’t seem comfortable in his home state. I hope Roberts wins, but someone has to shake him out of his stupor.”

Meanwhile, Roberts primary challenger Milt Wolf comments: “Remember when the GOP establishment said that they, and only they, can win in November? Good times, good times.”

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS? The thing is, the NRSC went all-in to deep-six Milt Wolf in favor of doddering nonresident Pat Roberts. Now Roberts faces a “tough re-election fight,” with this observation: “It’s difficult to see how Milton Wolf would have done appreciably worse in this case, and he might have held the Republican base together better.” Especially as the NRSC pissed off — and pissed on — the base in backing Roberts.

As with Mark Foley and Thad Cochran, a better-run party would have found quality replacements for these weak incumbents, instead of encouraging them to stay in and — in Cochran’s and Roberts’ cases — killing off primary challengers. But whatever the folks running the GOP, and in particular the NRSC, are getting paid, it’s too much.

SHOCKER: Revolving door at regulator CFPB enables former bureaucrats to cash in at taxpayers’ expense.

Peter Carroll helped shape the mortgage regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until this spring. Now, Carroll is senior vice president of capital markets at Wells Fargo Home Mortgages, the largest private mortgage lender in the country.

Carroll’s colleague, Lisa Applegate, was the “Mortgage Implementation Lead,” at CFPB, and now she’s “strategic quality manager within Wells’ home lending capital markets group,” according to American Banker magazine.

Carroll’s replacement at CFPB, Patricia McClung, was recently at the National Association of Realtors (one of the largest lobbying groups in the country), and for years was an executive at failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

What’s remarkable about the revolving-door action at the CFPB this year is that it’s completely unremarkable for the agency.

The Democratic Congress and the Obama White House created the CFPB with its 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. The top aides to Messrs. Dodd and Frank, of course, have cashed out to K Street and Wall Street.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

POLITICAL HACK UPDATE: MPAA Head Chris Dodd: I’m Willing To Discuss Copyright Reform As Long As Nothing Changes.

I say, repeal the Hollywood tax cuts!

THEY HAVE LEARNED NOTHING AND FORGOTTEN NOTHING: Clintons Still Hate Obama-Supporting Democrats.

Forgive and forget? Not Bill and Hillary.

A system of political rewards and punishments devised by the political power couple set aside “a special circle of Clinton hell . . . for people who had endorsed [President] Obama,” according to “HRC,” a new book by Politico former White House bureau chief Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes of The Hill.

The most helpful Clintonistas were rated “1” under the Clintons’ rating system, while turncoat former allies, such as John Kerry, received “7’s.”

The Clinton camp would later “joke about the fates of the folks they felt had betrayed them,” the book said.

“Bill Richardson: investigated; John Edwards: disgraced by scandal; Chris Dodd: stepped down; . . . Ted Kennedy: dead,” an aide quipped, according to the book.

Ready for Hillary?

THE HILL: Senate confirms Yellen at Fed. “Yellen will be in control of an institution that has just begun unwinding years’ worth of unprecedented stimulus for the economy while seeing its regulatory workload explode under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. All of this activity comes as a growing chorus in Congress is calling for the Fed to come under more scrutiny, something the central bank has responded to by seeking to make its leader more accountable to the public.”

THE HILL: Regulatory Fights Loom Large.

Battles lines are being drawn for a series of upcoming clashes over new regulations on the horizon in 2014.

The year promises to be chock full of contentious fights over scores of new rules stemming from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and a host of other laws.

Many of the provisions have already drawn fire, and opposition to high profile measures on the environment and healthcare is sure to increase ahead of the midterm elections. Republicans will point to the efforts as “job killing” overreach from President Obama, and some Democrats have already begun to distance themselves from controversial regulatory efforts.

Some lawmakers and public interest advocates, meanwhile, have launched another attack against the executive branch, claiming that delays or weakened new rules have harmed the public.

A Republican would face much more pushback in court. People on the right lack the left’s legal infrastructure.

THE WAGES OF DODD FRANK: Money Never Sleeps.

Related item here. “Andrew Morriss, of the University of Alabama law school, sees the shift as an entrepreneurial response to a century’s worth of governmental distortions made through taxation and regulation.”

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Dodd-Frank Strikes Again.

INSTEAD, MAKE HIM DEFEND THE HOLLYWOOD TAX CUTS: Chris Dodd is going to tell you how search engines are the devil.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Memo To Dick Durbin: All Americans Are Journalists.

With the mainstream press in their pockets, what Durbin and others truly fear are citizen journalists and the free and open dissemination of ideas that threaten the political class’ agenda.

They don’t want bloggers rabble-rousing against ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. They hate the idea of Twitter being alight with criticisms of the left’s efforts to have government “do good things.”

They resent citizens using message boards to condemn the White House’s attempts to redistribute wealth, its imperial tendencies, its miserably failed foreign policy and its growing list of scandals.

And they certainly want to chill discussions of how the political left has abandoned — after once being a reliable defender of it — the First Amendment.

With cellphones, pads and laptops in every home and car, we are all journalists ready to document, report, record and discuss.

Washington hasn’t the moral authority to say who is and who isn’t a journalist. The First Amendment was written to stop the government from doing exactly that.

Indeed.

ROLL CALL: Dodd Warns Against Nuclear Option on Nominations. “You’re going to take an institution that’s given us the kind of protections against some very bad ideas historically because there was a place where we had to think twice about what you were doing.”

IT’S THE KNOWLEDGE PROBLEM AGAIN: Did Financial Services Reform Inadvertently Put a Kink In Obamacare? “The unbanked may have a hard time buying insurance on the exchanges. Too bad we just created more of them.”

GEORGE WILL ON “BIPARTISAN ABDICATION“:  Interesting column today about congressional acquiescence in recent decades to assertions of presidential power in the realm of the two branches’ shared power over the military.  Congressional avoidance of all sticky political issues arguably goes even further than just the use of military power; witness incessant delegations of power to executive agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Dodd-Frank), the Independent Medical Advisory Board (IPAB), the EPA, and on and on.

NICK GILLESPIE: State of the Union: Will Obama Tell Young People He’s Screwing Them Big Time?

Listen up, kids! Your parents are robbing your futures blind and you’re chumps enough not only to go along but to say – like the adorable title orphan in the classic baby boomer musical Oliver! – please, sir, I want some more.

From virtually every possible angle, Obama is helping to diminish the prospects for today’s younger generation. First and foremost, his response to the Great Recession – stimulus and the massive piling up of debt – is slowing the recovery. Ginormous regulatory schemes such as Dodd-Frank and the creation of huge new soul-and-bucks-sucking programs such as Obamacare weigh heavily on the economy now and in the future too. His refusal to discuss seriously old-age entitlement reform – Medicare and Social Security and the 40 percent of Medicaid that goes to old folks – is a massive storm front on the economic horizon. His preference for secrecy and overreach when it comes to executive power won’t screw young people as obviously as his economic policies, but when he leaves office in 2017, he will have created far more terrorists than he needed to.

Yet The New York Times reports that not only did 18-to-29-year-olds vote for Obama by far-higher-than-average percentages than folks over 30 years old, they believe that by far-higher-than-average percentages that the government needs to be doing more, not less. This, despite record levels of government spending and debt – and awful results – for the whole of the 21st century.

Hey, rubes! Related thoughts here.

IN AN EDITORIAL, the Boston Herald endorses my revolving-door surtax on post-government employment.

As a senator from Connecticut, Democrat Christopher Dodd earned $174,000 in his last year in office. In 2011 he became head of the Motion Picture Association of America at $1.2 million a year. U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) earned $158,000 in his last year in the House, 2004, and $2.06 million the next year as head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Congress is not unique. The regulatory and executive agencies display this behavior too. What the employer is trying to buy is knowledge, connections and influence. You could think of these as intangible capital, and the Reynolds tax as a form of capital gains tax.

It’s nice to have my ideas noticed.

TIM GEITHNER’S LEGACY: An Issue For Republicans, If They’re Smart Enough To Use It:

As Timothy F. Geithner prepares to leave the Treasury Department, most assessments focus on how his policies affected the economy. But his lasting legacy may be more political, contributing to the creation of an issue that can now be seized either by the right or the left. What should be done about the too-big-to-fail category of financial institutions?

Mr. Geithner came to Treasury in the middle of a severe financial crisis, a set of problems that he helped to create and then worked hard to prevent from worsening. As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, starting in 2003, he watched over – and failed to defuse – the buildup of systemic risk. In fact, the New York Fed was relatively on the side of allowing large, seemingly sophisticated financial institutions to fund themselves with more debt relative to their thin levels of equity.

This was a major conceptual mistake for which there still has not been a full accounting. In fact, blank denial continues to be the reaction from the relevant officials. . . . In Mr. Geithner’s view of the world, the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation fixed the problem of too-big-to-fail banks. Outside of Treasury, it’s hard to find informed observers who share this position. Both Daniel Tarullo (the lead Fed governor for financial regulation) and William Dudley (the current president of the New York Fed) said in recent speeches that the problems of distorted incentives associated with too big to fail were unfortunately alive and well.

Ironically, despite the fact that the Obama administration failed to rein in the megabanks and allowed them to become larger and arguably more powerful, this has not helped the Republicans in electoral terms.

As Ms. Noonan puts it bluntly: “People think the G.O.P. is for the bankers. The G.O.P. should upend this assumption.”

Yes. In reality, the Democrats are the party of the plutocrats and big banks, while the “rich” that the GOP represents are the “petty rich” of small business owners and successful professionals — unsurprisingly, it’s the “petty rich” that Obama’s tax increases have targeted. Turn that around.

And while you’re at it, repeal the Hollywood tax cuts!

TODD ZYWICKI: Regulatory Decadence And Dodd-Frank. A review of David Skeel’s The New Financial Deal.

NOEMIE EMERY ON THE HOUSING CRASH:

Twice, Bush tried to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and twice Democrats (Obama included) moved in to stop him. Especially culpable were Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Dodd claimed that the institutions were “fundamentally strong,” and Frank said he wanted to “roll the dice a little bit more in his situation” rather than impose stricter regulation on Fannie and Freddie. He did roll those dice, and they came up snake eyes at the end of the Bush years. The same could have just as easily happened in the Gore or Kerry administrations, had they existed, and it would not have been due to their policies, either. It was due to bad sense, bad judgment, greed and a lot of misguided good will.

Bush didn’t create the conditions that led to the crash; he inherited them from Bill Clinton, and a large cast of thousands all played their own parts. Republican policies had no role in the crash; and the Democrats’ policies would have had no role, either.

This was not a case of free markets run wild; it was a case of government policy distorting the markets by removing their built-in restraints. This case has been made by a handful of columnists and two serious books — “Reckless Endangerment” by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, and “Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac” by Oonagh McDonald — but not yet by the silent and clueless Republican Party. How many more times must it lose till it does?

Plus, a mention of “Reynolds’ Law.”

FROM THE GRUMPY ECONOMIST, SOME PREDICTIONS: “Forecast in three parts: The sound and fury will be over big fights on taxes and spending. They will look like replays of the last four years and not end up accomplishing much. The big changes to our economy will be the metastatic expansion of regulation, let by ACA, Dodd-Frank, and EPA. There will be no change on our long run problems: entitlements, deficits or fundamental reform of our chaotic tax system. 4 more years, $4 trillion more debt. Why? I think this follows inevitably from the situation: normal (AFU). Nothing has changed. The President is a Democrat, now lame duck. The congress is Republican. The Senate is asleep. Congressional Republicans think the President is a socialist. The President thinks Congressional Republicans are neanderthals. The President cannot compromise on the centerpieces of his campaign. Result: we certainly are not going to see big legislation. Anything new will happen by executive order or by regulation.”

Plus: “We’re still sitting on a debt bomb. Remember 2004, when a few chicken-littles were saying ‘there is trouble brewing, there is a huge amount of debt (mortgages) that is in danger of defaulting, and the banks are stuffed with it?’ And how everyone made fun of them? That is our situation now, but it’s sovereign debt.”

HATING BREITBART: Director Andrew Marcus discusses his documentary look at Andrew Breitbart in a 23-minute audio interview at Ed Driscoll.com, including his struggles with the (Chris Dodd-led) MPAA to receive a PG-13 rating, and get the documentary out into theaters before the November election.

(Bumped.)

L to R: Breitbart, Glenn Reynolds, Driscoll at 2008 GOP convention.

HATING BREITBART: Director Andrew Marcus discusses his documentary look at Andrew Breitbart in a 23-minute audio interview at Ed Driscoll.com, including his struggles with the (Chris Dodd-led) MPAA to receive a PG-13 rating, and get the documentary out into theaters before the November election.

THEY DON’T WANT IT OUT BEFORE THE ELECTION: Andrew Breitbart Documentary Release Delayed Over Rating War With MPAA. I saw a screening last night, and if I were a shill for Obama — as the MPAA is — then I wouldn’t want this in theaters before the election either.

UPDATE: Michael Walsh emails: “Interesting, isn’t it, that head of MPAA is now… ta-da! Chris Dodd.”

EXQUISITELY BORED IN THE WHITE HOUSE: “Liberals fret: Is Obama bored? Does he want a second term? Maybe not,” Byron York writes, noting that “A look at the president’s career shows he has never stayed in a job four years without looking to move on to something better:”

Now Obama has been president for nearly four years.  Aided by a huge Democratic majority from 2009 to 2011, he achieved some big things — massive stimulus, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank.  He even won the Nobel Peace Prize, essentially for showing up.  But he hasn’t achieved, and won’t achieve in four more years, the “fundamental transformation” of American society that he envisioned.  And his entire career suggests that by now he should be angling for a bigger, better job. The problem is, there isn’t such a position — and a second term in the same old job doesn’t count. The chief benefit of winning re-election to a second term might simply be to avoid being labeled a loser, to avoid joining Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush as presidents who couldn’t win a second time.

So if his liberal supporters sense signs of boredom and frustration in the president, they might be right.  I wrote about this in a January 2010 column that began, “This is about the time Barack Obama becomes bored with his job.”  Back then, he had just passed a year in office — about the time, in the past, that his restlessness and ambition began to kick in. Now, years later, the problem is only worse.

UPDATE: More, from the Guardian: “Has a disillusioned Barack Obama lost the will to win?”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Reader Dennis Roach emails: “He’s just not that into us!”

UPDATE (FROM ED): On Facebook, reader Ric Manhard spotted the Pete Townshend callback in the headline.

STEPHEN GREEN IS DRUNKBLOGGING TONIGHT’S DEBATE. I suspect a lot of us will be drinking through this one. . . .

Green: “Obama is doing his best I’M NOT PEEVISH face. If the all-caps didn’t give it away, the face is not entirely convincing.” He also keeps stressing how much he agrees with Romney on taxes, etc. Interesting. . . .

UPDATE: Okay, despite the lying, people on the right should be glad that this is an argument about who’ll cut taxes.

But why does Lehrer keep cutting Romney off?

More from Stephen Green: “Romney is doing the job of making Obama angry, without being mean. The split-view camera reminds me of Bush versus Gore 12 years ago.”

Plus: “Obama keeps saying ‘math,’ but Romney keeps using numbers. You do the math.”

Obama compares himself to Dwight Eisenhower. Not seeing it. And remember that promise to cut the deficit in half in his first term? How’s that working out? . . .

Reader Tim Miller writes: “I wish Romney would tell Obama that he’s confusing the 5 Trillion number with the debt he’s added during the past 3+ years.” I think it’s more like $7 trillion.

Warren Buffett won’t like that corporate jet remark.

Plus from Stephen Green: “Obama just slammed the F-22. I guess Lockheed is going to send out those layoff notices after all. If not, they’re fools.”

Obama’s blaming Bush for the deficits because of “two wars on the credit card.” So look at Bush’s second-term deficits:

Declining steadily until the 2008 bailout. Blaming the war is, well, basically a lie.

Also, Obama keeps mentioning “folks like my grandmother.” You mean the “typical white person” grandmother? I guess she’s back out from under the bus.

Reader Bob Read emails: “Are you watching Intrade? Obama is down 5 since the debate started.”

Stephen Green: “Romney has been practicing his split-screen face. When Obama is speaking, he looks like I hope I look, when my six-year-old is trying to sell me on a line of total crap.”

I’m watching C-SPAN, but reader Ed Kiesel emails: “The twitter feed at the bottom of CNBC is 90% pro Romney, and damn is it funny!”

Lehrer is doing his best to run interference for Obama, but it’s not enough.

Talking about Dodd-Frank, it’s obvious that Romney actually knows what Dodd-Frank does. Obama, not so much.

More from Stephen Green: ” Aaron Hanscom, our managing editor, just emailed to tell me Andrew Sullivan is wailing and rending his garments over Obama’s bad performance. What, he was expecting another McCain?”

Jonah Goldberg tweets: “Maybe Obama can turn this around by just reverting to his 2004 DNC Keynote speech?”

Obama: They’re not “Death Panels,” they’re just panels made up of expert doctors who’ll decide if your treatment should be paid for.

LOOKS LIKE WE’RE IN FOR NASTY WEATHER: CNBC reports “‘Zombie Economy’ May Give Markets a Scare in October.” 

Or as Mike Flynn writes at Big Government, “Storm Clouds: The Looming Obama Recession:”

Make no mistake, the deteriorating economic situation is the result of Obama’s policies. Since the end of the recession we’ve had massive stimulus, auto bailouts, cash for clunkers, ObamaCare, Dodd Frank and a host of new regulations. We have also been promised a huge tax increase should Obama win reelection. If you were intentionally trying to trigger a recession, you’d be hard pressed to come up with more effective policies.

Obama’s reelection campaign is predicated on the myth that the economy, while weak, is steadily improving. It isn’t–at all. Come November, Obama ought to take his rightful place in the unemployment line.

Or else a lot more of the rest of us will.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Money Mismanagement Storm at the National Weather Service. “When whistleblowers sounded the alarm, the inspector general let the potential wrongdoers investigate the alleged wrongdoings.” Kinda like letting Chris Dodd oversee Wall Street — oh, wait . . . .

CHANGE: Northeastern Republicans Show Signs Of Life.

Connecticut might be the last place you’d expect Republicans to pick up a U.S. Senate seat this November, but it may happen. In the race for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman’s seat, Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the highly profitable World Wrestling Entertainment, leads Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy by three points, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

Those numbers terrify Democrats, so much so that at the party’s convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week they frantically shuttled Mr. Murphy around town to meet deep-pocket Democratic donors.

Connecticut hasn’t had a Republican senator in modern times—with the exception of Lowell Weicker, who was so liberal that the Democratic Mr. Lieberman unseated him in 1988 by running to his right. Barack Obama carried the state by 23 points in 2008.

But Nutmeg State voters today are cranky, and even Mr. Obama is up only seven points on Mitt Romney in the latest Quinnipiac poll. One reason for their angst is tax-happy Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has raised income, sales and 70 other taxes and fees while insisting that taxpayers would be glad to pay the higher charges. They haven’t been—in part because the budget remains steeped in red ink and the unemployment rate remains persistently above the national average. Barron’s recently rated Connecticut the worst-run state in the country.

Hard to believe that the state that gave us Chris Dodd could have sunk to such depths. . . .

PAUL RAHE: Suicide: The Democratic Party’s Self-Inflicted Wounds. “None of this had to happen. It was a consequence of the Obama administration’s decision to treat the economic crisis as an opportunity to transform America by shoving through measures like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. It was a consequence of their treating the so-called stimulus bill as an opportunity to enrich the constituencies supporting the party. It was a consequence of their insisting on raising taxes on the investor class in the middle of a recession. And, of course, it was a consequence of Obama’s decision to say that, if he failed to bring unemployment down dramatically, he would be (and should be) a one-term President. Even the mainstream press is beginning to realize that Barack Obama and those who put him in the office where he is right now conspired unwittingly to bring down the Democratic Party.”

Unwittingly? Hmm.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: CBS, AP: Dem chair of House Oversight covered up ties to Countrywide for himself, colleagues, and staff. “How did Countrywide end up as one of the worst villains in the housing-bubble collapse, which cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and nearly crushed the financial sector? Simple: they bought political connections by offering sweetheart deals to people like Chris Dodd, who headed the Senate Banking Committee, and Towns, whose committee was supposed to keep corruption out of federal regulation of the market. When the entire mess collapsed, people like Dodd and Towns were in position to manipulate the investigations in order to avoid detection. Dodd was less successful at that effort than Towns, who got away with it as long as Democrats remained in charge of Congress — and the White House, which has been mighty incurious on the whole issue since running on populist outrage over the housing-bubble collapse.”

Plus: “Towns announced his retirement in April. He should be expelled, and his pension benefits stripped for this coverup.”

NICOLE GELINAS: Dodd-Frank’s Protection Racket. “Congress has created a shield for itself, a useless and destructive agency that it can point to when the public justly blames it for failing to fix our ongoing economic problems. Whether the CFPB can protect Congress in that event is unclear, but one thing is certain: despite its name and lofty goals, it can’t protect consumers.”

J.W. VERRET ON What’s Wrong With Dodd-Frank.

CHANGE: Major Lawsuit Challenges The Constitutionality of Dodd-Frank.

DISHONEST EDITING OF “WAWA” TAPE? “In actuality, Mitt was contrasting the ridiculous over-regulation of the public sector, with the efficiency of the private sector, and used the electronic ordering system at WAWAs as an example – here’s the FULL video.”

I think they were trying for a rehash of the Bush grocery-scanner lie.

UPDATE: Dodd Harris emails:

“I think they were trying for a rehash of the Bush grocery-scanner lie”

That was my immediate thought, as well, when I read the story. They got away with it then–and they simply cannot or will not wrap their heads around the fact that the media environment has changed. No matter how many times these sorts of shenanigans boomerang back and embarrass them, they still think they can twist the public’s perceptions the way they wish. “Real journalists” liked that power and simply refuse to accept that “some blogger” has taken it away for good,

Sadly, there are always some willing dupes who won’t ever learn the truth–because they don’t want to. The type that are still pushing narratives like that the Swift Boaters were “proven wrong” or that Obama is a pillar of fiscal restraint.

Sad, hilarious, whatever. (Bumped). Hot Air has the whole story and the videos.

OBAMA’S NOT-SO-HOT DATE WITH WALL STREET:

[N]egotiations over the implementation of the new Dodd-Frank financial regulations had made large Wall Street institutions, chiefly banks, wary of open war with the White House. “Most of them are scared stiff of the president,” a top Romney bundler on Wall Street told me recently. “Including the ones on our side.”

But by the beginning of the year, it had also become obvious to many on Wall Street that Obama’s campaign was going to take a populist turn. Some bankers believed that the administration’s strategy was to talk tough in public and play damage control in private, and they were sick of playing along.

One day in late October, Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, slipped into the Regency Hotel in New York and walked up to a second-floor meeting room reserved by his aides. More than 20 of Obama’s top donors and fund-raisers, many of them from the financial industry, sat in leather chairs around a granite conference table.
Messina told them he had a problem: New York City and its suburbs, Obama’s top source of money in 2008, were behind quota. He needed their help bringing the financial community back on board.

For the next hour, the donors relayed to Messina what their friends had been saying. They felt unfairly demonized for being wealthy. They felt scapegoated for the recession. It was a few weeks into the Occupy Wall Street movement, with mass protests against the 1 percent springing up all around the country, and they blamed the president and his party for the public’s nasty mood. The administration, some suggested, had created a hostile environment for job creators.

Messina politely pushed back. It’s not the president’s fault that Americans are still upset with Wall Street, he told them, and given the public’s mood, the administration’s rhetoric had been notably restrained.

One of the guests raised his hand; he knew how to solve the problem. The president had won plaudits for his speech on race during the last campaign, the guest noted. It was a soaring address that acknowledged white resentment and urged national unity. What if Obama gave a similarly healing speech about class and inequality? What if he urged an end to attacks on the rich?

As Orrin Judd writes, that’s from the New York Times, not the Onion. (Though admittedly sometimes it’s hard to tell the two apart.)

But hey, what could go wrong with such a speech? Other than America’s class warrior-in-chief might use soothing, diplomatic language that suggests getting opponents’ faces and punching back twice as hard? Or these earlier examples of the president’s pro-business rhetoric:

Here’s Barack Obama on the campaign trail, in February of 2008:

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

There’s this quote from an attorney who deposed Chrysler’s president in May of 2009:

“It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers… It really wasn’t Chrysler’s decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President’s automotive task force.”

“My administration,” the president told bank CEOs in April of 2009, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Obama as quoted by the New York Times in March of 2009 on AIG bonuses:

“I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry. I’m angry,” Mr. Obama said, his voice reaching a peak seven days after learning of the bonuses given to employees of the American International Group. “What I want to do, though, is channel our anger in a constructive way.”

Obama during the BP oil spill:

“I was down there a month ago, before most of these talkin’ heads were even paying attention to the gulf. A month ago…I was meeting with fishermen down there, standin’ in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be. and I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminare, we talk to these folks because they potentially…have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

Obama in April of 2010, in the middle of a speech on Wall Street “reform” blurted out, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

In June of 2008, Jim Geraghty spotted this telling passage in a book by David Mendell titled Obama: From Promise to Power:

“[Obama] always talked about the New Rochelle train, the trains that took commuters to and from New York City, and he didn’t want to be on one of those trains every day,” said Jerry Kellman, the community organizer who enticed Obama to Chicago from his Manhattan office job. “The image of a life, not a dynamic life, of going through the motions… that was scary to him.”


That’s
the pro-business president you want giving a “healing speech about class and inequality,” and urging “an end to attacks on the rich.”

Today at the Washington Post, former GWB speechwriter Michael Gerson notes that “The brand of the Obama reelection campaign, so far, is ruthlessness:”

Obama’s agenda, strategy and rhetoric are now solidly blue — perhaps for sound political reasons. But Obama’s talent for inspiration was the single most interesting thing about him as a politician. Without that aspiration, what is left of his appeal? This is the reason his Ohio speech seemed so boring, particularly in comparison to his speeches four years ago. There was little that couldn’t be said by any liberal politician, at any time. Obama has lost more than a campaign talking point; he has lost one of the main reasons for his rise.

What principle or purpose unites Obama’s initial campaign with his current reelection effort? There is little obvious continuity — apart from one, unchanging commitment. The cause that has outlasted hope and change is Obama himself.

There have always been two parts of Obama’s political persona, both of which were essential to his rapid advancement. There is the Hyde Park Obama, lecturing on constitutional law, quoting Reinhold Niebuhr and transcending old political divisions. There is also the South Side Obama, who rose in Chicago politics by doing what it takes.

This is not unusual. All politicians believe that their tenacity and competitiveness are servants to their idealism. But as the Hyde Park Obama fades, the South Side Obama becomes less appealing.

All of the atmospheric elements of politics — unity, bipartisanship and common purpose — are significantly worse than four years ago. This is not all Obama’s fault. But he is choosing — in a campaign so nasty, so early — to make it worse. At some point, ruthlessness just leaves ruins.

To paraphrase Peter Arnett, Obama apparently believes it’s necessary to destroy the country in order to save it.

RELATED: Charles Krauthammer on the “Divider-in-Chief.”

THEY HAVEN’T LEARNED: MPAA Chief Dodd Hints At Talks To Revive SOPA.

Christopher Dodd, the former Connecticut senator who now leads the MPAA, hasn’t given up on his dream of censoring the Internet. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, he said that Hollywood and the technology industry ‘need to come to an understanding’ about new copyright legislation. Dodd said that there were ‘conversations going on now,’ about SOPA-style legislation, but that he was ‘not going to go into more detail because obviously if I do, it becomes counterproductive.’ Asked whether the White House’s decision to oppose SOPA had created tensions with Hollywood, Dodd insisted that he was ‘not going to revisit the events of last winter,’ but said he hoped the president would use his ‘good relationships’ with both Hollywood and the technology industry to broker a deal.

You can’t trust these guys. The GOP should overcome its reluctance to criticize a big business and go after Hollywood hammer-and-tongs. It would be a good issue for them, and it’s the right thing to do. But I’ve been pointing this out for a decade, and they’re still not listening.

DANIEL HENNINGER: A LESSON FOR THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS:

The American Catholic Church, from left to right, is now being handed a lesson in the hierarchy of raw political authority. One hopes they and their supporters will recognize that they have not been singled out. The federal government’s forcings routinely touch other groups in this country—schools, doctors, farmers, businesses. The church’s fight is not the whole or the end of it.

Since he appeared, no other word has been invoked more often to describe Barack Obama’s purposes than “transformative.” Last year, Mr. Obama began to be criticized by some of his supporters for being insufficiently transformative while holding the powers of the presidency—this despite passing the biggest social entitlement since 1965, an $800 billion stimulus bill, raising federal spending to 24% of GDP and passing the Dodd-Frank restructuring of the U.S. financial industry. Naturally an interviewer this week asked Mr. Obama why he hadn’t been more “transformative.” The president replied that he deserved a second term, because “we’re not done.” In term two, it will be Uncle Sam, Transformer.

Transformed into a place where what Washington wants matters more than what you believe.

Related: Eleanor Clift: Did Obama Pick The Contraception Fight To Fire Up His Base?

UPDATE: The Anchoress: You Bet It’s War.

Next: A requirement that mosques sell bacon.

MORE: Hispanics jumping Obama ship over contraception flap.

MORE STILL: A steaming pile of sexism from Hillary Rosen: “This public debate on whether or not the Obama administration’s sensible policy on covering birth control has turned into a boys against the girls fight. And the boys are out of touch and out of line.”

Shut up, boys. This issue is owned by women.

Related: Senate Democratic Women Are Boycotting Morning Joe. Join the club, ladies. Although for most of us, it’s not so much boycotting as forgetting it exists.

FINALLY: Another Rube Self-Identifies:

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan says President Barack Obama hasn’t kept his promise, when it comes to the new White House policy on contraception.

Sources told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer that Archbishop Dolan feels betrayed after his meeting with the president on the issue late last year.

“All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.”

MORE SUPPORT FOR MY REVOLVING DOOR TAX on former government officials: “The New York Times reports that the chief of the securities fraud unit for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, Christopher Garcia, is leaving to become a $1.2 million-a-year white collar defense lawyer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges.”

But wait, there’s more:

The Beacon focuses on Ron Klein, a former Democratic Congressman from Florida who is a registered lobbyist for Spirit. The Holland & Knight press release announcing Mr. Klein’s hiring says, “As a member of the House Financial Services Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, he was instrumental in drafting and passing major pieces of legislation including the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010. Due to his background with healthcare businesses and regulation, Klein was also an active participant in the negotiation and passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” It also says, “Holland & Knight is pleased to announce that former U.S. Representative Ron Klein (D-FL) has joined the firm’s Public Policy & Regulation Group as a partner. Klein will play a major role providing strategic counsel to clients in the area of government regulation and compliance in the financial services, healthcare and energy sectors.”

This is a textbook example of how the revolving door works. The congressmen pass these pieces of legislation that are so complicated and burdensome that one of the only rational ways for businesses to respond is to hire one of the people who wrote it to advise them on how to either comply with it or legally get around it.

Well, I’ve got a proposal to address this. Shared sacrifice!

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, CHRISTIANISTS WOULD CONTROL THE GOVERNMENT. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Obama: I Pushed Dodd-Frank And Health Care Reform Because Of Christ. “The president said he often falls to his knees in prayer, and emphasized the role of his religious values in determining where to lead the country.”

WHITE HOUSE REFUSES TO COMMENT ON PETITION TO INVESTIGATE CHRIS DODD: “The White House has issued a statement in which they refuse to comment on the petition to investigate Chris Dodd for bribery from the MPAA to pass legislation. The reason given: ‘because it requests a specific law enforcement action.'”

And that’s not all they won’t comment on.

DIRTY HOLLYWOOD: The Hill: Consumer group accuses Hollywood of ‘threatening politicians’. “Consumer group Public Knowledge on Friday accused the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its head, former Sen. Chris Dodd, of trying to intimidate lawmakers into supporting a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills.”

I say, repeal the Eisenhower Tax Cuts!

SOPA UPDATE: Senate Delays Vote on Piracy Bill as House Balks, Too.

Okay. But why doesn’t that NYT news story have the word “Dodd” in it? This story the NYT put up last night had “Dodd” in it. Have you noticed the role of the former Senator in the SOPA fight? He’s kind of a lobbyist (for the movie industry), except that he can’t actually be a lobbyist, because it’s illegal for a former Senator to lobby Congress in his first 2 years out of office.

Indeed.

NO, I’M NOT GOING DARK TODAY: But you can tell your Congressmember about how you feel about SOPA. And you should. (Bumped).

UPDATE: A reader emails: “Glenn, no name please. I work for Congressman Tim Johnson. Just to let you know, we’re getting about a hundred emails an hour opposing SOPA. We were already opposed, but this certainly makes us feel that much better about our opposition.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Web Protests Piracy Bill And Senators Change Course. “Members of Congress, many of whom are grappling with the issues posed by the explosion in new media and social Web sites, appeared caught off guard by the enmity toward what had been a relatively obscure piece of legislation to many of them.”

MORE: A reader emails:

From the NYT Article:

“The problem for the content industry is they just don’t know how to mobilize people,” said John P. Feehery, a former Republican leadership aide and executive at the motion picture lobby. “They have a small group of content makers, a few unions, whereas the Internet world, the social media world especially, has a tremendous reach. They can reach people in ways we never dreamed of before.”

That’s not their problem at all. The problem for the content industry is that they have no people to mobilize. All they have is Hollywood cash and insider access. The number of flesh-and-blood, voting people they can bring to the table in support of SOPA and PIPA is trivial. The media companies, the ones that actually provide the services that people use on a daily basis… they’re the ones who have the people and the votes, and they didn’t need cash or insider access to make an impact today.

Cash and insider access do not get members of Congress re-elected. Votes do. Let this be an object lesson to Dodd, Feehery, and the whole corrupt, rent-seeking crowd at the MPAA.

(As an aside: …and to the “campaign finance reform” crowd who believes that cash = votes).

Indeed. Related: Hollywood Moguls Stopping Obama Donations Because Of President’s Piracy Stand: ‘Not Give A Dime Anymore.’

REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-HOLLYWOOD): Unbowed by protests, Lamar Smith to move ahead on piracy bill. He’s an honest politician: He stays bought.

UPDATE: Speaking of SOPA Phonies: Chris Dodd’s paid SOPA crusading. “It’s behavior like Chris Dodd’s that makes it rational not only to be cynical about our political culture, but outright jaded. What makes Dodd’s shilling for this censorship law so galling is that, during the 2008 presidential campaign, he postured as the candidate who would devote himself first and foremost to defending core Constitutional freedoms and civil liberties. When Dodd led the 2007 fight against warrantless surveillance and amnesty for lawbreaking telecoms as part of the FISA debate, I, along with several other blogs, helped raise close to $250,000 in a few days from small donors for his flagging presidential campaign. . . . Apparently, the person Chris Dodd scorned back then as someone ‘wanting to be president of a trade association’ was . . . Chris Dodd, who is now President of Hollywood’s trade association.” Hey, Rube!

A more serious point: You can scorn bought-and-paid-for shills for Big Media like Lamar Smith and Chris Dodd. But the real problem isn’t their lack of morals, but an oversized government that inevitably lures people with loose morals. When government has the opportunity to make or break industries, industries will find people to lobby it to make their industry, and break their competitors’. The solution is to return the government to its — much, much smaller — intended constitutional scope.

CATO’S ROGER PILON: “All of Obama’s appointments yesterday are illegal under the Constitution. And, in addition, as too little noted by the media, his appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is legally futile. Under the plain language of the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB, Cordray will have no authority whatsoever.”

UPDATE: A lawyer-reader emails: “If Richard Cordray were Sarah Palin, someone would file a qui tam action against him when he gets his first paycheck, and someone in Ohio would file a grievance with the Ohio Supreme Court’s Attorney Disciplinary Counsel seeking sanctions for Cordray’s clearly unconstitutional actions.” Well, not so much if Richard Cordray were Sarah Palin, as if Republicans acted like Democrats. Maybe they should give it a try — the Dems seem to enjoy it. And they did manage to prevent a Palin candidacy through sheer harassment.

IF YOU’RE A REPUBLICAN AND YOU’RE UNHAPPY, YOU CAN CHEER YOURSELF UP by reading this “What if Obama loses” symposium in the Washington Monthly. From their PR email:

The Washington Monthly asked a group of distinguished journalists and scholars to think through the likely ramifications of a GOP victory in November. Here’s what they conclude:

David Weigel reports that the Tea Party will control the agenda regardless of which Republican wins the nomination.

Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann predict that there’s a “better-than-even chance” that the Senate filibuster will be destroyed.

David Roberts shows that the GOP won’t eliminate the EPA, but will permanently cripple it.

Harold Pollack disabuses liberals of the hope that health care reform can survive a Republican presidency.

Dahlia Lithwick writes that one more round of judicial appointments by a Republican president will lead to a generation of anti-government rulings no future Democrat can undo.

Plus: Jonathan Bernstein on why campaign promises matter; Michael Konczal on the end of Dodd-Frank; James Traub on the GOP’s “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine; and Paul Glastris on why, this time, conservative anti-government aspirations will be fulfilled.

You’ll probably feel a lot better. And note that this is largely independent of which Republican Obama loses to, so long as Obama just loses.

Plus, from Walter Russell Mead: After Iowa: Dems Are Playing Defense in 2012.Via Meadia is not in the soothsaying business; this is not intended as an election forecast. But after months of horse race coverage in Iowa, it makes sense to step back from the day to day headlines and spend a little time thinking about how the big picture is starting to shape up. The playing field is tilting away from the Democrats this year; after running the table in 2008, Democrats face losing it all this time around.”

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LEGALITY OF THE CORDRAY APPOINTMENT UNDER DODD-FRANK.

Leaving aside the constitutional questions, there is a potential statutory problem with the legality of the Cordray appointment under Dodd-Frank. Section 1066 of Dodd-Frank provides that the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to perform the functions of the CFPB under the subtitle transferring authority to the CFPB from the other agencies “until the Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate in accordance with Section 1011.” It turns out that section 1011 is a defined term which provides: “The Director shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

This seems to suggest that even if the President might be able to appoint Cordray under the recess power the full grant of statutory authority wouldn’t transfer to the Bureau unless the statutory language was fulfilled as well.

Appointed but without power. Hmm.

LONGEVITY: Aging slowed in mice with supplement mix. Slowing aging is okay. Reversal would be better . . . .

UPDATE: Charlie Martin notes this: Stem cells reverse aging in mice. “The mice, which had been engineered to mimic a human disease called progeria, would normally have grown old when they were quite young. But that changed when researchers injected muscle stem cells from healthy young mice into the bellies of the quickly aging mice. Within days, the doddering and frail mice began to act like they were living the storyline of ‘The Strange Case of Benjamin Button’ as they started looking and acting younger.”

Faster, please.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION (CONT’D): Four More “Friends of Angelo” in Congress. “With Congress about to wrap up its year-end business and head home for the holidays, there probably won’t be too much news made on Capitol Hill until next month. Why not conduct a whodunit instead? House Oversight chair Rep. Darrell Issa resurrected the Countrywide Financial influence-peddling scandal by informing the Ethics Committee that four current members received sweetheart deals on loans through the infamous Friends of Angelo program that sent former Senator Chris Dodd into retirement … perhaps to the Irish mansion he now owns.”

It’s a “cottage.” It just looks like a mansion to the untrained eye.

CLEAR-EYED ANALYSIS: Scott Ott, author of Laughing At Obama, reviews Frank J. Fleming’s new book, Obama: The Greatest President In The History Of Everything.

Fleming and Ott are still sandwiching Bill Maher. Does Chris Dodd know about this? (Bumped).

#OCCUPYFAIL: PR Expert: “The whole world is watching. And it’s generally repulsed by what it’s seen.”

Related: ‘Frothing Degenerate Mob’ Would Make a Great Name for a Punk-Rock Band. “What the MSNBC crowd refuses to recognize is that the offensive aspects of the Occupy movement are not incidental to it, but an expression of the movement’s anti-social essence. The mobs who are attacking ‘Wall Street’ are anti-wealth and anti-capitalism and, if you understand what wealth and capitalism represent, you understand that the Occupiers are also anti-work, anti-thrift and anti-enterprise. That is to say, they are fundamentally hostile to bourgeois values.” For some, of course, that’s the primary appeal.

Plus this: “Stipulate that wealthy interests have gamed ‘the System’ to their own advantage, so that Goldman Sachs, General Motors and other corporations deemed ‘too big to fail’ have received windfalls at taxpayer expense, in repayment of their support for the bipartisan corruption in Washington. But the Occupiers aren’t reading Peter Schweizer’s shocking new expose of crony capitalism or demanding criminal prosecution of Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, et al.”

THE LION OF THE SENATE: Carrie Fisher: Ted Kennedy once asked me if I’d have sex with Chris Dodd. Make me a sandwich!

#OCCUPYFAIL: Occupy Wall Street, Jon Corzine, and Other Failed Human Beings:

Yet what will soon become apparent is that the movement was never intended to be financial. It was entirely ideological.

In short, liberals would be given a free pass while conservatives would be burnt at the stake.

Many Occupiers claim that Wall Street received special treatment. That those who caused the financial meltdown deserve to be tarred and feathered. Yet when actual names are named, liberals go silent when they realize that the evil corruption they rail against can be located in the political mirror.

Democrats Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank were at the epicenter of the 2008 economic collapse. They have never nor will they ever be held accountable. Christopher Dodd retired rather than face questions about his sweetheart deals with Countrywide. As for Barney Frank, several crimes have been committed in his very home, from prostitution to drug running. He has always claimed ignorance.

Mr. Frank admitted that he had “ideological blinders” on when dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet Mr. Frank still has his job, and former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines was given a platinum parachute of over 90 million dollars.

Nice to point that out.

TIGERHAWK: Occupy this: President Obama’s Wall Street fundraising.

At this point, Wall Streeters really do not like Barack Obama. It has been a long time since I have met one who still actually supports him. But the extent of the pain of Dodd-Frank depends on regulations that have yet to be written by executive branch agencies that report to the White House. The big financial firms know that their future profitability requires that President Obama influence those regulations, and he is exploiting that for all it is worth.

This, loyal readers, is “regulatory capture” in action.

Not that anybody from the “Occupy” movement or the New York Times will look at it that way.

Nope. Send ’em a copy of Iain Murray’s book.

JAMES TARANTO: INK-STAINED VIGILANTE:

Dionne’s criticism of Gingrich is a bit misleading. As we shall see, the erstwhile speaker accused Frank and Dodd of corruption; he did not suggest jailing them because “we disagree with” them. But that’s a quibble. Dionne is quite right to point out that in America we do not imprison people without due process. Neither Frank nor Dodd has been charged with, much less convicted of, any crime. Gingrich’s statement was indeed outrageous.

But as the transcript shows, it was not Gingrich who introduced this pernicious, un-American idea into the debate. It was Dionne’s colleague Karen Tumulty, a Post reporter and one of the debate panelists.

That’s different. She was talking about jailing business executives, not corrupt Democratic politicians.

WHAT IF THE NCAA adopted Dodd-Frank?

TIM CARNEY: Thank Wal-Mart For Your New Bank Fee.

Related: Bank of America, CARD Act, Dodd-Frank, and soaking the poor. “And before anybody says that this is unexpected… no. No, it was not. I was telling people back in JANUARY that this was going to happen, and I even explained why.”

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Huntsman’s Good Economic Plan: Better than anything so far from the GOP Presidential field.

The heart of the plan lowers all tax rates on individuals and businesses. Mr. Huntsman would create three personal income tax rates—8%, 14% and 23%—and pay for this in a “revenue-neutral” way by eliminating “all deductions and credits.” This tracks with the proposals of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission and others for a flatter, more efficient tax system.

That means economically inefficient tax carve outs for mortgage interest, municipal bonds, child credits and green energy subsidies would at last be closed. The double tax on capital gains and dividends would be expunged as would the Alternative Minimum Tax. The corporate tax rate falls to 25% from 35%, and American businesses would be taxed on a territorial system to encourage firms to return capital parked in overseas operations.

Mr. Huntsman would repeal two of President Obama’s most economically debilitating creations, ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. Mr. Huntsman has it right when he says, “Dodd-Frank perpetuates ‘too big to fail’ by codifying a regime that incentivizes firms to become too big to fail.” He’d also repeal a Bush-era regulatory mistake, the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules, which have added millions of dollars of costs to businesses with little positive effect.

Mr. Huntsman says he’d also bring to heel the hyper-regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and the National Labor Relations Board, all of which are suppressing job-creation.

Not bad.

AMERICA GIVES CHINA a mineral monopoly. “Complaints from the Congo are growing about the U.S. legislation intended to stop illegal mineral sales. The Dodd-Frank bill (also called the Obama Law) has a clause that prohibits the sale of so-called conflict minerals may have been well-intentioned but it was not well-thought out. Rather than run the risk of buying any minerals that might have been smuggled from the Congo, many major mining companies are simply refusing to buy minerals from central Africa. The result is a de facto embargo. There are few buyers for Congo’s valuable minerals, especially tantalum and tungsten which have many hi-tech uses. This has damaged the Congo’s economy, because the nation relies on mineral exports. According to some sources, China, which does not have to meet Dodd-Frank standards, is snapping up many minerals at very cheap prices.” More like a monopsony, really.