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SPURRED BY MY ROBERT HEINLEIN CURMUDGEONS QUOTE, Dodd Harris reminds me of this post from last year: Dismiss The Tea Party At Your Peril.

MILT WOLF: The Bad-Luck President:

Mr. President, you didn’t run into bad luck. You created it.

America is indeed blessed, but it’s not by some accident that previous generations were able to create the most prosperous nation in the history of humankind. Our founding principles of constitutionally limited government, individual liberty and free-market capitalism have unleashed the powerful American engine of prosperity. This engine is fueled by individual players’ investments of labor and capital, and both are supplied directly in proportion to their confidence of realizing reward. . . . The Japanese tsunami, the “Arab Spring” uprisings and Europe’s debt crises are not America’s “bad luck” – Obamanomics is.

The Obama presidency is a case study of what happens when you break faith with the principles that made America great. Mr. Obama has chased investment capital out of the market by implementing the Dodd-Frank financial-sector takeover. He has frozen new hiring by unleashing Obamacare’s enormous costs on employment.

He has trampled the rights of Americans as free consumers with the unconstitutional individual mandate to purchase government-sanctioned health insurance. He has made a mockery of free competition by granting Obamacare waivers to cronies and union friends. He has stymied the technology sector by unleashing his antitrust forces and the manufacturing sector by unleashing his labor-relations forces.

He has ushered in the first-ever downgrade of America’s credit rating by rejecting the Cut, Cap and Balance Act. And he has all but assured that those Americans with capital will stay on the sidelines by maligning them and launching class warfare upon them.

Plus, a Robert Heinlein quote you may recognize.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Blame Bo! Did Obama’s Dog Eat The Recovery?

In his inaugural address 2 1/2 years ago, President Obama called for a “new era of responsibility.” Yet lately, his main goal in life seems to be escaping any responsibility for the lousy economy.

It’s getting so you have to keep a list of everyone and everything Obama wants to blame for the anemic economic recovery. . . .

Just to be clear, Obama’s policies alone are to blame for the current sorry state of the economy.

In his first two years, Obama had free rein to get his economic agenda through a heavily Democratic Congress: An $830 billion stimulus, billions more in auto bailouts, mortgage bailouts and cash for clunkers, ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank.

None of those packages worked. They produced the worst recovery since the Great Depression. That was true before the Arab Spring, the tsunami, Europe’s debt crisis and before Republicans won back the House.

At a press conference this summer, Obama said: “I’m not interested in finger-pointing.”

But that’s all he’s been doing for months.



Those (many) who are rubbishing the eminently rubbishable S&P tonight are generally not grappling with something we’ve been talking about for years around these parts: The current fiscal trajectory of the United States is not just deteriorating rapidly, it’s definitionally unsustainable. That’s not crazy libertarians talking, that’s Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke. . . .

I eagerly look forward to this being blamed on libertarians, but even more than that I truly look forward to the day when the political class in this doddering country recognizes that you can’t just wave away a spending spiral by pretending that it doesn’t exist.


DODD-FRANK’S WINNERS: Revolving-Door Regulators.

Yet another reason for my 50% surtax on post-government earnings . . . . .

WHAT? LIBYA? OH, RIGHT: Scant Planning for Post-Qaddafi Libya.

Of course, at the rate we’re going — despite the days-or-weeks-but-not-months promise from several months ago — Qaddafi will die of old age before we kick him out anyway.

As I said a while back, “Waging war halfheartedly, on the cheap, and by committee is not a formula for success.”

Some criticized me at the time for not appreciating the brilliance of Obama’s plan. Well, the brilliance remains obscured.

UPDATE: Brits not buying ‘Days, Not Weeks’.

Meanwhile, the White House seems shockingly somnolent about Syria, even though Syria has been a much more serious enemy of the U.S. and Israel than Libya in recent years. “If there is a country in the Arab world where trying to shape events is a vital American interest, it’s Syria. For starters, the brutal regime is the linchpin to Iran’s growing influence in the region and a key transit point for weapons and insurgents heading to Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Successfully nurturing a friendly opposition in Syria could change the dynamics of the region and cut off at least three of Iran’s tentacles. Now that would really advance the cause of peace. Yet, in the one place where an active American role seems more than justified, Obama is acting like a deer caught in the headlights. Odd, isn’t it?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kim du Toit emails: “Pick ANY actual crisis that has faced this President, and the reaction has been identical. The only time he has been decisive is when there’s been an opportunity to punish his political adversaries.” It’s all a question of priorities, I guess.

MORE: Dodd Harris emails:

“Obama is acting like a deer caught in the headlights.”

I don’t think he’s acting.


UNEXPECTEDLY! Jobs Growth Slows to 54,000, May Unemployment Rate Up To 9.1 Percent.

UPDATE: Jeff Carter on what it means: “The effects of the crony capitalism economy are being seen in unemployment numbers. Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, huge unchecked runaway bureaucracy. It has created ‘The Great Uncertainty’. We are seeing people get frustrated and drop out of the work force. If you are a history major, check out charts from 1937-40. They might repeat themselves.”


ANOTHER UPDATE: “Chronic unemployment continues to rise, and continues to comprise a greater part of the unemployed as well.”

Plus this: “The number of unemployed in the workforce actually rose by almost 170,000, while the number of Americans not in the workforce fell by 105,000. That’s why the unemployment rate rose in this report. However, the workforce level in May 2011 is still more than 500,000 fewer people than a year ago, when the Obama administration tried selling its ‘Recovery Summer’ campaign.”

MORE: Job growth described as “paltry.”

IN THE WASHINGTON POST, JOHN TAYLOR REVIEWS Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner’s Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. Excerpt:

While many economists — including this reviewer — have argued that government actions caused the crisis, Morgenson and Rosner use their investigative skills to dig down and explain why those actions were taken. To avoid reckless policies in the future, we need to understand their causes, and the authors’ identification of government-industry links deserves careful consideration by anyone interested in improving the economy. . . .

The book then gives examples where Fannie’s executives — Jim Johnson, CEO from 1991 to 1998, is singled out more than anyone else — used the excess profits to support government officials in a variety of ways with plenty left over for large bonuses: They got jobs for friends and relatives of elected officials, including Rep. Barney Frank, who is tagged as “a perpetual protector of Fannie,” and they set up partnership offices around the country which provided more jobs. They financed publications in which writers argued that Fannie’s role in promoting homeownership justified federal support. They commissioned work by famous economists, such as Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, which argued that Fannie was not a serious risk to the taxpayer, countering “critics who argued that both Fannie and Freddie posed significant risks to the taxpayer.” They made campaign contributions and charitable donations to co-opt groups like the community action organization ACORN, which “had been agitating for tighter regulations on Fannie Mae.” They persuaded executive branch officials — such as then Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers — to ask their staffs to rewrite reports critical of Fannie. In the meantime, Countrywide, the mortgage firm led by Angelo Mozilo, partnered with Fannie in originating many of the mortgages Fannie packaged (26 percent in 2004) and gave “sweetheart” loans to politicians with power to affect Fannie, such as Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. The authors write that “Countrywide and Fannie Mae were inextricably bound.”

It’s interesting to me that there has been so little law enforcement — or journalistic — interest in the rampant corruption relating to these institutions’ collapse.


DERIVATIVES MARKETS’ PAYMENT PRIORITIES IN BANKRUPTCY: Harvard Law School’s Mark Roe summarizes his new article in this blog post.  “Stanford Law Review recently published my article, The Derivatives Market’s Payment Priorities as Financial Crisis Accelerator, in which I analyze the Bankruptcy Code’s role in undermining the stability of systemically-vital financial institutions.” The key observation, I think, having finished the article last night, is the role provisions of the bankruptcy code play in making certain derivatives accelerants in spreading systemic risk, by promoting the derivatives-holders to the front of the pack in bankruptcy.  The Dodd-Franck bill is, well, a work in progress; Michael Lewis’s The Big Short is a pretty good place to begin on derivatives and the financial crisis.

DAVID ZARING:  How’s the Implementation of Dodd-Frank Coming Along?  Not well, apparently.

DODD HARRIS: Nice move, Dearborn: You’ve made Terry Jones a Koran-burning martyr. “This case won’t have to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Michigan’s appellate court should vacate the convictions immediately. And then Pastor Jones will get to file his 1983 action and be entitled to damages from the state. All of which will do nothing but increase his media exposure and generate sympathy for his asshattery.”


From the comments: “Jones may be a whackadoddle but he sure knows how to force the contradictions. He submits a false premise and his opponents race to prove him right after all.”

DODD HARRIS: “Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Thursday filed a filed a Petition for Supervisory Writ [PDF] directly to the state Supreme Court over a circuit court judge’s temporary blocking of the Budget Repair Bill. The petition is absolutely devastating to Judge Sumi’s actions with respect to the bill.”

ARE YOU BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE four years ago? No, but at this rate we’re better off than we will be four years from now. So we’ve got that, anyway.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

There was an old Soviet joke that went:

“How are you doing?”

“About average–worse off than I was last year, but better off than I’ll be a year from now. So about average.”

Yes, that’s what I was invoking. My store of those jokes may be becoming relevant again. . . .

DODD HARRIS: REAL DOCTORS, FAKE NOTES. And the crowd at the eponymous Crooks and Liars blog tries to run interference. “One understands the impulse to discredit a narrative that harms one’s cause. But if the era of blogging, Twitter, and omnipresent video has proven one thing, it’s that it’s better not to jump the gun. Whatever credibility you have is destroyed when you’re proven wrong.” Luckily for them, the Crooks and Liars folks don’t have that much at risk!

Related: Naming Names. Plus, will Wisconsin’s Qui Tam law allow third-party lawsuits for sick-leave medical fraud?

UPDATE: Big Government’s Mike Flynn Confesses Elaborate Sting.

WALL STREET LOBBYISTS TO G.O.P.: Hands Off Dodd-Frank. They bought the bill fair and square, I guess. . . .

MICHAEL BARONE: Obama’s Antique Vision of Technological Progress. “If you put together Obama’s resistance to just about any serious changes in entitlement spending with his antique vision of technological progress, what you see is an America where the public sector permanently consumes a larger part of the economy than in the past and squanders the proceeds on white elephants like faux high-speed rail lines and political payoffs to the teacher and other public-sector unions. Private-sector innovation gets squeezed out by regulations like the Obama FCC’s net neutrality rules. It’s a plan for a static rather than dynamic economy.”

UPDATE: Dodd Harris emails: “Obama looks more like Wesley Mouch with each passing day.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Michael Walker writes: “…and Jeff Immelt is Orren Boyle.”

“COMBAT OPERATIONS HAVE ENDED:” Obama’s Afghanistan Gaffe. “He was getting Afghanistan mixed up with Iraq. If this were Reagan or George W. Bush, the press would be all over it, depicting the president as senile, stupid, doddering, a pawn of his aides or vice president, or worse. Instead, the press has almost entirely ignored it.” The narrative is that he’s a brilliant speaker. Facts that interfere with the narrative get ignored.

UPDATE: A reader emails: “First we have a SOTU that is heavily plagiarized and now a verbal blunder…..I think the evidence is clear he is merely a puppet for Joe Biden.” Heh.


America is no longer a democracy. It is now a tyranny of the heavily armed. That is Barbara Ehrenreich’s claim in today’s Los Angeles Times. Along with her colleague Frances Fox Piven, Ehrenreich is an Honorary Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. In today’s Op-Ed, Ehrenreich does her best to pretty up Piven’s call for rioting in America, while painting conservatives as gun-mad assassins.

I sense that the left is now running scared. The Nation erred in allowing Piven to call openly in its name for rioting in America. They’re likely even more worried now about damage to the Nation’s reputation than they are determined to silence conservatives. But at this point, they probably figure the best defense is an aggressive offense. Ehrenreich’s wild Op-Ed is the result. Here you will read what the Nation crowd really thinks of America.

Meh. It’s not like the “bitter clinger” line is anything new. The trouble is, these folks liked the idea of a dictatorship of the proletariat, so long as it wasn’t actually, you know, proletarian. ‘Cause those proles are just icky.

Meanwhile, since Ehrenreich seems to be trying to gloss over what Piven was calling for, let’s remember what those Greek riots she liked so much involved:

At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

Hooded protesters. Molotov cocktails. Three dead by fire, four hospitalized. This is Piven’s idea of a proper “people’s movement.” This is the kind of violence she was advocating. This is what she’d like to see happening in America, to Americans. And this is what her allies are trying to minimize, or distract attention from, by making false accusations aimed at innocent parties. Just for the record.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Just a quick thought on your Piven updates. The phrase “Hooded protesters. Molotov cocktails” made me initially think “that is doubly despicable, Priven & Ehrenreich are also Klan supporters”?

They don’t have a problem with the Klan’s choice of means, anyway. And reader George Wilson emails: “The ‘tyranny’ is the fear that a molotov cocktail might not be a match for Desert Eagle .50 or an AK-47.” Yes, there’s nothing more tyrannical than someone who refuses to be intimidated.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Scot Echols writes: “So let me see if I’ve got this right. Is Piven pissed off that the Tea Party protests weren’t violent?” I’m pretty sure that’s not it, but that’s an understandable mistake . . .

MORE: Dodd Harris sends this helpful illustration:

DODD HARRIS: How Not To Improve The Discourse.

RON RADOSH: The Second Time is Farce: Frances Fox Piven Calls for a new Cloward-Piven Strategy for Today. Actually, it was pretty much a farce the first time, as the original Cloward-Piven strategy wasn’t exactly a brilliant success. As for calls for “mass protests” and “unruly mobs” in favor of more socialism, modeled on the Greek riots, I can’t think of anything better for the Republicans. It’s like this is some sort of clever scheme using a doddering, easily manipulated provocateur, but who could . . . Karl Rove, you magnificent bastard!

TAINTED LOVE: Lockyer, Chiang Got Campaign Money From Fraud-Tainted Developer. “Two high-level state officials have frozen nearly $150,000 in campaign contributions raised for them by a low-income housing developer now accused of bilking government agencies. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and state Controller John Chiang said they have put the money into separate accounts while they await the outcome of a federal probe into Advanced Development and Investment Inc. The company has built dozens of subsidized apartment complexes up and down the state with taxpayer money. . . . Spokesmen for Lockyer and Chiang said that if the company is found to have committed wrongdoing, the two men will give the money back.”

Note that they’re not returning the money. Just, you know, freezing it. Somehow, though, this makes me think of Rep. William Jefferson, which I’m sure was not their hope . . . .

UPDATE: Dodd Harris emails:

What? No mention of escorting Bill Lockyer to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, “Hi, my name is Spike, honey.”?!?

I’m shocked — shocked!

Unlike Lockyer, I don’t regard prison rape as a political tool. Though if I were to make an exception, he’d be at the top of the list.


My Sunday Washington Examiner Column: The Nigel Tufnel Presidency.

Plus, more Spinal Tap prophecy. And Obama’s vision for America.

A political epitaph for Chris Dodd: Brought down by his own shady dealings.

The “Repeal Amendment” and its critics.

The sexual politics of sex and politics.

The Obama Administration’s War On Science.

China’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. Can nuclear paeans from Tom Friedman be far behind?

Faculty sabbaticals on the chopping block?

They told me if I voted for John McCain, the feds would be warrantlessly tracking Americans in their daily lives. And they were right! “Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.”

Camera and video gear on sale.

Was this the worst year for movies ever?

GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE: Shady Dealings Brought Dodd Down. “It isn’t the news cycle that causes the public to lose faith in political leaders, it’s the news of what they do with their authority. Dodd’s respect for the legislative process was not in view during that squalid episode. . . . The people of Connecticut took his measure anew and found Dodd wanting in fundamental ways. The system wasn’t broken — it worked, to Dodd’s disappointment.”


Peggy Noonan: “Not knowing how to feel humility or therefore show humility he decided to announce humility.”

It reminded me of Heather Havrilesky: “The move is classic Don Draper. He announces abruptly that he has evolved — instead of actually evolving.”

Plus, this conclusion from Noonan:

Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

Americans don’t want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They’ll vote no on that.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Numerous readers are still blaming Noonan for her earlier Obamamania. Reader Barry Dauphin writes: “So why did she fall all over him two years ago? He had even fewer accomplishments then.”

Like Draper, he can be seductive on short exposure. And reader Lawrence Loretoni writes:

I’m glad to see that Ms. Noonan’s eyes seem to be open at last. But she, like so many other Republican “moderates,” spent several months in 2008 lecturing the rest of us lower-class knuckle draggers about how Obama’s “superior temperament” and other star qualities made him a better choice than McCain for President. It would be nice if at least one of these pundits had the common decency to admit they were wrong. But I’m not going to hold my breath.


ANOTHER UPDATE: Dodd Harris says the comparison is unfair — to Don Draper:

I don’t think that analogy is entirely fair – to Don Draper. This last season was about the harrowing of Don Draper, just as this political season was the harrowing of Obama. But Don at least *experienced* it before not really changing. He was tortured, pushed to his limits, and forced to at least acknowledge his past failures. In the end, he chose the easy fix, but he at least plumbed the depths of his own manufactured past before doing so.

I’ve seen no sign Obama has done any of that. He’s still blaming everyone but himself.

Well, that’s the difference between real life and fiction, I guess . . . .

MORE: The Anchoress emails:

That Don Draper/ Obama comparison was brilliantly insightful. It squares well with this piece by Santiago Ramos who examines the shallow emptiness that is being revealed in Draper, and his confusion, but it also rings with Hiawatha Bray’s comments at the bottom of the piece. Bray mentions that Draper is bothered by women who are actual adults…I would argue that Obama too is bothered by adults…he wants the voters to be childlike, chanting three-word catchphrases and buying the product. he does not want adults who actually question, dare to oppose or wish to peer below the surface. Don Draper, indeed. A grad student could write a thesis on it!

And probably will!

WHAT’S WRONG WITH “THE NEW ELITE?” Forget cultural insularity or smugness. The main problem with the “new elite” is that they’re not an elite at all. That is, they aren’t particularly smart, or competent. They are credentialed, but those credentials aren’t so much markers for smartness or competence, or even basic education, as they are admission tickets to the Gentry Class, based on good standardized test scores. That’s fine — ETS was berry, berry good to me — but it doesn’t have much to do with ability to succeed, or lead, in the real world. Worse yet, it seems to have fostered a sense of entitlement.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Very long-time reader and first time emailer. Just my two cents on the elitists.

I am an elite anti-elitist Tea Partier and I made my first protest signs way back in March 2009. I’m a Yale [BA, Philosophy], Columbia [MA, International Affairs] former Wall Street trader and risk manager who is just about done getting another masters [in Library and Information Science] during a two-year “John Galt” sabbatical from work. I’ve met many, many Tea Partiers at this point and they are not anti-elitist in a general, superficial sense. Indeed, they most often admire those who have succeeded by dint of a good education or hard work or taking advantage of a bit of good luck. The subset of elitists that we are fed up with are the ones in the government, the media, and academia who think (erroneously) that they know better what we should be doing with our time every day and have the right to pick our pockets to fund it. Not only are we tired of being condescended to (and take my word for it, I could wipe the floor with most of them intellectually) but they’re obviously screwing everything up. So, to borrow Lee Harris’ word from his new book, we’re the “ornery” bastards who, from time to time, rise up to put the elite (and effete) corps of impudent snobs back in their place.

Please leave my name off this if you excerpt any of it. Living in the bluest of blue, I really don’t want a busload of SEIU protesters on my front lawn.

Meh. Last time they tried that, they couldn’t even fill the bus. But okay.

And reader Carl Stritter writes: “Our betters; Bitterly clinging to their sheepskins and NPR tote bags and waiting for that Government job so that they don’t have to, you know, perform.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jim Bennett emails:

I’ve been thinking about this, and I am starting to think that the problems with a meritocratic elite are essentially the same as those of a centrally planned economy. Every meritocratic system is ultimately dependent upon some set of metrics to judge merit. But just as no centrally planned economy can create metrics that adequately describe the needed outputs of industry, no one meritocratic system can create metrics that adequately describe all of the characteristics needed to be, collectively, the decsion-makers of a society. Inevitably, the young people start performing to the metrics rather than the desired characteristics themselves. The university system has now created a truly bizarre set of success metrics (e.g., pleasing a professor of critical theory) and it is little wonder that many kids graduate after an expensive education and have almost no capabilities that fit them for work in the real world. To the extent that we make a graduate degree a necessary qualification for any real work we are getting the intellectual equivalent of the slop that Soviet factories churned out toward the end.

Any single meritocratic system that uses a single set of metrics will suffer from this version of the fatal conceit. America has historically been run not by any sort of meritocratic system but rather by a reasonably open system with multiple paths to the top, with many competing sets of metrics along the various paths. Making a lot of money has always been one of those metrics, and frankly, it’s not such a bad one. I’d hate to be in a society in which is was the only one. Still, even that is better than the current system, of which the ultimate product is Barack Obama.

The old American system wasn’t perfect. There were categories of people who had no good path to the top, or even the upper strata, and that was a waste of good talent. But we would be much better off if we could go back to something like an improved version of the old system before the current system becomes entirely entrenched.

A subject worthy of further study.

MORE: Dodd Harris references this Robert Heinlein quote:

Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.



“Progressive” commentary about the Tea Party movement — such as E.J. Dionne’s assertion that it reflects the “anti-statism” of the Anti-Federalists who lost out at America’s founding — does more to illuminate the lack of knowledge of political history of the commentators than the reality of the movement.

Well, studying political history is almost as boring as reading that Hayek guy, whoever he was. Or knowing what Herbert Hoover actually did. Squaresville, man.

UPDATE: Yes, the Hayek thing is a reference to this: “He’s so unhip, when you talk about Dylan, he thinks you’re talking about Dylan Thomas. Whoever HE was. The man ain’t got no culture.” Now I’m going to have that going through my head for the rest of the day. Andy Warhol, won’t you please come home? Well, I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce . . . .

ANDY KESSLER: What’s The Matter With Wall Street? “There are too many traders, bankers and salesmen to support the new level of business. Thanks to Dodd-Frank, the shrinking of finance will continue.”

DODD HARRIS: I Don’t Really Care If GOP Takes Back The Senate. “I’m a libertarian, but not one of the hard core that seems to exist mainly to make any perfect the enemy of every good. As such, despite his mushiness on some issues I care about, I could say that I had a mild preference for Castle and a GOP Senate over O’Donnell and no GOP Senate. But, as I’ve already said, nothing I’ve seen convinced me that Castle was the key to a GOP takeover. And there’s plenty to like in O’Donnell’s victory.”

Plus, O’Donnell has raised half a million three quarters of a million dollars since yesterday, which is something I doubt Mike Castle could have done.

JONATHAN ADLER: Did Chris Dodd Read His Own Bill? Nah. They have lobbyists for that.

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS: Masculinity was to blame. Yeah, when I look at Barney Frank and Chris Dodd — and Tim Geithner — all I think of is testosterone.

MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI ON MARTHA NUSSBAUM ON BURQA BANS: “I must say that it is rather distressing to see a progressive public intellectual with a rigorous training in philosophy arguing so badly. It is in fact rather ironic that throughout her essay Nussbaum accuses her opponents of adopting a double cultural standard, while at the same time flagrantly doing the same herself, point after point.”

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Dodd Harris.

OVER AT THE CONGLOMERATE, a forum on Dodd-Frank.

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: The Truly Bizzare “Logic” of Dodd-Frank’s Shareholder Empowerment Provisions.

CORRUPTION WATCH: First Chris Dodd: Now his wife?


WaPo Ombudsman: Why the silence from The Post on Black Panther Party story? I think we know why, but thanks for noticing.

Joe The Plumber Fixes BP Oil Leak. Okay, a different Joe The Plumber. But still.

More non-newsworthy violence. Must fit the narrative to be newsworthy.

A dangerous disaffection.

Critiquing the design of the new DOJ website. Black is the new black.

Dodd-Frank and the Nondelegation Doctrine.

GOP Dumps On Tea Party, Right-Blogs. It’s called the “stupid party” for a reason. On the other hand, beware divide-and-conquer journalism . . .

“Te Amo.”

John Galt was unavailable for comment.

Generation Y’s Empty Piggy Bank.

Angelo Codevilla: America’s Ruling Class — And The Perils Of Revolution. Related thoughts here.

U.S. Government Orders 73,000 Private Websites Offline.

The Labor Movement in, er, action.

Is The United States Ready For The Next Big Quake? No.

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Dodd-Frank And The Non-Delegation Doctrine.

FORBES: “The Dodd-Frank bill does nothing to deal with Wall Street’s central problem: systemic non-disclosure. . . . Dodd-Frank is a full-employment act for regulators that addresses everything but the root causes of the financial collapse.”

SENATE VIP LOANS MOUNT: Countrywide Dealt With More Lawmakers and Staffers Than Previously Known. It’s not just Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, then.

STOLEN VALOR: Democratic Senate candidate lied about serving in Vietnam:

Not just any Democratic Senate candidate, either. It’s Richard Blumenthal, current attorney general of Connecticut, whom Chris Dodd made way for by retiring earlier this year. He’s been leading all Republican challengers by upwards of 20 points in the polls and was considered a mortal lock to win the seat in November. Until now.

Read the whole thing, as the Professor would say. And incidentally, if by chance Blumenthal is elected, he wouldn’t be the only Democrat in the Senate caught lying about serving in Vietnam.



DODD’S CONNECTICUT KICKBACK: “That’s no minor oversight, because insurance companies, like AIG, tend to have thrift charters rather than bank charters. So, as the bill stands now, AIG and other insurers that accepted massive bailout funds, such as The Hartford, would not be automatically covered. That’s a head-scratcher only if you forget that most insurance companies reside in Dodd’s home state, Connecticut.”

SHOCKER: Chris Dodd’s Carve-Out For Cronies.

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: The Corporate Governance Provisions of the Dodd Wall Street Reform Bill: What Others Are Saying.

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: The Pernicious Corporate Governance Provisions Of The Dodd Bill.

POLITICO: Dems Haunted By Corporate Ties: “President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are promising a climactic clash with Wall Street, but there’s a complication in their battle plan: The Democratic Party is closer to corporate America — and to Wall Street in particular — than many Democrats would care to admit.”

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Michael Barone. “Republicans have been accurately attacking the Dodd bill for authorizing bailouts of big Wall Street firms and giving them unfair advantages over small competitors. They might want to add that it authorizes Gangster Government — the channeling of vast sums from the politically unprotected to the politically connected.”

KA-CHING: Wall Street Cashes Out Investment In Chris Dodd. “The financial industry built Dodd’s career, so why shouldn’t it profit from the demise of it? It’s like a political credit-default swap. It’s a perfect fit for the Goldman Sachs era on Wall Street: No matter who loses, they win.”

I WIN OVER ANOTHER ONE: Dodd Harris emails:

Your most recent post over the weekend about portable video finally pushed me to order that Flip MiniHD I’ve been considering. I got this one (2nd Gen 120 min model) for $178.00.

It arrived this afternoon (ah, Amazon Prime, how I love thee!). 5 minutes out of the box it had installed and upgraded its own software and was charging. Once I’ve played with it some (i.e., April 15) I’ll send an update, but if its other functionality is half as elegant as getting it setup, I know I’m going to be very, very pleased with it. And, as a 40+ type who remembers the bulky, heavy, hugely expensive video cameras of the 80s, the size, price, and storage is nothing short of astonishing.

Indeed. And small video cameras are essential Tea Party equipment, necessary to beat back bogus charges from dishonest critics . . . .

UPDATE: Reader John Kranz emails:

Professor Reynolds

I laughed at your “I win over another one” post.

I bought a Flip on your good counsel last year and used it to film the first tea party I attended.

Then I got to thinking… I started using it for short music videos, and started a “virtual coffeehouse” with some old band members.

I have MS and had stopped playing both because my playing was off and I could no longer really navigate gigs. The virtual coffeehouse is low-rent and non-lucrative even by the standards of my career. Yet I have had a blast and started playing again which has really picked up my mood.

It has almost been a year since I started posting (I just embed on YouTube and use blog software). I have not made my goal of every week, but almost.

You don’t even sense your own powers, do you?

I get a vague idea, now and then. . .


But I suppose GOP groups — seeing how this worked against Palin in Alaska — should be ginning up lame ethics complaints against Democratic targets, too. Turnabout is fair play.

WILL CHRIS DODD destroy Silicon Valley?

PETER SUDERMAN ON THE FCC: A doddering bureaucracy whose time has passed.

WATCHDOGS WITHOUT BITE: “After a 14-month investigation, the Senate ethics committee decided it was OK that corrupt Sen. Christopher Dodd took sweetheart mortgages from Countrywide Financial, despite his role as a congressional overseer of the nation’s lenders. The committee accepted his implausible explanations because the ethics code is a massive gray area, intentionally so. The code mostly exists to give the public the impression senators are serious about weeding out corruption. They are not.”


REALLY, WORKING WITH CHRIS DODD ISN’T A GOOD IDEA: Dodd-Corker Fed Bill May Contain Left-Wing “Shareholder” Power Grab.

UPDATE: More questions from Erick Erickson at RedState. “Senator Corker, this is bad stuff. Cut it out.”

MESSAGE TO BOB CORKER: Praise from Chris Dodd is not necessarily a positive.

IF BROWN WINS TODAY, will Boxer pull a Dodd?

UPDATE: Related: Boxer opponent Tom Campbell on the national debt and what to do about it.

DAN FROOMKIN: Voters Who Lost Faith In Dodd Wouldn’t Trust Obama’s Economics Team Either. “Voters get it: Certain actions are disqualifying from public life. So I can’t help but imagine what would happen if the public were allowed to directly weigh in on the cast of characters who make up President Obama’s economic team.”

KEVIN RENNIE ON CHRIS DODD: Dodd’s Agenda Backfired Right Before His Eyes.

UH OH: Feingold Criticizes Reid, Declines to Endorse Him as Leader.

UPDATE: Wisconsin reader Robert Gleason writes: “I wonder if this is the beginning of a scramble for power among Senate Democrats? His reference to the caucus meeting next week and that he has ‘not decided’ how to respond might indicate that he is holding out for something. With Dodd out and Reid on the ropes and Obamacare ‘hanging by a thread’ this might be a good time for an ambitious Senator or two to make a move.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: “African-Americans For Harry Reid” Facebook Page Lists 5 Fans… 4 Are White.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES ON Chris Dodd’s poor personal decisions. “Far more troubling was Dodd’s relationship with mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, which appears to have given him a sweetheart deal on a pair of loans under a VIP program called “Friends of Angelo,” named for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Though Dodd was cleared of wrongdoing by the Senate Ethics Committee, he should have known better than to accept special terms from a company whose regulation he oversaw. And then there was Dodd’s cottage in Ireland.”

UPDATE: A reader notes that the L.A. Times waited until Dodd withdrew and the seat looked safe for the Dems to level this criticism. I think that’s right — at least, I don’t remember any LAT editorials condemning Dodd earlier. Did I miss something?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Kevin Murphy notes:

The LA Times editorial ends, however, with an incredible falsehood:

“This failure to properly account for what looks very much like a gift from a wealthy acquaintance is similar to the shenanigans that ended the political career of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska.”

IIRC, the “shenanigans” that ended Stevens’ career were those of the federal prosecutors.

Good point.

BLUMENTHAL doesn’t want to talk about TARP. Well, can you blame him? I’ll bet Chris Dodd didn’t want to talk about mortgages, either . . . .

RUMOR: Chris Dodd for Treasury Secretary?

Might as well go with Peter Orszag as Families Czar.

UPDATE: “Integrity.”

CHRIS DODD as a “Tea Party success story.”

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: Worst on-air mauling ever?

UPDATE: Reader Patrick McHale writes:

Two things struck me about the Glenn Beck clip.

1. Mr. Blumenthal is amazingly listless and boring in the defense of his actions. If this is how the guy campaigns, a decent Republican with a firm grasp of the issues facing the country and a modicum of charisma should be able to destroy him in a debate. A caveat, this is based on the performance in this clip, perhaps he is better when campaigning but it did not appear so from this interview. Politics is part presentation and his was awful.

2. The line of questioning from Beck shows how easy it is to call out Mr. Blumenthal on the over-reach of his office and his trouble in providing the legal basis for his actions.

“Listless and boring” indeed. He’s an apparatchik with an apparatchik’s ways.

MICKEY KAUS: Now Angelo Mozilo can safely title his autobiography “Dodd is My Co-Pirate.”

WHY CHRIS DODD pulled the plug. “The healthcare bounce was showing no signs of making an appearance. The imminent passage of the behemoth bill is hardening, not easing, the public’s hostility to incumbents.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd to Step Aside. “Embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has scheduled a press conference at his home in Connecticut Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, according to sources familiar with his plans.” Angelo Mozilo was not available for comment.

UPDATE: Roger Kimball: “Well, 30 years with his lips sewn to the public teat was probably enough.” Ouch.

ANOTHER UPDATE: “Maybe Harold Ford Jr. can run in Connecticut, too. Will the last person at the DNC please turn on the lights.”


Sometimes I’m amazed at the speed with which highly provocative information like this GSE business can be converted into distracting propaganda in this country. In the right hands Pinto’s analysis of the GSEs — just like the revelations in the past few years about practices at AIG, Moody’s, Countrywide, Goldman Sachs, the Fed, and, hell, let’s add the offices of Senator Chris Dodd — would have been a starting point for a deeper investigation into a financial system that is clearly a complex and intimate symbiosis of state and private corruption.

I’m noticing an increasing overlap in themes from people on the left and the right here.

CHRIS DODD TOPS THE LIST of most corrupt politicians of 2009.

UPDATE: Oops, didn’t notice that the list he’s topping is alphabetical. But hey, I’d give him top billing even if his name were Zwilnik!

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd Cut Aviation Security Funding In July.

CHRIS DODD RETURNS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, only to be heckled at the airport.

READERS WRITE IN CHRIS DODD for “financial villain of the decade.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: NPR: Connecticut Senator Fights “Dump Dodd” Sentiment.

HEH: Dodd Polling Below Libertarian Republican Peter Schiff.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: HARTFORD COURANT: Do The Dump Dodders Matter? Well, they’re certainly not a good sign.


The Insta-Wife On New Trends Among College Women.

Ann Althouse on Health Care Cost Containment. “Although women tend to love the notion of government control more than men do, it is women who will be told they’ll have to cut back. On treatments. And years. You know we’ve been taking more than our share.”

Reposting my recipe for Thanksgiving Leg Of Lamb.

Andrew Breitbart smacks the Columbia Journalism Review.

My love for the Universal Package Opener and the handy light-bulb changer.

Chris Dodd slips through the back door to avoid protesters.

Political advice from Robert Heinlein.

Rewards for prosecutors who do wrong.

Charlie Martin explains the unfolding ClimateGate scandal.

And Saturday Night Live parodies Obama in China.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd Dodges Protesters:

Rather than face a crowd of protestors who jeered at his appearance, Sen. Chris Dodd entered LaCupola’s restaurant through the back entrance Saturday for a luncheon with Democrats.

Lining Route 202 and carrying signs that read “Dump Dodd,” more than 80 protestors underscored the political perils the senator faces as he runs for a seventh-term.

Quinnipiac polls released earlier this month show 54 percent of Connecticut voters disapprove of Dodd’s job performance. Polls have him trailing Republican challenger Rob Simmons by more than 10 percent ahead of next year’s election.

Seems that whole health-care thing isn’t buying him much popularity. . . .

ANOTHER FAKE CANDIDACY FOR A FAKE DISTRICT: Dodd Harris emails: “I announced my candidacy for Kentucky’s new 00th (Zero-Zeroth or Aught-Aughth?) a couple of days ago on Facebook. I live in KY-03, but it seems pretty obvious there’s no residency requirement.”

TIM CAVANAUGH: Corruption, Panic and Incompetence Fueled Geithner’s Backstairs Intrigue. “Tim Geithner needs to be fired. He needs to be fired in 2008, and he needs to be fired even more in 2009. Any fair reading of the SIGTARP report leads to the conclusion that he lacks the competence, the honesty and the moral character to run the Treasury of the United States. Unfortunately it’s hard to fire a man for things he did before you hired him. But lucky for us, Geithner is providing new examples every day.”

Related: The Hill: Dodd Opponent Wants Geithner To Be Replaced.

Also, How Geithner Could Hurt Dodd.

LIMITED ENTHUSIASM FOR Barney Frank and Chris Dodd’s banking “fix.” “You have to hand it to the ethically challenged Dodd, he of the sweetheart mortgages from Countrywide. He possesses a unique ability to overlook the role he played, turning a blind eye to problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two former government- sponsored enterprises that were placed in conservatorship last year.”


Dodd’s lengthy record of ethical questions has clearly taken its toll.

Among his transgressions:

* In 2003, Dodd received two cut-rate mortgages totaling nearly $800,000 from subprime-mortgage lending giant Countrywide Financial.

The special mortgages apparently came about because the senator was dubbed a “Friend of Angelo,” Countrywide co-founder Angelo Mozilo.

A Senate ethics committee determined last summer that Dodd violated no rules. But home-state voters appear unwilling to let Dodd off that easily.

* In 1994, Dodd purchased a one-third share of an Irish vacation home; the other two-thirds were bought by businessman William Kessinger, partner of one Edward Downe, who pleaded guilty to insider trading the same year.

In 2001, Dodd successfully lobbied the Clinton White House for a presidential pardon for Downe. A year later, Dodd took full ownership of the Irish property from Kessinger — at a mere fraction of its appraised value.

* In February, Dodd introduced an amendment to the stimulus package that guaranteed that executives from firms receiving government bailouts — including AIG — remained eligible for bonuses.

With such baggage, no wonder 53 percent of Connecticut residents say Dodd doesn’t deserve re-election.


MICHAEL BARONE LOOKS AT THE POLLS and finds more bad Democratic numbers. Republicans shouldn’t take too much comfort from this, though, as the elections are still a year away. If they want to win, they’ll have to work.

But I liked this: “Dodd’s approval numbers look a lot like those of defeated New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Poll: Chris Dodd In Trouble. “Perhaps the real story is about President Obama. According to poll director Douglas Schwartz, PhD, ‘Barack Obama is still popular with independents, but voters say that his support of Dodd won’t affect their Senate vote.’ While Obama’s personal popularity remains high, it doesn’t appear he’s able to nudge candidates up in the polls. Despite endorsing and campaigning for New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie still won handily. A last-ditch effort to help Creigh Deeds in Virginia had no visible impact on Republican Bob McDonnell’s blow-out victory.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Poll: Dodd Approval Rating Drops. “A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd’s approval rating has declined again, and two Republicans would beat him in head-to-head matchups in next year’s election. The poll released Thursday says 54 percent of registered voters surveyed last week disapprove of the job Dodd is doing, up from 49 percent in September. Dodd’s approval rating had inched up in the polls for several months before the latest survey.”

BREVITY, BY CAPITOL HILL STANDARDS: Chris Dodd’s financial “reform” bill is 1136 pages long, and “impenetrable.” No word on whether it bans sweetheart mortgage deals for members of Congress . . . but I know the way to bet.

OBAMA RIDES TO CHRIS DODD’S RESCUE: Dodd Getting Presidential Help in Reelection Campaign.

Embattled Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Ct.), whose low approval ratings make him one of the most vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election next year, gets help from President Obama tonight.

Obama will appear at a $1,000-per person fundraising event for Dodd in Stamford.

Dodd is crucial to Obama’s hopes for getting the overhaul of the regulation of financial services passed. The House Financial Services Committee is currently marking up the measure. Yesterday it approved the component that would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. . . .

Dodd’s low approval ratings stem from several factors, including the sluggish economy and questions raised about favorable treatment he received on a mortgage from Countrywide Home Loans.

Dodd will need all the help he can get, though Obama’s record with Corzine and Deeds may worry him.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: A bumpy ride for Democrats. “Five-term Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut remains on the toss-up list as a result of the sweetheart mortgage loans he received from Countrywide Financial. The Senate ethics panel cleared him of wrongdoing, but the Countrywide investigation has been reopened by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, which keeps the damaging issue alive. Former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons is leading him in the polls by five points.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: The Countrywide Files: A revolt forces Ed Towns to subpoena the ‘Friends of Angelo’ documents. “As the largest subprime lender and valued partner of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Countrywide was at the core of the mortgage meltdown. The political class wants to blame the mania and panic on the bankers, but the bankers couldn’t have made the subprime lending mess without plenty of political help from Congress. To ensure that this disaster is never repeated, it is critical that Congress uncovers the facts about the extraordinary efforts by Countrywide and Fannie and Freddie to influence federal housing policy.”

But, of course, the phone records are “lost.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: U.S. House Committee To Subpoena Countrywide Records. Of course, some of those records have been “lost.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd: It’s time to “move on” from talk of VIP loan. I’m sure he feels that way . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Scandals, But No Censure.

Two years ago, after a scandal that centered on the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the House created an independent ethics office as part of what Speaker Nancy Pelosi called an effort to end the “culture of corruption” in Washington. The Senate also took action, setting up what it described as tough new regulations.

Since then, however, no member of Congress has been censured, the toughest punishment short of expulsion, despite a number of recent scandals involving sexual impropriety, financial dealings and conflicts of interest. The record illustrates how Congress has struggled to police itself after years in which its ethics committees were often derided as ineffectual.

I don’t think they’re “struggling.” I don’t think they’re even trying very hard to look as if they’re struggling.

Read the whole thing, but here’s the bottom-line quote: “Congress will protect its own, no matter what.”

A “PINCH-SULZBERGER-APPROVED REPUBLICAN” running against Chris Dodd? If so, that suggests that the Dems are really worried about that seat . . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd tops Politico’s list of Senators Who Could Lose in 2010.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: President Obama to Appear at Fundraiser for Sen. Dodd on October 23. Wonder if any Tea Partiers will show up?

CHRIS DODD’S EXTREME MAKEOVER. Which is genuine? “Friend of Angelo” or Tribune Of The People? I’m guessing number one, here . . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: More on those “lost” Countrywide phone tapes.

More on that here.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Secret Countrywide Phone Tapes Destroyed:

The discovery that Countrywide Financial Corp. recorded phone conversations with borrowers in a controversial mortgage program that included public officials — and that those recordings have been destroyed — has prompted new congressional calls for more information about the program.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is trying to subpoena the remaining records of Countrywide’s VIP loan program. So far, the committee’s chairman, New York Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns, has turned down that request. . . . Among the prominent VIP program borrowers were two Democratic senators, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota. Both men have denied wrongdoing, and said they never asked for favorable loan terms from Countrywide. . . .

In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Towns, the oversight committee chairman, had received two mortgages from Countrywide — one on his home in Brooklyn and the other on a house in Florida. The loan documents indicated that both had been processed through the VIP unit. At the time, a Towns spokeswoman said his decision not to subpoena the VIP records had “nothing to do with his mortgages.” If the mortgages, which were originated in 2003, came through the VIP unit, Mr. Towns was unaware of that fact and never asked for special treatment, the spokeswoman said.

Sure is convenient that those tapes are gone. . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble. “With Chris Dodd keeping his seat as Senate Banking Committee Chair, the players for the battle royale on regulatory intrusion are set. When not explaining his Countrywide-related actions to the Senate Ethics Committee, the good senator has made good sport out of arguing that when it comes to financial markets, government he knows best.”