The Kochs and the Commons

Suppose I had a business where what I do is find people who live in flood prone areas and threaten to wreck their houses unless they pay me money. That would be called an extortion racket, not capitalism. I don’t own those people’s houses. Real capitalism requires the government to restrain me from knocking the houses down. Similarly, I can’t just stand in the middle of a busy intersection, cause a traffic jam, and then shout “free market” when the cops try to take me away. After all, I don’t own the intersection any more than I own your house. So what about Koch Industries and its substantial fossil fuel interests. Do they own the air? Do they own the homes of people in flood-prone areas? To the best of my knowledge, that’s not the case. Charles Koch no more owns the air than I own his house or the interstate highway system. So why is “Koch Industries is allowed to spew whatever it wants into the air” considered a free market position? In part, it’s a misunderstanding. But to a much larger extent it’s a branding triumph. The basic point about pollution and regulation was understood by classical economists and political theorists, was understood by Hayek, is understood by right-of-center politicians in Europe, etc. But in America, things are different, and that’s in large part a triumph of some very self-interested philanthropy.

From The Kochs and the Commons

Listening to the Kochs complain about crony capitalism is like listening to someone eating a free lunch complain about the food being awful and the portions too small. 

Giuliani’s law firm seeking bailout business

In the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani has begun drumming up business, positioning his law firm to advise corporate clients on how to profit from the government’s $700 billion bailout.

From:
Giuliani’s law firm seeking bailout business – Newsday.com

So at what point is he going to claim that we need this bailout because of 9/11 and it would help the terrorists if we question if his firm is going to gorge itself on taxpayer dollars? 9/11! 9/11!.

Why Bush stands by his incompetents

The more radioactive his aides become, the more Bush embraces them. With Gonzales, the president was particularly alone in this stance. Conservatives who might otherwise defend Bush against Democrats were appalled by Gonzales’ incompetence and the utter waste of time and energy devoted to cleaning up his messy department. Why does Bush hang on until his mistakes are glowing?

From:
Why Bush stands by his incompetents. – By John Dickerson – Slate Magazine

My pet theory on this is that the president doesn’t see a difference between I think and I know. Since he thinks that someone is a good man; that should be the same as knowing that person is a good man. It is common for some parts of the faith based community to view opinions; when held strongly enough, magically become equal to any facts someone else may have. So it really doesn’t matter to him how poorly a person performs so long as it doesn’t effect what he personally thinks about that person’s performance.

The Project On Government Oversight

The Project On Government Oversight follows a rich tradition of assuring that the government continues to work for the people it represents. Our nation was founded on the very principle that representation and accountability are fundamental to maintaining a strong and functioning democracy. Today, these principles espoused by our founding fathers are under attack as our federal government is more vulnerable than ever to the influence of money in politics and powerful special interests.

The Project On Government Oversight

Really nice resource.

Bill to Let Medicare Negotiate Drug Prices Is Blocked

A pillar of the Democratic political program tumbled today when Republicans in the Senate blocked a proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for millions of older Americans, a practice now forbidden by law.

From Bill to Let Medicare Negotiate Drug Prices Is Blocked

Can someone please explain why forbidding the Government from negotiating the best deal for the tax payers makes sense to anyone? Even in the era of no-bid contracts and crony-capitalism this is just silly.

GSA Chief Is Accused of Playing Politics

Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove’s political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.

From GSA Chief Is Accused of Playing Politics – washingtonpost.com

Wow. Just when you thought there couldn’t be anything worse than the US Attorney scandal.

Americans Overwhelmingly Believe President Bush Should Not Pardon Libby

new CNN poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly believe that President Bush should not pardon Scooter Libby, who was convicted last week on felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

From
Think Progress

Since when has this administration cared what the majority think? Frankly, I view the inevitable Bush pardon of Libby as if it were Mayor McCheese granting a pardon to The Hamburglar. Both are absurd, cynical mockeries of our justice system.

Libby will be sentenced on June fifth. My guess is that the pardon will be granted on June 1st, the last Friday before sentencing.

Rove in action

Tim Griffin, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, admits his appointment in December was political, but maintains he’s qualified to hold the post.

From kuar NewsRoom via Think Progress

Anyone else think that the placement of a Rove staffer as the US Attorney in Arkansas might have something to do with Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign? Anyone want to start a betting pool on when this staffer will start investigating Clinton’s actions at her old law firm?