Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Digging out

more catch-up shorters.

Who told on the Blagster?:

"The Blagster". Woof.

The latest rumor is that Rahm Emmanuel is the one who narc'd on Blagojevich. Clive Crook makes a point I hadn't thought of: given that we know that Blagojevich demanded pay for play from them, it had better be someone from the Obama campaign who snitched, or it's going to look very, very bad for the President-Elect:
Concern troll fail. There is no "could", there is only "is". This is an Obama scandal, because the right is mentally ill and inflict their pathology on the national discourse. Megan knows this, and both participates in and profits from it, which means she truly failed in this post.

Chuck Colson: should there be second acts in American life?:

Ladies and gentlemen, gather 'round for one of the stupidest things ever said. I have to quote the entire post.
Hilzoy is mad that he's getting the Presidential Citizens Medal. She offers a highlight reel of his offenses during the Nixon administration and then concludes:
The one episode that will always sum up Chuck Colson for me is his plan to firebomb the Brookings Institution. Imagine: a Special Counsel to the President of the United States actually proposing to firebomb a centrist political think-tank.

When I think of "U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for the nation", Chuck Colson is not exactly the sort of person who leaps to mind. But then, when I think of "good judges of people's exemplary service", George W. Bush doesn't exactly leap to mind either.
This seems, perhaps, just a trifle incomplete. This biography ends in 1975. Surely, Chuck Colson has been up to something since then?

Well, just experiencing a genuine jailhouse conversion, and spending the rest of his life building an enormous prison ministry that has done amazing work on prisoner rehabilitation and prison reform. I don't share his faith, but I recognize that the guy has dedicated the larger portion of his life to helping the most reviled members of society.
I'm too out of practice to snark this. Colson wanted to blow up the fucking NYTimes building in Times Square, but he redirected his authoritarian instincts away from trying to control people via literal force to using God's name to tell them what to do so it's all good now. And why'd they have to persecute poor Eichmann, too?
(Colson cannot be Godwined. It's a fair comparison.)

Entirely too glib:
I don't understand what Mark Kleiman is trying to get at here, either by labelling Glenn Reynolds a "Glibertarian"
Heh, indeed.
There is often an operating assumption that failing to vigorously suggest regulation, or to preface/postface any post about a problem in the world with a sarcastic remark about how if it weren't for all the jerks who don't vote for Democrats, this never would have happened, is actually equivalent to stating that anarchocapitalism works.
Oh, goody. A word she doesn't actually know the meaning of.
I also really, really wish that liberals would drop the "Glibertarian" label. First of all, I don't like any variation on political labels designed to insult, and I doubt that Mark thinks the use of "Dimmocrat" reflects well on the person who employs it. And second of all, on the internet the label is usually deployed by liberals who have taken it upon themselves to define what a "real" libertarian is, i.e. a libertarian who has never publicly much disagreed with said liberals. We don't go around writing people out of the progressive movement, or putting block quotes around "progressive", no matter how foolish we think the people are, or how badly we think their stated positions betray the true goals of the movement. Why not put aside the juvenile name-calling and engage the arguments?
If you had an argument, Megan, maybe we could engage it. You don't successfully mask your inherent selfish, greedy nature with your pretend regard for others. Ezra and Matt are fooled, but they're career minded tools.
In summary, you, Megan, are a glib asshole, and therefore a glibertarian. Whine about it some more, though, I love Miss Preemptive 2x4 calling for civility.

Holiday gift guide: Cookbook edition:

Wouldn't it be easier just to post the contents of the package every time you get a box from Amazon than writing up these lists, Megan?

Criminal non-conspiracies:

Gotta just put up the whole post again;
A reader sent me this, regarding the post about how few crimes have so far been uncovered:
Well, since that post was written, we've found out about a potential $50 billion fraud at Bernard Madoff, a mere $100 million alleged fraud by Marc Dreier, and some dude in Miami who was rewriting the value of mortgages to make the associated securities more valuable. And that's just in 2 weeks with the limited resources that the FBI and SEC have to find this stuff relative to the total scale of what was going on.

Various things went wrong to produce the current financial shambles. But one of them was an "if it feels good, don't stop it" regulatory ethos that came straight from the top of government. That ethos attracts particular kinds of people.
This is convenient, since I was about to write a follow-up post on the same topic. The recession is uncovering a lot of shenanigans, as recessions usually do.
Nonetheless, I beg to differ about his interpretation. First of all, all of these things, while nasty, are sideshows; the economy would have fallen exactly as far and fast without them. P. O'Neill is confusing correlation with causation. The normal amount of fraud that pervades society is easier to uncover when bubbles collapse and con men are left short. The more interesting sort of fraud, which we may or may not find, will come out of the big banks and Frannie Mac.
Second of all, all of the stuff detailed in this post is very, very illegal. It isn't something that regulators nod and wink at. It isn't the kind of thing that Bush directed his SEC to go easy on. No one, at any time, in any regulatory agency, changed their opinion about the virtues of counterfeiting securities and impersonating pension officials.
People who make more money than Megan do so because they are fundamentally better people, and she simply will not hear them spoken ill of. To paraphrase Nixon, it's not a crime if a rich person does it.

Break time.

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