Ripping “no more boom and bust” Brown a new one.

Daniel Hannan is Conservative MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for South East England. In his blog at the UK’s Telegraph (AKA the Torygraph) yesterday, Hannan notes that:

Twenty-four hours ago, I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown. I tipped off the BBC and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me: I am, after all, simply a backbench MEP…

When I woke up this morning, my phone was clogged with texts, my email inbox with messages. Overnight, the YouTube clip of my remarks had attracted over 36,000 hits. By today, it was the most watched video in Britain.

How did it happen, in the absence of any media coverage? The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what’s news. The days when a minister gave briefings to a dozen lobby correspondents, and thereby dictated the next day’s headlines, are over. Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting. If enough of them are tickled then, bingo, you’re news. (Huge thanks to all those who linked: Guido, Iain Dale, Tim Montgomerie, James Delingpole, Donal Blaney, Dizzy, Devil, James Forsyth, PoliticalBetting, Gerald Warner and the rest. And jumbo thanks to all the American bloggers: you chaps are way ahead of us in this regard.)

I personally disagree with Hannan’s politics as a rule – he is first and foremost an opponent of the Lisbon Treaty, which I consider crucial to the long-term future of the EU, and in any case I have a long-standing and deep-rooted aversion to the Tory party in general. Blogging on the Torygraph (which is only a few notches down from the Daily HateMail) doesn’t necessarily go in his favour either.

However I was rather impressed with him here. His speech is particularly topical to the UK since the British Treasury recently failed for the first time since 2002 to raise 100% of a gilt issue on the markets – they only raised about 93%. This is significant in large part because usually British government gilts are in very high demand, and frequently over-subscribed by 200% or more.

This really is European politics as its best:

Below the fold is a speech by William Hague, from January last year. (more…)

A big fight brewing in the GOP over LGBT.

 While we all know the Republican party is broken there seems to be a big disagreement about having LGBTs part of the GOP.  We all know that the Religious Reich is the remaining base and they do not want the Log Cabin Republicans part of the Republican Party.  We know the Peter has been out front on this.

A few weeks ago, Peter LaBarbera unleashed a pre-emptive attack against new Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, warning him not to even consider meeting with the Log Cabin Republicans, whom he called “homosexual activists whose agenda would restrict our precious religious and First Amendment freedoms by using the government to promote aberrant sexual lifestyles.”


We also have seen the direction the governor of Vermont has decided to go threatening to veto Marriage Equality.

Continued on the flip side, (more…)

Pat Buchanan needs a CAT scan – now.

I just listened to this exchange on Hardball between Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan.

CM: If you were ambassador to Mexico, what would you do?

PB: First thing I’d do, I’d start the security fence on the Mexican border – do that.

Second, I think you do help the Mexican government on this.

Third, I wouldn’t send the National Guard. Frankly I’d go down there…and with some of the folks coming across… I’d use American snipers on some of these… on some of the guys.

What do they call? Coyotes? They’re raping women and stuff.

CM: You would take shots at people who are coming up here for jobs?

PB: Not the people fleeing up here for jobs… it’s the people abusing them, robbing them, raping them.

There are some horrible people in this human trafficking trade and yeah… I’d use lethal force on them.

First, Pat, this is called murder.

Second, the argument that “I can tell if somone is guilty just by lookin’ at ’em” (even through a 50X rifle scope) is not an acceptable excuse for murder.

Third, Murder is seldom an acceptable form of foreign policy.

Fourth, Jack Bauer is a FICTIONAL character.  “24” is not a documentary, or a ‘How To” guide.

Fifth, It is a crime to openly incite or advocate murder over the airwaves of the United States. (Look it up…it really is!)

Sadly, since PB is MSNBC’s “Pet Republican” this will not appear on KO’s “Worst Persons” but it should.

Let’s all chip in $1 to get poor Mr. Buchanan a neurological examination from a competant Gerontologist.  I fear he might be going completely off the rails. (more…)

Myron Scholes Who Almost Blew up Economy 10 Years ago, Intellectual Godfather of Credit Default Swap: ‘Blow ’em all up’

Watch and learn how similar risks almost took down the world’s system ten years ago

Myron Scholes acolyte of Milton Friedman and former head of LCTM – which had to be bailed out 10 years ago because of fears that its defaulting would take down the world’s financial system (and even small companies) – says regulators need to “blow up or burn” over-the-counter derivative trading markets contrary to Tim Geithner’s testimony of today

Here are the first few paragraphs from the article in Bloomberg

March 6 (Bloomberg) — Myron Scholes, the Nobel prize- winning economist who helped invent a model for pricing options, said regulators need to “blow up or burn” over-the-counter derivative trading markets to help solve the financial crisis.

The markets have stopped functioning and are failing to provide pricing signals, Scholes, 67, said today at a panel discussion at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Participants need a way to exit transactions and get a “fresh start,” he said.

The “solution is really to blow up or burn the OTC market, the CDSs and swaps and structured products, and let us start over,” he said, referring to credit-default swaps and other complex securities that are traded off (more…)

Darrell Issa Fears Michelle’s Triceps, But Not Dick’s Guns

I’m honestly not surprised that Darrell Issa is so insecure in the face of Michelle Obama’s buff triceps that he is now trying to regulate her.

Under Issa’s amendment, any government policy group that Mrs. Obama or another first spouse regularly participates in would be subject to a law requiring meetings to be announced in advance and, in most instances, public.

At the March 10 markup, Issa’s proposal triggered more than 35 minutes of impassioned debate. I’ve linked video of the exchange below, but Democrats clearly seemed to be recoiling at what some viewed as an effort to target Mrs. Obama.


“We are trying actually to protect the historic role of the first lady,” Issa insisted, repeatedly invoking the “transparency” mantra of the Obama administration. “I believe this is open government at its finest.”


“We should have a set of rules that future presidents, vice presidents, first ladies and spouses of vice presidents, understand what their do’s and don’t’s are. Can they have an open meeting? Can they have a closed meeting?” Issa said. “Perhaps we need to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for an opinion.”

(Nor am I surprised that the Politico has titled this article as, "GOP transparency push seen as attack on Michelle O.")

But I want to know where the fuck Darrell Issa was when we were trying to protect "the historic role of the Vice President" for the last eight years?!?!? I mean, Issa had no problem with Mr. Fourth Branch conducting major policy work in hiding. But apparently he has decided now is the time to regulate Veeps and First Ladies.

rip dan seals

cross-posted at skippy and a veritable cornucopia of other community blogs.

dan seals, aka england dan (brother of jim of seals & croft) died @ age 61.

sad news for country music fans: daniel wayland seals, the texas-born, cma-award-winning singer who piled up 11 no. 1 songs between 1985 and 1990, passed away yesterday after a battle with mantle cell lymphoma. initially known to pop fans as the "england dan" half of england dan and john ford coley, who had a no. 2 single in 1976 with the soft-rocking classic "i’d really love to see you tonight," he went on to forge an impressive solo career in nashville.

here’s dan and his partner john ford coley w/their biggest hit:

england dan & john ford coley – i’d really love to see you tonite

rest in peace, dan seals.


About that Marc Ambinder post previewing tomorrow’s Af-Pak rollout that I mentioned. Marc writes this, about a scaled-back focus:

The new bearing reflects Vice President Joe Biden’s imprint. He has been arguing internally for a more focused counterterrorism mission rather than a larger, more complex counterinsurgency mission, which would involve significantly more American resources and troops. Though the President plans to endorse the concepts of counterinsurgency as a means to fight the Taliban, it will not be the primary objective of U.S. and NATO troops. U.S. policy also focuses on improving the legitimacy of Afghan government institutions by endorsing anti-corruption drives, by devoting U.S. resources to counternarcotics missions, and by providing basic goods and services to Afghans outside Kabul.

This is kind of a false choice. The ultimate goal is a counterterrorism goal: eradicate the al-Qaeda safehavens in Afghanistan and, more aptly, Pakistan. (Or however Obama will put it tomorrow.) "Endorsing the concepts of counterinsurgency as a means to fight the Taliban" would not ever be a primary objective of U.S. policy — it’s always going to be a chosen means to an end. The real questions here would be if (a) U.S. troops were placed on a counterterrorist hunt rather than a population-protection mission; or (b) the goal became the cultivation of a stable Afghanistan with counterterrorism as a means to that end. The mission, in other words, was always going to be a counterterrorism mission, ever since Obama said at his first press conference that the measure of success was "root[ing] out those safe havens."

Let me try to put it another way. You’re trying to kill the terrorists who attacked the U.S. on 9/11 and their structure of support. That’s why we’re in Afghanistan, after all. (Sorry, it’s not for some oil pipeline.) You have some choices for how to go about it. You can draw up a list of who’s a member of the targeted organizations and go after them, focusing entirely on the enemy, and apportion resources accordingly — better intelligence and surveillance platforms, for instance, and precision-strike capability, and light infantry. Alternatively, you could focus on the population, provide for their safety and material well-being, and in turn enlist them in the fight against the terrorists — drying up their base of support, denying them allies, exposing their supply lines, and making them easier to target. One drawback of the former approach is that the population knows better than you do who the terrorists are and where they are, and unless they see concrete benefits, they’re not going to help you. A drawback of the latter approach is that it takes time, coordination and a lot of extra-military resources and the population might still not support you.

This is the real counterinsurgency vs. counterterrorism debate. Notice it has nothing to do with ends, and everything to do with means. For more, see Exum, Andrew.

Crossposted to The Streak.

Sarah Palin – Sucking So Bad, She Was Keeping Alaska’s Volcanoes from Blowing Too Hard – Until Today

On the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, as Redoubt Volcano threatened a long-neglected retainment dike system holding 6 million gallons of crude oil, on Alaska’s pristine Cook Inlet, Gov. Palin erupted again and again about media unfairness.

Both Gov. Palin and Redoubt Volcano have been erupting periodically over the past week. The height of eruptions for both occurred Tuesday, the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and 45th Anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake.

Another Palin eruption occurred this Tuesday. Alaskan progressive blogger, Linda Kellen, filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Palin at the beginning of the week. Here’s Linda’s press release:

Linda Kellen Biegel, better known as blogger "Celtic Diva," is filing an ethics complaint with the Attorney General today against Governor Sarah Palin. The complaint alleges a conflict of interest when Governor Palin wore specially designed snow-machine gear advertising her husband Todd’s biggest Iron Dog sponsor, Arctic Cat Inc. She did so while acting in her official capacity as Governor of the State of Alaska and official starter of the Iron Dog Snow Machine Race.

Not only was she well aware that there would be extensive Alaska media coverage, the Palins also knew that international magazine Sports Illustrated was coming to do a story on Todd. (more…)

Obama Won’t Legalize Pot, Wonders If Online Community is a Bunch of Stoners

obama.thumbnail.jpgIn his first ever interactive town hall meeting, President Obama addressed questions and issues raised online from the site. One of the most popular ideas floated online there and on the pre-inaugural citizen’s policy book was the legalization and taxation of marijuana, which could provide additional taxes and jobs, as well as lowering criminal justice costs. His response:

There was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation, and I don’t know what this says about the online audience.

Yes, it got some laughs. Then he added that he wanted to make sure the question got answered.

The answer is no, I don’t think that was a good strategy.

And it’s probably not a good strategy to mock your constituents, either. Not everyone who supports legalization of marijuana smokes it recreationally, or even at all.

Advocates Identify Voter Registration System as Nation’s Biggest Election Problem

Despite reports of voter registration barriers, voter intimidation, and non-compliance with voting rights law in recent elections, it appears that state legislatures and Congress are not actively focusing on the real issues in election administration. Considering the current economic state, almost the only attention that election reform is getting is through messy, partisan fueled debates to require photo voter ID on the state level–a fight that, just last week, quietly brought Utah to the list of eight other states that go beyond the Help America Vote Act in voter ID requirements. In recent Congressional hearings regarding voter registration and other election issues experienced in 2008, a number of groups have expressed their concerns with the current voting system and its impact on voters. (more…)