Obama Double-Backpedal Liveblogging

Well, this one should be interesting.  As I understand it, Obama will be trying to simultaneously weasel out of his initial stance of “We must punish Assad for using chemical weapons – which he totally, totally did, you guys – but not so much that we actually affect the outcome of the rebellion” and avoid getting backed into a corner by Assad and Putin calling John Kerry’s bluff by offering to turn over Syria’s chemical weapons to the UN.

Should be eleventy-dimensional chess at its finest.  Or an incoherent mess – not that our poor three-dimensional brains would ever be able to tell the difference.

LIVESTREAM

VIDEO

The Internet Is Not An Orange

Wow. Just… wow. Okay, admittedly Google Counsel Richard Salgado could have done a better job of explaining that internet advertising isn’t really all that different from traditional advertising, just with better and more dynamic targeting, but in all fairness he probably didn’t think he’d need to. My condensed transcript for those of you who don’t have time for videos or Louie Gohmert:

Gohmert: “Isn’t it true that you sell your Gmail users’ data to your corporate customers so they can send ads to them?”

Salgado: “Well no.”

Gohmert: “So couldn’t you therefore sell the same kind of data to the government BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI?”

Salgado: “Wait… what?”

Gohmert: “HuffPo reporters are simpletons.”

Sensenbrenner: “My son is a HuffPo reporter.”

Gohmert: “Oh. Mumble grumble mumble.”

And one direct quote because there is no way I can do it justice:

Salgado: “Sir, I think those are apples and oranges. The disclosure of the identity-”

Gohmert: “Well, I’m not asking for a fruit comparison.”

Your Congress at work.

(Cross-posted at Multi Medium)

Creative Revenue Solutions

Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Treasury Jamie Dimon

Dan Wright offered up an interesting idea at the end of his post on the latest corrupt dickhead’s confirmation to a pivotal Cabinet post:

Given the total failure of either political party to stand up for the people and the rule of law by opposing such a clearly conflicted nominee, might it be time to simply resign ourselves to this endemic corruption? Perhaps there is a way for the taxpayers to get something out of the deal. How about simply auctioning off the job?

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan etc. can all bid on the job – they are going to get what they want anyway lets up the price. Then at least the money from the sale can directly go into the Treasury rather than going through that pesky campaign finance and lobbying system. Citigroup has already paid for its access to Lew why should Goldman be left out?

This sounds like a fine outside-the-box strategy for scrounging up some extra cash to help reduce the deficit shore up social programs fix our crumbling infrastructure subsidize more tax cuts for the rich, but it completely overlooks the financial possibilities of naming rights.

I mean, sure, it’s pretty thrilling to think about “Secretary of the Interior Don Blankenship” or “Secretary of the Treasury Jamie Dimon,” but wouldn’t “ExxonMobil Secretary of the Interior Don Blankenship” or “Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Treasury Jamie Dimon” sound even better?  Admittedly, there could be some possibilities for brand confusion, but I’m sure those could all be ironed out.  Plus I bet a lot of companies would be willing to pay a little extra for a package deal to avoid any such unpleasantness.

Creative Revenue Solutions

Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Treasury Jamie Dimon

Dan Wright offered up an interesting idea at the end of his post on the latest corrupt dickhead’s confirmation to a pivotal Cabinet post:

Given the total failure of either political party to stand up for the people and the rule of law by opposing such a clearly conflicted nominee, might it be time to simply resign ourselves to this endemic corruption? Perhaps there is a way for the taxpayers to get something out of the deal. How about simply auctioning off the job?

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan etc. can all bid on the job – they are going to get what they want anyway lets up the price. Then at least the money from the sale can directly go into the Treasury rather than going through that pesky campaign finance and lobbying system. Citigroup has already paid for its access to Lew why should Goldman be left out?

This sounds like a fine outside-the-box strategy for scrounging up some extra cash to help reduce the deficit shore up social programs fix our crumbling infrastructure subsidize more tax cuts for the rich, but it completely overlooks the financial possibilities of naming rights.

I mean, sure, it’s pretty thrilling to think about “Secretary of the Interior Don Blankenship” or “Secretary of the Treasury Jamie Dimon,” but wouldn’t “ExxonMobil Secretary of the Interior Don Blankenship” or “Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Treasury Jamie Dimon” sound even better?  Admittedly, there could be some possibilities for brand confusion, but I’m sure those could all be ironed out.  Plus I bet a lot of companies would be willing to pay a little extra for a package deal to avoid any such unpleasantness.

State Of The Union Liveblogging

Well, it’s that time of the year again.  We get to listen to a right-of-center Democrat speak, followed by a Tea Party Senator delivering a GOP rebuttal, followed by yet another Tea Party Senator delivering a Tea Party rebuttal.  So, kinda like the Sunday talk shows.

Jon Walker has read the tea leaves guest list and predicts an emphasis on immigration, gun control and health care, but that’s probably just because White House staff couldn’t find anyone with a heartwarming we-need-to-cut-Social-Security-in-order-to-protect-it story.  Also jobs and troop withdrawals, yay.

Oh, and there may also be split-screen coverage for those who can’t make up their minds whether they’d rather watch a State Of The Union address or an insane fiery standoff with a killer cop.  Should do subliminal wonders for the far right’s Obama-is-a-scary-black-man narrative.  I’m kinda hoping that maybe next year we can just scrap this whole format completely, and replace it with the Google+ Hangout Of The Union, or maybe the Reddit AMA Of The Union.

WATCH ONLINE

The Most Patient Man In The World

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Harry Reid still hasn’t seen enough obstruction from Senate Republicans to support filibuster reform, saying, “The only way we’ll get rid of the filibuster is if it continues to be abused.” He has either been sound asleep for the past four years, is the most trusting man alive, or he is simply and completely full of the brown stuff.

I believe that what’s going on here is that filibuster reform would actually make life more difficult for Reid and the rest of the Democratic caucus. Their job isn’t to enact progressive economic laws that their corporate donors oppose, it’s to quietly prevent them while avoiding blame. The continued existence of the filibuster makes this easy: They can all declare their undying support for financial reform, or the public option, or tax increases for the rich, and then let the Republicans do all the dirty work of blocking it.

But if there’s no filibuster and all the Democrats need is a simple majority which is easily attainable, Reid must engage in reverse whipping: Finding enough conservative Democrats from the Villain Rotation to vote against Progressive Bill X in pretend defiance of the party leadership. Instead of just exposing one or two at a time to the wrath of their state’s Democratic voters, Reid could find himself forced to burn half his villain pool on every vote.

Worst case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by progressives who refuse to join the Villain Rotation. Best case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by actual Republicans, making his job even easier than it is now.

The Most Patient Man In The World

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Reid still hasn’t seen enough obstruction from Senate Republicans to support filibuster reform, saying, “The only way we’ll get rid of the filibuster is if it continues to be abused.” He has either been sound asleep for the past four years, is the most trusting man alive, or he is simply and completely full of the brown stuff.

I believe that what’s going on here is that filibuster reform would actually make life more difficult for Reid and the rest of the Democratic caucus. Their job isn’t to enact progressive economic laws that their corporate donors oppose, it’s to quietly prevent them while avoiding blame. The continued existence of the filibuster makes this easy: They can all declare their undying support for financial reform, or the public option, or tax increases for the rich, and then let the Republicans do all the dirty work of blocking it.

But if there’s no filibuster and all the Democrats need is a simple majority which is easily attainable, Reid must engage in reverse whipping: Finding enough conservative Democrats from the Villain Rotation to vote against Progressive Bill X in pretend defiance of the party leadership. Instead of just exposing one or two at a time to the wrath of their state’s Democratic voters, Reid could find himself forced to burn half his villain pool on every vote.

Worst case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by progressives who refuse to join the Villain Rotation. Best case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by actual Republicans, making his job even easier than it is now.

(Cross-posted at Multi Medium)

When Goldman Sachs Does It, It’s Not Illegal

Fun legal fact I learned yesterday: Apparently it’s perfectly okay to outright lie to your customers, as long as there’s some possibility that they’re so “sophisticated” that they know you’re lying.

It’s apparently also okay as long as you have a whole bunch of innocent, hardworking hostages employees that would lose their jobs if your company got prosecuted out of existence. Of course, if you sent the individuals responsible to prison, that wouldn’t put everyone else out on the street. I can only assume that Breuer was worried that aggressive prosecution would drive those delicate souls to suicide like it did to Aaron Swartz.

I’d like to think Breuer is out at DOJ because of gross incompetence, but it’s probably more like he’s completed his mission of escorting the fraudsters safely across the statute of limitations threshold and is now ready to collect his reward.

(Cross-posted at Multi Medium)

When Goldman Sachs Does It, It’s Not Illegal

Fun legal fact I learned yesterday: Apparently it’s perfectly okay to outright lie to your customers, as long as there’s some possibility that they’re so “sophisticated” that they know you’re lying.

It’s apparently also okay as long as you have a whole bunch of innocent, hardworking hostages employees that would lose their jobs if your company got prosecuted out of existence. Of course, if you sent the individuals responsible to prison, that wouldn’t put everyone else out on the street. I can only assume that Breuer was worried that aggressive prosecution would drive those delicate souls to suicide like it did to Aaron Swartz.

I’d like to think Breuer is out at DOJ because of gross incompetence, but it’s probably more like he’s completed his mission of escorting the fraudsters safely across the statute of limitations threshold and is now ready to collect his reward.

Cross-posted at Multi Medium (more…)