Sunday, June 20, 2010
If you know all four of those people on sight, I apologize. Welcome to my world. Let's do some Tendown 31.
First: A Tragedy of the First Proportion
I've got 45 minutes to write Tendown this week, as I'm moving (tonight is my last night in the house I've owned for a decade; it would be a little emotional for me; the largest failure of my life as I'm unable to keep my house as a result of the Panic of 2008 - but it's not, there's air conditioning in the house we rented this week - and I'll take cool over everything else during what is currently the hottest June in south Florida history) and need to get back to the furniture store. So, what is normally a 4-6 hour Sunday process will have to be severely truncated.
The one element of the week I wanted to cover was Joe Barton, the ranking Republican on energy - saying this to BP CEO Tony Hayward about Obama's securing from BP a promise to put 20 billion dollars in escrow for the damage it continues, daily, to cause, on the Gulf Coast:
I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown
Barton's taken 1.4 million from Big Oil in campaign contributions.
His very top is contributor Anadarko Petroleum from which he's received $146,500. Anadarko has a 25% stake in the still gushing BP well and has received a bill for its cleanup.
The right wing came to Barton's defense.
And why not?
After all, they don't think Obama should have anything to do with the BP leak - it's a problem caused by and to be solved by private industry.
Except when they're calling it Obama's Katrina. Then it's "why didn't the President act more quickly."
Michelle Bachmann called the escrow account redistribution of wealth. Yeah! That's what it is! Socialism! Which we don't like.
Except that two weeks ago Bachmann said Obama should be seizing ships to clean up the spill.:
The administration, they were hands off. They didn’t do anything. Where were the boats that could have been commandeered by the government to be sent into this region to deal with that oil plume as it was coming up in the water and destroying marine life? Nowhere to be found. Why? The administration was hands off on this policy.
But it's really a federalism issue, of course. You know - the right wing is very concerned with issues of limited government. That's why Barry Goldwater, Bill Buckley, William Rehnquist - and 45 years later, Rand Paul were opposed to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - it's just not the role of the federal government to interfere in the private decisions of a corporation - that use of power is creepy and dictatorial. Yeah! That's what it is! Yeah! Dictatorial!
Except of course when it came to George Bush's unitary theory of the executive branch. Bush used signing statements to lay the groundwork for the most expansive view of Presidential power ever offered in the history of the United States. We just spent a decade in which the executive branch put forth unprecedented programs of domestic spying and torture, and did so with the argument that Presidential power could go unchecked. From the Boston Globe in 2006:
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander in chief of the military.
David Golove, a New York University law professor who specializes in executive-power issues, said Bush has cast a cloud over ''the whole idea that there is a rule of law," because no one can be certain of which laws Bush thinks are valid and which he thinks he can ignore.
(Greenwald, by the way, dead on about Obama carrying on Bush's civil liberties record).
This is not that complicated. Those actions - spying, torture - those actions were aimed at the powerless. When a restaurant or a hotel would refuse service to someone due to race - or refuse to hire or promote someone due to race or gender - those actions were aimed at people who had less power.
And the right wing stands with power. And that's all.
And when it comes to putting restrictions on health insurance companies in order to make health care more affordable - when it comes to securing 20 billion dollars from BP to aid victims of the environmental catastrophe caused by its negligence - those actions were aimed at the powerful.
And the right wing stands with power. And that's all.
It's not small government. The right wing wants to drop bombs, keep gays from marrying, and tell a pregnant woman what do do with her womb. It's power. They worship it.
A Republican congressman sees a corporation that made 6 billion in profit in the first quarter of 2010 and says that securing 20 billion dollars over 4 years from that corporation is a "tragedy of the first proportion."
A Republican congressman sees a CEO who made 4.9 million dollars in 2009 and personally apologizes to him for the actions of the President.
The right wing loves power. That's it and that's all.
After the jump - the rest of the Tendown. Another 1st and 5 this week.