Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why government regulation is necessary

Greenboy over at Needlenose reminds us why government regulation of industry is needed:

Long-time readers may remember that of the conservative pantheon, I hate Libertarians the most of all. Possibly because one of my uncles is an asshole Libertarian. Possibly because of their unbelievable hypocrisy. Or quite possibly just because their pseudo-intellectual arguments underly the unrestricted free-market bullshit promulgated by inhuman corporate interests that seem determined to destroy the planet.

I cringe when I hear some jackass, high on Ayn Rand, claim that the free market can solve all problems. Or who whines about regulations and how they are the root of all evil, and opines about how wonderful the world would be if only the markets were truly free.

I wonder how said jackass would react if he/she found his toddler gnawing on a Chinese-made toy painted with lead paint. Or found his beloved Labrador was eating pet food tainted by melamine, added no doubt by fellow Ayn Rand afficianados to save a buck at the jackasses expense. Or found out his toothpaste was purposely contaminated with a toxic chemical. Sadly, the list goes on.

The reason our rules exist in the first place is not because of evil Liberals trying to drown the Ayn Randers in red tape out of spite, but because of a history of jackass entrepreneurs adulterating food with often dangerous substances to make a quick buck out of us in the past.

Because we rely increasingly upon China for cheap food and medicine imports, we are at the mercy of their 'least common denominator' regulation. They have moved from an extreme form of state-control to a nation of Ayn Randian jackasses happy to make a quick buck regardless of who they poison.

And American industry, corporate lobbyists, fucktard Libertarian stink-tanks and Repug puppet pols have been happy to lead us to a state of affairs where our own regulatory bodies appear to be unable to provide us with the proactive protection to which we've become accustomed. It seems a bassakward approach to wait until the damage has been done (i.e. pets die, children get brain damage from lead poisoning) before the government can spring into action and pull the items off the shelves.

Anyway, it's time to scrap the WTO and build up an international organization with some teeth in it that can promote and manage 'safe trade.' Fair trade. Sustainable trade.

Friday, June 8, 2007

And speaking of hypocrisy...

From Crooks and Liars:

This story epitomizes the modern conservative movement. They are filled with Frank Luntz talking points, but when it comes down to actual life experiences…well….I give you Judge Robert Bork:

Judge Robert Bork, one of the fathers of the modern judicial conservative movement whose nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by the Senate, is seeking $1,000,000 in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages, after he slipped and fell at the Yale Club of New York City. Judge Bork was scheduled to give a speech at the club, but he fell when mounting the dais, and injured his head and left leg. He alleges that the Yale Club is liable for the $1m plus punitive damages because they “wantonly, willfully, and recklessly” failed to provide staging which he could climb safely.

Judge Bork has been a leading advocate of restricting plaintiffs’ ability to recover through tort law. In a 2002 article published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy–the official journal of the Federalist Society–Bork argued that frivolous claims and excessive punitive damage awards have caused the Constitution to evolve into a document which would allow Congress to enact tort reforms that would have been unconstitutional at the framing:…read on (h/t Matt)

He can sue, but you can’t. Scooter can lie and obstruct justice, but you can’t.

Bush impedes congressional investigation

Someone please remind me again, why is impeachment off the table?

President Bush derailed a bill by the US Congress aimed at ending the Administration's illegal wiretapping by not providing documents related to the President’s warrantless wiretapping program to the Senate Intelligence Committee that is currently reviewing the proposed legislation.
The evidence that George Bush and Dick Cheney have committed high crimes and misdemeanors is overwhelming. Now they're refusing to cooperate with Congress thereby preventing them from performing their constitutionally mandated oversight duties. Listening to Bush lecture leaders of other countries for their lack of transparency when he is doing his best to turn the United States into the new Soviet Union is the height of hypocrisy. He is going to continue to flip the bird to Congress and the American public until he is dragged kicking and screaming from office. What will it take to get impeachment on the table? What will it take for them to do their duty to protect the constitution? If they don't, it will be hard to prevent the next president from doing more of the same. If not now, then when?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Administration confusion

This tidbit reported by Dan Froomkin yesterday caught my attention:

"Officials say proponents of reducing the troops and scaling back their mission next year appear to include Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They have been joined by generals at the Pentagon and elsewhere who have long been skeptical that the Iraqi government would use the opportunity created by the troop increase to reach genuine political accommodations."

But Michael Abramowitz and Peter Baker wrote Sunday in The Washington Post that the White House disputed the Times report. They write: "The administration is trying to make judgments about where it will be in the months ahead, and officials are discussing possibilities accordingly. The scenarios for troop withdrawal are based on the premise of a successful 'surge.' There is also discussion about what to do if the buildup plan fails, but officials are unwilling to discuss it with outsiders even privately."

So according to the White House, the "surge" must be successful before we can even start to talk about withdrawing any troops from Iraq. Ignoring for a moment the fact that Bush has never actually defined "success" as it applies to anything in Iraq, this clearly implies that there will be no withdrawal if the adventure fails. If that's the case, then why is General Petraeus saying that the surge is going so swimmingly that he's already calling for it to continue until at least December so that he can reduce troops levels to...exactly where they were before the surge started by the end of 2008? So which is it...the surge will keep going if it succeeds, or if it fails? Who's the decider here anyway?