Sunday, March 22, 2009

Duplicity

I hope everyone had a chance to see Charlie Rangel express his outrage over the A.I.G. bonuses last week. What a performance by Cadillac Charlie. If you didn’t know better you’d never know that he solicited millions from the insurance giant and its former CEO, all the while inserting provisions in bills that saved the corporation many times that amount. If it seems I’m picking on him, believe me I realize that’s what Congressmen who gain the sort of power he has do, but he’s close to home and the Times does a good job of outing him – not that anyone seems to care. Read the latest here.

Another act of Congressional duplicity that ranks at the top of the list of double dealing the public was the provision inserted in the bill that created prescription drug benefits for older Americans which prohibited Medicare from using the buying power of the 40 million Americans who use Medicare to get competitive pricing. It’s been three years and now we know the cost of that provision, drafted by drug lobbyists and passed by our Congress: $30 billion over 10 years. There’s a good update in a column about it here.

I know many of you don’t want President Obama to take on Congress, but how else do we stop grand larceny on this scale?

A third, less damaging form of duplicity, is the new movie of the same name. It’s a fast paced, stylish, old-fashion caper movie with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts, and they are both great. Owen may be the coolest guy (other than Clint) in the movies today. One warning however: if you are easily confused by complicated plot twists, this may not be the movie for you. This one has more switchbacks than an Afghan mountain road.

14 comments:

Hankster said...

When everybody prospers, no one needs to consider what dirt is under the carpet. But those were different times. The general opinion of congress is poor. However, the way people think about their own representative is; they may be a bastard, but they are their bastard.

Let us not forget Rudy G, "America's Mayor," cut sweet deals for Bear while mayor. Later on, he jumped into bed with them. No wonder trust in the system has dipped.

Woody said...

I watched our president on 60 Minutes tonight. The interview was going well until he started laughing about the bailouts. When pressed he called it "gallows humor." I think the majority of Americans do not think it is a laughing matter. It seemed inappropriate and, coupled with his Special Olympics comment, suggests a surprising lack of sensitivity. Now we know why he needs his teleprompter 24/7.

d'blank said...

Yeah, I have to say that little chuckle was an inappropriate response to the situation. He and his team were the most media savvy pols I've ever seen during the campaign and they seem to have totally lost those skills since January.

Hankster -- there is a very specific reason people like their own Congressman. The districts are so contorted that the opposite party might as well be the Nazis -- they have no chance.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, you have missed the point completely. Charlie Rangel. What party is he in. The Congress. What party controls both houses. Of course you can never find that information if you read the NYT.

Obama can never "take on the congress." First, these jerks are professional kleptocrats, with lifetimes of experience. They'll eat his lunch, indeed as they already have. The Obamateur is exactly that: an ignorant, feckless, vacuous amateur. Moreover, he not only doesn't oppose their project, he is as one with it. No review of his actions concerning congress in the last six weeks can yield any other conclusion.

Birdman said...

That chuckle about bailouts on 60 minuetes was a little wierd. Overall though I thought he did a good job. The Special Olympics comment was just stupid but won't hurt him much.

Notice how he dodged the question about the constitutionality of the tax on bonuses. Don't expect that to go anywhere.

He needs exercise a de facto line item veto. "Take these 500 earmarks out or I'll veto" It's the only thing that will work.

d'blank said...

Dear Annon: Geez, I gotta stop reading the Times. You mean to tell me the Dems control Congress? Wow. I didn't know. Bring me Fox News immediately!
So, I guess it's hopeles then. As Bobby Knight once famously said, "might as well relax and enjoy it."

Gaga said...

I also saw BHO on 60 Minutes. Lightenup on the big man or join the staff of TMZ. I saw an upbeat guy enjoying his job. He catches hell for being on Leno, making his roundball picks & now smiling. Next he'l catch it for eating & sleeping during these times. Want to go back to GW?

kgwhit said...

He is the punching bag in chief and the commentariate has to jabber on about something. One week he isn't out pumping up the economy. The next he is on TV too much and yucking it up.
We are in uncharted waters without a compass and we all are wondering if the Captain has a clue what to do.
The Feds caught on to Elliot Spitzer because of bank transaction over $10K that was reported. Just how did ole Bernie slip $50billion through the banking system and not a soul notices that turd in the punch bowl? The Feds can catch a pol with a hooker but $50 billion just slides right under the radar screen. Anyone think that they might have wanted to catch one and not the other?

Anonymous said...

Dennis – You’re right, I over reacted. Sorry.

I understand the urge to read the Times. I read it vigorously every day for 35 years myself. Anyway, I meant to pick on them, not you. What I really didn’t mean to do was to endorse Fox news.

d'blank said...

Annon -- fair enough. on your core point I can only say I hope you are wrong. I voted for Obama primarily because I feel the system – especially Congress – is so corrupt, that it would take an outsider to make a difference.
You may be right about his complicity with Congress, it is a fear I share, but it is early and it is possible that he feels he can’t take them on now while he deals with the economic situation. I hope it is the latter.
Never-the-less, he’s been too timid for my taste. I want to see him go right at the beast. They aren’t going away. They aren’t going to change. And we’re printing more money for them to steal. There’s no time like the present and the rising populist tide in America will love him for it.
Enough with the Obambi act. Bring on Orambo.

Hankster said...

One problem with posting anonymously is that the online community doesn't know if in fact we are dealing with the same poster on the subsequent post. Your tone has swung around on a dime.

I don't blame the Times for the political system. Leadership is a snap in good times. I do not see any signs that BHO is not very smart. He may actually be looking further into the chess game than the rest of us. Certainly, he doesn't want to come across as an aggressive black man. But he might also be giving fools enough rope to hang themselves and cautiously waiting to call cards. His term is 4 years. Perspective now might be distorted, as much as we would play it differently.

warrenout said...

Term Limits or Line Item veto, or both.Otherwise, no REAL CHANGE. Taxpayer money will continue to be spent like piss in a windstorm. BTW. WGH State Final four this weekend not since 65/66 has WGH gone this far. I hope there is not another warrenout out there.

youmayberight said...

In most any circumstance tone is an affect, and for me, at least, it will change more often than my opinions. At any rate, I’m the only anonymous that I’ve seen who’s posted here since I started lurking. Hereafter I’ll post as “youmayberight.” I don’t think this compromises anonymity any more that it would if I posted as before, nor, unless I misunderstand (maybe Dennis can put light on this) does it assure that some ringer is not posting under a handle in regular use by another.

I don’t blame the Times for the political system either, but I don’t leave them blameless for their actions and omissions.

Like Dennis, I appreciate, at a minimum, the entertainment value of the congress getting a good public ass kicking any time, and I don’t mind if it’s the teleprompter genius who does it, nor do I have or see any problem in that with the aggressive black man persona. I am, however, less sanguine about his overall project and approach. I guess that’s a nice way to say that I do, for sure, see lots of reasons, more every day so far, to doubt that he is either particularly smart, educated, or even generally world wise, notwithstanding his genesis in the Chicago machine. I guess we can argue about that.

d'blank said...

Hankster -- his term is 4 years but he has much less time than that to show real results. Any economic plan is going to take a year or more to show it's true colors, and if it wasn't enough that means another 1-2 years to put together another plan, get it thru the whorehouse, er, I mean Congress, implement it and wait for more results again. Suddenly it's 2012, elections are upon us, and ifit isn't a clear winner -- it is a loser, and so will Obama be come that November.
Now is the time.