Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday Flotsam - Birthers, Truthers, Fraudsters, and Blogging Elephants in the Room

Time once again for the Dividist to stroll down our metaphorical beach and take note of the detritus that has washed ashore and cluttered this little island of rationality in the great big blogospheric ocean.

With the Iowa caucus this week, the New Hampshire primary next week, and a  GOP presidential primary that is much more entertaining than it deserves to be,  quite a few sparkly 2012 election items have washed ashore.  But they were not the only items that caught the Dividist's eye.

ITEM - The imminent return of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers Blogging the Republican Debate"
There have been 17 (18? 19?  23? 112?) Republican Presidential primary debates prior to the Iowa caucus. The Dividist has managed to miss most of them. The first 2012 debate will begin on Saturday night starting 9 PM ET at Saint Anselm College in Manchester on ABC and it will continue non-stop through  Sunday morning 9 AM ET at the Capital Center in Concord on NBC's Meet the Press. No, I don't know how they are going to do that.

Regardless, this seems like a good time to bring back the wildly popular (relatively speaking) Live Blogging the Live Bloggers series.  Particularly since the Saturday night debate will competing with the NFL Lions - Saints wildcard playoff game and no one will actually be watching the debate. It'll be a good practice debate for  the reintroduction  of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers".  BTW - the Saints beat the Lions 31-17 early in December. There is no reason to believe this game will turn out any differently.  If you must watch it, take the Saints, lay the 10 points and check in here at half-time.
UPDATE: Live blog linked HERE.

ITEM - "Birther" Eric Dondero accuses Ron Paul of "9/11 Trutherism"

The Dividist noticed that his four year old post featuring Eric Dondero attacking Ron Paul was suddenly getting hit on google searches and attracting new links last week.  Eric Dondero is back.

I only knew this guy because he left a few drive-by comments on this blog during the '08 campaign.  At the time Eric wanted me to know that Obama was a Madrassa trained Marxist fascist, that Rudy Giuliani was a libertarian, and that Chuck Hagel was anit-freedom  and supported Islamo-Fascism. That was, of course,  enough to know about Mr. Dondero.  He then proceeded to announce on RedState that he would run against Ron Paul for the Texas Congressional District 14 seat.  Well, four years later Ron Paul is still in Congress. So - there is that.

Turns out that in the wake of Ron Paul's surprising strength in Iowa (doubling the support he received in '08), the possibility that Ron Paul can act as a spoiler in the Republican nomination process, and may carry a meaningful number of delegates to the Republican Convention,  Eric has been motivated to launch another anti - Ron Paul jihad. This time the vehicle of choice was an  interview by rabid Santorum supporter MikeyMike143 for his Redstate "diary" wherein Eric claims that Ron Paul was the first "9/11 Truther".  Funny that Dondero never mentioned any of this in his 2008 jihad.  BTW -  here is a graph from Alexa on the relative traffic of RedState vs. RonPaul2012:

RonPaul2012 has about six times the traffic of RedState\
Just sayin... The more things change... 

The Dividist has always been fascinated with the near perfect mirror image of the parallel paranoid delusions of the Birthers on the right and Truthers on the left. Polls showed that there were virtually identical percentages of "Truthers" among Democrats during One Party Republican Rule under GWB as there were "Birthers" among Republicans during One Party Democratic Rule under Obama. So on a hunch I did a little googling for "Dondero" and "Birth Certificate". Bingo:
"It was those of us on the libertarian (anti-IslamoFascist) right who first raised the issue way back in early 2007. Pamela Geller, for example, of Atlas Shrugs was way out ahead on it. We at were reporting on Obama’s Kenyan birth and his strong ties to his cousin Raila Odinga in Kenya way back in 2007." - Eric Dondero
In this comment Dondero proudly claimed to be one of the first "Birthers".  Why anyone puts any stock into anything he says is beyond me.

ITEM - Jon Corzine - Vanity Fair Cover Boy

The Dividist has been covering "The Case Of The Missing Billion." since it was revealed that heretofore sacrosanct legally segregated client funds were apparently tapped at bankrupt MF Global to backstop CEO Jon Corzine's ill-advised "bet the company" wagers. We watched with some amusement as John Corzine initiated first the usual "I don't know, don't remember, wasn't my job" excuses, then settled on the novel  "Becket Defense" in testimony before Congressional Committees.    This week the $1 Billion of client funds are still missing and Jon Corzine is getting the full Vanity Fair treatment:
"As federal authorities searched for the brokerage house’s more than $1 billion in missing customer money, friends and former associates of Corzine weighed in on the ways his personal quirks informed his management style. “On this, Jon became a zealot,” one person says of Corzine’s European-debt trades. “He managed the process soup to nuts,” says a former employee. “He knew every number back and forth. He’d talk to the accountants and the board. He’s not a detail-oriented guy, but on this he knew every detail...  on October 15, two weeks before MF Global filed for bankruptcy, Corzine and his wife, Sharon Elghanayan, were at a birthday party in Paris talking about a château they were about to buy in the South of France. “It’s not in Cap Ferrat,” one person recalls Elghanayan saying, perhaps to mitigate the extravagance. “To buy any decent château is at least a couple of million euros,” explains another person who was at the party, “and that is before the renovation with the air-conditioning and the new kitchen. Sharon was very excited. She said she was flying down there on Monday morning.”
Can't wait to read the full article.

ITEM - President Barack Obama has asserted executive authority to detain Americans indefinitely without trial, assassinate Americans by executive order, wiretap Americans without search warrants, ignore habeas corpus, deny legal representation to prisoners, permit secret rendition of prisoners to foreign countries, overturn contract law by fiat, and exercise war powers without congressional approval. 
This administration has expanded and institutionalized the Imperial Presidency far beyond any expansive Unitary Executive definition ever dreamed of during the Bush/Cheney administration.  So you'll excuse me if I cannot get too excited about a potentially extra-constitutional recess appointment. 

To put the Cordray recess appointment in context, the Dividist was going to write a long post documenting and linking all the administration civil right outrages listed above.  But why bother? Nobody cares, and in any case Jon Stewart and the Daily Show nailed it:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Commission: Impossible
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

 ITEM - The Dividist Blogroll has disappeared. 
A few weeks ago this blog underwent a major makeover to freshen the look, upgrade the technology, and migrate to a current blogger template. That seemed to go pretty well. This week we took the next step and switched the primary domain from to   That also seemed to go pretty well. Except...

I just noticed that the blog search function has stopped working and my extensive blogroll in the sidebar has disappeared. I don't know why.  I assume the search problem is a google indexing artifact and will fix itself over time. As far as the blogroll - sorry about that.  If you were on it, let me know and I will re-add you as I do the slow rebuild. What can I say. Shit happens.

Divided and Balanced.™
Now that is fair.


Tully said...

The Cordray appointment wouldn't have been blocked in the first place if the CFPB hadn't been created as a banana-republic shadow agency with enormously sweeping and amorphous powers totally outside the oversight of Congress.

Frankly, if *I* were a Congresscritter, I would do everything I could every chance I had to eradicate the agency as currently constructed.

Dividist said...

I agree with you about the propriety of this (and other) regulatory agencies that seem to have been created for the purpose of expanding executive authority or as a consequence of congress abdicating their legislative responsibilities or both.

My point, is that when considered among the dazzling panoply of civil rights eroded or lost and executive branch powers claimed, expanded, and abused by the last two administrations, the questionable political machinations around this one recess appointment does not move the needle on my outrage meter. I just cannot make myself care about it.

Tully said...

De gustibus non est disputandem.

If the agency were subject to Congressional oversight and the regular funding process, it wouldn't bother me so much. Congress could always badger and starve it when it got out of line, and it WILL get out of line.

But it was set up completely outside the budget process and Congressional oversight, with a broadly amorphous mission that it can twist into regulating almost anything on a whim, and IMHO that makes it very dangerous indeed.