Democrats doubt Obama’s eligibility

How else can you explain their opposition to state laws requiring presidential candidates to prove their eligibility?

The Arizona Senate has approved a revised bill requiring presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens eligible to run for the office. The bill approved Wednesday gives candidates additional ways to prove they meet the constitutional requirements to be president. It was prompted by the ongoing claim by some that there is no proof President Barack Obama was born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president.

Democrats argued the bill exceeds the state’s authority and say state officials are not fully qualified to determine the validity of a candidate’s documents.

Logic dictates that if Democrats really believed Obama was fully eligible for the office of president, they wouldn’t object to laws like this Arizona law. The fact that they are so vehemently opposed to such laws is a strong indication that they harbor the same doubts about him that the so-called birthers do, they’re just afraid to admit to them.

Obama’s half-hearted announcement of his purported attempt to win a second term as president tends to support my suspicions that he has no intention of being the Democratic nominee next year. I think he’s looking for an excuse not to run, just as the Democratic elders are looking for an excuse to run someone else.

Eager to reach the wrong conclusion

Newsflash: men trained, equipped, and paid to break things and kill people not infrequently do bad things. However, it is educational to see the way the documentary evidence is used in an attempt to support the precise opposite of what it suggests:

The material that historian Sönke Neitzel uncovered in British and American archives is nothing short of sensational. While researching the submarine war in the Atlantic in 2001, he discovered the transcripts of covertly recorded conversations between German officers in which they talked about their wartime experiences with an unprecedented degree of openness. The deeper Neitzel dug into the archives, the more material he found. In the end, he and social psychologist Harald Welzer analyzed a total of 150,000 pages of source material….

The Holocaust is generally mentioned peripherally in the conversations between German soldiers that have now been viewed in their entirety for the first time. It is only mentioned on about 300 pages of the transcripts, which, given the monstrosity of the events, seems to be a very small number. One explanation could be that not many soldiers knew about what was happening behind the front. Another, much more likely interpretation would be that the systematic extermination of the Jews did not play a significant role in the conversations between cellmates because it had little news value.

A much more likely? interpretation? That is a completely absurd and illogical conclusion. The fact that the Holocaust is only mentioned on 300 of the 150,000 pages is actually conclusive evidence that relatively few Wehrmacht soldiers knew much about the Final Solution, unless the author, Jan Fleischhauer, seriously wants to try to claim that the exhaustive references to the sexual availability of women in the interview documents were of substantive news value.

But of course, “one-fifth of one percent of the Wehrmacht knew” is a just slightly less dramatic and excitingly revisionist than “the Wehrmacht knew”.

Fake budget cuts

Not only were the $38 billion in spending cuts merely an insignificant fraction of the $1.5 trillion deficit, which is $330 billion larger than the previously estimated $1.17 trillion estimate, but at least some of that $38 billion doesn’t actually represent a cut in spending:

A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending by $38 billion reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.

Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives. And big holes in foreign aid and Environmental Protection Agency accounts were patched in large part. Republicans also gave up politically treacherous cuts to the Agriculture Department’s food inspection program.

The full details of Friday’s agreement weren’t being released until overnight as it was officially submitted to the House. But the picture already emerging is of legislation financed with a lot of one-time savings and cuts that officially “score” as savings to pay for spending elsewhere, but that often have little to no actual impact on the deficit.

In other words, they “cut” money that had already had not been spent as planned, while committing to new expenses. It’s just more of the usual accounting smoke and mirrors; the bi-factional ruling party plays its game to keep the media and public entertained as the Fed continues attempting to put out the fire by pouring more gasoline on it.

UPDATE – Apparently the cuts are even more modest than anyone had imagined: A comparison prepared by the CBO shows that the omnibus spending bill, advertised as containing some $38.5 billion in cuts, will only reduce federal outlays by $352 million below 2010 spending rates. The nonpartisan budget agency also projects that total outlays are actually some $3.3 billion more than in 2010, if emergency spending is included in the total.

Calling a spade a spade

The Fed’s Hoenig calls for the recognition of reality:

Big banks like Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc should be reclassified as government-sponsored entities and have their activities restricted, a senior Fed official said on Tuesday. The 2008 bank bailouts at the height of the financial crisis and other implicit guarantees effectively make the largest U.S. banks government-guaranteed enterprises, like mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig.

“That’s what they are,” Hoenig said at the National Association of Attorneys General 2011 conference. He said these lenders should be restricted to commercial banking activities, advocating a policy that existed for decades barring banks from engaging in investment banking activities.

“You’re a public utility, for crying out loud,” he said.

While I would prefer to see the big banks broken up, their assets marked to market, and their bankrupt elements closed down, Hoenig’s plan is a reasonable compromise. Of course, there is little chance of it happening, since limiting the government-guaranteed banks to commercial banking activities would eliminate their ability to continue their financial rapine.

As for BOA CEO Moynihan’s claim that customers want the big banks to continue combining commercial and investment activities, I think he has badly misread the public mood. Most Americans would just as soon see the bastard bankster’s head on a stake.