Monday, July 09, 2007

Once again, liberals prove price controls work

Payday lenders lose interest in Oregon
Scores of Oregon payday and car title lenders have closed their doors as a 36 percent interest rate cap and other new regulations took effect last week.

At least 60 payday loan stores have closed or surrendered their licenses since June 1, says Charles Donald, supervising examiner at the state Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Thank you Oregon legislature. I know that you all "feel good" about "helping the poor, the disadvantaged" with the interest rate on their loans... oh wait, now they simply can't get loans!!

Well, now the Oregon legislature has once again proved that government knows better than the market, I think I will go report on Hardy Myers "price gouging" site to see if we can get some price controls on our fuel.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

despite being a conservative, I for one am glad that they've done something about those blood-sucking pay day lenders. They have no intention of helping out poor people, only making money off of them. Good riddance to those scum!

Anonymous said...

I agree, these people are lower than low

Anonymous said...

Gary Coleman of "What you talking about" fame from TV is in a commercial for a payday co. that says-"No Collateral, just your signature" Up to $5,000.

I Tivoed it and the fine print said; APR 99.25%, if borrowing $2,600, pymt.s will be $216/mo. for 42 months, Credit approval required.

These people are SCUM for ripping off the stupid poor.

Anthony DeLucca said...

You know who's going to step in to fill the void? Organized crime, that's who.

So now, instead of dealing with a regulated, legitimate business, folks who use these businesses are left with little alternative but to visit their local loan shark for the money they need.

Nice time to be a Shylock in Oregon.

Anonymous said...

These people are the local loan sharks

NWCU said...

Anonymous 10:45 said "These people are SCUM for ripping off the stupid poor."

I say these people ARE stupid for giving their business to these SCUM" "We're just poor and uneducated" is an excuse. If you don't like being poor and uneducated, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do something about it; stop making excuses.

R Huse said...

You know I went to buy some gas and holy cow did it seem like there was price gouging.

I mean there was the price of the gas, and then this huge tax. Supposedly this tax went to pay inflated Davis-Bacon wages for road repairs.

Depressed, I went to go buy some liquor. Holy cow, the same price gouging, only this time it was more, the state was taxing me just about 100%.

Smokes seemed cheaper. Hey, wait a second, look who is gouging me again.

So I went home, opened up my mail. Hey, its a letter from the state, guess what went up.

You know the rest.

Oddly, this is one area where government is imminently qualified. No one knows price gauging like the government, it sure seems like they don't like the competition.

Anonymous said...

I'm more ticked with the local banks who loan money to illegals!

The people whose home burned & have been on the news..couldn't even speak English, but needed an interpreter to conduct a news interview.

Why are non-citizens able to own land in this country?? This is not possible in most other countries. And why are loans even given to law-breakers?

Disgusted in Beaverton said...

As a conservative, I'm sick of Neo-cons. I want to be more isolationsist (Staying out of foreign wars and crisis), send all illegals home and end illegal immigration, leave Iraq immediately and stop giving tax breaks to corporations who do not need them. I am sick of Republicans being high jacked by the Corporate Republicans, this is not our party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Daniel, have you read this? It's about illegals in Tulsa.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19466978/

Anonymous said...

The Hard Left nutjobs will celebrate this. They don't care about the poor, nor understand their plight. What alternatives did they set up for these people? NOTHING. All they care about is their own bullshit politics. They hide behind the poor (and other groups) to obtain power. They are frauds.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody considered how these Loan Sharks helped Illegal Aliens establish credit histories by borrowing $100. on a $1000. car and then paying it back in a few days?

With two or three of those Pay Day loans under their belt its time for them to buy a new car and that can lead to buying a house.

In as little as 30 days they are up and charging at Sears even with phony ID.

Don't tell the Dems what they have done for us, please.

Oh, how terrible!! Lets all cry.

BEAR said...

Businesses are not formed to "help" anyone. They are started in order to fill a market demand at a market price. Without the incentive of a profit commensurate to the risk, the market demand will remain unfilled. Oregon has simply eliminated the profit in this market. The geniuses in the legislature don't have a clue or a care re the consequences. The folks who would benefit from these loans are now more likely to become (or remain) dependent upon the nanny-state. That won't bother the libs a bit.

This particular form of lending is odious, in that it enables many irresponsible folks to continue behaving in a fiscally irresponsible manner. Those folks must either adjust their habits, or pay a heavier "price" for their behavior sooner, rather than later. As P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute." W.C. Fields said, "You can't cheat an honest man." Someone else said, "Where there's a will, there's a way." And Willy Sutton said he robbed banks, "'cause that's where they keep the money." I remain ambivalent.

Anonymous said...

Sen. Ron Wyden lead the effort to repeal usury laws (limits on interest fees) in Oregon and this is why a good many credit card companies were once (or may still be) based out of Oregon.

He claims to be the poor folks friend and is proven as quite the opposite.

He plants pork in Senate Bills that only his business pals can enjoy and the average taxpayer sheepeople is never the wiser and vote him back time after time.

Economics professor Miglavs said...

-- Regulating Payday loan businesses: BAD for working people, BAD for the economy!

-- Forcibly extracting millions of undocumented workers from their jobs: GOOD for working people, GOOD for the economy!

WTF?

the hypocrisy police said...

Still waiting to find out how Daniel Miglavs reconciles Dick Cheney with his cherished (cue your favorite John Phillip Sousa march) "rule of law."

Still waiting for someone to give Dick Cheney a blowjob, I guess ...

Allen said...

Ever notice how the pay day loan stores are popular in Hispanic neighborhoods just as are the auto glass shops.

Borrow money to get your car window replaced?

R Huse said...

Well, I guess Dick Cheney would have to be convicted of breaking a law for Police's statement to have any relevance.

Oh well, one does tend to wonder if Hypocrisy Police was all up in arms over Al Gore with the "no controlling legal authority" crap back when the legendary Clinton corruption and law breaking was going on.

Who knows and who cares, Hypocrisy Police and Bullshit Police are on the same squad, The Keystone Cops of the rhetorical world, always getting fumbled up in their own ill conceived arguments.

Ta Ta

Anonymous said...

... would have to be convicted of breaking a law ...

Why bother with that step? In Miglavia, you're guilty until proven innocent. Guess you didn't get the memo.

R Huse said...

Well, not sure how you make the guilty until proven innocent connection. Another wild leap I guess.

Maybe a better thought out argument would cure your frustration more readily than name calling.

Daniel said...

Perhaps NARAL will provide "back alley" payday loans...

Kaelri said...

"Well, I guess Dick Cheney would have to be convicted of breaking a law for Police's statement to have any relevance."

I think it's safe to say that the day is coming, sans a pardon from President Bush. He brushed off an executive order to disclose his handling of classified documents by claiming that the Vice President is not a member of the executive branch. He ordered the Secret Service to destroy his visitor logs. He oversaw the legal team responsible for creating the unwarranted surveillance program. And if you want me to dredge it up again, there's no shortage of testimony from the Plame case implicating the Vice President himself.

You're one of the most intelligent people I've met here, R Huse. I can't imagine what would still compel you to defend these people, much less try to paint it as a mere political football with that baseless Gore equivalence. Officials from the senior Bush and even Reagan administrations have said that these men should be impeached. If you were waiting for a sign that the President has betrayed conservative principles along with the rest of them, look around.

R Huse said...

Well, betraying conservative principles, which Bush has most certainly done, is not an impeachable offence.

As for the Member of the Executive Branch/Not a member of the executive branch, yes, you are right, that is totally lame. However it is not at all any lamer than any of the defenses the Clinton bunch used during his eight years. Remember the old "The Secret Service is my own personal guard" claim?

My argument was not that Bush and Cheney are untarnished, they are. My argument was that the level of oxidation is unremarkable.The fact that the left thinks whatever their transgression may be are remarkable to the point of being unprecedented is what I was speaking to.

That fact, the lefts over the top hyperbole in these rather banal cases, is what I find fascinating, and of course ludicrous.

Your comments speak to that.

Example - Woooooo Cheney oversaw the legal team for the wiretap program..Wow, I mean that is pure evil, overseeing the legal team for a program that as far as I can tell still seems to be legal.

Example - Evidence in the Plame case implicating Cheney. ....Um, of what? What zany evidence? Why weren't charges brought? Look, there was no crime here in revealing her identity. So what is he implicated in? Some lame Scooter Libby like process charge? Give me a break. Valerie Plame is kind of hot, and had some time in the sun as masturbatory material for a lot of people. That's it, that will be all this case will ever really add up to because, other than the far left and the masturbators, no one else cares about Plame.

Example - He ordered the Secret Service to destroy visitor logs...Woooo wow, Who cares? Clinton et all were regularly shown to have destroyed visitor logs, emails etc. They couldn't even remember who hired Craig Livingstone the guy who they blamed for the 1000 FBI files. So what?

Look, Clinton had far more and far higher ranking people in his cabinet and staff who were tried convicted and went to jail. In the end Clinton left office in disgrace, convicted under a plea bargain. The idea that Bush and Cheney are at all close to this level of corruption will exist only in the sugar coated nasty little dreams of the left until their are actual convictions. Innuendo, hearsay and vague allusions all add up to nothing in the face of that single basic fact.

Kaelri said...

"Woooooo... Wow... ....Um... Woooo wow..."

Well said.

"I mean that is pure evil, overseeing the legal team for a program that as far as I can tell still seems to be legal."

The Foreign Intellience Surveillance Act. 1978. When the government gathers "foreign intelligence" (either through physical searches or electronic surveillance), if it involves an American citizen, the law requires that the intelligence service gets a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, before, or up to 72 hours after, the action. If they don't get a warrant, then the action is inconsistent with the law. The word for that is "illegal." And ordering or orchestrating an illegal action renders one a "criminal." You follow?

"Look, there was no crime here in revealing [Plame's] identity."

The Intelligence Identity Protection Act. 1982. It is illegal to knowingly disclose the identity of an American undercover operative. The Novak article revealed not only Plame's status, but the company where she worked, Brewster Jennings & Associates, a CIA proprietary front company that had been set up in 1994 to - ah, irony - track WMDs.

I'm not sure if you're aware of the basic facts of the issue. Most of the pertinent information is here - the article's a bit dated, but accurate in its description, pre-Armitage. And while I know it's always dubious to cite Wikipedia, their article on the Plame affair is one with a thorough bibliography. I'd be happy to quibble over the minutiae with you, but as for the bigger picture, Occam's Razor suggests that Cheney organized the leak of Plame's status to multiple journalists in retribution against Joe Wilson, and that Libby lied to protect his boss. Needless to say, I don't take any of the above as proof that the leak was deliberate. That's for a jury to decide. But it's more than enough evidence to warrant this investigation - an ongoing investigation, mind you, in answer to the question of why Cheney and Bush have yet to be indicted. And who knows - maybe it'll turn out that they're completely innocent, and Plame's exposure was a coincidence, and Scooter Libby just got confused under all those bright lights. Let's lay odds.

But in either case, the Plame affair is a direct corollary to the broader issue of the justification of the war, which, I think most people would agree, means a lot more to the people than "masturbatory material."

As for the third point, I mentioned the secret service logs as an indication of a man with some skeletons in his closet - an image that is hardly softened by his use of man-sized Mosler safes for his daily paperwork, along with a stamp ordering that they be "treated as top secret."

I notice that you repeatedly invoke the actions and qualities of "the left," as if half of the political strata in this country acts with collective mentality and monolithic unity. I thought it was only Bear and his ilk whom I had do disillusion, but I'll say it again: nothing could be further from the truth. It is among liberals and progressives that there is the most division, pluralism and open argument. And one of the ways I know this is that it's been widely seen as a negative factor in the Democratic Party's chances for a number of Congressional election cycles.

I'm not going to answer the litany of Clinton-did-it-toos. I don't care about what Bill Clinton did, for a couple reasons.

1. Two wrongs don't make a right.
2. Bill Clinton is out of office. For his administration, what's done is done.
3. When Bill Clinton left office, I was eleven years old.

Moreover, I don't accept your premise. "Left his office in disgrace?" His approval remained above 50% throughout the impeachment process, and was in the high 60s when he left office - among the best numbers of his term. He has been consistently ranked among the best post-WW2 presidents. His VP won the popular vote in the subsequent election. His reputation was tarnished, but not destroyed, and I am not convinced that it was the result of some kind of nationwide delusion.

R Huse said...

>And ordering or orchestrating an illegal action renders one a "criminal." You follow?

Sigh, yes, but no one has been convicted so we can not say this or that person has done anything illegal. The statement is simply an opinion of yours, not fact.

>The Intelligence Identity Protection Act. 1982. It is illegal to knowingly disclose the identity of an American undercover operative.

another big sigh, as this is irrelevant, Plame was not covered by the act as she was not covert or undercover. The fact that the person who wrote the act stated this publicly and no one was ever charged under it sort of makes me wonder why this is even an issue. Is this news to you?

>Occam's Razor

Actually Occams Razor states exactly the opposite, Occams Razor says do not suspect a conspiracy when simple incompetence will do. How revealing that Wilson's wife worked for CIA undermines Wilson is a little beyond me. Anyway, Wilson did a good job of undermining himself when he was caught making things up in congressional testimony on his BS report.

>But it's more than enough evidence to warrant this investigation - an ongoing investigation, mind you, in answer to the question of why Cheney and Bush have yet to be indicted.

No its not. Look, its been investigated, Armitage leaked to Novak and no one really cares because it wasn't a crime as Plame was not, by any stretch of the imagination undercover. No one, not the special prosecutor (since he never charged anyone with the crime), nor the person who wrote the law agrees with you on this. What is it with people refusing to accept this basic fact.

>But in either case, the Plame affair is a direct corollary to the broader issue of the justification of the war, which, I think most people would agree, means a lot more to the people than "masturbatory material."

God knows what this means as I never spoke to justification of the war. I said Plame has relevance as masturbatory material for most of the people who give a crap about her. I simply think there were more people who masturbated looking at her picture than gave a rip about the most ridiculous case ever to see the light of day.

>I'm not going to answer the litany of Clinton-did-it-toos.

Of course not, and thus you have missed the central premise of my point. Here it is again:

"My argument was not that Bush and Cheney are untarnished, they are. My argument was that the level of oxidation is unremarkable."

And that leads to why the left can be viewed as quite monolithic, brain dead. They never ever will criticize their own in any meaningfull way, no matter how bad the offense. You see plenty of criticism of Bush here, I even did so in my response to you before. The idea that Pelosi can run on cleaning up corruption, with William Jefferson still sitting in the House when Tom DeLay was ran out on a rail speaks volumes. The left, if nothing else, sits in their seats, shuts up, and does as they are told far better than the right.

>3. When Bill Clinton left office, I was eleven years old.

OK I did not know this. Obviously then I can understand why you think whatever transgressions Bush did are remarkable. Trust me, as time goes on, you will find all this talk of indicting him or Cheney really a little over blown. Please also believe me when I say I am not trying to talk down to you, I just did not understand that your political reference really starts with Bush, thus the focus by you.

>Moreover, I don't accept your premise. "Left his office in disgrace?"

Sorry, when you leave office under a plea bargain, that is leaving in disgrace by any meaning of the word. Approval ratings? Big whoop, very hard to believe all those high number when he never got a majority of the vote. Nixon was thought of quite well when he died and the countries feeling at the time of his furneral was quite profound. However, he did leave office in far more disgrace with no conviction for the same charge Clinton was facing when he plead to a lesser charge. Go figure. One can be popular and still be a disgrace, professional athletes prove this time and time again.

Kaelri said...

"no one has been convicted so we can not say this or that person has done anything illegal."

Of course we can. They've literally admitted to it. President Bush described the fundamental (unwarranted) nature of the program in a radio address over two years ago, and the law says that what he described is illegal. The sole defense of the program from a technical perspective is the "unitary executive theory," which interprets the constitution in a way that defines the President's executive power as absolutist. The more common defense of the program involves obfuscatory distortions like this. Excluding those, you and I have the necessary facts to make a syllogistic conclusion that the law has been broken. Unless you can disprove it, I don't see how you can justify continuing to believe otherwise.

"another big sigh, as this is irrelevant, Plame was not covered by the act as she was not covert or undercover."

I don't know where you're getting your information, but I advise you to find a new source, because you've been lied to.

An "unclassified summary of Plame's employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, 'Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.'"

She was covert. The only remaining variable is whether the leak was made "knowingly," as per the IIPA. There is a significant possibility that is was, and the investigation is not yet closed. I would therefore advise you, however cliché, not to count your chickens before they hatch.

"Actually Occams Razor states exactly the opposite, Occams Razor says do not suspect a conspiracy when simple incompetence will do."

Not in conjunction with a dollop of Holmesian deduction. Scooter Libby lied. He was convicted for it. A man like Scooter Libby - a fairly high-ranking government official with the best legal counsel money can buy - does not lie for no reason. The context suggests that he was either protecting himself or protecting his superiors. If you have an alternative explanation, I'd love to hear it.

"How revealing that Wilson's wife worked for CIA undermines Wilson is a little beyond me."

Well... heh. I never thought I'd find myself paraphrasing a Bush administration talking point. But the idea was to suggest that Wilson had been hand-picked for the Niger investigation by his wife, in a nepotistic abuse of her influence in the WMD department. You can read Novak's article for yourself, if you want.

"God knows what this means as I never spoke to justification of the war. I said Plame has relevance as masturbatory material for most of the people who give a crap about her. I simply think there were more people who masturbated looking at her picture than gave a rip about the most ridiculous case ever to see the light of day."

You're missing the point. People give a crap about Valerie Plame because they give a crap about the war. Actually, that's not entirely true - people also give a crap about the rule of law, the responsibility of the media and the muckraking of corruption and incompetency in the American government. But if you ask people, particularly on the left, what the significance of this case is, they'll tell you it's because of its relevance to the war. This isn't making a mountain out of a molehill; Iraq is Everest for our generation.

"And that leads to why the left can be viewed as quite monolithic, brain dead. They never ever will criticize their own in any meaningfull [sic] way, no matter how bad the offense."

How you ever came to that belief is beyond my comprehension. I mean, I hate to sound like a two-year-old here, but it sounds to me like you just described the pre-2006 Republican Party - they took pride in those qualities, and as I mentioned before, the Republicans frequently pointed at the chronic disunity among Democrats as a reason to keep the reigns of power out of their hands. "Never criticize their own?" It's interesting that you cite William Jefferson; Nancy Pelosi was the one who actually requested an investigation of Jefferson. One of the most strikingly direct answers I've ever heard from a politician was when Howard Dean was asked whether Jefferson, if indicted, should resign. "Yes," said Dean. "No question?" "Yeah."

A regular browsing of the user-submitted diaries on Daily Kos should annihilate any illusion you might have had of a monolithic conformity. There are people there - lifelong Democrats, unabashed progressives - who hate Hillary Clinton, are closely divided on the issue of impeachment, are remarkably ambivalent on Obama's platform, and even criticize the site's owners with healthy regularity. You could read Arthur Silber, an undeniable liberal, who thinks the Democratic celebrities are as prejudiced and misguided as the Republicans on some issues. You could look at the case of Joe Lieberman, a lifelong Democrat who ended up in a civil war with his own state party and is now considered on par with John McCain as the picture of a deluded optimistic when it comes to Iraq and terrorism.

Honestly, just add a few Daily Kos blogs to your daily reading. American liberals are a far cry from Parteigenossen.

"'My argument was not that Bush and Cheney are untarnished, they are. My argument was that the level of oxidation is unremarkable.'"

I didn't miss your point. I just thought that the rest of the rebuttal I offered would be enough to send it back to the perceptual void from whence it came. "Unremarkable?" You must be cynical beyond my imagining. The war alone has already defined this decade in American history, at least as monumental and atrocious a misadventure as Vietnam, to say nothing of its impact on the course of the Middle East. The wiretapping program violated the law, the constitution, and a public referendum on state police powers dating back to the election of 1800. The attorney firings are unprecedented. The censorship of government climatologists is simply childish. Voting anomalies in both of Bush's elections remain, at the very least, questionable. Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Jose Padilla, and the Ukrainian prisons were textbook violations of the Geneva Conventions. And not even this incomplete list of explicit acts fully encompasses the benighted paradigms that have manifested in the last six years - but unfortunately, we cannot impeach him on the grounds of high philosophy.

R Huse said...

>Of course we can. They've literally admitted to it.

Bush has admitted to breaking the law? Odd, he doesn't seem to have been indicted and recent court decisions, there was one last week, leave me very much in doubt that there has been any sort of final ruling that the program was illegal or Bush knowingly broke the law if it was.

>I don't know where you're getting your information, but I advise you to find a new source, because you've been lied to.

Well, I get my information from Victoria Toensing who wrote the law in question, the Intelligence Ident. Act. Toensing has stated publicly that Plame was not covered by the law.

I also get my information from the fact that even though the prosecutor knew all along who had leaked Plames identity, he never charged that person and in no way appears about to do so.

Sorry, on this one its pretty much game set match in my favour, there is simply no credible way at this point to claim Plame was covered or that thre IIA was broken.

>syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, 'Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA

You need to re read this. Novak is a reporter, not a jurist. No one is denying that at one time Plame was cat one time overt. The problem for you guys is she was not covered by the law because she had not been covert within the time span covered by the law. There is no changing that simple fact, sorry.

>Scooter Libby - a fairly high-ranking government official with the best legal counsel money can buy - does not lie for no reason.

This would have some validity if the nature of what Libby was convicted of had any weight. Libby was convicted of lying about when he remembered having a conversation. Frankly that doesn't exactly add up to a lot for me, or for most people as I doubt very few have any idea who the hell Libby is or what he was convicted of.

>But the idea was to suggest that Wilson had been hand-picked for the Niger investigation by his wife, in a nepotistic abuse of her influence in the WMD department.

Wilson was hand picked for this. I don't think anyone is denying that. The White House claimed they were waving off the reporter, as a favor to the reporter, not to go all ga ga over Wilson's report because he had, by his own admission, no expertise in the subject. To me the real conspiracy lies in why the hell was Wilson picked for this task? It really is a little hard for me to believe that to investigate the yellow cake deal, the CIA had no one available with any better expertise than and ex state dept employee husband who is a self admitted partisan democrat?

>You're missing the point. People give a crap about Valerie Plame because they give a crap about the war.

Actually no, I was making an entirely different point. You chose to argue about the war. The public at large doesn't give a rip about Plame, if 10% of the populace could name Libbys position in the White House I would be quite surprised. If 20% could name Valerie Plames husband I would be stunned. No one cares and that's why this case has zero political traction.

>"Unremarkable?" You must be cynical beyond my imagining. The war alone has already defined this decade in American history, at least as monumental and atrocious a misadventure as Vietnam,

No, I just simply have a little more perspective because I was around for Vietnam, Watergate and Clinton. I listed for you the corruption of the Clinton administration, which was quite a bit more extensive than in Bush's. you chose to dismiss it. That's fine, but it doesn't rebut the point. I was speaking to corruption issues, of which the Bush administration has been convicted of little and of which the number of accusations are quite unremarkable in comparison to other administrations. That was the point I was making, and that is the point you have either missed, or seem unable to argue against.

Kaelri said...

"Bush has admitted to breaking the law? Odd, he doesn't seem to have been indicted and recent court decisions, there was one last week, leave me very much in doubt that there has been any sort of final ruling that the program was illegal or Bush knowingly broke the law if it was."

The court dismissed the case on the grounds that the plaintiffs couldn't prove that they had been individually targeted by the program. It was a technicality that allowed the ruling to avoid addressing the nature of the program itself.

I'm not sure why you're stuck on this policy of waiting for an indictment to occur before you pass judgment on whether there should be an indictment. It seems a bit backwards to me. Moreover, you've evaded the point. We have the necessary information. The President said that he ordered a program that the FISA makes illegal. This is the radio address in which he announced it. This is the NYT article that prompted the announcement. And this is FISA. It's there, it's public, you can read it. I mean, if you see a Mexican citizen hop the fence in Texas, do you really need a jury's guilty verdict to convince yourself that the guy's an illegal alien? You can only give people the benefit of the doubt to a point.

"I get my information from Victoria Toensing who wrote the law in question, the Intelligence Ident. Act. Toensing has stated publicly that Plame was not covered by the law."

First of all, acts of Congress do not have single authors. Second, Ms. Toensing's information is outdated. Her claim was that "[Plame] worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak's column." Now, had you not glossed over the report I cited, you would have noticed that it was not an article by Novak, but a memo from General Hadley, the director of the CIA, affirming that Plame was considered a covert agent "at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003."

That report is not disputed. This question has been settled for months. I can understand if you haven't been keeping up due to your apparent exasperation over such "masturbatory material," but welcome to the present. Plame was covert when her name was leaked.

"I also get my information from the fact that even though the prosecutor knew all along who had leaked Plames identity, he never charged that person and in no way appears about to do so."

I'm not talking about Armitage here. I'm not even talking about Libby. I'm talking about the people they take their orders from.

"This would have some validity if the nature of what Libby was convicted of had any weight. Libby was convicted of lying about when he remembered having a conversation."

That's an oversimplification at best. Libby claimed to the FBI, and to the grand jury, that having forgotten a conversation with Cheney, he had first truly heard of Plame's involvement from Tim Russert, implying that the original leak (in the Libby-Miller chain, at least) had been made by someone else, traveled the grapevine to Russert, and circled back to the White House through Libby. This evidence would have had Fitzgerald and the grand jury chasing a leaker who didn't exist. The jury was convinced that he had intentionally mislead the investigation, thus their guilty verdict on the charge of obstruction of justice. I have heard no substantiated claims that the trial was conducted in any questionable manner.

"Wilson was hand picked for this. I don't think anyone is denying that."

Least of all me. The relevance is that Wilson's report, however unqualified or partisan you think he is, was the best information the administration had concerning the Niger yellowcake. They knew that the claim originated from British documents that were already shown to be forgeries. And yet, the famous "sixteen words" made it into the President's 2003 State of the Union address, demonstrating, at best, incompetent handling of critical intelligence.

"No one cares and that's why this case has zero political traction."

Who said anything about political traction? I'm not arguing about whether people care, I'm arguing about why they should care. I'm not an analyst, I'm an advocate.

"I was speaking to corruption issues, of which the Bush administration has been convicted of little and of which the number of accusations are quite unremarkable in comparison to other administrations. That was the point I was making, and that is the point you have either missed, or seem unable to argue against."

I thought I spoke to that rather directly at the end of my previous post. In the end, I guess, we have no qualitative measure to determine that one thing is more "remarkable" than another. I hardly think Clinton's a saint, mind you - as I've said, I think my age grants me relative objectivity when it comes to the pre-Bush United States, which is why the past six years have been all the more frustrating to me and mine. I look at John Adams, one of the founders of our country, who was absolutely evicted from the White House for the Alien and Sedition Acts. I look at Watergate, which led Nixon down the path to virtually certain impeachment. I look at Vietnam, which annihilated a generation's sense of perspective, of morality, of reality - I think the only reason Iraq has not done the same is that the blame can be reasonably placed on a single administration, whereas Vietnam became a generation's cross to bear. But Bush is responsible for the paradigm in which we wrapped ourselves after September 11th - invoking our fear to get us to relinquish our freedoms without question. Yes, that has been done before, and it will be done again, and it has been and will be despicable each time. I look at Bill Clinton, and yes, I see corruption - campaign finance, and real estate trades, and quid pro quo with the pardons, and even a few that touch upon our deeper principles - the Echelon program, for example. But what is his legacy, really? His political opponents tried to remove him from office for lying about having an affair with an intern. That was the best they could do? The Clintonian definition of "scandal" seems like a relic of the good ol' days, surviving only in the bitterest episodes of The West Wing. Ten years ago, this "DC Madam" thing would have been granted 24/7 network coverage, but for this presidency, it's just icing on the cake. Among many other things, some of which I listed, this presidency will be defined by the war. I think Bill Clinton can rest assured that he was never responsible for such a horrific mistake.

BEAR said...

Yes, he can! He married Hillary!!