Sotomayor: Back to the past

Racists support Sotomayor:

Gary Marx, executive director of the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, said he saw a playbook for the campaign against Judge Sotomayor in the successful attacks on Lani Guinier, whose 1993 nomination to a top Justice Department post was withdrawn after an outcry over her writings arguing for alternative voting systems intended to better represent minorities.

“We will see ‘racial quotas’ become a much bigger issue than they might have been had another nominee been brought forward,” Mr. Marx said.

But civil rights advocates, including Ms. Guinier, say times have changed in their favor, also citing Mr. Obama’s election. In an interview, Ms. Guinier said she saw the debate over Judge Sotomayor’s nomination in part as an opportunity for civil rights advocates to push back against the kind of criticism that had thwarted her own nomination.

“It is easy to understand the idea of viewing an individual on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin,” Ms. Guinier said, but race also is a social phenomenon of politics, history and economics that demand deliberate policy responses.

This is not surprising, as Sotomayor is well known for racist remarks that she thought better of after White House officials criticized her for them, years later.

Review of “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark Levin

If this is the state of conservatism, let’s just make Barack Obama President-for-Life.


Mark Levin writes Liberty and Tyranny in ten chapters plus an epilogue. The chapters primarily dwell on the following themes:

  • A taxonomy of politics
  • The Judiciary
  • The Welfare State
  • Environmentalism
  • Immigration
  • National Defense and Security

One of these meta-chapters, on the Judiciary, is solid. Before his career as a talk show host, Levin was a lawyer, and his expertise here shows. Levin accurately and forcefully attacks the liberal establishment’s assault on the Constitutional framework of government, beginning with the Executive’s seizure of the rule-making and regulatory powers during the New Deal, and contuing through the increasingly activist left-wing judiciary that reached its height under Warren and Berger, and still lingers in too many courts today. The Judiciary’s activism has transformed it into an extra-legal standing constitutional convention, which deprives the the states and the other branches of their constitutional powers and also pre-empts the emergence of actual amendments that could serve to modernize the Constitution.

If Levin stopped here, and limited himself to an attack on the liberal ulema, Liberty and Tyranny would be a must-read book. Indeed, if he would expand this section to book length it would be incredibly useful for conservatives to understand how the Constitution is attacked and subverted.

Unfortunately, Levin does not stop there. The rest of the book conflates his attack on the unconstitutional means of this opponents with legitimate, social ends such opponents may have. He rhetorically divides politics into a two-sided debate between “Liberty” (his views) and “Tyranny” (views held by those who use extra-Constitutional means). This leads to some humorous contradictions, where seemingly anyone who believes the necessary and proper clause exists, or who believes that Article 1 Section 9 of the constitution prohibits a poll tax, are supporters of tyranny.

Another example if Levin’s trouble with math. He castigates supporters of Tyranny (who he calls Statists) for supporting the regulation of harmful chemicals, as many harmful chemicals have only a one-in-a-million chance of causing death each year. This, of course, would sum to something like 300 deaths per annum. However, he criticizes the CAFE standards, which he blames for 2000 extra deaths each year. By this logic, I would assume he supports the regulation of harmful chemicals, as long as at least 8-or-so are bannedm, so they can sum to the CAFE death level (which appears to be his criterea-for-being-a-national-concern).

Many other sections, such as that dealing with national security and defense, are simply non-sensical.

The weakness of Levin’s non-judicial sections, and the nonsensical divsion between Liberty and Tyranny that he pushes, is unfortunate, because his analysis of the judicial state of the United States is solid. Still, as it currently exists, this book should not be read. The America that Levin envisions is poorer, more dangerous, and less seecure than the country we currently live in.

If Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny represents Conservatism, then get me Barack Obama!

Friends of Geithner

From Slate Magazine, and sent in by Michael:

So who selected Geithner back in 2003? Well, the Fed board created a select committee to pick the CEO. This committee included none other than Hank Greenberg, then the chairman of AIG; J!ohn Whitehead, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs; Walter Shipley, a former chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, now JPMorgan Chase; and Pete Peterson, a former chairman of Lehman Bros. It was not a group of typical depositors worried about the security of their savings accounts but rather one whose interest was in preserving a capital structure and way of doing business that cried out for—but did not receive—harsh examination from the N.Y. Fed.

Tim Geithner is a tool of the financial industry, a quisling who has more in common with the barbarian tribes that are attacking our Treasury than with the government he notionally serves.

Wise is relative

Sonia Sotomayer:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

“Wise” is not the only relative term here. So is competence..

Geithner: Clueless?

From Calculated Risk:

Geithner: “For something this big and damaging to happen it takes a lot of mistakes over time. And it is that combination of things. Interest rate here and around the world were kept too low for too long. Investors made – took a bunch of risks without understanding the risks. They were betting on the expectation that house prices would continue to go up – to go up forever. Rating agencies failed to rate these products adequately. Supervisors failed to underwrite loans with sufficiently conservative standards. So those basic checks and balances failed. And people borrowed too much. It took all those things for it to happen.”

CR Note: (short transcript by CR). Although there were many factors in the housing and credit bubble, the two keys were: 1) rapid innovation in the mortgage industry (securitization, automated underwriting, rapidly expanded wholesale lending, etc), and 2) a complete lack of oversight by regulators. As the late William Seidman wrote in his memoir (published in 1993): “Instruct regulators to look for the newest fad in the industry and examine it with great care. The next mistake will be a new way to make a loan that will not be repaid.”

Geithner failed to mention the rapid changes in lending and the failure of government oversight as the two critical causes of the bubble. Either Geithner misspoke or he still doesn’t understand what happened – and that is deeply troubling.

Geithner is a tool, a bureaucrat in an agency that has experienced regulatory capture. His professional stance, and what is good for the short-term interests of the agencies he regulates, are generally one-in-the-same.

The Great Bear Market

Dshort and Calculated Risk link to this inflation-adjusted graph of market behavior, showing how we are still in a Bear Market that began in 2000.

The Great Bear Market is now in its 3rd Presidential Administration, having begun under William Jefferson Clinton, continued under George Walker Bush, and trending near all-time lows under Barack Hussein Obama.

If there is a greater indictment of our societal and educational preference for MBAs and lawyers, over scientists and engineers, it would be harder to imagine it. Our educational system is geared to generating professionals for zero-sum and negative-sum competition, not positive-sum wealth creation.

Of course, under the current administration, companies and unions would be foolish to bank on wealth creation. It is far smarter to act like Goldman Sachs (which has received billions in government grants) or the UAW (to which the federal government is giving Chrysler).