Tag Archives: Nancy Pelosi

Some Thoughts on Chas Freeman

I’ve had mix feelings abotu the Chas Freeman affair.

First, I think it is dangerous that an analyst’s confidental (if not classified) views, shared on a private listserv, would be used in this public matter. If we want to shut down any attempts to introduce a modern think tank approach to analysis, this is the way to do it.

Second, the emails that have circulated abotu Freeman’s view on the Tiananmen Square Massacre show a kind of smart-ass attitude, but not factual inaccuracy. Freeman is right that most of the killing during the massacre happened outside the square itself. He misreprsents the activity of that June, which appear closer a breakdown in the Constitution of the People’s Republic. The Speaker of the National People’s Congress (who was in DC at the time) supported the protests, and was put under informal house arrest after returning to Shanghai. Likewise, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Zhao Ziyang, was deposed and placed under house arrest after the events.

goddess_of_democracy

The best analogy to what happened would be if massive protests in DC against Barack Obama were publicly supported by Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Third, Chas Freeman was clearly bought off. I don’t think this is particular noteworthy. The only “objective” analysts I know are those whose careers are in the bureaucracy, or who live a pauper’s life. Freeman was unwilling to do either, and so worked for the China Naitonal Oil Company, publicly praised Abdullah the Great after cashing checks from the Saudis, etc. In our blog circle, we hav witness similar behavior by analysts who want to get rich. This should have been considered by the Obama administration in its effort to weed out lobbyists, but it’s hardly original.

Fourth, Chas Freeman’s analytical skills don’t extend to an analysis of his own situtation. Among his many enemies were Nancy Pelosi, who was instrumental in the Congressional power-grab over China policy in the early 1990s and has been active in Chinese human rights circles since. An analogy might be if an appointe by Hu Jintao was quietly but firmly opposed by Wen Jiaobao. Blaming the Zionists fits into Freeman’s perspective, but does match up with the intraparty politics he was facing.

Fifth, the affair reveals considerable anger at Zionists in the American political establishment. I don’t know what the causes or implications of this last point is.

A Home Investment Visa Program?

There are already investment visas for people who want to buy factories or ethanol plants, so the legal structure for a Home Investment Visa program is largely written. While the flurry of activity a Home Investment Visa program would cause would require some extra workers at the Internal Revenue Service (to collect the extra income in taxes), Homeland Security (to process the visa paperwork), and elsewhere in the government’s bureaucracy, even this spending would be directly tied to jobs and help stimulate the economy.

Note that the multiplier on the “buy a house, get a visa” strategy would be much larger than any possible domestic multiplier since the money would come from outside the economy (and efficiency would improve as well.)

I think there would be considerable support among economists that immigration (buy a house, get a visa), a payroll tax cut and maintaining state and local funding would be reasonably good policies in this recession (albeit not necessarily sufficient) yet these policies seem to be the ones that the political system rejects out of hand.  (See also Matt Yglesias here and here).  Now, I can understand rejecting these policies as compared to doing nothing, ala a precautionary principle, but why these policies are rejected compared to taking a trillion dollar gamble is puzzling even to someone like myself schooled in public choice. 

via Marginal Revolution: Buy a House, Get a Visa.

Alternatively, we could nationalize Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan, or give tens of billions in subsidies to the shareholders in these companies until they’ve recuperated their losses from the federal balance sheet.

It is the call of two men and one woman: Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

What will be their decision? What would be yours?

Pelosi sabotaging Obama?

Me, in google chat yesterday:

Pelosi is trying to sabotage the process, to show that she is important to Obama

Obama wants to be an independent center of graviity — his talk of ‘bipartisanship’ really means ‘I should be free to do what I want, without being hostage to any one group”

Speaker the House naturally doesn’t like that

Before FDR, the Speaker was indespitably more powerful than the President

and every now and again the Speaker and the President tussle, whether hwen they are in opposite parties (Clinton-Gingrich) or the same party (Say, during Carter)

it’s a power play

showing him that she has power to cause a lot of problems for him

And in the news, today:

The Weekly Standard
Rep. Jim Cooper, a conservative Democrat from Tennessee, told a liberal radio network that the Obama White House encouraged him to pick a fight with Nancy Pelosi on the stimulus bill. According to Glenn Thrush at Politico, Cooper said: “Well, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I actually got some quiet encouragement from the Obama folks for what I’m doing.” Thrush notes that Cooper has signed a letter criticizing Pelosi for her handling of the rules on the stimulus.
Cooper then teed off on Pelosi and his party’s leadership in Congress: “They know its a messy bill and they wanted a clean bill. Now, I got in terrible trouble with our leadership because they don’t care what’s in the bill, they just want it pass and they want it to be unanimous. They don’t mind the partisan fighting cause that’s what they are used to. In fact, they’re really good at it. And they’re a little bit worried about what a post-partisan future might look like. If members actually had to read the bills and figure out whether they are any good or not. We’re just told how to vote. We’re treated like mushrooms most of the time.”

The idea of Speaker of the House Pelosi trying to sabotage President Obama’s administration makes the ugly stimulus bill make more sense: the bill that passed the House of Representatives seems to have been crafted to be as ugly as possible and still receive Obama’s support: a one-party, pork-filled, non-green collection of pork.

What else can you buy with hundreds of billions of dollars?

As George Bush and Nancy Pelosi try to rush through a bail-out of speculators, the cost of their plan is best understood as the cost of what else we could buy with it.

For instance, why not transcontinental maglev networks?

Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog
Cost estimated for mag-lev network in manner of interstate highway system? A mere 350 billion. Pocket change this week!

Or, for that matter, fiscal discipline?

The Bush-Pelosi plan is bad policy and must be defeated.

Pelosi tries to censor… Congress on the ‘Net!

An important post from my friend Mark Safanski:

zenpundit.com » Blog Archive » Nancy Pelosi vs. Social Media, Free Speech and Democracy
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would like very much to reimpose the old, so-called, “Fairness Doctrine” that once censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting, is scheming to impose rules barring any member of Congress from posting opinions on any internet site without first obtaining prior approval from the Democratic leadership of Congress. No blogs, twitter, online forums – nothing.

This was first reported to me by Congressman John Culberson (R-Tx) and I asked for approval to cite him and for any media links to this story. He provided the following link of regulations proposed by the Chair of the Congressional Commission on Mailing Standards (PDF) Congressman Michael Capuno (D-Mass) that was sent to Rep. Robert Brady, Chairman of the House Committee for Administration. The net effect of the regs would be to make it practically impossible for members of Congress to use social media tools to discuss official business or share video of the same with the public while creating a partisan disparity in what little approved messages might be permitted. It would be a very considerable error to assume that the House leadership intends to let dissenting Democratic members post any more freely than Republicans.

Mark is out front on this one. I don’t see anything from other blogs, but Safranski’s serious and knowledgeable, so this is for real.

Stop Pelosi! Free the Congress!

Pelsoi: John McCain Above Corruption

FT.com / Companies / Aerospace & defence – Pelosi points finger at McCain on Boeing

Nancy Pelosi, who has been trying to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s quest for President, continues her peacenik opposition to military readiness. Rep. Pelosi now criticizes John McCain for being against blood pork, and putting the national interest above the interest of big campaign contributors:

The controversy over the Pentagon decision to award a $35bn refuelling tanker contract to EADS spilled into the presidential race yesterday, when a senior Democrat suggested that John McCain, the Republican nominee, was responsible for the deal being “outsourced” to a European company.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, said Boeing had been on course to supply the US Air Force with tankers until Mr McCain “intervened”.

“My understanding is that it was on course for Boeing before. I mean, the thought was that it would be a domestic supplier for it,” Ms Pelosi told reporters.

“Senator McCain intervened, and now we have a situation where the contract may be – this work may be outsourced.”

The air force originally chose Boeing to supply it with 100 tankers. But Congress cancelled the deal after it emerged that Darleen Druyun, a former top air force acquisitions official, had held illegal job discussions with Boeing while still negotiating the deal. Ms Druyun admitted boosting the value of the deal to help Boeing.

Mr McCain has pointed to his aggressive investigation into the Boeing deal as evidence that he is willing to stand up to powerful corporate interests.

No word on whether Pelsoi will similarly criticize Barack Obama. I doubt it. Investigating Boeing’s crooked dealings took political courage on John McCain’s part — it was an accomplishment. That’s the sort of thing that Barack Obama doesn’t have.

Update: Eddie has more.