Tuesday Reads: Cantor’s Conflict, Libertarian Cruelty, bin Laden’s DNA, and a Cold Case Solved

Good Morning!! I’ll take my coffee iced today, because it’s hotter than hell here in the Boston area. And about 110 percent humidity. OK, let’s get to the news.

The Washington Post has a laudatory profile of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and his refusal to negotiate on raising the Federal debt ceiling–without ever mentioning that Cantor stands to make lots of money if the U.S. defaults on its debts.

Last month, Cantor walked out of talks led by Vice President Biden. Cantor said the reason was Democrats’ insistence on raising taxes as part of a deal to increase the national debt ceiling.

Then, last week, Cantor urged House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to reject a possible “grand bargain” with President Obama, which could have included tax increases. Boehner pulled Republicans out of those talks.

Now, as Cantor joins other leaders at the White House for near-daily summits in the third different grouping of negotiators, his moves have revealed him as a third major player in a legislative drama that had been dominated by Obama and Boehner. Where Boehner has sought to define what Republicans can do with their newfound power, Cantor, the House’s ambitious number-two, wants to underline what Republicans would never do.

So what is Cantor’s negotiating strategy?

On Monday, with a potential default less than a month away, Cantor was asked to identify compromises that Republicans had offered to help negotiations along.

He told reporters that the negotiation itself was a compromise.

“I don’t think the White House understands how difficult it is for fiscal conservatives to say they are going to vote for a debt-ceiling increase,” Cantor said.

Gee, it wasn’t all that hard to increase the debt ceiling again and again under Bush, now was it? But maybe in those days Cantor wasn’t betting against the U.S. in his financial investments. It’s very troubling that the Post didn’t mention Cantor’s humongous conflict of interest.

According to a new Washington Post-Pew poll, increasing numbers of Americans are “very concerned” about a U.S. default, but they are also “concerned” that raising the limit will lead to out-of-control spending.

The twin, divergent, concerns complicate the political calculus for the White House and congressional leaders as they attempt to strike an agreement. Nearly eight in 10 Americans are worried about raising the debt limit, and about three-quarters are concerned about not doing so.

Asked to choose, 42 percent see greater risk in a potential default stemming from not raising the debt limit, a seven-point increase from a Post-Pew poll six weeks ago. Slightly more, 47 percent, express deeper concern about lifting the limit, but the gap has narrowed.

Sixty-six percent of Republicans worry more about raising the debt limit than the U.S. defaulting on its debts. {sigh…}

Hipparchia has a wonderful post at Corrente that is an extended metaphor for libertarian attitudes about health care, specifically in reaction to the writings of a libertarian from the CATO Institute, Michael F. Cannon on the new Oregon health care plan. Here is the relevant quote from Cannon that set her off.

Michael F Cannon, of Cato@Liberty :

The OHIE establishes only that there are some (modest) benefits to expanding Medicaid (to poor people) (after one year). It tells us next to nothing about the costs of producing those benefits, which include not just the transfers from taxpayers but also any behavioral changes on the part of Medicaid enrollees, such as reductions in work effort or asset accumulation induced by this means-tested program. Nor does it tell us anything about the costs and benefits of alternative policies.

Reduction in work effort?? This would be really funny if Cannon weren’t so deadly serious. Providing health care to poor people means that more of them are just going to spend their days hanging out in parks, yakking on their cell phones , I guess. So, Libertarians are in favor of liberty for themselves and wage slavery for anybody else. Good to know.

Please go read the whole thing if you have time. It’s well worth the effort. We live in a world of selfish, greedy narcissistic fops. How can the country survive them?

Joseph Cannon has a short but pithy post on the media’s obsession with Casey Anthony being found not guilty. He then points out that the media has completely ignored the fact that

In 1995, when the Presidency was in the hands of the despised Bill Clinton, government regulators overseeing skullduggery on Wall Street referred 1,837 cases to the Justice Department for prosecution. That number has gone down. Between 2007 and 2010, the Justice Department has received just 72 referrals a year (on average).

Gosh. How can this be? I guess investment bankers are simply more honest than they used to be.

You won’t see this issue discussed on CNN. It’s not newsworthy.

I did not know that. Thank you Joseph Cannon. F&ck you CNN (and HLN and Nancy Grace).

Here’s an interesting story from The Guardian UK: CIA organised fake vaccination drive to get Osama bin Laden’s family DNA

As part of extensive preparations for the raid that killed Bin Laden in May, CIA agents recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to organise the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the “project” in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic, according to Pakistani and US officials and local residents.

The doctor, Shakil Afridi, has since been arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) for co-operating with American intelligence agents.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad, already severely strained by the Bin Laden operation, have deteriorated considerably since then. The doctor’s arrest has exacerbated these tensions. The US is understood to be concerned for the doctor’s safety, and is thought to have intervened on his behalf.

The vaccination plan was conceived after American intelligence officers tracked an al-Qaida courier, known as Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, to what turned out to be Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound last summer. The agency monitored the compound by satellite and surveillance from a local CIA safe house in Abbottabad, but wanted confirmation that Bin Laden was there before mounting a risky operation inside another country.

DNA from any of the Bin Laden children in the compound could be compared with a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010, to provide evidence that the family was present.

Jeralyn at Talk Left has finally decided that Obama deserves to get a pink slip. Yes, I know, she should have known better. But please go read anyway.

I’m going to end with a story about a long ago murdered child and how the case has been solved–54 years later. Maria Ridulph disappeared in 1957 when she was 7 years old. Maria and her best friend Kathy were playing on the street one day.

Kathy Chapman, who was 8 at the time, recalled that she and Maria were under a corner streetlight when a young man she knew as “Johnny” offered them a piggyback ride. Chapman, now 61 and living in St. Charles, Ill., told the AP she ran home to get mittens and that when she returned, Maria and the man were gone.

Maria’s disappearance and death had a powerful effect on her small community.

Charles “Chuck” Ridulph always assumed the person who stole his little sister from the neighborhood corner where she played and dumped her body in a wooded stretch some 100 miles away was a trucker or passing stranger — surely not anyone from the hometown he remembers as one big, friendly playground.

And, after more than a half century passed since her death, he assumed the culprit also had died or was in prison for some other crime.

On Saturday, he said he was stunned by the news that a one-time neighbor had been charged in the kidnapping and killing that captured national attention, including that of the president and FBI chief. Prosecutors in bucolic Sycamore, a city of 15,000 that’s home to a yearly pumpkin festival, charged a former police officer Friday in the 1957 abduction of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph after an ex-girlfriend’s discovery of an unused train ticket blew a hole in his alibi.

Maria Ridulph

From the Seattle Times:

A judge in Seattle set bail Monday at $3 million for Jack Daniel McCullough, of Seattle, a former police officer who denies he is the man Illinois police have been seeking in the 1957 slaying of a young girl….

McCullough, 71, a former police officer in Milton and Lacey, has been living in North Seattle and working as a night watchman in a senior-housing facility, Four Freedoms.

McCullough, 18 at the time of the girl’s death, had been a suspect early in the investigation. He lived about a block from where the girl disappeared and matched the description of a man seen at the site.

At the time, police did not show Maria’s best friend Kathy a picture of their suspect. But last year, they showed her a picture of the teenaged McCullough (then using the last name Tessier) and she recognized him.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?

36 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Cantor’s Conflict, Libertarian Cruelty, bin Laden’s DNA, and a Cold Case Solved”

  1. joanelle says:

    Great Post BB,thanks.

    I contacted the DNC, telling them that if they want to keep the WH they had better coach O on how to say he will not seek a second term and run Hillary for Pres in 2012. I told them that I believe that O is a failed president and should no longer be supported for the office by the DNC.

    Not that my voice will move them but perhaps if they get enough of this kind of message they will think about it.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Strained Boehner/Cantor relationship affects debt talks

    • WomanVoter says:

      One is pretending to work on the Debt Ceiling and the other is betting on it to make a buck! I guess the BFF invite is canceled. 😯

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I just saw this: McConnell: No real deficit deal until Obama is gone – Political Hotsheet – CBS News

      Why would they want him gone when he is doing everything they ask?

      • WomanVoter says:

        His base doesn’t wuv ’em…after he blocked the Public Option, blocked the Medicare Buy In, allowed the insurance companies to bleed us dry with 90%+ increases in rates, gave the Greedos TARP/Millions in bonuses, extended the Bush Tax for the Rich, extended the Patriot Act, kept the military prison open/military trials and is HELPING them CHOP Social Security and Medicare (Insurance programs the workers and their employers paid for)…

      • dakinikat says:

        I’m beginning to think McConnell has mental health issues. Maybe he’s got onset of Alzheimer’s or something. He seems obsessed with getting Obama and nothing else. He should be sitting in a chair some where rattling ball bearings, displaying an obvious tic, and mumbling strawberries … Obama … strawberries …

      • bostonboomer says:

        Maybe McConnell craves Obama’s bod?

  3. bostonboomer says:

    ABC News airs undercover video shot at Bachmann & Associates, “pray the gay away?”

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Dan Abrams: Casey Anthony coverage less dangerous than media’s shallow political “reporting.”

    Many of the most outspoken critics (amateur and professional) of the Anthony coverage are the very same people who relish intensive political coverage. They spend hours upon hours on discussion and analysis of who is up or down–who is running or who is not, and who made the most egregious gaffe that day. Yet the horse-race political coverage and gotcha moments that define most of today’s political coverage are not just equally insignificant as news events, they are far more insidious.

    When the political media spends days upon days covering and analyzing President Obama’s birth certificate, Sarah Palin’s reference to Paul Revere, wall to wall coverage of Donald Trump’s fake Presidential run (I’ll even exclude Weiner coverage for now), and every other misstep, poor choice of words, and invented scandal, they are not just wasting precious media time, they are also forcing our political leaders to define candidacies based on largely irrelevant media moments. Even though Casey Anthony did not receive the sort of justice most believe she deserved, at least the public walked away with some understanding of why the system works the way it does. Can we say the same for the public’s takeaway from intensive coverage of political gaffes? I can explain the legal concept of reasonable doubt but it’s harder to explain unreasonable doubts about political leaders that result from often inane media coverage.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Dan has a point up to a point: what captured the attention of the public in this sensational case were the circumstances that prededed the trial itself.

      Casey’s inventive lies that were evident from the outset followed by behavior that under any circumstances would raise serious questions as to her innocence. The dots were connected yet a jury of her “peers” chose to put their own spin on it because they have been subjected to years of the unreality of “reality tv” which may have played a huge role in their deliberations. Consider that they were able to buy into the “sex abuse theory” when no evidence was ever presented beyond an opening statement.

      Granted the coverage was “over the top” in most instances but I think that many watching this debacle found it an alternative to the daily lies of the politicians running this country into the ground and hoped for some vindication in an outcome that was designed to bring someone into account.

      It didn’t for reasons only those 12 must live with. And I don’t doubt that sequestration for almost 8 weeks didn’t play a part at the end. Science itself was put on display and was rejected outright probably because it went so far over their heads.

      The jury may have done its “duty” by being sworn in but they failed the system with the few hours devoted to deliberation when most of the evidence was trumped by suppositions that were never proven in a court of law.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I thought that was a good post from Dan Abrams. Thanks for posting it BB.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Interesting inside info on debt talks:

    “Boehner hardly said a word in the meeting. His stance seems to be: if Cantor didn’t like the grand bargain, he’s welcome to negotiate one on his own. Republicans left the meeting noticeably subdued. Few had anything they wanted to say about it. And Cantor may have just jumped from the frying pan of Biden’s debt talks and into the fire of Obama’s. He has little experience hammering out legislative deals — particularly at this level. He wanted a smaller deal, and now Boehner’s sitting back and watching silently as Cantor flounders.”

  6. janicen says:

    Wow, that Eric Cantor is so unyielding in standing by his position of not raising the debt limit, one would almost think he had a personal stake in it and stood to make substantial financial gains if the debt limit is not raised. Oh wait…

    • bostonboomer says:

      He seems to be in a tough spot right now if Boehner is really letting him stay out there on a limb with no help or support.

      • JeanLouise says:

        I think Cantor’s exactly where he wants to be. Obama’s going to give him everything he wants and then he’ll be able to replace Boehner as Speaker.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Surprising to hear this from Geither:

    Geithner says top 1% have tax rate in low 20’s.


    • WomanVoter says:

      I just fainted… and Obama wants to push seniors, widows, orphans and the disabled off the cliff with the GOP…when the insurance programs were paid by the workers and their employers…. FAINTED again…

  8. madaha says:

    a fake vaccination drive? that is profoundly immoral. I am so disgusted with all this!

  9. madaha says:

    I love these press conference take-downs:

    “YA KNOW, AT THIS POINT, I DON’T THINK YOUR WILLINGNESS TO MOVE IN THE DIRECTION OF THE REPUBLICANS IS REALLY IN ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER: “My point is, is that I’m willing to move in their direction in order to get something done.””


  10. WomanVoter says:

    UN F&**&*(& Believable, the Tea Party people think Social Security and Medicare is welfare, paid by them… BANGS HEAD ON DESK!

    WomanVote Woman Voter
    @LogisticMonster YES! Employee can see their paycheck->It is THEIR MONEY & the Employer Matches it, 4 #SocialSecurity #Medicare! #GOP #DEMS

    I tell you, people need to get Sarah Palin on the record and find out what her position is, as this misinformation is mind boggling! Don’t people look at their pay stub? Mc Cain was for showing people the matching funds, on the W-2 to inform people where the money for Social Security and Medicare was coming for and the State Disability and the Worker’s Comp payment (annual total for all) so people would know all the funds paid for the workers, including matching or paid health insurance.

    BANGING HEAD ON DESK! Don’t these Tea Party people know that 78% of the economy is small business and that they are doing the bidding of large corps?

    • WomanVoter says:

      #Tcot #p2 Tea Party gone #Bachmann ? RT@LogisticMonster @WomanVote What makes you think Sarah #Palin is trustworthy?

      The Cure The Gay Clinic Owner has stolen the Tea Party away from Sarah Palin! 😯

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Sarah is too busy playing “cute” with her intentions while a fawning MSM plays right into her crooked hands. While there is much more money to be made from the “cultish worshippers” she won’t give up until the last penny is extracted.

      They all share the same mindset: the “little people” are all at fault and must be made to make the necessary “sacrifices” in order to correct a falling economy. None of these fools will ever have to rely on Social Security since they all belong to “the Millionaire’s Club”.

      It’s another play on “I’ve got mine, to hell with yours” that this crowd supports.

      As soon as her looks begin to dissipate and her hips take on a roll of fat that visits most of us over the age of 50, her time in the sun will have thankfully burnt itself out.

      Until then we are stuck having to listen to her scrambled verbiage, vindictive comments, and uneducated statements that have somehow propelled her into an image of “leader”.


      • dakinikat says:

        You would think if she were serious she’d have some people around her prepping her to sound less idiotic on serious issues. She’s got really bad credibility issues and I can’t see her doing anything to overcome that. She knows nothing on the economy and still doesn’t appear up to any debate on international issues. If she were going to run, she would need to get conversant on national problems. She still seems provincial to me.

  11. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB, freaking awesome post. I cannot believe that the Cantor “thing” is not getting any play in the news. Where are all the “liberal” MSM hounds that used to be more vocal about this sort of stuff B.B.O. (Before Barack Obama)

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I hate to tell you (because you aren’t going to like) it but Olbermann is doing just that.

  12. Re: Cantor and his conflict of interest. There has been a fair amount of coverage, more recently, but read this back in late June.http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/06/27/eric_cantor_conflict_of_interest