Friday, May 06, 2011

I Can't Believe We're Losing To These People

Republicans still hate consumers:

Republican senators vowed Thursday to block any nominee to lead the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless stronger limits are put on its power, in the latest blow in a long-running battle to rein in the watchdog agency before it officially launches this summer.

In a letter to President Obama, 44 lawmakers called for a board of directors to run the agency, rather than a single leader. The letter also demanded tougher oversight of the CFPB by existing banking regulators, such as the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and that the new agency be funded by congressional appropriations. Under the current structure, the CFPB’s budget is carved from the Federal Reserve.

“How the CFPB director exercises his or her authority . . . will have a profound influence on the future of our economy and job creation,” the letter said. Lead signatories were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), ranking Republican on the Senate banking committee.

The proposals mirror three bills passed by the House Financial Services Committee a day earlier. Rep. Sean P. Duffy (R-Wis.), who sponsored one of the bills, said he believed that “the movement here on both sides of the aisle is to make sure we have a system that’s going to work for our consumers.”

But consumer advocacy groups lashed out at the proposals, arguing that they would give banks undue influence over the CFPB and jeopardize its independence.

“Enactment of these measures would virtually guarantee that the CFPB would be a weak and timid agency,” said Travis Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Courting Disaster!

Obama not keeping us safe! Time for some golden oldies:

White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen was locked in a secure room and given access to the most sensitive intelligence when he was tasked to write President George W. Bush’s 2006 speech explaining the CIA’s interrogation program and why Congress should authorize it. Few know more about these CIA operations than Thiessen, and in his new book, Courting Disaster, he documents just how effective the CIA’s interrogations were in foiling attacks on America, penetrating al-Qaeda’s high command, and providing our military with actionable intelligence. Thiessen also shows how reckless President Obama has been in shutting down the CIA’s program and releasing secret documents that have aided our enemies.

Courting Disaster proves: (PROVES!!--ed)

How the CIA program thwarted specific deadly attacks against the U.S.
Why “enhanced interrogation” was not torture by any reasonable legal or moral standard
How the information gained by “enhanced interrogation” could not have been acquired any other way
How President Obama’s actions since taking office have left America much more vulnerable to attack

In chilling detail, Thiessen reveals how close the terrorists came to striking again, how intelligence gained from “enhanced interrogation” repeatedly stymied their plots, and how President Obama’s dismantling of this CIA program is inviting disaster for America.

Thiessen is among the Bush-torture apologists trying to claim now that their torture helped catch and kill OBL. Sully links to Jane Meyer who writes from the New Yorker:

You would think that if the C.I.A.’s interrogation of high-value detainees was all it took, the U.S. government would have succeeded in locating bin Laden before 2006, which is when the C.I.A.’s custody of so-called “high-value detainees” ended. Instead, after the Supreme Court ruled that year that prisoners needed to be treated humanely in compliance with the Geneva Conventions, the C.I.A. was forced to turn its special detainees over to the military for detention and interrogation using more lawful tactics in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It took five more years before all the dots could be adequately connected.


This timeline doesn’t seem to provide a lot of support for the pro-torture narrative. One would think that if so-called “enhanced interrogations” provided the magic silver bullet, and if the courier was a protégé of K.S.M.’s, then the C.I.A. might have wrapped this up back in 2003, while they were waterboarding the 9/11 mastermind a hundred and eighty-three times.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A Fitting End

Well, I really regret turning off the TV before 11 pm last night.

I'll confess that one of the first thoughts I had this morning upon learning of the killing of OBL was one of suspicion about his being buried at sea. As more details of the raid and killing have come in my suspicions have been put to rest. Obviously it goes without saying, Great job, Mr. President and thank you, Navy Seals.

It's particularly fitting that his killing was accomplished by a Democratic president and by this Democratic president especially. Part of the trauma associated with the events of 9/11 was the three year period or so afterwards when both liberals and political dissent were treated as treasononous. Beyond the tragedy and devastation of that day was the hysteria that gripped much of the media and common man alike. The first few years after 9/11 were nothing short of toxic, for many Americans and for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's in particular.

But the killing of OBL helps put the final stake into that period. There are obvious signs before last night's heroics that the nation has, with at least some awareness, started to move on. But getting OBL "dead or alive" preferably dead, was an important piece of the healing puzzle.