Friday, March 25, 2011

Conservative Economics - Judging by Their Actions Republicans Want Another Great Recession

Conservative Economics - Judging by Their Actions Republicans Want Another Great Recession

As Wall Street speculative trading on oil helps push up the price of gasoline, threatening to derail the economic recovery, the government agency charged with regulating oil speculation has so far failed to properly do so. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law gave the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) new powers to regulate oil speculation, but the Republican members of the commission, along and one Democrat, have blocked the CFTC from writing the rules necessary to exercise this power. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are hoping to slash the agency’s budget by a third.

This morning, before an event at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, ThinkProgress asked Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) about the GOP blocking these regulations. Wiener noted that the obstruction on speculation is part of a larger effort to block the regulations necessary for “preventing future problems with economic meltdowns”:

WEINER: Well the Republicans have made it pretty clear the things they’re against, and one of the things they clearly say they’re against is preventing future problems with economic meltdowns. The enforcement agencies that are supposed to enforce the rules of the road — not only of the new regulations that have been passed to protect Americans, but existing agencies [too]. ][...]

Look, the issue of speculation and short selling and the like are complicated issues. … But one thing is very clear to Americans. They understand the idea that the moment there is an international blip, for some reason gas prices almost immediately go up at the pump. And yet it takes months for them to come down. To some degree, there’s just not sufficient transparency in energy markets. And there’s not enough clarify of what’s going on. And one of the thing that Americans need is they need to know that their government regulators are on their job, and if the Republicans have their way, there are going to be fewer of them. And if they further have their way, we’re going to have more bailouts in the future because of Dodd-Frank being undermined.

Indeed, from oil speculation to fraudulent mortgage lending, Republicans have attempted to tie the hands of regulators, and even asked lobbyists how they would want regulations curbed.
Fighting regulation of mortgage lenders seems especially odd in light of Republican efforts to attribute for the housing bubble to Barney Frank, Freddie Mac and Fannie May. The housing bubble was overwhelmingly the fault of private mortgage lenders and Wall Street's trading in derivatives which bet the housing boom would never end. One assumes they are loving America's loss of seven trillions dollars in wealth and a lost generation of jobs so much, they would like a repeat in a few years. By the way, is this some of that new tea bagger conservative populism, to let lobbyist decide what is or is not good legislation.

Libya is not like Iraq - Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says

In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.

"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin."

The timetable came at an important diplomatic moment. Five days after the Bush-Blair meeting, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was scheduled to appear before the United Nations to present the American evidence that Iraq posed a threat to world security by hiding unconventional weapons.

Although the United States and Britain aggressively sought a second United Nations resolution against Iraq — which they failed to obtain — the president said repeatedly that he did not believe he needed it for an invasion.

Stamped "extremely sensitive," the five-page memorandum, which was circulated among a handful of Mr. Blair's most senior aides, had not been made public. Several highlights were first published in January in the book "Lawless World," which was written by a British lawyer and international law professor, Philippe Sands. In early February, Channel 4 in London first broadcast several excerpts from the memo.

Since then, The New York Times has reviewed the five-page memo in its entirety. While the president's sentiments about invading Iraq were known at the time, the previously unreported material offers an unfiltered view of two leaders on the brink of war, yet supremely confident.

The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.

The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.