In response to P. D. Pepe's request in yesterday's Commentariat, my column in today's New York Times eXaminer does indeed take on Ross Douthat's duplicitous Sunday sermonette. The NYTX front page is here. ...
... Dean Baker explains -- again -- why Tom Friedman is still meaner than a junkyard dog. ...
... AND Prof. Hamid Dabashi takes on Nicholas Kristof's praise of sanctions against Iran.
NEW. CW: in the Comments today, contributor P. D. Pepe recommends historian Sean Wilentz's review of the latest volume of Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson. So do I. And I learned a new word: "adumbration"; hadda look it up.
** Jan Crawford of CBS News: Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court's four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations. Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy -- believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law -- led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold.... The fact that the [conservatives'] joint dissent doesn't mention Roberts' majority was not a sign of sloppiness, the sources said, but instead was a signal the conservatives no longer wished to engage in debate with him." CW: after all we've heard about how the Supreme Court is a fortress of secrecy, this report is stunning. ...
... Ian Millhiser of Think Progress speculates that the leakers included at least one conservative justice. "Crawford ... is a very well connected conservative reporter.... Moreover, as Linda Greenhouse points out, it is possible that the Court started springing leaks more than a month before Roberts handed down his opinion." ...
... John Cole of Balloon Juice thinks the leakers were "Kennedy's people ... because most of that Crawford piece reads like a mash note to him." CW: and yes, that's a reasonable premise.
** "Casino Capitalism." Robert Reich: "The real issue here isn't Bain's betting record. It's that Romney's Bain is part of the same system as Jamie Dimon's JPMorgan Chase, Jon Corzine's MF Global and Lloyd Blankfein's Goldman Sachs -- a system that has turned much of the economy into a betting parlor that nearly imploded in 2008, destroying millions of jobs and devastating household incomes. The winners in this system are top Wall Street executives and traders, private-equity managers and hedge-fund moguls, and the losers are most of the rest of us. The system is largely responsible for the greatest concentration of the nation’s income and wealth at the very top since the Gilded Age of the nineteenth century, with the richest 400 Americans owning as much as the bottom 150 million put together. And these multimillionaires and billionaires are now actively buying the 2012 election -- and with it, American democracy."
Paul Krugman writes the truism of the day: "... the prospect of disaster, no matter how obvious, is no guarantee that nations will do what it takes to avoid that disaster. And this is especially true when pride and prejudice make leaders unwilling to see what should be obvious."
Matt Taibbi has a post on Barclay Bank's agreement to pay $450 million to resolve investigations of its interest-rate fixing. CW: Taibbi sees Barclays as just the first domino to fall. See also yesterday's News Ledes. ...
... In a follow-up post, Taibbi writes, "Another one bites the dust. The Royal Bank of Scotland is about to be fined $233 million (£150 million pounds) for its role in the Libor-rigging scandal. It joins Barclays as the first banks to walk the plank in what should be, but so far is not, the most sensational financial corruption story since the crash of 2008."
CW: Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post tries to put lipstick on the outsourcing pig. Bear in mind as you read Pearlstein's analysis that he never once discusses the U.S. government's pro-business, anti-union policies that makes outsourcing so attractive to businesses & the private equity firms that "help" businesses move jobs offshore, and he only obliquely alludes to interstate raiding & state anti-union laws. I'm hoping Dean Baker or Paul Krugman will give Pearlstein's essay a "real economist's once-over." ...
... Update: here's Baker's response. Essentially he seems to say, offshoring is great as long as there's full employment in the U.S.
Mitt Romney -- Worse Than George W. Bush
I don't think they ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor. I'm concerned for someone who is moving from near-poverty to middle class. -- George W. Bush, October 1999, preparing to run for president & denouncing a House Republican proposal to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit
I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. -- Mitt Romney, January 2012
Tom Edsall in the New York Times on Mitt Romney's unwillingness to specify even the vaguest outlines of an immigration policy.
Rupert tweets re: Willard: "Met Romney last week. Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful."
CW: I couldn't find the Consortium article contributor Kate M. discusses in her commentary below, but this one by Robert Parry, titled "The Price of Political Purity," covers the same material.
America's Worst Governor Goes Rogue. Lexi Stemple of Fox "News": "Florida, the state the led the fight against President Obama's health care law, will not comply with the Supreme Court opinion. Gov. Rick Scott [RTP] tells Fox News that he and his Attorney General, Pam Bondi, will work tirelessly to make sure the law is repealed. He feels that can be done by electing officials, like Mitt Romney, who have vowed to fight the law before 2014, when most of its provisions kick in. If that doesn't happen, Scott insists he still won't 'implement these exchanges that will increase the cost of health and make Medicaid worse.'"
AP: "The fired former chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s Macau casinos alleges in court documents revealed Thursday that billionaire Sheldon Adelson personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company's properties in the Chinese enclave."
Washington Post: "Mexico chose as its new president Sunday Enrique Peña Nieto, a dashing, disciplined campaigner who promised to bring peace and prosperity back to a country weary of drug violence and slow growth, according to official projections by election officials. As the new face of a political party once known for corruption, Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), completed a remarkable act of political rehabilitation, returning to power after 12 years on the sidelines."
AP: "Unemployment in the 17-country euro currency bloc hit another record in May as the continent teetered on the edge of recession because of its crippling financial crisis, official figures showed Monday. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said unemployment rose to 11.1 percent in May from 11 percent the previous month. May's rate was the highest since the euro was launched in 1999...."
Guardian: "Mississippi's only reproductive health clinic was handed an eleventh-hour reprieve from closure late on Sunday, thwarting attempts by social conservatives to create America's first abortion-free state. In a ruling handed down just hours before the Jackson Women's Health Organisation was due to start turning away women seeking terminations, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking a law that would have shuttered the centre."