Thursday, October 31, 2013







Not Insanity, Just Routine

There oughta be a law.  No more stating, as Harry Reid did in his interview with Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, "Einstein said this, pure definition of insanity is somebody who does something over and over and over again and expects a different result."   

As this fellow points out, the statement is as likely to have originated with Mark Twain, Ben Franklin, mystery writer Rita Mae Brown or none of the three. Insanity is  "a spectrum of behaviors (sic) characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns" (Wikipedia). or "a deranged state ofthe  mind usually occurring as a specific disorder"  (Merriam-Webster), or "a mental disorder that deprives a criminal defendant of capacity to be tried" (Webster's New World Law Dictionary), or "persistent mental disorder or derangement" (American Heritage Medical Dictionary). Doing something repeatedly while expecting a different result is stubborness or foolishness, but not insanity.

Otherwise, however, Reid spoke the truth: 

He also said he’s not as concerned about the tea party Republicans who drove the GOP through the shutdown, but rather the other members of the party that went along with it, voting to repeal Obamacare 45 times.

“My disappointment in all of this is not the 80 or 90 people who live in some other political world that I don’t understand. But my disappointment is the so-called moderates who went along with this vote after vote after vote,” Reid said.

If we can't stop attributing to Einstein something he likely didn't say, can we- as Reid has- stop pretending (as do so many Democratic politicians) that the "Tea Party" is some weird, exotic cult bent on destroying the Republican Party which spawned it?  The notion that the tea party is not joined to the hip of corporate America is so ingrained that it appears even among those who proceed to debunk the myth, such as The New York Times' writer who in March, 2011 wrote "The Tea Party movement is as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government. " More conventionally, two Bloomberg reporters two weeks ago contended "A battle for control of the Republican Party has erupted as an emboldened Tea Party moved to oust senators who voted to reopen the government while business groups mobilized to defeat allies of the small-government movement."

And then a  Republican is nominated for some office and what is mistakenly perceived as separate factions both condemn the Democratic opponent for being insufficiently obeisant to the (fictional) free market.  Sometimes we don't need an election for clarification.  Eric Lipton of The New York Times noted Wednesday

The House of Representatives, with bipartisan support, passed legislation on Wednesday that would roll back a major element of the 2010 law intended to strengthen the nation’s financial regulations by allowing big banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase to continue to handle most types of derivatives trades in house.

The bill, which passed by a 292-122 vote, would repeal a requirement in the Dodd-Frank law that big banks “push out” some derivatives trading into separate units that are not backed by the government’s insurance fund.

But the debate Wednesday regarding this decidedly technical matter quickly turned into an impassioned dispute over the role the federal government has played since the recession in regulating financial markets. Advocates of the legislation argued on the House floor that the federal government is partly responsible for the slow rate of economic growth because it imposed excessive new regulations.

“America’s economy remains stuck in the slowest, weakest nonrecovery recovery of all times,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “Those who create jobs for America are drowning in a sea of red tape preventing them.”

But opponents of the measure said that reckless activity by banks like JPMorgan Chase, where a group of traders in London ran up $6 billion in losses in 2011, demonstrate that the tough requirements contained in the Dodd-Frank law, passed in 2010, should not be weakened.

Perhaps you did not hear the cries of outrage from such "tea party" stalwarts as Justin Amash, Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, or Louie Gohmert.  Only 3- Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Walter Jones of North Carolina, and Tom Massie of Kentucky- of 225 Republicans who cast a vote chose not to weaken Dodd-Frank.   Steve M., while acknowledging that some (70) Democrats went over to the dark side,  recognizes tea party supporters

don't hate big business -- they love big business. Yes, it was easy to get confused when they forced a government shutdown and threatened to bring about a debt default, but they were just showing love for big business the way Annie Wilkes showed love for Paul Sheldon in Misery. Like Annie Wilkes, they're certain they know what's best for their beloved, even if their beloved doesn't understand. 


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