Of Course It’s a Shakedown

Extort, early and often.

Joe Barton (R-TX) is right:  the $20 billion escrow fund is a shakedown. Not because BP isn’t liable for the oil spill, and not because BP shouldn’t help the people losing their livelihoods on the Gulf Coast.  But because Obama extorting the escrow fund from BP is an exercise of executive power outside the rule of law.

Following the rule of law would produce relief for the oil spill’s victims.  It just wouldn’t put Obama’s appointee in sole charge of a $20 billion fund.  That has a meaning beyond the “Chicago” implication of pure extortion, fund-skimming, and payola.  It means Obama couldn’t use the money to cushion the near-term consequences of his own policies.  He’d be constrained by that pesky rule of law, if he weren’t holding the discretionary purse strings for the damages payouts.

The most obvious current evidence of that relates to his moratorium on deepwater drilling. Continue reading “Of Course It’s a Shakedown”

In Defense of the Impious Rand Paul

Rand Paul wants you to think. His mainstream critics don’t.

If there is anything that demonstrates enduring intellectual piety in American politics – fealty to doctrinaire positions, reflexive demonization of those who don’t express them as a form of religious observance – it’s the fulmination from both left and right against Rand Paul.  I actually disagree with Paul quite seriously on foreign and security policy; I’m not a Paulista by any means.  But the reflexive, religiously doctrinaire reaction of his critics certainly suggests that any remaining aperture in their American minds can today be measured, at best, in micrometers.

There have been two incidents now, since the Kentucky primary, in which Rand Paul has failed to prostrate himself automatically before a political shibboleth. Continue reading “In Defense of the Impious Rand Paul”