January 26, 2009

Geithner Confirmed: Sherrod Brown Absent, Voinovich Votes Yes (!&^*!); Updates: Brown ‘Supports the Senate’s Decision,’ Voinovich Spokesman Whines That Alternatives Were Worse

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:45 pm

The margin was 60-34. The roll call vote is here.

Notables:

  • Sherrod Brown did not vote. Since his office gave no indication when I called this morning that he would not be around for the vote, I’d like to hear Brown’s non-vote explanation.
  • George Voinovich, after telling everyone within earshot that the people of Ohio have a problem with putting someone in Treasury who has had tax problems such as Geithner’s, voted yes. I give up on Voinovich. Totally.
  • Dem “nos” were Harkin of Iowa, Feingold of Wisconsin, and Byrd of Virginia.
  • GOP “yes” votes were Voinovich, Corker (TN), Cornyn (TX), Crapo (ID), Ensign (NV), Graham (SC), Gregg (NH), Hatch (UT), Shelby (AL), and Snowe (ME).
  • Specter (PA) voted “no” after having told reporters earlier in the day that he would vote “yes.” I suspect he saw Pat Toomey looming over his shoulder.

What people don’t get is that there is no gloating if Geithner ends up doing a good job. The end doesn’t justify the means, and a bar-lowering precedent has been set that will likely haunt us for years.

________________________________________

UPDATE: Miscellaneous ding-a-ling alert — I never predicted that Geithner wouldn’t be confirmed. I never made a prediction at all (who would after the immigration amnesty fiasco in 2007?). Nix did. Zheesh.

I also didn’t predict how Voinovich would vote (“getting it” is not the same as “voting it,” unfortunately). But that hasn’t prevented a comprehension-impaired lefty from just making stuff up. Those who follow this blog know where to find delusion in the Ohio blogosphere when I refer to it. Ohio’s formerly “largest and most influential political blog” has been working very hard building a case as to why it should be ignored, or (added later) at least not taken seriously, from this point forward.

UPDATE 2: Althouse — “So I guess that whole ‘I forgot’ thing works after all! Thank you, Steve Martin!”

UPDATE 3: Other reax –

UPDATE 4, Jan. 27, 10:30 a.m.: I called Brown’s office today, and the person I spoke to said that the Senator was called away due to a family illness. He also said (paraphrasing) that while Brown was troubled by Geither’s tax compliance errors, he supported the Senate’s decision to confirm Geithner.

Memory-bank filing complete.

UPDATE 5: A Voinovich spokesperson e-mailed that the senator voted “yes” because alternatives if the Geithner nomination failed were worse, and that senators from NV and TX concluded the same thing. This prompted the following e-mail response from yours truly (with grammar corrections to one sentence; links added by me) –

We’re supposed to forgive Sen. Voinovich for his unconscionable Geithner vote because the alternatives were worse.

What, there’s another couple of people who have cheated the IRS out of even more money?

Look, it’s one thing to have a problem on policy. It’s another to have one relating to basic fitness to serve. No we have the Certs of Treasury Secretaries: two, two, two problems in one.

If the other possibilities were worse, as you state, maybe a Dem or two or six would peel off. We’ll never know, because your boss and others never gave it a chance.

Now you’ve sent a message that if you’re smart enough and the situation is supposedly desperate enough, all sins will be forgotten. Not forgiven, forgotten — setting an example for other a bad example for other taxpayers, our kids, and the world (which has to be laughing so hard we’ll probably hear it from across the oceans) be damned.

Let TX and NV deal with the other two senators.

You have NO idea how angry regular Ohioans who are aware of what has just happened (not just conservatives) are with the Geithner nomination and confirmation. You’re only lucky that the press managed to keep the worst of Geithner’s sins bottled up. As I said at my blog, I give up trying to figure George Voinovich out.

If you follow my blog, you know how I feel about Bob McEwen. At least McEwen, for all his considerable faults, and no matter how much he didn’t deserve to go back to Congress when he tried, could have been counted on to vote conservatively if he had gotten there. I never thought I’d say this, but I have a lower opinion of Sen. Voinovich than I do of McEwen, because George stands for nothing. Absolutely. Nothing.

One of these days Ohio Republican leaders are going to figure out that they can’t get the consistent support of their conservative base and the conservative blog community because they don’t, and won’t, consistently talk and act conservative.

Look at the bright side: If George sells out at enough key times, he might land a $10 million gig like Oxley did. Oxley took a couple of staffers with him. Maybe you’ll be lucky too. If so, consider the money your reward for helping your boss sell out his constituents and what used to be his core values. For what it’s worth, I hear it doesn’t buy happiness.

The Invisible Sherrod Brown’s Geithner Vote

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:48 pm

I just called Senator Brown’s office in Washington.

The person I spoke indicated that “no one knows” how Senator Brown will vote on the Timothy Geithner nomination, but that Brown’s office has been getting lots of calls in opposition to it.

Of course, I expressed my strong opposition. (You can give him a piece of your mind at 202-224-2315, if you are so inclined, but be ready for some hold time. His contact form is here.)

I didn’t express what follows.

Sherrod Brown has something in common with Tim Geithner, as seen in these excerpts from an October 20, 2006 BizzyBlog post, which are based on press releases that originally contained pictorial and/or linked proof at opponent Mike DeWine’s web site:

++++++++++++++++++

Yesterday (October 19, 2006), DeWine revealed a level of detail that I suppose Sherrod Brown either didn’t expect DeWine to respond with, or didn’t expect voters to care about.

Well, I sure care, and I believe that almost anyone who pays taxes does too:

Sherrod Brown Admits State of Ohio had to take legal action to force him to pay his taxes

“Sherrod Brown admitted the State of Ohio had to take legal action to force him to pay his taxes. As state officials confirmed, Sherrod Brown did not pay the unemployment taxes that every other employer in Ohio is required to pay. Sherrod Brown first said that he did not pay them for 12 years; he is now saying that he made a mistake and that he did finally pay them but only after the State of Ohio took legal action against him.”

“The facts are clear: Sherrod Brown didn’t pay his taxes. In fact, he didn’t pay his taxes for so long that the State of Ohio was forced to take legal action against him to get him to pay what he owed.”

“And now the best Sherrod Brown can say is that it was nearly two years that he cheated unemployed Ohio workers out of the money that was due to them.”

“C’mon, Sherrod. How many Ohio workers get to pay their tax bill two years late?”

“Do we really need a U.S. Senator who can’t even manage his own financial affairs? Can we trust someone who waits for the government to take legal action before he pays his taxes?”

“Nearly two years” meets anyone’s reasonable definition of “paid very late.”

UPDATE: Game, set, match — all you need to know, from the DeWine campaign’s press release today (October 19, 2006) –

  • Congressman Brown did not pay taxes owed the state of Ohio on July 31, 1992, October 31, 1992 and January 31, 1993.
  • He would have received notices from the state informing him that he was delinquent in paying his taxes.
  • By December of 1993, the state of Ohio took legal action to force him to pay.
  • The 1994 FEC April quarterly report shows that Congressman Brown’s campaign paid the OBES $2,116.45 for delinquent taxes.
  • When Congressman Brown says that he paid his taxes after 4 months he is not telling the truth. He did not pay them for 19 months until the state of Ohio took legal action and forced him to do so.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Senator Brown should be smart enough to know that being reminded of what he has in common with Timothy Geithner is not something he should look forward to in 2012.

But Senator, if you want to give people an excuse to bring it up again, that’s fine by me. Vote for the Geithner nomination, Senator Brown, and open season resumes. Maybe there are even some law-abiding, tax-paying Democrats who have a hard time swallowing the idea of a tax cheat and tax evader in charge of the Treasury Department who will want to hit you with a primary challenge if you support Geithner.

I would suggest not taking any comfort in the current betting that Geithner’s nomination will sail through, thanks to BO Republicans. Your fellow senator from the other side of the aisle realizes that this nomination is not going down well with Ohio voters. You may wish otherwise, but your vote is not likely to be forgotten.

Question of the Day: What Is A (More) American Car?

Joseph B. White at the Wall Street Journal says the answer isn’t obvious, and it isn’t always a car made by a US-headquartered company:

What Is an American Car?
These Days Its Hard to Tell, and That Could Snag the Push to Save Detroit Auto Makers

Could there be a more American vehicle than a “Jeep Patriot?” Nothing on four wheels says American more proudly than Jeep, the rugged brand that helped America win World War II, and has ferried millions into our wild, Western spaces since.

Yes, in fact, there could be a more American SUV than a Jeep Patriot. A Toyota Sequoia would be one of them. The Sequoia is 80% “domestic” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while the Jeep Patriot is only 66%.

….. Once you put down the flags and shut off all the television ads with their Heartland, apple-pie America imagery, the truth of the car business is that it transcends national boundaries. A car or truck sold by a “Detroit” auto maker such as GM, Ford or Chrysler could be less American — as defined by the government’s standards for “domestic content” — than a car sold by Toyota, Honda or Nissan — all of which have substantial assembly and components operations in the U.S.

Thomas Klier, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago who has studied extensively the realignment of the American auto industry, wrote in an October 2007 paper that as of 2006 about 25% of the parts used in vehicles assembled in the U.S. came from overseas, and another 25% were manufactured here by foreign-owned parts makers. The Detroit companies wave the Stars and Stripes when they advertise their wares or look for loans in Washington, but when they talk to investors or the business press, they stress their aggressive efforts to promote “global sourcing,” a code for, “Buy More Parts from China and Mexico.”

….. Over the next several years, the nationality of the cars sold in America is likely to become harder to pin down. Ford intends to import to the U.S. market the European designs for its small and medium-sized cars. German auto maker Volkswagen is pushing ahead with plans to set up a U.S. assembly plant again. The BMW X5 sport utility (assembled in South Carolina) is more American than a Pontiac G8, which is an Australian import, like Oscar host Hugh Jackman.

Yet former President Bush, with newbie President Barack Obama’s agreement, decided, even after Congress couldn’t pass a law allowing it, to provide billions of tax dollars to GM and Chrysler, the two biggest failures in the industry, in the name of saving “American” companies and “American” jobs.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, when he was at The Home Depot, a job he took after being passed over to succeed Jack Welch at General Electric, relentlessly pushed his purchasing managers to buy Chinese products to stock store shelves (oh, and to buy the shelves themselves from China too) — or, failing that, to force US suppliers to match the heavily-subsidized, often somehow shipped here for free “China price.”

Now that he is at Chrysler, there is reason to believe that Nardelli is attempting to do much the same thing. He may even be funneling the business through an entity or entities run by former GE cronies as he did at Home Depot. If so, he’s now doing all of this with the help of US taxpayer dollars.

We ought to acknowledge that:

  • There are car companies headquartered in the US and there are those that aren’t.
  • Just because a company is headquartered in the US doesn’t mean that its products are somehow more “American-made.”
  • Just because a company is headquartered in the US doesn’t make it a more worthy object of American taxpayer largesse. None of them should be objects of American taxpayer largesse.

Earlier this month, I opined that the only way left for US consumers to voice their unhappiness with the bailouts of GM and Chrysler, and their unhappiness with the endless bailout sprees in general, is to not buy GM or Chrylser vehicles. I believe these two companies need to be allowed to fail, the sooner the better — even if the money already sent goes down the drain. If we don’t, our feckless leadership in Washington will continue to throw more good money after bad at GM, Chrysler, and heaven knows who else. It must stop.

Positivity: Shooting survivor marks special anniversary

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:07 am

From Chicago (video is also at link):

Thursday, January 22, 2009 | 7:06 PM

A Chicago boy who was shot in the head twice and expected to die is now making a remarkable recovery.

It was one year ago when David Curiel became an innocent victim of violence. He spent several weeks in intensive care with a swollen brain.

Bullets have scarred David Curiel’s forehead and childhood memories.

“He stared at me…and he just pulled a gun on me,” David said.

That’s what David remembers about January 18, 2007.

Relatives say David, who is now 7, was at his father’s Chicago apartment when a family friend, Karl “Twin” Smith, along with a few masked men, busted into the home.

“He taped my Dad up with gray tape,” said David.

Authorities say the gunmen demanded money. And David’s family says they used David to pressure his father.

“I know they told him, if he didn’t open the safe they were going to shoot him,” said Annette Jimenez, David’s mother.

“He shot me here and right here. Then he shot me right here,” David said.

Smith was arrested after the shooting and charged with attempted first degree murder.

David, meantime, underwent two surgeries, first to survive, then to restructure his shattered skull.

The gunman shot David in the back of the head. The bullets exited through his forehead.

“It’s a miracle,” said Juana Jimenez, David’s grandmother. “The doctor who did a surgery on his head, he said, it’s a miracle the baby is still alive. I was thinking he was not going to make it. And he’s here.”

He sure is. Doctors want David to wear a cast, just to make sure his left foot heals correctly. Other than that, he is on the move.

“I play baseball, golf, tennis, soccer,” David said.

He is a young survivor, full of energy and feistiness, a year after facing death. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.