Isn't it strange that the GOP, the political party that has heretofore consistently and vociferously opposed frivolous lawsuits, spurious malpractice claims and the trail lawyers' lobby, has now decided to spend taxpayer money to hire trial lawyers to bring what is essentially a frivolous malpractice lawsuit against President Obama?
Why "frivolous" you say? Well, the lawsuit accuses the President of illegally waiving, for a year, the very same employer insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that the GOP itself fought tooth and nail -- i.e., they are accusing the President of what might be called "malicious compliance" with the GOP's own platform. If that isn't the very definition of frivolous, what is?
Why is it that Democrats can't stop talking about the possible impeachment of President Obama by a Republican Congress, while Republicans, who are even suing the President for abuse of power, don't want to discuss the subject (but won't take it "off-the-table" when given the chance by their own captive TV network)? Perhaps the Democrats are not so crazy after all; not because the talk of impeachment obviously is designed to energize their "base," but more because there may be some reality to the chatter after all notwithstanding the GOP reticence. It could be far more politically tempting to the GOP than it lets on to install VP Joe Biden in the Oval Office just to mess up Hillary Clinton's march to the Democratic nomination in 2016, since she would have to challenge a sitting President assuming Biden would seek election in his own right.
Nobody else seems to have noticed that knocking off both Obama and Clinton with one blow might be very tempting to the dominant Tea Party wing of the Republican Party if it were to win control of the Senate and gain seats in the House this November. Yet such a spectacle might finally shock the Congress and, it must be said, the US electorate, out of its decline into bitter hyper-partisanship.
Why does a country that has lived for decades with regret for not doing more to provide shelter to Jews fleeing Nazi extermination (even turning away a boat full of helpless men, women and children in the run-up to World War II) now consider passing what can only be called a civil form of "ex post facto" law exterminating the legal rights of child refugees to hearings on their cases for asylum from uncontrolled violence in their home countries? The whole issue of migrant children at the border is replete with absurdities, but also evidence a malign moral bankruptcy.
Let's start with Governor Rick Perry's decision to order National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to stop the flow of child migrants. We could put a line of armed soldiers from one end of that border to the other and it would not matter. Because these children are not seeking to elude capture at the crossing but are simply turning themselves in as refugees to the first authorities they see! Surely it's a waste of military resources to deploy the National Guard as a welcoming committee.
Then there is the "not in my back yard" response of so many states and communities to the prospect of moving these migrant children out of makeshift border shelters to foster care or other temporary housing while their cases are pending. If it's the expense they are concerned about, they can pressure Congress to pass the emergency budget proposed by the Administration. If it's more than about money, what is then the concern? Race? Or is it a misperception of where voters stand on this issue? The latest survey, published by the Public Religion Research Institute, shows Americans, by a 7 to 1 margin, support treating the current surge of child migrants as true refugees. Meanwhile, the Drudge Report is raising the specter that the U.S. is being exposed to the deadly African Ebola virus by some of the recent southwest border crossers!
The current topsy-turvy news environment is also reflected in the stock and bond markets. Broadcasters like CNBC's Rick Santelli constantly attack the Federal Reserve Board's measured pace of reducing economic stimulus by means of gradually tapering its monthly bond purchases rather than ending them all at once, and intending to maintain accommodatively low interest rates even as unemployment falls and job creation increases. But Santelli and his daily parade of hand-picked "puppets" (his is the best children's morning show since the Muppets) are talking out of both sides of their mouths on this issue. First, they say interest rates remain low despite tapering because the economy under Obama remains a disaster and any good numbers must be faked or flawed; just watch the same refrain any given morning between 11 a.m. and 12 Noon any day any week. Then in almost the same breath, they claim the Fed is so far behind the curve of the improving economy that they should be raising interest rates right now to head off the threat of inflation from an economic bubble. Which is it, guys?
Such a level of blatant intellectual self-contradiction can only be explained by a desire to help out hedge funds who have wrongly bet on a stock market correction for the past two years, and lost. Only one CNBC commentator -- Steve Leisman -- the only one who understands the Fed -- stands up to this nonsense.
More incoherent nonsense is evident in the stock market's reaction to the July 29 announcement of the imposition of tougher sanctions on Russia by both the European Community and the United States, the first time they have been in lock-step in terms of efforts to force Putin to retreat from his mischief-making in Ukraine. The market fell from an opening of plus 70 to a closing of minus 70. Yet the market has also experienced similar inter-day downturns whenever the combat news comes in ugly from the Eastern Ukraine zone where the Malaysian commercial airliner was recently shot down. What does the market want -- it doesn't like the war -- but it also doesn't like the best efforts to force an end to the war and a diplomatic solution. Of course there is legitimate concern with a European recession being triggered by either eventuality: more fighting or Russian economic and energy blackmail in response to sanctions. But sanctions are the only way to the outcome the market would find positive -- namely, peace on the Russia/Ukraine border.
With all this nutty news, it's a blessing that professional football training camps are now open for the season, so we can get back to observing the relative sanity of Richard Sherman versus the 49ers!
By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus, Ageno School of Business, Golden Gate University
Terry Connelly is an economic expert and dean emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and global head of investment banking at Cowen & Company. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education.